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Everything posted by MattR

  1. MattR

    Rumblings of Time Ahead

    It's ironic that the BSA claims it knows how to develop leadership.
  2. MattR


    Given that it's free, or payable on an honor system (that's what it seems like to me) you might be okay as long as the website still works. It might just be that the owner of the hosting server is on vacation someplace warm right now.
  3. I'm in a somewhat similar spot. I learned the hard way I can't say yes too often. Some people can do that and some just burn themselves out. For me it was more of a spiritual depletion. Every job has it's bad parts but when the bad parts start outweighing the good parts it leads to stress. When it comes to a volunteer position this just doesn't make sense. So, the real question is what are the guidelines for saying yes or no? Clearly everyone has their own guidelines. For me and scouts, I'm trying to stay away from things I have no control over. All the national and council stuff is just a rabbit hole of spiritual sucking grief. I can peak in around the edges at times but no more. For me, it seems to be about whether what I'm doing helps someone or not. Teaching one scout that wants to learn how to cook a pancake is more fulfilling than discussing national's issues. I wrote a short document that explained how the methods should be used to achieve the aims back in October, because our SM asked me to. I left it at that and assumed that was the end of it but a week ago he asked me to make it into a short training session for the troop. Okay, that's a yes. Maybe I can help a few people. That helps fill up the spiritual tank. On the other hand, when an ASM asks me to help "sign off" scouts on requirements I'll likely say no. What such a scout likely needs is the confidence to know what goals they have. To help with that requires a level of trust between myself and the scout. That takes a lot more effort. Right now I'm trying to figure out whether I want to do that, or how to get it to fit in with the rest of my life.
  4. MattR

    Cooking Contest

    Only thing I can think of is someone not setting it up for them. <hint> Personally, I think the requirements should be a second thought to such a great idea. How cool for a tiger or lion to cook a pizza they made in an oven they made that runs off the sun. That is pure gold. Forget the requirements. As you find more great ideas please post them along with resources others can learn from and let us know how they went.
  5. Interesting. I really have mixed feelings on that list. I know one of the board members. Both his sons were in my troop when I was SM. On the other hand, why is the Director of Program (or Director of the Keeper of the Flame, not sure of his/her title) not paid enough to get on this list? Who on that list owns how the program reaches the aims? As others have mentioned, the amount of money isn't nearly as big a problem as how it's spent. I completely respect that things like marketing and IT are important, but someone has to own the core reason of the organization. Shouldn't they be top dog?
  6. I'm asking for the relationship to change. We certainly want them to listen more but are we willing to listen more as well? When I first became a SM I had all sorts of people giving me advice. Lots of advice. It became ridiculous so I just ignored those people and worked with the ones that wanted to help. Just a thought.
  7. thanks for the video. Looks nice. Much nicer than my old tent. Do the poles go straight down or do they have to go around the nest? My experience is straight down is important.
  8. It's behind a signup and get too much email wall, wish I could see the picture. I had a supposedly 2 person tent that used trekking poles. It only weighed a pound and was just a tarp. It worked fine, until it rained, for a week. The material was really great but the problem was keeping away from the edge of the tent. Lesson learned: the bug net has more to do with keeping me under the tent than the bugs out. So I went and bought a REI quarter dome on a great sale. It's about 2.5 lbs. For me, the extra weight is worth it. My biggest challenge is finding a pack that's long enough for my torso. All the "large" packs I've tried, once they have weight and are on my hips, are just about an inch too short. So if you have ideas, let me know.
  9. MattR

    National Leadership, Surbaugh Leave of Absense

    That just means we'll have to make a lot of encouraging noise. I'm in.
  10. I'm struggling with scouts. Recently a few things have made it clear to me what that struggle is and I'm wondering if others have the same challenges. The paradox is simple. On the one hand when I see a scout that grew, or had fun, or helped another scout, or just did something that showed our goals were being met, it's great. It encourages me to go on. It's pure heart when a scout says "I get it!". On the other hand, the BSA program has become a set of trigger words that just scream bureaucratic pain because none of it seems to be really helping me or anyone else help scouts. A few examples are JTE, wood badge, roundtable, membership, popcorn, ILST, council, explain-describe-and-discuss requirements, complaints about SM's on this forum, fees, MB universities, Trainer's EDGE and summer camp school classes. When I talk to adults in my troop it's usually about helping scouts. When I talk to adults in my district or, heaven forbid, my council, it's like watching an infomercial - I don't care anymore. I can't change the bureaucracy and don't even want to try. I've done my part before and it's just a way to burn out. Rather, I just want to work with the scouts. I don't want to help them advance. I want to help them achieve their goals. If they want to learn a skill so they can advance I'm more than willing to help them learn the skill, but I don't want to sign scouts off. If they just want to learn how to cook pancakes without burning them I'd really like to help them do that. So do any of you have similar issues? If so, how do you deal with this paradox?
  11. MattR

    Dealing with a paradox

    Yes, I'm searching for my fun. Sometimes the pressure is easy to avoid and sometimes not so much. Skipping meetings is getting surprisingly easy ;). Telling the SM I have no desire to "sign scouts off on requirements" causes friction. The thread about jte is a good example of how "stuff" gets in the way. Everyone gets caught up in the metrics and don't understand where I'm coming from. I need to find my niche. A happy place where I can help scouts learn while playing in the mud. What I'm not sure of is how being a moderator on this forum ties into that.
  12. MattR

    Your problems with JTE

    I don't know, @dkurtenbach, if the point is to help units improve their program, to be a teaching aid, making it competitive will just encourage units to game the system. Councils clearly game the system and for those that are struggling there's no incentive to help the units.
  13. MattR

    Your problems with JTE

    Good question. But maybe a better question would be what would make JTE better? In order to do that there's another question that needs to be answered: How do the methods achieve the aims? JTE does not measure any of the aims, or goals, of scouting. All of the suggestions above relate to digging down to how the methods help troops achieve their goals. Since the BSA does not mention how the methods achieve the aims there's very little knowledge of what makes a good troop. I mean, a good troop is one that achieves the aims with the largest number of scouts. Sure, character is subjective so it's hard to measure, but at the same time the number of campouts a troop goes on each year has little to do with scouts growing in their ability to take on responsibility. Best of luck talking to whomever early next year. Please, invite them to join this forum. While we are a group of curmudgeons and anyone from national that comes here better have fireproof long johns, there is a lot of experience here.
  14. MattR

    Letting them lead

    Is it a scout thing or a cultural thing? I had several families of Chinese origin and it was interesting. They all adapted, they all did great, but the biggest challenge at first was standing back. The good news was they would listen carefully. They also had fantastic food at any sort of celebration. 😁
  15. I think Venturing is the canary in the coal mine because it really relies on youth leadership and there is much less incentive for adults to fix things. What I saw of venturing was really poor leadership and teamwork skills resulting in a loss of interest. The few crews I've seen were run like GSUSA troops in that it was a few adults that held it together until they aged out and the crew collapsed. I'm sure some were/are great, but not what I saw. I'm not at all surprised by those numbers. I think it's entirely because the youth have less opportunity to learn people skills outside of scouting. They have less opportunity to solve their own problems and are under more stress to perform. They just have further to go when they get to scouts/venturing and we, honestly, don't know how to teach it or make it appealing to the youth. Fix venturing and the fix for scouts will be obvious.
  16. MattR

    Committee meeting ceremonies

    We used to serve margs after the meeting was over. So the meeting usually started with "We only have an hour, let's get going." Those were the best meetings. Succinct.
  17. Those aren't brackets, they're parentheses. Those are brackets. My favorite is pigs in a blanket. We both have them but yours taste better and are made with proper pig, as opposed to various animal parts and grain.
  18. Anyone notice his full time job is a youth minister? He may be the COR. So I guess his scouting job is safe. Not sure about the other one.
  19. It sure is a good thing we're a forum where we welcome scouter's from all around the world. That way, when we don't understand how something works in a foreign culture we can ask them rather then do a Google search for useless info that confirms our ideas. @mrkstvns, maybe posting topics that just look like you're trying to get a rise out of people isn't very productive.
  20. Sounds like a great fundraiser for the scout shop! <place sarcasm emoji here>
  21. Is that your kitchen or your camping storage? Quite the collection.
  22. I have a lodge skillet and s glass top and have had no issues with scratches. There's a difference between the old and new cast iron pans in that the casting process of old was fairly crude and required sanding. The newer pans aren't sanded but are still a bit rough. The result is the old pans are much smoother. So, I borrowed an angle grinder and sanded my lodge skillet. I really like it. If you do this, be careful as an angle grinder can easily add divots. They eventually fill in from the seasoning 🤫 We got our patrols steel skillets. You treat them the same as cast iron but they weigh less and aren't brittle.
  23. MattR

    Kudos to my council - Northern Star

    Sounds like a chicken and egg scenario. We want good people more than documentation or metrics, but in order to create those good people we need a definition of a good unit. But in order to define a good unit we really need a concise description of the goals and how the big pile of methods support those goals. My guess is most everyone here has their own view of these things, mainly because it's very vague in any documentation. I'm honestly tired of trying to convince people that our main jobs, as scouters, is to work our way out of a job and have the scouts own it. Everyone says sure, that's obvious, until they see that the new scouts aren't advancing to some schedule. I could really use something, anything, that I can point to for these adults to go read. The trainers don't have it (they have trainer's edge!) The commissioners don't have it. The idea of levels of patrol method above is a great idea. But it will never become widely used . Someone could get it to work at their district and it would be great until that person left. The waves of new people would just slowly wash it away like a sandcastle on a beach. All we have is JTE, because that's what the BSA has backed. Any new scouter will be taught JTE, so it will continue. I'm not so sure it's documentation or good people. What we really need is leadership. Good, bottom up, support your people, leadership. Just like all these scouts are supposedly learning. We will never see it as long as the focus is on money and old crimes. This is just like a church or temple that has to pay for their expensive building and start worrying more about money than spirituality. We need a CSE that is more interested in the spirituality of scouting than anything else. The only way to get that is to get drastic and remove the massive debt load the BSA has. Another option is to find one council that has a strong CE and no money issues and see if they would take this on for, say, 5 years. Proof of concept. Could a district do this? I kind of doubt it. Mine is certainly too week. And my council, however, has got to be one of the worst in the nation with respect to money problems and leadership, so I'm out.
  24. MattR

    standards for Scouts

    Part of that is having mush for brains, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Everything is changing and they have no idea how they fit in. At the same time, they also think they're the only ones going through this. My guess is the slovenly attitude is just their way of saving face. I was once one of them.