Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by MattR

  1. MattR

    What are the BSA priorities??

    I'd say training. Think of all the most fun scouting activities and most of them require specialized, certified trainers. Aquatics, shooting, climbing .... Our most important goal is getting scouts to take care of themselves. That's what makes scouting unique to all other youth activities. Shouldn't it involve learning the best ways to reach that goal? I don't want to start another WB argument so let's call it Scouter's Peak, where adults are taught how to develop youth. Not SM specific training, which is really an introduction to scouts. Not woodbadge, which is trying to teach adults how to lead. But something to teach adults how to develop the youth. i.e., give us the tools to reach our aims. Spend an entire day on the nuts and bolts of patrol method. A day for the rest of the methods as well as turning any skill development into a game. A day or two using those skills to learn more in-depth outdoor skills. A day for developing high adventure trips. This is what I thought, or hoped, WB would be. I'm going to help teach IOLS this weekend. The I stands for Introduction. There should be training for that one person in a troop that really want to excel at these skills. They will be the ones that develop the scout's skills. How to do it. How to teach it. How to make it fun. How to encourage using it. I have an hour to do all the knife and axe skills for both Baloo and Scouts. It's going to be a very brief introduction. "This is what it looks like. If you want to learn more, please call me." As for policies, I have no qualms with saying your scouts can't do anything on their own if you don't have an adult that is fully trained.
  2. MattR

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    We're now at $60 to national $200 to council $50 to unit (which we haven't changed in about 10 years) I'm hoping the council will be limited to the $60. That would be a big win for us.
  3. MattR

    What are the BSA priorities??

    I couldn't handle it anymore. I fixed the title. I don't doubt this at all. From national's view there are a million kids out there with no training whatsoever and hundreds of thousands of adults with no training either. They don't trust us. What could be changed so they could trust us? "Don't ask why, ask why not." I think that view would help improve the program. When I let a scout lead without adults around it wasn't just any scout, I had to trust them.
  4. MattR

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    Just a guess, but maybe the Circle 10 council is a long way from the sea? Like in the panhandle?
  5. MattR

    Oktoberfest Meal

    Since you made everything else from scratch, try getting a spaetzle maker and making your own. Some 20 years ago someone from Germany brought us one. It's easy and tastes good. We're still using the same one.
  6. MattR

    Court of Honor

    Our scouts like the open mic part of reviewing events. That's where the funny stories come out. It's usually a case of you had to be there but the scouts have fun. Make it a celebration as much as praising scouts for a job well done. Yes.
  7. When they used to regularly come to CU, where I was, and just kick the tar out of us. Them and Nebraska. Those days taught me the benefit of having the outdoors as a passion. Yep, pain can be a good lesson.
  8. When JTE first came out I remember being told that they would tighten up the requirements every year to slowly improve all the troops. I'm not sure what happened to that idea. One of the problems with JTE is that it is entirely based on easily measured concepts. The number of meetings held, number of campouts, number of advancements, etc. This is straight out of SMART goals. It is entirely based on the methods of scouting with no room for the aims of scouting because character, the oath, and law can't be measured. I could see a problem with with measuring improved growth of scouts and silly arguments between the districts and scoutmasters as they try to decide who deserves gold. However, character has never been a simple idea to measure. If it were, the bible would be a very simple algorithm to measure people's character so they could see whether they were good or bad. Instead, there are lots of stories about struggling with good and bad. If the PL doesn't know what his patrol is then, sure, that's a huge red flag. Can you imagine the list of rules for trying to measure how well a troop uses the patrol method? What a nightmare. I'd much rather see the SM and ASM's sit down with a knowledgeable facilitator to evaluate their aims. Rather than a ranking make it a win/win way to help develop units. It would be great to see that in Rogue Scouts as well. I think I'll go back to my woodworking shop. I'm trying something new. There was a huge wind that took down some trees at my mother-in-law's farm and a cherry tree got knocked down. I'm hoping to get a local sawyer to come and slice it up for me. I have a spot all ready to create a stack to dry the wood.
  9. MattR

    Where would you go?

    Since my kids are long gone, I'd do more in my wood shop. That's happening anyway. Yes, tools are expensive but they'd be mine. Now, if my kids were younger .... One idea I've thought of, the BSA has a great handbook, so why not just use that? Just do the program and don't join. It's not just $50 to national I'd save, we also have a $200 tax to council. Every camporee now has a 35% tax for council as well. Uniforms could also be simplified. The tradeoffs are: no official eagle scouts and no help with summer camps, camporees, MB counselors, or HA trips. While that puts more pressure on the units I'm thinking that could be a good thing if the scouts are encouraged to own more of this. My troop used to do most of this anyway (except the part about getting the scouts to own more). Who knows, if enough troops joined Rogue Scouts the BSA might get some needed competition and bring everyone back into the fold.
  10. Our CO does a background check every year on every adult that goes to any event with scouts other than a meeting. This is just the way it's going. So, I really hope the number of background checks one gets doesn't add up and raise some flag somewhere. Then I'd be in a lot of trouble.
  11. Nobody will, especially because nobody has heard about this. Of course, few people have heard of scout me in. Just to totally change this thread, how is advertising money spent in the BSA? I never see any ads from the BSA on anything. Does each council have to pay for ads or does national?
  12. I like this. But some nitpicking: Get the scouts trained & Set the scouts loose: Maybe not if you're starting a pack? I'd add: get some expertise to look over your shoulder. In a perfect world this would be a commissioner. This is not a perfect world. It should be someone you respect. The training can't cover everything. Also, for troops, make sure the adults are all on the same page as to what scout led means. There are lots of different opinions. All the people you're recruiting for adult leadership have to be interested in this job and willing to learn.
  13. MattR

    possible fee increase coming

    I don't agree with the idea that $1000/year is still a great deal. It may be a great deal for those kids that are on crazy competitive soccer, or marching band, or mill your own robot parts. The parents of these kids can more easily afford this. But scouting is supposed to be for all kids. In the land of under employed, $1000/year is still a lot of money. Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better. Maybe it would be better if the BSA just filed chapter 11 now. I'm optimistic enough about scouting that something good will come up from the ashes. Again, the problem isn't scouting.
  14. MattR

    How much water?

    We rarely go camping where there's potable water. We have the big blue water jugs that hold about 6.5 gallons. On our last campout we brought 9 for about 35 people. We were comfortable. When I asked if I could have 2 jugs for my events I was told no. We had other jugs so I was fine. Anyway, I think 1 gal/person could work for food and drinking, but not enough for cleaning and fires. And that's for very mild weather. I will drink a gallon a day if I'm exercising.
  15. MattR

    Scouts BSA Troop Resources Website

    The scouts need to see a problem big enough to out weigh the cost of trying something harder. It's really easy to just stand up and talk. It's also hard for most scouts to try something new. Hence, ruts. This is about motivating teens so I sure don't have a magic recipe. What I used to do was, before planning the year we reviewed the previous year. If the meetings were boring that's where it came up. Then it was easy to talk about making them fun. I had them set goals, like number of "doing" meetings vs "watching" meetings. After that I held them to it and, just as importantly, provided enough support, encouragement and guidance to be reasonably successful. It was a boatload more work than just deciding everything for them but they learned and had some better meetings.
  16. MattR

    Fooled to want foil?

    The best thing we ever buried in coals as a scout was a Dutch oven with a cake in it. We were so surprised it came out because we went off to play a game and forgot about it. I'm not a fan of eating up to the burnt food. The corn husks make me wonder if there's other food that can be cooked within them, or something similar. Our camps would not be able to support a camporee's worth of scouts cooking over a fire (not enough downed wood). We'd have to move it around various forests. The forest people would probably love us for removing the fuel. In my first troop I don't remember going to any camporees or any council camps even remotely close.
  17. MattR

    Webelos 3 syndrone

    I've never heard of parents asking for lock step advancement. Usually, when we mention that it's up to the scouts to decide their pace, the parents think that's really great. Responsibility! At last! I wonder how much of wanting the cub model is because the parents don't understand the relationship between aims and methods. To be honest, the message the scouts typically get from recognition at COH's is that advancement is what it's all about. The scout and his parents come up to the front, does the whole pin and patch exchange dance, gets photographed, hugs around, everyone applauds. That's the dopamine moment that the adults create so that's what scouts must be about, right? I hate to admit but we spend a lot more time recognizing check marks than, say, helping their patrol mates. So I'm not all that surprised that a group of type A parents want to continue that.
  18. I don't know how much the scouts want. It's called a scoutmaster minute for a reason. A really good story teller might be able to stretch that to five minutes. So, if you have a great story with a moral then ask the scouts for a slot in the program.
  19. MattR

    Old Guys on Forum?

    Sounds like a great idea. I'm also thinking my local camp would be more than happy for a shed to form on camp property . One of our council properties does have a group that just completely ignores the council but does take care of the one property. I have a friend that lives in Barcelona and they have a "cooking shed." Somehow this group got hold of an old restaurant. When they get together they make fantastic meals. Or just really great mixed drinks. I was there one day and although it was all in Spanish they were still giving each other a ton of grief. Sounded fun. We also have a "makerverse" place in town. Anyone can join and there is a fee but they have a lot of tools. That could be fun as well. Tonight I'm having a group come to my house to finish raw plaques for our district recognition event. We'll have them engraved at the makerverse.
  20. MattR

    patrol and den flags

    @mds3d, That's a great idea. We have the scouts material but they had to do the rest themselves. Helping them might get them over the hump. A 2x3 flag also sounds great.Ours are smaller. This is a good place for bling.
  21. A few things not mentioned: put on dry clothes, including long johns, before going to bed (what you wore during the day is already damp), don't wear too much in your bag - it's better to layer on the outside of the bag with a blanket or a second opened bag, wear a hat to bad, eat lots of fat and protein before bed (no sugar). For fun I've seen scouts do a relay race with putting on layers of clothing.
  22. Here's my take on why. Back in the 60s most organizations were very top down. The Japanese took advantage of it using an American's idea, and started making better quality cars and electronics. They were hungry and more amenable to trying something new, like a more bottom up problem solving culture. The US auto industry eventually caught up. The BSA, however, hasn't. They haven't been hungry because there were always people around to make donations. Case in point: the failed idea that one can get eagle without camping. They had to bring Hillcourt out of retirement to fix that mess. There are no more Hillcourts. Scouting is still a good idea. It's the BSA that needs fixing. They have not adapted to anything other than push eagle and push membership, which is really just about money. While there are challenges there will always be kids that enjoy camping with their friends and parents that want them to learn responsibility.
  23. MattR

    Patrol Method not so much

    ... followed by @Eagledad's description of giving the methods to the scouts and the aims to the adults. I agree with @dkurtenbach that times have changed and everyone is busier. This has a negative impact on scouting and we all know why. From the district view at camporees, most patrols are ad-hoc. So rather than fight it and form huge patrols (which I really don't like) or require participation or going the complete other way and just making ad-hoc patrols the meeting before the campout why not just embrace it and get back to Eagledad's view: The scouts own the patrol method, let them solve the problem. Look at the patrol method from outside the box and maybe a different solution will appear. Let the PLC deal with patrols that don't have enough scouts for an event. Maybe 2 weeks before a campout the PLC can identify those patrols with low participation and they can get everyone into a patrol. How they do it is up to them. They decide what the minimum number of scouts required is and how to distribute scouts from too small patrols. They can also review how it went. That still gives the scouts opportunity to grow in leadership, deal with people problems, and make everyone happy.
  24. MattR

    Building a Stronger Patrol

    Sounds fair. I think there's another issue. Where does this drive for efficiency come from? Scouts are busy. Parents are busy. Everyone is trying to cram more into a week. Asking for more volunteer hours is like squeezing water from a rock. Unfortunately, scouting growth is kind of like a good loaf of bread, it takes time to rise. The longer it takes the better it tastes, and using yeast can really wreck it, not to mention make it less nutritious. (Can you tell I'm hungry?) I was surprised the first time a scout told me one of the best things about scouts is you can just hang out with your friends and get away from the rush. Not anymore. Yesterday I was talking to some random, older scout, at a camporee I was helping with and heard something similar. I regularly ask scouts what kind of events they want to see and this scout said, whatever, it didn't matter. And I asked him if he'd still have fun if the job was shoveling manure from a barn and he thought about it for a bit and said that if his friends were with him and there was music, he'd have fun doing that as well. Efficiency kills that motivation. Friendships don't happen in a time stressed environment. It might be better to focus on developing friendships rather than getting eagle quickly. I think most scouts get eagle because of external motivation but the reason they stay in scouts is internally motivated and friendships are most of that. I don't think many adults understand this. I say that fun is an important method in scouting. This past summer I saw a great example of leadership and now that I think about it it was really a case of one scout making it fun and friendly for all. He didn't even think of it as leadership. There might be some lessons in there. It's not servant leadership so much as just making things fun. Fun with a challenge, fun with a skill, ... fun with a purpose.
  25. MattR

    Building a Stronger Patrol

    Is it about efficiency or just not trusting the scouts? Not trusting them to "do it right," not get in trouble, not get someone hurt or not believing that they can eventually figure it out?