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Everything posted by MattR

  1. I think the requirements are referring to "the written word" and not "the written word." Maybe "in writing" would be better. And this requirement refers to the spoken word as opposed to a famous speech written down. You have to admit, given that the requirements are about understanding language, it sure shows how complicated that can get.
  2. MattR

    Camporee idea?

    @qwazse, that's brilliant. Not sure about gps count. I could mark the corner of each section and then the scouts could go from there using a compass and pacing it out. Not real accurate but gps's have their issues as well. One scout wanted to do something at night. They could set it up at night or the next day. @Eagledad, that's hilarious. It will have to be in there. It could be radios. Or it could be semaphore. Semaphore would match the steam punk theme. You will get full credit. You'd like the weapons I had in the clue-like murder mystery game: cotton, an outhouse, burnt pancakes, dull axe, and lightning.
  3. MattR

    Camporee idea?

    I have a great idea for a patch. Alien wearing a cowboy hat riding a meteor like a bucking bronco. Yeah, the 100 stations sounds crazy now. I could see putting a 100 long ribbons in trees and the scouts need to organize and find them. If only I can give them some incentive to make it more fun. It can't be get all you can, they need to work together. So ribbons need to have value to do something later. Each patrol needs to find their 3 ribbons in their sector to do something later in the day. It could be their ticket to the rifle shooting or a way to lower their race time or ....
  4. To everyone on scouter.com, Now that girls are already in the cub program and they are about to enter the scout program it's time to welcome them. That's a nice way of saying stop complaining about girls in the BSA. Every thread that is about girls entering troops has gone off the rails. There have been complaints about how the decision was made, the negative impact on boys, what's wrong with the BSA, and just a lot of anger. I understand that people want to complain in general but we can't have complaints about the decision to include girls any more. The reason is simple. No scout should feel unwelcome in this program. Any scout that abides by the Scout Oath and Law, or their parents, should never feel like they shouldn't belong. When people on this forum complain that the surveys were rigged or that girls will ruin it for the boys then the message every girl gets is that they aren't welcome and that their being in the BSA is a mistake. Now that girls are here the complaints need to stop and we have to welcome them. A scout is a friend to all. I'm not saying there can't be any griping anymore. The distinction between what I'm talking about and general frustration is simple. If a 12 year old girl reads a comment that says girls shouldn't be in the scout program of the BSA, or that the decision was a mistake, then that's what I'm talking about. For example, saying that you won't go to a summer camp or camporees where there are girls is just telling the girls they aren't welcome. Saying that your scouts have to get eagle and get out before the girls arrive is just saying girls aren't welcome. Saying that national didn't listen to everyone's opinion about girls is just saying nobody wants girls in troops. No girl in the BSA should read that on this forum. This argument is over. The BSA decided. It's time to be Obedient. For those that want to keep arguing there are a few options: 1) Accept the change. Be curious and see how this change plays out with an open heart. Girls are scouts and they're in the BSA to have fun with their friends in the outdoors. Change is always rough but it keeps happening. 2) Leave. Stand by your principles and realize it's time to move on and find another way to volunteer your time. BSA troops have changed and there's no going back. 2.1) Don't engage in these threads. For those that still want to be a part of the BSA but still aren't happy with girls: Understand that complaining about girls in the BSA has a negative impact on those girls, or their parents, that are reading these threads. Learn to let it go. 3) Fight it. You can PM me, the other moderators, or @SCOUTER-Terry if you don't like this decision. I'll be honest, we're tired of watching these threads. You can also just ignore this and keep complaining. Well, you can try but you're just going to make yourself bitter. And we'll remove your posts and ban you from this forum if you keep it up. @LeCastor, @RememberSchiff, @John-in-KC, @desertrat77, @NJCubScouter.
  5. MattR

    BACKPACKING: Breakfast

    Yes, but that means you only get to eat salad the rest of the day But you do get to add probably 5 slices. And that's the only way I could handle grits. Well, a lot of butter works as well. I'm sure peanut butter would work as well.
  6. MattR

    BACKPACKING: Breakfast

    A guy in our troop went backpacking with us and convinced me that daily protein is an important number when going for more than a weekend. I felt much better on that trip at the end. For a strenuous trip the recommended amount is 1 gr per kilo of body weight per day. For normal activities it's 0.8. The difference between the expensive and cheap dehydrated foods are the amount of protein.
  7. MattR

    Sending a parcel to USA

    Small town in the middle of Minnesota? It could be the post office knows everyone. It could also be a polar vortex froze the poor lady's fingers. Or it could be a rural route that doesn't start with a number. I suspect ebay has a way to contact the buyer. Kind of a measure twice, cut once kind of thing. They won't mind, they're probably used to dealing with them city folk and will get a good laugh. Just use some word that spells differently over there and you'll make their day.
  8. I just got back from our Klondike. The theme was zombie snowpocalypse. Half the events had patrol winners and half had other kinds of patrol challenges. There's no doubt that a lot of scouts absolutely thrive on competition and some don't. One competition everyone liked was the sled race. Each patrol brought a sled that a scout could stand up in while the rest of his patrol pulled him (they had to build them). We ran two patrols at a time so they could compete against each other but also timed them. Then we took that top four and had a play off. BTW, the ones that don't like the patrol vs patrol competition still like to compete, just against themselves. We had a Clue like puzzle with a zombie theme they had to solve as well as a different type of fire building challenge (set the wood in a channel, light one end, hands off, and the fire had to travel to the other end and burn a string). The common theme in all of these types of events is challenging with a mix of new and different. Another thing I'm adamant about is nearly all events are set up to be done by patrol. The one exception we had this weekend was the zombie vs human tug-o-war, which was really just a way to warm scouts up before dinner. If you're curious, the zombies won. One thing we push is teamwork. We had a high ball kick activity (similar to eskimo games) where the goal was to see how high up a scout could kick a ball. By themselves, not very high, working together, the good patrols did about 8 feet. Before I started organizing district camporees I talked to a lot of scouts about what they liked and didn't like. The things they liked I mentioned, challenging and new. The things they didn't like was stale, waiting in line, and short 5 minute events. They want something they can spend some time on. So I pushed for half hour long events. This also means there's enough bandwidth to run a bunch of patrols at a time. Since I've started running camporees I've noticed that there are no more lines at events and by 9pm on Saturday most scouts are dragging or in their tents. It makes all the adults smile. At the same time there's need to allow for down time. I try to pack mornings and give flexibility to participate or not for a few hours in the afternoon. Older scouts do want time to just hang. For winter camping we give less flexibility because we want the scouts moving so they stay warm. Spring and Fall is different. So, add that all up and it requires a lot of imagination and thinking things through. I've mentioned this elsewhere but it was Hillcourt that taught SM's to pick a skill and then dress it up in a lot of fun and games. It's not just a lashing competition, you lash together a travois and then race with it. Barry mentioned star wars and star trek. We've done hunger games and indian lore. The themes add color and a way to view a skill in a new light. The hard part is keeping things fresh. For training events geared towards adults it's possible to just make small changes. Adults don't usually repeat the training. When doing something for the scouts there needs to be something fresh. This is not easy and why getting in a rut happens a lot. One thing that works is the scouts do change after half a dozen years so we can repeat themes after a few years.
  9. MattR

    World Crest

    How about making a neckerchief slide out of the WOSM patch? Then just have the slide and necker until the rest of the uniform is ready.
  10. Hi everyone, There was another request for a sub forum today and I'd like to suggest another way of doing this. The problem with sub forums is it's slower than you might think to set them up (mainly because the moderators can't set them up). Further, while there are several sub forums many are not used very often. At the same time, the advantage of sub forums is that you can quickly find threads that you're interested in. Here's a suggestion on how to get nearly the same benefit as a sub forum with little help from the moderators. Any thread can have tags added to it (and moderators can retroactively add tags to any of them). Not only that but you can create searches of threads based on tags. Also, there are things called Activity Streams that can help. An activity stream is just a way to search all the threads. The unread content button just invokes an activity stream that searches for posts that you haven't read yet. What's nice is you can create your own and you can create them to search for threads with tags. For example, you can go to Feed -> My Activity Streams -> Create New Stream and create a stream that searches for new content having the tag "linked troop" in it and takes you to the first unread post when clicking on the title. Once you create it you can find it under the Feed->My Activity Streams. You can also make it your default stream (go to it and click the check mark next to the title.) If you want to edit or delete an activity stream that you created, go to it and then click the trash can or pencil next to the title. If you think a past thread should have some tags added to it then let us know, we can do that. If we're suddenly feeling like we're adding the same tags over and over again it will be much easier to get a sub forum created. If you want to give it a try I'm willing to help. @RememberSchiff, @John-in-KC, @desertrat77, @NJCubScouter, @LeCastor
  11. MattR


    I understand the phrase teachable and, more importantly, unteachable. It has little to do with gender. There's an ASM in my troop, male, that just can't let go and allow scouts to learn the hard way. It was incredibly frustrating dealing with him. We'd talk, agree how to do things, and before you know it he chucked the whole thing and did things himself. It was easier, more efficient, nobody would be inconvenienced, if the scouts just didn't have to take responsibility. He's great at doing committee stuff and the only reason I didn't remove him. But ASM? Ugh. As for the phrase teachable female that @qwazse used, given the context of starting a girl's troop, a female SM sounds smart to me. From what I've seen, teachable has more to do with how much outdoor experience someone has. Someone that is comfortable with multi day, bring your gear, cook your food, deal with the weather, get used to the stink type of trips can easily grasp the idea of learning things the hard way because they did learn all that the hard way. The hardest to deal with are those that only do outdoors for a day trip. They think they understand but they always have a shower and warm bed to get back to. Again, independent of gender. For people my age there are a lot more men than women that do this. But for the younger moms of cub scouts, we're finding it less out of balance. The sad thing is that fewer adults of either gender, at that younger age, are volunteering. That is the nut that needs to be cracked in our district. There is another type of multi day experience I see that is just as good and a lot more girls do this than boys. I've mentioned this before but I've worked with youth that do year long exchange programs in foreign countries. I listened to the adults that run it and they would fit in with a troop with no problem at all. A 100 yards? Try 10,000 miles and you can't talk to your kid for a month, much less see them for 10. That's where I first heard the phrase SIU (suck it up). It's the equivalent of Do I look like your PL? It's an adventure. BTW, they do like Boy Scouts because they know what they're getting. However, there's an aspect of this saga that has nothing to do with this. Namely, why in the world did the SM let these parents take over the troop? Granted I did not read a lot of the many threads that compromise this story and I may be missing something, but it just goes and goes and goes. I had a dad that was at least as obnoxious as these parents and I ran him off. It took a month but it worked. And so did 2 other SM's. The council eventually told him his son had to be in lone scouts.
  12. I guess it depends on who is teaching the course and where they put the emphasis. Some of those topics do sound like a lot of fun. Besides, just because the email said "kayaking" it doesn't mean they're going to talk about what everyone does at summer camp. In another thread someone mentioned kayaking the Apostle Islands (oh yeah, that was you ). Maybe they'll talk about that. I'd think they would if they can find someone to cover that section. Have you ever considered helping teach that course?
  13. MattR

    Bike-o-ree idea

    Biking is fun. That said, with 200 people doing it at the same time there are issues. You do want some training about riding in groups on roads with cars. If not around cars then off road. You don't want everyone doing the same ride at the same time (but by patrol, staggered would work). I have noticed that a lot of scout's bikes are in poor shape. Bad brakes, rusted chains, derailleurs miss aligned. A great opportunity to learn some bike maintenance before the campout, and it would also help sell the campout.
  14. @Eagledad said, in another thread about an SM that has run amok: And @fred8033 brought up: It took a while to realize that working myself out of a job was key. Given that being an SM is an on the job learning experience, what's a good way to provide useful feedback to these leaders? The commissioners, I suppose, are somewhat in a position to do this but it's not official. I don't know if that's the right word but the commissioners I worked with were never really interested in doing anything but answer questions. Someone that knows everything will never ask. Someone that feels like they're supposed to know everything will also not ask. I don't want a bureaucracy of paperwork and testing created, but just a way for leaders to learn from their mistakes in a non threatening way. Come to think of it, isn't this exactly what the scouts should be getting for leadership training? I think I would have really liked that.
  15. MattR

    Texas Chili

    Those mid westerners might not know beans about chili but they know cold, so they might not be that far off. Besides, I married a mid westerner so I have to be kind to them. Either way, I think I'll try your recipe. What do you do when you don't live in Texas and don't have 18 chili powders to choose from? My local grocery store has "chili powder." This is kind of like curry. Hmm, maybe that's why those mid-westerners add underwear, they only have one chili powder! Got any chili powder recipes?
  16. I'm not sure people have changed so much as the technology has made "think first, open mouth second" harder to do. Remember the old days when we had editors for newspapers? Now it's a bunch of kids/folks with cell phones posting on social media and the news media playing catch up. There is a lesson in here for our scouts. Those two stars on the scout badge mean something important.
  17. An old copy of the Handbook for Patrol Leaders. And by old I mean a printing stemming from the 1929 version (eg, 10th printing is from 1941). Also, an old copy of the Handbook For Scoutmasters. I just have volume 1 but the original printing is from 1936. These books are dripping with enthusiasm and common sense. Hillcourt wrote them both (and likely the 2nd volume for SM's). For more information about Hillcourt, go to the home page.
  18. MattR

    Recruiting for council training committee

    I knew there was a catch. But back to your JLT course. How did you come up with a course that, I assume, was not in compliance with the standard JLT at the time? Or was it in compliance. I always wonder about that with training. I mean, the idea of having the scouts create their own training sounds great and also not at all what the syllabus suggests. Or maybe I'm missing something.
  19. MattR

    Recruiting for council training committee

    If a volunteer asked me I'd say yes. Well, wait a minute. What does the council training committee do? (and that is pretty much how I get involved in everything, jump in and then start asking questions.) I'm already on a council committee (camping) and I never go to the meetings because they're always the same night as my troop's meetings. As far as I can tell they don't really have much of an impact because they can't control any money. They create lists of things to be fixed at camp and lists of fantastic ways to spend all the money the council doesn't have.
  20. Those stories are great. I saw one about a guy that completed eagle and then promptly went off to WWII. Something like 10 years ago he finally received his medal. I've told a few scouts these stories because they think there's a time limit on that because they mostly have been fighting with time limits to get everything done in time.
  21. I see both sides of this discussion. Nobody wants to volunteer if they're going to be tested and quizzed and have to fill out reports. The other side is we have little improvement in scouters, a few that bring horror stories to this forum, and a continual erosion of the methods of scouting. There is always a tension between a teacher and student. What one wants and needs is not always the same thing. The same thing applies to SM and scout. But there's no teacher for the SM as student. (I suppose it should be the commissioner but in reality it isn't.) But maybe the teacher-student dynamic is the wrong one for a volunteer organization. How about the ideal SM-scout dynamic? It has to be fun for the scout. It has to give the scout more responsibility as he can handle it - what someone called distancing or working oneself out of a job. The scout should also be given bigger challenges so things don't get stale. The SM should also have fun and be fulfilled while working with the scout, so he wants to keep volunteering. So, how about showing the SM how to do this by putting him in the position of youth and having a mentor work with him? Keep it fun. Keep it challenging. Give the "youth" more responsibility as he's able and willing. Cheer him on. Celebrate the wins. Help them through failures. And, getting back to what @qwazse said, start with a giant carrot. (How to make round table fun?) Maybe the best way to remove the really bad apples is to worry less about them and work to improve those in the middle. Make it easier for scouts to walk to the better troops.
  22. Well, long story short, once upon a time I told someone to put the gun down. He said why, it wasn't loaded. I replied that I was taught to always assume a gun was loaded. He said, let me show you that it isn't. It was. That grumpy old RSO I had as a scout just might have prevented a disaster many years later. Knowledge is a good thing.
  23. @dkurtenbach, this is probably the closest to what I was thinking about. A bit vague but a place to start. The sad thing is I'm on the district committee and my sense is the commissioners are mostly fighting fires. Financial irregularities, people not getting recharters done in time, CO's enacting revenge on SM's. They don't have time to improve the quality of units and there aren't many of them. But I agree that there is no formal method to continuously improve quality. That's what JTE is supposed to be but it seems to miss the mark. @Chris1, while that's not the case in my district (SM's are not to be recruited for anything) I can see it happen. What is it about being an SM that can trash humility? Does every volunteer organization have this problem? Others that I'm involved in don't, but that's just my small sample. @David CO, good point, but most CO's I see know less about scouting than the SM. My guess is you are on the CO side of scouts and you're the only person I know of in that position that takes an interest in how scouts work. It seems to me that positive reinforcement for the SM would come better from someone that understands scouting. I hate to say this but for an organization that prides itself on leadership development, it doesn't really work for their own volunteers. The BSA tends to lean on training as opposed to on the job improvement. Training is one and done. Continuous improvement gets much less emphasis. Just to be clear, I have no dreams of changing anything at national but it would be nice to create a round table topic that I could get the bulk of SM's and ASM's to go to.
  24. MattR

    On making a graceful transition ...

    You have color coded tabs? In a neat organized binder? Do you have any idea how the rest of us get things done? Your scouts are going to be in great shape! Seriously, you obviously care. But now it's time to take care - of yourself.
  25. MattR

    My kids love scouts, but....

    Welcome to the forum, @RookieMom. Sorry it had to be under such circumstances. To answer your questions: Yes, and find another pack. The transfer cost is $1 and fill out a form. 13 is a really small number. I don't know where you live but if there are more packs then go check them out with your kids. If there aren't other packs then talk to the Chartered Org Rep and your committee chair. The cubmaster reports to them. If he can't control the scouts then there's an issue to be solved.