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Everything posted by MattR

  1. I agree. Also, you know these girls, do you expect any problems? Do they work well together? Or are they cliquish? If there is just one older girl that looks out for the younger scouts then nothing more than a quick discussion with all the scouts about looking out for and being helpful to each other is all that's needed. Have fun.
  2. Looks to me like you've already decided and the part you're struggling with is how to say no. I think it's an important skill to have. As others have said - keep it fun.
  3. I'm sitting in Rwanda right now. I've been in Africa for 2 weeks. Some Safari but mostly I've been in poor areas. Over half the population makes less than $1.50 a day. That said, most people are quick to smile. I wave and smile at people and nearly everyone just lights up with a smile and waves back. In a way, it's part of their culture. But I've found it to be more than that. Some people I wave to are clearly down. Its not so much that they have little money but that they have little dignity. Many Rwandan children have been abandoned by their parents and are not in loving homes. Essentially, they are a burden on some other relative and they know it. Many parents are distraught over having to abandon their children. So what happens when someone smiles at these people? A smile says I'm happy to see you. That tiny bit of dignity can mean so much to someone that is down. I would look at adults, look right at their eyes, so they knew I was thinking of them, and I simply smiled and waved. Most would break out with a huge smile. It's as if I just affirmed that they were important. All of these interactions and I don't speak Rwandan. So when you see someone clearly having a bad day, try smiling at them. Let them know you're thinking of them. That's all a part of being cheerful.
  4. Benadryl for allergic reactions (says the guy allergic to bees).
  5. While I like your idea I doubt it would happen. The MB is dumbed down for a 12 year old to pass. Most high school students sleep through it. I think most high school students that I know would have no problem with passing the cit test. But that is a higher than average group.
  6. @Cambridgeskip, I've seen similar and also used scenarios to give scouts some experience at people problem solving. Confidence requires practice. So I'd say keep going with your training. As for the helmet, I was taught to leave it on. It's easier to tape the helmet down to a board than taping or holding a head.
  7. Cubs? Once a day put up a wash line with warm water and get them all through. That way nobody has more than a days worth of grime, and that's reasonable. I always volunteer to wash dishes at night so I can clean my hands in hot water before I take my contacts out. Below zero, doesn't matter. Feels wonderful. I've been told hand sanitizer is worthless unless you use a huge amount.
  8. It's ironic that the BSA claims it knows how to develop leadership.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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?
  13. 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.
  14. We have a new CSE. Not only that but he's been a volunteer for a long time and has worked outside of the BSA. This is different in a very hopeful way. Maybe we have an opportunity to be a part of the discussion, to have our ideas heard. I'm not sure what the odds are but I'll take it. We'd have a much better chance of making things better if we were part of the discussion. Unfortunately, our collective view of national is, mildly saying, not so good and consequently we probably aren't looked upon very favorably and thus, are not part of the discussion. So, what would it take to change that? What would it take for us to make scouter.com an inviting place for Mr Mosby to participate here? Or at least someone close to him? While many people here would like to give him advice on how to do his job I don't think that's going to be very productive. When I started as SM there were lots of people trying to give me advice and it just wasn't helping me at all. Creating a good relationship where we both listen to each other might be a lot more productive. While we have a lot of collective experience there are certainly things we don't know about. My guess is we also suffer from older generation selective memory syndrome (kids these days!)
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. That just means we'll have to make a lot of encouraging noise. I'm in.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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?
  22. 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. 😁
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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