Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by MattR

  1. I think you're looking at my comments a bit differently than I intended. What I meant was that in order to participate with my troop I needed all those skills. My tent had ropes that required whipping and tying knots. We had no stoves, and hence had to build fires at least twice per campout. We had no patrol box so all the requirements for cooking, including make a list of required utensils, made sense because the PL just handed out utensils to each patrol member. I did have a stalking and tracking requirement. It did turn out to be useful when playing some games. I see what you're saying, there is a paradox ... ... but this is what I was thinking of. Either require skills that are needed for everyday (weekend?) camping or make them advanced enough that a scout is prepared for a more challenging campout (and hopefully that will be done more often). Make first class be, well, first class. I really like your off road camping idea. Not needed for camping but I like it. That alone might push for a uniform that is more practical. Of course, I see a lot of scouts with velcro on their uniforms now. Pre-cooked bacon, pre-made spaghetti sauce, pre-cooked hard boiled eggs, pre mixed eggs, and yes, pre mixed pancake batter and/or pancake mix. Cooking your own food from basic ingredients is much cheaper than all of this stuff. And it tastes better. And it's healthier.
  2. I can promise you that BSA is not trying to use 4 to start all girl's troops. If they want 4 digits give them 4: 0422. This is all based on one person at council saying something. Kind of like the one person in another thread saying the insurance won't cover an activity, or that there's a limit on blade lengths. People pass on rumors. If you want 422 then tell them so and if they complain ask them to show you the official documentation that states all girl's troops will begin with a 4. 3 digits is hard enough to sew on a sleeve. Anyway, have fun with it.
  3. If the rules for voting went back to the way they were it would have little impact on how many are nominated from my troop. It's been a long time since we've had more than 3 people nominated and that was when we had 70 in the troop. My troop usually nominates the best scouts. The scouts that screwed around a lot as younger scouts typically have a lot of work to do to fix the name they made for themselves. Most don't make it no matter how hard they try and the ones that do really are the better scouts. So I'm not sure it's about making it harder to get in. I remember when my SM encouraged me to go to JLT. He basically said you're a good scout, now you need to take it to the next level. That sold me right then and there. I wanted to know what that level was. It wasn't anything about higher adventure, some sort of recognition or patch, or even more service. It was about learning a useful skill. My troop does high adventure and service so thart's not a great way to sell it. Eagle already has the biggest name recognition so telling a scout they will earn something will not get them to chapter meetings. Camaraderie can't compete with what a few years of developing friends in the troop. It has to be something that they can't get in their troops. It would be great to have the OA run camporees but it assumes they have the skills and motivation to lead something big. I listen to the OA adult helping the scouts and he's frustrated with scouts that just can't get anything done. Whatever it is, it needs to be self motivating.
  4. MattR

    Cleaning An Eagle Scout Medal

    Welcome to the forum, @towheadedviking.
  5. Well, that is different from my experience. We have 3 service weekends and that's it for the year. I'd understand the frustration if it were half the summer weekends. I don't think much of any time is allocated to improving leadership. Tell me about that, even if it's an old program. It sounds great.
  6. That's nonsense. I talked to the insurance company that provided our insurance a long time ago and if there were scouts at an event then it was covered. No permissions nor uniforms needed. Besides, nobody's likely to get hurt anyway. Sounds more like an ego issue to me.
  7. I think that's over simplifying things. The work the OA does is what it has always done. And yet nobody thought of the OA as just free labor when I was a scout. One thing that changed is there are fewer people volunteering. If the same amount of work needs to be done by fewer people then I can see the perception that it's just about labor. My council is also being squeezed by fewer volunteers and less donations. The solution is adapt to that by scaling back but the council is just expecting more money from families.
  8. How do you teach that skill? The part about caring. Teaching or leadership, attitude is probably more important than technique.
  9. I watched the video. It would have fit in with the national meeting better had Sally really been George C Scott: "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country...." But more seriously, all the scams the cyber chip is trying to prevent is just a subset of something much bigger these days. We live in the information age and so we need to know how to deal with untrustworthy information. Whether it be youth protection issues or scams involving bit coins, stolen passwords, and pornography or your credit card, this is the dark side of society now. We used to call it street smarts because that's where unsavory characters would try to take advantage of people. Now it's anything we get information from. While I think the BSA's methods could be tweaked and improved, I certainly respect their overall goal. There are a lot of people, and not just children, that are getting sucked into these things. This is where protecting children too much can backfire. Trustworthy is good and therefore they need to know how to deal with untrustworthy as well.
  10. MattR

    Scout injured by catapulted potato sues

    Centrifugal force. Mostly from the weight of the arm itself.
  11. MattR

    Scout injured by catapulted potato sues

    Given that the article doesn't explain what happened it's really hard for me to decide anything about this. Was it a slingshot or was it a trebuchet? Is the scout now blind in one eye or is it just a scar? Was the scout running around out in front of the "makeshift slingshot" or was he trying to launch the potato? To be honest, I'd be careful about launching anything that could do damage if someone stood 10 feet away and threw it at someone's head. But I don't really know what happened. We made a trebuchet that would launch a 4 lb cabbage 100 yards. The forces involved were impressive. We used something like a 100lb counter weight and a 12' arm. On the first try the arm was pulled apart. (Imagine taking a 2x4 and pulling at it from either end until it came apart (hint: the tensile strength of a 2x4 along the grain is about 50,000 lbs)). I was really paranoid about getting someone hurt so I designed a trigger using some sailing hardware that allowed someone to pull a rope that was 30 feet from the trebuchet to set it off. Good thing I did that because when the arm came apart it made a big mess. But that just made it more fun. Then we went and did a stress analysis on the arm and designed one that would hold together. The scouts loved it. Cabbages look like comets when thrown hard. We had fun because I treated it as being dangerous. My question for this incident is did the SM do the same?
  12. He was tired of other kids that were essentially out of control. He had to sit and wait while some parent tried to take care of their son. The pinewood derby was also a let down. I did the power tools and let him do everything else. He really enjoyed it, until his car got trounced by the cars made by the parents. We went camping as a family so anything the pack could have done for camping, but didn't do, probably wouldn't have been as much fun. I let him climb trees. He was never that interested in the crafts. I don't think the advancement program helped much either.
  13. My son was getting bored/annoyed with cubs, I knew what was coming in scouts, so we took 2 years off and came back in time for webelos. Worked out fine.
  14. MattR

    A tale of two scouts

    I learn some of the most fascinating trivia around here. My guess is scuttlebutt is a British phrase. So, now I know. I was thinking it was originally the water mule, which changed to water ass, which was not scout like and changed to water butt. But I still would rather see PL, APL, QM, Grub Master, Waterbutt.
  15. Most of them are quite ratty looking. A number of people will fly them all year and a winter of wind and summer of sun will rip and bleach most flags. The people that fly them from their trucks really annoy me because a constant 60-80mph wind will shred most flags. We live in a windy area in the winter and most flags are not outside all the time. I don't think mine is out for more than a week or two a year and I've had the same one for at least a decade. It's fine. And a number that are retired are in fine shape. Honestly, a way to swap out "gently used" flags would make for a nice eagle project.
  16. MattR

    A tale of two scouts

    We call those rain barrels. Anyway, I like my definition of water butt better. Of course, that's probably how we've butchered all sorts of your customs.
  17. MattR

    A tale of two scouts

    This has to be a British phrase. Is the water butt the one responsible for getting the water? My scouts will likely have a lot of fun with that one. Anyway, a leader that rarely has to talk to everyone at once is probably the best kind.
  18. Maybe this is why people think the program is advancement. I see where you're coming from but shouldn't the objectives and purposes for each unit be the aims? Living the oath and law? Maybe there are different ways to get there but the goal is the same. The thing missing is how the methods get us to the aims. It would do a lot of good to talk about how advancement teaches a scout to help other people at all times. That alone should get us over the idea that the goal is eagle. How does the patrol method encourage selfless decision making? I could go on for every method except the one about ideals (and that's mostly just redundant to the aims). Something else missing is teaching the scouts all of this as well. I've never understood that. Why doesn't the scout handbook explain the program as well? I would think everyone in at least a troop should understand what the program is. Why the outdoors, why advancement, why patrols, etc. That way, when one of the adults, parents, or scouts start making a mess the everyone else will know something is wrong. When the parents start complaining that their kids aren't advancing fast enough it would be so much easier to point them to some page in the handbook that explains how advancement helps a scout reach the aims of scouting. "Here, read this page with your child." While I agree that this is a good thing to describe, the problem is that not enough people even understand that older scouts should be working with younger scouts. If you mean adults want training that is to the point, timely, and useful, I agree. My experience was that the BSA training was not that.
  19. The thing that's missing here is a description of the program. We have aims and methods but no description of how the methods lead to the aims. It almost sounds like it's multiple choice. It seems to me that @Eagledad is saying the program has a large component in which older scouts teach, work with, and lead the younger scouts to eventually take the place of the older scouts. Although I like this it isn't explicitly explained anywhere. @fred8033 seems to be saying it's less about that and more about adventure. Of course, that isn't described anywhere either. Maybe I'm putting words in people's mouths but my only point is there's no guidance as to what the program is. This is causing confusion. For a contrast, and I've mentioned this before, I met some Israeli scouts and their program is almost entirely about the older scouts guiding the younger scouts. A scout troop goes from Kindergarten to 21-ish. There are no den leaders and very few adults (2-3 in a troop of 100). The older scouts are responsible for everyone and everything. We talked about ranks and they just didn't see how ranks could help them with their responsibilities. Eagle was just an odd idea to them. If you're going to be an older scout then you will be running a troop. From the day you join as a 6 year old you know what you'll be responsible for as you get older. Whether you like this model or not, there's no question what the program is. Everyone knows what it is. I'd rather see more outdoors but their sense of camaraderie, teamwork, and community is impressive. The scouts I met, while admittedly a select group, were above and beyond what I've seen in any similar group in the BSA. Leadership, confidence, responsibility. They were an impressive group. They also have over 90% of eligible youth in their scouting program.
  20. No, this has nothing to do with the spl or SM. It has to do with developing teamwork and getting things done. Ideally, the patrol is self sufficient and needs very little from the spl or SM.
  21. A patrol is a good size for a scout to work with. Smaller and there aren't enough to get all the work done. Larger and it's too many personalities to work with. Also, try cooking for more than 8.
  22. MattR

    Merit badge sash

    I've been consistent. I haven't responded to either thread. Personally, I'd rather see the MB patches be small enough that 21 can fit on a uniform and then there's no need for a sash. But it is what it is and isn't worth the argument. Same applies to the other thread.
  23. MattR

    Flat Council Support fee coming to your unit?

    Ours is $200/scout. I've been told that I could also charge $40-$60 per person for a camporee and the extra would go to the council. I not so politely said no. The problem in our council is that those in charge really have no idea how to run an organization. Business 101: There's no point in having a budget if you can't track it. In other words, they have no idea where they're spending money. They have staff making North of $85k a year that do nothing. Lot's of money is getting sucked out of camps, the real profit centers, to pay for these people. It used to be that lots of people donated money. That's over and nobody knows how to deal with it. So they're raising fees. Our DE's regularly don't get paid at the end of the year. A few years ago they took all new DE's and showed them how to get food stamps.. The underlying issue is the BSA pays really poorly to new hires at the lowest level and then only promotes from within. So, DE's are mostly those that couldn't find a job elsewhere. Granted, there are a few that really believe in scouting and are doing it even though they're not making much but the majority that I see have little to no experience in scouting or how to run an organization. That's the pool of expertise they have. My apologies to anyone that works for the BSA that I've offended. Maybe other councils do a better job. I suspect they just live closer to more companies that donate more.
  24. MattR

    Adult led and youth led

    The pros of this is anything that you want to do you'll get the backing of the parents. This is huge in today's world. I'd take a "troop" of these kids in a heartbeat. This is not very well defined. Due to your Free Range Kids activity, I'll assume this has nothing to do with the BSA (although I wish this mindset would infect the BSA) and is really about offering some scouty things to the FRK community. The pros are the kids want to, and have to, take ownership. Since they've been encouraged to do this from a young age they will be more accepting of it. This is really big. A con is those children that come in to this late. The kid that has been taught to cross busy streets when they were 7 knows how to take care of him/herself, but might not know how to deal with the new kid that's not paying attention to the walk lights. Ranks in the BSA used to handle this. A First Class scout could take care of himself in the outdoors. Not so much now. So you'll have to figure this out. If this indeed is more based on FRK then one pro is that advancement really is just a method. If a kid wants to advance then they figure out how to do that. It's not front and center. Adult association is both a pro and a con in scouts. Teaching the youth the skills they need to safely engage in the adventures they want is a big pro. Reinforcing scout ideals is also important. Helping the scouts come up with ideas for adventure is also beneficial. Beyond that it's likely a con. Institutional knowledge (outdoor skills, regular outings) is created with the typical troop's existing calendars. Without that there can be a loss of knowledge to the youth. There might be a lot less service, but there could be more if the youth enjoyed it. Things like camporees and merit badge fairs would likely fade away. (mostly a pro) Summer camp would be about fun. (huge pro). The outdoors might get a lot less interest but maybe the youth would find something else, such as music or a sport. That could drive some youth out. So, you can't do what the GSUSA did and drop the outdoors. Camping is still fun. Sounds interesting. Keep us informed.
  25. MattR

    A tale of two scouts

    Scout 1). How about starting with a duty roster? Everyone needs a job so she has to decide. She should also not give herself a job unless she's short scouts. It seems to me that scouts have a lot of trouble delegating because they don't want to rock the boat. We're all friends and nobody tells anyone what to do so I can't mess that up because then I won't have friends. Talk to her about servant leadership. It's not the evil boss. There's a time to play and a time to get work done. One of her jobs is to help her patrol get the work done faster so they can play more. She's not telling others what to do so much as helping them get back to having fun. Scout 2). He did briefly pull his weight, so take that as a win even if he's looking to you for approval. Do that a couple of times and then work with his PL to take over your job. It sounds like just maybe this scout knows he's not making friends but doesn't understand how this works. As ridiculous as that sounds think of it from his view. He may never have pulled his weight before. He may only have people tell him how much he's screwed up. Some kids just don't know.