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Everything posted by MattR

  1. Sunday Morning segment on the BSA

    Exactly the book I'd like the BSA to work on. It would help all their programs. It's what I wanted from Woodbadge. I'm experimenting but I think one really important key to getting good leadership is a group that understands, really understands, teamwork. I'm not talking about kindergarten level play fair. It's prove you can do your part before we even let you camp with us. The BSA model has always been to first develop leadership and then teamwork will follow. I think it's the other way around for scouts. Given that environment I think the natural leaders would easily come out of their shells.
  2. Sunday Morning segment on the BSA

    I think venturing is the canary in the coal mine for boy scouts. Venturing has it much tougher than scouts. The 14 age limit is hard because kids have a harder time making friends after that age, most girls that join don't have outdoor experience, and worst of all, that's the age where kids start pulling away from their parents. The result is parents are less involved and nobody is around to pass it on to. SMs pass a troop onto the next SM. I never see a crew advisor pass things on to another. It's also hard to recruit because the age is past where a group of kids will easily join. The result is that crews fail, just like girl scout troops, after the adult that started it is done. This is because the adult is typically the real leader. They aren't the advisor. This would all not be an issue if the kids that joined venturing had good leadership skills and they could sustain it. Or maybe even if venturing had a good method of teaching leadership it could work. Let's just assume the BSA really worked on that and got it going. It would also do a ton of good for the boy scout program. The problem is the boy scout program can run with adult leadership. It may not be great but it is sustainable. Last week I was visiting another troop and they also have a crew. I watched that meeting and it is exactly what I described. The adult was running everything. There was zero indication of youth leadership. There was only one adult. It will collapse. My daughter wanted to join a crew years ago, the adults wouldn't let her lead, she walked. After years of the same couple of adults leading they finally folded.
  3. How about we assume it's exactly half and instead talk about the large difference between cubs and scouts. There's a lot more maturity required of scouts than cubs. They have to deal with people problems because the adults won't be there to fix everything. They will have to be more self motivated. They will have to do more outdoor activities. It's harder. For a lot of scouts it's more fun. Some just want to sit in a classroom environment. I hate to say it but if you're not bored with cub scouts by the time you leave, if you're not really anxious or excited to move on, or if cubs is just really comfortable, then scouts will be a shock. My understanding is that webelos is supposed to be that bridge. I don't see it, though. The webelos program is essentially the same. Given that the adults running it likely don't understand scouts that well I'm not too surprised. I mentioned this once before but I think it might be good to have webelos dens meet regularly with a troop. If the troop's patrols really are independent then this won't impact their program at all and the webelos could get a good understanding of what scouts is about. Their parents could also learn about scouts and get a break from being a den leader. It takes more than one visit to get comfortable with a troop.
  4. I think it's a good idea. I can see leadership in coaxing people into donating old machines, testing, reassembling, loading software, and also teaching people how to use the computers. Linux is your friend. It will run on any old computer. There are linux user groups all over that can help.
  5. Storage ideas

    We have a shed on the lot of a company with a lot of land. Maybe you could ask for someone to donate you some space. I'm not sure how much a shed costs but it might be better than renting a spot. We keep our stuff in the shed and also have an enclosed trailer there. It's not as nice as having space at the CO but it works.
  6. Job opening at National

    Some joke about SMART goals goes here, but my eyes glazed over from the boilerplate description. I could honestly not figure out what this job was and how it has anything to do with boy scouts. Oh, I remember the joke now. This person must have leadership development experience and yet no knowledge of scouting. Looks like they want someone to work on the Wood Badge program.
  7. Sunday Morning segment on the BSA

    You bring up some good points. I'm guessing this is the bone of contention. While I'd like to believe that the BSA will do this my gut feeling is that membership numbers are the only thing of any real concern. If they were as interested in getting the patrol method working well in 90% of the troops, where scouts lead scouts under the wisdom of an adult, I'd be a lot more comfortable. Food for thought: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hope-relationships/201402/brain-differences-between-genders
  8. I think there are different levels of outdoorsy. We have some parents that like the outdoors (skiing, biking) but have not camped much and it wasn't too hard to get them involved. Maybe outdoorsy is not the right word. Maybe sweaty is closer
  9. SOAR does one other thing that really helps. Put an announcement on the front, whenever you want, and one day a week it emails a synopsis of all the most recent announcements. So, no flood of emails.
  10. Now I understand, thanks. Yes, the point is to improve. I just sat in on a EBOR. The scout was a procrastinator. He also had been through a lot. His parents lost custody, are alcoholics. He was a year behind in school. Legally he's blind. But grow he did. Not the best leader I've seen but certainly has an amazing resolve and a cheery attitude. He went and took the GED so he could graduate 3 months early and start taking classes full time at the local CC. He's one of those success stories that make you feel good about scouting.
  11. A lot of scouts really respond well to competition. It's a form of challenge. A lot of games have competition that's based on challenge. Is it that you see competition go so far that it takes over and replaces the scout oath and law? That I'd understand. At our klondike I added a few patrol vs patrol competitions because the scouts asked for them. I gave awards for patrol spirit and teamwork, but not for winning the competition. That was a nice balance.
  12. @ParkMan, that's a great idea. What you describe is exactly what I was looking for and I asked if those things would be covered in WB. I was told yes (queue the magic elixir ad). However there's the practical issue of the current WB group admitting that something else might be useful. People would go to your course and skip WB. That would cause a turf war.
  13. @ParkMan, did the scouts choose tenderfoot in 3 month and did they come up with a plan to get there (with dates and activities)? I certainly believe that tenderfoot in 3 mo is leisurely for an adult, but for a scout and his patrol leader, who might be more interested in sharpening sticks, making fires and cooking dutch oven brownies, I can see 3 mo being a rush. Maybe rush is the wrong word. More like the primary focus. I work with troop guides and suggest that tenderfoot by the end of summer is a good goal. Better than that is have the patrol work as a team to help each other complete it by a chosen time. Rank is just a means. The goal is developing teamwork, friendship and having them make their own decisions. Besides, there is a lot of other stuff worth learning and fun to be had. Organizing menus and activities for a campout. Learning how to cook something that's edible on a campout. Making a patrol flag. Keeping everyone busy. Learning how to have fun while washing dishes. I think it's better to have a fun game that encourages scouts to want to learn the skills then just teach them the skills. It's certainly less efficient, but it's a lot more fun. At that age having fun and making friends is more important than "ranking up." I hate that term, but that's what some of my scouts have said, the ones that are more interested in rank than anything else.
  14. Another way to make @Col. Flagg's point is that the training is so vague as to be pointless. The training could be tightened up and focused to what's important. The idea of having some concrete examples from which a SM could start from would be much better than a discussion on leadership. I went to visit a troop this week and the SPL was leading the troop. Unfortunately all the scouts just sat there and the adults made presentations. You could call that boy led because the SPL was the MC. Boy led but boys bored.
  15. Asking for 10 full weekends a year plus a week in summer is hard on many scouts. Why this is is another thread, it just is.The result is mixing and matching patrols the meeting before a campout or, as in the case of my troop, small patrols on campouts. This tends to hurt the patrol method in our case or just chuck it completely where troops mix and match scouts. How about borrowing a bit of venturing? Venturing has little structure and anyone can lead an event. I certainly wouldn't want to go that far but a little more flexibility could make things easier. Keep regular patrols but create temporary patrols for major outings like campouts, high adventure, a special event that only a few scouts want to do, or older scouts that might want to do their own thing. Rather than make up patrols the meeting before an event make it up a month ahead of time and stick with those patrols during the preparation and the event. After the event go back to the regular patrols. The PLC is still running the troop but for each event the PLC can designate temporary patrols and leadership. The benefit is more time for a patrol to get ready for an event, patrols that are a better size, and more opportunity for scouts to lead shorter events. The disadvantage is an added layer of complexity.
  16. This is what I wanted in woodbadge. They could bring this back and a week in the woods doing training would be wonderful. Not much needs to be written.
  17. Is it only me but look at the font. Now look at the font for the scout handbook 8th edition ('72-'79) Bad Karma.
  18. Not to mention they might break the axe head. I have a really nice 1/2 axe that is a joy to use. It has a very hard and sharp head. The manual that came with it very clearly say don't use it as a maul. Mauls are designed for hitting the back of the head. Axes are not. Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled .... whatever.
  19. Virtual Campfire

    He should go over to Bryan and get us a smoke shifter
  20. We did that years ago and 12 people is hard for anyone to lead the rest of the time. And if 10 scouts show up on a campout then it's really hard to cook. I think the 6-8 is there from experience. I'm also wondering if deciding who can make it a few weeks ahead of time, when these temp patrols would be set up, might help. We tell the PLs to give everyone a job. No matter how many scouts they have they should all have a responsibility. If a scout knows he has a job to do then hopefully that will help encourage him to show up. I guess that means I'm either brilliant or really slow.
  21. Remind - A Messaging App

    Since I'm the Dr Evil here, I humbly apologise. I don't want to start a new thread on this. But if you want to start a thread on ways that you have motivated scouts I'd be interested in hearing them, you being young and all that. However, the fact that you're even here on this forum means you're way ahead of the curve.
  22. Remind - A Messaging App

    Whether or not they read it is not the question. The problem is they rarely respond. They don't remember that they need to respond. They no longer take notes in class because it's all on line. They really have little experience with the idea of notes. I'm sure very few ever write down a phone message. As I said before, the technology is not the issue. There are dozens of apps out there. My troop uses Discord. It doesn't make a difference what app they use.
  23. Remind - A Messaging App

    In a way, text messages are worse. If you're receiving a hundred a day then it's harder to mark a text as something you need to respond to. Technology will not solve the "I don't really care" syndrome.
  24. Am I the only one?

    I'm not saying fix the district. I'm saying ignore them and work around them, much like what @TAHAWK saw. I'm not talking first step, I'm talking only step. Make the world a little better. Get a couple of SPLs together to plan their own events. If your PLC is up for helping another troop have an ASPL work with an SPL from another troop that would like to see how to do it right. I'm in Northern Colorado. We're wondering when our council is going to get folded into the Denver Area Council (they have big donors). Our council is so broke they're thinking of having weddings at our scout camp. Imagine the bride, at the outhouse. Yeah, this is really going to happen. I have no idea what the Denver council is like.
  25. Am I the only one?

    We can use your help. What job do you want? I promise you nobody will give you grief or tell you what to do. There are not enough people to do that. We end all of our roundtables by having an after meeting at a bar. If you like beer we have a lot of brew pubs in town. It's very laid back. Do you want to help crews? Training? Help packs recruit? Name it! We can use your help. Can you make tonight? I have heard of the woodbadger mentality you talk about. I have seen it and I appreciate your, um, how can I say this, disappointment with it. I took woodbadge and got a few things out of it but it certainly didn't impress me. So there you have two extremes, the old boy clique (dead weight) and ready to turn out the lights (a vacuum). It's easier to walk into a vacuum and make things happen. My challenge is keeping it small because I'll be doing most of it. Dead weight is harder. This is an aspect of leadership that is not taught at woodbadge. You have to carve off something that nobody can butt in on. A troop or crew is exactly that and that's what you appear to be doing. There are other ways to do this. If there are other troops or crews in the same situation as you why not have a campout where all of you come together and do something fun? You don't have to call it a camporee but it essentially is. What can the council/district do? If you want to encourage scout leadership and require all PLs to do something before hand, then do it. You've now replaced the camping chair and training. And nobody can get in your way. I know, it's not very scout like. But if half the troops/crews in your district decide to join you then you've got something.