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Everything posted by MattR

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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?
  13. MattR

    possible fee increase coming

    Thanks. My troop pays mine. It's not the $45 so much as the $200 each scout owes our council.
  14. MattR

    possible fee increase coming

    This is what I received from my council: It was $24? So they just about doubled it? Or does "to minimize additional asks for money at recharter" mean it will be more?
  15. MattR

    Old Guys on Forum?

    I actually did join in 2007 but was quiet for several years in the middle.
  16. MattR

    1st court of honor

    HiSounds like a new troop to me! Yes, there are things that could be improved but the real question is does the troop have any process for solving problems? It looks like the SM wanted to control everything and you would like to change how things are done. You also mentioned that the scouts are not happy. That's the most important observation. Here's another view: don't waste this problem by having the adults solve it. What do the scouts want? What do the scouts think went right and wrong? Also, going behind the SM's back is not a long term solution. The ASM's and the SM need to be on the same page. Hopefully that page is understanding what problems the scouts should solve (and guiding them to solve them) and emotionally staying away from those problems. Good luck.
  17. MattR

    "Unofficial uniform"

    There seems to be two different issues here. One is the quality of the uniform and the other is the quality of how the uniform is used to help with the aims of scouting. It's the same thing with advancement. First, helping with the aims. Both the uniform and advancement have gotten very complex, bloated, full of arcane rules. I'd much rather see simplification of all of it primarily so the scouts can own it and the adults can be gently moved aside. We don't need pages of rules about patch placement. We don't need knots on uniforms. We don't need pages of requirements that involve describe and discuss. We only need "do" requirements. Same could apply to the uniform. Rank, por, patrol, troop number, US flag, and maybe wosm patch. Chuck the rest. The scouts can easily handle that. Next, quality. Well, the same things apply for quality. Make it simpler and the quality will improve. Both the uniform and advancement, if simplified, might make it easier for the scouts to see the forest rather than the trees. By that I mean seeing the aims and not just the methods. That's why scouts don't have pride in what they're doing. They're never told the connection between the aims and methods. Awhile ago I asked about writing something that would explain it and nobody was much interested. Recently, I asked our incoming SM if he'd like such a document and he jumped on it. He said he recently taught the sm specific training and several people, after they were taught the aims and methods said "that's nice, but how do the methods support the aims?" The guy teaching it didn't have an answer. If this isn't obvious to every parent involved in scouting then there's no wonder why everyone is trying to short cut these issues. Just saying that the scouts have to wear their uniform correctly because we have a uniform is just dogma. Scouts want a better answer than that and we owe it to them. I'd much rather see an explanation that involves encouraging a scout to want to wear it than make them wear it. And if they don't, then they dont.
  18. MattR

    "Unofficial uniform"

    Interesting discussion. So close to the trees. I mean, here we are trying to motivate our youth to improve their character and we think we have a clue. Who here thinks they know exactly how to motivate any teenager to do anything? Character is hard but maybe just taking out the garbage without being reminded? That should be easy. Or not. We all have ideas but no scientific proof. Bottom line, Mrjeff just joined us, dragged up an old thread and argument from 2014, and we're nowhere closer to an answer. Surprised? Maybe a better discussion is how can we possibly break this pattern? I don't have an answer but I'm guessing we aren't close. Just my cents worth.
  19. MattR

    Personal Fitness merit badge question

    Irrespective of the MB reqs, no training program that I have seen says no aerobic activity. At the very minimum, high intensity training for short intervals will do the job. Such as those wind sprints. However, the elephant in the room seems to be a teen with visions of grandeur. This is common. I remember wanting to gain weight as well, some 45 years ago because I wanted to play college football. Good thing I didn't put my eggs in that basket. Anyway, it could be your son needs to get his training wisdom from someone with more expertise. As in not the internet and not his friends. A kid that focuses on building muscle could turn to supplements that might be bad in the long term. Also, if he tears a muscle when doing a sit up he has other things to worry about. Sit ups are bad for the spine, not muscles. I'd suggest finding someone that really understands sports medicine, training, etc, and have your son talk to them. That keeps you from being the bad guy and your son will learn something.
  20. MattR

    Beginning of wolf year but only 2nd year for son

    Welcome to the forum @Johnapollo138. Cub scouts is not the goal, scouts is. My son got tired of out of control Cub scouts as well. We took a couple of years off and came back for Webelos and then scouts. It was a great move.
  21. My best advice for you, @The Latin Scot, is to just show up and have fun. But there's a bit more to my advice. If you really want to help you first have to listen and learn. Find out where they are, what their struggles are, how they do things. The only way to do that is to be there. Next, if you want someone to take your advice at all seriously they first need to trust you. Giving advice from the start is not the way to develop trust. I call it making silver bullets. Have some fun with them and really enjoy their company so when the time comes to telling them something they don't want to hear, they'll listen to you. BTW, you're the perfect person for this job because you know where these scouts and leaders are coming from. Empathy will not be an issue. Also, this is a self selected troop. They all want to be there. Good luck!
  22. Well, I'll give them credit for reducing costs. We will have lost something like 40% after all is done in our district over a few years and the council is frozen into inaction.
  23. MattR

    SM dividing the troop in need of opinion

    That's a shame. Well, the part about the SM breaking away slowly. What you're doing is good and asking questions is a good way to start. No, I don't think you should sit back and let it happen. I also don't think you should jump in and solve the problem right now. Let's take a brief survey of what the troop is doing right. How many campouts and service projects do you have a year? What's the participation level? Does the SPL really run the meetings or does he just do as some adult says? Do patrol leaders lead their patrols or do they just handle communication and paperwork? You've mentioned two problems, high adventure trips and merit badge classes. Anything else? How does the SM interact with younger scouts? Is the program set up for all of the scouts? Are there any parents not a part of the group of 5-6 that are active ASM's? If no, that's a bigger problem then what you have here. If so, how many? What do those parents of younger scouts feel about this? To @Jameson76's point that you shouldn't make waves for now, right now I'd suggest listening more than talking. Learn as much as you can before making any decisions.
  24. MattR

    Old Scouter, new to Forum

    Welcome to the forum @TomT2k.
  25. MattR

    BSA Youth Advisory Panel

    Most of the board of directors in my council got onto it by donating at least $5k. They haven't a clue. Add to this the very top down leadership in the BSA, that in turn comes from decades of paying dirt to DE's and then only hiring from within, and I'm fairly sure that the people running this advisory program have no authority to make any changes even if they knew what questions to ask. The problem is fairly clear to me and it's not even that the BSA doesn't know what's going on. If they wanted to they could figure that out. The real issue is they have put themselves in a bad situation where they can't worry about program because they have to worry about money. All of their decisions make a lot of sense when you think of them in terms of money. Even promoting Eagle as the best way to get a job brings in more members and more money. Yet when you look at them in terms of program it's what drives us crazy. It reminds me of a lot of small churches and congregations that have to have a building and then they spend all their time figuring out how to pay for it rather than the spiritual needs of their members. It turns out you don't need a building. There are plenty of places one can rent from.