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Everything posted by MattR

  1. I'm in England at the moment. I visited @Cambridgeskip's troop and really liked what I had a brief view of (thanks for the tour, Skip!). However, if the BSA plan is to emulate the UK plan then we're in trouble. This is nothing against UK scouts. Their program is great for them. Our program should be great for us. There are cultural differences that won't translate. We are hung up on eagle. I've read their forum and have never seen the types of arguments we have. They don't have summer camps like we do. I'd much rather see a return to GBB. Fun with a purpose. I ran a camporee based on that and the response was great. My DE said he loved it and he wants more and bigger. We need our own vision that our people can get behind. If it turns out to be similar to UK scouts, or Latvia, or Argentina, fine, but we need to figure it out for ourselves.
  2. MattR

    Breaking Point

    More likely they have their hands full with lousy units.
  3. MattR

    Win All You Can

    Most got too into the game. Some got upset that the others couldn't figure it out. That created a lot of tension, at which point I sort of checked out. There's a point where one just can't make it better. This was many years ago.
  4. MattR

    Win All You Can

    I was surprised at how many people got sucked up in the moment, given that it was a scout training event. It took me a while to figure out that was the point. In a way it was good because we were doing, rather than talking about it. Still, I would have preferred coming up with fun games teaching outdoor skills.
  5. MattR

    Breaking Point

    I talked to a guy in town that took wb from Hillcourt. Each patrol made and led games that taught outdoor skills. That was the program - fun with a purpose. That would have been a great course.
  6. MattR

    Breaking Point

    I agree. It's about smiles. The things that bother me are those that get in the way of those smiles. To be honest, requirement creep and lack of patrol support at summer camp bothers me a lot more than any of the membership changes.
  7. I don't understand. The boys enjoy scouts. The parents enjoy scouts. The boys want to get eagle. The parents want the boys to get eagle. There was a discussion about whether non LDS troops would respect your beliefs. Why not just run your own troop? Like you already are doing? The loss of LDS scouts is fine by me, assuming the ones that enjoy it stay and the ones that don't enjoy it leave. Scouts making decisions and adults supporting them.
  8. MattR

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    We replaced 'dodge ball' with 'red white and blue ball'
  9. I have one very important question. @Cambridgeskip, did you win the bet or did I? I think you got one wrong and one right.
  10. MattR

    Family Scouting Update

    I'll take that bet. Let's face it, your proposal is reasonable.
  11. It would be. However, if, in the process of tying that knot incorrectly he could slice his hand open, or that of a scout nearby, then maybe not so silly. Cutting a corner off does involve a bit of pain but a little pain is a well known way of learning and a lot better than stitches. All of the complaints on this forum about helicopter parents is really about not letting the scout learn from his own pain or not to have pain. The real question is how much pain is the right amount. It's different for different people and a good lesson for the scouts is to understand that difference. Nobody can learn that if no pain is allowed. It's bad when it becomes a power or dominance thing. That's when it becomes humiliating. Cutting a corner off a card is not that. It's no different than failing a test. If that's considered humiliating then we've identified a different problem.
  12. MattR

    Motivation Quote of the Day

    "What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul."
  13. MattR

    Motivation Quote of the Day

    "We don't see things the way they are, we see things the way we are."
  14. MattR

    Stepping aside

    When I became SM I told my son he didn't have to stick around because I was SM or that he should get Eagle because of me. He enjoyed scouts until 6 months before he graduated and then sort of faded away. He was looking forward. I was fine with that and I kept at it. You feel bad about stepping down and that's understandable. Don't deny it. But don't beat yourself up over it. This job requires passion. That said, you can find an outlet for that passion and I encourage you to look for it. It will take time. It has taken me a year. It sort of sucked at first. Now I think it is working out better for the troop and therefore me as well. Rather than have just one adult with a lot of passion for the troop there are now two. I did take about 3 months off, mainly because there were a bunch of things going on and I was okay with skipping some things. I was unhappy with one thing the new SM was doing but I did bite my tongue. When I started as SM everyone was telling me what to do and it just didn't help. So I wasn't going to do this to the new SM. Especially since my opinions carry a lot more weight than those of others. But we were both after the same goal so I decided to let it play out. In the process of doing that I found a couple of things to work on that were orthogonal to what the new SM was working on and at the same time complementary (so what really bothers me about his new approach will solve itself). I now have a purpose. We're working together. And I don't have to worry about all the little details anymore. I'm happier. Whereas before the buck did stop with me, so it was all my problem if nobody else was going to step up, I can now say nope, I'm not going to worry about that. I can now focus on the things I wanted to do before but didn't have time for. Of course, the district has sucked me in but that's another story. Anyway, if you have a passion for this then honoring it is not such a bad thing. You still have to balance it with your family but how often do people get to find something they really enjoy? Good luck!
  15. MattR

    Adults at it Again

    Our SPLs pick their ASPLs. Our current SPL is not real happy with his choice. He may be encouraging the ASPL to step aside. I was surprised when he made that choice. Since the SPL has to make it all work, I think he should get his own choice. If the ASPL is good then when it comes time to voting he's going to get it. If he's not good then he won't get it. It works. I've also seen scouts that, after having been ASPL, decided SPL was not for them. BTW, we do have the patrols pick the SPL. Those wanting it give a speech. The patrols talk. The PLs vote. We're back to voting on a schedule but I did like it when the patrol leaders made their own schedule. Getting them out of sync helped the transition. I think a good idea would be 6 months, plus or minus 2. There are different reasons why scouts would like to change the schedule. Basically you have to have an election every so often but if you want to do it earlier then go for it. They can make that decision.
  16. MattR

    Motivation Quote of the Day

    The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision -Maimonides
  17. MattR

    How Many ASMs per Troop

    I can't answer that for you but here's how I'd answer it. How's your program? You are apparently happy with it, but why? What's your definition of a good program? For me it's the scouts are having fun and the scouts are taking on more responsibility as they grow older. How do you measure fun and responsibility? One way to measure fun is how active are the scouts? How many scouts go on weekend events? What are the week long programs and how's the participation. As for scout growth, what are the growth paths? How are the patrols functioning? What percentage of scouts are older, say 15 and above? What do they do? How do they relate to the younger scouts? You can tell us answers to these questions if you want but it's really just for you to think about. But if you're happy with your program then it works. You might want to dig a bit deeper with the people that say you need more ASMs and find out the why behind that.
  18. MattR

    Our Council's New Gender Inclusive Branding

    To say that national is doing fine and it's all just a local issue is kind of like saying the board of directors are all doing a good job but the employees are all just bad. To answer your question, it's simple, focus on making the program easier to understand. This will help recruit and keep volunteers. Where does it concisely state what the program is so a new volunteer can get up to speed and productive quickly? This is why there are few volunteers. It's hard enough to volunteer but if you have no idea what the program is and how it works then forget it. Volunteers need to see results or they will drop off and quit. Then there's the parents that get the program wrong. It was a constant struggle with new parents because they thought the program was getting eagle. So, that's where I'd start. The program is simple. It's fun with a purpose. And the purpose is developing responsibility. So, scouts having fun while taking on more responsibility. That's the program. JTE does not reflect that. The training does not reflect that. The Aims of Scouting do not reflect that. Or maybe I'm just wrong and I should find something else to do. Please tell me if that's the case because it would make things easier for me. Seriously. I get really tired of telling people "But what scout will think that's fun?" @ParkMan, I'm not trying to pick on you. I'm just getting frustrated. There are fewer and fewer people helping out. The fallback is always advancement. I visit other troops and I can't see patrols in any of them.
  19. MattR

    James E. West Fellowship

    @KevinPMajka, while I agree that there are different ways to donate, the words "being a turd" is not one of them.
  20. MattR

    Deciding which troop to join

    They camp a lot! I'd go with them. Man, talk about taking outdoors to the extreme. Oh wait, maybe you mean 7 or 8 times a year? Never mind. But welcome to the forum. Just to reiterate: A: Too small. There's a minimum number of scouts to keep a critical mass going and that's too few B: Don't know. The fact they don't meet could be really good or really bad. It might be that they have a lot of scouts and the patrols are meeting weekly. This could be a diamond in the rough. I'd check into them more. C: Camping 7 or 8 times a year is not bad. 10-14 scouts is at the low end but possible. D: Mmmm, no. I've had scouts drive a long way to get to my troop and they eventually drop out. Think about getting your son to the parking lot the day they go camping. That's a lot of driving. So, between B and C I'd visit. Ask if you can go camping with them and see what the response is. If they take you, put your son in a patrol, and feed you well. Done deal. As I said, B could be really good or really bad. C might be really good and would welcome your help. Or they could just do it their own way.
  21. MattR

    Is BSA Sustainable?

    I'm not sure if it was this thread or another, but we talked about how to describe the program succinctly so everyone can understand it. Hillcourt called this ""Fun with a purpose." I'd say for a cub the purpose is to develop friendships to get ready for boy scouts. For boy scouts the purpose is responsibility, to God and country, to others, and to self. But it has to be via having fun. That seems to be the part that gets dropped. The documentation that come out of national seems to lead the way in dropping fun. More requirements that aren't any more fun. Rather than dilute the fun they should consider diluting the boring requirements and expanding the fun ones. Don't talk about the food plate, learn to cook an omelette. If the scouts are truly having fun then they will learn the boring requirements anyway. We got a new DE and he had no scouting experience. Zero. DEs become SEs become national. Most of the DEs in my council had no scouting experience as kids. So after decades of this how many people at national truly understand fun with a purpose? How many have run a troop or pack? How can they help if they've never done it before? Scouting is certainly sustainable. I'm just not sure about the way the BSA is currently run.
  22. MattR

    Is BSA Sustainable?

    I don't think it's that simple. It's amazing what ranges of parents I've seen. On one end are the snow plows and on the other are the "suck it up" parents. That phrase came from a parent meeting for children going on a year long, overseas exchange program my daughter went on. While a bit crass, the phrase suck it up really means their children will have to figure it out on their own. There are a number of parents that like this approach and it's independent of scouts or outdoor experience (or exchange programs for that matter). Those parents don't really need much scouting experience to understand what it's about. Unfortunately there are fewer of those parents around then there used to be. As far as your comments about fun vs advancement is concerned, yeah, but maybe that's a different axis. Some just see eagle and some see fun.
  23. MattR

    Is BSA Sustainable?

    I agree, @Packman, the meetings are repetitive. I think that's caused by DLs learning as they go. Yet the program is the bread and butter of the organization. Think of it this way - 6 or 7 years in cubs with 30 den meetings a year means roughly 200 meetings. I'd think national could come up with 200 really fun ideas. Or a wiki. Or something to help these poor den leaders. Boy Scouts is a bit more challenging but your idea of increasing challenge in the basic program is good. MBs are low hanging fruit. Wikis of good ideas that national would facilitate would be great. Again, the volunteers could use more ideas. And then there's the issue of teaching the scouts to own it. Again, the training lacks. I think it's all easily fixable. It just needs some leadership that understands that, in your car analogy, that people want quality.
  24. MattR

    Family Scouting Update

    Cargo Skorts
  25. Hi Buggie. Welcome to the forum. What you're describing is really the patrol method done right. The patrol leader should be talking to his patrol about what they need and then should make that happen. Should. Reality is often a bit different if the scouts don't know how to talk about what's bugging them, what they need, when's the last time they advanced, etc. So, they likely need some help learning how to do this if they've never done it before.