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Posts posted by MattR

  1. 4 hours ago, Protoclete said:

    what are you looking for beyond someone who exemplifies "cheerful service" and has given their time to the OA?

    How about simply 'someone who exemplifies "cheerful service."' Full stop. Why does Vigil always go to people that spend a lot of time in the OA? Some people are too busy helping out to add yet one more activity, OA, to their plate.

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  2. Welcome to the forum. 

    First, the BSA is full of mythical rules. If anyone tells you there's a rule of how something has to be done, politely ask where it's written. Uniforms, knife blade lengths, whatever. Unfortunately, there are also written down rules that conflict with others as well, but that's a different story.

    Next, if you have the option to go red or green, ask your SM or ASMs. Maybe they care and maybe they don't. I can understand that you don't want to rock the boat, being new. Either way, have fun and help out. That's likely what the other scouters would really like to see.

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  3. Rule number one of dealing with volunteers: enjoy the positive people and ignore the naysayers. I mean, if you've been reading this forum you'll notice that there are wood badge koolaid drinkers (certainly not all) and they are the naysayers. Ignore them. 

    Tell me, do scouts have fun when you're doing your best? I suspect that's something you enjoy, just because that's most of us. If so, you really should ignore the WB Kool aid folks. Seriously. Scouting is fun with a purpose. If you're helping to create that then you're doing more than the finely dressed sloths that were speaking down to you.

    Also, it is good to understand that everything is constantly changing. Volunteering should be looked at as more of an adventure than a niche you find and stay in. I really enjoyed being SM, but I don't have the energy to do that again. Now I'm wandering around looking for something else. 

  4. On 2/20/2021 at 7:31 AM, David CO said:

    I don't see the point of relating these stories of past teenage heroes to our scouts

    I can. I watched the video and what I saw was a group of kids that were shocked that a 14 year old died in a war. I'm guessing this had a big impact on them. I say that because when I was their age I walked through the US military cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach. What hit me we're all the soldiers that died and how they were mostly just a few years older than I when they died. For me, recognizing the fallen wasn't about glory. But it was a really good history lesson. 

  5. Then there's always an exception to the rule and is why there needs to be a way to deal with this which doesn't involve the SE. 

    We have one campout a year where it will easily get below zero. We will not let new scouts go on that campout. Only after several cold weather campouts will we let them go. At the same time, this is one campout where we have no problems with a parent tenting with their kid. Nearly always this is a one time deal. I've never seen it more than twice. And no, I'm never worried about sexual abuse. 

    I've also seen scouts that are just really immature that absolutely had to tent with a parent while young but grew up to be really great leaders. It does add a bit of challenge to the patrol but the key is that the parent understands this and is supporting the patrol.

    Tenting isn't the issue, it's whether the parent understands their position relative to the patrol. The worst parent I had on a campout was not tenting with his kid, he was taking over cooking and the campfire program. We talked. I never saw him or his son again. I was okay with that.

    The issue of the SM having to protect a scout from their parent is very different from protecting the program from a parent. The first is an insane idea and I wonder how many of the 85k cases in the bankruptcy involve the scout's parent (or even another scout for that matter), the second happens all the time.

    A better understanding of the issues might lead to better guidelines and rules. I would much rather see a PL stand up to a parent and ask them to leave their patrol site then have blanket rules about tenting. 

  6. 8 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

    They'd become institutionalised, often living in barraks with everything provided for them from age 18, then left 20 years later with no knowledge of how to exist in the civilian world. Anyway a good friend of mine from my university days is an officer in the navy and was telling me a couple of years ago that a lot more effort is now put into developing everyone to be able to live better in the civilian world,

    Last week I put together bean soup packets and I donated them to an organization called the Healing Warriors Program. I showed up with 30 lbs of soup packets but I had forgotten a mask. No problem, someone came out with one. They work with lots of vets and they wanted to show me around. They were very thankful. The thing that hit me the hardest was that they give each vet a gun lock and a sticker. The gun lock goes on the gun and the sticker goes wherever the gun is stored so they'll see the sticker before they see the gun. The sticker has the suicide prevention number on it. I was talking to the lady and she said some of these guys had been on 9 and 10 deployments. Your comment made me wonder if the reason they kept signing up was that they didn't know anything else. Either that or the PTSD is so bad they struggle keeping a job somewhere else. Some of these guys are really broken. Anyway, I'll be making them more bean soup packets.

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  7. We hike on trails where if you walk off the trail you can fall a lot more than 6'. I won't put scouts in a harness for that.

    Again, rather than rules for every scenario there is the idea of trust. If I see the potential for getting hurt I ask myself whether I trust the scouts. If not, especially in the case of a steep drop off, I will warn them of the danger. If there are scouts I can't even trust for that then they would never be on a hike with me.

    As for climbing on rocks, again, it's about trust. Same with bears. And starting fires. And cooking raw chicken. And everything else we do in the outdoors.

    But, back to family camping 😏.

  8. 1 hour ago, David CO said:
    3 hours ago, karunamom3 said:

    Our council is requiring Troops to family camp 

    A council can prohibit an activity.  It cannot require one.  

    Maybe someone should ask the council what they mean by "family camp." I suspect it means, due to covid, families are eating and tenting on their own. So if you're going to camp then eat and tent by families. It makes sense to me. It is also not requiring an activity.

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  9. That was fun. As I was listening to the engineers it reminds me of my brother, who works at JPL. All of these people absolutely love rockets and science and engineering. Ever since my brother got his first Estes rocket in the 60's he's been working on pushing the next great design. A rocket crane that lowers a buggy onto Mars? That's autonomous? Nothing could be cooler than that. 

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  10. Every time that 6% figure is brought up it's along the lines of "only 6% of scouts earn eagle, it sure is tough." There's a big difference between 6% of scouts and 6% of scouts per year. Especially given that half of cub scouts don't become scouts.

    What would be a better number would be the percentage of scout scouts that turn 18 and don't get eagle. That will tell you how fun the program is. My guess is that is much less than the number of scouts that get eagle and considerably less than the scouts that walk away without eagle and before they age out. 

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  11. 2 hours ago, dcb said:

    I realize it is up to the MBC, I was more looking for what you would do (you being the grand and over-all "you").  

    I can only tell you what I'd do. No matter the merit badge, I always ask myself if I trust this scout that they know this material.  If I'd never seen them in the pool then start testing them. Given that this is one of the few merit badges that can have serious consequences, I'd probably consider something along the lines of: would I trust this scout to watch my kids? If I knew the people that ran the other program, and I trusted them then that says something about this scout. If I call them up, ask them about this scout and the response is flippant then I probably would have this scout show me what they know. If it looks like they really know it then it might be abbreviated.

    Trust is one of those things that is succinct and covers what lots of rules try to recreate.

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  12. I think there's a huge fear, all across the BSA, that without eagle the entire program would collapse. It's likely true because that's how it's been run for a very long time. There has been this pinnacle achievement that is front and center and hard to work around. The problem is that the pinnacle has little to do with the aims.

    But it begs the question of what would it take to run a successful program without a pinnacle achievement? It couldn't depend on parents that have mapped out their kids' lives. It must have a solid program. I think it would still require learning lots of skills, but maybe the scouts could have more say in which skills. Maybe rather than fcfy it should be learn to create your own goals in the first year. Rather than seeing all the check boxes, scouts and parents should be seeing teamwork and independence.

    There needs to be a framework that the scouts can wrap their heads around and also gives them enough guidance to get going. But it seems to me that it needs to be much less restrictive than eagle. Rather than tell them this is the mountain you need to climb maybe just telling them to start hiking is a better approach. Just play the game.


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  13. Time for a rant. This has nothing to do with how people are arguing about this topic. That part is fine. However, ...

    Between this thread and the eagle at 12 thread, is there any wonder that scouting does not interest youth? It looks like this program is nothing without recognition. When my son was in soccer the entire recognition for everyone, youth and adults, was at the end of the season, at a barbecue. It lasted maybe 15 minutes. The coach talked about each kid. Some parent thanked all the adults that helped out. Then dessert was served. Done. The program, the reason why kids wanted to be there, was the games. There were no worries about adults making it all about them. No worries about youth progressing too fast. No eagle. No knots. No one and done. No FOS. No BORs. No round table. No OA. No Scoutbook. Certainly no adult recognition dinners. I just get the feeling that all these sources of argument are nothing but contraptions that adults created so they could feel important.

    Maybe the program shouldn't be so important. Maybe all the shiny objects should be thrown out so the kids can just have fun. The scouts need places to camp and adults that know how to teach skills. That's it. It's a lot like soccer. If it doesn't support that then chuck it. If people can't support that then they are no longer needed.

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  14. I'm the leader of our annual award show. I signed up to get someone else to do something. To be honest, though, this show doesn't really help units put on a better program so given all the grief happening this year this is honestly a waste of time. There has got to be something better we can do to help units.

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  15. Scouting has been nominated for a Nobel Peace prize. I just googled scouting nobel prize and found a lot. Here's one.


    "The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), together with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), have been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, recognising the outstanding contributions of Scouting and Guiding that have empowered hundreds of millions of young people to create a lasting culture of peace in their communities for more than a century. 

    The Nobel nomination was submitted by Norwegian Liberty Party MP, Solveig Schytz, former Chief Commissioner of The Guides and Scouts of Norway and a current volunteer for the Scout Movement."

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  16. 14 hours ago, Mrjeff said:

    Every time I suggest moving on and focusing on what we can do to save what we have I'm either ignored or advised that I can always start another group.  Clearly the point of my comments have been misunderstood. 

    Couple of points:

    Nobody is ignoring you. I for one am waiting to see what's left.

    A lot of people agree with you that fundamentally scouting can't go away, camping is fun.

    This is not the thread to talk about picking up the pieces. It's the thread about the legal gears grinding.

    That all said, it would be nice to see a young at heart leader that could focus us old codgers into moving past the BSA and dragging it forward. While I have my views I am neither young nor a leader. 

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