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Posts posted by MattR

  1. 3 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

    What it comes down to is that the BSA and it's volunteers have sold Scouting as a positive environment for kids. We've sold it as character development, an all American activity.

    There's a difference between selling character development and selling eagle. Character evolves slowly in fits, starts and reversals. Nobody ever claims perfect character. Eagle is sudden, as soon as the final signature on the app is made. Before the signature one is just a scout, afterwards one is forever eagle - the epitome of scouting and as close to perfect as one can get. Equating the two is a fool's errand but many people are buying into it.

  2. I always wondered why national would take more than 5 minutes to respond. Type the data in from the signed app, press enter, press print, put it all in an envelope, mail it. Better yet, have each council type in the data, scan the app, press send, wait for the return pdf file, press print. Honestly, I've never heard of national rejecting an eagle app.

    Anyway, it used to regularly take a month for all of this to happen but in the last couple of years it's been about 2 weeks. Maybe there's a rush of LDS scouts. BTW, congratulations.

  3. 5 hours ago, ianwilkins said:

    To ask a possibly stupid question...can foreign johnnies muscle in on BSA national jamborees?

    Any chance I can join your troop and go with you? :) It would be cheaper. Better yet, can I join you for a European jamboree? It would still be cheaper than going to ours.

    • Like 1
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  4. I don't think "whether or not checklists" is the right question. That's a question of how to implement something. The question right now is what that something should be. The crux of the problem, from my experience, is how to develop patrol independence. Independence combined with making it fun requires the ability to create a wide range of events. That's really hard for scouts. They can't just do advancement every meeting. It needs to be a mix of new skills, advancement, service, unique projects to build, places to go, and just plain silly fun. If that goal is given to a new patrol they're going to stare at the wall. It would be better to start with a simpler problem. For example, give them limited choices to pick from. Or have the PLC create a list of activities that patrols can choose from. Or they'll need someone to teach them how to do it as they walk them through it (have every patrol do the equivalent of a plc planning session). A troop needs to understand where their patrols are now, where they want them to be, and how to get there.

    As an aside, when I was SM we had one week a month for patrols to figure out their own activity. The PLC did create a suggested list of activities to choose from. That was a lot of work for the patrols. It was also a hard sell for the adults. They wanted efficiency and my ideas about patrol method were not convincing enough. A few adults got into it and helped out. Some patrols did great and some struggled. I'd do it differently but I'd still push for more patrol activities. After I stepped down the new SM tossed that idea and made everything troop centric again. Every month had a theme (which I was fine with) but every meeting had no time for patrols. Worse, most themes were wrapped around working on a merit badge. At the last spl election one scout said he wanted to change things back to patrols doing their own thing for one meeting a month. He said all the advancement was getting boring. It made me feel good. Unfortunately he didn't sell it very well and was not elected.

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  5. 1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

    I do wonder what the best way to get 50,000 people to an airport after the event ends would be.  That's what - 1,000 bus trips?  If everyone flew out of Charleston which is 64 miles away, that means a round trip is probably 3 hours.  So, you then rent 250 buses and run 4 shifts the next day?

    I'm not sure anything can be done for that. Think about it. The only place 50,000 people meet is in the center of a big city with the infrastructure to handle it. That many people at a stadium in a big city with several million inhabitants is no big deal. Place those people in the middle of nowhere and there's a big challenge to move all of them.

    There are 15 flights a day out of Yeager airport in Charleston (an hour away). Just for fun, let's say there are 200 seats on each flight. That's 3000 people a day. And some of them are the locals that usually use the airport. That airport is set up for a very limited throughput. From flight control to ground support, gates, and everything else. That won't work. Do this once every 4 years and nobody will find a motive to invest in the infrastructure to solve it.

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  6. 1 minute ago, Eagledad said:

    Oh! That's what that taste is called.


    If it has a taste then it's gone rancid. :)  Start over.

    My grandmother, who was known for many things other than her cooking, loved to make fruit cake in an old cast iron skillet. It always had this funky flavor that nobody liked and everyone joked about. She passed some 30 years ago. About 10 years ago I had a cast iron dutch oven that started getting that same flavor. Aha! I suddenly knew what it was. (It was too much oil left in it for too long) I put it in the oven on the clean cycle, smoked up the house, and started over with seasoning it. It still works.

  7. Plastic tote. Steel pan (Lodge?). Cast iron griddle (Cheapo at walmart). A big light weight pot for boiling water-ish type foods.  A little pot. Metal utensils. Strainer. Wash tubs.

    I think that's most of it. That's all they use, anyway.

    We got away from anything with a non stick coating other than patina from cooking stuff with fats.

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  8. I think this discussion, in the general sense, has not moved in years. On the one hand there's a possibility of kids getting hurt and on the other there's a loss of growing up. It's been stuck there.

    First of all, I think quantifying the risks and benefits might move things forward. Maybe the BSA has specific reports of scouts getting hurt when left on their own but we don't know how many and what the severity is. On the other side, there is no quantifiable information on the benefits. The entire discussion is

    Someone mentioned child abduction. How many scouts have been abducted by parents from a campout? Is it any? is it five out of the million scouts in the past 10 years? What number is reasonable? Roughly half of kids have gone through their parents divorce. I don't knot the percentage of ugly divorces but I've seen the results in kids that are totally messed up from it. Maybe these kids could benefit from the self confidence of camping on their own.

    Another aspect of risk vs benefit is comparing the scenario of no parents to untrained parents. The BSA is really adamant about having two adults around on a campout and yet a few weeks ago a bunch of parents had scouts make canoes from pvc tubing and Tyvek and take it on moving water. Moving water is one of those things the BSA requires certification for and camping is not. In the canoe incident that troop was really lucky some scout didn't get caught in a strainer.

    This brings up the topic of training. I'm all for good training. Rather than say no, you can't do anything, I'd rather see training that would allow scouters to take scouts, or let them go on their own, into different challenges. Challenges are one of those unmentioned methods, much like having fun, that should not be ignored for the sake of making it simple to reduce risk. The old saying don't throw the baby out with the bath water applies here. The BSA does seem to jump first to "not allowed" rather than "allowed if trained." If the risk of un trained scouters is too high to allow an activity then how about trained scouters to allow it rather than just denying it. The model for training is already in place and for the most part works well. Let's explore that route.

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  9. I think there's another piece to this puzzle that might help and I saw it in spades at my last high adventure trip. We were on a challenging backpacking trip because it was high, cold, and snowy. Yet it was one of the best trips I've been on and this was due to the scouts. In a nutshell, good leadership is really simple if there's good teamwork. The leader said he "didn't have to do much" and yet he did the perfect amount. The key was everyone wanted to help. There was no complaining even though a number of scouts got cold at night, feet were sore. They helped each other and talked each other up. At the end they, too, noticed how good the group was. There ranks ranged from first class to life. Age ranged from 13 to 17. Abilities are good but nothing extraordinary. They have their share of busy schedules that pull them away for a season at a time. A few are quite shy but the leader is an extrovert. What the adults did notice was that they were all leaders with respect to scout spirit. They were all in the OA but one (and he was not eligible yet). They also were all up for a challenge. This group would be the model patrol. If my troop had a few more patrols like this then I'd be on a soap box telling you to just let the scouts be.

    About 7 years ago we had a group of scouts that had more than it's share of negative, or self centered, or just plain lazy kids join. It has been a huge challenge to get them motivated. They were there to make mom or dad happy. Well, they finally worked their way out of the troop and the result was this past high adventure trip.

    Anyway, maybe the question isn't how to develop patrols so much as it's about dealing with a lack of teamwork. I don't know if our culture is making it harder to find scouts that live the oath and law but that seems to me at least the underlying issue. One scout in a patrol that's not wanting to help out is a challenge for the patrol. Two is a huge challenge. Three makes it impossible. A lot of scouts are new to the idea of teamwork so starting them off with a challenging group is not an easy way to develop patrols.

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  10. I think it should depend on what you want to learn about. That said, I thought I knew what I wanted to learn about but I failed. My ticket was mostly a waste of time because I was clueless and my "advisor" couldn't be bothered. So I'd say the question is who should you talk with about your ticket.

  11. 7 hours ago, DuctTape said:

    "The Court if Honour, as its name implies, has a rather exceptional mission, such as dealing with cases of discipline and questions of awards."

    I think. It would be a great goal. Maybe hard to reach. Maybe a lot of adult guidance. Yet maybe a lot of room for scouts to take over.

  12. 47 minutes ago, ArmyScout said:

    Even if dont understand why an Eagle cannot show his continued commitment as an adult (someone explain this to me)

    I don't understand your statement. In what way can an eagle not show continued commitment as an adult?

  13. The rug stuck out? So, the reasoning is the tent is not uniform, or something? If it was truly outlandish, maybe it could be the SPL's call but certainly not mom. Either way, this is just a dumb way to lose trust with the scouts.

    They should have let it be.

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  14. Found on another website:



    Sheriff’s Sgt. Mitch Vetere, who has extensive experience on the Green River, said in the post that the boats had “no business being on the river,” especially because the river is currently flowing swiftly.

    It is running at 11,400 cubic feet per second as of Thursday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch. That is a level at which the river might be too high even for some experienced boaters with sturdy canoes, Vetere said in the post.


    My troop has done many parts of the Green river, in rafts. When I heard home made canoes I was thinking of something that might float. They really are quite lucky nobody got hurt. There's a lot of that river I wouldn't do in a good canoe much less Tyvek and pvc. Those canoes are just classic. I can see seams that go below the water line where the Tyvek is folded around the frame. I bet that leaks.

    One of my fears I used to explain to scouts and adults was something along the lines of, I just don't want a photo on the front page of the NYT if this goes bad, so let's make sure it won't.

    Again, really glad nobody got hurt.


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  15. Something else to think about is what you want the end result to be. The people that say let him stay see some redeemable aspects of this scout. Those that want him thrown out of scouts either don't or don't really care. When I dealt with a similar case my first question was did the scout feel bad because he got caught or because he realized he did something wrong? If the latter case then I'd have something to work with. If the former, I wanted him out immediately and I didn't want him back until he changed (for the exact reasons @fred8033 mentioned). Unfortunately he never saw the problem and I got him to leave. 

    BTW, my council wanted to give him another chance. I said fine, just not in my troop. Eventually they did throw him out of scouts. The point is, the troop knows this scout better than anyone at the council. Unless the council has dealt with something similar before, and positively, I would listen to what they have to say but I'd also take it with a grain of salt.