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Posts posted by MattR

  1. 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.

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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!

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  6. 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.

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  7. 8 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

    I have asked this question to Council Board Members, Scout Executive of the Council, Council Camping and Program chairpersons; when was the most recent time you were on an outing?  Typically their answer falls into two areas 1) I was at Jamboree, the Council Event, came to Summer camp for the day OR 2) I was a leader XX years ago.  

    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.


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  8. Wow. I read the help file. Too bad the error reporting is still not helpful. When we started with uploading adv reports sometimes it would just drop certain records. We finally figured out that the records were dropped for any scout that did not have an identical name spelling or incorrect birthdate. Now, it just tosses the entire report. Why not just print out a list of errors that say which records can't be handled? 

  9. 2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    Alone or with other scouts? I could see the no talking part as the challenge.

    Alone, with only their thoughts as they watch one full cycle of day to night to day. I should also add no electronics or books or toys of any type. The challenge is much like meditation, keeping your mind quiet is surprisingly difficult. Keeping at one simple task for a whole day, without falling asleep, is also difficult.


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  10. On 8/11/2017 at 7:15 AM, RememberSchiff said:

    As I have said before, I favor a solo Eagle trek over an Eagle project.

    I talked to someone a few years ago that ran an optional program for older scouts: 24 hours in the woods, tending a fire, no talking, only water to drink. I thought it would be great to do for older scouts. I talked to a few adults and they were not supportive. I think the scouts would have really gotten a lot out of it.

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  11. 3x5 flag. The pole length depends on the room you're displaying it. If it has a regular ceiling (8') then a shorter pole is used. We do have two sets, one for meetings and one for campouts that stay in the trailer. All of our ceilings are plenty high so we have the 7' poles, I believe.

    38 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

    In my personal opinion, I would not recommend a flag bigger than 4x6' or a pole higher than 5 feet.

    Wouldn't a 6' long flag drag on the ground with a 5' pole? Even a 3x5 flag will drag on the stand.

  12. Welcome to the forum.

    2 hours ago, Nemo said:

    In the scouting I grew up with in rural Colorado, most of the Scouters multitasked as MB counselors, leaders and council members. I believe I want a fairly active role.

    If you're still in rural Colorado, or just not a big city council, this is still the way it goes. If you're like me you'd prefer to work with the scouts. Definitely MB counselor. Find a troop that needs help, which is most troops. I'd start not too much larger. I've seen some people that can't say no and then they get sucked into so much that they burn out and walk away. If you just help a dozen scouts for 7 years then you will have made a huge impact.

  13. I had the scouts first figure out what they wanted to do, then we figured out where to do it. Giving them lists of ideas helped a lot.

    Another part of figuring out what they want to do is also figuring out rough percentages of types of campouts. Is the idea to mostly be a challenge? Fun and games? A couple of our usual campouts? Without first doing that they would get stuck on an idea and all of a sudden they did that all year. They did the same for meetings.

  14. Has anyone written, or does anyone just use in the back of their mind, a list of expectations for the rank scout spirit requirements?

    I'd like to write something for my troop that's a description of growth for each of the methods. Interesting things happen where some methods interact. One set in particular is Advancement and Ideals. Many of us have talked about the Scout Spirit requirement and this seems to be at that intersection. For example, what's expected of a scout as far as being helpful, looking out for others, being cheerful when the weather is lousy, etc, on average tends to increase as scouts move up ranks. Do you tell scouts, for example, "now that you're a first class scout you're expected to start looking out for others. You can't wait for someone else to ask you to do the right thing, you're just expected to do it."

    I'm not saying to make it part of the requirement, but just an expectation that might drive discussions with or among the scouts, or when to encourage a scout to solve a problem, or lead rather than wait for someone else to lead. Often I've told scouts something along the line of "that sure is a problem, but now that you're a Second class/Star/Life scout don't you think you can handle that on your own?" It just might help everyone to see those expectations. I realize they're hard to measure but we could still talk about them.


  15. 57 minutes ago, SubSM said:

    The question I am really looking for an answer to, is how do we as scouters help facilitate a program that draws the interest of more of today’s youth?

    Better training? The current training only works for those that don't need it.

    Better understanding of the typical problems and good, honest, specific examples of how to solve them. Pushy or clueless parents. Scouts with challenges. Getting a troop out of a rut. Developing a program so scouts stay till they age out. 

    Just my 2 cents.

  16. 18 hours ago, yknot said:

    We can tell ourselves that it's a winning vs. service mentality, but in reality, I think it's more about the shared experience. Win or lose, if kids feel like they are more part of a team in sports than part of a patrol or troop in scouts, they are going to gravitate to the sports team instead.

    Sure, but when sports teams have a few players with massive egos then some players will gravitate towards scouts. I was talking about when the activity is done right.

    When I was a kid I did both. I liked both at the time. Now, I see that I liked sports for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with any goals that any adult has ever brought up. But I'm still glad I did it. Scouts was somewhat closer but I will never forget the impact a couple of those adults (and one older scout) had on me. A bit of tough love. A bit of kindness at just the right time. I can't say the same about the coaches.

    My son did both. He enjoyed tennis. He wanted to play basketball but couldn't make the team. That's a problem with sports in a big school. The service aspect of scouts has stuck with him. 

    Maybe different activities work better for different kids. 

    19 hours ago, yknot said:

    On a sports team, kids see their teammates and coaches two or three times a week and more for school teams. It builds a lot of camaraderie. 

    I agree. It's also why scouts is high on the decision tree for what a kid will cut to make up for too many commitments.

    On the whole, what you say is why I've pushed for new scouts to focus on teamwork. Without that patrols have no hope and leadership is really difficult. 

  17. I think the difference between scouting and sports is fairly simple. At the most basic level, when scouts and sports are both done right, scouting is about learning to put others before self, gracefully, and sports is about learning to win, gracefully. Some parents see more value in one over the other. Some see value in both.

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  18. You shouldn't have to fight this on your own. Go or stay comes down to how many quality, helpful parents believe in you. Sounds like you have great enthusiasm and you're learning. If you're all alone then leave, you'd be wasting your time. If the majority of parents and a couple of good asms believe in you then talk to them, get their ideas, lead, and solve the problem. You did get voted down by the committee but I don't know if that represents the majority of the troop. Usually it's just a couple of bad apples that cause the problems. One solution might be that, after you share your vision, half the troop wants boy led and half wants adult led. Fine, split the troop. You don't need to be confrontational, just believe in your ideas and that there are those that don't.

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  19. For me, the fun to grief ratio was getting too low. I didn't want to end up angry at scouting. I tried a different job at the district and while the fun was great the grief was also great. So I changed jobs again. Now, it's kind of like when I started. I have fun doing scouty things with scouts. I have learned to let the bad stuff go. Cheerful and Helpful is my litmus test.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.