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MattR

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Posts posted by MattR

  1. I agree with the idea that character and adventure go hand in hand. Adventure in the outdoors leads to problems which leads to learning how to deal with those problems. Match that with good character and you have a man. Either one by itself leads to either a church youth group or an REI minor league.

     

    The character part of scouting is strong. The part that's lacking is where the scout makes decisions and takes responsibility for himself and others. It's getting harder to do that with helicopter parents, rules from above that limit a lot of fun, and kids that honestly expect to be told exactly what to do. I have a mom that sent his son's patrol email "because he's not very organized" (what a fight that was). We can't climb on rocks above waist high. Really? These kids ski and bike off of rocks higher than waist high.

     

    Anyway, Kudu has a point that, while harshly made, I'm finding more and more important. We're moving away from the adventure and that's what a lot of kids want and that's where they learn. There's a way to get back to it and do it safely but there's nothing I see from National that's helping that. Not JTE, not ILST, not Woodbadge. Maybe back in the day of Hillcourt all the adults naturally knew how to do this but they don't now.

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  2. I don't think that ad hoc patrols is the real reason for the problem of attendance. As a matter of fact they are simply a work around for a bigger problem that is basically ignored because it's easier to make up the rules along the way than it is to solve the problem.

     

    A) We have low attendance at our events.

    B) So we combine patrols to keep from dealing with A above.

    C) Boys that show up have fun, the rest miss out. But that's okay, those that showed up had fun.

     

    What's wrong with attacking the problem at the A level? Why is there low attendance in the first place. If one can solve that problem, then the issue of ad hoc patrols becomes moot... AND ALL the boys have fun.

     

    Stosh

    It doesn't have to be 100%. I require, for a scout to be in a patrol, he go to roughly half the events. It works well and the scouts have plenty of time for other activities. I no longer need to mix patrols unless it's extreme and only one scout from a patrol shows up (it happened once this past year) and the scouts no longer even mention combining patrols. We have 6-8 in each patrol.
  3. Seems to me the problem is that, more than ever before, we have boys with extremely diverse interests and extremely diverse family situations. That's not changing anytime soon. So padding a patrol with 10 boys so as to get 6-8 for a given event might not be a bad idea. The down side is the more boys on the patrol roster, the more likely a boy will think he's not essential to he program.
    One patrol this past weekend only had 2 scouts show up out of 6 and they had a blast. They recruited a few other scouts from other patrols to run the relay and they got first place at the camporee. Sure they picked all the fast kids but they had a problem and they solved it. I tried making larger patrols once before and it didn't really help, especially if everyone showed up at a campout. It's hard to cook for 10 - 13 people on one of those little stoves.
  4. I don't have aged based patrols. I require either the PL or APL at every patrol activity (camping is one of them). For non leadership positions I require scouts to go on half the campouts and half the service projects if they want to be in a patrol. Exceptions are only made for acts of God. Homework is not an act of God. Band practice is not. Divorced parents are. Scouts have time to be in sports and other activities, they just need to think ahead a bit. We've had these expectations for about a year now and attendance is up and attrition is no different. More kids are having fun. Teamwork is much better. The problem scouts left or are no longer a problem. I will only allow combined patrols if there is only one in a patrol going.
    I'd still let the scouts camp, and one of them just might be a new patrol leader.
  5. I don't have aged based patrols. I require either the PL or APL at every patrol activity (camping is one of them). For non leadership positions I require scouts to go on half the campouts and half the service projects if they want to be in a patrol. Exceptions are only made for acts of God. Homework is not an act of God. Band practice is not. Divorced parents are. Scouts have time to be in sports and other activities, they just need to think ahead a bit. We've had these expectations for about a year now and attendance is up and attrition is no different. More kids are having fun. Teamwork is much better. The problem scouts left or are no longer a problem. I will only allow combined patrols if there is only one in a patrol going.

  6. Well the Pure of heart, mind, word and deed, sounds familure, put the addition part is definitely just people making their own rules.

     

    The highlighted statement is funny though.. So, that means no one who has divorced (even if not remarried), nor a widower starts a new relationship (regardless of if they marry or not.), nor anyone whose relationship turns physical before they wed (even if it is their one and only).. That rules out pretty much everyone on the planet, except maybe those whose looks or personality causes them never to find love.

    Careful what you ask for JoeBob You'd also get three mother-in-laws, or nine.
  7. The Scout Law hasn't changed since 1911. The Scout Oath and Law could be considered the constitution of the BSA. Of the world's countries that have constitutions only Australia (1900), Denmark (1849), Luxembourg (1868), Norway (1814), and the United States (1787) have constitutions that are older (the U.K. and Canada don't have constitutions). I'd say leave the Scout Law alone, it's passed the test of time.

  8. When there is more revealed about TLUSA's actual program and organizational structure , it might be interesting to have a topic where there is some comparisons made between their operation and the ours in BSA. There may be some good ideas floating around in a new and forming group that we could borrow and modify to make our program better.

    Hopefully if that more positive and constructive topic is introduced it will not get deleted by a moderator or the site owner. Yeah, I know this topic that survived the purge about TL being "confused" about who they are makes it easy to take shots at them and makes us real Scouters feel so much better about ourselves. I do think a more objective study of the nuts and bolts of a potential competitor could be more constructive and helpful to us as we do our jobs of serving youth.

    I would tend to believe NJCubScouter. The new code seems to be using AJAX, is asynchronous, and my guess is there are timing issues. My guess is these would show up more often with multiple people writing comments at the same time, so something about TL, which is interesting to us, would have a greater chance of having problems.

     

    That said, I wish TL luck. Although they don't like my tribe, they'll help some kids and that's a good thing. They will also hopefully pull some of the heat off the BSA and that will help everyone. I don't get the LDS thing at all. Then again, it ain't my tribe. I generally like the LDS, they like me, but not having a glass of wine on Friday night, well, we can agree to disagree :)

     

    I saw their description of the program and it looks like the equivalent to boy scouts is broken into a younger and older group. Maybe this comes from american heritage girls. Either way, it doesn't do much for boy led.

  9. OK, guys, it's time to stop beating the poor kid.

     

    Paracord, you obviously have a lot of enthusiasm. That's a great asset to any troop. That said, your idea of awards for being able to do things that are already covered by ranks sounds a bit redundant, and I think that's what people are complaining about. However, your trying to improve enthusiasm to do a good job is admirable. Is there another way to reward that? How about having a knot tying competition and giving out something for the top three? I had a knot tying competition and to even the field I had the older scouts do some of the knots blind folded. You really have to know the knots to do that. So, don't give an award for being average, make an award for going above and beyond.

     

    Personally, I don't like adding awards to a uniform that can already look like bling central, so I'd modify the neckerchief, or add something to it. Also, I'd suggest not worrying about the length of hair. I'm old enough to have seen that when I was your age and it never had a positive outcome. Besides, I had hair that was as wide as my shoulders. It sure pissed my dad off.

     

    Good luck.

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  10. If you like knots, para chord can be used for real cheap woggles. You need something less than 4'. http://www.troop54.com/knots/TurksHeadKnot/TurksHeadKnot.htm. The only challenge is figuring out the right diameter to start with so it ends up right. Sometimes you have to try a few times. If you like knots it's not a problem, if you don't, well, stick with pvc.

     

    Something else that is very nice is, while making the turks head, between coming out and going back into the knot, is drop down a loop and tie an overhand knot in the loop. It looks just like the Good Turn Daily knot hanging off the bottom of the scroll in the scout badge.

  11. Okay M&M, it's time for one of you to take the high road and step back from the keyboard. This conversation is not changing anyone's mind and brings nothing new to the table. Both of you have a strong desire to convince the other of something very important to you and, to be honest, neither of you will. What's left is the appearance that neither of you is willing to not have the last word. How do you teach your scouts to deal with another kid that won't stop arguing? Some times it's better to just walk away and know in your heart that you are right.

     

    Anyway, please stop, before I start praying for Packsaddle to start singing :)

     

  12. I should learn to keep my mouth shut. I went to the meeting about rebuilding the camp and I gave them a synopsis of everything we talked about here, and they loved it. The good news is they want to start off small and slowly change it over a few years. The bad news is I have to figure it all out. Stay tuned.
    Colorado.

     

    Of course I need help, at least that's what my wife always tells me.

     

    Since private messages don't work yet, send email to jsi6hgcw3oj6ceg@jetable.org. Then we can use regular email. That address is only good until 9:40PM Tuesday.

  13. I currently have an exchange student from Germany staying with us. Yes, we do have guardianship. I'd ask the boy if he's interested in advancement. Most likely he has no idea what it's about and really is just interested in how Americans have fun and what camping is. He's here to learn our culture, not get Eagle. After one campout he may be done with it or he may really enjoy it. Give him a handbook, sign stuff off so he can be part of a patrol, and don't worry about it. He'll be gone before summer camp and will never get close to Eagle. Explain to him what the PoA means to us and ask him what he wants to do about it (stand respectfully or participate)

     

    This is an opportunity for your troop. Ask if he'll give a presentation to the troop about his country. He does have a presentation prepared. I'd wait a month or two until he's a bit more comfortable with English. If he is from mainland China, he may be very subtle about talking about his government. Don't push him. But I've never heard of mainland Chinese exchange students.

  14. Merlyn, I'm just curious. What drives you to carry the atheist torch so passionately?

     

    Here's why I ask: I associate passion more with religious folks (emotional need to fill an unexplained void), and I associate reason with atheists (cold hard facts that God exists?).

     

    But you seem to be passionately atheist, and I have trouble wrapping my mind around that.

    I'd say there can be passion without religion, look at PETA, or the vitamin junkies at Whole Foods..

     

    Passion can be a good thing, art, running, gardening, one's spouse, boy scouts.... Passion isn't the problem, the problem is when passion spills over into telling others how to live when they don't agree.

  15. The only MB I had left to do for Eagle was Cit in the World, and I was living overseas at the time....
    The sad part was I didn't even realize this until my son was close to Eagle. At the time I thought I had a long way to go. Totally clueless as a youth. Now, I fully support Eagle coaches ;)
  16. I should learn to keep my mouth shut. I went to the meeting about rebuilding the camp and I gave them a synopsis of everything we talked about here, and they loved it. The good news is they want to start off small and slowly change it over a few years. The bad news is I have to figure it all out. Stay tuned.

  17. One scout from my troop went and he enjoyed it. Only negative was the miles to get to some events. He couldn't do some of the events because of the time required to get there. Maybe 20,000 cheap bikes spread all over the place next time?

     

    What was great was he had no problem with the heat. At summer camp he ended up at the medic with pretty severe dehydration. It wasn't that he wasn't drinking enough water but wasn't getting enough salt. I had electrolyte tablets but he didn't like the taste as his stomach was already upset. He did ok with gatorade. When he was getting ready for jambo his mom offered him gatorade packets but he said he only wanted the electrolyte tablets "because Mr R said they were better." It warms my heart to know that once in awhile a kid listens to me.

  18. I would contact the families that dropped out and request they donate the uniform to the pack closet. Probably a better use of your time. Best to just let them know the program is still there if they ever want to come back. Scouting isn't everyone. There are good parts of the cub program, but every day I grow closer to the "never ending nightmare of indoor crafts called cub scouts" view of the program. I know we are not supposed to "change" the program, but I have a hard time some days walking into a den meeting knowing it will not be "fun", at least for the more kinetic learners.
    How about a game called "human pin ball." I'm not sure what the rules are but it sounds about right. We did human foosball and it was great. I tried a version of quidditch with 3 balls with webelos. That was a bad idea. Two boys looking at two different balls running into each other.
  19. Having been the guy who wasted an incredible amount of time and effort chasing boys who need scouting don't do it.

     

     

    Spend the effort on improving the program those who stayed.

    A few years ago I hit the same realization that BD had, it may be better to spend time on those that want to get something out of the program. Maybe it would be better to send email out to all of the existing families and do roses and thorns with them. What do they like? What would they like to see improved?
  20. Generally we have not had luck with car washes.........Of course some bad luck....The HS Flag corp was in bikini's up the block washing cars.....

    JoeBob, if you combine the Bikini Girls with the Scouts then the cars will not get cleaned. There may be some clocks that get cleaned.
  21. When I was a kid' date=' our troop was known for its "hammock boys," so a few years ago I went out and bought one o give the boys a laugh and maybe some inspiration. The first night I slept in it, I actually ended up on a picnic table to do the sleeping. The second time, I finally managed maybe 3 hours of sleep. 3rd time I was so kinked-up and stiff the whole next day I wanted to die. 4th time I said bollocks and it's been in its package since.[/quote']

     

    Could be a number of reasons you didn't sleep well. You may have had the hammock strung too tight (the lines should be hanging at a 30 degree angle or so for best comfort for most people). Did you sleep at an angle?

     

    In terms of Philmont, I think the main reservation against them is bears. Tarp camping is also not allowed at Philmont.

    Bears? I've seen bears open tents wherever they want. They just run a claw down the side of the tent. What does a tent have that a hammock doesn't? Maybe the bear wants to sleep in the hammock?

     

    Or is a hammock too much like a tarp? That begs the question, why not tarps?

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