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Everything posted by Miami_Chief

  1. I don't see this as having a major impact one way or another. Does it make things a little easier, yes. Do I think the Brotherhood conversion experience will be significantly cheapened? Absolutely not. It's certainly not a silver bullet that will solve our dwindling numbers, but it's not going to kill us any faster either. We can play the "it was better in my day because it was tougher and therefore more meaningful" game forever, or we can roll up our sleeves and help support the youth officers in delivering the program. Looking over the PMP it really just looks like a simplified JTE with a shiny new name, breaking it down easier for the Lodge Officers who should be running the program. I'm ok with that. How many Units skip out on JTE just so they don't have to fill out the scoresheet?
  2. Miami_Chief

    Does National want to kill the uniform?

    What most will call a "Class B" is also referred to as an Activity Uniform, and while it's much less formal that the FIeld Uniform, it's still a uniform, and can still look very sharp. I don't buy that they're angling to get rid of uniforms, but I understand why they would emphasize it less in the marketing. It's an important method of the program, but I imagine very few youth are signing up because of the BSA's spiffy threads. They're selling the sizzle, putting the focus on the cool things the BSA offers in order to draw them in.
  3. Miami_Chief

    Broken Arrow ceremony

    I was a part of a Broken Arrow ceremony a few years back in my old Council. It was a very unique and meaningful experience. The brother who passed was a former Lodge Adviser and Camp Ranger. Our Lodge at the time did not have a very strong ceremonies program, so our Scout Executive asked myself and another "youthful" adult to conduct the ceremony. While an actual youth would have been preferred, we didn't want to have one of the youth try to stumble through it given the solemn nature of the occasion. The only regalia we donned were headdresses. It was unlike any ceremony experience I had before or since.
  4. Miami_Chief

    Family Scouting Coming to You!

    Our Council has been doing "Family Camps" over Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend for years. The program varied depending on who was organizing it and what camp staffers they could round up to help out. This year they're also planing to do a program similar to the one posted above. As I see it, it's not an attempt to replace the traditional resident camp, but to supplement it. Are they "desperate to get users to the camp property?" Maybe. I'm not sure what their attendance looks like and I'm not familiar with the stats for my own area either. But last I checked getting more people to experience the programs our camps offer isn't a bad thing, and if it helps the bottom line and allows a camp to continue to provide programs in the future, I'm all for that.
  5. After college I moved out of state for 3 years, and while there took WB in 2015. It was fantastic and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. After moving back, I have discovered how "cliquey" and odd the Woodbadgers are in my home Council. There have been a number of "local traditions" that distract from the course and I have a number of friends my age (late 20s-early 30s) that are so turned off by WB that they have no interest in looking into it. I was asked to be on staff for an upcoming course, and the SM is pretty serious about doing things "by the book" so I'm super excited!
  6. Miami_Chief

    NATIONAL POLICY: AOL and Crossover Ceremonies

    As a youth ceremonialist, I throughly enjoyed conducting Cub AOL and crossover ceremonies. The regalia was neat, but as others have said, to me it was just a tool that we used to help achieve our aims. If we can’t provide the recognition and inspiration to the Cubs without feathers on our heads, we’re doing something wrong. Beyond that, most Cub Packs will turn over most, if not all leaders within a 6-10 year period. Some even faster. What is “new” in 2019 will be “we’ve always done it this way” by 2025. It’s not going to shock me when they announce regalia is going away altogether. While the Native American elements have been a vital part of our image, it’s not who we are at the core. Our principles remain unchanged. If they were to announce that they are dropping Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, or Service, sign me up to protest, but until then we should focus on fulfilling our Obligation.
  7. Miami_Chief

    No districts or roundtables

    The regional governors now have direct control over their territories.
  8. Miami_Chief

    Young District/Council Volunteers

    As a young adult (18-20) I wasn't too involved outside of my OA and camp staff roles, but there were a few times I ran up against the "You're just a kid and don't know what you're doing" mentality of some of the more seasoned volunteers. But because of the skills and fun experiences I had as an OA officer and camp staffer, I knew I wanted to keep coming back. After graduation I was given the opportunity to serve as a professional scouter a couple states away. While I'm sure some volunteers in my district questioned my age and experience at first, over time I believe I had a great working relationship with most of the folks in my area. It was frustrating in some cases to have to "prove myself" to a few individuals, but by and large it was a fantastic experience. Flash forward to my late twenties and after a career change I'm back in my hometown and it's been a mixed bag of getting involved as a "relatively young" adult. There are some scouters that have difficulty seeing past the 15-year old me who ran an OA election for their troop years ago, but there are others who I have stronger relationships with that have more appreciation for what I can bring to the table. Bottom line is I would not still be involved if it wasn't for those experiences I had while in the (18-20) zone. That's when I started working on Camp staff and when my enthusiasm and energy were at their peek. Any way you can harness folks in that range to keep them coming back is definitely worth it.
  9. Miami_Chief

    Service Stars: Yea Or Nay?

    I'm in the process of changing roles and am updating my uniform accordingly. As I'm checking out a uniform inspection sheet it dawns on me that I've never worn service stars. Growing up my Pack and Troop didn't use them, and likely didn't even know they existed. I can see some pros and cons with them, and would like to get a few more opinions: For those that use service stars, do you find it a neat addition to the uniform and do you use them in such a way that it adds to the experience for the boys? For those that don't do you find it unnecessary, too gaudy, etc? Any other thoughts on this oft-forgotten piece of insignia?
  10. Miami_Chief

    Rechartering 2015

    Councils vary on when they administer the recharter process. Sometimes even within a Council each District has a different month and occasionally not all of the Units within a District recharter at the same time. It can get pretty messy. In my current Council we recently re-aligned the process so everyone recharters at the same time. The membership all expires at the end of December and packets are handed out at the October Roundtables with a "due date" of mid-December to allow the Council a couple weeks to work with Units to clean up as many issues as they can with incomplete paperwork, training, etc.
  11. Miami_Chief

    This district will self destruct in 5..4..3...

    Since the District is an administrative territory of the Council, it can't really "go away" without being merged with another by action of the Council Executive Board. Even if all of your Commissioners and Committee members walk away, the District still exists. It can even exist without all members of the Key 3. A District in that scenario will definitely struggle in carrying out the 4 functions, but it still exists. High-performing Units will still be fine, and likely not notice much until they need something. But Units in need of greater help will suffer. Often times to plug these gaps a well-meaning volunteer or pro will try to round up as many folks as possible for the sake of having things covered without taking the time to make sure everyone's in the right spot. It's been my experience that Districts that are staffed by the wrong folks often do more damage than good. I would rather have no Commissioners than ones who refuse to do the job. I'd rather have a couple folks who can make a good recruitment or FOS ask rather than an army of well-meaning folks with a terrible sales pitch. But I digress... While it sounds terrible, a District in this situation may be poised to make a great recovery. As long as you have good leaders with a vision in those key roles AND they know how to recruit, what you may be witnessing is the start to a District revival following an exodus of longtime volunteers who (even with the best intentions) were holding the District back. @@SeattlePioneer hits the nail on the head with the District Nominating Committee. When the proper procedure is followed, it's amazing how quick things can turn around.
  12. Miami_Chief

    National Council Membership Fee

    The last increase when into effect in January of 2014, and that only bumped us up from $15 to $24. Here's the full FAQ that was released during the last change: http://scout-wire.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2014-BSA-Membership-Fee-Increase-FAQ.pdf "4. Does the BSA increase membership fees often? There have been nine fee increases in the organization’s history. On average, the fee increase has been 68 percent. Since 1969, the BSA has increased its fee every two to eight years, but averaging every five years." Will costs go up in the future? Of course they will. But I wouldn't be betting on an increase just two years after the last.
  13. Miami_Chief

    Vatican Scouts?

    I grew up in a very Catholic area and just about all of the parishes operated a grade school. The majority of those with schools also chartered a Pack and Troop. Sometimes smaller parishes/schools would partner up to make a decent sized scouting program. The units would vary in their degree of Catholic-ness in the program depending on their leadership. I think my Pack and Troop were a little more Catholic-centered in our program than most. While not everyone in the group was Catholic, it was understood that the Unit was a Catholic one. We had regular prayer at meetings and outings, we would always attend Mass together if camping over the weekend, religious emblems weren't required, but got plenty of promotion and most boys ended up doing them. We regularly provided service to the parish that chartered us, and even helped plan and run a few of the Diocese's Catholic Camporees. If the leadership of the Scouting Unit and the Chartered Organization really want to make Scouting an extension of their youth ministry, it can work great within the confines of the BSA program. No separate organization is needed.
  14. Miami_Chief

    Does Your Council Staff Off-Summer Camp Activities?

    My old Council ran two family camps (spring/fall) staffed by current and former Camp Staff. They'd open up swimming, boating, and the shooting ranges and ran a campfire one of the nights. Some years they even opened up the climbing tower if they had the qualified staff for it. It also served as a casual staff reunion, which was nice. They "paid" the staff with a free weekend of camp and food. Usually each month had some sort of District/Council event at camp. Sometimes it was a camporee, other times it was a specialty program like a COPE weekend or training course. Current Council has a number of weekend events. In both Councils the weekend events are mostly staffed by the volunteer committees in charge of said events. If we're talking about paid staffing, most events can't afford to add that into the budget. If we're looking at this from the angle of "Does the Council provide staffing for these kind of events?" I'd argue that volunteers serving on the Council (Insert event here) Committee are the Council-provided event staff.
  15. Miami_Chief

    Update On Adult Leadership Standards

    By that logic, the BSA should ban straight females leaders and have no issue with lesbian leaders. The straight females are attracted to males- do they too put our boys in danger? Lesbians aren't attracted to males, so by this logic the BSA shouldn't have an issue with them. How on earth would this be applied to a coed Venturing Crew? Gay leaders would be banned for posing a threat to youth of their respective sex, and straight leaders would be out for posing a threat to the opposite sex. Who will lead our Crews? This line of thinking unravels pretty quickly when you follow it through. It's well intended, I'm sure. Keeping Scouts out of danger? Count me in. In this case however, the perceived danger is based on the concept that gay men are somehow less able to control themselves around young men than anyone else when interacting with members of the sex they find attractive. Are there adults looking to take advantage of youth in our program? Unfortunately yes, and this is why we have youth protection principles in place. Notice there's not a word about the sex of predators or their orientation in YPT. It recognizes that predators come in all sexes and orientations.
  16. Miami_Chief

    Update On Adult Leadership Standards

    A long overdue change, IMO. What does upset me is terrible outpouring of hateful comments left on some of these news articles. While sometimes these are from both sides of the issue, the most unScoutlike things are being said against the BSA and those who support this change. Many are quick to cry "morally straight" and "A Scout is Reverent" when making these vicious comments, completely forgetting that these are part of the reason the change is occurring. Not every religious organization shares the same beliefs. For the BSA to remain reverent towards the many different religious organizations that sponsor Scouting, it can't pick sides. By leaving leader selection up to the Chartered Organization, they are free to exercise their faith and uphold their own principles. In my area a number of churches are very open and welcoming, and took issue with the BSA's adult standards as it imposed another religious organization's beliefs on them. The way some folks are reacting, you would think they received a notice that all uniforms must have a rainbow flag, Units must have at least 1 gay leader, and Pride in the Gay Community has been announced as the newest Eagle-required merit badge. Come on, people. The only agenda a gay leader has is to spend time with his or her son and to help other adult volunteers provide a great program for all of the boys- the same as the rest of us! Bottom line- find a Unit chartered to an organization in line with your beliefs. Can't find such a Unit? Start a new one!
  17. Miami_Chief


    Personal feelings about the camp closures and the Three Harbors Council aside, I really couldn't find any issues with this piece. For starters a Council's Scout Executive IS its Chief Executive Officer. CEO is also a term that parents, volunteers, and the general public can easily recognize. I'd wager that most parents/volunteers couldn't tell the difference between an SE, DE, DFS, FD or most other BSA professional acronyms. CEO is pretty well understood by the general public. The Chief Uniformed Officer or Top Uniformed Volunteer is a pretty common term for the Council Commissioner. That's right, the Scout Executive spent the entirety of his message talking about volunteers. Not hand-picked business types with little Scouting connection, but genuine, boots on the ground volunteers like most of us here. The article is lengthy due to the long Scouting service of both volunteers. In addition to the standard Key 3, some Council's include a President Elect, VP of Program, or Past President to make a Key 4 or Key 5. I think most of us can agree that more volunteer leadership at the top of our Councils would be nice. While the volunteer pics are grainy camp snapshots, they were likely submitted by the volunteers themselves. Both of which are larger than the Scout Exec's pic on the front. I don't want to derail the thread too much, but this just seemed like a quick way to stir up emotions on an already touchy subject.
  18. Miami_Chief

    STEM Scout pilot program

    The STEM Scouts program being run in Knoxville is indeed an official BSA pilot program and is run by the BSA's National STEM Directors: http://stemscouts.org/pilot-program/stem-scout-staff/ The program has the same aims as the rest of the BSA, and even uses many traditional BSA methods, including the Scout Oath and Law. http://stemscouts.org/pilot-program/stem-scout-aims/ While the BSA STEM awards (nova/supernova) surely overlap topics with the pilot program, they are programatically separate.
  19. Miami_Chief

    District Award of Merit knot

    Does anyone know why the DAM is a simple overhand knot rather than a regular square knot? Is there some fort of significance other than tradition? I'm not a recipient, but the lack of "uniformity" bugs me. And yes, I'm aware that the Seabadge "knot" patch isn't a knot at all, but honestly I've never seen someone wearing one so it bugs me a little less.
  20. Miami_Chief

    New pre ordeal ceremony?

    There has been no announcement of altering the Pre-Ordeal or Ordeal ceremony in any way. The New Brotherhood Ceremony was not finalized at the 2013 OA National Planning Meeting and is undergoing more review and adjustment. Last I heard was to expect the new script to be available in May at the earliest, and Lodges wouldn't be required to use it until 2015. We were told this at our last Section Council of Chiefs meeting. Are the "minor" changes you were informed of differences in the ceremony script itself?
  21. Miami_Chief

    New pre ordeal ceremony?

    I haven't heard anything regarding changing the Pre-Ordeal. There are wheels moving to revamp the Brotherhood ceremony. A draft version was presented at each Section Conclave this year for review and feedback from each Lodge. If approved at the National OA Meeting in December it will be optional to use in 2014 and mandatory starting in 2015.
  22. Miami_Chief

    Eagle Court of Honor Dilemna

    Welcome to the forums and congrats on your achievement of the rank of Eagle Scout. Having the new Eagle and his family make arrangements for the Court of Honor is pretty standard. It allows you as the new Eagle to make the event your own and not have just any old ceremony that was just like the last. There are countless suggestions on scripts, ceremonies, invite lists, decorations, and every other thing you could possibly imagine for the event. There was even a book put out at one time with script ideas and event planning suggestions. Some Eagle parents have joked that it's a good warm up for wedding planning, but there's no need to be that elaborate if you don't want to be. When it was my turn to plan my ECOH I actually did some cut and paste with a few different ceremonies. I found parts I liked and made them work together. I've seen big, elaborate ones with a catered meal, I've seen others that were a simple, 10 minute ceremony at the church where the Troop met. The most recent one I went to was for a young man who was very involved with his OA Lodge, so he arranged for an OA Eagle Ceremony done by boys from the Lodge in full regalia. It was cool to see. No two ECOHs I've attended have ever been the same.
  23. Miami_Chief

    Can a SM ban OA elections?

    "But honestly the OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members." This sums up about 95% of all problems I ran into as a youth officer and now as an adviser.
  24. Miami_Chief

    Summer Camp - In Council or Out?

    As long as the boys are getting a quality camping experience, the location of the camp shouldn't be an issue. That being said I think it's important to at least consider the local Council's camping program. If the boys are wanting something beyond what they offer, then go to a different camp that offers it. But make sure the PLC is looking at the camping options, not just the adults. Go with what the boys want. I once ran into a Troop that always went out of Council- when I inquired why the Scoutmaster informed me that the Troop had a bad experience at our local camp in 1989 and will never go back again. Camps can change dramatically in short amounts of time based on program and staffing, and our camp had. They were willing to let a 24-year-old customer service issue turn into a life-long grudge against the camp and its staff (even though many current staff hadn't been born in '89). If you do go out of Council be open with your fellow Scouters and your Council about why you do- if local things are "broken" or the local program/facilities are not what the boys want the Council's Camping Committee needs to hear it. (I can't promise you they'll like that or that they'll do anything about it, but they need to hear it) Feed
  25. Miami_Chief

    Tuck it in!

    Hundreds of parents have been calling the national headquarters over several months just to ask if they should tuck in their shirts? Not sure if parents have too much time on their hands or if it's just a slow news day for the BSA.