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Everything posted by Mommascout

  1. I've been away from the forum for quite awhile because of the negative bantering that I came upon time and again (even though the majority of posters were helpful and enjoyable.) I don't know guys... this new system of squelching and rating may just become another weapon for the occasional disgruntled, oppositionl user??? I guess it remains to be seen! I hope it helps because this is a wonderful forum when you need real serious answers and advice and I miss visiting you all and learning from your experience. I'm still scouting - my son finally made Life but has stalled again and I hope to return to these pages of wisdom to help me get the wind beneath his wings so he can finally fly!
  2. "Fail to plan and you plan to fail." A thought for those scouts who are always in a hurry and usually forget an important item on a campout or just another way of saying "Be Prepared!"
  3. I'm getting the impression from SPLT15's posts that the troop is very small and very undertrained. Training is crucial to the success of any troop. The youth leaders don't seem to understand the adult registered leaders roles and vice-versa. Until I read that the woman in question was on the committee, I was going to say that she should be invited to the next training available for adult leaders as she obviously wants to be involved (her current methods of involving herself are unacceptable as we all agree). But now that you say she is on the committee that raises another question. Was she ever trained? I can see how in a small troop people want to "just volunteer" and be part of a committee but that's not how it works in Scouting. Training is what makes the scout wheels turn. As was already mentioned, there are many more issues at stake here -most importantly 'youth protection'. If she was trained then she obviously needs a refresher course because she is not working for the good of the troop by causing all this commotion and Boy Scouts do not need to be exposed to this kind of behavior. She is distracting the scouts from their agenda and goals. If she was not properly trained then she needs to be invited graciously (as you bite your tongue and maintain respect if you again are forced to deal with her) and preferrably by an adult leader to participate in a training. I also sense that the youth could probably benefit from a refresher JLT course. By training her (or refreshing her training) her misguided sense of being involved would be better channeled to the appropriate place. At the risk of sounding like I am defending her (which I am not) I think that she and her family want to be involved as evidenced by their participation in scouting and their community (mayor is kind of a big deal wouldn't you say?) She wants to be on the committee, she wants to be at PLC meetings (even though she should not) and she wants to go on campouts. She needs to be taught by example by scouts and leaders who get it. She seems like the type of person to try anyone's patience but also seems like someone who desperately needs scoutings values to help her grow. Her energy is high and inappropriatley placed but with the right training and guidance .... who knows? Kicking her out or forcing her out is probably not the right way to go. That just causes more hurt feelings and anger. But I do not envy the task of this troop in getting her to just chill out listen. Good luck to you SPLT15 and just remember to treat her as you would like to be treated. You are a good leader and the boys are watching you. You get the privilege of setting an example in everything you do. You've made it to SPL so you obviously have the ability to get through this storm. Much luck to you and your fellow scouts and scouters!
  4. I have this inspirational piece on a plaque in my home and thought that it would make a great Scoutmaster Minute. It looks long but truly takes under 1 minute even when read slowly and meaningfully. It is food for thought... TAKE TIME.... Take time to think... it is the source of power. Take time to play... it is the secret of perpetuel youth. Take time to read... it is the fountain of wisdom. Take time to pray... it is the greatest power on earth. Take time to love and be loved... it is a God-given privilege. Take time to be friendly... it is the road to happiness. Take time to laugh... it is the music of the soul. Take time to give... it is too short a day to be selfish. Take time to work... it is the price of success. Take time to do charity... it is the key to heaven. (Author unknown)
  5. Yeah, it definitely was a turn-off for me and that is why I left the forums many months ago. I thought I'd surf on by again tonight and maybe be inspired by some wonderful posts (as can sometimes happen) but I see that nothing has really changed in the tone of some of the posters. On the one hand it is interesting to watch grown men bicker back and forth - at times very eloquently - at times entertaining - but on the other hand it seems very petty and immature. But as you said, when you need an official ruling, important info or just good advice this is definitely a great site to visit.
  6. I was just telling my 15 year old son how much I actually like that song. It is a rap prayer to God. Who would have thought it possible? Now, if the rap artists out there would create more lyrics like that more people would listen. (Who am I kidding - that will never happen - wishful thinking!)
  7. sctmom: I would try to encourage the other families to consider scouting as your son has a history with those boys in the neighborhood. When they do join the program your son will feel that all the Scouting activities are more fun just because his friends are with him. They will also have a bigger voice together to help plan some of the activities that interest them. As your son's friends get closer to joining age invite them (one at a time) to participate in a troop outing (with the SM's approval) to try to recruit them. This will give your son a few opportunities to entice his friends to join and at the same time keep him interested in the program because he has a friend along to make it more FUN. As a bonus he will recieve a 'Recruiter' badge that he can proudly wear on his uniform if his friends do join. It also sounds to me like your son and his friends would love to get involved in some pioneering activities as that involves ropes, wood and lashings. Maybe he could present the suggestion to his patrol leader that he is interested in building gateways, rope bridges, towers and such and it could be incorporated into a future outdoor activity or campout. The troop or his patrol could earn the Merit Badge while having FUN together. Whatever happens with his friends I hope your son stays involved in Scouting. My son also has his moments when he's had enough and feels as though he wants to quit but we get through it because I acknowledge his feelings and show understanding but also let him know how much he's gained from Scouting and that I feel it is an integral part of his education. What he gets from Scouting, he can't get from school or church or the sports team. So, good luck to you. Your Scout Spirit will carry him through!
  8. Thanks SctMom - I will look into the various types of Martial Arts for my 17 year old. My gut instinct says it will be good for him and give him another physical outlet for his anger/pain. My 12 year old is in an ager management counseling program after school. Since, enrolling him there, things at home have been much better and he is learning different techniques to reign in his anger as you mentioned. Scouting does provide him with the male interactions and role models he needs to see in order to learn that there is a better way. As for my husband and me, we attend in-service trainings monthly and meet with the boys' psychiatrist monthly and have weekly support from a Clinician who counsels the boys and acknowledges any concerns. We have seen so much change in both boys since they arrived (but they both have so, so far to go and grow) and as the writer of the article said - it is the power of positive influence. I am going to make copies of the article for the agency I work for and advocate the Scouting program for all the teens with anger issues - which is most of them. OGE - Thank you for posting this topic. It has forced me to re-evaluate my feelings toward the 17 year old and see things a bit more positively. I have been very upset with him lately because he has taken it to a personal level toward me. He has serious abandonment issues toward his mother and I feel that since I am in the "mother" role this creates more anger and pain for him. He sees the relationship that my 14 year old son and I have and I know it's hard on him - especially when he acts out and we show disapproval. I have a new perspective and am going to try to be more patient with him. Thank you for the nudge.
  9. OGE I was immediately drawn to the article and it was the first one I read. I am a foster parent in a therapeutic program for troubled teens. I have seen some angry boys! I must agree with the writer on several points. First, it does take a tremendous amount of energy and patience to deal POSITIVELY with these boys and not interpret their anger on a personal level. These boys come to my home angrier than a trapped bee. And it is a shield they use to protect themselves from those vulnerable feelings of loss, shame, helplessness, hopelessness and fear - as the writer said. I currently have two foster boys (ages 12 and 17). The 12 year old is the one who displays outwardly directed anger and is on medication for an anger disorder (Intermittent Explosive Disorder). He is the one who acts out violently with tantrums (yelling, screaming, throwing, and physical force). He will be attending a Special Services school this fall as our local public school has determined that he is a threat to the other students (he did ultimately send a child to the hospital because he picked him up and threw him down the hall - over a comment about his untied shoelaces). The 17 year old is the one who directs his anger inward. He draws evil pictures, writes hate lyrics for songs, he cuts himself, he lies and steals, he mumbles and has very low self-esteem, is very oppositional and defiant in a passive way. He is on probation and has a record for minor infractions of the law - trespassing, harrassmant, general defiance. Both come from very dysfunctional families. The last 10 months have been difficult for my family at times. But the first thing I did when thay came was to put them into my 14 year old son's scout troop. They came to live with my family on October 22, 2001 and on October 29, 2001 they joined Scouting. (When girls are placed with us they become Girls Scouts!) They have gone camping, fishing, hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, hiking at Valley Forge, PA., camping on the beach in Wildwood, participated in service projects, and learned many scout skills and done things they would never do in their family. The positive reinforcement they receive from Scouting cannot be measured. They feel that they are a part of something special and when they put on that uniform it gives them a greater sense of self-esteem. They know that something fun is awaiting them at the meeting or the outing. And trying to understand the Scout Law has been like learning a foreign language to them. A scout is trustworthy?? What does that mean to a juvenile delinquent?? No one ever took the time to teach them any of it in their lives. But they are learning now. It is the community interaction that helps these kids feel better. We also take them to church with us and to the YMCA frequently to play basketball and swim. Letting them get physical and take out their rage on the ball or the pool is much safer than allowing them to stew in their anger. The 17 year old has been giving us problems at home, school and at his part-time job and we are nearing the point of giving up as our family is beginning to suffer from his anger. We are trying the best we can. It is not possible to undo 17 years of pain but we are trying to work with him. It breaks my heart to even think of giving up on him but when the police come to your door.... it's tough to take. I was thinking about enrolling him in Karate classes as he expressed an interest. Any opinions about that? My son took classes for 3 years and he did well and learned much more than defending himself. He was taught the disciplines of the martial arts. I thought maybe it would be good for the 17 year olds self-esteem but am weary that he may use his skills in a negative way. I hope not, though. I believe that Scouting is truly a path to healing some of the pain that angry teens feel and was so happy to read the article and felt validated. The Scout Master is also very supportive of the boys and understands their special needs. My husband and I are both adult leaders and one or both of us attends the meetings and outings to keep close supervision on the boys. Even if a foster child stays with us only a short time we hope that the one thing they learn is that there is another way. And when they grow up perhaps they will remember one or two things we taught them. Perhaps they will break the cycle of dysfunction in their families and put their children into the scouting program (Boy or Girl)... I can only hope.
  10. Morey's Piers in Wildwood, NJ hosts the Scouting event known as Beach Jam where thousands of Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts pitch their tents on the beach. They offer a very reasonable package deal that includes 2 days of unlimited amusement rides, meal vouchers (served buffet style), a bonfire (weather permitting), a beach dance party with DJ and ecology class as well as a patch. Beach Jam T-shirts are available all over the boardwalk. In the event of windy weather - anchor your tents securely with sand filled jugs and soda bottles as they request no staking. There may also be other scheduled activities. you can get more info by calling Morey's Piers directly at (609)522-3900 or visit the website at www.MoreysPiers.com . My family has attended the event for the last 4 years - it's lots of great fun and amazing to see thousands of tents pitched on the beach from the great Ferris Wheel!
  11. Hey Bob - I've been away from the site for a few months but thought I'd check it out again and what a surprise - E.M. is still being objectionable to you and everything scouting represents. You are such a trooper to still be patiently interacting with him. I admire your perseverence and tolerance. I was hoping, as I know you were, that you would have succeeded in persuading him to give the "real" scouting method a try. He just might find that it works beautifully. I actually felt bad after my very first post (I showed my annoyance) in response to him months ago but now see that my instinct was right. It's just baffling to me that someone would be so openly and publicly defiant about scouting. Anyway, you still have my support and respect for your - as I said before -SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE!!!
  12. Congratulations to you and your son! It is quite a journey down the trail to Eagle. I am anticipating the day my son (Star) achieves that very goal. I've been jotting down ideas for his ceremony for some time now and I think the bagpipes would be perfect and definitely add some pomp to the circumstance! I am very happy for you and your son. It is a great accomplishment and a wonderful testimony to you as a parent, and to your son for being so perseverent in his pursuit of the dream. I hope he flies strong and high!
  13. I'm not certain, we had our troop complete that prior to the rafting trip (we did canoeing MB at camp). But their programs are so safety oriented I would think they do. To be sure, I would double ckeck with them.
  14. Yes, here is the web address: www.wcrafting.com , all the info you need about camping, merit badges, and council/district sponsored events is located there or give them a call @ (570) 443-RAFT. It is a great, well organized weekend with very knowledgeable staff and instructors. The first year we went we did the white water rafting program and the following year we did the mountain biking program. The kids had a great time and they provide an adult leader-only area where you can find a quiet place to have a cup of coffee and chill out!
  15. I think both programs should remain separate. Why mess with a good thing? I like the idea of both groups socializing at special events. For example, the Beach Jam in Wildwood, NJ each year is a wonderful mixup of boys and girls complete with planned activities, a dance and bon-fire on the beach. Thousands of scouts and tents all co-mingled on the beach exemplifies great scout spirit. Also, the White Water Challengers in PA has an annual Scouting weekend for boys and girls with a dance and bon-fire and a full roster of activities. I think events like that are great for the kids and allow them the opportunity to be social. Maybe more events like that could be planned rather than changing two organizations so drastically by going co-ed.
  16. All the issues that Bob listed have existed in the past, exist today and will continue to exist. Better trained leadership and better prepared leadership is a major solution. BUT what is wrong with a super ad campaign? It can't hurt. Enthusiasm is contagious! Let's show everyone what we do, what our boys do. The ads would need to target the adults in a positive way as well as the scouts. The positive feedback alone may motivate those leaders who need that push. We've all seen the Pepsi and beer commercials that just grab your undivided attention. Sometimes its the humor and sometimes its the music or a touching moment between a parent and child. As I said before, the country is ripe for a patriotic Scouting campaign. Let's do it! We've all heard the jingles that are so catchy you find yourself humming or singing them over and over to the point of annoyance. Scouting - as huge as it is - and moreso, as great as we all know it is should be promoted in a grander style with bells and whistles, drums and flyovers!! Okay, I'm getting carried away - but maybe a great jingle?? How about Britney Spears in a Boy Scout uniform singing the jingle?? (Just kidding Bob!
  17. Be careful of what you say to others because once the words are spoken they may never be taken back. (even a sincere apology can't erase the memory.)
  18. Old Grey Eagle (I admire that name!) thank you for your empathy. I too have trouble understanding why there is so much discrepancy among Scoutmasters methods when we are all reading the same script. Even if the trainings are handled differently in different areas the Scouting method is supposed to be universal and one would assume interpreted in a very similar way. I've met many great SM's at campouts and trainings and council events and it's because of them that I realized how Scouting is supposed to be and how our SM was falling far short of the ideal. I believe that the type of SM we had is truly in the minority because the people who are drawn to the Scouting organization are really the best people in the world - good people with good hearts - and the kind of folk that I want to spend my time with and have my son grow up with. What we experienced was unfortunate but like you I learned alot and will always be aware of the impact I personally have on any Scout or Scouter. I believe in the Image of Scouting and the reality of what Scouting can be and mostly the Promise of Scouting for my son. This forum has been a wonderful outlet for the frustration I felt with warm resposes from everyone and it has reinforced in me that Scouting IS what I always knew it to be - a family of friends where you should always feel welcome. My family is back on the right trail now, we just got lost in the dark woods for awhile! Thanks again.
  19. I have been on both sides of this coin. My son did reach First Class First Year and was elected Patrol Leader at age 12. I was concerned about his leadership abilities and wondered if he could do it but I did not let him know of my doubts. Yes, he fumbled and stumbled in the beginning but he quickly got the hang of it and was a very good leader for only being 12. As Bob said it is on-the-job training and there is no better way to learn than hands-on and through making mistakes. My son is very active so I did not feel that he was rushed - he was very enthusiastic during that first year. On the other side of the coin ... I am a therapeutic foster parent with two boys age 11 (soon to be 12 in May) and 17. I enrolled them in Scouting the first week they lived with me last October 2001. These boys have never experienced anything like Scouting before in their dysfunctional lives but they have both embraced it with open arms and great enthusiasm. As they are emotionally and learning disabled to different degrees in different areas they could never attain the goal of First Class First Year - maybe 18 months or even two years. But it does not matter because they will learn as they go at a pace that works for them. That is the beauty of Scouting. It is not a race and there will be exceptions to many rules when it comes to these challenged boys. Will they ever "master" all the skills? No, but just being exposed to them will broaden their minds. After 5 months they have done so much already and learned so much and received recognition for several things. It makes my job as a foster parent so much more meaningful being able to give these boys Scouting even if it is only for a short time in their lives. I know it is something they will always remember. I don't think they will remember whether or not they achieved the rank in a certain amount of time but rather the campfire, the hike, selling popcorn, and playing crazy games, etc. I understand the push behind attaining the rank the first year but also feel that it is up to the individual scout and how motivated and able they are. As far as keeping the boys - any boys - interested, there has to be lots of FUN!
  20. BWCAfan - if you've been reading these posts for a few weeks then you know my family went through a very similar situation in regards to our SM who rules with an iron hand. Take my advice - and don't wait a year like I did - and find a new troop. We went to visit several troops before making our decision. There were 3 troops within a 10 minute drive but we chose one that is about 20-25 minutes away because it was the one that felt the best to us. My husband and I went alone to scope out the meetings then we brought our son along and all finally agreed on this troop. He is so happy now and was invited to join the new Venture Patrol on the first night. The SM is so open and friendly and has 9 Assistants and invited my husband to become one as well. This troop understands how to share the leadership. We are both on the Troop Committee and I was asked to do the newsletter as I had some experience. We felt so welcome and immediately incorporated into the troop which is how it should be. We had the same problem after we completed SMF and began to question and make suggestions on improving how the troop should be run. And at every turn he seemed to take offense and was very obvious in his disapproval. As time went on we felt that he was transferring his resentment to our son as he became very impatient and short with him. We gradually lost interest in Scouting but realized that it was hopeless to stay in this troop and finally we left. About 20 other scouts also left in the last year. Good luck to you and your son. You will be much happier when you find a troop that feels like home! It's out there and waiting for you guys!
  21. Getting back to you with my son's answer ... He said most definitely it's the uniform. "If only they were red or blue or, anything other than tan - it's so dull!" We were at our troop meeting tonight (COH) and he just told me that another scout said to him, "If I was caught in this uniform I would get beat up by some kids that I go to school with." I find that sad to hear. As I said in another thread my son is going through an embarrassment phase when it comes to being seen in his uniform by certain peers. I'm hoping that it will pass as he matures. I personally like the uniform and think it looks sharp and very military-like and maybe that's what the kids don't like. Perhaps a musical/advertising campaign with lots of media attention that included pop music kids of today adore and endorsed by pop stars and sports figures ... maybe this type of promo could enhance (not change) the image and make it more "cool". Kids love music and it leaves an impression upon you. As the country is in a patriotic whirl right now perhaps the idea of recruiting new scouts this way would catch on. Anything put to music sells better. Just a thought...
  22. I'm going to have a chat with my son about this topic and I'll get back to you guys with his answer... He is usually concerned about what is "cool" and what is not so I'll get his input. I do know for a fact that he thought the National Jamboree was the ultimate in "cool" scouting. I think the variety of activities and people and the unity of spirit was what gave him that impression. I'll let you know what he thinks.
  23. Yes, he is 14 years old and has had his ear pierced ( only one hole) since age 10 or 11. It has not effected his character in any negative way. It's a simple fashion statement, nothing more. There are many days when he does not even wear the earring as it is not a priority in his life. As you said many boys and men today enjoy wearing an earring or two or three...
  24. Thank you both for the ideas - I will make sure I've covered all those angles!
  25. Mommascout

    Full Uniform

    sctmom - I also take every opportunity to photograph my son when he is in uniform and hope that someday when he outgrows being embarrassed about being seen in it around his male school peers - that he will remember what that uniform represented for him while he was growing up. He is at an awkward age (14) with his peers and as they don't see Scouting as being "cool" he feels he must not let them know he is a Scout. I am working on this with him and I see improvement. If his peers only knew what awesome things my son did in that uniform I'm sure they'd want to become scouts. When he gets dressed in his uniform for any scouting related activity he is very proud to wear it - especially to Courts of Honor when he gets to wear all the bells and whistles. I'm hoping this phase will soon pass as I'm sure it will. He is becoming more mature and beginning to see that peer pressure is just that. Does anyone have any advice about how I can help him overcome feeling this way? How long does this phase last? I never thought about trying the "girls love a guy in uniform" angle but I will surely try that one!
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