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Everything posted by Bando

  1. Bando

    Sleeping in Cars

    One slightly damp and chilly night on a campout, I was only staying one night and decided to forego the tent and sleep in the open air with my gear set up atop a picnic table under the dining fly. There were a couple of us out there, and I was perfectly cozy inside a sleeping bag and fleece liner. Woke up the next morning, broke down my gear and filled up my camp mug of coffee, and a particularly buffoonish fellow adult and long-ago Eagle Scout shows up to the party bragging about how warm he was sleeping in the back seat of his SUV. "I wasn't gonna sleep outside in that" were his exact words, if memory serves. I put car sleeping in the same category as the guys who take an hour to set up the elaborate cots and air mattresses, the portable fans, etc. inside their tents. To each their own, but that ain't camping.
  2. Bando

    Why Eagle?

    Saw something similar happen when a good friend attended my Eagle COH when we were both on the brink of 16. He saw that most of his friends were already there and having fun, decided he wanted to join the troop, and pretty much set out on an instantaneous and meteoric rise to Eagle. Did his BOR after his 18th birthday. Earned about 35 MBs, went on a couple big trips, did as much camping as his absurdly busy school and sports schedule would allow, and had a great time. Worked his butt off. All told, a pretty impressive achievement. But, then again, he was a pretty impressive kid before he joined up, so you could tell what was going to happen.
  3. I had perhaps my best week of scout camp camping the one summer my troop went to Owasippe instead of our usual camp. An incredible, amazing place that ran a fantastic program. I'm so glad the CAC figured this out and did the right thing.
  4. Bando

    Seeding a new troop?

    Well, there were a variety of reasons for that happening. Our town had about five or six troops through the fifties, but was down to three through the mid-80s. Mine was the oldest and biggest of the three, but the second largest folded and we ended up with the bulk of it. And then suburbanization happened and our town population exploded, so we had one small troop who never wanted to be anything bigger than a couple patrols, and us. And we had a lot of really energized volunteers, great kids, and a really strong tradition to build off of. There were never any other COs willing to step up to the plate, and we were always able to accommodate the lot. Ergo, huge troop. It's hard to run a boy-led program out of that, and for a long time we simply didn't try too hard and just went with what worked (basically an adult/youth hybrid, but with the adults almost always deferring to the kids), but now I understand they're trying a lot harder to make it boy-led. And it's working. As long as the unit functions, and ours always did, troop size is what it is. Was our troop too big? Maybe it was. But thankfully it was never a real detriment to the program, other than the fact that it sometimes hamstrung where we could go camping. After a while, when you have a system that works, with numbers like that, I found it just kind of ran itself.
  5. Bando

    Seeding a new troop?

    My troop spawned off an offshoot troop when I was in high school. We were pushing about 140-150 kids in a meeting space that could barely contain 125, and spun off a troop of about 50 or 60 with a different CO. There was another troop in town, too, a smaller group (~15-20 at most) who always kept to themselves, and they were pretty much uninterested in being a part of it. So we had to form a new troop. We gave them a bunch of scouts, some leaders (including our former longtime scoutmaster to get them started), a pile of equipment, the whole nine yards, and they supplemented from there. We then capped our membership and encouraged new boys to join the other troop. The problem was there wasn't a cohesive group of people who clearly wanted to go, so it was basically a group of forced refugees and just a handful of families that were open to doing it and passionate about the whole idea. There were problems with families whose sons were sent to the other troop whose younger sons wanted to join ours, there was all sorts of drama when we tried to come up with some metric to decide who would end up where (always a great idea to turn people into math equations)... It ended up being a pretty big headache. In the end, the troops have always gotten along, but the cooperation and camaraderie between the two groups never really got to what we thought it would be. The hope was we could have two troops of about the same size, but what ended up happening is they ended up ballooning at first, then dwindling down to about 30 or 40. And then we were right back to the same huge number within a few years (though with a new, much larger meeting space, as our CO expanded their building). Last I heard, there's pretty much no interest in doing it again, both because there isn't another church or organization willing to be a CO, and no one really wants to go through all of it again, even fifteen years after the first try. Luckily both troops have great leadership and energy, good COs, support from the District, etc., so it didn't end up impacting the program at all in the long run. I would suggest only doing it if you have people who are willing to take a chance, a CO that is flexible or a new CO willing to come on board, a group of adults and youth leadership who can work well together, and if the old troop is willing to do a lot of legwork to make sure the new unit gets off the ground. Work hard on Cub crossovers and give the new troop a bit more whizz-bang promotion than the older unit to build up numbers. Use your Unit Commissioner and DE to help you through the process. Be prepared for friction and drama, too.
  6. Bando

    the mad rush to Eagle before 2014

    Exactly my thought, too.
  7. Bando

    Interpreter Strips ?

    Well, I wanted to find out the answer to specifically this question because I wanted to do an interpreter strip in a somewhat lesser-studied language. And it was on the way to something else. So... It was actually pretty cool. They were doing testing on-site for a bunch of languages, things like that.
  8. Bando

    Keeping it inexpensive?

    (Shrug) No judgment intended. Apparently the feeling isn't mutual. Not every troop is like mine, and not every troop is like yours. We all make do with the resources we have, right? And not every kid on those trips were from well-off families, either. The vast majority weren't, actually. We did a bunch of group fundraisers, a lot of guys worked hard on their own to make the scratch, and we all had fun in the end. Isn't the point of scouting to teach kids "if there's a will, there's a way?" Or are we just going to keep kids down and not let them dream big just because we resent what we think others might have?
  9. Bando

    Interpreter Strips ?

    Those are just the ones Nationals produces patches for. They encourage you to have your own made if they don't make one for your particular language, heard as much when I went to the Interpreter Strip exhibit at Jamboree.
  10. But how many scouts are they chartering? Isn't the criticism of LDS scouting that their actual active numbers usually don't match the chartered amounts?
  11. Bando

    Keeping it inexpensive?

    For my money, you can never go wrong camping in state parks and regional metroparks, national monuments, forests, and lakeshores, etc. We all have that kind of stuff around us, but I don't think a lot of troops tend to utilize them as much as they should. Keeps costs down, and they're there for you to use for things like this.
  12. Bando

    Keeping it inexpensive?

    I think you sell scouts short in their abilities to dream big and plan big when it comes to high adventure treks to unconventional places like Alaska and Hawaii. I've been in troops that have sent kids both places, and the kids were plenty involved. Heck, the trips were their idea! I went on one of those trips, too. Hawaii was a pretty great place to spend new years with my scouting buddies, we still talk about it over a decade later.
  13. Bando

    Uniforms on Camping Trips and Hikes

    Cosign. I really respect those of us who can make the field uniform work for all scouting excursions. I really do. But I'm just not one of those people. I've always been active in troops that almost exclusively traveled in the field uniform, and were completely anal full-uniform troop in meeting settings. But once we got to camp, the shirt and necker were put in the pack until we started for home. I just can't see how the current field uniform is practical in most active scouting situations. And I'm a person that really values the uniform. If you can do it, that's fantastic. But for my money, I'll take a scouting t-shirt and the official shorts or pants over a uniform shirt and necker if there's any physical activity involved.
  14. Bando

    Interpreter Strips ?

    I really can think of few "uniform Nazi" problems that are so worth really fighting for. If you can rock more than one interpreter strip, go for it!
  15. Bando

    Boys' Life Wayback Machine

    This is great! Thanks for posting. FYI, the entire run is also available for viewing on Google Books.
  16. Why do beads preclude someone from talking to someone else? Are these some kind of magic beads that turn you into a person incapable of socializing at roundtables? And, for that matter, knots? All the Woodbadgers I know are devoted scouters who set an example, beads or no beads. It's an extra level of training. And like anything else, it's what you make it. A bad personality is a bad personality, whether your beads are on your shirt or in your sock drawer. Sounds to me like the issue is with individual, bad apple Woodbadgers, not the training itself.
  17. "I am an amateur Historian and one of the first thing you learn is that all those oral histories collected from "old timers" are bunk. They will claim to remember anything but, when you get back to good source documentation you often find that the "old-timers" have sent you off on a wild goose chase." I'm a professional historian, trained to both receive and interpret oral histories, and this isn't a hard and fast rule. Not by a longshot. A narrator being asked questions about their own experiences by someone qualified to ask the right kinds of questions will more often than not tell you a more or less accurate story. Sounds like you ran into a boondoggle of a situation with an oral history project that was poorly executed, no more no less. Done correctly, in combination with good documentary research and analytical capabilities, oral histories can be useful historical evidence.
  18. Bando

    Life Skills merit badge

    * "No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements."
  19. Bando

    No Dog for Dog Care

    I don't care. There is exactly one classification for Eagle Scout: Eagle Scout. There are no comparisons. No "mine are better," "yours aren't qualified." An Eagle Scout is an Eagle Scout. If you want to take issue with the adults in the process, go ahead. But comparing kids to pump our egos about how good we are at running a boy-led program or keeping hardcore standards for scout skills is a pointless exercise. Do your best for your kids, but don't use your standards or their qualifications as a stick to beat down others. I wonder how kids learn anything with such negative, pompous examples of adults at the back of the room.
  20. Bando

    No Dog for Dog Care

    Edit: Replied to the wrong comment.
  21. Bando

    BYU TV celebration of scouts tonight

    So was there a rolling rock, or just rock n roll?
  22. Bando

    No Dog for Dog Care

    An Eagle is an Eagle as far as the rank is concerned. There's no gold-border patch for superstar skills achievement.
  23. Bando

    Interpreter Strips ?

    The Insignia Guide is ambiguous, but it seems the implication is one. I've seen people with two, but I can't imagine how you'd have any more than that. It gets a bit crowded. It's a good problem to have, I guess!
  24. Bando

    No Dog for Dog Care

    Since when do we rank Eagles by "quality," and since when did "my Eagles are better than your Eagles" become a thing?
  25. ​I was concerned about this so it was one of my first questions. The Council CEO (whom I interviewed with) started out in our district over 30 years ago. He moved up north after a few years where he turned another council around and then ended up back here where he has remained for the last 27 years. He has been courted to go to other councils and do the same work he's done for ours, but has chosen not to. As he told me, very bluntly, they may make you some offers that you may choose to consider, but there is nothing that will make you have to leave if you choose not to. Our family is rooted here, so leaving is really out of the question, at least for the foreseeable future. BSA may WANT me to move, but as I was told, there's nothing they can do to make that happen. Yes, they'll make you offers and you don't have to take them, but you also don't have to get promoted, either. The BSA has pretty structured career trajectory goals for DEs. If you pan out, you move up the ladder. No one stays a DE forever, and upward mobility (intentionally) will not happen in the same council. And, really, you don't want to stay a DE forever, no matter how altruistic your motives. You need to ask tougher questions on this one, methinks.