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Posts posted by moxieman

  1. evmori wrote: "The boxes of GS cookies I buy have two sleeves of cookies for $4. A lot more than 12"


    It depends on which one you buy. Your best values are the shortbread and thin mints (which have two sleeves and roughly 30 or so cookies), but some of the others have a lot less--girls around here last year were offering animal cracker-type cookies but square with an animal depicted on oneside with the other side dipped in chocolate--12 in the box for $4. Some of the others like the peanut butter filled ones come 15 to a box.


    Along the same lines, there are different amounts/types of popcorn for roughly the same price range and then they skyrocket from there. (shrug)



    Walmart--don't get me going on that. I dare you to compare. Go into Wallyword and write down the UPC on an electronic gizmo or power tool. Then find the 'same thing' in another store. The boxes will look the same, but the UPC's will not be the same. Why? With Wally's clout, they can make the manufacturer produce an exclusive cheap knock-off. So you save money, but you get what you pay for.

  2. Yes, it's expensive. So aren't Girl Scout Cookies (in some of those packages, you're buying as few as 12 cookies for $4). So isn't any other fundraiser you encounter--most candy bar fundraisers have a 50% mark-up--the seller's organization keeps half and the other half is the cost of the product.


    Roughly 67-70% of that popcorn prices stays in your local council, the rest is the actual cost of the product (including shipping to your local area). Of that, roughly half goes to the unit that sells it (depending on the council) and the other half goes to council. So, they could drop the price, but then you'd have to sell even more for your unit and council to reap the same benefit.


    Your yearly registration fee? None of that stays at the council, it all goes to National.


    Other than Friends of Scouting and other such requests for donations by your council, popcorn funds your local program. It pays for your scouting professionals (I know, I know, some are way overpaid, but that's not the point here), it keeps the lights running (and other maintainance) at your council office and your camp property (or properties). If your council is like mine, it also buys insurance to cover all your registered members while they are out on scout functions. (Ex. A local scout broke his arm at district camporee a year ago--council covered all the hospital expenses through their insurance policy.)


    And as others have stated, you're not buying popcorn (or girlscout cookies). You're buying Scouting. Popcorn doesn't pay for it all alone, but it sure makes it easier.


    For those of you who don't hear much about popcorn in your area, it's because your council has dropped the ball on PR. Trailsend gives you all that you need for the PSA's (public service announcements) other then the scouts to read the parts and the time at the local radio station. Most stations will gladly air your PSA for you--they must air so many a day/week, and most of them (even those owned by the huge out-of-state firms) would rather air local-related PSA's when they can then the Federal ones. It's better for business.


    We have two different competing radio conglomerates up here airing the same PSA with the voices of scouts from different units--promoting scouting in a positive light and with the scouts reminding the listeners to buy popcorn when they see the scouts.


    Also, every year our state governor buys the first popcorn from scouts in both our state's two council's in a press promo covered on TV and in the newspapers--again, our councils are on the ball with promoting popcorn. If yours isn't, ask them why not? They're losing sales and $$$ if they aren't.

  3. There are always a few units like this. At our Klondike Derby, I operate the "Claim Jumper" station--scout trivia based on advancement requirements. Get a question right, score a nugget. Get a question wrong and loose a nugget.


    Advancement questions are based on the highest ranking member of the "patrol", which "levels" the playing field. The Tenderfoots do a lot better then the Lifes and Eagles. (chuckle) Even when I toss the same question at both rank groups. Probably 'cause it's the material is more fresh to the Tenderfoots. Then again, MacGyver was only a Tenderfoot scout. ;)


    When I get a patrol of greenhorns and a Troop Guide, I give them the option of deciding whether or not the TG participates with the understanding that I can ask questions up to his rank if he does.


    I'm sure there are other ways in other competition events where you can level the playing field between normal patrols and ubber units.

  4. I took a picture of a a wood burned sign at a regional Canadian Jamboree many years ago. That sign belongs to the First Lancaster Baptist Troop of St. John, New Brunswick., Canada, which they hang up at ALL of their functions:


    "All the Decisions around here are made by volutneers. So, don't criticize UNLESS you are willing to take their place."


    I had problem parents like this a few times. I simply offered to remove my badge of office and give it to them. Obviously, they can do a better job, if the job I'm doing isn't good enough, right? Said problem parents would quickly back pedal.


    Good luck, they don't go away.


    And unrelated, but several folks mentioned football. IT's the state religion in Texas. While I was in graduate school in Lubbock (yes, pity me), I recall that most churches reschedule their Sunday Service on Super Bowl Sunday to coincide with half-time (and invite you to watch the game on the big screen in the "Fellowship Hall" before and after the service).

  5. Pine Tree Council (southwestern Maine) does theirs in November. I'd love to see them move it to February. Why?


    Because that is when the food pantries hurt the most. Everyone thinks of them during the holidays, but everyone immediately forgets them after the first of the new year. Feb to March tends to be the toughest times for the food pantries.


    Remember, it's not about the weather, its about helping those in need and their needs don't end when the holidays do.

  6. Pine Tree Council (southwestern Maine) does theirs in November. I'd love to see them move it to February. Why?


    Because that is when the food pantries hurt the most. Everyone thinks of them during the holidays, but everyone immediately forgets them after the first of the new year. Feb to March tends to be the toughest times for the food pantries.


    Remember, it's not about the weather, its about helping those in need and their needs don't end when the holidays do.

  7. Well, in my case, after serving as SM for five years in a true boy-led unit, there were some...how to say this politely...ego problems with some other adults in the unit. The problems got to the point that no matter what I tried to do, it wasn't right in their eyes. I just couldn't work with them anymore. Gave my scouting resume (http://home.gwi.net/~moxieman/scoutresume.pdf) to the troop committee and said I can't work with Scouter John anymore. I've tried this, this, and this. Here's my scouting resume. You decide: get rid of him or loose me, for if you keep him this troop will fold within five years. Committee chose to support him, so I left. Stress in my life dropped dramatically. Committee chair apologized to me years later for not heading my warnings after the troop folded 18 months shy of it's 50th Anniversary.


    I was immediately approached by the District to be their new Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner. I had turned them down in the past with: I only have time for one position--find a new SM for my unit and I'll take your position. But this time around, I was ready for a change. And it was a wonderful change--people who actually appreciated the time I provided to make scouting better for our youth. Up to that point I was wondering if those around me had forgotten that scouting is all about the youth. Not the adult coffee club, but the YOUTH.


    I have found that position very enjoyable for the past five years--a LOT LESS stress then dealing with parents all the time. I still remain somewhat involved "in the trenches" as I help out at district events and I am also a Trained "Rent-a-Leader" not affiliated with any single unit, but as a member of the commissioner staff, I can give whatever unit who needs a hand this week or that a hand...or be that second leader for that camping trip that is about to be cancelled because they can't find a second leader. (This is a rural district where the average troop size is 10 boys and 4 or 5 adults, many whom also are Cub Leaders at the same time.)


    (chuckle) I've also been 'adopted' by our most remote unit 2 hours north of here on the Quebec-Canadian border. They've given me their troop t-shirt and I'm under "orders" to wear it on their campouts.


    My brother has been recruited to try and reform the hometown unit that has folded. He's asked for my help. The wounds are still too deep to jump in as his assistant and as I explained to him, it would be better if I was not there for I don't want it to look like he's a "puppet" SM. I'll simply give him help/advice behind the scenes as he asks for it. All the luck to him.

  8. John-in-KC wrote:

    ACTIVITY... NOT FIELD. They botched it again.


    Tooth of Time Traders has activity pants from Columbia already.



    We need stuff that qualifies for the Class A uniform.


    Yup, I guess they goofed again. Not only does Tooth of Time Traders have'em already. They've have had them since at least 2004 (saw'em while attending a training conf then). At that time, they were selling faster/hotter then Philmont Belts. You'd think National would take a hint, especially one that would be VERY PROFITABLE for them. (shrug) Oh well.


    Or looking at the rest of the thread, maybe they finally got a clue.


    But like most other clothing today, they're probably made in China (sigh).


    I grew up in the hometown of Hathaway Shirts--which got bought out about 4 years back and was shut down with all the equipment being shipped to China. Until 4 years ago it had been the oldest shirt factory/name in the USA--they made uniforms for our soldiers from the Civil War throught at least the 1st World War...but I'm moving off topic. Shame they couldn't have tried to land the BSA contract before they got bought out. (shrug)



    (This message has been edited by moxieman)

  9. FScouter, please see my earlier response in this thread. The UP is shorthand for Uniform Police--ie, the segment of the "rules book quoters" who are sticklers for exact and proper uniforming no matter what. I have personally encountered some in my home council who use a tapemeasure during a uniform inspection in their unit to ensure all insigna was properly placed.



  10. Madockawanda Lodge, Pine Tree Council, is charging $850 to go. This covers all transportation (combination of plane and train), side trips, lodging before/after NOAC and all but a couple of meals in Chicago (touring before NOAC if I recall). Fee does not include the uniforms you need (if you don't have a few already).


    Our lodge has one slot left (as of 6/30). Alas, I don't have $850 I can spare--it's all going in the heating oil tank for next winter.

  11. The UP (Uniform Police for any 'newbies' on the forum) will roast you alive for this. ;)


    If a member of the UP in your area complains, respond with "A Scout Is THRIFTY." :)

    Especially, when many scouts don't even own uniform pants or shorts, despite the requirement in many units to have a Full Uniform for the board of review. I know many an Eagle Candidate who don't own uniform pants/shorts, who scramble to borrow a pair for that BoR.


    Attention UP: I'm all for Full Uniforming. When I was at the unit level, our unit had a uniform bank to help with this.


    Now that I'm at the district volunteer level, I set the example by wearing full/proper uniform down to the socks and official scout belt. You're welcome to come measure the distance from the top seam of my uniform shirt to the World Crest and to the top of my left pocket to ensure it's half-way between the two.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  12. Listen to orennoah--allowing your boys to buy personal gear can be a violation of non-profit status for your unit or worse, your unit's sponsoring organization--good way to have your charter yanked and remember, none of your "unit's" gear or money is really your unit's. IT ALL BELONGS TO THE CHARTER ORGANIZATION!


    I learned this the hard way with one unit I was helping back in my college days--we were down to two adult leaders, myself and another college student. Chartered org yanked the charter. We found another unit for our 8 boys to join, but the old unit's sponsor (chartered organization) wouldn't let us have 4 tents (out of the 52 that unit had in storage) to transfer to the new unit to help them with the extra patrol we just added to them.


    Anyway, when I was last active at the Troop Level (different unit/council then the one above), that troop took the precaution about what one can and can't buy with account money one step further: The scout could buy a uniform with their account, but they had to either surrender their old uniform or agree to surrender the one they bought when either they outgrew it or they quite/aged-out of scouting. That uniform then went into the troop's "exerienced" uniform bank for other scouts.


    The scout accounts were only for the scouts for direct scouting related expenses (the yearly national registration fee/Boys Life, camping trip food, camporee fees, jamborees, etc.). We had it spelled out in writing what the accounts could and could not be used for. There was also a stipulation that any cash left in the account when the boy left the troop (either quit or aged out), any remaining funds went back into the general troop account.


    We never had a problem with it. The accounts encouraged the boys to participate in the troop's fundraisers. Several boys who could not go to camp otherwise were able to pay part or most/all of their way (which looks better on the council campership applications).

    (This message has been edited by moxieman)

  13. Thank you for all your suggestions. I plan to pass these onto the Key Three and the rest of the District Committee.


    However, there are a few things I feel I need to respond to as I was a bit vague in areas of my post.


    Scoutldr, I should ahve been a bit more specific about the population demographics in regards to our district. It is two hours north-south. Kennebec Valley District stretches from 20 miles of the state capital (Augusta) to the Quebec Province Border. However, the majority of our units are within 40 miles of Augusta. In the past we've rotated the event within that 40 mile radius. The few outlying units we have up near the border are use to driving (and we're happy they are--when others complain, we just point the Jackman contingent, and they shut up). We'd love to hold it once, just once up in Jackman and give them a break from the driving, but I fear it would be the smallest dinner attendance ever. We're talking an area so remote that the nearest McDonald's is 45 miles away...in St. George, Quebec. The moose outnumber the town's human population. (chuckle)


    Lisabob, I assume you're describing some of the problems in your district in the past. Up here in rural Maine, in many towns, the cub leaders are also involved at the troop level. Our District volunteers are made up nearly 50/50 Cub Scout and Boy Scout Leaders. Just as many Cub Scout Leaders are recognized as the Boy Scout Leaders.


    The Camperships we award are in the form of a certificate that the unit presents to the camp /council in question made out in the name of the unit and to bill the donors for the the amount in question ($90 for Cub Day Camp--wish we could charge $25! and $180 for Boy Scout Resident Camp). Most units don't give it to one boy unless they have one specific scout who couldn't afford to go otherwise. Usually, they apply it to their entire bill for all scouts going to camp--split it up among all the youth--so it's a discount to attend camp.


    One of our longer dinners recently involved a new Cub Training Chairman who caught up on all the cub training awards that the previous chair had failed to award. He added 45 minutes to the program to many people's dismay. But it was important to recognize those cub leaders--some of those awards were so overdue that the recipients were now Boy Scout Leaders. I just wish we could have found a better way to do it without dragging out the program. Alas, we *ARE* a volunteer run organization and things like this can happen.


    Also, because I didn't state it before, the "DAM" (District Award of Merit) award is kept secret only to those who are going to receive it. We make sure family and friends know when/where to be. To keep the recipient in the dark, if these family members would not normally attend the dinner, we 'hide' them in the next room and rush'em in as the recipient is tapped on the shoulder.


    Again, thank you for the suggestions and let's keep them coming as I'm sure there are others on this forum who can benefit from them.

  14. This past week we had our end of the year district meeting to discuss what has gone well and what could be improved at district events.


    One of our biggest challenges is getting the volunteers to attend the District Recognition Dinner. I know one of our problems is that we are a very large district area-wise (over 2 hours north to south and close to an hour east-west). So, to be fair, we rotate the location of the event to a different part of the district each year.


    Our district's population is large enough that we are allowed to award up to four District Award of Merit awards per year. Yet, with this many volunteers we're lucky if we see 45 at the district banquet and its almost always the same 45. It gets harder to surprise the new "DAM" recipients when they look around and realize most everyone else in the room has already received it.


    We send out flyers to all registered adult leaders announcing the event MONTHS in advance with reminders every month in the district email newsletter and having it posted on the district website. We remind them that this is their recognition dinner and we want to recognize them for the hard work they do.


    We've tried different times of the year to try and work around other folks' schedules. It doesn't matter if we hold it in winter, spring, or summer (haven't tried fall as we've got too busy a schedule in the fall). Overall, it doesn't affect the number that attend.


    On the food side, we've tried:



    Reasonably priced catering (and excellent food)

    Light refreshments



    Dessert buffet



    Other things we've tried to encourage people to attend:



    *DOOR PRIZES--lots of donated door prizes from gift certificates to area restaurants to scout patches (and even a rare 1968 Jackman, Maine Camporee Neal Slide this past year)

    *OUTRIGHT BRIBERY--well, we give away Three FULL camperships--two cub day camp and one boy scout camp, but your unit needs to be present to win--donated by the local scout camp association group (Bomazeen Old-Timers)


    We've also tried combining it with the annual program kick-off.



    What else can we do to increase attendance short of grabbing volunteers by the collar and throttling them into attending? :)


    What works for your district?

  15. Stevejb, I was just crossing over from scout to scouter 20 years back. At that time, 2-deep leadership was required, but it was a new requirement.


    20 years from now I forsee that the BSA will be renamed "Scouts USA" as it will be completely coed by then (from my understanding, we're one of only a small handful of nations that doesn't have a completely coed scouting program). The Handbook will continue to be watered down as it has been over the past 20 years (can anyone find references to 'old communication styles' like semaphore or morse code in the past two editions?). Open fires on campouts? Probably won't be allowed anywhere anymore. The portable microwave oven will replace the dutch oven. :(


    However, we will still be able to instill the values of scouting into future generations.

  16. Back when I was a scoutmaster, our feeder pack had a really exciting crossing ceremony down to Fort Halifax Park in Winslow, Maine. This is at the confluence of two rivers, the Kennebec and the Sebasticook (Sah-bast-eh-cook). Fort Halifax was built as a combination protection outpost and trading post in the mid-1700's. Prior to that it was the site of a Native American village. Benedict Arnold and his men spent a night here on their (failed) expedition to ccapture Quebec City during the American Revolution.


    The pack obtained permission from the town to build a temporary fire pit near the shore of the river. The adults in the pack spent some time preparing the site prior to the ceremony.


    Due to the histroy of the site, the ceremony took on a Native American theme. A member of the "Rainbow Nation" (those who believe or know they have Native blood, but can't trace it to a specific tribe) performed a smudging ceremony at the campfire before the fire was lit. The Cubs were then welcome to sit around the fire with each group at a compass point. I don't recall which group was where now, this was close to ten years back. There were two rows of benches/logs for the Webelos with the first year group in front and the 2nd year group in back.


    The member of the "Rainbow Nation" then lit an arrow in the fire, took aim down stream and shot the arrow up and into the river crying, "I call forth the spirit of Akela!"


    Round the point comes a canoe being paddled by two warriors and Akela (also in regalia) sitting in the center*. Canoe is beached and Akela steps forward and starts the actual crossing ceremonies. I don't recall the full details of the ceremonies. I was too impressed observing and quietly taking pictures at the request of Akela, my brother (we're part Micmac), with his camera.


    What I do recall. The second year webelos left their bench and joined the Boy Scouts outside of the circle to indicate they were crossing from Cubbing to Scouting. The first year webelos then were welcome to move to the back set of benches.


    Bears then moved over the the benches just vacated by the first year webelos. Wolves then moved over as did the Tigers in turn. This left the Tiger bench empty.


    Akela then turned to the crowd behind all the compass points and called out to those who would be entering First Grade in the fall and invited them to join the circle of Cub Scouting and the Tiger bench was filled.


    Some words were said to close the ceremony and then a drum was played and all were invited to dance around the fire.


    There were a lot of impressed youth and parents that night.


    *--Yes, semi-following BSA regulations, they had lifejackets, but were sitting/kneeling on them.

  17. Area-wise, Kennebec Valley District is one of the largest districts in the northeast. One of the ways we help get the word out to units of upcoming events is the District Email Newsletter. I'm the current "Keeper of the List" and newsletter editor.


    Volunteers who sign up are BCC'd in the email to protect their privacy. At the beginning of the monthly "E-Letter" is a quick disclaimer explaining why they're receiving it and how to unsubscribe from the list. We do our list the old-fashion way--"manually". Only I and the Key Three (except the DE who doesn't want a copy) have access to a copy of the mailing list--this is also explained in the disclaimer.


    Then, all info from District/Council that was passed out at Roundtable goes out the following weekend by the email newsletter.


    We've also found this tool to be quite effective with last minute announcements that can't wait for the following roundtable.


    We know of one other district in our council that also does this. One of their members is subscribed to our list and vise versa.


    So, anyone else do this and if so, who effective has it been for you?

  18. I've heard nothing of the sort (yet), and if it comes down to that, then we volunteers will probably still keep our website up. The webhosting is paid for by an "anonymous" benefactor, all maintainence is by volunteers and we can get out district info much easier (and cheaper) through it. Especially when we are a rural district that is larger area wise then CT and RI.




    The only 'run-in' we've had with council has been over youth pictures. After a year of asking them to send us the regs in writing we finally got them. By their policy, youth photos maybe posted with written consent (using the council's form) from the parent/guardian, but no names may be posted. That's fine with me, I understand about protecting the youth. However, until they provided us with that policy they were claiming no youth photos could be posted, period. DESPITE, the fact that there were youth photos on the "official" council website at that time. Got to love double standards.


  19. Our Lodge hosts a service night every week during summer camp. Participants receive a service corp patch which changes every year.


    This summer, the Lodge is also offering the Brotherhood ceremony every week of camp for the first time in many years. For the past several years, one could only seal their membership during the Ordeal weekends.


  20. "The thing I don't like about it is that they tend to live on their own "scouting island" and don't really build relationships with other units."


    That's the same observation I had about that Texas unit. They never participated in district events either.

  21. To the various badge police:


    I didn't say I have the purple loops myself. You won't find'em on my uniform. But I am a minority voice within this council. You're welcome to hunt these scouts/leaders down at NOAC. After all, it's "Outside the council". :)

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