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Everything posted by Gone

  1. Gone

    OA Election Question

    Sorry for the extra post...here is the official guidance from my Council. Note they say this is a new national policy for 2013. When in doubt I would contact your local Chapter and ask them what they know. BREAKING NEWS CHANGES TO ADULT SELECTION TO THE ORDER OF THE ARROW FOR 2013! The national Order of the Arrow committee has modified the requirements for the nomination of adult unit Scouters as candidates for induction into the Order. The changes will increase the number of currently-serving Scout Leaders and Varsity Team Coaches and other unit Scouters who can be nominated as candidates. These modifications apply only to adult leaders in Scout troops and Varsity teams who are 21 years of age or older. They are effective at the beginning of each lodge’s 2013 elections season or January 1, 2013, whichever comes first. There is no change to the current youth requirement or unit election process. The change is in the adult selection process for each unit. There are two changes. First Change - Upon holding a troop or team election for youth candidates which results in at least one youth candidate elected, the unit may nominate adults for consideration and approval of the lodge. The number of adults nominated is no more than one-third of the number of youth candidates elected, rounded up where the number of youth candidates is not a multiple of three. Second Change – If the registered unit leader is not a member of the Order, the unit may nominate the currently-serving registered unit leader (but not assistant leaders), as long as he or she has served as the registered unit leader of that unit for at least the previous twelve months. This nomination is separate from the adults nominated based on the youth election results. Up to this date the number of adults nominated was based on a successful youth election and then the number in the unit for every 50 youth members. The new process bears no consideration to the size of the unit, only the results of the youth election and the qualification of adults nominated. Examples - A unit that elects 12 youth may nominate up to 4 adults + the unit leader if the unit leader is not a member of the Order (or) If a 51 member unit elects 2 youth. The unit may nominate 1 adult + the unit leader if the unit leader is not a member of the Order. If the unit leader is a member then the unit may nominate one registered and qualified adult. If the registered unit leader is a member of the Order, the unit cannot replace that nomination with anyone else. Only the registered unit leader qualifies for this nomination if they are not a member and have served as the registered unit leader for the previous 12 months. The unit leader nomination is separate and does not count toward the unit nominations for adults based on the results of the youth election. Nominated adults are candidates for induction, provided the following conditions are fulfilled: • Selection of the adult is based on the ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and not for recognition of service, including current or prior achievement and positions. • The individual will be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities that fulfill the purpose of the Order. • The camping requirements set forth for youth members are fulfilled. • The adult leader’s membership will provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.
  2. Gone

    Camp Orr 2013

    I've done Texas in the summer and grew up going to Goshen in VA, so the three H's (hazy, hot and humid) are familiar friends. The river will offer some relief I am sure. In Texas you can escape the 102F heat by jumping in the 84F water...yuck! No thanks! I hear good things about the camp and it comes highly recommend from folks in my area who also rated camps like Alexander, Tres Rios and Daniel Boone quite high. Hoping it is a good choice.
  3. Gone

    OA Election Question

    The adult election rule I read recently...which was reiterated by our OA election rep...was that a troop may appoint 1 adult for every three scouts elected. The SM, if not a member, may also be appointed BUT if he is already a member (or declines the offer) then you cannot send someone in their place. So for the example above, if you elected 2 youth then you can send one adult; two adults if the SM is not a member. As for who decides, I think this varies from troop to troop and I have not seen any directive from the OA. As long as the Scouters meet the same criteria as the youth then they are eligible. In our troop the Scouters each cast a secret ballot for the available slots (in our case we could send three). So of the 15 ASMs there were 5 eligible and three could be elected. BTW, we do our own tap out. The boys really like it and it allows us to do a better job than in a large District or Council event. @Bigbovine: Here are the links that talk about the OA requirements. I am not a member and have decided to go this year. Our OA ranks were dwindling and I wanted to make sure as SM I was promoting OA. NOTE: My own Council has noted the "new" adult election guidelines and posted a note from the National OA, HOWEVER, if you look at the National OA site you will find references to more than one process for "electing" adult members. Go figure, BSA being vague. OA Site: http://www.oa-bsa.org/misc/basics/ Another thread on OA: http://www.scouter.com/forum/order-of-the-arrow/22226-oa-adult-nominations-not-happening
  4. The only thing to add to the advice above is: 1. Have a plan. Pick what aspects of troop operations you want boy-led and have an idea what you want that to look like. Get the senior boys to buy in and make sure you get adult leaders to help with keeping the plan in place. 2. Pick your battles. I tried to go more boy-led but quickly realized I needed to take baby steps. My plan was too aggressive so I developed a staged plan putting those things I wanted boy-let most in the front of the plan and so on. 3. Be open to suggestions. Even after the plan is in place re-tooling the plan or scraping things that looked good 6 months ago but don't now is always a good idea. 4. Train in layers. By this I mean train the guys who will perform boy-led roles first. Then make sure you train the next two layers underneath them. Send who you can to NYLT. TLT is good but the materials stink. The old JLT manual is still out there and you can find Powerpoint decks that will walk you through how to teach the course. Do this once a year at least. Hope this helps!
  5. Gone

    Camp Constantin / Jack D. Furst Aquatic Base

    Were were there in 2010 as well. I have to say our experience was pretty similar to the above posts in many ways and in some ways different. Registration: Went fast and was well organized. Camp medics did a good job of centralizing meds distribution and is fairly well centrally located to make doing morning/evening meds no issue. Dinning Hall: Well, it's Texas in the summer so expect heat. Lots of it. There is no AC. It is an open dining hall. The process (Sweepy-sweepy, Moppy-moppy) was well coordinated. The food? Well, we had something resembling a McRib sandwich that even my growing teenagers would not touch. Overall it was below average food but at least no one got sick from it like at other camps. Adult Program: We had one the first week in 2010. They did IOLS and Leader-specific training. Not too robust an offering but they did have it. The folks above must have gone later in the summer than we did. MBs: A decent smattering of MBs. Of course, aquatics were popular. I would rate their offering good overall. OF course, this varies year to year depending on how the camp can staff up each year. Overall I found the counselors knowledgeable. Paperwork: the folks above are correct...it was ALL screwed up. I would appoint someone to work daily to make sure you have back-up copies of what your boys are doing. On Thursday have a sit down with your boys and make sure you track their progress so you can reconcile it against what they send you after camp. SM Lounge: Right behind the dinning hall. WiFi and AC. Not the best but not bad. Facilities: Well, trying to find a nice way to put this...they stink. There are a few sites there that are not bad, but we were put on the western edge of camp near the lake...not a prime location. Being an in-council Troop we expected to get nicer digs. Not! The latrine was rancid. So much so that one Scout from another troop could not stand to use the latrine due to smell and went outside of it. Given this was an open-air latrine that was quite a statement. The showers were in the latrine too. Watch going there at night. I found a Copperhead all balled up in the shower trying to cool off. Had I not had my headlamp on (no lights in the shower) I would have stepped right on it. Weather: As stated above, it is Texas so it was hot. Hard to sleep in 95F night heat and have enough energy for the next day. At least the SMs could go in the AC but the Scouts could not. And the 89F water temp was no relief. Trading Post and Store: Not very good IMHO. Very small and not much there. Ran out of stuff too. I mean, its summer and ice cream is popular. Should never run out...especially in those temps. Overall: Hard to go from Camp Alexander or Daniel Boone to Constantin and not be disappointed. When you stack up the "cons" of the heat, the paper-work issues, the food and the lack of decent facilites it is hard to think about going back. As long as I have a say we will go out-of-council rather than go to Constantin. If cost is a big issue and you are local to North Texas you might try another camp like Wisdom, James Ray or TRJ. They have better facilities (for the most part) albeit no aquatics like Constantin. But again, 89F water is no inticement to my guys.(This message has been edited by mozartbrau)(This message has been edited by mozartbrau)
  6. Gone

    Does your Troop and Crew????

    I suspected as much. My big concern is developing a second unit and all the hassles that go with it. We have a strong troop and already suffer, as I am sure many other troops do, from older boys being less involved or trying to distance themselves from the young boys. What I would really like is a more "Leadership Corps" style sub-unit within the troop. Something to operate as a leadership unit but allow them the flexibility for high adventure activities. I guess the Venture Patrol is the best way. Too bad the LC is a thing of the past...was always a badge of honor to wear that patch.
  7. Gone

    Does your Troop and Crew????

    I was approached by some older Scouts wishing to start an "Explorer-like" unit within the troop. They were confused about whether it should be an Venture Patrol or a Venturing Crew, so I did some digging. I must admit to being more than a little confused. I get the seperation issues discussed above, understand (I think) the issues around spserate units, retention of older Scouts, avoiding cannibalizing your Boy Scout program, rivalry issues, etc. For me the crux of the issue is what (if anything) can a Venturing Crew do that a Venture Patrol cannot? Looking at the BSA activities matrix (see link below), am I wrong that there are few things Venturing Crews can do that an older Boy Scout "Venture Patrol" cannot? http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34416_Insert_Web.pdf
  8. Gone

    Neckerchief slides

    I wanted to circle cback to this thread to answer my own question. I appreciate the suggestions on making our own slides, but to make 12 slides by hand that would be of "interest" from boys 11 to 17 I wanted to go with something pre-made. I did find these two companies who would custom make neckerchief slides for upwards of $3.50 each for an order of 50. The BSA website actually had a list of licensees who noted in their profile they do slides. Took a while to find but it was there. http://www.stadriemblems.com/scouting/bolos/index.htm http://www.moritzembroidery.com/cms/templates/motemp.aspx?articleid=48&zoneid=7 http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Licensing/Current%20Licensees.aspx Instead of spending $200 on slides for our "Cooking Award" I went DID go with the homemade approach which was cheaper and easier. But instead of doing a slide we are doing a temp award that can be worn on the right pocket. It's a leather BSA logo they sell at the Scout shop, stamped with the date of the camp out and the words "Troop Top Chef". I suddenedly recalled my Leatherworking MB skills and broke down and bought a stamp kit. Less than an hour (and less than $50 later) I have all 12 awards done and dusted. ;-) Thanks for the ideas. Hopefully the links will help someone else looking for custom neckerchief slides.
  9. Gone

    unique recognitions

    Our troop has long used a bull or buffalo neckerchief slide (plastic, but nice) as a way of rewarding the Patrol cook who cooked the best dinner on a camp out. However, stock is running out. I have searched the net to find anyone who has any cool slides that are under $8 or less but have come up empty. Does anyone have any links to sites that sell (preferably in bulk) any neckerchief slides?
  10. Gone

    Neckerchief slides

    Our troop has long used a bull or buffalo neckerchief slide (plastic, but nice) as a way of reqarding the Patrol cook who cooked the best dinner on a camp out. However, stock is running out. I have searched the net to find anyone who has any cool slides that are under $8 or less but have come up empty. Does anyone have any links to sites that sell (preferably in bulk) any neckerchief slides?
  11. Gone

    summer camp options?

    @John-in-KC... Yes, we have sent a formal letter. I feel bad for the camp ranger and the staff that were trying hard. They were left in the lurch by the director leaving and her poor hiring decisions. All that left the camp staff scrambling to cover missing program areas. Making it worse was that we were at CDB last year which made the differences in camps even more stark. I have no doubt they can fix the problems. I spoke to the DE and CE (who were at the camp taking time out of their vacation to help make things better) and they are aware of the issues and are taking proactive steps to make things better. Heck, I even told them if I were running things I would use CDB as a template as I think they (CDB) have things right. At least they did in 2011. ;-)
  12. We used to do like most troops: - SMs develop the skeleton scheudle - SMs and EC have a laundry list of ideas - Scoutmaster or ASM integrates everything into draft schedule/plan - PLC reviews and votes on what to do...usually rubber stamping most things Problem was that we kept doing the same things because the parents typically drove the process. This year we were truly boy-lead. The boys were taught how the process works, shown how to break down the planning components and how to construct a proper annual plan. Then they went back home and researched what they want to do, such as monthly themes, meeting ideas, camping locations, etc. As Scoutmaster I took the liberty of planning September for them as an example and gave them last year's materials. We kept the team to a minimum (5) with the SPL, ASPLs and SPL candidates for next cycle as part of the process. Most work was done via email with two face-to-face meetings. Within 7-10 days we had our program for the year which the ASMs and EC were given to review. It was very nicely done. Around 50% of the events were different than what was done in the past. The rest were "old standards" the boys love. In the end it was THEIR program plan which 1) they were very proud of, 2) had no problem articulating to the rest of the troop, and 3) seemed very excited about. The amount of work on my end was about the same. I found teaching some of the boys how to plan was just as easy/difficult as it was getting some of the adults to participate. ;-)
  13. Gone

    summer camp options?

    Has anyone been to Camp Orr or Camp Pioneer recently (in the last 3-5 years)? Looking for an option for 2013 for our troop that does not require a bus. We have three treks going to Philmont next summer and think our summer camp numbers may be smaller than usual...ergo looking for a closer camp to keep costs down.
  14. Gone

    summer camp options?

    Would be interested in "cooler" options less than 10 hours of North Texas. We typically go out of Council simply because we cannot find many Scouters (or parents) willing to give up a week's vacation time to go sweat-off thier extra poundage at the local/regional camps. A few years of doing the Texas heat may make you a 170 lbs triathlete, but it does not get you many tent mates to share the burden. :-) Have heard nice things about some AR camps in the mountain areas in the NW but cannot recall the names...saw the reference to Camp Orr above so will check that our. Tres Ritos we have heard is good but is a bit outside the >10 hr window. I have heard the OK camps are just as hot as Texas, which I assume is generally true. As always, any input is greatly appreciated and is passed along to our PLC to make the final (or near final) decision.
  15. Gone

    summer camp options?

    Figured I would follow up on my post from last year about camps. We did go to Gorham Scout Ranch (formerly Camp Frank Rand) this summer. Pluses: - vistas in the hight deser were beautiful - camp sites had new pads and new tents - many camp sites had brand new pavilions - most older Council staff seemed genuinely interested in making the camp better Minuses: - had lost the camp director two weeks into the summer - many of the staff seemed to be just going through the paces - hygiene was an issue in the mess hall - virus spread through camp (origin unknown but thought to hav e originated from latrine overflow near the pool) - food was bad - leader guide contained program offerings they had no intention of having When I compare to where we went last year (CDB) there is a wide gap. CDB was VERY organized and well planned. GSR seemed to be making it up as they went along. Much of that I can attribute to losing their camp director and very poor planning/hiring on her part. Would I recommend GSR? Jury is still out. I would give it a year or two to fix their problems. They need a very good director to build a program and staff it like CDB before we would go back.
  16. Gone

    Summer camp illness outbreak

    We just got back from a camp in the southwest. Roughly 3-5 boys from each troop came down with vomiting and diarreah for 24 hous followed by fever and listlessness. After coming back home many more boys cam down with it despite efforts to contain it. Not sure if it was related to camp sanitation or if the troops brought it with them. The sanitation at camp was not good so that is the consensus as to where it came from. We think the numbers per troop are higher after leaving. There were few sanitation stations and too many shared buckets for cleaning tables in the mess hall.
  17. Gone

    SM Resposibility

    We recently had a "reward night" where we watched a movie. The PLC selected the BBC series by Ian Hislop called "Scouting for Boys". Our guys found the whole thing enlightening as it spoke to many of the things posted above (train the scouts, give them the tools, get out of their way, be there to advise when they fail, etc.). Our PLC became encouraged and empowered, taking a much more active role in just about everything. They even adopted one of Baden-Powell's favorite sayings as the credo of the PLC: "Never do for a boy what he can do for himself". My life just got a whole lot easier. :-D That quote sums up for me the SM's greatest responsiblity. It is not getting everyone to FC or to Eagle, as that smacks of the "trophies for everyone" mentality in sports (and Scouting) these days. The goal is to help the boys grow into men, be self sufficent, respectful, honorable, etc. By doing the things our colleagues have mentioned above we are doing that. If they make FC or Eagle along the way, then great. If not, I would rather they grow up to be respectful, productive human beings than make Eagle and simply convert oxygen to carbon dioxide for 70 years afterwards.
  18. I have a few questions... - Has anyone been to Big Bend with their Scout Troop? Comments? Suggestions? - I have heard a rumor that due to current border issues (as of Aug 2011) the Dept of Homeland Security has put out an advisory on visiting the park and that BSA has stated they do not want Scout Troops visitng the park. However, I can find nothing specific on the DHS or BSA site regarding this alledged restriction. Any one here heard of this?
  19. Gone

    Big Bend National Park

    Thanks. Did that. They report no issues but have "advisories" in place. They have no knowledge of BSA issues and referred me to DHS.
  20. Gone

    A Modest Proposal

    In our troop we did a bit of "market research" to find out what the boys liked and what keeps them in Scouting. The answers, of course, varied depending on the age group. Here's what we found: - Boys 11-13 were in Scouting pretty much for the camping, challenges of new things, feeling of being on their own or being trusted with stuff, rank advancement and being with friends. - Boys 14-15 were in Scouting to hang out with friends, do "older Scout stuff" like archery/shooting, and "high adventure" stuff. - Boys 15+ were essentially in it to get Eagle or because their parents are forcing them to come. Some seemed to really like Scouting but that other demands (school, band, sports, church, etc.) took away from doing Scouting. - A common theme was that "stuff got old" either due to going back to the same places too often OR because the boys who were still in Scouting aby age 15 had ALSO been in Cub Scouts, so that they have really be in Scouting nearly 10+ years. We took this information and sat down with the PLC to develop ways the boys could address these issues. The response was two-fold: 1) for the PLC to do some real investigation on activities/events we could do which were different, exciting and fun. These included sleeping aboard an aircraft carrier, developing our own troop high adventure program, doing more hiking/biking/canoeing, having courses in first aid, wilderness survival and other Scouting core skills and basically giving the boys more responsibility. 2) was to have the boys talk amonst themselves about why other guys are not participating and try to get them back. For us the biggest issue seemed to be that boys as they got older wanted more time to hang out with each other, wanted more responsibility, wanted more latitude to be grown up and wanted to have fun in the process. When we sat down and helped them realize what is entailed in building a program/events that allows this to happen and gave them the skills to organize such events, then they got more energized about the program. Still, the apathy kids get around 16-18 does not really wear off until that first year of college smacks them right in the face. ;-) Then the usually come back and want to be JASMs or ASMs. :-)
  21. Gone

    Medicine Mountain Boy Scout Camp

    Anyone been to this camp since 2009? Any update on any of the issues raised earlier in this thread?
  22. Gone

    summer camp options?

    Like the SM who started the thread, we are looking at three camps for 2012. The camps we are looking at are: 1) Ben Delator 2) Gorham SR (Chimayo, NM) 3) Medicine Mountain I have searched and read through a few threads here where Ben Delator was critiqued back in 2008. Anyone been there more recently? A local troop was there this past summer and gave it high marks; higher than Alexander. Have not found any updated reports on Gorham or Medicine Man. Would appreciate any recent updates (since 2009) on these camps if anyone has any. All I can find is stuff going back to 2004.
  23. Gone

    summer camp options?

    My Troop is in north Texas and we went to Camp Daniel Boone (CDB) this summer. Yes, it is a bit of a drive (972 miles) but we rented a bus. We usually do Alexander, Rand, Hale or Woodruff. Went out of Council this summer because, well let's face it, Texas is hotter than the surface of the Sun in June-August and after one summer at Constantin my boys were near ready to quit. Back to CDB. They were AWESOME!!! Everything from the weather to the MB program to the Trail to First Class (called Goin'g Great) was top notch. Food and facilities were good too. Against your checklist, here are my comments: 1.Trail to Eagle or trail to first class programs: Top shelf! The boys did hands on everything. It was not simply show-n-tell but actual hands-on everything. I even saw a Tot'n Chip card (properly) revoked and had to be re-earned. 2. there are ample merit badge opportunities: CDB has tons of these. I will admit the water-based badges are a challenge because the water is around 58F most of the time. But I only had one boy drop out of lifesaving. It is not a mill, though some of the CC in (comm/nation/world) instructors could have been more formal...but staff were on hand to re-direct them. 3. adequate dining hall and latrine/shower facilities: The dining hall is like a ski lodge. The food is pretty good. I don't remember ever pushing away a plate. My guys (40+) who went in Council in 2010 and hated it (weather and food) had ZERO complaints. Most latrine facilities were concrete slab and newly rennovated, same with showers. Even private showers (closed door, single stall). Some of the shared facilities in the common areas were more "rustic" and not as nice, but no where near the 1880s outhouse we had all week in Council last year. :-( 4. high adventure programs for the older scouts, in a "residental type" program: High adventure guys at CDB *do* live seperately BUT they eat almost daily with the troop at each meal. So I think they might have a nice trade off for you. The older guys get to stay away from the younger guys BUT have to eat with them. I *will* note that one benefit my youngers guys got from the older guys being off on high adventure is that THEY had to step up and lead....and I found some excellent young leaders that way. Even lead us to win the troop award at camp. As for getting to CDB, we chartered a bus. There was another camp from NTX that drove and over-nighted in TN along the way. Not sure what they paid for that but our cost for using the bus was only ~$150 more per Scout...more than worth it from a troop perspective.