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Everything posted by NJCubScouter

  1. NJCubScouter

    not (?) a camping troop?

    BobWhite says: The "outdoor program" goal is often misquoted. The BSA does not say an active unit needs to camp once a month. It says you need to get outdoors once a month. Hiking, skiing, cycling, smimming, nature observations, climbing and rappeling, swimming, boating, pioneering, skating, rifle and shotgun, archery, cooking, firebuilding, survival skills,and many other scout skills can be done without camping. Those things CAN be done without camping. But remember that this thread was prompted by a troop that ONLY camps at summer camp, and self identifies as a "non camping troop." Given those facts, what do you think are the chances that this particular troop engages in those or other outdoor activities once a month? Or, I'm guessing, once every two months? I am sure some of them are done sometimes, but it sounds to me like they are probably not done with sufficient frequency to really satisfy the "outdoor method." Admittedly that is just a guess, but I usually guess right. As for advancement, as Bob points out, summer camp alone is not going to do it. Btps later confirms that in this troop, all camping advancement requirements are to be passed at summer camp. Now I have not studied all the advancement requirements in detail, but I know that for one or more of the first three ranks you have to sleep in a tent YOU HAVE PITCHED and you have to prepare, or help prepare, one or more meals, plus meal planning, cleanup, etc. Now, my son just attended his first week of summer camp. Similar to most of my summer camping experiences as a boy, his tent had been set up by staff, and all of his meals were taken in a dining hall (though unlike in my day, it was air-conditioned), in which his role (other than eating) was limited to serving as one of the "waiters" for his troop when it was his turn. Which is useful experience, but I don't think it got him any boxes checked off. The point is, he really did not have the opportunity to pass some of those camping requirements at summer camp, but he did not need to. He had already passed the Tenderfoot camping requirements on an earlier camping trip, and will presumably move on to the requirements for the next two ranks in the fall when they start camping again. And of course at the same time, is starting to build up his "days and nights" toward Camping merit badge. I have never heard of a troop where the boys, in general, did not like to camp. Individual boys, yes, but they usually went on to other things before long anyway. My son is growing to really like camping, though his first trip could have been a bit drier, but I think that could be said for most camping trips in this part of the country so far this year. I wonder if, in that "non camping troop," that attitude really comes from the boys, or if it is influenced by parents whining and complaining about having to drive XYZ miles every month, etc. And whining and complaining about having to help their kids prepare for camp -- because I suspect that in a troop that does not camp, the kids do not know how to prepare themselves. If they camped, they'd have the impetus to learn now, they'd be able to practice those skills, their parents would have less reason to complain, and they'd go camping more. Circular logic? I suppose, but I suspect there is some truth to it. If I am right that it is the parents influencing the boys' non-camping attitude, the way to break the circle is to schedule a camping trip.
  2. NJCubScouter


    Dsteele, I have never heard of a "Den Aide," but I did an Internet search on that phrase and got 94 hits, so it may not be so arcane or archaic. Here is a link to something that appears to be authoritative (though not an official BSA national site, and possibly a copyright violation if it is a direct quote from a BSA publication, but anyway...): http://www.geocities.com/~pack215/da.html So it is not a registered or membership position, and is mainly used when den chiefs are not available, but is not officially limited to that situation. I guess it is just used to provide a little extra official sanction to the girl's presence at the meetings. As you basically point out, but in my own words, it is not necessary to fill out a form or get a patch every time a Boy Scout and a Cub Scout are in the same room together. In my son's old pack, several Boy Scouts (kids who have graduated from that pack into my son's new troop) attend the Pinewood Derby every year as "junior race officials." (Mainly they walk the cars from the finish line back to the staging area, and they place the cars on the track for each heat.) It's nothing official and I don't think the Boy Scouts can get service hours for that, they just do it, the boys get to help out while looking "important" in front of their former pack-mates, everybody has a good time and everybody benefits. So, CrewGirl, there are definite opportunities to help out, and you will be doing a good thing.
  3. Well Bob, to answer your question with a question, what "value" are you talking about, exactly? Heterosexuality? Is that a "value"? Or is it just a characteristic that the large majority of people (though not all) have in common? And if it is a "value," how did it become a "value"? And, specifically, how did it become a "value" of the BSA? What is its source? Is it a religious value? Because if that is what it is, and nothing more, I do not see how the BSA can enforce it on members who do not share that religious value, without violating the BSA's own declaration of religious principles. If, on the other hand, it is (or was) a value of "society," and was adopted by the BSA from "society," then it IS relevant that society's values have changed. I do not mean that all changes in society must be reflected in the BSA. I do not mean that at all. To use an example, it is probably not the best one, but it is the first one that comes to mind for an obvious reason: We (I just thought that I'd temporarily adopt your penchant for referring to the BSA as "we," Bob) require that a Scout be "trustworthy." If society has become more tolerant of lying and cheating, that does not mean the BSA has to move in that direction, because it contradicts what it says right there in the Scout Law, trustworthy. There might be slight nuances in interpretation that change over time, and some of the descriptions in the handbook HAVE changed over time, but the core values stay the same. Now, nowhere in the Scout Oath and Law does it say you have to be heterosexual. Nor (to pick the most extreme example) does it specifically say you can't murder anybody. But the prohibition against murder is a "value" that everybody agrees with. It is a societal value, not simply a religious value, and therefore the BSA enforces it without violating its own Declaration of Religious Principles. I do not think the same can any longer be said about the "value" of heterosexuality, if that is what it is.
  4. NJCubScouter

    Why no fitness requirement?

    Ooh, OGE, I like that rule, 50 pounds over "ideal" weight. Since I am about 60 pounds over "ideal" weight (at least the last time I read a chart, ideal for 6'0" was about 180), and I thought I had to lose 40-45 to even get somwhere in the general neighborhood of the vicinity of my ideal weight, this is great! Now I only have to lose 10 pounds!
  5. NJCubScouter

    Your thoughts on honor camping

    btps, what does that mean, "not a camping troop"? You do SOME camping, right?
  6. Ack, I missed a close-italics, and the editing function still is not working for me. I hope this works so that I do not italicize later posts.
  7. Kwc says to me: With all due respect, how you choose to interpret the Scout Oath and Law as opposed to the folks at National who determine policy really makes little difference. And then goes on to compare it to an employment relationship. And FatOldGuy says of the BSA National Executive Committee, "By defininiton they are correct." Obviously I recognize that those who presently make up a majority of the National Executive Committee have the power to enforce their interpretation, and that they are using their power to do so. I, and those who agree with me, do not currently have that power. But their interpretation is just an opinion, as is mine. My opinion is that my interpretation is more consistent with the true values of Scouting (including the Declaration of Religious Principles) than is that of the current leadership. That doesn't change the "rules," at least not this week. But they may change someday, and if they do, I think Scouting will benefit. In the meantime, here I am, part of the organization, and if the opportunity comes to help be a part of that change (with my real name attached) without negatively affecting my primary reason for being part of the program, I may take that opportunity. (That is unlikely to occur prior to October 12, 2009, and maybe after that I will just be the proud father of an adult Eagle, if that happens, and move on to other things.) And, I think a better anaology than the employment situation would be my relationship with the United States government. I do not agree with everything Congress does, or that any given president does. I suspect that most people in this forum could say the same thing. We can work to change what our government does, and it does not make us any less American. In fact, healthy and peaceful debate is part of being a citizen. I do recognize the differences, and that the BSA calls itself a "private organization," though I would be interested to find any references by the BSA to itself as being "private" before the gay issue or the atheism issue came up. I doubt that the BSA ever called itself that when I was a Scout, or in the preceding decades. However, though it is a private organization, it is a private organization of which I happen to be a member, and my opinions are no less valid than any other member. Kwc says: Just who would you have interpret it? People who are interpreting it for what it says and means, and not according to a political-religious agenda. In the BSA's world, being gay IS immoral and defies the "morally straight" point. As I have said, I do not think that is true. In the world of the current leadership of the BSA, yes, but not the real world of the BSA, and not permanently. The day will come when it is seen as an anachronism. I don't know how long it will take, or if it will be in my lifetime or my son's lifetime. I obviously think it would be better if it happened sooner, rather than later. (And what I am talking about is local option; I am not trying to force anyone to accept gays into their unit.) And then FatOldGuy says the increasing acceptance of gay people "is being forced down our throats by Hollywood." I don't think so. My opinions don't come from Hollywood. None of the people I know who oppose exclusion of gays got their opinions from Hollywood. I do not care what Harrison Ford or any other entertainer thinks about any issue (and in the specific case of Harrison Ford, I do not even know what he thinks. I know that he is pretty good at playing a likeable rogue, which may be what he also is in real life, I don't know.) I get my opinions aprtly from knowing a number of gay people over the years, some of whom would be excellent role models for boys in Scouting. Some, but not all -- just as not all straight people are good role models. The simple fact of being openly gay does not, and should not, disqualify someone from being a good role model for youth, and if some units and CO's cannot accept that fact, then at least those that do should be able to do so. (This message has been edited by a staff member.)
  8. NJCubScouter

    Your thoughts on honor camping

    I have never heard Mic-O-Say mentioned except on the Internet (including here.) Is it a regional thing? If so, the region does not seem to include New Jersey and adjacent parts of NY and PA. Unless I have missed it, both as a youth and adult member. OA, on the other hand, is strong and well-promoted in my area.
  9. NJCubScouter

    Really Bad News

    You're welcome. I guess I should add, just to be clear, that what I am talking about is what is necessary to START the prosecution. "Probable cause" is enough to make an arrest, get an indictment, require the accused to post bail, or in some cases, confine the person without bail. To get a conviction requires more than that, and as should be familiar to every TV viewer, it is proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In my earlier example, the prosecutor could have Witnesses A through G or A through Z and still not get a conviction, if it turns out that critical witnesses are lying, or didn't actually see what they thought they saw, or the accused has an alibi... or the glove doesn't fit, or the blood would have had to soak through the person's leg to get to the other side of the sock, or the blood wasn't on the gate when it should have been but mysteriously appeared there later. (Get it?) Or whatever. So you can have all the charges pressed in the world and still not be able to prove guilt.
  10. NJCubScouter

    Really Bad News

    Someone asked for a "real lawyer." Acco asks: If the "state" presses charges, why do police officers ask citizens if "they would like to press charges?" Rooster says: Theory #2 - Perhaps the intent behind that question is, if charges are pressed, "Are you willing to cooperate with the prosecution?" It's probably a waste of time and money (for the state), if the purported victim gets on the stand and states something to the affect, "No he wasn't assaulting me. We always goof around like that." Rooster, you are on the right track though only partially correct. The phrase "pressing charges" is not a technical legal term, but it usually refers to either signing a "complaint" (the terminology may vary from state to state) or providing the police with evidence that the police may use to issue their own complaint. The initiation of a prosecution (whether by summons, arrest warrant or other procedural means) requires a finding of "probable cause" to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person in question has committed it. When a police officer witnesses a crime, or personally gathers the evidence that creates the "probable cause," then the police officer him/herself signs the complaint, and the summons or warrant is issued based on that complaint. There is no issue of whether to "press charges" or not, because the police officer him/herself essentially does so by deciding to sign the complaint. When, however, the only witness to a crime is a citizen (often the victim), then that person has to sign the complaint, or at least make a statement to the police so the police can sign the complaint, otherwise there can be no prosecution. That act of signing the complaint or providing the necessary information is what is usually called "pressing charges." (I hear someone asking, what if nobody (at least nobody who can testify, other than the criminal) actually sees the crime being committed? This happens all the time in murder cases, where the victim is obviously unavailable to sign anything. What happens is, Witness A finds John's dead body, Witness B (the county medical examiner) says John died of gunshot wounds, Witness C finds the gun, Witness D (a police officer) dusts the gun for prints, Witness E (the lab supervisor) matches the prints up to Charlie. If Charlie wants to make everybody's life easier, there will also be a Witness F who says that Charlie told him last week that he was going to kill John, and or a Witness G (hotel desk clerk) who can show in his records that Charlie used John's credit card (after the body was found) to book a room. Put all these things together, and the police have probable cause to charge Charlie with the murder, even though no single individual saw enough to prosecute Charlie. Nobody needs to "press charges," though that is in effect what the lead investigating officer, who has collected statements from Witnesses A through G, does when he signs the complaint.) A long-winded answer, but hey, what do you expect from a "real lawyer"?
  11. Yes, Bob, I remember that press release and the resolution on which it was based. I am sure that I wrote about it in this forum. Obviously, I do not agree with it. All that the National Executive Committee "reaffirmed" was its own interpretation of the Scout Oath and Law, and I (and others) believe that that interpretation was and is erroneous and does not reflect the true values of Scouting. Just because the National Executive Committee has the power to interpret the Oath and Law does not mean they are correct, and it does not mean that the interpretation will not change some day. Once upon a time, the BSA permitted racially segregated units, but as society changed, the BSA changed as well. I believe that as society continues to change in the area of acceptance of gays, the BSA leadership will ultimately change to the point where the National Executive Committee recognizes that exclusion of gays is not a "value" of Scouting. As for my own "tough decision" as to whether to remain in Scouting, I made it almost three years ago, and have "re-made" it several times, always with the same result. I have explained my decision-making process on this board a few times. I think I have made, and continue to make, the "right choice" -- for my son, for Scouting and for me.
  12. NJCubScouter

    Leaving Camp

    There's no question about it, and I think the parents need to understand that the 2-deep rule is not aimed only at the kind of conduct we primarily think about when YP is discussed. What if the other ASM continued with the 5 boys and HE was injured, or became ill, or whatever, and could not continue on? Where would the boys have been then? You can't protect against everything, but when a crisis has occurred, you need to think about what would happen if something ELSE goes wrong. It sounds like you did that, and arrived at the right answer. The trip was over, and by the way, the boys learned something. A couple of whiny parents can't change that.
  13. NJCubScouter

    finances and the chartering organization

    Advisor, you were getting reimbursed within 1 or 2 months? In some units that might be considered pretty good.
  14. NJCubScouter


    Actually, an 18-to-20-year-old (male or female) can hold any of the "assistant" positions in a Cub Scout pack: Assistant Cubmaster, Assistant Den Leader, Assistant Webelos Den Leader. (Someday I'd like someone to explain why, when they officially created the position of Tiger Cub Den Leader about 2 years ago, they did not create a corresponding "assistant" position. Maybe they thought that those working with the youngest Cubs should be 21 or over, but I don't see how that applies any more to a 6-year-old Tiger than a 7-year-old in a Wolf den.) As for a female Venturer under the age of 18, I do know that she cannot be a den chief. As the official den chief qualifications state: "Be an older, experienced Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer who has been a Boy Scout." Since a female Venturer cannot have been a Boy Scout, she cannot be a den chief. I am fairly sure that that result is intentional, even though it is produced by indirect wording. I am not familiar enough with Venturing to know whether there are other legitimate ways that a female Venturer could "work with" a Cub Scout pack. For example, if Venturers do "service projects," perhaps she could work with the Cubs as a service project. That would probably only be valid up to the age of 18, at that point she should be registered in one of the positions mentioned above. As an adult, working with boys, she needs to subscribe to the responsibilities of an adult leader and receive the appropriate training, starting with Youth Protection.
  15. Well Bob, Mark does not want this thread to become a "platform for debate." On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with debate. I will just say this: The problem arises from the BSA policy itself. If it did not have the policy, or allowed local option, it would not be in a position to ban what would otherwise be a perfectly legitimate chartering organization. And you don't have to keep repeating the fact that the BSA has the right to have this policy. That is irrelevant. The policy itself is wrong. And your comments about the BSA "program" are irrelevant as well. The BSA program has nothing to do with excluding gay people. It does not promote the values of the BSA. As I have said before, if I really thought that the true values of the BSA required the exclusion of gays from all units, with no local option, I (and my son) would be gone in a minute. That will not happen, because I know that the current policy is a misinterpretation of the Scout Oath and Law, and that eventually that misinterpretation will be reversed. By the way, the church that is CO for my son's troop has a fairly new-looking sign out front that says "A Welcoming Church." My understanding is that that phrase has become a "code" for acceptance of gays. I haven't asked if that is the case, because in my "real life" as a father and troop committee member, I do not discuss this issue with anyone. But I wonder, after the BSA gets done with the UU's and the Wiccans and whoever else they don't like, is this church next? My son's troop has been at this church (a Presbyterian church) for at least 75 years. Are they next? And what about Reform Jewish congregations, are they next? They also are welcoming of gays, and some are led by openly gay rabbis. Will the BSA allow an organization to be a CO if their IH is openly gay? How far down this road is the current BSA leadership going to go, before they end up destroying the organization that I grew up with, and that I would like my son to grow up with? Why don't the people who want a discriminatory organization leave and form their own group, and leave me and those who represent Scouting's true values alone? If you dislike how I have turned around a statement that has often been directed at me, then there is only one answer: Local option. Then we can all be happy, or at least equally unhappy. Sorry, Mark... I just got going...
  16. I tried to heavily edit that post because I realized you said "unbiased" and the UUA web site by definition could be no more unbiased than the BSA web site on the subject. But the editing function isn't working, at least for me.
  17. Well, a web search on "unitarian universalist boy scouts" turned up a bunch of hits, but you might start here: http://www.uua.org/news/scouts/ It is the church's own position on the subject and looks like it has tons of links. I am sure somewhere down the search list, you would find a link to something that states the point of view of the BSA, or least one of its apologists on this subject.
  18. Littlebillie says: Still, it does seem to be a first step, over-all, in the same direction as asking California judges to separate themselves from the BSA or else recuse themselves from certain cases. Did California actually do that? The last discussion I recall, they were considering it. Of course, I missed a couple of months worth of posts here in the late spring, so I could have missed that.
  19. NJCubScouter

    finances and the chartering organization

    Fortunately I have not had to deal with anything like this. The parent-teacher organization that was CO for my son's Cub pack took no interest in our finances (or much of anything else for that matter, which isn't quite as bad as it sounds because the leadership of the CO and of the pack always overlapped to a degree anyway. And for a time, because the previous leadership of the pack had "missed" a year of fund-raising, the pack treasury consisted mainly of IOU's so there wasn't anything to take an interest in anyway.) On a brighter note, the church that is CO for my son's new troop appears to make an annual payment IN to the troop's bank account, rather than take any money out. (Of course, it is a 2-way street, as a result of a recent Eagle project the church's school gymnasium (where the troop meets) now has a fresh coat of paint, floor-to-high-ceiling, doors, window frames and everything.) Good luck with your issue. Maybe your DE can speak with your CO and suggest ways that other CO's have found to satisfy their auditors while letting the troop keep its own account. Your CO's auditors are presumably working under the same standards as the auditors for every other CO, so perhaps there is room for compromise.
  20. NJCubScouter

    Scout Swimming Requirement

    This hits close to home for me. My son (a first-year Scout) returned from summer camp yesterday. He went to camp as a "non-swimmer," being able to do nothing more than dog-paddle. He returns, according to his Scoutmaster, being able to do something more than that, though I have not yet seen for myself what that is. I suspect that he means that my son is more confident, and that he has the ability to learn. To date, only his parents and other relatives and other relatives had tried to teach him, so it is clear that he can benefit from swimming lessons, and we are about to sign him up for a 6-week (Sundays) program through the local recreation department. He really has no physical reason not to be able to swim. Another reason I think he will learn is that he now has an incentive he did not have before. He is very enthusiastic about Scouting, is now one requirement away from Tenderfoot, and passed scattered requirements for Second and First Class at camp, plus three of the "easier" merit badges (Leatherwork, Textiles, Fingerprinting) and a partial on First Aid. I think he is on track to be First Class when he goes to summer camp next year, and in good position to keep moving after that. But of course, he isn't going anywhere without really learning to swim. So we'll see.
  21. Twocubdad says: I'm bothered by the fact that they are disallowing our participation in a state program based on a policy which should be a private matter among the members of our organization. But, doesn't it stop being a "private matter" at the point where an organization asks for the state's assistance in raising funds? After thinking about it for a few days, I agree with the Second Circuit Court's distinction between the situation in the Dale case and the Connecticut situation. Both Connecticut and New Jersey have decided that as a matter of public policies, discrimination against gays is wrong. However, New Jersey implemented that policy in a statute that tried to prohibit the BSA from enforcing its membership policies, and the U.S. Supreme Court said no, that is an interference with the rights of the BSA and its members to associate around an expressed belief. Connecticut, on the other hand, said that only organizations that comply with our public policy against discrimination will receive this particular BENEFIT, that is, participation in a program that makes it easier to raise funds from public employees. And the Second Circuit said, in effect, that when you ask the government for a benefit, the government has the right to impose certain reasonable restrictions on those who qualify for the benefit. Connecticut did not try to send anyone to jail or fine anyone, for banning gays. Instead, acting in the capacity of an employer, they said that if you don't comply with our public policy, we won't help you. What's wrong with that?
  22. NJCubScouter

    "Topnotcher verses"

    I am now suffering whiplash from being suddenly yanked back at least 27 years into the past, to the last time I heard that song (at Scout camp.) It was like a suppressed memory suddenly coming back. It would probably take years of hypnosis for me to remember any of the verses. It's sort of like when I attended my first Cub leader pow-wow a couple of years ago and they handed out the words to Scout Vespers so we could sing it at the end. Suddenly it hit me that although I had not heard the song for (at that point) about 25 years, or even heard it mentioned, I still knew it, and didn't even need the "lyrics." Not so for "Topnotcher," unfortunately.
  23. NJCubScouter

    Does anyone know why?????

    That link did not work. I looked around and found the same document at https://www.perscom.army.mil/tagd/tioh/ROTC%20Misc%20NGB%20page/Silver%20and%20Gold%20Insignia.htm It is interesting and explains among other things that while in ranks, silver outranks gold, in most military awards, gold is highest followed by silver and bronze. So why is it that I have heard of the Bronze Star and the Silver Star but not the Gold Star?
  24. This thread is going to send my anxiety level through the roof, by no fault of the other posters. My son is at Boy Scout camp this week for the first time, this is his first camping trip without me, and he is one of only two first-year Scouts in the troop. He was given the means to call us if he needed to, and there have been no calls, so I suspect that when I pick him up tomorrow morning I will find that everything was fine, or at least reasonably ok. (His mother and I are not completely fine, we have missed him a lot, she was crying the other night. We are not really worried about any physical danger, I know he is in good hands with the adult leaders who are there. For me, it is more that I just want to know that he is having a good time, doing advancements, learning to swim (that could be a whole other thread), and that he will want to continue in Scouting.) Which is where hazing comes in. That is one thing that I know would drive my son out of Scouting. Or more to the point, if my son had to experience the kind of "initiation" that I did when I was a Scout (in 2 different troops), I am sure he would be out. He has no real tolerance even for teasing, which he has to work on, but the kinds of physical near-abuse and invasions of privacy that hopefully are a thing of the past, would be intolerable to him. That would be the breaking point. That's just one of my worries, that when I pick him up tomorrow, to learn that he has had some experience like that, that ruined the whole thing. Am I worrying too much? Yeah. But hey, it's my first time from this side of the parental equation. I'm sure we're more "homesick" for him than he is for us.
  25. NJCubScouter

    Does anyone know why?????

    Right Acco, I had always heard that the "silver over gold" comes from the military, though I had not heard the part about the the origins of the military practice. I would only add that this "symbolism" is not limited to Eagle palms but is standard in Scouting. A Wolf or Bear Cub Scout first earns a gold arrow point, then when more electives have been completed, a silver arrow point(s). I believe that the patches for Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader still have some use of silver and gold, respectively, though not quite as colorfully as when I was in these positions in the mid-70s. (I recently looked at my old patches and noticed this again, the SPL patch had a silver border, silver lettering and silver bars, while the ASPL patch had all these things in gold. I believe the same was true for PL and APL, and I assume SM and ASM. I think the different color borders are still in use in Cub Scouting, the Cubmaster patch has a silver border while the Assistant Cubmaster Patch does not (I believe it is gold.) I also believe that Venturing has awards of the same name and order as the Eagle palms. (Interestingly, Girl Scouts do go in the same order as the Olympics, their highest award being the Gold Award.)