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Posts posted by NJCubScouter

  1. 15 minutes ago, CalicoPenn said:

    Think the ban on Scouts under 14 using a 4-wheel cart (aka Radio Flyer Wagon) is silly and you're not going to enforce it at a service project?  No one from National is going to jump out of the bushes and fine you for refusing to follow that rule.  None of their rules and prohibitions are pro-actively enforced (except perhaps at District/Council events/properties, summer camp, National properties) - they are enforced retro-actively - after the event has occurred.  No one form National/Council is actively monitoring our units to make sure we are following the program to the letter.  National trusts us to run the programs that they have created.

    Well, I'm not sure that the absence of anyone from National jumping out of the bushes necessarily means that they "trust us."  The fact is that they don't have nearly enough staff (and in practical terms, never could) to be hiding in the bushes in the first place.

  2. 3 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

     In addition, I don’t see National’s recognizing the lack of quality volunteers as a major issue and designing this change with that in mind.

    If you are talking about the quality of unit leaders, as I believe you are, I would say that National does not see that as a major issue for National.  They leave it up to local leadership and CO's to find quality leaders.  They would start caring at the point where incompetent leadership becomes so serious and so widespread that it results in the disappearance of multiple units and members (and the registration fees that come with them.)

  3. I agree with David.  I seem to recall for awhile that my son's pack had an IH (Exec. Officer) who was registered as a Den Leader.  I think the logic is that the IH is not actuailly registered as a Scouter (which the COR is) so it does not present an issue of dual-position-holding. But I also agree that it should not be a long-term arrangement.  It is kind of awkward.  The COR can remove and replace the SM.  The IH can remove and replace the COR.  So if the IH is also the SM, you have two people with the authority to remove each other.  Hopefully it never comes to that.  But it is not an ideal permanent solution.

  4. This discussion reminds me of something that happened to me a few months ago.  My wife and I (and one of my adult daughters, but that's not relevant to the story) went to a concert.  She had driven.  On her keychain she has one of these very tiny "pocket" knives.  It did not occur to her that she might have trouble getting that very tiny knife into the arena, and I had forgotten it was on her keychain.  So we walked from the parking lot to the arena, which was just within my wife's ability to walk in one stretch due to her arthritis.  Sure enough, at the security checkpoint one of the security guards saw the knife and made it clear that it was not coming into the arena with my wife.  They were reasonably polite about it.  But someone (and I think we all know who that someone was) had to trudge back to the parking lot and stow the tfiny knife in the car. 

    I guess the point is that they did not arrest my wife for trying to bring a "weapon" into the arena.  They did what was necessary to protect the other concert-goers from my wife's very tiny knife, which is what they should have done, even though at the time I suppose I was slightly annoyed at having to bring this ridiculously small knife back out to the care in the middle of the winter.

  5. By the way, I do understand that "change management" is the management of "change", I just never saw or heard it as a phrase before.  It seems kind of unnecessary to me, as "management" includes the management of "change."  But whatever.  My profession is fairly resistant to new business-management buzzwords, we prefer to use buzzwords that were invented in England 400 or 500 years ago.  :)

  6. It seems to me that what we have here is a lack of common understanding about what a "zero tolerance" policy actually is.  As I have said in at least one past discussion of this subject (and there have been several over the years), many people who think they believe in "zero tolerance" actually don't.  If you think that exceptions should be made (or that the penalty should be reduced) under appropriate circumstances, then you don't believe in a "zero tolerance" policy.  It's only "zero tolerance" if there is no possibility of considering the circumstances.

  7. 1 hour ago, bearess said:

    Also, after nearly fifteen years working in public schools, all of which have “zero tolerance” policies, I have seen administrators bend those policies a handful of times, and I was always in agreement with their choices.  In those cases, they also took responsibility for their choice to bend the policy, knowing that doing so could have professional consequences.  

    If the administrators "bent" the policy, it was not really a "zero tolerance" policy.  Or, to be more precise, either (1) the policy is worded as a zero tolerance policy, but the policy is not followed as a zero tolerance, because exceptions are made, or (2) the school district called the policy a "zero tolerance" policy, but the way it was worded allowed the exercise of judgment to alter (or eliminate) the penalty in appropriate cases, in which case it is not a zero tolerance policy regardless of what its name is. You can call an apple a banana, but its still an apple.  (Credit to CNN.)

    1 hour ago, bearess said:

    I suspect that, for every “Eagle Scout with a small survival knife” story, there are dozens of times when administrators deal with incidents with wisdom and careful judgment.  But, the rules are the rules.  Once, when I was teaching, I bought a bottle,of wine and left it in my car overnight.  Mid-morning, the next day, it occurred to me that I had alcohol on school grounds— in the trunk of my car.  I went and moved my car out of the school parking lot at the first opportunity.  Had an administrator found the alcohol in my car, I would have been fired in the spot.  It would have been awful, over an oversight, but it would have been just and fair, as well.

    Well, first of all, in my book it wouldn't have been just and fair to fire you for that, especially since you put it in a position where it was not visible from the outside.  Some lesser penalty might be appropriate.  If you had left it in a place where a passerby (such as a student) could see it, that would be a different story. Second of all, since you left the bottle in the trunk rather than the driver/passenger area, I have to ask, under what circumstances would it be appropriate for an administrator to look in your trunk?

    (I have some familiarity with disciplinary issues in a public school district, since I was once on the school board of one.)

  8. 8 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

    "Zero tolerance" avoids making judgments -applying reason - taking responsibility.  💀

    Do you think the BSA has a zero tolerance policy?  Meaning that they actually enforce such a policy?  In any area?  (Other than actual abuse or other criminality, or the payment of registration fees.)

  9. 12 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

    I asked what to do when the phone rang and it was a Scout when that rule appeared a couple years ago.  Never got a fix - just wide-eyed stares from paid Scouters and ignored by National.

    This is just my opinion, but I doubt that the people at National believe that you are supposed to hang up on the Scout without saying a word, or flee silently from the campsite when you unexpectedly find yourself and a Scout being the only people there.  (It is all well and good to ask where the Scout's buddy is, as some ask in these discussions, but the fact is that the buddy isn't there. Maybe the buddy had a bad fall on the trail and can't walk, and the Scout came to the closest place where he thought he might find help, which happened to be the campsite where one adult is sitting in a chair reading the Guide to Safe Scouting or some other scintillating literature.)

    The problem is that while National may believe it is ok to briefly tell the Scout on the phone that you cannot speak with him without his parent on the phone (or some other solution that does not violate no-1-on-1), or to briefly tell the Scout that he needs to be elsewhere where there are other Scouts, or with his buddy, or if the Scout is there to tell you that his buddy is laying on the ground with a broken leg a short distance away, you go to the injured Scout - and quite frankly I think you take the uninjured Scout with you, which means the 1-on-1 situation continues, but avoids a 1-on-1 situation with a injured Scout), National does not want to say that because they are afraid that once they allow judgment and common sense to enter the mix, they will be blamed for any misinterpretations by a local Scouter of the scope of that "exception."  (Which would be a reasonable concern, but I think it is more important for National to make things clear so neither Tahawk nor me nor any of us other toilers in the field will have to wonder what we are supposed to do when we pick up the phone and it's a Scout who has not conferenced in his parent.)

  10. On 7/3/2018 at 3:40 PM, RichardB said:

    https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss07/  - suggest you all review, it's got some new material and presented in a different format.    Even includes a safety moment to share on why somethings need to be unauthorized.    

    That is all great information (leaving aside any disputes about whether particular activities should be restricted or not), but it brings me back to a point I have made before.  Right there on that page are 19 unauthorized/restricted activities and the Sweet 16 of safety.  That's 35 things right there, and then there are the links to other publications, web pages, checklists, etc.  Quite frankly, how is the average person with a full-time paying occupation supposed to keep up with all that?  At what point does a volunteer start to say, this is just too much, I am not going to bet my house on whether I can remember and do everything that the BSA expects me to do to keep the kids safe?

    I don't know what the answer is.  Obviously I want the kids to be safe.  But we are doing this as us service to our community and/or religious organization and/or whatever else - for which we get to pay a membership fee - and at the same time the risk and complexity of doing that volunteer service keeps increasing.  Where does it all end?

  11. If the Scouts want mountains and if you don't care whether you are on BSA property, you can look in the other direction and do a couple of weeks on the Appalachian trail.  Parts of it are closer to you than Philmont is.  It would create different transportation challenges, and the mountains are not the Rocky Mountains, and it's not the time of year when I personally would want to be hiking on most of the AT, but it is an option.

  12. 1 hour ago, perdidochas said:

    It's kind of like Algebra. The skills involved in Algebra aren't really that necessary.

    I don't know, I find myself using basic algebra on a regular basis.  Seriously.  Even when using a calculator or computer, you need to know which numbers to multiply or divide by which other numbers.  I don't need to remember how to do it on a slide rule, which I did learn in Algebra class and was getting pretty good at in later math classes when slide rules suddenly disappeared.  But the basic skills are still helpful.

  13. 1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

    I don't wanna be a pariah. :(

    I think you can take some comfort in the fact that most people don’t think you are.  A few people in this forum do.

    i am going to see my son (age 26) later today, I will ask him if he feels like a pariah.

  14. 4 hours ago, CalicoPenn said:

    Yes, the CO chooses the Scout Leaders, but if parents, in these hyper-aware times, are not happy with the CO choosing a single man to be the Den Leader, or Scoutmaster, the CO will get an earful.  Yes, the CO owns the unit - but the parents are as much customers as the Scouts themselves. 

    In my son's pack, the CO was the PTO, the IH and COR were both officers of the PTO who usually had one or more sons in the pack.  So the CO and the parents were the same people.  And as we know, even in the case of a "real" CO, often the CO abdicates most or all of their authority and responsibilities (except to provide a space for meetings), and they just sign on the dotted line when asked to, to the point where the current and former parents of the Scouts are really running the show anyway.  That is true for my troop.

  15. 1 hour ago, David CO said:

    I agree. There is a strong bias against both men and boys. 

    Okay, so, we have a male president (and always have), the majority of members of Congress are men, most governors are men, the majority of CEO's of large companies are still men, with judges it is probably somewhere around 50-50, there is still a "wage gap," etc.  On a much more micro level, when my son got his first job a few years ago, there were about five just-graduated engineers competing for the same position, some of whom were women, but he got the job.  (Just one example, I realize.)

    So how exactly are we being discriminated against again?

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  16. 1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

    So when people ask the question "which kid is yours?" I have to be diplomatic in how I respond. I have have encountered some rather skeptical, even cynical, leaders and parents in the past, but over the past while I have made enough of a mark in the District and in the Council that most people either know me or recognize me, so that's been nice. But working with parents and children for a living, I can say the climate is often not agreeable these days towards men who want to work with children -

    I can see that.  I think that if, when I was a Cub Scout parent and leader, a man with no children (or other close relative) in the pack had shown up and volunteered to be a leader, eyebrows would have been raised, at least.  In my direct experience, it has never happened.  Boy Scouts is a little different, but even there, a childless man showing up to volunteer is almost always an alumnus of the troop, so there is some connection.  In some cases they still have a younger brother in the troop.  There have been a couple of cases of a volunteer with no connection at all to the troop, but they didn't stay around for very long.  I do remember a couple of instances of this from when I was a Boy Scout.  But it isn't very common, even on the Boy Scout level.

  17. On 7/1/2018 at 11:25 PM, The Latin Scot said:

    I've always kind of wondered about these scenarios since, frankly, I am an odd duck in the Scouting community. I am not married and have no children, but I am a Den Leader over the Pack's largest Den, I am the most active member of our Cub Committee, and I am at all activities - Day Camp, Scout-O-Rama, et cetera, - as a youngish single guy with no actual relation to any of the boys I work with. It would be far too easy to assume that as a professional educator and child development specialist, I could go about my Scouting business without raising too many eyebrows, but I have to be careful since, in today's climate, every action I take and every comment I make could be taken the wrong way by some parent who doesn't know my background or training. I have to bear in mind that these parents are trusting their children with me, a single man, sometimes for hours at a time. So I am meticulous in ensuring that I ALWAYS have my assistant or another parent near me at all times, and I have trained my boys to know that I cannot be in a room alone with them EVER. So much so that they often use it to taunt me; I arrive early to Den Meetings to set up, and if a boy shows up and I am the only adult in the room, he WILL yell at me to get out until another grown up is present. They then have free access to whatever treats are in my bag, or they may play with my hat if I forget to grab it, or whatever mischief they feel like getting into at the time - but at least they know to protect themselves, and I know that I am protecting myself from any potentially awkward or untoward situations. Total transparency has long been one of my most valuable shields against misperceptions.

    Today's society makes it incredibly difficult for men to make a difference in the lives of young people. But as long as you take the right precautions, it can be done. 

    @The Latin Scot, please forgive me if this is an ignorant question, but it was my understanding (mostly from this forum) that in LDS-chartered units, leaders are "called" (which I assume means the same as "assigned") to specific roles in units.  That being the case, wouldn't there be a large number of leaders with no children in their unit, and also a large number of "younger adults" such as yourself, with no children at all?  Meaning that your role wouldn't be unusual and therefore not attract any undue "attention" from parents?

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