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About oldsm

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  1. Our troop has for many years followed the practice of awarding rank advancement badges at a scheduled court of honor when we have family and friends present. They are always presented with something of a solemn ceremony that acknowledges what the Scout has accomplished and what is expected of him as he works toward his next rank. The parents like it, and I rather like the way it lets the parents know something of the expectations. We are considering converting to the "as-soon-as-possible" awarding of rank badges, presenting the badges immediately, but holding the cards for "public" presentation at the next scheduled COH with parents present. I am not looking for criticism of the method we have been using. What I would like to know is what kind of ceremony you do when you present the rank badge (at a troop meeting). The same kind that I described above? If so, then is any ceremony done at the public Court of Honor? It seems rather redundant to do two ceremonies for the same rank; however, it would be nice to do more than hand over the rank card when the parents are present.
  2. mkay, welcome to the forums. I understand where you're coming from (I think), but the key phrase you used is "If they can intelligently discuss and/or explain the requirements". The problem is that too often, they can't. The boys have this idea in their heads that they just have to fill in the blanks. If you ask a related question, they're hard-pressed to give an intelligent answer. "Discuss" means to converse orally, the idea being to share knowledge (both ways). If they have just "researched" online and filled in the blanks, they have not met a discuss requirement. In insist upon some reasonable degree of understanding on the part of the Scout. Otherwise, he doesn't get my signature on a blue card.
  3. "I can't emphasize that first scentence in #2 enough. "Learn to make the coffee for your scoutmaster the way he wants."" The lads in my troop are doomed. I rarely drink coffee, and it's never part of my camping menu. Extra weight, extra bother.
  4. Incidentally, after spending time at Stockbridge, it becomes easy to see the stylistic differences between Rockwell and Csetari. I prefer Rockwell...
  5. This is well worth attending. I recommend all day if you have the time. (And they give a discount for AAA members.) On two occasions (several years apart) I have taken the troop to the Norman Rockwell Museum. Both times I was surprised at how much they "got into" to stories behind the paintings. They were interested in looking at the Saturday Evening Post covers, and visited Rockwell's studio. There's a good interpretive movie on endless loop. Be sure to pay the few extra bucks for the audio tour. It's outstanding and worth every penny. I've actually had scouts say they want to go back. Norman Rockwell was important to Scouting, but that was only one small part of his oeuvre. Interesting tidbit from my last visit (with my wife, this time): BSA was the most demanding of Rockwell's customers - demanding changes to protect the "brand" (such as not letting a Scout rescuing a young girl from a flood have wet pants. (Rockwell changed the painting to put him in scout shorts instead of the long pants.) Sigh... Yes, by all means, go. Take a picnic lunch if it's not too cold - beautiful grounds outside with picnic tables. And enjoy.
  6. I would have like to watch it, but you have to have cable TV...
  7. How about posting sources for some of these skits? Some I've seen, but have trouble filling in the details. Others, I've never heard of. It would be nice to find scripts...(a quick Google didn't find one for Princess Princess). Thanks.
  8. the7hiker, Are you "authorized" as a vendor/supplier by BSA? If not, then you run the risk of being visited by the BSA legal team for using their intellectual property (logos, etc.). You should have no problem with items that Supply Division does not furnish AND that does not use BSA images (such as the fleur-de-lis logo, Venturing logo, etc.). For example, custom patches for specific events should be OK as long as they do not include anything that identifies it as BSA. Really, people, the Supply Division's patch prices are not unreasonable.
  9. There are a surprising number of musicians in our ranks. For some reason, most adults tend not to talk about that. While my HS and college band experiences don't rank with some of yours, here's a quick synopsis of my music life: Piano lessons: 16 years beginning at age 5. Included 5 years studying at Peabody Conservatory (prep department - concertos!, and studying with students at a state school for the blind), and ear-training courses (theory). Organ (church organ): started at age 7, played first church service at 9. Flute: started at age 9. Piccolo: started in High school. Switched to sousaphone and baritone due to political reasons (1st chair flute was occupied by an upperclassperson, 1 bass player moved away and the other got pregnant). Included marching band and concert band for grade. Sousaphone is lots of fun in the snow! In college, I took my Freshman year off. I was SICK of music. Got involved again Sophomore year. For the 3 remaining glorious years, I accompanied all musical stage shows (Gilbert & Sullivan, etc.)- we had nothing more than a pep band for sports. Accompanied 70% of vocal students for recitals and 40% for weekly lessons. Learned to sight-read as a survival mechanism! Accompanied and toured with concert choir, madrigal singers. Added harpsichord. Spent 2 years employed as Organist for Pennsylvania State Penitentiary (a rare experience to be shared another time!). Since college, was rehearsal accompanist for Baltimore (MD) Symphony Chorus (now defunct), Assistant Organist at a large metropolitan church, Organist for a 10,000-attendee week-long church conference in Pittsburgh, accompanist for University of Hartford (CT) Civic Chorus, Music Director of CT Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and Organist/Choir Director at 3 churches over the course of 29 years (don't let me get started on brides' mothers!). Oh, yes, I also have a day job. And Scouts. Music is what keeps me sane.
  10. I am all in favor of online training entry. No, ScoutNet is not the total answer, but it's what we've got now, even though data entry is manual. Not all Councils scan applications. Mine is still manual. Not all training gets to the registrar. For example, none of the training that goes on at our Council camps gets reported to Council UNLESS the trainee takes it in and submits it themselves. It took a DE to personally enter last month the SM training I took in 2000 - and I'd submitted my proof of completion 3 or 4 times over the years. Our Council camps do not report any of the staff training that they do. That means that the YP, hazardous weather, etc., that all staff take every year gets missed. My son attended National Camp School for Aquatics this year; while checking training records, I found that Council had NO record of ANY of his training in ScoutNet. Let's get training records automated, and close the in-Council loopholes, too!
  11. oldsm


    Perhaps the scenario I posted was unclear. Maybe too long. It is a bit convoluted. Whatever. It appears from the comments so far that there is misunderstanding. Let me clarify. First of all, I have known this dad since before his stepson came along. He has always been a "straight shooter". The mom (his 2nd wife and the biological mother of the scout) is always real quick to blame someone else for whatever ill fortune may befall her or her kids. From what she's told me, the kids are never wrong. There is a strong scent of "entitlement". And we all know the old adage that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... Twocubdad: I don't see the dad's comments as "dumping" on me. I'm sure that they've had "discussions" about it, and he likely made his comment to me in the hopes that hearing about if from somewhere else might drive home the point. Think about it: how often to our own kids listen to other people better than they listen to us? Beavah: I agree about DCF investigations. No one is saying that being a victim of abuse precludes awarding Eagle. That's quite a leap in reasoning, I think. At any rate, while I want to believe the scout, I can't assume that the parents are lying, either. That's part of the conundrum. Gary_Miller: Your comment illustrates one of the problems with blanket "abuse" laws. By necessity, abuse has to be interpreted. Where is the line between discipline and abuse? Did my parents abuse me because societal norms sanctioned corporal punishment? The same in schools? Were they emotionally abusive because they set limits that I didn't like? How often to kids accuse someone of abuse simply because of anger, knowing full well that the law is on their side? Penta: I disagree about kids who like about abuse not being specific. Kids have powerful imaginations, and as they get older, they get better about keeping track of their stories even to the point of actually believing them. "He has no way to defend himself except you guys." Defend himself against whom? Eagle92: If you read carefully, the dad did NOT state that he didn' want his stepson to earn Eagle - just that the incident was fair game for discussion. Nowhere did I indicate that either of his parents would sit on his EBOR. Of course it's not permitted. It's the COR, who DOES sit on his board, who knows. Also the CC, who in this case might or might not be able to. ScoutNut: I am not investigating. The Mom (the accused) is the one who brought this to my attention. She knew that I would be contacting the COR and the CC, and she also knew how we intended to proceed. As I stated earlier in this post, it is difficult to be sure that the son is being totally honest. Because we don't investigate, I have no proof; however, I do have my suspicions. evmori: In my mind, it does, because knowing the parents the way I do, I think that the potential of a false accusation speaks to character. UCEagle72: This went beyond being a "private" YP issue as soon as mom told me that Council had revoked her membership. Thomas54: Correct - there is no criminal record, and that is not the issue. So why bring it up? If you believe the scout, then Mom is lying. If you believe Mom, the scout is lying. If you believe Council, the scout is right but we're not taking a chance on Mom. If you believe the State, then Mom is right. Let me be clear: Mom is NOT wanting to "even the score". She is concerned that the incident could have a negative impact on the EBOR members. She WANTS him to get Eagle, and has been pushing him hard (maybe too hard). The stepdad did not say he wants Eagle denied - only that it should be a topic for discussion. Was the scout truly a victim? Or is he a perpetrator? WE DON'T KNOW. SUMMARY OF EVENTS (chronologically): 1. Something allegedly happened. 2. Camp reported to Council. 3. Council terminated Mom's membership, sending registered letters to Mom and COR. 4. Council referred to DCF, who investigated and cleared Mom. 5. Mom called me, concerned about how it might impact son's EBOR. 6. I confirmed with COR, CC (Mom was on the Committee). 7. I learned through back channels what the nature of the accusation was. Did not pursue the issue with the scout beyond "how are things at home?" 8. I provided guidance for scout on completing his ESLSP write-up and Eagle Application, at his home with Dad present. No mention of the incident. 9. Dad approached me to offer his opinion that the matter should be fair game for discussion at the EBOR. (This was not a request that Eagle be denied - that would be influenced by the nature of the discussion and the scout's answers to any related questions. The EBOR could well decide that it was insufficient to deny rank.) The questions I asked at the end of my original are the potential directions that things could go. And I am still conflicted.
  12. oldsm


    Sorry - accidentally posted this in the wrong forum. Can someone move this to Working With Kids, please? Thank you! [Edited by oldsm to correct forum name](This message has been edited by oldsm)
  13. I have a dilemma and would like opinions as to how to address it. The matter concerns one of my almost-18 Life Scouts who is about to go for his EBOR, after he finishes the paperwork and we have a "final" SM conference. He's not a "stellar", over-achieving scout - really quite typical. This Scout, who was on a Council camp staff this summer, related to some other staff members that his mother (who was a Troop Committee Member) had been abusing him for years. He claimed physical abuse. The example he cited to staff was that when she dropped him off at camp, he thought he was going to get a hug, but instead received a slap in the face - with her rings turned around so they wouldn't leave marks. The staff, having just been through YP training a few weeks before, reported it up the chain, with the Camp Director reporting it to Council. Council acted swiftly, revoking Mom's membership in BSA within a week of the incident. I heard about it initially from Mom after she received a letter from Council to that effect. She figured that I already knew about it, although she caught be totally by surprise with the matter. I pointed out that the Council likely notified the COR. She rambled on about how the state Department of Children & Families had "cleared" her. She was understandably upset, thought that Council action should have waited pending DCF's investigation. I clarified BSA's position on that. She said she'd been planning to resign anyway since she's going back to school. I spoke with my CC and the COR (who confirmed that he had received the letter), and we agreed to keep Council's action quiet - no need to risk harming Mom's reputation in the community or among her friends and acquaintances, or stirring up a potential hornet's nest in the troop - and I communicated that to Mom. (She is the parent who "wears the pants" in the family, is quite outspoken and direct, and not very subtle in my opinion.) She was concerned that her removal by Council may affect her son's ability to achieve Eagle. I told her that I wasn't going to bring it up, but that the COR and CC would know, and I don't control what they do. Through back channels, I learned later about the incident that triggered the scout's confession. Sources told me that he was not going home on weekends and was looking for alternate places to live after camp. To make a long story short (well, less long), DCF said "no", that he wasn't in imminent danger, that he was being provided for, etc., so he is living at home. I have never discussed the situation directly with the scout, other than asking him how things were going at home. He said "Better. I have more freedom now, like getting to stay up later." This is a lad who had to be in bed by about 10:00, who was not permitted to walk 1/2 block to the meeting place (in a good neighborhood), and who is scheduled to graduate HS 1/2 year early. My back-channel sources are firm in their belief that something was going on, and said that DCF had previous dealings with the family. At a recent Court of Honor, the scout's step-dad (with whom he also lives and whom I respect), tried to let me know that he hopes that "this summer's incident" is brought up at the lad's EBOR. His reasoning is that no action is without its consequence, and the lad needs to learn that now, rather than later. We couldn't really talk with other people around, and it's difficult to reach him without the rest of the family knowing about it and wondering why. As stated before, the only people on the EBOR who would know about it are the COR and the CC (who may not actually sit on the board due to major health problems). It is possible that there is some substance to the scout's accusation, and that Mom and Dad are pulling the wool over my eyes. I do not know either way, probably never will, and am not sure that I want to. * Do I have a SM conference with the scout and, depending upon what he tells me directly, tell him that I can't recommend him for an EBOR? Or tell him that it is likely to come up at his EBOR, and let him know that it might cost him Eagle? * Do I have a word with the COR and suggest that the incident is fair game, as it affects character? According to Mom and step-Dad, this was a case of false accusation. * If it comes up, the "keep it quiet" effort will have been for naught, as the rest of the EBOR will then know about it. * Do I pass him along for his EBOR and say nothing? I really did not want to have to deal with this whole situation, but I probably should. Due to the scout's age (weeks from turning 18), there is no opportunity for denial of Eagle and a re-do after having a chance to improve Scout Spirit, show that he truly lives by the Oath/Law, etc. What would you do?
  14. The Eagle Application can be downloaded from www.nesa.org. It is not yet a "fillable" pdf form, and is intended to be be filled out by hand. Sort of like Motor Vehicles forms or some standardized test sheets where you have to fill in one letter per block. The hardest part is squeezing in the contact information for potential references. Of course, signatures have to be manual - no digital signatures yet!
  15. Probably the most difficult part of being a Scoutmaster is dealing with parents. While we all run into "situations" from time to time, one happened last night that has me shaking my head. The troop went to a Council camp about 2 hours from home this weekend (Saturday morning to mid-day Sunday) to do Wilderness Survival stuff (sleeping in shelters that they built, cooking sans stoves, etc.). This is a camp that grants permission to cut living stuff to make shelters (so you can have leaves, branches, etc.) It's basically unimproved woods, and anything that gets cut down grows back quickly! It's an ideal place for this kind of activity. I was not along on this outing due to work requirements. Weather was forecast to be ideal: 70's during the day, 50's at night. No rain. Mostly sunny. The weatherman was right for a change...The scouts did take along a couple of tents in case some of the younger guys got too scared to sleep in their shelters. Cell phones are carried by adults - the boys' phones are supposed to be off or stowed in a vehicle. Besides, coverage in the area is dicey, so why run down the battery searching for a signal? About 3:15 a.m. Saturday night (Sunday morning, actually), my cell phone rang. Stumbling to the dresser, I picked it up and saw that it was the father of two of the scouts who were camping. He asked if I could call one of the adults and confirm that everything there was OK. It seems his wife had a premonition that her older son (16 years old, SPL, and experienced camper) was cold sleeping under just a space blanket. She'd been distraught for about 3 hours, and nothing her husband said helped, so he finally agreed to call me. (Mom and Dad are both Committee members, big troop supporters, so having their guys away on this camping trip was routine.) I tried contacting the adults, but no one answered - phones went to voicemail. There's something about sleeping in the woods that keeps you from hearing the ringer... I called Dad back and told him so. I did not offer to drive out to the camp to check... He apologized for calling "so early". I tried to go back to sleep. The report from camp is that everything went extremely well. No one was cold, no visits from black bears, no rain. All happy campers. The campmaster, who came around to check them out couldn't even locate where they'd built their shelters. (They'd built several different styles, based on ideas in the October issue of Backpacker magazine, including one that involved digging a good-size hole.) Mom called me this afternoon after her scouts returned home, apologizing profusely. She doesn't know why she felt the say she did, but promised that she won't do it again. I was gracious and accepted her apology, telling her not to worry about it, that we all experience things from time to time that we can't rationalize. (I'm trying to rationalize why she wasn't rational.) I'm sure someday we'll laugh about it. Right now, I just want my interrupted sleep back.
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