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About OneHour

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  1. We empathize with y'all. We went through Ike. What was terrible wasn't the storm itself. Even though it was harrowing listening as the storm howled for 8 hours straight, but the after math ... the long lines at everywhere you turn, the power outage for one week and for some more than one, and most of all the rudeness that came out of people were the worst part of the storm! We didn't have the looting as Katrina, but there the rudeness and unscoutlike conducts came out of the woodwork! Our electricity didn't come back on for 6 days! Camping stoves and propane came in handy! The first couple of days, we had block parties trying to finish up with all of the perishable before the fridges all melted. We have never eaten so much, so well in so little time! Living near the Gulf of Mexico, we come to stock non-perisable as well. We learned to fill up bath tubs, pots, pans, etc, with water; as a results, we had enough water for several days. My two eagle scouts learned first hand what that Emergency Prep merit badge is all about! But anyway, glad, y'all made it through ok! 1Hour
  2. Our sincere and heart-felt sympathy from Sam Houston Area Council. May the Great Scoutmaster of all scoutmasters in heaven receives Christopher home. 1Hour
  3. ... last night, at the Court of Honor, a packed gym, the parents and the boys gave me a standing ovation that lasted about 5 minutes after the CC called me up for my retirement recognition from scoutmastership. It brought me to tears when they played the slideshow tribute for me. Afterward the boys and parents lined up to hug me and shake my hands. Nothing more special than a 12 years old saying, "Thanks, Mr. [OneHour], for everything!" Now, I can head off to the scoutmaster pasture and graze peacefully.
  4. ... on the night after our second den meeting for my oldest son about 10 years ago when he was a Tiger, as we were driving home, my son blurted out, "Dad, that was fun. I want to be a den leader just like you when I grow up!" Tears came to my eyes. He is an Eagle scout and a 3rd year at University of Houston. ... on the night that I stepped down as a cubmaster, I stopped and asked one of my cubs why he is crying. He wouldn't tell me, but kept on crying. His mother told me later that night that he didn't want for me to go away and he was afraid that he won't see me again. I cried. He is a senior in high school and is a Life scout in our troop working on his Eagle. At one of the Webelos activity pin day many moons ago, one of my cubs was in my class. He came up and told me after class, " Mr. [OneHour], you are the best teacher. I wish that all of my teachers are just like you!" I was speechless (that's rare). I recounted his comment to me at his Eagle CoH as his Scoutmaster. His father teared up. The young starts at the Naval Academy three weeks ago! ... and there are other stories... These are the reasons why I do what I do. I'm sure that it is the reason why you do what you do for scouting! ... of course also for the large salary that comes with the job!
  5. Camp Strake ... ah, brings back good memories when I was a Tenderfoot, circa 1977. Grand Lake was great! I can still remember the "orange" water that came out of those pipe! Talking about iron-fortified water. It was pitch black back then, when several young Tenderfoot (yours truly included) stood there in the middle of nowhere holding the bag while the older scouts chase "snipes" into them! aka ... the infamous "snipe hunt" that are now hazing! This is the same place where I attended my first Jamboree where my tentmate and I won second place in the "Cooking flapjack and whistle Dixie while eating flapjack contest!" I remember that it took a long time to get from Sharpstown area to Camp Strake! It was a long trip for us, going into the "wilderness!" (Deep sigh!) But then you are correct, Dennis, it is run down. The problem is not strictly the run down condition. It is also what surrounding the camp. Urban sprawl has overtaken the camp's serenity. On the weekend, noises from the racetrack pierce the quiet wood. It sometimes lasts well into the night. Imagine They have cut down a lot of pines that were there once allowing the freeway noises to become more pronounced. They no longer can recruit summer camp staffs. Just imagine summer camp in Houston in July and August. This is why Camp Strake is no longer attractive to the local troops. We live in Houston year round. When our troop does summer camp, our boys want to get away from the heat, the humidity, and the mosquitoes. They want to travel. 40 miles is only a stone throw away for them!
  6. OGE, how could I have forgotten OGE! My apologies OldGreatEagle! In our area, sports, band, and other extra curricular activities rule (over) scouting. 13-14 size seems to be the good size for our patrols. On the campout, it normalizes to 8-9 boys due to compete events. Before, when we held it to 6-7 scouts patrol, we ended up combining patrol to make one complete patrol. The patrols tend to lose their identity. Nowaday, our 9 patrols (7 permanent, 2 new scout patrols) stay intact during campouts. Btw, the scouts in the new scout patrol choose one of the 7 permanent patrols to go into after their 1st year and the 2 new scout patrols are recycled for the next group of webelos in March. At the end of the day, OGE and Pack are correct. As long as he delivers the program, who is to fault him? If BSA wants it a particular way, then each troop should have a paid professional who will run it the way that BSA has in mind, including keeping the unit small. 1Hour
  7. Second Class, 20 ASMs... that's a recipe for adult-lead troop. I have 10 ASMs, 9 mentoring the 9 patrols, with 1 for HA. Been at this for the last 13 years and been on this board for 9 years, as with some of the other old timers here, Packpaddle, Barry, Seattle, Beavah, and others, I have read and contributed my fair share of what a good/bad troop should be. Having said that, I am still learning. I have been on the small end to the big end to the mega end. There is no end. I continue to practice the BSA ideals; however, sometimes as others will tell you that ideals are just that. As a troop grows, (the Army used to put it the best), you have to adapt, adjust, and overcome. As long as our boys are having fun and learning, then big troop is as good as a small one, but let's get back our regular broadcast ... to provide our 2 cents to Basement with his experience. Basement, I would have been more disappointed. At 2011 summer camp in CO, I was blown away with one troop. They had a full staff of Committeem members and ASMs at the Scoutmaster Hall, commandeering the hall to run their advancement. They had the newest scouts and their Trail to First Class boys to go through requirements, assigning ASMs to work with these guys on a particular requirement. They held Boards of Review there. They had computers set up with printers. It was an operation! They brought 65 boys (vs 54 that we brought). If the SM at your roundtable had a similar troop, then yeah ... I can see how they can get their boys through a summer camp! 1Hour
  8. Sentinel, We did split 10 years ago. We and our twin both grew! They are at 60 boys and we are at 132. We tried, but no one seems to be able to figure out how to divide the troop (again). It is tough already to have very little adult involvement on the Committee side to help with the logistics of the troop. It is even tougher to find two sets of adults. We found as the last time ... who gets to go where is not easy to decide. District and Council are quick to say ... split. It is truly easier said than done. Bottom line is that unless a scoutmaster has dealt with a troop this large, one cannot even begin to realize the enormous amount to work it takes and we don't like/want to brag! 1Hour
  9. Eagle732, please allow me a chance to defend the "big troop." I can only speak for our troop. "What I hear is not so much bragging about how many Eagles a troop has but how BIG the troop is. Those troops with 80 to 150 boys love to brag about how big they are." - We don't brag about how big we are (132 boys). We moan and groan about the size of our troop to the District, to Council, to whoever can help us in solving our woes. We reminisce of the time when we were 37 strong. If that is bragging, then yeah, we ask for help. We had to "cap" our troop. " I wonder how many Scoutmaster Conferences the SM hands off to ASMs?" - I do 1st Class through Eagle and I ask my ASMs to take over Scout-2nd Class. You are correct. It is physically impossible to do all! I keep 1st Class - Eagle to keep the consistency with my message to the boys. From time to time when I have a chance, I do Scout-2nd Class. Oh by the way, my SMCs are done outside of troop meeting! Does it take a lot of time? You bet you that it does! "Does he really know how each boy is doing?" - You betcha! "How can he even remember ever boys name?" - 132 names and their parents' names! Our troop is so diversed that it makes one just go crazy in learning the pronunciation of some of the last names! For those who don't, that's because they don't want to make an effort! "80 boys is about twice what I would want in a troop. I just don't think I can effectively run a program with that many." - I totally agree, but when the boys want to join ... you cannot simply tell them no. We are not a model patrol method, but we try. Are the adults run the troop? 30% adult guidance 70% boys run. Do they make mistakes? You betcha! Do we make mistakes? You betcha? At troop meeting, the ASMs and I stand in the back of the room while the SPL and his 6 ASPLs ran the meeting of 70-90 boys! At campout our two quartermasters run the trailer managing 9 patrols equipment distribution. Do I want to go back to the time it was smaller? You don't know how much! So ... we Big Troop or Mega Troop do not brag. We simply manage what we can. ... btw ... granted that we are not perfect, but we try. We camp every month. We go to summer camp. We send off 2-3 HA crews each summer. It takes our average scout 1.5 - 2 years to get to first class. Our average Eagle age is 16.8 years! If we have to brag, we brag about the fact that we have a 92% retention, a great number for Council, but a bad deal for our size! I'm sorry if it sounds as if I am defensive. I am, because your statements seem to be the common misconception about big size troop! I wouldn't want to wish the size on any scoutmaster!
  10. Develop a relationship with the Pack(s) will take efforts and times ... as others have suggested ... Den Chiefs are the first steps. As momo pointed out, lend them a helping hand at Pinewood Derby, Blue & Gold, Bike Rally, etc. Offer to take them on at Webelos Woods. In our troop, we did all those and then we invite the Webelos 1 & 2 to our "Scout Skills Day" where we host the webelos and teach them a few skills that the boys will learn in scouting (knot typing, fishing, setting up tents, cooking) etc. It's a 4 hours on a Saturday. If you don't talk to them until cross-over time, they won't know you. Personally, as a scoutmaster, I make myself visible at a couple of the Packs' functions. Of course my favorite would be pinewood derby. Of course, I have slowed my efforts down quite a bit, but no pain ... no gain. This year, we are poised to get 32 Webelos 2 from 2 Packs. It's a good problem to have to a certain point. 1Hour
  11. Beav, LoL! We are experiencing our first days of winter! High in the 60's, low's in the low 50's. Phewww, just got the chill, thinking about it! LoL! Yeah, but y'all got the beautiful year round temperature, woods and mountains! We got the heat, flat lands, and mosquitoes! Trade ya. Momo ... my youngest one was the same way, he kept coming to our troop meetings in Oct, Nov, Dec, and Jan two years ago when he was a Webelos 2. He loves our den meetings, but his eyes were transfixed on the troop and what his Eagle brothers were doing! He was lucky. He didn't have to convince the scoutmaster too hard since his father is the scoutmaster. Again, personally, Webelos program is way too long! When the Webs come in, they are either very excited (75% of them) or burned out (25%). Along with them, their parents are either very burned out (75% of them) or very excited (25% of them). The longer the program, the higher the percentage of burned out scouts and parents (mostly den leaders).(This message has been edited by OneHour)
  12. Our local Packs cross over in February. The boys usually report to the troops 1st weekend in March. This is best timing. This will give the new scouts at least 2-4 full campouts before summer camp! This will help with the homesickness at summer camp. It will give the new scout a little time to work on getting at least Tenderfoot before school is out. With summer camp and fall, they should be able to get to 2nd Class and then 1st class by next summer camp. Trail to First Class for us takes 1.5 to 2 years to finish, not the recommended 1st Class by 1st year. We still retain 95% of the boys who came in. The 5% was result of family moved out of the area. Other troops might be different in terms of their expectations of when they would like to see new scouts. Personally, I'd like to see transition in December, 2 reasons: 1) we would get more Webelos to transition. By Web 2, they are tired and anxious. They would have finished all requirements by October. 5-6 more months of doing nothing would disengage them easily from scouting. 2) Ever since our Council change the recharter to December, getting the webelos to cross over and join in January would save a lot of logistic registration work! From the Pack's point-of-view, I would like to have the boys to attend the last Pinewood Derby and the last B&G as well! Those are their last hoorahs, but then a lot of them (and their parents) really don't care for these events. 1Hour
  13. In Houston ... our spring started this past October! It went from 100 degree for 7 months to 80 degrees for 5 months! Got a feeling that our Summer will start up soon! Talking about groundhog year!
  14. btw ... are we doing PM the correct way? ... probably not, but we (the boys and the adults) are sure having loads of fun! Frustrations, you bet cha! Confusions, plenty! Chaos? All the times! Are they learning leadership? Hope so ... kicking, screaming, pulling, coaching, mentoring, etc ... We will continue to do as we have been doing until someone at the District or Council comes and tells us that we are not doing it correctly! So far, no one has! As a matter of fact, we scored 2100 in our Journey to Excellence survey. I guess that it is a decent score for the troop our size.
  15. We have 113 scouts. Where we live,sports and academics are kings and scouting is secondary. So this is how our troop is run: 6 permanent patrols (max 15 membership) with 2 NSP's. 1 SPL 1 ASPL - over 3 permanent patrols + 1 NSP 1 ASPL - over 3 permanent patrols + 1 NSP 1 ASPL - over Troop Guides and Instructors (we call him Trails to First Class Boss) 1 ASPL - over 2 QMs, Chaplain Aide, Historian, Librarian, and Scribe 8 Patrol Leaders 8 Patrol QMs reporting to Troop QMs 6 permanent patrols are mixed ages 2 NSPs are most Webelos and some new older scouts who just joined. - New scout who reaches 2nd class gets to choose a permanent patrol to join for the rest of his scouting career. Why 15 scouts maximum per patrol? Because at any one campout, we have at most 8-9 scouts. Again, in our area, sports and academic event are kings! In the fall, we lose the band members and football players. In the spring, we lose baseball players and orchestra members. To date, this has worked out well. 8-9 scouts per outing keep the patrol intact. Each campout, we average 51 scouts. It's a logistic nightmare, but we cannot stop the influx. Despite what one poster wrote about large troop, our boys stay with the program! We lose about 2-3 boys a year due to lack of interest. These were boys who do not show any interest in the first place. We lose about 8-10 due to age out or Eagle out, mostly juniors and seniors. They boys are taking full AP classes and we rarely see them. Our boys for some reasons stay until they finish their Eagles. Just two weeks ago, one got his Eagle BoR done with 8 days to spare (until his 18th). The boys in our troop love to stay and camp with the troop! Probably the one story that made me the proudest is during the weekend of new year, one of our former patrol (mostly 18 years old seniors) got together on Friday 1/30 and went camping. They later told me that they were thrifty with their food purchases. They even did a trash sweep! They went camping because one of them saw me at the stop light and took it as a sign from above that they need to go camping one more time before they head off to college! I cried! There will be a point where the troop becomes too large. Our SPL right now is having a difficult time controlling the boys. I help him from time to time and get the boys to quiet down and listen. Outside of that, the SPL and his staff do most of the work! PLC lasts about 2 hours. They start off by planning for 2 months. Next month, they review the upcoming month and plan for the next. So ... they are always 2 months ahead! 1Hour
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