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About ozemu

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    SE Queensland - Australia
  1. Competitions can bring out some good improvement however for every winner there is a looser. The main point of the Patrol system IMHO is that Patrols act separately and differently. If doing different things there is no real way to compete and there would not be uniformity in Patrol ability. A strong Patrol competition may well indicate that adults are running a very tight ship and PL's are not independent enough. Sure there are essential basic skills straight from the advancement requirements and these are worth some competition. We all do that and rightly so, I would rate excellent Patrol system being when the Patrols are not actually present together very often with each Patrol off doing it's own thing. Have not often enough reached that ideal but it remains more my focus than a strong competition. Have often had Patrols at very different standards with little good to come from what would be a lop sided competition. Having pontificated I readily admit to competition not more than half of each quarter (5 weeks out of 10). Always try to have a set of optional activites that contribute to Patrol points. Like extra credit.
  2. Play stalking wide games that involve looking for traces of the quarry. Soldiers leave no trace - otherwise the bad guys might follow the signs and shoot at them. Try camping overnight and then going to find the vacated camp of other Patrols. Indigenous peoples across the globe tred lightly. Not just with hunting and stalking but it carries over to respect for the other organisms. If Indians are cool then explore their outlook. Perhaps your Scouts could observe and follow ants, track how long before saliva becomes a moisture source, work on the micro and when that is interesting the macro might be looked at differently. Take time to appreciate the spectacular in the natural environment. Start with big things but work toward small and less obvious things until they start looking too. If you lead they may follow. Refuse to take them places if they are not respectful of the environment. There are places that I will not take some people or go to at all. Being denied may bring on a desire to know why not. But truthfully the environment deserves respect and if Scouts are not trustworthy the environment should not have them inflicted upon it. In my mind we do not have a right to go anywhere we want - only where we are welcome. So if they don't buy into LNT then leave them out of places where they can be destructive.
  3. Hearing that the older Scouts were keeping an eye on, and that the younger Scouts were going to the older Scouts during their first few months at high school. That first six months is unsettling for most - I was proud to know that without prompting, our Scouting relationships were being honoured. Non Scouting school friends had no idea how they knew each other apparently. Having my Asutralian Scouts proudly wearing either Indian Lore or Fishing MB's next to their Australian badges. Caused a few second glances from other Troops.
  4. It's been a while. Hello everyone. Can I throw an idea or two in using both my Scouting experience (6 yr co-ed SM here in Oz) and as a professional camp manager for school groups (5 yrs)? Young male instructors (probably Scouters too) have clients (Scouts) experience accidents more often and more severely. Stat's are cited across the industry and supported from our own internal records. Extrapolating....girls are safer until age 25 or so. Car insurance also seems to support the notion. I have as at today 5 women and 3 men working as camp leaders to give an idea of my experience. As an SM I noticed that my PL's were cautious when on Patrol activities (no adults to rescue them). Most PL's were boys over the 6 years of my tenure. No major incidents in that time and I was confidant with most of them but generally less concerned with girls leading than boys. Not markedly but with hindsight it was noticeable. Does safety correlate with adventure? Not really IMHO. If you agree with me then having girls and women in Scouting may lower the accident rate a little without impinging on the adventure benefits. I thought that idea may be new to the discussion. On another note my experience was that girls mature earlier and were suited to leadership roles disproportionately. In short a minority of girls could at times have a majority of leadership roles. It wasn't too obvious in our case but I could see that Troops could possibly become entirely girl led when populated by mostly boys. I don't think this would happen very often but begs a question about what such a situation could do for the boys....and the girls involved. I doubt that too many would be scarred for life and I also suspect that the situation would change within about 6-12 months as that is about the age-ing out rate. So is this possibility a 'must avoid' as harmful to boys self-esteem / efficacy / actualisation or is it 'much ado about nothing'? Is it a major point in the debate? I don't see it as being too bad. Everything else about having girls in the Troop and as Scouters was about as alarming as having a blind Scout join the Troop (had a couple over time). They cause some changes to procedures and planning but they bring more then they disrupt. Otherwise it is all quite unremarkable and the changes to co-ed Scouting (I have experienced the change as a Scouter) was really underwhelming. That is my experience and is no guarantee that girls in BSA would not cause global warming. Ok that last sentence was inciteful and stuck in as a tease. I completely acknowledge that the discussion is primarily about culture and that BSA is anchored in the USA. How USA'ians would approach, cope with and manage a 100% change to coed Scouting is going to be unique to the USA. All other experiences are interesting comparisons but not a fully reliable prediction for what might be. In the end the proof will be in the pudding (if that saying is unfamiliar I mean that the result will be the only true indication - and by then it would be too late for changes).
  5. The thing I needed most in resurrecting a new Troop was an ASM. You need one who is into camping, willing to run meetings on a 50-50 basis (not taking over from Scouts but playing the adult role about 50% of the time so you can speak to parents, plan things, enjoy the meeting etc)and is in the area for years to come. If you don't have one - don't start. If you do they may never show up 'cause you'll be 'doing fine'. If your experience of Scouting is of younger ages then be very careful to not make it an older Cub Pack. This is a problem for some people. The age group can be very adult one minute and babies the next. You are the island for them - always be the same. Don't baby them and don't expect them to be a fully capable adult. I found it easiest to work out by measuring myself against what an Uncle or next door neighbour might do in most circumstances. With adult help and personal confidence in your role you will have heaps of fun. Just a thought. Could this other Troop loan you a PL for the first few weeks and could they run one camp where your Scouts were included as a patrol or split between two perhaps? I did that and it was useful as a benchmark as we got started.
  6. Fair enough comment. People do things they later look back on and would rather like it to be unsaid. Age is no barrier. Maybe it would have been better to let the discussion die the death I think it had. pj - no need to give it new life, it had left Today's Active Topics list, and it will again if we all just wander on to more profitable discussions.
  7. Agreed it is an adult responsibility to act here. Interesting to know what the Scouts would say if they had to decide. Has anybody asked? If they don't want him - end of discussion isn't it? Doesn't matter why unless they are a serious mess themselves.
  8. Mistakes are great - we learn and have an opportunity to humbly seek to understand each other. Of course outrage evokes defensivness and widens the divide between us. There but for the Grace of God (and many mistakes) go I. Let's learn from this story but also give people a break.
  9. Gear needed depends on activity, experience, age but also on environment. I'll bet you would mostly recommend a different tent down in the SE than you would in the NW. dewSM's question is what to buy first. Probably standing camp gear (don't get trapped by it program wise). Big heavy boxes - no, try smaller solid plastic ones. That way the Patrol can pick them up and move them around. And you can separate Patrols more easily. I don't know how you describe size - 50 litre? small enough that the smallest Scout if gaffer taped into a rectangle could barely squeeze into it? You get the drift - a two Scout lift at heaviest. For myself we opted for two sets of gear per Patrol. One lightweight and one heavy weight. Summer was for water based camps and standing camps. Winter for hiking and standing camps. We did about 60% standing camps mostly themed (JOTA etc) and some them with other Troops. Every year we seemed to do at least one camp with no gear. Slept in the grandstand at the sports field on a charity 24hr walk, survival shelters, cardboard boxes (homeless experience). Only Troop item we had other than flags was a big old canvass circus style tent - we call it a marquee, that we never put up because we got it in a drought and it only had half the poles. Didn't need it and couldn't put it up. If it were conditions like now though....I'd buy poles.
  10. I see something of your problem hiking god. Welcome to the forum by the way. If, in your Troop, the purpose of walking is to get from A to B fast then chants may well help. You say the other Scouts are not really into hikes. Maybe it is too much of an endurance race for them. So possibly a comprimise? Walk fast by all means (if that is what they want to do) but also try sections that are not walked fast. Stalking for wildlife is actually very hard to do. Stalking for other Scouts and then hiding from them as they walk past is lots of fun...if it is a two way track. Wlaking solo can also be exciting if you are used to being in a big gaggle. And it can be quieter if the boys are shown that they may see and hear things they have not seen/heard before. Just send the boys down the track 1 or 2 minutes apart and tell them to meet up at the next feature (make sure someone sensible goes first to pull the oithers up). Walk for perhaps only 5 minutes like this the first time you do it. Eat. Stop to eat and drink where there is a view or something interesting. An excuse for looking around.. Use the walk to practice map reading. In detail. To within a few yards is possible with practice. The whole Patrol can be a part of this. Some count paces, some look for features that you expect to walk past, some are looking at the map, some checking compasses and reporting what direction the path is taking. Set them the task of learning about others in the Patrol. Match them up not in their usual pairs and have them report back to the Patrol on the other Scouts siblings, pets, places they've been on holiday etc. Talking tends to be quiet and means that everyone can be involved. Pretty useful to the Patrol if everyone knows each other well. If you hike as a Troop that may be part of the issue. I'd recommend sed ing the Patrols down the track 15 minutes apart at least. Maybe the first Patrol has to magically reappear at the back somehow without the other Patrols seeing them. If you have a junior Patrol send them first maybe so they can hide first and then follow on looking for the others most of the way. In fact my humble suggestion is that if you do anything as a Troop - stop it. Divide into Patrols and do different things or spread the Patrols out and do the same thing but apart. Patrol work means more Scouts involved doing more stuff and everyone has a useful part to play. Maybe the chants would be useful to focus everyone into a fast cadence when covering really boring ground (down some roads for example), maybe to celebrate the last few yards before the summit of a steep hill etc. Hiking god, what some are trying to say is that hikes are a metaphor for life. Enjoy the journey and be part of where you are rather than just focussing on getting to the end fast. At your (suspected) age I walked hard and fast. Teens are supposed to pit themselves against challenges. But there is more to it than that. Hope that helps
  11. I cannot separate camping and other adventures from values. How I work with these two areas is simple. 1. Do stuff: camping and adventures are popular with most Scouts. Got to be active or step 2 won't show up. 2. Get outside the comfort zone: when they emotionally engaged (happy or sad - doesn't matter) they are ready to pay attention 3. Ask the three questions: What happened: so what do we make of this, what do we do to improve next time? 4. Move on. Enjoy the day. For me I spend most of my time working on step 1, I watch for step 2 signs, we spend enough time on step 3 to discover something useful - for a whole day of activity we (up to 18 kids) sometimes might speak for 45 minutes with me saying less than 5 minutes worth. That's professionally. With Scouts step 3 is normally about 15 minutes max (using a mixed age and gender Patrol). For a weeknight meeting the SM's story (yarn, minute) that may (or may not) have a moral and lasting 1-3 minutes is good. I suggest that if you don't have a step 3 you are missing the point. Also if step 3 is mostly adult talking then you are still missing the point.
  12. That's hard Beavah. To speak openly and confidantly you need to be sure of yourself, failings and all. That is something to foster but not for teaching I think. An example goes along way and I hope that I have shown that to other adults as I learned to speak up. I'd add to Baschram645 that someone to show the way should be followed closely by every other adult member within cooee and I include the older Scouts in that category. (Basically anyone over about 13 years who wants to perform as an Adult). For those who are verbally impaired when it comes to values I say 'lead the way by your actions' and fire a well aimed evil eye for infractions. That can work better than a yarn 'cause the little guy (all of us at times) has to work out what it means. And if you need to delve deeper then maybe try asking questions if telling the story isn't your forte. Here's a phrase to help. "What, so what, what next": What happened? So what is the impact of that? What do we do better next time? Get your Scouts used to being asked those questions. After a couple of months of the three questions they will relax and so will you. You don't always need to know the answers either. If they cannot answer the question ask it again next week. Gives you and them a week to get advice. Think I'm meanering off topic Beavah - sorry.
  13. Steel mug and a plastic spork (lighter than the steel one I lost). I cook, eat, rinse then drink from that mug. I do not count my folding pocket knife as part of the kit but when I need to I can disect the odd steak with it. Incidentally I have not washed either item in a very long time. Licked clean with tongue is the spork and the mug gets rinsed twice each meal with a thimble or two of water. When really dry I drink that thimble too. What do you call it over there? Wilderness soup or something?
  14. I assume that you are asking about MB's rather than special BSA international awards that may not (no idea if this is correct) contribute to advancement. Do everything by the rules and regs...then do what works. I don't know how easy it is to work around things but there must be a way to reconise effort and accomplishement despite inconvieniences of location. Few young men will understand "yes you did everything and more but the rules are impossible to adhere to overseas. Just do the MB again when we get home". Something of a disincentive. But you Americans are a creative lot, not too tripped up by regs. Several of my Scouts proudly wore Indian Lore and Fishing MB's on their Australian uniforms. Not exactly correct by rule but they earned them in Australia as a virtual exchange arrangement. Looked good too and opened a few discussions about international Scouting when we were out and about which is a plus as well. No names - no pack drill. ....and I am not afraid of the MB police. You don't have jurisdiction over here.
  15. I was very confused until OGE's third post or so. You Americans don't use an 'r' as we do for the word that offened OGE and from my perspective 'rassler' was pretty inocuous. If the 'a' came first I would have gotten the point at the start. Young men of the age we serve do not, in my experience, make those sorts of connections. They mock but less cynically. I would think they were as disgusted as you are yourself OGE. And for what it is worth I understand the upset - being a foster carer has brought these issues into my home more than once. The fall out is / can be awful. Not just for those directly involved but possibly for people this young man has not yet met or even for people not yet born. Certainly I have recieved and witnessed the rage and confusion at first hand. We can get a bit overwhelmed by all that and see connections in nearly anything.
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