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ParkMan last won the day on June 18

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About ParkMan

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  1. ParkMan

    YPT2 deadline

    That's a shame. This is something I'm concerned about happening longer term in my area too. While it's certainly very possible for units to survive without a district - I worry about the smaller units who benefit most from the programming, training, and encouragement the district provides. Hopefully we'll start to see more outreach to experienced Scouters and we'll see the districts grow again.
  2. ParkMan

    New girls in Scouting

    Hi @Treflienne, Here are some of the nuggets that I've learned and come back to often: 1) Never do for a Scout what a Scout can do for himself or herself - In whatever the task is, ask yourself if a Scout could do it instead. If so, then try to make that happen 2) EDGE (Explain Demonstrate Guide Enable) - EDGE is the method we use for teaching new skills. First you Explain the task, next you demonstrate how to do the task, then you guide the scout as they do the task, last you step back and enable the Scout to do it on their own. EDGE is useful for all kinds of things from tying a knot, to planning a troop's annual calendar. 3) There are eight methods of Scouting - character, citizenship, fitness, patrols, ideals, outdoor programs, advancement, and association with adults. All are important. Take some time to learn them and how they impact what you do in Scouting. 4) Scouting is a Game with a Purpose - Don't forget that Scouting is a fun activity. Yet, for all the fun, there is a purpose behind it. It's important to remember both. 5) Red, Yellow, Green - In Scouting, we're always striving to learn from our experiences. We constantly do "after action" debriefs where we find out what worked well, what didn't work well, and what we'd do differently next time. Always remember to learn a little from your experiences and strive to do a little better next time. 6) Invest in taking training - Embrace the opportunities available for training. Have fun!
  3. Thanks for the warning @Eagledad. I could imagine that happening. In our troop, my goal is that the chairs understand the goals of Scouting in their area and then work to see that the troop is moving in that direction. Because we're a big troop, we're fortunate to have a lot of great Scouters in our midst. So, I can have someone who in another life might be a Scoutmaster and ask him to be the activities chair. He can come up to speed on the youth led concepts and then see that our planning process, calendar, trips, and other activities are moving in that direction. My role as Committee Chair is then to guide in that direction as well. I'd love for the troop to have a series of youth positions that mirror these. I'd love to have an adult activities chair partnering with a youth activities ASPL (or whatever you'd call him). In my ideal world, the adult "chair" would simply be the mentor to the youth position.
  4. We have a new parents guide - but to be honest, it's not terribly useful. Many parents, and most leaders, simply don't bother to read it. Two things we've done that seem to help: 1) We've worked to create strong "chairs" for the different areas of troop life. i.e.: advancement chair, activities chair, treasurer, fundraising chair, membership chair, etc. These are the people we turn to for interpretation of the BSA rules. For example, it gives the advancement chair a reason to become an "expert" on the guide to advancement. 2) we hold a new parents meeting each spring. At that meeting, the chair for that area walks through the basic procedures we follow in the troop. It's more of a discussion on "here's what we do". It helps to create continuity in the program to have to explain what we do to a new group of parents each year. It also helps that these folks have to field questions each year from new parents.
  5. ParkMan

    Greetings from Omaha

    @GreenBarHill welcome to the forum. Thank you for taking on the Cubmaster role!
  6. What works best for us is to get comfortable with the BSA source materials. Have a question about advancement, check the guide to advancement. Have a question about uniforming, check the Guide to Awards and Insignia. This may seem obvious - but when we tend to bump into a problem, I find it's often because we haven't taken the step to really understand the official guidance on how to do things. I think this topic is a great example of that. Some documents we go to regularly are: Guide to Advancement Boy Scout Handbook Boy Scout Requirements book Guide to Safe Scouting Guide to Awards and Insignia Scoutmaster Handbook Troop Leader Guidebook
  7. If we had something like this happen in our troop, this is what we'd do too. Someone would pull together a short presentation - perhaps a few slides or a one page summary. It would generally capture: the problem the BSA rules and guidance on the subject a recommendation of how we proceed Then we'd walk the group through it. In our case, most leaders would say "interesting... never realized that. Guess we need to do something different." We'd discuss the recommendation - make a change or two and then pretty much go with it. One thing I have learned along the way is that in these meetings it's generally easier to get agreement when I describe the problem as something "we're doing wrong" as opposed to the "Scoutmaster is doing wrong." It's a subtle difference, but it does make it easier for the SM to support it. As for the content of the presentation, it pretty much matches what you wrote and have been discussed here.
  8. ParkMan

    BSA: The POLARIS Method

    From what I see that is a big part of what this is aiming to do. Provide district, council, etc. professionals and volunteers the tools and freedom to try things that they have not in the past. For example, a take the Roundtable topic. I expect there will still be a goal to have some sort of networking and continuing training for Scouters. In years past there would be requirement that you had to have a Roundtable meeting every month that follows the standard format. Going forward, a district could come up with some other format for the meeting or other way to accomplish that goal. It sounds like there would be more support to pursue innovative ideas like that.
  9. ParkMan

    Parents not getting it

    I wonder if it would help to talk with the parent about the things the Scout could do to help increase her prospects of getting chosen. It's tough sometimes to simply accept - they chose someone else. While that's a useful lesson in life to learn, it also can be a good motivator to make yourself the obvious choice for next time. You mentioned: Are there somethings she could do to position herself to be the clear choice next time? Volunteer more for within the group, speak up more often, make it clear that this is something she wants? We see this in our troop. We have youth who are naturally strong leaders. They speak up more, are more vocal in setting direction, volunteer to lead things when opportunities come up, are more confident making decisions, etc. Maybe those scouts lose an election or two here and there. But, on the whole they tend to land in the leadership positions. Some scouts just show up in the troop acting that way, but more seem to develop into it. Maybe she and her mom could work on developing those traits instead of asking you to force a choice. You have to say those things diplomatically, but I think this is where I'd go with the parent. I find that I often learn more about leadership from figuring out what I have to do to get a job as I do in actually doing the job. Just a thought.
  10. Again - I just think you have to be up front here. You're not being discriminatory by having a troop for boys or a troop for girls. Just be clear about who you are and what you're doing. But, I do think there is a practical difference between: a troop inviting only the boys of a pack to their event a troop that has always been a troop for boys continuing to be a troop for boys.
  11. I gotcha. We all know that they reason troops invite packs to events is for recruiting. However, from that pack perspective, these are great events to encourage Scouts to continue along in the program. We have all kind of Cubs visit our troop knowing full well they will never join. We do this in order to help these younger Scouts in their journey and hope a few decide to join us. So, now we're in a world where we might have some girls visit us. So what? Yep, they can't join our troop, but we sure can serve as older role models and encourage them to continue along in Scouting. Even if we decide to stay an all boys troop, we'll still roll out the red carpet. That doesn't seem such an awful thing to me. So I guess that's forcing a troop to do something against their will - but I'm struggling to figure out what.
  12. ParkMan

    BSA: The POLARIS Method

    I think you capture well the kinds of things that lead to the "status quo". I'd also agree that there are some things that, yes, an individual employee or volunteer cannot change. As example of that would be a rank requirement. Even with the the reasons you list, there is still a lot that can be done. History is full of examples where folks look at whatever problem they have and come up with creative solutions to problems. That's how innovation happens. What I see if this being an attempt by the BSA to train, empower, and encourage folks to do just that. Again - I think that's a good thing.
  13. It seems I mis-read it a bit. I got confused with some of the comments and thought it was the pack that was equivocating here. I stand corrected and apologize. I still do not care for this situation though. 1) If a troop invites the den, you can't back out because a girl is a member. You do your research ahead of time. if there is a girl, you whole invite her to participate too. 2) If a troop invites a den, they invite the whole den. If the den is mixed gender, then they simply make clear that there isn't a linked troop here and come joining time, there isn't a membership option for girls. You can't say "we only invite boys". That's still gender discrimination. Going forward, if a "boys only" troop wants to host an event with only prospective members, you make it clear that this is what it is and you make it an open invite. "Troop 234 invites potential future members to join us for an event." etc.
  14. Legal action seems strong, but as a whole, this pack sure doesn't seem to have their act together. You can't invite girls to attend and then backpedal. That is tantamount to gender discrimination. You're either 100% in or you're not. I think they are even fine with saying "we're in if we get 5 scouts". But, inviting girls to join, attending meetings, excluding them from events - that's just wrong. The other unfortunate thing here is this seems similar to some of the other petty unit politics we see. Pack makes a decision, someone complains, so they make a different decision. It gets overlooked when it's more innocuous things. But, when it comes to something this, the unit creates a mess when they do it. Someone needs to help the COR/CC make a decision and stick with it.
  15. ParkMan

    BSA: The POLARIS Method

    We've got similar things like this at work. I learned more about Polaris today. As I understand it now, it's really about providing volunteers and employees a process to solve problems. In conjunction, it sets the expectation that those employees and volunteers are then empowered to go solve those problems. The belief is that the net result of this is employees and volunteers going out and solving the problems that prevent the BSA from delivering value to Scouts and units. Large organizations, like the BSA, do these kind of things to set the tone across their organization. Between national and the councils there are a lot of professionals. Add to that all the council and district volunteers. That's got to be tens of thousands of people. I'll admit - by nature I tend to push problem solving in our troop adults. If we have a bad recruiting year, we try to figure out to do better. If we have too few Scouts go to Summer Camp, we try to figure out how to do better. In our committee of 20 people, I can look around the table and just ask people - how can we do better? In an organization the size of the BSA I get that you can't just look around a table and expect that to happen. So, you create initiatives with names. So, if I net it out, this feels like the BSA trying. I think this is a good thing.