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ParkMan

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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    Because Scouting is a youth development organization. The often repeated phrase is "Scouting is a game with a purpose." The game is outdoor adventure. The purpose is youth development. Four of the eight methods of Scouting are: Ideals Adult Association Personal Growth Leadership Development Ideals - A scout is trustworthy. if a Scout is trustworthy, then why the do we need searches? Is a leader is courteous - shouldn't he respect the personal belongings of another and not search them without notice? Adult Association - Adult leaders, how they conduct themselves, and how they relate to Scouts become examples that the Scouts learn from. What kind of example does it set for a leader to start going through a Scout's belongings? Personal Growth - Creating an atmosphere of high expectations where searches are not needed seems like the right starting point. Then, if something happens which destroys that trust, then a serach is conducted. If a search is needed, and the Scout is present, it presents an opportuntiy for the Scout to learn from the process. It's uncomortale being accused of some mis-deed and then having an adult conduct a search with you there. This presents an opportunity for the Scout to learn why a search is needed, how he broke the trust of the Scoutmaster, and what mistakes he has made. Leadership Development - Youth learn leadership skills from adults. What kind of example does it set for a leader to say "I decided to go through your things without you there because I wanted to check up on you"? Finally - what contraband in Scouting is so awful that we, as adults, need to run around searching Scout's belongings without them there? A cell phone? medicine? Some food? Is this really so awful?
  2. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    I'm not so sure we disagree. I, like you, would argue that the Scout needs to be present for that search. Further, I don't have much use for these kind of searches, but if a leader thinks it needs to happen, then they can have a search. Others here think a search of the Scout's belongings without the Scout present is fine. I, again like you, disagree with that position.
  3. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    I think everyone (well just about everyone) agrees that a search is fine. The issue is whether a Scoutmaster should go through a Scouts belongings without telling the Scout first and having him/her present.
  4. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    I'm comfortable to stipluate that an inspection is OK. I don't see any rights issues with a youth who is voluntarily participating on a trip being asked to present that contents of his locker. I'm quite OK that it can be done "on demand" so that the Scout doesn't have time to hide anything. I grant the Libertarians may not agree - but this seems quite reasonable to me. I tihnk you make the case well @David CO. What you describe reminds me very much of my childhood in the 80's. Locker searches were quite normal at school for that very reason. But again, I had a very different relationship between Scoutmaster Joe & Vice Principal Smith. Scoutmaster Joe was an advisor, a guide in Scouting. Vice Principal Smith was the guy who had to maintain order and discipline in the school. Two very different worlds. Now, since it was the 80's, if Scoutmaster Joe had required me to present the contents of my footlocker, I'd have done that. I doubt I'd have thought much about it truthfully. Today - just feels different. To your point - if every Summer Camp it's just part of the process, then I supposed we'd get used to it - or find a new troop. But, I guess I wonder do we really need to? Our Troop's Scoutmaster would probably call foot locker searches a waste of time and simply say - "you're an adult I'm not going to check you locker. But, if I see something I shouldn't see it's mine for the rest of the trip. Put your locker in the trailer and let's get going."
  5. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    Fair point and understood. I think ask just about any kid and they'd tell you that school administrators don't trust them. Do we want to create the same relationship between Scoutmasters & Scouts?
  6. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    You're mixing two different things @fred8033 was talking about the general case of whether troops should routinely do foot locker inspections before going to camp. I accepted his argument that if troops are doing locker searches routinely (and presumably without prior cause) then adults are telling the scouts - "we don't trust you". In the specifc case here - I agree. if the Scoutmaster has a reason not to trust then yes, inspections are warrated.
  7. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    We often talk about giving the Scoutmaster a lot of deference in how he runs the program. But, when you constantly defer to Scoutmaster, it makes situations like this so much more difficult. Then, when something like this happens, it creates a big, poltiical mess because people start lining up and choosing sides. Scoutmasters then feel attacked and second guessed. In my humble opinion - you give the Scoutmaster a lot of respect, but you need to have a troop culture where the leaders work as a team. Going through the Scout's belongings will be something that will parents will be upset about. As such, the Scoutmaster needs to be smarter about how he deals with concerns like contraband. Hold inspections in the open. If he really feels a search is warranted, perhaps a phone call first to the CC to discuss the concern and develop a mutual plan to address. Then, if there is any sort of pushback it's now a troop problem - not a Scoutmaster problem.
  8. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    My thinking was that if you need to do inspections, do them in the open. But - your point is well taken - an environment of constant inspections suggests a troop where the Scoutmaster doesn't trust the Scout.
  9. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    This sounds like a very good way to handle this. Have an inspection with the Scoutmaster & parents present prior to leaving for Summer Camp. The notion of a Scoutmaster privately going through a Scout's belongings seems like is destroys the whole idea of what we're trying to achieve in Scouting. It seems to undermine the adult association, personal growth, and leadershi skills methods. This should get escalated to the CC, Troop Committee, and COR. In my humble opinion - it's time for someone to have a heart to heart with the Scoutmaster.
  10. ParkMan

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    I've heard too many similar stories too. We consider a tire boot just part of the cost of having a trailer. Not having one is an open invitation to thieves.
  11. ParkMan

    Just got 1 girl

    To be fair - the BSA'S membership challenges today are the result of changing expectations you adults and youth. They are further compounded by struggles packs and troops have in delivering high quality programs in the context of a more and more competitive world of youth activities.
  12. ParkMan

    Activity approval

    Sort of. The COR is not typically part of the approval process for unit activities. But, should the COR feel a need to act and make a decision, the COR has that right. The COR has whatever authority the COR feels he/she needs to have. They supervise the unit on behalf of the CO. If the COR feels that they need to micromanage the unit, then that is their decision and well within their authority. I think these arguments often confuse intent with authority. It is not the intent of the BSA system that the COR overule the unit. Similarly, it is not the intent of the BSA system that the CC overrule the Scoutmaster and/or SPL. The defined Troop structure creates a framework where a group of responsible volunteers can work together to implement a well balanced system. In that Troop structure, decision making ability is delegated to the right people in the organization to make good decisions. But that same system provides for a clearly defined oversight structure so that if bad decisions are made, reasonable people can correct those mistakes. Of course, this all assumes that everyone involved is working with the best of intentions in a professional way. This forum sees lots of cases where the structure breaks down.
  13. H @Liz, i found this in the Guide to Safe Scouting:
  14. ParkMan

    Activity approval

    We've hashed this out before. This is largely a theoretical argument - but a CO does indeed own the unit. The resources of the unit belongs to the CO. The CO enters into an agreement with the BSA to utilize the program of the BSA for the operation of that unit. The CO can set whatever rules it wants. At somepoint, the members of the unit may decide - "hey, this isn't for me" and leave. The members may even balk and tell the CO "no, I'm not doing thiat". Similarly, the CO can set rules that change or superceed the rules of the BSA. In that case, the recourse of the BSA is to revoke the charter. Again - this is all thoretical - feels kinda like I'm in a civics class.
  15. ParkMan

    Activity approval

    You're correct on that the SM & Scouts plan the calendar. The Committee's role to do just what you describe and make sure that resources are available (people, equipment, money). The Committee should be looking to say Yes to activities - not to say no. One of the roles of the CC is to see that all functions are delegated and completed. Program is critical part of the troop, but it's still a function that needs to be delegated and completed. The important thing in all this is it isn't about power - it's about keeping things organized. So, if your CC is running around telling everyone what to do because "the CC is in charge", they are missing the point. Myself, I'd use the term conductor. Every adult in the troop plays an important role. When they all work together the troop sounds (I mean runs) great. It's the role of the CC (conductor) to make sure tasks are organized so that the right person is doing them. Every so often the CC provides some guidance to help people keep going in the right direction.
  16. ParkMan

    Activity approval

    I'd concur here. @David CO and I come from units with different levels of CO engagement. In @David CO's I've gotten the impression the CO is more hands on and directive. In mine, the CO has a very active COR who is an involved unit leader. So, we see few corrections from the CO and more collaboration. But, regardless of CO style, the unit leaders should have a very good handle on the priorities, policies, and concerns of the CO and should work with those as best possible.
  17. ParkMan

    Activity approval

    I can imagine this is tough. I was really thinking that you could change the unit with new blood. But, now reading about the mess with the COR/CC I agree that it's just time to go. My thinking on a schedule would be Hold a meeting of your key volunteers next week. Make a plan Tell your current COR your plans by the end of June or after Summer Camp - whatever is later. Have your new CO ready to go for August 15 Since your COR is wrapped up in this, I'd plan on moving packs too. Better to start fresh with a top notch team of volunteers who will run a class act.
  18. ParkMan

    Activity approval

    Hi @karunamom3 I think it's time to go start a unit down the steet. The CC is completely within his perogative to do just what he's doing. The committee has the responsibilty to approve events so that it can determine if there is adequate adult support and resources for the event to be successful. As chair, he can decide if an event is brought to the committee. A good CC woudl certainly delegate some of that to the Scoutmaster and try to be flexible as much as is appropriate. After all, it's our goal as Scouters to say "yes" to events. If the CC is starting to act like in a fashion that it not appropriate, you'd go talk to the COR. But, since in this case hte COR is the CC you prospects are restricted. You could certainly go talk to the Insitutional Head of your chartering organization. Maybe that would work. So, from what we know of your troop: - tyrant CC/COR - weak program - oldest scout is 13 If I recall correctly, you're Cubmaster of the pack. Me - I'd think seriously about getting together with the other adults and starting a new pack & troop with some more forward thinking leadership elsewhere in town.
  19. ParkMan

    Patrol Method not so much

    I've learned in Scouting that leaders have a certain style of leading. As a new parent, it's unlikely that you'll be able to get the SM & ASMs to change and to start adopting the patrol method. This is because they don't believe it. If they did, they'd be doing patrol method now. My recommendation - find a way to help make what they are currently doing better by taking on some volunteer role. Then, at some point when the opportunitiy arises, take on an ASM or SM role and be the change you want to see.
  20. ParkMan

    Activity approval

    This is an area where the GSUSA structure is better than the BSA structure. There are three premier awards in the GSUSA world - bronze award, silver award, gold award. bronze award - targeted at the 4th/5th grade age range silver award - targeted at the middle school age range gold award - targetd at hte high school age range This problem in the BSA would be diminished if the approach was: AOL - 5th grade First Class - middle schoold Eagle - high school Just a thought
  21. Thanks @Eagledad My gut tells me that these are some a key lines: Between what I see locally and what I read here, this is I suspect the root of the problem. I'd love to find a way to capture your ideas and turn them into some specific recommendations for chapter advisors. One could certainly just print out your post and share it. I'd love for the community to create something that we could share with advisors. A sort of "Guidelines to OA Chapter success".
  22. Do you tihnk they know what the benefit is for a Scout to join or to stay active?
  23. ParkMan

    How to increase usage of Patrol Method

    My favorite approach is: Year 1 - At crossover time, form a partol of new scouts who have all joined together. Assign them a troop guide. This lets scouts go through "new scout" stuff as a group and learn together. Year 2+ - After a year, let the scouts shift patrols to their liking. Try to keep patrols no more than 8-10. This lets scouts for patrols of their friends and work in groups where they are comfortable.
  24. @Eagledad, I understand your point. You've been a strong advocate for troop programs for older youth. How do you see the OA best fitting into the program?
  25. The strongest units by us are all 3 digits units (our Council doesn't use 4 digits). The few two digit units we have are all struggling. The strong packs & troops around here are ones that have focused on building a strong organization, great program, and solid recruiting. Mostly that happens because a few adults in that unit's history raised expectations and challenged them to grow and becomea a strong unit. Sadly in our neck of the woods those are not our oldest units.
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