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ParkMan

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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. H @Liz, i found this in the Guide to Safe Scouting:
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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".
  13. Do you tihnk they know what the benefit is for a Scout to join or to stay active?
  14. 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.
  15. @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?
  16. 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.
  17. I see two things here: many OA members in recent years have been younger Scouts. Once those Scouts complete Ordeal, they tend to leave there are fewer older Scouts in troops and so troops are working hard to keep them active in the troop I've heard several older scouts comment that they like the OA because it gives them something to do once they get tired of troop life. It strikes me that this is a place where the OA can really help Scouting to grow. Provide programming and a place for older Scouts. Give them new experiences, new opportunities for leadership, and a new circle of Scouting friends. My question would be - what does a great OA program look like that older Scouts want to particiapte in and can keep them engaged in Scouting. What would an "elite" program look like?
  18. Your comment that the troop is not very active jumped out at me. I'm going to guess that this is part of the issue here. I've found that often Scouters get discouraged in their volunteer roles. That discouragement leads to volunteers scaling back, not being as on top of activities and requests we'd hope they'd be. I think you are in a unique position here. As Cubmaster, your Scouts will become the driving force that makes this troop go. Your parents will become the volunters in this troop in the future. I'd encourage you to keep raising expectations. Keep building a great pack program. If the troop doesn't help out now - keep putting the opportunities out there. Your pack could help generate the momentum that leads to this troop getting more active.
  19. Everytime national tinkers with the OA, folks say "it will kill the OA". I'm sure the OA is caught up in the trend that exists everywhere in Scouting - declining membership. I see many of these changes as National's way of trying to deal with declining membership in the OA. Do I personally agree with them? No, I don't. But, I understand them. The best way we impact declining membership is through quality program. Give the Scouts a reason to come and to spread the word that the OA is the place to be. Make it elite because elite Scouts want to be there. The more shining examples we have of great OA chapters and lodges the better. They will become the examples we all learn from in building great programs of our own.
  20. That's a delivery problem. It's supposed to be an elite group. If we want it to be elite, we need a program that attracts elite Scouts. As mentioned above, the OA national leadership needs to strengthen the core program. At a local level we need to have strong lodges and chapters that deliver strong programs.
  21. Isn't the core problem here one of the program delivery not keeping up with the expectations of today's kids? Fewer and fewer scouts are seeing any value in joining the OA and so they don't join. So, if Scouts are not seeing value in joining the OA, isn't the remedy to improve the program of lodges & chapters? With all the changes around the Native American tie-in, feels like the national OA leadership needs to put some serious thought into what the OA is going forward. In parallel, there needs to be a concerted push on chapter & lodge quality. What are their annual programs? Are they well planned? Well executed? Engaging to their members? An elite group of honor campers in Scouting is a really cool thing - but the OA needs to own making that happen.
  22. My understanding is that Scouts are covered because they are members of the BSA, not members of a specific pack or troop. If some other Scouts come to your event, they are covered. As Cubmaster I'd encourage you to attend their next Troop Committee Meeting and discuss what happened. Why didn't they respond to your invite? If they decided not to participate - fine, but why didn't they even tell you? Further, when this was problem was uncovered, why didn't they try to encourage Scouts to attend? We're all volunteers and volunteers can make mistakes in moments of stress. i.e. - oops, we didn't tell the troop about this pack event and now what do we do? We don't have two deep leadership arranged and so who will supervise the Scouts? If we don't think insurance covers it and if Scouts go and get hurt then we could all be in trouble. One of my biggest frustrations as a Troop CC was the line that existed between "the pack" and "the troop". Pack leaders would often discuss on their own and come to some conclusion about "the troop". Most often, the pack leaders had some sort of misperception about what we, as troop leaders, were doing. I would encourage a quarterly "Key 7" meeting. Pack CC & CM, Troop CC & SM, Crew CC & CA, and COR. It's a great way to help keep the unit working together.
  23. I believe some, if not all, of this is local council practice. We've always had a 3 digit system. Nowhere in any document or report that I've ever seen has there been a fourth digit attached. Our pack and troop have exactly the same number everywhere that I have ever seen - and I get lots of council reports. We're a pretty large council and so it's not because we're too small a council. Our council does try it use the third digit to denote district. One the original question - I'd just ask a few people locally in positions at the district and council level - council registrar, district exec, district commissioner, some long time distinguished Scouters, etc...
  24. ParkMan

    Does National want to kill the uniform?

    I've got three uniforms and the pockets are all different and I still call them uniforms. We live in a world where people tweak things all the time. Most scouts I know would say - cool - your pocket is a little different than mine. Our troop avoids cares about uniform costs by encouraging every scout to participate in our uniform closet. Hey, when your uniform is too small stick it in the closet. Oh, you're a new Scout, we've got a bunch of uniforms in the closet - go find one that fits. To the topic at hand - I suspect that the perception that Scouts are sititng around a church basement obsessing over differences in each others uniforms is something the BSA would would to avoid.
  25. ParkMan

    Does National want to kill the uniform?

    I think the point isn't whether the uniform is valued by current members or not. It's whether the uniform is a selling point on joining Scouting. I take @FireStone's point that at the Cub Scout level it is. But, at the Scouts BSA level, I don't think a lot of youth join because they are excited about the uniform. Sure, it's part of the gig, but I can certainly see why those responsible for driving interest in youth becoming members may focus more on the "fun" than the process. Again - I do think it takes on meaning to current members which is why I do not believe the BSA would move away from it. If they do, they might acutally be my breaking point.
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