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ParkMan

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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    What are the BSA priorities??

    Generally speaking - yes. The BSA needs to be relevant to today's youth. I think the BSA has to be careful in who it targets it's program to. We need to make sure our relevance is to kids. If we target adult sensibilities, that may be good for Cub Scout initial recruitment, but over time we'll still lose Scouts. Make it fun and interesting to kids - and most especially kids in the program.
  2. ParkMan

    What are the BSA priorities??

    Would it perhaps be more accurate to describe the BSA as an adventure program? The best packs and troops I know spend a lot of time outdoors and do some mature things, but they are not really nature programs. I learned more about nature in one year of high school biology than 6 years of Scouting. Sure we spent a lot of time outdoors, where we were always doing things such as hiking, camping, and canoeing. Today troops do all those things, but they also go to a lot of other interesting places too. Another light analogy is the national park system. If you explored all of it, you'd see lots of nature. But you'd also see battlegrounds, forts, museums, historical figures, locations of national importance such as Lincoln's birthplace. So, maybe instead of saying we're a nature program - say that we're an adventure program.
  3. ParkMan

    Burnout - Its Hit Me

    Honestly - I would encourage you to shrug it off. Scouting is a wonderful activity full of very well meaning people. One of the great things as a volunteer is that we get to take on roles outside of our normal jobs. So, you have a CC that is in over his head - maybe even a jerk. Don't let that drive you out of being Cubmaster. You'll learn in Wood Badge about the stages of team development - forming, storming, norming, performing. You all are in the storming phase. It's natural for there to be conflict as you all sort out how to work together. The CC will learn what he can/cant' do. You'll learn how to deal with the limitations of the CC. It will all sort out. Keep at it - the reward is worth it. In the process, don't hesitate to assert your beliefs and preferences. As Cubmaster, you're expected to be a strong leader. Don't feel you have to shy away from that. I always like to keep in mind the big picture goal. Helps me to ignore the nonsense like this,.
  4. ParkMan

    Parent Reaction to Fee Increase

    Glad to hear it worked out OK. I would really everyone to look at this at face value. Explain the situation to families without blame, tell them you need to collect more money, and then move on. I think if we're positive with families, they generally will be positive too. The point of Scouting is to do Scouting. This other stuff about fees, structure, national decisions is all just window dressing. I would encourage us all to focus on the program and delivering that.
  5. ParkMan

    Have to find a new Pack... again. :(

    Very true and I'm happy to acknowledge that. I'm sure that right den leader can absolutely make a big den work. There were a number of problems with out big den. One was the chaos that this big den led to. Another is that due to the size, the den leader had more adults present. This made the meeting feel more and more like a class. But, the biggest issue I had with that den was that my son never felt he fit in. He's very good with kids in a smaller setting, but not in a large group. To compound things, our den was composed of several different elementary schools. So, there were already some natural friend groups my son didn't fit into. I mention this because I think one of the most important parts of the den (and patrol) concept is the friendships that develop. I think 6-8 is a great size to foster that - though am very happy to agree that the right leader can make a bigger group work for this too.
  6. ParkMan

    Have to find a new Pack... again. :(

    I'm really sorry to hear that @Liz. I'm sure you put your heart and soul into making that work. It's really disappointing news. I'd check out that other local pack that is accepting girls myself. Further, I'd hope to find some like minded parents and get a pack program going which is either a) co-ed at the den level, or b) has a minimum number of girls to make viable dens. 4 girls is too small for a pack in the way the BSA is setup. Bare minimum I'd want to see if 4 Scouts per den which would be 20-24 Scouts. I'd prefer to see 6-8 Scouts per den. I saw this with my son. He was in a den for two years of 12+ scouts. It was awful. Then he went to a den of 3. It kinda worked, but not that well. One kid would miss a meeting and it was then two. We eventually got to 4, and it was OK. 6 would have been a lot more fun.
  7. ParkMan

    Burnout - Its Hit Me

    Hi @5thGenTexan, Congrats on getting agreement with the other leaders on where you will and will not focus. That's a wonderful way to get the role right-sized to fit what one person can reasonably do and be successful at! Very nice job also in recruiting others to get involved in the Cubmaster efforts!
  8. ParkMan

    Burnout - Its Hit Me

    HI @5thGenTexan, If you really want to step down, then certainly do so. Having been through burnout a couple of times in my Scouting volunteer time and it's not a fun place to be. From what helped me, here's what I suggest from what you wrote: Go drink a beer (or other beverage of your choice) with some Scouting friends. I've always found that the fellowship of others it really important in Scouting. Take a step back and focus on only role. Of all the things you do in Scouting, what's the most fun and rewarding for you? Shift your focus to the long term. It's so easy in Scouting to get overwhelmed by the "today" - the success of the next event for example. But, I've been a lot happier when I focus on the longer term. Is my pack program getting stronger? Are we having fun on camping trips? Are we continuing to see good retention? These are just some examples. I would encourage you to continue with your plan for Wood Badge. There you will generally find enthusiastic, passionate Scouters. You clearly have a passion for Scouting. When I was a participant, I came back rejuvinated. It can be a wonderful way to help you deal with bufnout.
  9. ParkMan

    New Sex Abuse Arrest

    While I don't know the details here, my first reaction is that the council needs to shut this unit down. How was it that there were opportunities at a Scouting event for this leader to have alone time with a youth? This is exactly what YPT is supposed to prevent.
  10. ParkMan

    Fee increase - observations

    Very nice ideas. I could get behind those. Some specific comments: #1 - Yes, this whole business of executive board and executive committee feels cumbersome #2 - Agreed. It would make sense for the BSA to have seperate Board Chair & separate President. Let the National Chair be the board chair and the CSE the President. #3 - Yes - I'd like the Chief Scout to not be a career professional, but could deal with it if it were. I could see the Chief Scout being a member of the board who is responsible for the program committee and steering efforts. #4 - I could see 10-20 members on the national board. #5 - Agreed. It would take some thought on how such an election would occur. Today "we" elect council boards through the COR positions - but I don't think it works too well. There's an interesting section in the bylaws: Article III, Section 1, Clause 1 - The Executive Board shall, in accordance with the provisions of its Charter and these Bylaws, be the governing body of the Corporation, manage its affairs, elect its officers, and be the final reviewing authority with respect to all matters whatsoever which may arise at any level within the Scouting movement, which in its judgment should be reviewed. Article III, Section 8, Clause 3 - Except for the powers reserved to the Executive Board, the duty and authority to manage the affairs of the Corporation shall be vested in the Executive Committee. So basically, the Executive Committee can do most anything, but the Executive Board and overrule them. So I do think the Executive Committee is subservient to the Executive Board.
  11. ParkMan

    Fee increase - observations

    Just curious - what different structure would you propose for this national leadership structure ? How would that improve things?
  12. ParkMan

    Appropriate Insignia UNDER Right Pocket?

    I get the whole "it's just good he's active and participating. The uniform is just a method" concept. But, I really think Scouts miss out on an important concept about how to present themselves well. To me, that's a big part of what the uniform method is all about.
  13. ParkMan

    Fee increase - observations

    Maybe it's just me, but I spend much more money on things that I care way less about that I really don't mind the national fee and did eventually get over the $70 for that yearbook. Both national & council may make many decisions that I'd do differently - but at least they're trying.
  14. ParkMan

    Fee increase - observations

    That was pretty much my reaction was at first too. What??? $70 for a yearbook? I was in high school in the late 80's. Now I think I understand why my dad said: "What??? $30 for a yearbook?"
  15. ParkMan

    Fee increase - observations

    Oh. Ok. I misunderstood what you were trying to do here. Seemed like you were making a jab at the increase by showing only negative comments or those who disparaged anyone who wasn't negative. Glad I misinterpreted.
  16. ParkMan

    Fee increase - observations

    A part of me feels like I should be insulted here. I don't see why this list characterizes anyone who isn't appalled by the increase so negatively. I guess by your terms, I'm in the "The look down the nosers ...It's only $5 a month or two cups of coffee, suck it up not knowing the individual financial situation of others or volunteering to pay it for them." As a Cubmaster, Pack Committee Chair, and Troop Committee Chair, I'd literally spend an hour every time it was discussed whether it was too much of a hardship to raise our annual dues by $5. I'm remarkably aware that many families struggle to pay for lots of things. We'd tighten the belt at every turn in Scouting. I don't want to pay more for things than I have to, but I recognize that the BSA needs the money to pay for the insurance. I'm sure if they could reduce it they would. So, what am I to do? Ranting about it isn't going to amount to a hill of beans. All it really does it get everyone riled up about this. This whole thing often feels a lot like: Yesterday I paid $54 to fill up my gas tank. The yearbook my daughter just bought at her high school cost $70. I spent $7 on lunch at the drive through today. So, yeah - I find it hard to declare in increase of $2.25 a month the end of the world.
  17. ParkMan

    What are the BSA priorities??

    Hi @Eagledad, Thank you. This does explain much of what I see. What I see is a sort of tenure system where the district chairs come in and don't replace anyone. Instead they continue with the people from the same before. You're assessment is correct. As well meaning as many of our district leaders are, they are not director level people. I can see that we are doomed to the status quo because we don't have people with the knowledge or skills to lead the efforts that they are being asked to lead. I do think sometime we put district chairs in place with vision - but again, without the team there that can act on that vision, we are stuck where we are. Again - thank you very much, this is most helpful. If I could like your post 100 times, I would.
  18. ParkMan

    What are the BSA priorities??

    @Eagledad - can you talk about this a little more please? To give you some context. Our district is largely staffed with an "old guard" of volunteers who have weathered many district chairs. This has had the net effect of creating a pretty consistent district experience. The problem though is that our district program is "just good enough" but it's not great. We have some training courses, have a camporee, hold a merit badge event, do some membership work. Not to diminish our volunteer's efforts - but our expectations are just too low. We've had several district chairs come through who have tried to impact this, but get burned out by status quo. We've had some district chairs even quit part way through their term. If you said this to our district volunteers I'm sure they'd be offended as they all think they're working hard. But, when you look at camporees with small turnout, most units with 50-60% trained leaders, round tables with just a few participants, declining membership year or year, you can clearly see a pattern. I liken it to a struggling unit. They think that they are doing the right things but can sense there is a problem. What have you seen in your travels that make high functioning districts successful? Any advice on how to break the cycle of mediocrity? Mods: If you want to spin this off into another topic feel free.
  19. ParkMan

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    I applaud your sense of ownership and commitment here, but I don't think you should pay the extra out of your own pocket. A troop is yours is a community. You camp together, your adventure together, succeed together, and fail together. In an instance like this, I believe you also go back to your families and be up front with them. Ask each Scout to contribute an additional $27 to cover the difference. Offer to find some scholarships for anyone who cannot pay the additional $27. Make it clear that what is important here is continuing in Scouting. Be very clear that you''ll very discretely have some funds available for those who cannot afford the extra $27. If you're concerned that many cannot afford it, say that and encourage those that can give a little more to write you an extra check which will go into a fund to help those that can't absorb the extra right now. I would call those 6 scouts too and encourage them to come back and let them know that you can help with the money. $27 is not an amount that we should lose Scouts over. Packs, Troops, Crews, Councils, and National need to pay their fees and so dues are needed. But, big picture Scouting is an organization that many people are involved with for much of their lives. It has a huge impact on these young adults and many come back to the program later in life with their own kids. It would be a shame to lose anyone over the emotional shock of a $27 raise in fees. I bet that many of your families will feel the same way if given the choice.
  20. ParkMan

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    I'd discourage that. Let the boys earn all they can - just build it into your cost for the pack. It will all work out.
  21. ParkMan

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    Around here packs own their own track or share one with another pack. The district doesn't own a track. A cost sharing model like that sounds like a creative idea though.
  22. ParkMan

    What are the BSA priorities??

    We to love to proscribe blame here for the decline in membership. The country has changed since the 50's, 60's, 70's, etc. I don't know why we would believe that if only we did things like the "olden days" that the situation would be better. All kinds of organizations that continue to do things "the old way" struggle for membership - Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, YMCA, membership groups like the Lions, organized religion, the list goes on. The reality is that we stopped doing things like the "olden days" for good reason. The trick is to find the right "olden things" that are important to continue while trying new things to be relevant for today. Our problem isn't a program one. Our program is largely fine. The BSA keeps thinking it's a program issue and that offering some "new thing" will solve the problem. STEM Scouts is a good example of this I think this is misguided. Our problem is an engagement and quality one. You've got to work harder today to reach families. You've got to run a higher quality program because there are so many more choices out there. We've got a challenge in that many of our volunteers have less knowledge about Scoutcraft than they once did. So, the expectations on the average unit are a lot higher than before. In my humble opinion, this is the struggle. Strong packs & troops with well defined programs are doing fine. Weak packs & troops with poorly defined programs, insufficient leadership, and untrained adults are having problems. Would I love such a resurgence in interest in Scouting that membership would go up 15% a year. Maybe if Marvel would create a Scouting superhero or Harry Potter became a Scout. But, otherwise I don't see anything on the horizon that is going to generate a swell of interest in Scouting. So, I think we have to improve our membership the old fashioned way - by word of mouth, solid program, and hard work from units. Where I'd love to see national focus is on really encouraging hands on volunteering in Scouting again. Really focusing on supporting tools & methods for council & district Scouters to get out and engage with new volunteers to help them in strengthening their unit programs. Creating decent local training, teaching local leaders how to run a modern roundtable, how to really build a local membership program, etc. National could do a lot to recognize that basic leader training, IOLS, and Wood Badge are not enough to really prepare a local team to run a Scouting program in a city or several small towns.
  23. ParkMan

    What are the BSA priorities??

    Here's the history I could find here: 1948 - 1st Class - 1 night of camping 1965 - 1st Class - 2 overnight trips 1972 - no camping requirement 1976 - earn camping skill award ( 2 overnight trips) 1990 - 1 overnight camp for each rank. 3 overnight camps total 2016 - T-1 night. 2nd Class-3 nights. 1st Class-6 nights If we're at 3 nights now, we didn't even get there until 1990. Seems to me that we've actually gotten more outdoor focused over time.
  24. ParkMan

    What are the BSA priorities??

    It's probably worth noting that while Scout wasn't a true rank until just a few years ago, it has been a badge for some time. I received it when I started as a Boy Scout in 1984. Back then, it was pretty much a "gimme". I was an Arrow of Light recipient from my Cub Scout years. So, when I showed up there were a few basic questions and then they handed me the Scout badge at my first meeting. I believe it was intended to be a way of signifying that I had "become a Scout". That I knew the same sort of info present in the now rank made it possible for me to participate actively as a Scout. Actually, I don't really see the distinction about why it wasn't a rank before, but now is. Feels a lot like a distinction without a difference to me. I guess they were trying to beef up the Tenderfoot rank and felt that making Scout a rank made it less likely that troops would rush to award it. Not sure. Looks pretty much like the same stuff to me.
  25. ParkMan

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    Yes true. But just about everything they wrote in the article had been said here 100 times. What this also shows is that we're ceding the floor on this conversation to whatever article comes up. What I really wish is that at a national level we'd really engage in this conversation. See the quotes To which someone ought to immediately reply that this happened 20-30 years ago and that none of those people (whether the abusers or those who didn't stop it) are here anymore. Then talk about how the BSA has the strongest anti-abuse program today - bar none. Someone needs to immediately call this guy out. The BSA can very well describe exactly what it is doing today. Someone needs to point out exactly where the money in the BSA comes from and is used for. While everyone supports making abuse victims whole, the money for these lawsuits comes from a) insurance & b) dues from kids in the program today. These lawsuits are trying to punish an organization of people who had absolutely nothing to do with the abuse and are in the process asking millions of kids to pay for those lawsuits.
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