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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. I'd just sign up directly. Nice thing about the OA is you get to ignore the SM if you want to.
  8. Thanks! Got it. I'm guessing that the BSA staff would probably say that they do that - with the caveat that there are some things staff does which simply keeps the lights on (like FOS - which for the sake of discussion, I'd leave out of the discussion for now). Would be interesting to hear some ideas on how folks think the BSA should do that. As a reminder for others, here's the 8 methods: Scouting Ideals. Patrols. Outdoors. Advancement. Personal Growth. Adult Association. Leadership Development. Uniform.
  9. FWIW In our pack, one thing we did to keep annual costs down is we didn't ask scouts to buy the hats and actively discouraged parents from buying the standard neckerchief slide. So, all a parent had to buy every year was the neckerchief and the scout book. As a parent, I'm glad my son still has his old neckerchiefs and scout books. The hat & official slide - I don't miss them.
  10. I have a personal tradition. When I change units, I get a new shirt. That's brought me to 4: original shirt that I replaced after a few years pack shirt troop shirt district shirt
  11. Sounds like a good spinoff topic. Premise: Assume that the goal of Polaris it to help make the program more efficient. Question: What would we as unit Scouters want to see in a more efficient program? Either in terms of program itself, or in support from district/council/national volunteers & professionals.
  12. We have stuff like this at work come out periodically. In my experience, these initiatives are about influencing how people do their work. They are not the goal in itself. More specifically, I expect that this is not about the BSA spending 18 months becoming an efficient organization or about reorganizing staff. It is about employees and volunteers taking actions that are focused on the qualities Polaris describes.
  13. I wouldn't read too much into the Polaris idea. It's not that it's bad, but there is a lot of instituonal momentum built around trying the make the BSA work. Truthfully, I see very little BSA overhead that we deal with in our unit. I am in favor of the larger goal - improving Roundtable. Roundtable is our district is a wasted resource today. I'd love to see some attention on making it more relevant.
  14. I've yet to meet any parents who want what you all keep referring to as "Family Scouting." Every parent I talk with wants their kids to have a great Scouting experience - have fun, learn a lot, enjoy camping, develop some new skills. I've never met anyone who joined a Boy Scout troop so they can go on family camping trips. Those folks that want family camping go family camping.
  15. @DuctTape was correct - I was describing stages of development for Scouts. I appreciate the thoughts since my last post. You've all hit on some things that were rattling around in my head too. I would agree that Scouts are learning skills and developing traits even 11 or 12 that will help prepare them for stages 2 & 3. I fully expect there is some overlap here. The liked the idea of these stages because I sense that stage 3 (and sometimes stage 2) is very nebulous for many Scouters. We tend to focus on the on concept here (boy led) or on technique used here (i.e. learning through trial and error). But, we talk and train much less on what we're really trying to do here - preparing and teaching Scouts to lead their own organization. This leads to older Scouts who are either not prepared or not empowered to really do it. In some troops this leads to the classic adult led troop because the adults don't understand how the scouts can possibly be effective at it. I do think some Scouters are just naturally good at this. So, those troops succeed at this. Some Scouters have similarly learned through experience and are good at it However, the challenge I see is with the remainder. Those troops that haven't found the right collection of leaders with the understanding and skills to make it happen. It strikes me that we ought to be able to train more on the skills & knowledge adults need for these stages. I've got to think this would help reduce the adult led aspect.
  16. I thnk part of the reason for that is that they are very different skill sets in a Scoutmaster. Years 1-2 - stage 1 - about a Scout learning core outdoor skills. Years 2-4 - stage 2 - about a Scout learning how to be a leader of a small team and accomplish tasks involving others Years 3-5 - stage 3 - about a Scout learning how to be an organizer and leader of other leaders I'm not military, but if I were, I might draw the analogy: Years 1-2 - Scout boot camp Years 2-4 - Becoming a senior enlisted scout Years 3-5 - Becoming an officer The patrol method establishes a framework within which these things are more readily to happen. However, it still takes adults, and in particular a Scoutmaster, who can mentor Scouts effectively. We're very good at stage 1. We're OK at stage 2. I think stage 3 is where we struggle as an organization and volunteer team
  17. Good point. I see a common thread in patrol method discussions that implies that adults need to leave the Scouts alone to figure things out on their own. It's as if the patrol method is somehow based on the concepts of: learning through failure learning through self realization While I fully embrace both concepts, I think there's also room for the Scoutmaster to serve as coach. Here the Scoutmaster can do a wonderful job of raising the expectations and broadening horizons for the scouts. I think that's a really good thing.
  18. In our area they are called multi-level troops. We've got several around here. It's not unusual to see them at 50+ members. So, if our area is any indication, this is allowed within the GS structure. Most of the ones I know of run the full program range - Daisies through Ambassadors. There is one I know of that is split in half - similar to the Pack/Troop breakdown.
  19. That's what I hear from the parents who are involved in girl scouts too. For example - GSUSA requires their version of the tour permit for every camping trip. They check things like leader training. I'll admit that from the parents I talk with, the GSUSA approach seems to be what people expect we do.
  20. If they have daughters they are already familiar with this idea. As I mentioned before, the GSUSA requires any parent that camps to register. The other difference there is that parents do not have to camp with younger scouts.
  21. I think this is one of the biggest benefits for a BOR. I see this as part of the adult association part of Scouting. Here you have a Scout learning to go to a serious meeting and discuss things on consequence with adults. That's a very good skill to build up. However, adults have to be careful not to abuse it. I don't mind some explanation and show in the meeting. We all have to go to adult meetings and be prepared to back up what we've done. Knowing a foundational element like the oath or law doesn't seem crazy. What we do is ask them go lead both at every BOR. At lower ranks, we'll help them along. By the time they hit Star, they ought to know it's coming and be prepared. If they didn't, we wouldn't fail them. But, we would talk about why they were not prepared to lead it.
  22. I'm not sure I'm following the chain of events with the boys here. Sounds like they came up with the idea for a club, decided to invite the kid to join as a goof, decided to have everyone rush the kid, and then one of the boys tackled him. Then it escalated to the world of adults. These kind of things are always tough for this forum. We can only go on what's written here. So, we really can only guess as to why the adults did what they did. As a parent here, I'd probably tell my son to accept the punishment, learn from the experience, and move on. Whether it was an appropriate punishment for what happened is kind of secondary. To me the key phrase is - if you play with fire, sometimes you get burned. My lessons from this would be: it is never good to start goofing or picking on another scout. If this kid was part of the group, this would never have happened. If they ignored him, this never would have happened adults take concerns about violence very seriously. Don't put them in the position to have to guess Is a suspension appropriate or normal? Sure - troops can do pretty much whatever they want to in this regard. Suspensions are perfectly legit when they see extreme behavior. There are certainly some things one could feed back to the troop - the preferential treatment of the scout and the grilling by the adults - perhaps even alone. I'd let it be and move on. Whether it was an extreme reaction or not is a judgement call. I'd focus on what your son can learn from the experience and move on.
  23. I'd point to @HelpfulTracks post on leading vs. commanding. I thought that was very well said and matches my thinking here too. I think this is a great example and it gets to a related concept. My belief is that generally, letting scouts learn from failure is the right approach. I also believe that in just about all situations adults simply taking over is the wrong answer. I'm glad you mentioned coaching though. It feels to me that in these discussions, the value of the adult as coach gets lost. Agreed. Failure is a useful tool in learning. We do need to be careful about letting failure become the norm, but as long as that's not the case, failure is fine. That's where the SM, CC, etc. can set the tone about the overall goal of why we're doing what we're doing.
  24. I went back this evening and checked my Scoutmaster Leaders Specific Training Syllabus. It's from 2010. Not sure if there is a newer one or not. In that material, the first third of the course is all about the role of the Scoutmaster. It's called "Getting Started: The Role of the Scoutmaster in a Boy-Led Troop." The session runs about 2 hours and is broken down into smaller pieces. In WB, there is still the model PLC meeting & I know there's a section on coaching and mentoring youth in there as well. But, what I remember was it was certainly less instructive on the topic of boy led. It feels like it was a pervasive theme in the course - it was referred to a lot. Though not necessarily something that was a focus session on. Thinking about it, I almost would describe it as if the course developers assumed everyone got boy led and they built materials on top of that. I'd be all for a session on the WB course that would focus just on this. It's such a simple concept that so many people get hung up on. I'd also be up for a course at other venues - University of Scouting, Roundtable, etc. To me, this is pretty fundamental to what we do.
  25. That's when the new G2SS rule that requires adults at all activities kick in.
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