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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. It's been moderately important in our troop. We've had a few opportunities to interact with Scouts internationally - but not a lot. We encourage the World Jamboree and in past years used to do attend jamborees in other countries. Given the geographic isolation and size of the United States, I'm afraid that it's more of a concept than a reality for most scouts.
  2. I think this is the key. The training syllabus is simply the starting point. I've come to understand the best courses are those where the trainer takes the material and then adds their experience. It's all about quality in my mind. An instructor needs to add value over taking it online or not at all. The online courses add something over not taking it at all. A live instructor has the potential to add much more - but it only happens when the instructor really invests them self in building a great course. I remember one evening with some of the "senior staff" on one of our Wood Badge courses. They were telling some stories about their earliest courses. In those stories I realized that they, at one point in time, had really invested themselves in making our Wood Badge courses outstanding. The energy, enthusiasm, and preparation they embodied was inspiring as a newer staff member. I came back to one of our district courses and realized that this same desire to make it the "best course ever" was not present. That's not a critique of our district courses - we've got good instructors. It's just that this group of Wood Badge staff really strived to make it the best they could. Participants - whether they liked the syllabus or not - knew that they staff was prepared. They saw that every presentation had been prepared by hand, reviewed, and rehearsed multiple times. As a staff it was more work - sure. But it was fun too. I'm not sure how to encourage this at the district level with basic training - but my sense is that this would help.
  3. I've gotta wonder though. How my accountability does the BSA really have for individual Scouters & units. They could remove us I suppose like they do for YPT violations - but that seems pretty extreme because I make a recruiting flier and mis-use the term "Girl Scouts".
  4. That's a bummer! Our Cub Scout pack did the same thing. The local Girl Scout camps are here are awesome. Great size for a pack camping trip too.
  5. @Eagle94-A1 - I'm glad to hear your sons like the new troop. That's fantastic. I fully agree - rushing the boys through too quickly is a big mistake. Scouts BSA is just another section of the Scouting trail - it's not a destination. I would also agree - these last spring crossovers are too late. Boys get into the troop and almost immediately have to decide about Summer Camp. I'd rather see a Dec-March crossover too.
  6. What I see has more to do with activity level in Scouting than it does Boy Scout prep. For example: - Pack A camps twice a year - camping trips are usually two nights and often at a BSA camp. The Webelos had a camping trip of their own. The met weekly. The leaders put more responsibilty for advancement on the Scouts. - Pack B is much more laid back. The pack would have a local overnighter. Webelos dens met once or twice a month. Fewer activities, no Webelos camping. Boys earned all awards together. I see very different engagement levels from the respective new Scouts. Scouts from Pack A are there weekly. The boys jump in, earn Scout and then Tenderfoot quickly. They go to Summer Camp. Scouts from Pack B are casual Scouts. They are more likely to miss meeting, take a year to earn Tenderfoot, and skip Summer Camp. Both Packs think they are doing the right thing. Pack A has higher expectations and encourages more involvement. Pack B is the "laid back" pack - they respect families time.
  7. Interesting to hear that this is more of a national trend. It would seem that packs and troops focusing on the outdoor program might indeed be a very good way to recruit both girls & boys. i.e. join Scouts BSA for an active, outdoor program.
  8. I'm guessing that stuff like this will be hard for the BSA to police. DIdn't they already write a letter saying not to use the term "girl scouts? of the images of the GSUSA?
  9. I think @Eagledad describes it well. I'd only add that in our council, we did ask participants to pick a primary position. It's your choice what that position is. When you write the ticket, part of the point is to establish a big picture goal that you'd like to accomplish for your time in that position. Your ticket is a series of smaller projects that help you accomplish that goal. A goal for an ASM is probably different than a goal for a MB counselor. So that's why you'll probably see them nudge you to pick one of the two positions to focus on. But, if both of those roles are important to your vision for the troop, then I imagine you can find a way to work them both in. As an example. When I took the course I was an Asst. Cubmaster. My goal was to see us develop into a more energetic pack with lots of participation. Some of my goals were things like: start a summertime program, increase participation on camping trips, foster a sense of den spirit by introducing den names, cheers, & flags.
  10. That would fit with what I see here. We have plenty of outdoor oriented moms and female leaders. I get the sense that around here, there was a shift a few generations back where women started doing all the same kinds of outdoor things as men. So, today we have many women who camp, hike, bike, fish, etc... This could be regional and could be part of what is going on in the Southern region. It is a part of the country where outdoor activities are fairly prevalent. From a marketing perspective, this is where I think focusing on the outdoor aspect of the BSA makes sense. Encouraging those girls who want outdoor adventure to join the BSA makes a lot of sense in my region.
  11. Living in the south myself, I suspect that conservative folks are most concerned about the values taught in the program. I don't think that they are all that concerned whether their kid's scout group is boys only, girls only, or co-ed. Most church youth groups are co-ed, so if it's fine for youth group, it's fine for a scout troop. We Scouters may have a perspective because we're invested in the program. But, if you're a parent making the choice for the first time - I think that's a very different scenario.
  12. I'd just welcome a place to talk Scouting where many threads didn't end in a negative criticism of something. Girls in Scouting, patrol method and YPT, Wood Badge, etc. It wears me out to just keep being so negative. I'd love for a thread on a recruiting video to be about great ways to make that happen - not about the the masculinity of girls or the death of patrol method. I respect the energy and passion you all have for Scouting. I understand how many are very frustrated about the changes in Scouting. I just feel like we get so negative so quickly. I simply thought that maybe we could find a way to let and encourage people to vent but still have a place for discussion about program mechanics.
  13. I would very much welcome a policy decision by this moderators of this forum that posts continuing to debate the merits of girls in the BSA get moved to I&P. I'm perfectly fine that you all continue to debate it. I just would like to have a place focus on the mechanics and best practices of the Scouting program itself.
  14. I've got a 9 year old daughter and a 14 year old daughter. They are both active Girl Scouts. This video captures exactly the things that they like about Girl Scouts now. Hiking, canoeing, archery, climbing, roasting marshmallows, camping. If anyone thinks this is too masculine for girls, then you've not met my daughters, their friends, or their Girl Scouts troops. A very good video.
  15. I fondly use the phrase "Cruise Director". I've always felt that 50% of my job as a Scouter is to explain things to parents. Part of providing the programming for a youth activity is to help the parents understand why we do what we do and how to best reinforce it. I see working with new parents and leaders as a big part of that. Their scout is going to have a less fulfilling time in Scouting if the parents don't really understand why we're doing things the way we do. Having a bunch of parents running around doing the wrong things creates chaos too. That's where a key part of running a youth activity to getting the parents properly aligned to support it. I think that's why we have fewer problems with helicopter parents than some troops. Since we've been explaining why for so long many people now internalize it and it's generally part of our culture. So, more and more parents can help with explaining why to others. In fact, we've gone further with the concept and now one of our Committee Members have been holding parent info sessions at meetings to explain things to newer parents. It's working out really, really well. I'd kinda disagree here. If a parent wanted to do something at a troop meeting, camping trip, whatever, then I'd have the parent start by talking with the SM. The SM could then say something like "ok, gotchca, that's probably not what you want to do - here's why." Or, perhaps he could say "hey, that makes sense. You should check with the SPL to see if he can fit it into his plans." The SM, as an adult, is in a good position to act as a coach to the parent and filter for the SPL.
  16. Just so there is no confusion, that should have been: "We also do not try to limit new adults". I had that backwards. I know that it is a common thing to ask first year parents to be committee members or to ask them to wait a year to volunteer. We don't do that. Really what we tend to do is just guide new parents. If a new parent starts doing too much for the scouts, the New Scout ASM simply pulls them aside and mentors them. That tends to be all we need to do.
  17. This is all rather easy in our troop. We have only the occasional problems with helicopter parents, but they sort themselves out very quickly. We always have one or two new scout program ASMs. They are always experienced troop ASMs and take control of the program for Scouts for the first year or two. To simplify their job, we recruit new scout parents to help them as ASMs assisting with the new scout program. It's very clear to all which adult has the overall responsibility for new scouts trips - either the SM, ASM New Scouts, or his designee. We don't have rules about what parents can do and cannot. The adults all tend to camp togther on trips which is great. We also do try to limit new adults. There are no rules about being a committee member for a year or whatever. If a new parent wants to be an ASM - that's great. They just take direction from the New Scouts ASM.
  18. I've seen similar things happen with Webelos scouts that graduates Scouts into our troop. Some dens are great and have good retention, others do not. My sense is that much of it is about how the Webelos den and pack operates. I'm not sure if it's because some dens are better are preparing Scouts or because some dens do a better job of retaining those Scouts who are likely to be active Boy Scouts. Probably a little of both. I wonder if a well organized Webelos Den Leader training taught be former Webelos Den Leaders who have successfully made the troop transition would help. Get the Webelos den leaders thinking a different way than Cub Scouts. Also, get them thinking about the important things to start doing that are likely to get the Scouts successfully started in a troop.
  19. Troop recruiting is a funny business. Back when I was Cubmaster, we had a very active recruiting program. It was a lot of work, but one that I enjoyed immensely. One of my great joys was getting to know prospective families and helping them decide is Cub Scouts was for their son, and if so, whether our pack was a good fit. It would not be a stretch to say they I'd average 2-3 hours per new Cub Scout. When I moved over to the troop, it was a very different world. Our recruiting focused so much more on simply providing a good program. It was like the line from the movie Field of Dreams - "build it and they will come." But, in neither case did we ever assume that "Scouts were ours". In fact, we always saw other troops recruiting into the packs that feed us as encouragement. If a troop comes in and starts recruiting better than us, or makes their program sound stronger, then it's a sign to us that we need to work a bit harder. I mean this in the nicest way @Eagle94-A1, but if a DL decides to take his boys to a different troop - then shame on my troop. It would be unfair of my troop to blame the DL.
  20. Don't most den leaders initiate the visits? I assume you just call who you want to call.
  21. Around here the Webelos dens still visit multiple troops as well.
  22. You probably already know this, but... I'd just make the conversation positive about what you and your sons want to see in a troop. This change is not really about what you dislike in the current troop. This move is about what you all want to get from Scouting and the difficult realization that you need to go somewhere else to get it. In an ideal world, the current troop would be providing this. It's only through painful reflection that you've realized you need to seek that elsewhere. If he asks why you cannot get that here, then by all means, give examples of how the move towards family friendly Scouting has hampered the ability to get that in the current troop. But I wouldn't start by criticizing the current troop.
  23. I'm reminded that Wood Badge, like all training, is merely an opportunity to acquire knew knowledge and skills. The beads, neckerchief, and woggle are merely symbols presented to someone who has undergone the process of attempting to acquire more knowledge & skills. We can debate eternally whether 6 days of training and 5 projects over 18 months warrants special symbols. To me, the beads are more a recognition of completing the ticket than sitting through some classes. A simple ticket really just cheats one person - the Scouter. Sure, it seems like the Scouter gets by easy. But, the goal of Wood Badge really isn't getting in the beads. The goal of Wood Badge is to grow as a Scouter by going through the process. The ticket is really that part of the process where a leader sits down and establishes a vision he'd like to achieve for his unit and then works through five tasks to help in accomplishing that vision. The participant should look for some goals and ticket items that are worth the effort. The course staff should help to encourage a Scouter to challenge himself - but again, if a Scouter is determined to get by easy, it can happen. One related thing - I would encourage anyone who goes through the program to write a ticket that benefits their unit. In our council, it's required that 4 of the 5 ticket items have to directly relate to your primary role in Scouting. If you're an ASM, then is has to be something to do with you being an ASM. I get that in some councils it's different. I'd still encourage you to write ticket items that related to your unit. Being an ASM who then goes off and does ticket items about district or council stuff is missing the mark a bit.
  24. Great choice @Eagle94-A1. While I fully get the desire to help improve a troop, at some point we all realize they often don't want to change. Your son's time in Scouting is just way too short to struggle with a troop that doesn't share your son's vision of how a troop should work. Your time as a parent is too precious to have the level of frustration that this troop has caused you. All my best in finding the right troop for you all!
  25. You don't get the beads for sitting through the course. You get the beads because you demonstrate the application of the knowledge by completing the ticket.
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