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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    Merit badge sash

    I don't really care if a Scout wears one sash or two. They could wear an orange uniform for all I care. What's important is the big picture. However, as we get into these topics, as a community we seem to take a wierd stance on these things. In the past week, I've commented on two topics. This one and the one on female scouts getting credit for past work. In the other topic, there was a decided group of Scouters who thought less of a teenager because she wanted to get credit for her Scouting experience as an "unofficial scout". She was deemed to not be Eagle worthy because Eagle quality people would never put their own needs ahead of others. Yet, in this topic, we seem to have no problem saying - feel free to break the uniform rules and show off your 100+ merit badges. As Scouters, I simply think we need to be consistent. If you've got an Eagle with 100+ merit badges that wants to run around with two sashes, shouldn't a friendly Scouter take him aside and say "you're blantatnly showing off here - as an Eagle Scout you ought to set a better example." If we want to respect that each Scout's journey is different and that they are welcome to some moments of personal pride, I've got no problem. Just seems that we as Scouters ought to be consistent.
  2. ParkMan

    Merit badge sash

    Just thinking out load here, but wouldn't it be better for a Scout to wear the uniform as proscribed and simply wear as many merit badges as possible on it? I mean no disrespect, but isn't vioating the uniform rules to wear two sashes (whether double wide, one on top of each other, or bandolier) an example of a Scout breaking the rules for their own self interest? i.e., "I know that the unform rule says one sash, but I earned these awards and so I think I'm entitled to do it."
  3. Thanks for the pointer about her father's website. I read the text there and it sounds like he's taking credit for it. Seems to be positioning himself as a advocate for civil rights. I imagine you can do that through influence and activism and avoid lawsuits. I don't recall hearing that in the case of the BSA that change happened because of lawsuits - but again, if someone can point to a reference, I'm happy to learn here. On Sydney - I understand what you're saying. If I have this correctly, you dislike that she pursued finding a way to get credit for her Scouting activities prior to becoming an "officially registered" member of Scouts BSA. It was one thing to ask for gender equality - another thing to push for a special exception for girls now joining. Fair point. I guess I don't mind so much that she lobbied and eventually found a way to get some back credit. Yeah, it's probably unfair to the legions of girls who won't be able to do the same. But, I'm sympathetic to the argument that "Hey, in a time where I was an unofficial member, I did all this stuff. Why do I need to do it all over again, and in the process, delay achieving the rank of Eagle?" If it were my daughter, I can imagine a similar conversation. In my family, we'd have accepted the results and moved on. But, he family is more familar with advocating for stuff like this and so they pursued it. Again, unfair? Sure, probably. But, she does have enough of a point that I'm not going to criticize her from pursuing it. Instead I'd tell her - go for it, maybe you'll win, maybe you won't, but it's a fair arugment to make.
  4. I cannot seem to find a reference where she filed any lawsuits to become an Eagle Scout. I cannot even seem to find a reference that she filed a lawsuit ot become a member of the Boy Scouts. Best I can find is that she started a change.org petition and was the subject of several articles. Further, I can't seem to see anything where she's prioritized herself over the needs of others. I'm happy to be provided some sources that show this. But, let's say she did file a lawsuit. How is pushing for Scouting credit that she honestly believes she earned prioritizing herself over others? Again, isn't fighting for something you believe is right a sign of a strong leader? Why would we want any Scout to just sit down and be quiet in a situation like that?
  5. Myself, I'd prefer that the BSA not make a big deal out of the first female Eagle, setting dates and processes to prevent the first, or anthing related that. I tihnk doing so puts Eagle in the wrong light. I would really prefer a statement that the BSA will not track, report, or acknowledge who the first female is to earn the rank of Eagle. When I think of being an Eagle Scout, I think the honor come from the process of becoming an Eagle - not the act of completing the requirements. That any Scout completes the requirements and then waits a year or two seems rather sill to me. But, if this is what the BSA wants to do then fine. I don't mind that she has expressed interest in being the first one. It just says to me that she's ambitious. I think you've got to be a little ambitious to want to earn Eagle in the first place, so I don't mind that she's got a little extra ambition there. We're not raising monks - we're helping to develop leaders. A little ambition in a leader is a good thing.
  6. I think I'm sticking up for her a little here because I think that is what is largely going on here. People dislike that she was challenging the status quo and that she had some role in co-ed Scouting. Food for thought - but your question is telling her that her Scouting experience is less meaningful than that of other scouts. Why do you think this? The council advancement committee signed off on her advancement from work in Canada as being equivalent. Second, she completed many (all?) of the requirements unofficially as a tag along member. Third, she demonstrated clear leadership in her involvement as part of the process to bring the BSA programs to girls. It strikes me that there's an argument here that she is more qualified to be an Eagle than the majority of boys who are earning the rank. I would suggest that posing this question feeds into the kind of nonsense around Eagle that many here decry. The first female Eagle Scout is no more special than the hundredth, thousandath, or millionth. I keep coming back to the same thought. Why on earth would she waste all this energy - being a tagalong, joining Scouts Canada, lobbying for grls in the BSA, just so that she could become the first female Eagle Scout. Achieving that gets her a cloth patch and maybe 15 minutes of fame. Whatever benefit she derives from being the first Eagle Scout is completly eclipsed by her actions in helping to bring about Scouts BSA for girls.
  7. She spent summers in Canada. My understanding is that this is where she did Canadian scout stuff - not the Manhattan troop.
  8. You don't need to be a citizen of a country to be from there. Notice that the specifically don't say "youth who are citizens of another country and move to the United States." If you have a house in Canada, live there for several months, and then move back to the USA, then you'd be moving back to the US from Canada. There's nothing that says how long you have to reside ther to be cosidered "from" there. Just a broad "youth from other countries" who are a member of that country's Scouting association and who can show evidence of advancement in that Scouting association. In addition, the full quote is: The BSA recognizes youth who temporarily move to the USA as being able to join, so it certainly would suggest the opposite were true. Further, she wasn't even a member of the BSA, so it's not like she was transferring stuff back and forth. She was a member of Scouts Canada who accumulated enough advancement over the course of her time there that when she moved back to the US and was able to join she had enough of a body of work to transfer. Acutally, that she couldn't join the Boy Scouts probably works in her favor here. She wasn't trying to game the system be advancement back and forth. She wasn't allowed the join the Boy Scouts here and so her only offical Scouting experience was with Scouts Canada. She basically wanted to transfer her advancement from Scouts Canada to Scouts BSA after moving back here from Canada.
  9. I read this and reached excatly the same conclusion. There is nothing in the G2A the prevents or discourages what Ms. Ireland did in any way. It may be a very unique, and I'm sure unimagined, applciation of the rule - but it's quite legit. What I also find somewhat hard to believe is that she joined Scouts Canada so that she could "game" the BSA advancement system down the road. It really seems to me like she's a kid that really just wanted to be a member of a Scouting program like we have in the BSA. I can't help but feel if she were a boy and was this passionate about Scouting we'd all be putting her up for awards and accolades.
  10. Sure - of course. Don't encourage a fools errand. But, I don't think that happened here. She had an idea to get some advancement credit for her invovlement in Scouts Canada and it worked. Clearly someone in addition to me thought it was a good idea. While we want to be as fair as possible, we can get ourselves hung up on "being fair." Is it fair that this one scout was so engaged in Scouting "unofficially" that she became a vocal proponent for a BSA program for girls? Was it fair that she was so invovled that when admission of girls to the BSA happened that she had all kinds of transferrable skills and advancement completed? Would it be fair to ignore that work? Would it be fair to provide credit for that work? Is it fair to girls that the BSA hasn't been co-ed for the past 100+ years? is it fair to boys that it is now? Is it fair the a 16 year old girl cannot test out? Is it fair to that same 16 year old girl that she couldn't join 4 years ago? Is it fair that one scout is stronger, smarter, or has more financial resources than another? Is it fair that one scout has parents who can bring him to every event when another has parents who both work constantly? Is it fair that one scout lives in a neighborhood with a great troop? Is it fair that another lives in a neighborhood with a weak troop? The answer to all of these is that of course it's not fair. I don't know how you look at any of this and think it's fair. So, I think you make the best, most equitable rules you can and follow them. I think that's what the BSA is trying to do. So, we stick to those rules as best we can. She found a way to use the rules to her advantage. I don't fault her for that.
  11. To extend my prior comment: - The BSA has already said that tag along work doesn't count. So whie she and others may want it to, it doesn't. So, while I don't fault a Scout for asking, I'd have to simply that no, it doens't count. If enough people petition BSA national leadership, perhaps that will change. But, petitioning national leadership is the way to follow the rules & process. Not following the rules would have been to simply buy that patch and wear it - she's not doing that. - The BSA does allow for international experience to transfer. This seems to be a legitimate argument and within the rules.
  12. I think there's times in life to look at the big picture. The girl wanted to be a Scout her whole life. She couldn't do it offically, so she tagged along. She joined Scouts Canada. She did lots of learning and advancement work as a tagalong and as a member of Scouts Canada. I see her case is very different from a typical youth who shows up and says "Hey, I think I ought to be First Class." As a Scouter, I'd always listen to an argument like this from a Scout. I wouldn't fault any for trying to be ambitious. I think that's part of learning to be a good leader.
  13. I guess at this point I just prepared to take it at face value - she just wants to be a member of the BSA and participate in the program. The media spotlight so distorts things that I'm not going to form an opinion of a youth's character by what I see there. Maybe she's aggressive and wants to advance quickly too - and maybe even be the fist female Eagle. Even if all that's true, I'm OK by that. She's got some dreams and the pushes to make them happen. Not such an awful trait for someone to have. I get that we want her to go through the same exact process as others - but this is an exceptional point in the history of Scouting. If she had a valid argument for why she should immediatley be awarded Eagle - I'd listen. Again - I don't fault her for being ambitious. I doubt I'd just grant an Eagle except in some kind of really egregious exception (i.e. a youth who did every requirement by the book, but for some reason was prevented from officially being a member). This is where I think Life is fair.
  14. Yes - this would seem correct to me. Asking a Scout to wait 2 years to officially become an Eagle Scout just because of some silly "first female Eagle" designation seems to feed into unneccessary hysteria around the rank. Just award the girl the rank when she turns in the application and move on.
  15. My first reaction upon reading this was - huh? She's an American citizen. But, on reading a little more about her background and reflecting... Here we have a Scout who so loves Scouting so much that when she spent summers in Canada she joined their Scouting association. It reminded me of kids who transfer overseas and then join the local Scouting program. We had a Scout in our troop do that. We also have had a Scout from another country join our troop while living in the US. As I see it, at the end of the day, this is a program about helping youth to develop. Advancement is one method to help these young adults develop. For years, she wanted to join the BSA, but could not. So, she joined Scouts Canada when she could. Later, when she finally was able to join, people found a way for her prior Scouting experience In Canada to reflect her appropriate point in the advancement process in the Scouts BSA program. Maybe I've got a soft spot for those people with heart and spirit, but this seems like a pretty fair & creative solution.
  16. Ahh - if that's the reason I'd very gladly welcome her to wearing it. That she was a Scout in Canada, earned such a recognition, and wears it with her Scouts BSA uniform is pretty cool
  17. RIght - it's this specific Woggle that is restricted. Any other kind of Woggle is perfectly fine.
  18. I'd imagine that there are lots of small troops. Regardless of whether you are paired with an existing troop or not, the troops for girls still need to do the outreach to get new members to join. It will take some time for troops to get to 20-30 members.
  19. ParkMan

    What constitutes an "Eagle Factory"?

    All the math in this topic encouraged me to look back through our troop records. We don't track any of this stuff, but since we've been good at keeping advancement records online the info was all there. Also - we're a farily large troop (about 75 active scouts) and have had a pretty stable program for many years. This means lots of records to through On average over the past 20 years we've averaged: 20 new scouts per year 12 1st class Scouts per year 7 Eagle Scouts per year Average troop size has been about what we are now - 75 scouts. Every year about 15% of the scouts reach first class. About 10% reach Eagle. Over the entire period, 59% of the scouts reached 1st class and 28% reached Eagle. We're definitly not an Eagle mill troop. What I see is that the troop adults are trying to foster success in as many of the eight methods as possible. It's not a concious plan, it just happens. The troop adults encourage youth leadership & the patrol method, provide lots of support for an active outdoor program, have plenty of high adventure trips, encourage quality adults to volunteer, do their part to have advancement opportunities for Scouts who show interest. But again, we don't have an organized program to push rank advancement. We provde opportunities - especially in the first year. But, we never teach merit badges at meetings. Advancement campouts are limited to that first year as Scouts are learning skills - they're really skills campouts. We do have an Eagle Co-ordinator who mildly nudges older Scouts. But, the nudging is more of a "hey Tom, have you thought about a project yet? No? Well, you might want to start thinkign about that - you'll be 17 soon." But what happens is that because we have a pretty well rounded program run by the Scouts, we tend to see Scouts stay engaged longer. I saw that about half of our attrition each year is from Scouts who simply aged out. Here's another interesting set of statistics I calculated from the records. Average time to achieve rank: Scout - 3 months Tenderfoot - 6 months Second Class - 12 months First Class - 16 months Star - 2.5 years Life - 3.2 years Eagle - 5.5 years So, because Scouts stay active - rank advancement just tends to happen. 5.5 years is not quick for anyone to achieve Eagle. Our average Eagle Scout is 16.8 years old. If we didn't have retention and active older Scouts, there's no way we'd have seen 28% of our scouts reach Eagle. My conclusion from all this? Focus on having a great, well rounded program that keeps Scouts engaged throughout the years. The rest happens naturally.
  20. ParkMan

    Girl Scouts vs. School Dress Code

    Uniforming is one of eight methods. As with anything in life, when there are choices among multiple options - that's where priorities come in. As CO or as a unit, you get to set priorities. Where does uniforming fall in priority vs. patrol method? Where does it fall in priority to advancement? I can fully appreciate that as an IH uniforming is pretty low on the list of priorities. As a Scouter, I never volunteered because I was interested in promoting uniforming. No, uniforming was simply a tool to advance the larger cause. I can see how as an IH you're much more interested in that larger purpose. Whether the Scouts wear a uniform is a detail for the unit itself.
  21. I've not seen anything like that - a short resource for Scouters on how to keep older Scouts engageI I think this is either a really short resource or a rather long one. I think that @MattR nicely summed up the basic problem. In my experience the most obvious aspects of Scouting apply to early teen Scouts - advancement, outdoor program, etc. As Scouts reach older ages, they need more challenge and reason to stay involved. A troop program needs to provide things for those older Scouts that keeps them engaged. The things that keeps those Scouts engaged are not simply "fun" things, but challenges. i.e., simply planning a high adventure trip isn't enough. Coming up with a program that mentally challenges and engages older Scouts month after month is needed. For many Scouts this comes from a sense of being engaged - perhaps as a leader, organizer, etc. For others it's comraderie - working together as an older group of Scouts who have become frends to go on adventures that are interesting to them. For others, it's specific interests - outdoor skills, wood working, etc. But, the key in my mind is to proactivly keep trying. Simply focusing on the Tenderfoot to Star years and assuming the older Scouts want more of the same isn't sufficient.
  22. I'm not suprised to see that older girl advancement is like older boy advancement. Honestly, having a son and daughter about the same age that's what I'd have expected. I know there's a lot of sage advice on this forum that a lot of Scout development comes from being proactive and willing to learn and traverse the advancement process in the BSA. In our troop, we've always taken the approach of making sure that advancement is available to all those who show the willingess to pursue it. I think this is a very good thing. As a Scout, I was less comfortable tracking down adults to earn merit badges. So, while I was a steller Scout until I hit Star, I imploded after that. I did not care for having to find adults to advise me on merit badges. I became frustrated and to an extent withdrew as a Scout. I never advanced again. Was it better for me to simply stop advancing, become frustrated with Scouting, and quit, or would Scouting have served me better if some troop adults had made it easier for me to grow accustomed to asking adults for help with merit badges. In hindsight, I think I would have grown as lot more with the latter. It's a great sadness in my life that there wasn't someone who held me to overcome my insecurity and reach Eagle. So, I tend to applaud your approach to making sure it's within reach for Scouts to have a path to Eagle if they are interested. Thank you for thinking it through on these new Scouts behalf.
  23. I don't know if they have a superiority complex or not. One could certainly interpret it that way. It certainly does seem the GSUSA strategy is to try and elevate the GSUSA brand as the premier Scouting program for girls. They are trying to do it through exclusivty. I can't imagine it working in a case like this where it's about real families trying to find programs that are exciting for their daughters. Both the BSA & GSUSA can stand to learn from each other - just as all Scouters do. Our Cub Scout pack used to regualrly hold joint events with a Girl Scout troop and it was GREAT! We learned a lot as leaders from each other and it really strengthened all our programs. That the GSUSA is retreating to it's own group is a real shame.
  24. ParkMan

    Tenting: 2 years apart

    Hah - yes, I hear you! Really, the BSA doesn't define what "within 2 years" means. It could be the numerical integer approach, it could be literally born withing a two year period from the day that the Scout was born. I have to think that if the BSA really was that concerrned about 24 months vs. two numerical years, they'd say so. But, they don't. I myself suspect the discussion at National was something like "should it be two years or three years? Hmm, yes - two years it is. Ok, next topic."
  25. ParkMan

    Tenting: 2 years apart

    I do the 24 month thing, but if someone else did the two year number difference apprroach that would be fine too. In moments like this, I'm reminded that it's a youth organization and that there's such a thing as overthinking it. Really, ether approach accomplishes the intent.