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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    New Member

    Welcome to the forum @Cyclone. Wonderful to have you here. I'm glad you decided to join!
  2. ParkMan

    Our Council's New Gender Inclusive Branding

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for the wisdom and experience you have. I am in awe of your Scouting accomplishments. Scouting today is fundamentally the same program it has always been. The youth we serve have changed far more than the program has. Even the introduction of girls is a smaller change than the changes in boys over the last 100 years. The BSA needs leaders with your depth of experience to guide us as we go forward. Some of that leadership needs to remind us of the fundamentals inherent in Scouting. Some of that leadership needs to be in looking at the challenges facing the program today and helping to devise solutions.
  3. ParkMan

    Our Council's New Gender Inclusive Branding

    I see it a bit differently. The BSA is not defined by what it once was. It is defined by what it is now. We can all debate if the BSA has lost it's way. But it is what it is. We can choose to mourn the passing of what was or to figure out how to make the best way forward.
  4. ParkMan


    While I think it's very good material for every direct contact leader to know, I groan at yet another course for leaders to have to take. I almost wish that the BSA would find an equivalent amount of material to trim from the new online leader training. I think there are currently 17 courses for position specific, 3 for YPT, and now this to be an ASM.
  5. ParkMan

    10 advantages in being a Unit Commissioner?

    @Antelope16-2 Welcome to the forum! Congrats on being asked to staff! When I staffed, I found that I learned as much, if not more, from being a staffer than a participant. It was a truly wonderful experience. Enjoy. Commissioners have one of the most important jobs in Scouting. The magic of Scouting happens in our packs, troops, and crews. The simple fact that most scout leaders are parents means that unit leadership regularly changes. Commissioners bring tremendous value to the scouts we serve be sharing their knowledge and wisdom. Strong commissioners are an important part of developing strong units.
  6. ParkMan

    District meetings - what's the point?

    Can you recruit others to the charge? Get others in your circle to attend, help them see the opportunities, and encourage them to take it on.
  7. ParkMan

    What kind of example are you setting?

    Concur. If you have an event like a COH with outside guests, set the expectation at the start of the meeting. There are lots of ceremonies that I go to where someone says: "This is an important event, please don't use your cell phone during the ceremony. If you absolutely need to take a call, please step outside"
  8. ParkMan

    Is BSA Sustainable?

    I don't doubt it can work. My question is a bit different - is the average troop running a quality program that can continue to engage older scouts? Or, put differently - is the program of the BSA to hard for the majority of packs and troops to implement. We have examples where the program can and does work well. Those packs and troops grow. Yet, we hear about declining numbers nationwide. Where is the disconnect?
  9. ParkMan

    Is BSA Sustainable?

    Both valid points. - length of Cub Scouts - yes - 5-6 years is too long for Cub Scouts. - adult burnout - yes, true as well. If I look at what I feel as a volunteer, it's essentially a push to work harder and find more volunteers to help. I feel like the demands of the program itself require me to work harder and harder. What is national to do about those things? While I suppose that national could drop lions & tigers, that doesn't seem likely. It strikes me that national only has three things they can do: 1) change the program - perhaps shorten it and make it less ambitious. Or maybe split Cub Scouts into two three year sections. 2) provide better training and materials on how to implement the program - make it easier for me as an adult to volunteer. 3) pressure councils to develop better support teams to give unit leaders more program help.
  10. For fun, I was looking around for pictures of Wood Badge regalia from other countries. I can find the UK sources - but that's it. Anyone aware of pictures, web sites, etc. that might have more info. Thanks!
  11. ParkMan

    Is BSA Sustainable?

    @EagledadI'm sure that's correct. So, why do we have boring pack programs? I always felt my pack's program was kinda dull. But, as much as I tried to search, I couldn't find a recipe book of "do this and it will be fun."
  12. ParkMan

    Is BSA Sustainable?

    In my area, we don't see that much. There is some push by parents for our current Scouts to make Eagle, but I can't remember hearing from a lot of scouts who say "my parents made me join". I think the general premise is correct though. Years ago, scouting was more novel and unique. It was fun to camp every month with your friends. It was fun to build some pinewood derby cars. It was fun to learn how to build a fire. Today, those things are still fun - but not for 5-6 years. I still think a big step would be more program differentiation at the different levels. Don't make Cub Scouts 6 years. Make it two separate 3 year programs. If you really want to keep the boys together in a single Lions to Webelos pack - that's fine. But, create the program in a way that when they get to Bears or Webelos, things change - a lot. Same with Boy Scouts. Again - if you want a 11-17 troop - fine. But do something so that the program changes enough at 14/15 that it is fresh and exciting again.
  13. ParkMan

    Is BSA Sustainable?

    The country changes every 10-20 years. It's quite different than it was in 1957. The biggest difference between them and now is how we think of organizations like the BSA. Then, our parents and grand parents would have worked hard to make the organizations work. Parents would have pushed their kids to make Scouting work. Today, Scouting is one of many activities vying for attention.
  14. ParkMan

    Our Council's New Gender Inclusive Branding

    Yeah - I've got a hunch that you could reverse the two images and claim the same thing. Modern is in the eye of the beholder.
  15. ParkMan

    Our Council's New Gender Inclusive Branding

    Feels like they're getting carried away with themselves. Seems to me that anyone that deals with a council does so deliberately. I cannot imagine anyone is going to now say - "I was confused by what kind of council you were - now it is much clearer."
  16. ParkMan

    End of Year w/out Rank complete

    Our troop is routinely fed by four different packs. It's interesting to see the difference in how they prepare the Scouts for Boy Scouts. The scouts from some packs just jump right in and get it. The scouts from other packs kinda drift around for a while. One of the biggest differences I see is in the area of "expectations". The scouts from some packs attend regularly, camp regularly, participate. The scouts from other packs are more likely to show intermittently. Since Boy Scouts is more individually driven, those boys have a much harder adjustment. You can tell which dens and packs had a leader that really set the right expectations with the boys.
  17. ParkMan

    End of Year w/out Rank complete

    Hi @cmd, Sure thing - but truth be told, I kinda winged it. What I would do is something like: Tigers Call Tigers to the front of the room. CM: Tigers, you had a very successful first year as Cub scouts. <Insert a few fun things the Tiger's did>. Did you have a fun time? Tigers: Tigers would generally say yes CM: I am going to now paint an orange strip on your face in recognition of all you have done this year. [CM paints each scouts face.] CM: As you have been great Tiger scouts, I want to hear you best Tiger yell. Make it loud! [Scouts scream for a bit] CM: Today you will graduate and become Wolf Scouts. You will receive a new Wolf neckerchief. Next year you will go on even more fun adventures as you continue you scouting journey. I am now going to paint an yellow strip on your face in anticipation of your journey as Wolf scouts. [CM paints each scouts face.] CM: Congratulations Scouts. [Everyone claps and scouts sit down] I then repeated a variation on this for the other scouts. I tried to make it personal for each den, adding a story or two about their year. For the Webelos to AOL Scouts, I would talk about how they would be crossing over to Boy Scouts this next year. They would get a third mark symbolizing all the Webelos colors. The colors I used were: Current Tigers: Orange for Tigers/Yellow for Wolves Current Wolves: Yellow for Wolves/Blue for Bears Current Bears: Blue for Bears/Green for Webelos Current Webelos: Green for Webelos, Add red & yellow to complete all the Webelos colors.
  18. ParkMan

    Taking my daughter on camp

    Good point - when I read that, I was thinking less inspection and more of gear check off. Something like.. Guys - we're going to take a minute and make sure we're all ready to go. Cover the top 5-10 things and do a quick review with the patrol. PL runs it. Bob - why are you wearing sneakers? Where are your boots? Everyone's got a jacket - right? What, no jacket for a December camping trip? SPL - we've got a problem over here. I do see the flip side. Being wet and cold on a camping trip is sure way to make sure a scout packs better next time. It did for me.
  19. ParkMan

    Taking my daughter on camp

    That's a fantastic idea! We don't do this, but really should. It expect that if you start this in the spring with the new cross over scouts, by the time cold weather hits everyone will be well accustomed to it.
  20. ParkMan

    End of Year w/out Rank complete

    .@FireStone thanks for sharing the perspective. I'm inferring that this is a pretty ingrained pack policy done with the best of intentions. I had to stop a similar policy in our pack when I became Cubmaster. I got no push back for the others. I felt that awarding ranks early robs the boys of a sense of accomplishment. They know they didn't earn it. When I was a scout, I was very proud of my rank. I'm sure the boys still like their badge, but they know what's going on and that they didn't really earn it. What we did was two things: 1) moved the big dinner to the end of the year. It became a late May/early June event. It focused on celebrating the year and the boys move to the next level. 2) awarded ranks when they were earned. Dens often completed them together, but not always. We'd see dens where half would earn it one month, the rest the next. The face paint ceremony that is often associated with rank became part of the graduation process and that end of year dinner. We found this a very successful approach. Boys earned rank, boys got recognized, boys got face painted. Win win.
  21. ParkMan

    Linked Troops - What are these?

    I would concur. - As a pack leader and a troop leader, we always maintained the policy that dues could be adjusted as needed. We always believed that no scout should be turned away because of fees. - Our council also has a uniform program. They would provide a full uniform to any scout that needed one. I don't think this was widely known - but we used it for scouts several times. I would say that $100 for dues are not crazy in our area. With National's fee being $33 a year it pushes up unit dues. I think ours are in the $75 range now. With that, we barely make ends meet as a unit. It doesn't take long to rack up 20-30 dollars a year in awards.
  22. ParkMan

    Family Scouting Update

    Thank you! I'd missed it before.
  23. ParkMan

    Family Scouting Update

    I was wondering about the timeline today for older scouts. Is the idea to have an early adopter project in Feb 2019 for the older scouts?
  24. ParkMan

    Virtual Campfire

    Wow - those are looking great. Looks like your boys are having a great time in Boy Scouts. Nice job on the sewing too!
  25. ParkMan

    Ordeal in 31 days, oh my

    I feel that a lot sometimes too. The weight of the expectations of my Scouting role. I like to do things to a high standard so that the boys have the best experience possible. It can only be harder when you just can't physically help the way you normally would. My suggestion - look at this as an opportunity. What you know about Scouting and how this should work is way more important than what you can physically do. Here's the time when you're forced to rely on others. Devise the best ceremony you can with what you've got. Look at what you can't do this year and be creative. With that in mind, think about what you could do next year if you could recruit a few more hands. Start building back up for next year.