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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. I have to chuckle here. Often we knock the BSA for it's lack of consistency. Yet, here they've been pretty consistent on this one for many years. So, because people are used to saying "Class A" or "Class B", we want the BSA to relax and go with those terms. Why don't we all just go with the terms the BSA prefers and call it a day?
  2. I find value in this section from the Guide to Advancement My take is that a board of review is a discussion between adults & the Scout about what was done to earn the rank. The board's job isn't to grill the scout and double check knowledge. Instead, it's an opportunity to explore what the Scout did for the rank. If in the context of that discussion, it becomes apparent that the requirement really wasn't done then the Board can decide to not approve the Scout. If the Scout needed to know the Scout Law for that rank and never really learned it - then yes, you could fail the Scout. But, making sure he still knew it would seem to be a "retest" to me. There is a related requirement for the Palm which is: If the Scout really seemed to not remember one point of the Scout Law, then I'd think it would trigger a discussion in the Board about what the Scout did to live that particular item in the Scout Law. For example, if the Scout could not remember "helpful", I'd think it would be a good learning opportunity to discuss how the Scout demonstrated helpfulness in fulfilling the requirement. If in that conversation it became clear that he wasn't a helpful person and had given it no thought - then it would be appropriate to "fail' the Scout.
  3. ParkMan

    Quick: Are Crocs closed toe enough for camp?

    I'd concur. I routinely wear Keens for general time around camp. If I were backpacking - that would be different. But, around a summer camp they work great. Yes, they are more expensive - but in my opinion worth it.
  4. At the root here is how the Scoutmaster develops leaders. Just as there are many styles of successful coaches, so too are there many styles of successful Scoutmasters. I would think that regardless of style, the SM needs to be focused on how leaders develop within troop. how individual scouts develop their own leadership potential It could be a more active, hands on approach, or it could be one where the SM has develops a structure in the troop where that leadership development happens within the Scouts themselves. The second sounds preferrable to me - but it's also much harder to do. Regardless of how it's done, I do think that an environment that challenges Scouts is important to keeping them engaged.
  5. ParkMan

    OA election nights

    Agreed. I can't fathom why the DE would have any involvement here at all to be honest. It's a SM decision. If not, then it's the OA chapter advisor. if not, then maybe the Lodge advisor. I can't see that the DE has any role here at all. I like my DE very much, but this is a volunteer decision.
  6. ParkMan

    Balanced Advancement Timeline Goals

    I suspect that what they observed is that Scouts who become engaged in the program tend to stay and scouts who do not tend to leave. Too much inaction leads to boredom and loss of interest. At a national level, they saw that emerge as trends such as First Class First Year. We see that in our troop. Scouts we get started and get engaged stay. Those who get started but never really get going leave. In our world, an active Scout tends to advance. I translate all of this as: getting a scout to first class in 12-18 months isn't the goal. having a program in which Scouts are engaged is the goal. Advancement is a by product of that goal. Scouts advancing is one (but not the only) way you can assess whether the program is getting Scouts to be active.
  7. ParkMan

    Balanced Advancement Timeline Goals

    I agree with your son. We get lots of feedback in life that being goal oriented is a good thing. Setting targets and achieving them is a good skill and trait. Here's a timeline I've used in the past: Scout - Start of Summer/End of 5th grade Tenderfoot - Fall Court of Honor (COH) - 6th grade (about 6 months after Scout) Second Class - Spring COH - 6th grade (about 6 months after Tenderfoot) 1st Class - Fall COH - 7th grade (about 6 months after Second Class) Star - Fall COH - 8th grade (about 1 year after First Class) Life - Fall COH - 9th grade (about 1 year after Star) Eagle - Spring COH - 10th grade (about 18 months after Life) This gives plenty of time in each rank. It has the benefit of leaving "oh no" time to recover. It also has the benefit of recognizing the Jr/Sr. year of high school often gets very busy. A big however... Advancement is just one of eight methods of Scouting. There's a world of Scouting out there that is way cooler than advancement. I've been blessed in my Scouting travels to see some of it. Patrol life, Patrol Leadership roles, Troop Leadership roles the OA, Venturing, OA, Summer camp, Summer camp staff, Advance leadership training such as NYLT or NAYLE, high adventure (Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier, Summit - triple crown/grand slam), National Jamboree, World Jamboree, District/Council/Area/Regional leadership roles, and many more. My advice is to encourage your son to get involved, find things he likes, and then explore them. Scouting is a very cool world with lots of great people.
  8. This brings me back to something I wonder a lot. Does the average troop program provide enough for older youth? In this case, you can extend that to include high-functioning youth. I'd think it could, but it takes some creative thinking and a willingness to trust the youth. Find a role, invent a role, make something new up. We had a SPL years ago who decided to redraw the troop org chart. He invented all kinds of crazy new jobs and got scouts to do them. At one point, I think he over half the troop in some sort of invented job. If a Scout showed up and said, I'd like to help, he'd say "I'd like you to lead the New Scout outreach team." If that job was filled, he'd make them "the Asst. Scribe of Troop Culture." The point is that it gave this older, high-functioning, Scout something to do beyond the traditional SPL tasks. We had another high-functioning scout go on to become the District Camporee Youth Chief. Heck, even when I was a Scout the our District Commissioner let me be a 16 year old Unit Commissioner (and I'm not high-functioning).
  9. My sense is that many scouts would enjoy, and their familes welcome, challenge from the program. I had an opportunity to talk with a Scouter recently who is also a youth sports coach. His comment was that in his sports teams, he'd rather see his team play like a team and lose than not play as a team and win. In short, it's how the team plays that's important - not the win or loss. I think the same is true of Scouting. How the Scoutmaster leverages the program to help the Scouts grow is what's important. I'd welcome a Scoutmaster who has developed a culture where some scouts have to learn to fail gracefully and pick themselves back up and try again. I'd rather see a Scout try, run into a wall, fail, and try again then to take the safe route. I think the same of leadership roles. If a Scout signs up to be a patrol leader and then misses campouts, I think it's fine for the Scoutmaster to challenge a bit. Hey Bob, you ran for PL, were elected, but miss half the camping trips - why? Same of the ASPL who is failing in his role because he's afriad to lead. Shouldn't the Scoutmaster challenge the Scout to make his own decisions? Sometimes conversations like these are uncomfortable. Sometimes the Scouts even get mad. But, if done correctly they can challenge the Scout.
  10. ParkMan

    First New Troop Adult Meeting

    Absolutely - every troop needs to make recruiting a prioroty. Certainly not as much as program, but it's got to be a major focus. As for adult experience in Troops for girls. Fortunately something like 40% of the adult volunteers in our local troops for boys are currently female. So, in our area there is a remarkable wealth of knowledge to draw upon already. As I mentioned above, our local troop for girls which was started by some of those very same female leaders. They're doing an amazing job and have a great program aleady. They're are something like 15 girls even after a few months. In a year they'll be at 25. The other nice thing about this troop for girls is that some adult leaders are men too. The ratio is certainly reversed (60% women, 40% men) - but is certainly mixed. Mixed gender volunteer teams is the way to go. Get the best adult volunteers you can - don't worry about gender (beyond YPT rules)
  11. Changing expectations mid-stream is hard. And, so yes, that adds a new stress to the process that is largely unfair. Imagineif your son had only been able to play rec. soccer - no high school or travel team soccer. After a few years he's pretty good, but the challenge lessens. Would he still have been as invested in it as he has with more competition? My daughter is in both Girl Scouts & Ballet. Girl Scouts hasn't really progressed challenge wise for her. Ballet continues to get harder and harder. The expectations on her as a dancer increase every year. It's not unusualy for her to be at the dance studio 5 days a week. She has no expectations of being a professional ballerina and so does this purely for the love of dance. She's losing desire to be a Girl Scout. Continues to focus on Ballet. I get the line of thought that we need to be increasingly flexible to keep youth in Scouting. But, I wonder if part of the answer of how to increase participation is to acutally increase the challenge and expectations on Scouts. i.e., don't turn anyone away, but challenge those who emerge as leaders and take on responsibilty to get more involved and grow. Sort of like a higher level coach might. In return, the personal growth a Scout goes through would also presumably he higher. More challenges to overcome, more leadership development to go through, etc...
  12. I think most everyone would agree that this is an unrealistic expectation to have for the Scouts in the program. However, I wonder if it really is that much different from expectations for participation in high school sports or travel level sports. If you're a Scoutmaster trying to build a really strong program, should you encourage Scouts to be more engaged and have a deeper committment? To further the analogy. You've got casual athletes and you've got really committed athletes. There are different kinds of teams for different levels of engagement. Should Scouting work the same way? Not sure I know the answer to this one - just thought it was an interesting concept to discuss.
  13. ParkMan

    First New Troop Adult Meeting

    I've got to imagine that this is pretty important to the families of those 5 girls - no? My .02. You need those leaders who want to see a troop for girls happen - regardless of size. Once you have them, the rest will fall into place. At some point in every troops history there was just 5 scouts. If every troop said it's not worth it for 5 scouts, we'd have very few troops today. Some adults in our larger "troop community" started up a troop for girls this spring. By last count I think they were up to about 15 girls already. The girls will show up if there is a good program and a solid adult team. That's not to suggest that the troop needs to be adult led - not at all. Just that you'll need a solid volunteer team behind you as you get going.
  14. ParkMan

    Pinewood Derby World Championship

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I had no idea this existed. This looks like a fun opportunity for those scouts who want to continue the PWD fun at the next level.
  15. ParkMan

    When and how to ask a CM to step down

    I think they redid this page only two or three years ago. The signature is consistent with the idea that the COR has to approve the volunteer. It doesn't mean the COR appoints them or supervises them. The BSA literature is pretty clear - the COR oversees the pack on behalf of the CO. As I've defended numerous times, the COR ultimately can set whatever policies are appropriate for the pack. But, week to week, the CC manages the operation of the pack. The CM runs the program of the pack. As such, program is one component of the operation of the pack. Because of the importance of program, the CM has a special status. But, he/she is still a member of the adult team overseen by the CC. We all love our CM's. But, they are still a member of the team. The BSA was pretty clear here. CM's report to the CC. CC's reoort to the COR.
  16. ParkMan

    When and how to ask a CM to step down

    From scouting.org - https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/how-cub-scouting-is-organized/ Further on the same page: Seems pretty clear to me. The COR appoints the CC. The CC in turn then secures enough adults to run the program. The COR approves the CC's choice. Notice that the only position appointed by the COR is the CC. Further, Committee Chair, as the top volunteer, leads the adult team that runs the pack - that includes the Cubmaster. If the Cubmaster isn't doing his/her job, it's the CC's duty to replace him/her. Again, these discussions are very academic because any CC/COR worth their salt would jointly discuss this before such a decision. But, technically according to the BSA's own description, this is how it works.
  17. ParkMan

    When and how to ask a CM to step down

    The Committee Chair and/or Chartered Organization Representative can remove a Cubmaster. The Committee Chair is the top volunteer in the pack and is responsible for making sure that qualified adults are in place to provide the program. If the Committee Chair doesn't believe the Cubmaster can fulfill the role, then it's within the Committee Chair's realm of responsibility to remove the Cubmaster. The Chartered Orgaization Representative approves everyone who volunteers in the program. If the COR no longer feels the Cubmaster can fulfill his/her responsibilities then the COR can remove a Cubmaster. Removing a volunteer is a big deal - especially a Cubmaster. In reality, the other adults should all be in agreement that this is the right decision before taking such a drastic step. Though a Committee Chair could remove a Cubmaster, if I were a COR I certainly would want to know why and be consulted. Further, I would expect that under most circumstances the CC would have discussed this with the Pack Committee as well. If these things didn't happen, I would likely question whether the CC were making good decisions in their own role.
  18. Politics are often the hardest part of Scouting. Lots of units politics end up getting in the way of brining good program to the Scouts. In my experience, there's generally three ways you can deal with someithng like this. talk to the person making waves and let them know you are uncomfortable publically shame them into stopping - i.e. your own post to Facebook or bringing it up at a leader's meeting go over the person's head and ask for someone to step in. i.e., the CC or COR supervises the Cubmaster and you could ask them to interviene As I mentioned before, I've found the first to be most effective. I find that a direct conversation can work wonders. I do find it helps to make it about you, not the other person. i.e. don't say - you shouldn't make posts like that. do say - we're a small community and it makes me really uncomfortable when to have this kind of conversation in front of everyone. Of course, personalities are different. You may find that taking this approach doesn't work with your Cubmaster's personality style.
  19. Welcome @Natgeo2019! As I think you sensed, no - it's not necessary. There are just some people who like reply-all. Perhaps a direct word to the Cubmaster to let him know you find it uncomfortable to get these kind of emails.
  20. Ahh - gotcha. Makes perfect sense. In my humble opinion, JTE is asking us as leaders to reflect on the number of Scouts that advance each year with the theory that regular advancement is part of a healthy program. We pull our numbers from Troopmaster once a year and do some quick math to see how we're doing.
  21. ParkMan

    patrol patches

    Very, very well said @The Latin Scot. I learned in my life that attention to detail is a very important character trait. It takes little effort to properly uniform. That you invested the time to do so says a lot. That's an important life lesson.
  22. ParkMan

    Does National want to kill the uniform?

    Interesting ideas here. The uniform of today is effectively: - BSA pants - t-shirt - scout shirt Our scouts wear uniforms constantly - but not in the field. It seems to work pretty well for us. Do we really want a uniform shirt to become something that is worn for hiking and other light activities? My sense is that Scouts wear t-shirts in the field not because the uniform is unpractical - but that t-shirts, sweat shirts, flannel shirts, etc. are just the most practical choice. If so, why try to replace that with a uniform? Sport teams wear uniforms so that you can tell the teams apart. But, we don't need that for Scouting. Do we want a long sleeve shirt when we see 80% of scouts wearing a short sleeve unform shirt? Mor rugged fabric makes sense, but do we want the cost? Why not tuck it in? I get the allure to mimic the ruggedness of the military - they do have cool gear. But, would it really help?
  23. ParkMan

    First New Troop Adult Meeting

    There's been lots of good advice on this thread. My recommendations would be two fold: 1) Think about what you want to do and worry less about the labels. What specifically do you want to do the first 3 months? How specifically do you want the Scouts to run troop meetings as you get going? How are Scouts going to decide their camping trips? etc... 2) At every turn, if you feel like "an adult should do this", think instead of how can the Scouts do this? What kind of subtle inspiration or guidance can I give them? How can I give them a challenge or describe a task so that they can accomplish this on their own? On your first meeting with the parents - I'd encourage you to focus on two things: 1) Program, program, program. These girls are joining a troop to have a great experience. In getting going, the focus has to be on how to make that experience fun, challenging, and rewarding. 2) Support from parents. It takes a lot of support to get a troop going. A brand new troop can ride the enthusiasm of a few core leaders. But, over time you're going to need parents to get engaged. You're going to need more than those few scouts. You'll probably want to get this troop to 32 scouts in 4 years. That means a new patrol every year. You'll need help with recruiting. You'll need a treasurer to keep track of all those camp fess. You'll need an advancement co-ordinator to keep track of awards needed and eventually the Life to Eagle process. You'll need a quartermaster to help figure out an keep track of gear. If you're camping monthly, you'll need 3-4 good ASMs to help staff all these events. You'll need merit badge counsellors. You'll need a Committee Chair to keep this all organized for you. Now is the time to start getting those rolls filled.
  24. I have a similar reaction to @Hawkwin here. I struggle with the notion that we are upset with this youth because she is advocating for herself. There is a legitimate question here - how much credit can this youth get for similar Scouting activities elsewhere? You can disagree with her request, but I don't see why many are so upset with here for pushing the question.
  25. Sorry - I misunderstood. So you're saying she should have joined a BSA troop, gone abroad, and then worked on advancement in her BSA troop that way. Somehow I think she would have preferred that too.