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ParkMan

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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. Maybe it's just me, but this policy sounds remarkably unfriendly to me. Other religious denomiations I know of seem to have no problem with fliers being up in the church and leaving it to local churches to decide if they want to sponsor a Scouting unit. Not sure I see the need to be so unfriendly to Scouting.
  2. Hi @Mom2Scout, I think that's just their interpretation. It seems like a more protective interpretation of the actual text. The text doesn't say anything about line of sight - just that they need to be present at the activity.
  3. ParkMan

    BSA definition of the Patrol Method

    I fully appreciate what you're saying here. Based on years and year of experience, recent decisions by the BSA appear to make it much harder to implement patrol method. That creates a lot of angst and even apprehension about what the BSA is doing. This leads to concerns that the BSA is trying to move away from the patrol method. I suspect that nothing has changed with respect to the desire of the BSA leadership to feature the patrol method in the program. However, I do believe that the same BSA leadership is being forced to deal with new realities that were not present at other points in our past. For example, I think the recent two deep leadership rule changes were all about dealing with insurance companies and the threat of litigiation from abuse. In addition, our society has changed to be one where it is expected that if a precaution could have been taken, that it should have been taken. Since one of the growing concerns is that of youth on youth abuse, the BSA leadership is now compelled to deal with that. So, the BSA leadership said: "We have to address our insurance needs. What's the best way to do that in the context of our program?" So, they arrived on the new G2SS rules that they did. Does it mean that they want to get rid of Patrol Method? No, it does not. Does it make it harder to implement? Yes, most certainly. In this, is our society damaging institutions like the BSA? Most certainly it is. Has the BSA leadership made the right choices here to support their insurance (or whatever else) needs? Probably not. But, I don't think the decisions by the BSA leadership are nefarious. At most I'd call them shortsighted. I'd argue that this is where we need really seasoned Scouters to develop the next wave of leaders. We need Scouters who can find ways to make this work and impart that knowledge to the next generation. I see it as a personal challenge in my own Scouting to take a program that I love, understand the challenges of today, and find the way to end up with a stronger program when I'm done.
  4. ParkMan

    BSA definition of the Patrol Method

    It feels to me like angst is causing more concern than is needed here. I've seen no evidence that the BSA is doing anything to the patrol method. The BSA's changes in language over time probably have more to do with whoever wrote the latest material that references it. Somehow I don't think there is a vault at the BSA where they hold "the defintion of patrol method". As for the comment: You emailed their helpdesk and asked for a definition of the patrol method. These are folks who deal with tracking down people's registration, answering YPT questions, etc. I'm almost certain that they have as much insight into what the BSA is doing around re-writes of language on the website as you or I do. I'd read absoletly nothing into that response. For those of us that hold the patrol method in high esteem, I think it's entirely fair to desire that the BSA is clearer on it's application. But, for as long as I've been a Scouter, the BSA always seems to be more focused on mechanics of unit operation than about trying to tune application of the patrol method. Similarly, they don't spend a lot of time trying to tune how units do advancement. From the BSA it's much more of "here's the ideas, here's the goals now have at it." I for one think it would be good for the BSA to focus more effort on helping us unit leaders have a better understanding of these things. But, I can't say I've seen anything from the BSA that suggests they are even considering a change to the patrol method. As far as I can tell patrol method is still plan of record.
  5. If I recall correctly Australia has a more elaborate development process for adults. I don't know the details or if it matches this. But, I would fully welcome a process in which adults could develop skills mastery. And as some business guy said once "measure what matters." In the BSA we measure through recognition. So, I'd be all for some system where leaders could work through the rank process too. Would be interesting if we had a rule that to be a Scoutmaster you had to have completed First Class.
  6. ParkMan

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    Thanks @qwazse! I'd support all of what you write here. Were we discussing this live and trying to figure out what to do locally here in my area, I'd say - we should embrace this. A few specific comments. Understood - To get a venture Crew going, you need to get it to critical mass quickly. With a sustained push, I could imagine a 30 person crew in 2 years. Perhaps I should have used the word anticipate, not expect. Two comments around that: 1) I firmly believe that a unit (troop or crew) should never expect to get members from another unit. My thinking though largely matches your point. Given the kind of dynamics you describe, a Crew cannot simply say "hey, we'll get enough older Scouts from just Troop 123". They need relationships with multiple troops. I'd argue the same is true with GSUSA troops. 2) As I see it, the BSA really offers four different older teen programs: Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Exploring. So, to your point, a given individual may be interested in one of two of those. A Crew shouldn't expect that every 14+ year old wants to drop what they're doing and join the Crew. For many staying in Scouts BSA is better, for many trying Sea Scouts is better, or maybe Exploring is better. I fully agree with the comment. Let me present a variation on the idea. I've come to learn that these are different models in the US around the recruiting split between districts & units. In some councils, districts are very active in recruiting and signing up scouts. In others, the units lead the process and the districts provide support. It's not that districts are more/less effective - it's just the local style. I agree 100% with your idea that outreach needs to be done to multiple schools and that the Crew needs to be considered a community crew. My advice here would be that the Crew committee & District membership team need to develop a join strategy to make this successful. When I had a very brief stint as a Crew Committee Chair, we made this mistake. We'd treat it as a fun other Scouting supplement. All of the boys in the Crew came from one troop and they always put troop first. There was never a feeling that the Crew was important.
  7. ParkMan

    Youth Protection Clarification Question

    As a volunteer it's utterly disheartening to see the disappearance of the abililty for Scouts to meet together without adults. It seems so contrary to what we're trying to accomplish here as Scouters. "Scouts, we want you to develop the skills to lead youselves and accomplish great things. But, we can't leave you alone to work independently." Someday I'd love to hear the internal story here. I'm guessing that this really wasn't a decision of the BSA, but instead it was driven by the insurers. I can completly envision a decision by some insurance company that said "we're going to raise your rates 40% unless you make this change." I'm not going to criticize any one person on this forum. Again, I really don't care who pays your salary. As far as I'm concerned we're all Scouters here. Professionals and Volunteers alike - please just be yourself here. But, if I were a professional, I can certainly imagine a fair amount of frustration. How many posts have we had complaining about this change? How many times have we all tried to push the edge and find the way around some rule? I've got to guess that to be a professional on a Scouting forum, you have to have a pretty thick skin.
  8. ParkMan

    Neckerchief Slide

    Our pack suggested that people not buy the official BSA Cub Scout slides. They fall off constantly. Even with that, as Cubmastet I ended up with a few unclaimed ones. We used to have a tradition in our pack that every den made a new slide every year. It was a fun way to personalize the uniform. In fact, your daughter losing hers might be a very good reason for her to bring a project to the den to make some. I agree with the earlier suggestions of what to use. We used to have a leader at Roundtable that did a slide of the month. We had lots of silly things - but something glued on some PVC was a great way to do unusual things. One year I made turks head woggles out of reflective tent cord for everyone in the den. I know of a couple of packs that did colored turks head woggles for the different levels in the pack. I always liked that idea myself.
  9. ParkMan

    Potential loss of COR

    Hi @ncscouterz, Some great advice above. Just a couple of things to add: 1) I've found that one of the best ways to make your unit's organization thrive is to decentralize responsibilities. Start looking out for an advancement coordinator, membership coordiantor, activities coordinator, etc. First, it helps in these transitions. Second, it helps prevent individual leader burnout. Third, you end up with better results than one overstressed person doing it all. Unless you're a master adult recruiter it won't happen instantaniously - but over a year or two it's very achievable. I'm a pretty terribly adult recruiter, so it took me a bit longer. I'm going to gather your the Committee Chair, so it is entirely your place to make this change. 2) For your overstressed COR. Go buy her coffee or dinner and talk. Help her find the fun of why she started. She may be too burned out to appreciate it, but I've found that often when we get passed all our volunteer responsibilities, there's almost always a real person there who got started for a reason. Maybe by restructuring how you all do things you can help get to a place where she'll be happier and play a bit more nicely with others.
  10. ParkMan

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    Well made point - and I can definitly see why you'd draw that conclusion from my earlier post. I'm not thinking that the Troop to Crew transition should be mandate. Likewise, I'm not expecting that a Crew CO should be aligned with a Troop CO. As I coalesce around an idea, it's something like: When a new Crew forms, it should establish a 5 year goal of reaching 30 scouts. Since joining a Crew is a complementary activity to being in a troop, a Crew should expect to get members from more than one troop. Four troops to one Crew could be a good number. The District's Commissioner staff (and maybe DE too) should anticipate helping the Crew to develop relationships with troops in the district. A Crew is youth driven, but some expectation should exist on a minimum amount of activity. i.e., something similar in concept to the expectation that troops camp monthly. It may not really be monthly - but it also cannot be a quarterly trip. If all a Scout does is belong to a Crew, it should provide enough activity to keep the youth engaged in Scouting. As part of developing itself, a Crew should have a sustaining youth & adult membership plan. Council/District resources should expect to advise a Crew on developing that.
  11. ParkMan

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    Interesting observation on the GSUSA similarity @Treflienne! In my experience, one of the key benefits of the BSA system is that the Chartered Organization concept gives packs & troops the ability to develop some permanence. Yet, in the case of Crews it doesn't seem to be working out that the same way. So, perhaps one of the tricks for Crews is to grow them larger. Create some permanence in them. Make the strength of the Crew tied less to a specific adult or two and more to the strength of the "Crew" as a organization. Kinda like we see in the bigger packs & troops.
  12. ParkMan

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    Maybe it's my own bias here, but my observations from this conversation with the Crew leader is: 1) Successful crews need to have a team of adults to make them successful. In BSA terminology a Crew Committee. That team of adults needs to have a plan for getting to a sustainable membership level. It also needs to have a solid program plan. 2) Crews tend to form around a small number of older boys & girls. The Crew is active for a few years while those scouts are around. However, with a small number of Scouts the Crew doesn't get to the point of having a sustainable support structure. So, it eventually fades away. I see in this an inherent paradox. For a Crew to survive, you need a process to get new members and grow. But, since the people who start Crews tend to do them with 8-12 Scouts there is never enough critical mass so that they continue to exist.
  13. ParkMan

    Privacy of Health Forms

    I would be interested to get some instruction on what following HIPAA rules would mean here. Though we are not bound by those rules, we certainly could voluntarily follow them in our units and tell people that week are doing so.
  14. ParkMan

    Privacy of Health Forms

    My interpretation was that in that GSUSA case, the adults didn't mind having a form handy in case one was needed. That's probably more palatable than every parent having to provide their health background just to attend a pack camping trip. My guess is that most units don't bother with the parent forms for a short term trip. Summer Camp or Philmont sure. But, your average parent is just as likely to have a health problem in line at the grocery store than at a weekend camping trip. In that case you're going to call EMS anyways.
  15. ParkMan

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    I'm thinking this essentially comes back to program. Is the problem that people are not implementing the Venturing program correctly?
  16. ParkMan

    Privacy of Health Forms

    I don't think this is a new thing. I'm going to guess it's a subtlty that most packs & troops haven't realized.
  17. ParkMan

    Youth Protection Clarification Question

    That's very similar to what I see too. We had a couple of conversations about the new rules when they came out. Most of the Scouters in our midst just wanted to know what they needed to do. One adult, two adults, whatever - they really didn't care. They just want to know the rules so that they can get to Scouting.
  18. ParkMan

    NATIONAL POLICY: AOL and Crossover Ceremonies

    Depends... If we go with the OA as a the Society of Honor Campers, then I think there is a place for the OA to take a role here. Theoretically, OA members are some of the absolute best examples of Scouts in the district. Who better to inspire new Scouts than our best examples of what it means to be a Scout? Further, in theory, the OA has practiced the new script and can perform it in an inspriational way. Yes, your point is well taken. There is no reason why a troop cannot serve much the same role. There are also very good reaons for a troop to do this. As you mention, the Scouts in the troop are probably known to those AOL scouts and even to many of the other Cub Scouts watching the ceremony. So, I'll go back to depends. Both can do an admirable job. A specialzed team from the OA and a group of Scouts from the local troop. I think that then it depends more on what message the Cubmaster wants to send with the Crossover ceremony.
  19. ParkMan

    Youth Protection Clarification Question

    Very good point @Sentinel947. I have to imagine I'd find a lot in common with anyone who spends 40+ hours a week invested in Scouting. Locally I cherish the friendships I have with the dedicated unit, district, and council Scouters and professionals in my community. While I may not always agree with each decision, I do see that everyone is doing their best to make Scouting the best program that they can. I fully expect that that I would find the same in the National level professionals and volunteers. I fully expect that people involved at National have different challenges and problems to solve and it may lead to decisions that I may or may not agree with. But, that's OK. They are Scouters all the same and I'd be happy to share a campfire with them any day. As best I understand, most members of this fourm are volunteers. I'm really glad that we do get some professionals who contribute as it helps me to develop a richer understanding. Honestly - I like the openess we get from the professonials who do contribute. it gives me a better senes of some of thought processes behind what we see. I very much appreciate the honest, direct dialog that we are able to have here. If anything, I would welcome more direct discussion with our national level professional colleagues - even when I do not agree. Truthfully I'd much rather have a frank discussion and disagree with someone than get a watered down public relations statement or a helpdesk response.
  20. ParkMan

    How many freebie meeting visits?

    When I first volunteered, the pack would say "we only need 5 registered adults, so let's not register any of the other adults." When I did finally get them to register me, they reigstered me for one of the required 5 spots - pack trainer I think it was. We fixed that problem when those folks rotated out.
  21. ParkMan

    Help. Little advancement.

    Great idea!!!
  22. ParkMan

    Help. Little advancement.

    Sounds like a good next step @karunamom3. I look forward to hearing how it goes.
  23. For adults: 1. I find the current trainings too basic. That coupled with the lack of decent continuing education has resulted in too much "learning on the job" 2. The expectation to get trained is too weak in the BSA. This has resulted in generally poor training percentages. 3. With the advent of online training, face to face training is dwindling. District and council training teams are not prepared for how to leverage this to improve leader training.
  24. ParkMan

    How many freebie meeting visits?

    I am always very flexible with things like this. I figure that our troop is essentially a big Scouting family and that eventually it will sort itself out. I'm always more concerned that there is some sort of family issue that they need some help with. But, If I eventually came to the conclusion that the family was taking advantage of us, I'd send them a quick email them that for liability reasons the BSA requires their youth to be a registered member of the pack or troop. I'd also tell them that we cannot process any awards for their scout until they were registered. Then I'd ask them to come in at the next meeting to get it taken care out. I think I had maybe one case in 10 years like this. What I did tend to have from time to time is were parents who were just not terribly organized. Remembering to do paperwork on time was a skill they didn't possess.
  25. ParkMan

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    I'm trying to figure out what's going on in Venturing that we're seeing such big drops. We're down 41% this year and 36% last year? I'm gathering that nationally Venturing was kinda like Varsity - most of those involved are LDS. We've never seen strong Venturing participation in our district. Our Venturing number is something like 3% of our total Scouts. But, I also don't see that we lost 75% of the Venturers in our district in the last two years. If anything our Venturing problem has more to do with not having adults to champion Venturing programs than it does youth not interested.
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