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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    Searching backpacks and tents

    I think this is the end of it. We've got to trust leaders to make decisions like this. I don't think we need to be second guessing leaders.
  2. ParkMan

    Who carries a firearm on Scout Outings???

    Guess I'd just say that some rules (like boys vs. girls in a den) is one thing. Don't bring a gun to a scouting event is another. I find myself in the weird position of feeling like I'm defending the BSA here. Feels to me that we want the BSA to enforce rules we like and then look the other way on rules we don't. Then when we get into a discussion about rules we then criticize the BSA and say they are inconsistent. Guess I'm just reminded that we're talking about a youth organization. They are not going to kick people out for mixing den or breaking some advancement rules. But, start bringing a gun to a den meeting and have a parent report that to council and I expect you'll see a different response.
  3. ParkMan


    Nameplates are optional. If you want to have a nameplate, the style is up to you. Most people either have the BSA standard one or have acquired one over the years which some significance to them. I see lots of Jamboree name plates. I've got a couple of Wood Badge ones I wear from time to time. I don't see a lot of sewn on name plates. It's less common. I'd say go for whatever you think is best. Sure, it may be different but there is a lot of variation here.
  4. ParkMan

    Searching backpacks and tents

    Here's the process I suggested in that other thread for conducting a search: - two adults approach the scout and tell the Scout they have a reason to search the scout' s belongings - if the Scout objects, an immediate call is made to the parent and the scout goes home. - if the Scout agrees to the search, it is done in full visibility of the Scout. Any items confiscated are jointly acknowledged. - items are returned after the event. - if something is found of grave consequence a phone call is made to the parents and the scout goes home. This seems to me to be a very appropriate way to handle this. Scoutmaster absolutely have the right to request a search. The Scout either accepts or declines the search. If the Scout declines, then he goes home. No one is forced to do anything. The Scout in turn learns a very orderly process for how adults would deal with each other.
  5. ParkMan

    Who carries a firearm on Scout Outings???

    I'm just restating policy here and describing how things work. I get that you don't agree with the policy. if you want to ignore that policy - that's your decision. That's how things get changed in most organizations. People ignore the rules, get caught, make it an issue, and then drive change. Or they get caught and removed from the organization. I guess it's a question of how strongly you feel about the importance of this issue.
  6. ParkMan

    Who carries a firearm on Scout Outings???

    Laws are irrelevant here. We are all volunteers in the BSA. They can revoke our membership if we violate the rules of conduct for adult leaders. If the rules saw "No guns" and you bring a gun, the BSA can terminate your status as a volunteer. It's fine that you want to debate this - but the rules are quite clear here. No guns allowed.
  7. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    I really don't see the connection with school bag/locker searches and a search on a scout trip. School is mandatory and a function of the government. Scouting is voluntary and not organized by the government. They are different. If I were writing some guidelines on how to search a scouts belongings, it would go something like: - two adults approach the scout and tell the Scout they have a reason to search the scout' s belongings - if the Scout objects, an immediate call is made to the parent and the scout goes home. - if the Scout agrees to the search, it is done in full visibility of the Scout. Any items confiscated are jointly acknowledged. - items are returned after the event. - if something is found of grave consequence a phone call is made to the parents and the scout goes home.
  8. ParkMan

    How to find out old rank?

    I'd email the registrar for the council he grew up in and explain what you're looking to find out. They may or may not have records back that far. Last year I went looking for my youth records. I moved as a youth and so was in two different councils. One council had old records and found my information. The other council lost all the old records in a council merger. In both councils the person I emailed was very willing to help me out.
  9. ParkMan

    Troop Communications and the Patrol Method

    We have two primary methods we use: Mailing lists The communication mechanism of record is a series of Google groups. We have different groups for different purposes. The groups are "owned" by a Google account created for that purpose. For each of these groups, several people are made owners as well. This allows us to efficiently manage them and add/drop people as needed. Event signups We use Signup Genius to manage event signups. We have a central place that we keep links to all the different signups. Management of all of this is an Activities Coordinator function. Scouts would be welcome to help - but they don't seem terribly interested. Calendars We use Google Calendar here. We find that consitency here is a very good thing. There are undoubtably better systems than we've got. But, when we keep things consistent people get used to them. Our program is way more important than which system we use. These are all just tools to keep people up to date about our program or to let them signup for events and activities. So, while we could continue to tinker - we generally don't.
  10. ParkMan

    Troops Chartered by Churches

    The church is ultiamtely responsible for the financial and program operations of the troop. Sounds like they are micromanaging more than normal. But, they are well within their right to expect this kind of attention to detail. As @Eagledad elquently states - budgets are a way a Church Committee tracks whether groups are operating as expected. The trick as a troop committee is to provide enough transparency that the church trusts the Troop Committee to make the decisisions for the operation of the troop. Review the budget with the church. Show them that your Troop Committee has a financial plan to soundly manage the operating funds of the troop. Our troop prepares an annual budget that is fairly detailed. It is created jointly between the treasurer and the Committee Chair. The Scoutmaster would be welcome to participate, but he doesn't want to be. We basically have two main sections in our budget: general income/expenses and activity income/expenses. We have a financial model where we pay for general expenses out of dues and pay for activities through per-activity fees. General expenses are pretty well set and cover things like paying for dues, meeting supplies, equipment maintenance, new equipment, training, and web page hosting. We anticipate activity income/expenses to break even. If we do one activity we break even. If we do 100 activities we break even. In addition, we have budget line items for donations, fundraising, and Scouting scholarships. The Troop Committee approves the budget annually. Every month the treasurer produces a one-page report on how we are tracking to the plan. The troop committee reviews it and makes adjustments to the plan as needed. If our CO wanted to review and even approve it, that would be fine by me. if the CO wanted a change in the budget, we'd review it as a Troop Committee and meet the request. If the request from the church somehow negativly impacted our operations we'd develop some strategy to address that. It sounds like your troop may be missing a Chartered Organization Representative (COR). It really should be the COR and perhaps Troop Committee Chair that deal with the church - not the Scoutmaster or other adult leaders. The COR and/or CC can deal with explaining how donations are allocated in the budget. That's not a Scoutmaster function at all. if you are missing that person, perhaps you can find a respected member of the church who can fill that role and encourage them to volunteer their services to the head of the church. The COR is a position appointed by the church, so they'd need to be savvy enough to have the church appoint them to that role. Sorry for the long winded response. I do really think this is not a bad thing for your troop - but it will really help you all to figure out how to manage the situation. Provide the church the visibilty they want and find some volunteers who can manage the church/troop relationship and I think you'll be in great shape.
  11. My point here is not the this Scout deserves to be the first female Eagle Scout. My point is that all this posturing, rules, and artificial timelines is the wrong direction for the BSA. On this forum, we constantly talk about how 1st Class is so much more important than Eagle. Yet, there's no restriction on when we'll have the first female 1st Class Scout. Now we've got this goofy timeline of when we'll have the first female Eagle Scout. By National creating this timeline that are continuing to inflate the imprtance of this rank. Eagle is now so special that we've created an indealized schedule of when we'll have Scouts receive the first one. Now we've got a whole class of girls that are racing to make this imposed deadline. For what - to be part of the first class of female Eagle Scouts? I'd argue that the BSA is doing a disservice to these girls. If there was not a "class of firsts", many of these girls would probably say - "hey, I won't be first - so there'e no real rush here." They'd enjoy the program more and get more out of it. National should simply process the awards as they come in. If Ms. Ireland is the first one - what really is the big deal? So she tweets about it, makes a press release, put's it on her resume, creates a plaque in her town square, gets herself recorded in Wikipedia. So what? The BSA should never acknowledge who the first one is. There sould not be a press release about it. Etc. Just award the rank and move on. And yes, for weird cases like Ms. Ireland you've got a Scout who finishes her Scouting career, goes off to college, and then gets a package in the mail a year later (Oct. 2020) with her Eagle award. I guess that teaches here a lesson - but again, it seems to misguided one to me. Just let the kid get her award and move on.
  12. I'd agree. That council decided that her work completed in the Canadian Scouting Association warranted recognizing her with a rank of Life. People can say it should not have happened - but it did. That decision is done. Now that she is a Life Scout, she has to wait until October 2020 to be awarded an Eagle rank? From what I can tell, she's already 18 (or close to it) and asking her to wait means she'll be 19 or 20 before it happens. I imagine she'll be off at college and far from day to day Scouting when this happens. This seems like penalizing a youth for adult decisions. I thought we were not supposed to do that. All this because the BSA was afraid of some rush for girls to get to Eagle Scout? I still think it's a dopy reason to have an artifical time restriction. Just award the girl her Eagle and move on. Who really cares who the first female Eagle is. What I care about is that those boys and girls that earn Eagle have a rewarding Scouting experience that helps them grown and develop.
  13. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    What I find interesting in this topic is the tradeoff between rules & the purposes of Scouting. We're discussing more about whether a Scoutmaster can search belongings without Scouts present than whether the Scoutmaster should. it strikes me that it's more beneficial to youth development for searches like this to lead to constructive action and not simply be about finding items.
  14. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    Because Scouting is a youth development organization. The often repeated phrase is "Scouting is a game with a purpose." The game is outdoor adventure. The purpose is youth development. Four of the eight methods of Scouting are: Ideals Adult Association Personal Growth Leadership Development Ideals - A scout is trustworthy. if a Scout is trustworthy, then why the do we need searches? Is a leader is courteous - shouldn't he respect the personal belongings of another and not search them without notice? Adult Association - Adult leaders, how they conduct themselves, and how they relate to Scouts become examples that the Scouts learn from. What kind of example does it set for a leader to start going through a Scout's belongings? Personal Growth - Creating an atmosphere of high expectations where searches are not needed seems like the right starting point. Then, if something happens which destroys that trust, then a serach is conducted. If a search is needed, and the Scout is present, it presents an opportuntiy for the Scout to learn from the process. It's uncomortale being accused of some mis-deed and then having an adult conduct a search with you there. This presents an opportunity for the Scout to learn why a search is needed, how he broke the trust of the Scoutmaster, and what mistakes he has made. Leadership Development - Youth learn leadership skills from adults. What kind of example does it set for a leader to say "I decided to go through your things without you there because I wanted to check up on you"? Finally - what contraband in Scouting is so awful that we, as adults, need to run around searching Scout's belongings without them there? A cell phone? medicine? Some food? Is this really so awful?
  15. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    I'm not so sure we disagree. I, like you, would argue that the Scout needs to be present for that search. Further, I don't have much use for these kind of searches, but if a leader thinks it needs to happen, then they can have a search. Others here think a search of the Scout's belongings without the Scout present is fine. I, again like you, disagree with that position.
  16. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    I think everyone (well just about everyone) agrees that a search is fine. The issue is whether a Scoutmaster should go through a Scouts belongings without telling the Scout first and having him/her present.
  17. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    I'm comfortable to stipluate that an inspection is OK. I don't see any rights issues with a youth who is voluntarily participating on a trip being asked to present that contents of his locker. I'm quite OK that it can be done "on demand" so that the Scout doesn't have time to hide anything. I grant the Libertarians may not agree - but this seems quite reasonable to me. I tihnk you make the case well @David CO. What you describe reminds me very much of my childhood in the 80's. Locker searches were quite normal at school for that very reason. But again, I had a very different relationship between Scoutmaster Joe & Vice Principal Smith. Scoutmaster Joe was an advisor, a guide in Scouting. Vice Principal Smith was the guy who had to maintain order and discipline in the school. Two very different worlds. Now, since it was the 80's, if Scoutmaster Joe had required me to present the contents of my footlocker, I'd have done that. I doubt I'd have thought much about it truthfully. Today - just feels different. To your point - if every Summer Camp it's just part of the process, then I supposed we'd get used to it - or find a new troop. But, I guess I wonder do we really need to? Our Troop's Scoutmaster would probably call foot locker searches a waste of time and simply say - "you're an adult I'm not going to check you locker. But, if I see something I shouldn't see it's mine for the rest of the trip. Put your locker in the trailer and let's get going."
  18. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    Fair point and understood. I think ask just about any kid and they'd tell you that school administrators don't trust them. Do we want to create the same relationship between Scoutmasters & Scouts?
  19. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    You're mixing two different things @fred8033 was talking about the general case of whether troops should routinely do foot locker inspections before going to camp. I accepted his argument that if troops are doing locker searches routinely (and presumably without prior cause) then adults are telling the scouts - "we don't trust you". In the specifc case here - I agree. if the Scoutmaster has a reason not to trust then yes, inspections are warrated.
  20. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    We often talk about giving the Scoutmaster a lot of deference in how he runs the program. But, when you constantly defer to Scoutmaster, it makes situations like this so much more difficult. Then, when something like this happens, it creates a big, poltiical mess because people start lining up and choosing sides. Scoutmasters then feel attacked and second guessed. In my humble opinion - you give the Scoutmaster a lot of respect, but you need to have a troop culture where the leaders work as a team. Going through the Scout's belongings will be something that will parents will be upset about. As such, the Scoutmaster needs to be smarter about how he deals with concerns like contraband. Hold inspections in the open. If he really feels a search is warranted, perhaps a phone call first to the CC to discuss the concern and develop a mutual plan to address. Then, if there is any sort of pushback it's now a troop problem - not a Scoutmaster problem.
  21. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    My thinking was that if you need to do inspections, do them in the open. But - your point is well taken - an environment of constant inspections suggests a troop where the Scoutmaster doesn't trust the Scout.
  22. ParkMan

    Policy on going through scout totes

    This sounds like a very good way to handle this. Have an inspection with the Scoutmaster & parents present prior to leaving for Summer Camp. The notion of a Scoutmaster privately going through a Scout's belongings seems like is destroys the whole idea of what we're trying to achieve in Scouting. It seems to undermine the adult association, personal growth, and leadershi skills methods. This should get escalated to the CC, Troop Committee, and COR. In my humble opinion - it's time for someone to have a heart to heart with the Scoutmaster.
  23. ParkMan

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    I've heard too many similar stories too. We consider a tire boot just part of the cost of having a trailer. Not having one is an open invitation to thieves.
  24. ParkMan

    Just got 1 girl

    To be fair - the BSA'S membership challenges today are the result of changing expectations you adults and youth. They are further compounded by struggles packs and troops have in delivering high quality programs in the context of a more and more competitive world of youth activities.
  25. ParkMan

    Activity approval

    Sort of. The COR is not typically part of the approval process for unit activities. But, should the COR feel a need to act and make a decision, the COR has that right. The COR has whatever authority the COR feels he/she needs to have. They supervise the unit on behalf of the CO. If the COR feels that they need to micromanage the unit, then that is their decision and well within their authority. I think these arguments often confuse intent with authority. It is not the intent of the BSA system that the COR overule the unit. Similarly, it is not the intent of the BSA system that the CC overrule the Scoutmaster and/or SPL. The defined Troop structure creates a framework where a group of responsible volunteers can work together to implement a well balanced system. In that Troop structure, decision making ability is delegated to the right people in the organization to make good decisions. But that same system provides for a clearly defined oversight structure so that if bad decisions are made, reasonable people can correct those mistakes. Of course, this all assumes that everyone involved is working with the best of intentions in a professional way. This forum sees lots of cases where the structure breaks down.