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Posts posted by ParkMan

  1. I found his Linked In profile. . Looks like he was at Heart of America Council for about 7 years.  That's a very respectable amount of longevity. 

    He's been at the Summit for a little under 2 years.  Makes me wonder if he either just didn't like the Summit role or if he simply wanted to return to a council.  I have to imagine that for some, being a SE at a major council is a very exciting role.

  2. We had a local Scouter that I was lobbying we should nominate for one.  This chap wasn't an area or region Scouter, but he'd had significant impact on Scouting over decades.  Everyone I talked with about it thought it would never get selected.  I was more optimistic.

    On another tangent - I always wondered how one becomes an area/region Scouter.  The only three I know were people who were long time Council scouters who moved up.  But, I assume that not everyone waits 30 years to make that transition.  I wonder how anyone serves at that level for decades.  Guess like anything it's who you know.  Topic for another thread I suppose.

  3. @jjlash - thanks again for adding your insight here.  It's been very helpful.

    Since you're on staff and I know that occasionally other national folks check this forum, let me generally second @mrjohns2 comment.  

    I think it's pretty natural for people who are weighing taking a 4-6 day course to look at it and ask - "is this worth it for me?"  Wood Badge gets this question a lot already - what will we do, what should I expect, is it work 2 days off from work, and is it work $250 to attend?

    In the case of SLC or PLC, it's $450, 5 or 6 days off from work, and probably a plane ticket ($500), so it's even more likely folks are going to kick the tires.  Myself, I spend a lot of time on Scouting, but going to my wife and saying I'm going to head off to leadership class for a week requires a bit of a sell.  I'm not suggesting that the staff document every bit of the course and give away some of the "ahh ha" moments - but putting info out there like we've been discussing I think would help with enrollment.  I'd probably even go further and suggest that some info on how the activities planned will help equip me as a leader would be good too.  

    Please don't take my comment as a criticism.  Instead, I'd just be happy to see the program be even more popular and am optimistic that some additional promotion might help.  Then again, maybe given staff and other constraints the program is currently full and it makes sense to only open it to those that are committed enough to seek this kind of program out.


  4. 3 hours ago, jjlash said:

    You are right that it is 6 days of team building activities - but they are not the simple/staged/forced/artificial activities that you're probably envisioning.  Things are more scenario based.  Without giving anything away, the activities include: cooking (crews prepare their own dinners), challenge events (low COPE), wilderness first aid scenarios, realistic first aid (moulage), geocaching challenge, search and rescue scenarios.  Woven into these is a lot of West Virginia history and several practical skills like LNT, UTM and using radios in a field exercise.  There is a backpacking overnight, a conservation project and a rededication to Scouting ceremony.

    You can see how there is lots of team building opportunity without being traditional team building activities.  And remember - this is not an outdoor skills session, it is a leadership session.  You will (may) learn some new outdoor skills or activities that you can take back to your unit but the focus for the course is on the leadership aspects of the activity.

    Philmont is in my soul but Im excited to visit Summit and have that whole new experience.  And, I too can drive so that's a bonus.



    Thank you again @jjlash.  This continues to be great background info and very helpful as I discern whether this is a good fit for me.  My sense is yes - this would be helpful in continuing to grow as a leader in Scouting - particularly in this era with parents and leaders from so many backgrounds.

    I checked again and we're still on for a summer family trip that same week.  I'll have to keep it on the list for 2021.

  5. This is what we've seen in our district too.  Even the DAOM did not have many nominations.  I understand our neighboring districts are similar.

    Since we'd have 2 or 3 nominations for most categories, the selection was a discussion amongst the awards committee.

  6. I would encourage you to decide whether you'd enjoy the role.  Whatever role we taken on as volunteers, it's important to find the fun in it.  Is there something about being RT commissioner that you'd enjoy? Perhaps the ability to put your mark on Roundtable and to work with others to make it happen?  Perhaps the ability to find and inspire others who might have similar interests to yours.  Also, you might find that this role provides some new challenges and is a fun adventure.

    Yet, I would not take it out of a sense of pressure.  There will always be opportunities to serve and I've found it's important to take on roles you are interested in.  If you look at this and say "ugh, I really don't want to do that", then don't feel compelled to.

    • Thanks 1
    • Upvote 1

  7. On 1/24/2020 at 6:22 PM, Eagledad said:

    I would enjoy heart them. There was a crew of older scouts that dressed in perfect Class  “A” uniforms and some thru their trek. We could here them when they were close. It’s the kind of stuff I believe OA scouts could do for elite status.


    I keep imaging 6 days of team building activities.  I'm sure it's a lot more than that, but this is one of those times the vagueness isn't helping me.

    Btw - gotta admit, having a Summit version is a good thing.  The course fee is reasonable for this and it's nice that as a East Coast person I can drive there.

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  8. 2 hours ago, swilliams said:

    Your first bullet point - yes he handed me the unit copy and his copy.  Our troop usually returns the scout portion along with the MB patch at a COH.

    Second - yes the counselor signed both portions.

    Third and fourth bullets - the blue cards that were issued by my predecessor are signed on the unit section, and on the applicant's record.  The ones I issued to the scout are signed on the unit portion, but not the applicant part.  No one ever told me how this was supposed to be done, so I've been signing the applicant's record part upon completion of the MB.  In this case, the scout handed the blue cards to me at the end of a troop meeting, so we didn't discuss anything, and it wasn't until the following morning that I had a chance to look at them closely.

    This person hasn't been registered to the council associated with his address for the past three years, and even when he was, he wasn't a MB counselor for them.  Unless he was registered somewhere else in November of last year, it sounds like he's not a MB counselor at all.

    DId you approve that this person was to be the MBC before work began?  Sorry if you already answered this - but I missed it.

    I'm not sure the technical reason about why an unregistered MBC cannot sign off on merit badges.  I agree that having someone not qualified to sign off make absolutely no sense - but I'm not aware if there is really any check on this.  If there were, I have to imagine that many Eagle applications would be returned due to all the council mistakes about getting folks registered.

  9. 8 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

    Well, Park, I'm with you on the spirit of fairness, but I sure wouldn't support any "rules" that are not in crystal-clear black and white.  If it's in the merit badge requirements, great, then the "no more, no less" guideline applies.  If it's in the BSA's official "Guide to Advancement", great, that's the rule that should be followed.

    Beyond that, it's a slippery slope that really shouldn't be defended.  

    Scoutmaster (or committee) imposed "rules" or "policies" should be thrown out. In my years of scouting, I have yet to see ANY rule proposed or stated that has actually been a good idea. I'm not sure there exists a wise, fair "unit policy".

    There's a couple reasons I feel this way:

    * scouts and their families join scouting to get "the scouting program".  The scouting program is defined by the National Council.  Deviations from that of any kind dilute the scouting program and cheat the scout out of getting the same scouting program that thousands of other scouts around the country enjoy.

    * scouters should be there to help the scouts succeed. This is described in ILST, NYLT, Wood Badge, etc. as "servant leadership".  The idea is that a high quality leader will "open doors and remove obstacles".   ANY arbitrary rule is, by definition, an "obstacle", since no such impediment exists for most scouts in BSA...only to those unfortunate enough to have landed in the afflicted troop

    Unit policies are really contrary to the spirit of scouting. They're unfair, they're an unnecessary obstacle, and they sow confusion because they're inconsistent with national policies followed by better-run units.

    You and I agree here.  I'm not suggesting more rules.  The BSA rules are more than enough.

    I'm just stating that the SM be clear that he/she is enforcing rules.  We have a tendency in Scouting to let rules side.  We do this for lots of reasons - but the net effect in many units it that the rules are not followed. 

    If you've not been enforcing rules, it's a little much so that that paragraph 4 of section 3.2 of the guide to advancement says something.  So, before you're going to start pulling out rule books, you've got to be clear that this is the standard.

  10. 11 minutes ago, David CO said:

    Correct.  I would also add the fact that the people giving the grant money did not intend for it to go to the council.  You should use it for the purpose the grant was intended.  It would be dishonest to do otherwise.

    This is an excellent point I had not even considered.  You most likely cannot give the grant money to council anyways due the this fact.

  11. Since you're new to the role, I think you have to ask yourself - "is what the Scout did in line with how things are typically done?"  DId the prior SM require signatures ahead of time?  Did the prior SM question the qualifications of the counselor?  Did the prior SM review the dates and progress on the MB?  Did the prior SM permit family members as MB counselors?  If the prior SM was the laid back type and if you have not changed the process, then you have to recognize that the Scout and family probably thought this was all fine.  If the prior SM was a by the rules type, then this Scout and family may be taking advantage of your newness here.  I would encourage you to be consistent in the rules you apply on retroactive work.  It should be the rules in place when the Scout was doing the work.

    Given the size of the what was just turned in, it is most probably outside the bounds of what has been done before.  So, you have the right to question.  If a Scout walked in with 100 merit badges signed off we'd all question it.  While 9 is not 100, it still a lot.  It is certainly open to some questioning.  It's part of the personal development and adult association methods of Scouting.

    Now, @David CO makes a very good point.  This may come back again when others look at it.  So, even if you are comfortable with everything till now - you still need to do some due diligence with the Scout.

    To me, the bigger question is - "Is this how you want to run things as SM?"  While you may have to let something like this go, you have every ability to establish how you will do things going forward.  Requiring that all Blue Cards to be signed prior to work starting is a good practice.  Let your Scouts know that they need to use approved MBC and that their names need to be recorded on the Blue Cards prior to you approving.  You can certainly let the Scouts know there is a new Sheriff in town.  I'm a big fan of being firm, clear, fair, and compassionate.  

    • Let the Scouts know you'll enforce the rules
    • Make the rules clear
    • If the Scouts follow the rules, then don't look for reasons to "fail" them.
    • Understand this is life and it's a youth program.  Stuff will happen and so exceptions are OK.  But, they need to be that - exceptions.


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  12. Agree with others.  If you qualified for the grant, you keep it.

    BTW - this is different than in the Girl Scouts.  In the Girl Scouts, units are owned by the GSUSA - so if they say turn over the money, then you have to.  In the BSA, you are simply paying the BSA a fee and agreeing to follow some basic rules in order to utilize program and name.  In the BSA you are a separate entity and so money you obtain like this belongs to your unit and your chartering organization.  If you ask enough council/national people - someone will tell you that soliciting funds and applying for a grant are the same thing.  But, they are really not.

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  13. Interestingly enough, I contacted the support line at national with a YPT policy question.  It was a pretty technical question where the G2SS and YPT training was not descriptive enough.

    The response I got from national was that it's up to each SE to decide how they interpret YPT policy.  So, for something cut and dry it's pretty clear what a council is to do.  But, when you get into the grey areas like this one, different councils can apparently do different things.  So, I don't know that I'd get too hung up on the peculiarities in this case.

  14. 1 hour ago, David CO said:

    BSA cannot always compel a non-member to leave a place that is not owned or controlled by BSA.  It is indeed a free society, and the unit can leave,  if they have a mind to do so, but they cannot always compel someone else to leave, or to follow their rules.  

    Sure - that's true.  We cannot mandate anything really.  In almost all cases we can simply to tell people what we expect and to tell them when they are not welcome and ask them to leave.  I suppose that one could get into situations and discuss calling the police to forcibly remove people from the premises - but I hope that never happens. 

    But, really, I think these are all technicalities.  In most cases, folks want to do the right thing.

  15. My understanding matches @T2Eagle & @Sentinel947.

    When you're at an event organized as a Scouting event, BSA YPT rules apply.  Of course a CO can impose even more restrictive rules, but they cannot waive any BSA YPT rules.  If a participant decides that they don't want to follow the BSA YPT rules, then they can leave the event.  It's a free society and no-one can compel anyone to attend the Scouting event. But, while there, we do require that those present follow the rules.

  16. I'm not quite sure what we're discussing here.

    At a Scouting event non-leaders need to follow the YPT rules.  However, it's not their job to implement them or to report on them.  The YPT rules are designed to be administered and overseen by registered adults.  That's why the rules all require at least one registered adult at pretty much all times.

    So, while awareness in the non-leader community is important, it's not required because placing non-leaders and scouts together unsupervised should not happen.

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  17. 34 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

    I left being the training chair about the end of 2018 mainly due to frustration on trying to get it thru peoples heads that it was not ME implementing these rules, its coming from lots of other people before it gets to little peons like me.  If they want to complain, start in Irving TX and work their way down but let me know how it goes.  :laugh:

    At the time of the new YPT roll out and for several months after they (council) said that no in person trainings for YPT could be held w/o the SE and other key people's approval.   Everyone kept saying it was like a 3-4 hour training when the online version would take 1.5 hours so just do it at home.   Council did hold a couple in person trainings but I don't believe the turn out was very good. 


    Yeah - it's too bad the BSA infrastructure makes this kind of thing so hard.  I can see that the BSA online version has been carefully constructed such that it conveys lots of information.  I further recognize that the key concern is that a volunteer trainer will omit important information which could then result in serious mistakes.  I know our volunteer trainers can be successful here - it just requires a little elbow grease and some faith in the system from national.

  18. 5 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

    Prior to the new YPT rule coming into effect in 2018, our pack would hold several group Youth Protection trainings for all parents/guardians.  We would do a parent orientation right after round up and then a couple more before we went camping for the first time.    We filled out training rosters and I submitted them to council for them to hold.   Then they came out with the new training and no one could get an in person copy to do  a group training.  It had to be cleared by the Scout Executive and several others at council.   Jeepers.   We had to drop committee members because for whatever reason, couldn't seem to find that 90 or so min. to take it at home(really lame excuses).   It was a huge pain in the rear end.   I was the district training chair at the time and I was ready to pull out my quickly graying hair.  I caught so much crap from the 60-80 year old leaders who tried to say they didn't have a computer.  I said you can go to the library and use one there for free.  Even offered them a ride if that was really the case.   They got it done but sheesh it killed me and soured me on being the training person. 

    By not allowing in person group trainings, I feel like the safety levels have gone down.   Those who would have been informed previously now  are unaware of all of the new protections in place.   

    We have asked that parents of boys in our troop sit with their son and do the YPT.  We had some issues with bullying last year so we asked it so the boys are aware of their actions and behaviors.  We are thinking of asking it again as the boys are now starting to notice girls and will be interacting with them at certain events and at summer camp.    We want to make sure they know the boundaries.   

    I think where the main issue maybe is the 72 hour rule and requiring the adults to be trained.   If you go on 2 camp outs that makes for over 72 hours.   In Cub Scouts that is going to make for a lot of irritated parents if packs stick to their guns on that rule.  



    The BSA allows for in-person YPT courses.  Our council does them.  There is a printed syllabus, trainers are certified, and they are required to teach the curriculum "as is".  The presentation has to be up to the level of the online training.  Since you're the district training chair I'd encourage a conversation with the council training chair and YPT champion.  

  19. I pulled out the Handbook on my shelf (12th edition).  It had this definition of Obedient:


    A Scout is obedient. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He
    obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are
    unfair, he seeks to have them changed in an orderly way.

    Later, there was a quote on a Scout being Chivalrous.  It had this passage which was a quote from the 1914 handbook:


    He should be obedient to his parents, and show respect to those who are his superiors.

    There are other quotes around obey that I could find - mostly having to do with either obeying the Scout Oath & Law or obeying laws.

    My take away is that even our printed materials don't make the case that a Scout should obey all adults.  He should respect those who are "superior" - but that's as far as it goes.  If an adult comes along and tells the Scout to do something different on first aid, the Scout needs to show that he/she respectfully considered it, but made a different decision.  This is the lesson I think we teach - we need to respect adults - but not necessarily obey them.

  20. Strikes me that this is part of the natural process of development for kids/young adults.  When you're very young, you tend to have few places where you serve as a leader or an owner of a task. 

    • At 6, you're mostly playing, having fun, doing a few chores. 
    • By 10, you start to take on tasks - some of them with responsibility. 
    • By 15 the tasks are more complex, and you're starting to own projects where you have to interact with adults.
    • By 18, you're taking on adult roles.

    As you progress, you're going to hit this natural conflict of "youth do as adults direct" vs. "people who own and are responsible for tasks have to interact professionally with adults"

    I think most 13/14 year olds would have a hard time with this.  But, I do see that generally as Scouts grow older the become more confident in owning the task and interacting with adults.  Some of the best Scout youth leaders I've seen have no problems respectfully telling an adult no.