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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    Updated uniforms?

    And I just finished the last patch to sew on too. Knew I should have waited. BTW - really I mean thanks for catching that and letting me know. Guess I'll have a vintage shirt now
  2. ParkMan

    Updated uniforms?

    Seems like a while back there was lots of discussion and prototypes of new uniforms for Scouts BSA girls. Anyone know of they decided to change them? Any idea of when?
  3. This isn't the root of the problem. The root of the problem is unit quality. Many units out there just don't have the combination of desire/skills/talent to have quality programs. BSA rules and regulations have little to do with it. It's a strength of the BSA system that units are independent of the BSA. There's a secondary problem observed here in dysfunctional relationship that exists in many parts between unit and district. Districts shouldn't have let the relationships get so poor that it's considered sport to dislike the district folks. Similarly units have exasperated the problem by disengaging from the district. Putting aside the FOS part of the district, it's essentially a volunteer driven group of experienced volunteers who should be there to help units succeed. That this relationship is dysfunctional is a problem for Scouting.
  4. I'm a huge believer in the idea that improving unit programs is one of the best things we can do to grow Scouting. Good programs grow and attract more Scouts. I do think the BSA could set a little higher bar for Scouters. Require basic training for example. But, I don't see that creating an audit or accreditation process for units would be well received or have the desired results. Who would conduct these? Would the be subjective or objective? What would happen if a unit didn't implement the findings? Before we jump to a solution, I think we have to understand why it's happening in the first place. My belief is that the reason we are seeing some of the unit stories we are is because of the growing isolation of units. The decline of the district concept is causing units to operate more and more in a vacuum. In that vacuum some units thrive - but others falter. As I've thought through the problem, I think solving the lack of a solid support structure for units is the first step. So, rather that create some new bureaucracy to audit Scouters & units, I think the BSA would be better served by focusing on developing working district teams. Bring back roundtable, bring back local training, bring back district advancement teams that support unit advancement, etc. Create a real commissioner corps that serves as the conduit for information between the district/council & the unit. Instead of relying on District Executives to be the front line for Scouting - develop that in a Commissioner staff again.
  5. I've also shows away from the manager/subordinate mentality. Instead, I've used the phrase "we're all simply playing different roles to make the troop work". This has always led me to treat my fellow volunteers with the utmost professionalism. Seems to work pretty well for us.
  6. I understand the idea behind this. It's pretty common today in many things we do. Basically - when something's not working as we'd like, as a society we look to a higher power to create some sort of testing or process to improve things. But, I don't think it's right for the BSA to do this. First - I'm with @David CO on this. Why would volunteers want to be part of a system where they are getting assessed and graded for what they do. No thanks on that one. Second - The BSA already has all kinds of systems in place to assist units. The biggest problem is that many areas don't utilize them well. So, I'm not sure why we'd want to invent another.
  7. I've found that the best way to provide feedback is to understand the receiver and what they're trying to accomplish. If you're providing feedback to a Scoutmaster, get to know him first before you start telling him what to do. A good CC plays a role here too. A unit CC ought to be creating a volunteer culture where the group strives for teamwork & program quality mixed in with a dash of humility. I've been blessed to be part of units that for the most part always tried to do better. Self reflection and feedback was part of our culture. So, when a parent or Scouter shows up and says "I've got some feedback it was welcomed and acknowledged. Did we always do it - no. But, we listened because we wanted their feedback.
  8. Of course it's a silly naming convention and nowhere near approximates a real PhD. Just like University of Scouting isn't a real University either. Just for my own knowledge I'm curious what folks do for a Doctorate. I get that there's an independent project involved here. If you've completed one or know of others who have - what kinds of things did you see for projects?
  9. ParkMan

    Irate potential cubmaster

    Right - but I don't think he was even registered at all. If he was registered and you need to remove him - then of course you need to ask council to do that.
  10. ParkMan

    Irate potential cubmaster

    This is one of those personally challenging times as a CC. What us really going on here is that this fellow is challenging that the basic operating model of the pack. You, as CC, need to do the very unpleasant thing and take a very hard, firm line here. No meetings, no discussions, no committee involvement. You simply talk one-on-one with the COR and follow through on your decision as the CC. His involvement with the pack is terminated. Send him a registered letter and inform the rest of the pack leadership. My email would be as simple as: You can communicate it to the district, council, or whatever. But, frankly it doesn't matter. You, as CC, are in charge. You make the decision and that's that.
  11. ParkMan

    All Day Webelos/AOL Activity Days

    Hi @AnotherDad, Awesome idea!!! Did I read correctly that your pack's norm is to meet monthly for 60-75 minutes? Our den always met weekly as do just about all the dens I know of. I really prefer weekly meetings to bi-weekly or monthly meetings. I find it's good for dens to have some continuity to build some momentum. I think it's a great idea to add in some Saturday activity days. It's a great way to do some longer form activities together as a den. My recommendation would be to have a regular weekly meeting and every so often replace one of those meetings with a Saturday. Maybe every other month or something like that. In terms of the Saturday activities - some recommendations: 1) plan the dates well ahead of time. Picking which Saturday isn't too hard, so I'd pick them a few months out - even if I had to schedule multiple at a time. 2) have a clear description of what you're going to do that day so folks know what to expect. 3) Leverage some of your regular den meetings to plan. It's a great time to get the Webelos involved in planning their own activities. 4) have a plan for the day. it doesn't need to be super detailed, but you want to know what you'll be doing when. 5) don't hesitate to combine these with a camping trip. If you're going away for the day, why not spend the night too? Maybe even hold it at your council's camp. When my son was a Webelos - we had 3 or 4 campouts in addition to the normal pack campouts.
  12. ParkMan

    What's in a name?

    I've heard it often stated - but never asked. Why are the skill awards considered so bad?
  13. I'd love to hear more about the experience of working on a doctorate. I'm not a commissioner - but I see it in my future. Our council also holds a College of Commissioner Science.
  14. ParkMan

    Irate potential cubmaster

    As a former CC & CM, this is 100% correct. The decision on who is an adult volunteer is up to the CC & COR. If either of your rejects a volunteer - it's done. Since you both don't want him to be CM - this is easy - he's not the Cubmaster. You don't need anyone's permission to reject him - it's your call.
  15. ParkMan

    Scoutbook Transition from IA

    FWIW - I just logged in with my my.scouting.org account & password. So, this doesn't appear to broken for everyone. Wish I could help more.
  16. ParkMan

    OA Camping Qualifications

    Got to thinking about my response and wanted to expand a bit here. I'm 100% behind being a member of the OA meaning something and there being a high bar for entry. I was not an OA member as a Scout and always looked up to those guys. As an adult, I've never been able to get to summer camp as a volunteer. So, even when I had 15 nights of camping, I refused to let myself be considered for membership by the troop committee because I didn't meet the rules. I'm also 100% behind units making common sense decisions when the info is imperfect. It's Scouting - not a law firm. So, sometimes you look at what's written and say "this is what they really meant." Yet, these OA elgibility rules have been in place for a long time. My read was the same as in this thread. The eligibility requirements don't say BSA camping. They are very specific about what long term camping means - but yet very vague on short term camping. So, I've got to interpret that as "any short term camping is fine." Why? I'm going to wager that any Scout who's going family camping enough to meet the OA eligibilty requirements as a result - is probably a pretty avid camper. A scout going on a camping trip with a Cub Scout pack - again, is probably a pretty involved Scout. Could folks fall through the cracks - yes. But, that's what OA elections are for. Let the Scouts sort this out. Now, if the OA really meant "BSA camping" - then the OA ought to update the rules. If they do - then great. I'll support it 100%.
  17. ParkMan

    OA Camping Qualifications

    Then the BSA needs to update the OA eligibility rules. I'm all for setting the bar high for membership in the OA. I get that we all want it to be BSA camping - but it's not what's written.
  18. ParkMan

    OA Camping Qualifications

    Right. Here's how I'd read this: I see only two restrictions on how the 10 nights are spent: not more than 3 nights on a single trip must happen while the Scout is a registered troop, crew, or ship member. This could be troop camping, cub camping, family camping, friend camping, solo camping, whatever. It's not vague so much as it's not what you'd expect. I think the point is that it's the society of honor campers. Whether you're camping with the BSA or somewhere else - you're still camping.
  19. After reading this I see their point. Before I was under the impression that the storm was unexpected and their lawsuit was suggesting that the camp should have removed all trees in jeopardy of falling. Learning now that there was a severe thunderstorm warning, this does seem like a valid argument. As unit leaders we should have responsibility to see that our Scouts are in a shelter if possible. However, when at a council facility, the camp staff should make sure that everyone is alerted in the case of a severe thunderstorm warning and that sheltering plans are known and understood. For council camps that are not primitive camps and where shelters do exist, the staff really ought to have a working system to get the boys there. I don't see that as degrading the Scouting experience and it seems like a practical step.
  20. ParkMan

    Investiture Ceremony?

    Hi @Treflienne, I've got two daughters who are Girl Scouts, so I'm familiar with an investiture ceremony. I've never seen anything similar done in the BSA - whether in Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts. This does appear to be something unique to the GSUSA. The closest thing is the awarding of the first rank - but there is no special ceremony or oath made in front of the group. More a recognition that the Scout is on his/her way on the Scouting trail.
  21. ParkMan

    Multiple Bobcat Ceremonies

    Thanks @Eagledad This is great. Next question is probably a little off topic - but seems appropriate given the discussion... As a general flow, how did your pack meetings tend to go. I see you've got: under an hour 2-3 skits several walk on skits high level awards only very limited announcements - mostly just a few jokes to allow Scouts to sing the announcements song Did you typically do activities, have guest speakers, etc? We're your meetings more hands-on with the boys doing things or were they more like entertainment where the boys sit and watch for an hour?
  22. ParkMan

    Multiple Bobcat Ceremonies

    Good point @Eagledad I'm struck by how many people do the Bobcat face painting ceremony. I suspect there are many Cubmasters (myself included) who were new enough to the role that they were just trying to figure things out. You look around or online and this is a popular ceremony to try - so people do it. It would have been helpful to me if I had seen some other good examples of the kinds of things that were well received for a ceremony like this. I wonder if it would be worth folks sharing more details about ceremonies that worked for them and why. Just a thought. As an aside - I remember attending things like University of Scouting and Roundtable desperate for information like that. "What could I do as a Cubmaster to make pack meetings more fun and interesting?" Everything I saw was always stuff that felt odd to me. Roundtable guy wanted us to dress up and do slap stick kinds of stuff. The UOS guy had suggestions that all involved very elaborate pack meetings with tons of setup.
  23. ParkMan

    Multiple Bobcat Ceremonies

    I get the pressure though to add elaborate ceremonies. As a Cubmaster, I started with very simple presentations for rank awards. Then, I tried to make them more meaningful - so that meant more talking in an attempt to make them a bigger deal. Then folks start saying- too much talking. So, you find the Bobcat ceremony like this one. Scouts and adults all love it. Now you're thinking- wow, they finally like It and you start looking for more like this.
  24. In the spirit of @LeCastor's post on positive thinking, I thought I'd start a discussion on how to grow Scouting in a community. Here's the premise. Say your district is like many districts out there today. Membership slowly declining, the number of units maybe two-thirds what it was 20 years ago, round table participation dropping, volunteers helping organize things outside of the units are decreasing (camporee, day camp, etc). Let's further assume that the community itself is doing well - population is growing, people are generally well employed, etc. You have some units that are going great - so you know it can be done. Imagine you're a district committee. You can invest wherever you want - but just recognize that you've got limited volunteers already. For example - you've got a district membership chair, but certainly no membership committee. You've got a day camp chief, but no camporee committee. Say that you set a goal to double the number of youth in Scouting in 10 years. How would you approach this? You're a district committee, so everything is on the table. I would ask - let's try to keep it positive.
  25. ParkMan

    Committee Chair Leaving

    There isn't a line of succession proscribed by the BSA. In theory, the chartered organization is supposed to appoint a new one. Practically, if you don't have a Committee Chair, then someone needs to step up and take it on. However, as the Committee Chair is the volunteer who organizes and supervises all the other volunteers, it's an important role. Another key role of the CC is to work with the SM and Committee to set the overall direction for the troop. Ideally, you want an experienced Scouter and good leader in the role. I'd look to promote one of your strong committee members or ASMs.