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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. YPT

    The current online courses are: SCO_3001 - Overview and policies SCO_3003 - Sexual Abuse SCO_3004 - Bullying SCO_3007 - Certification Test It strikes me that there are some gaps here in the numbers - as if they intend to add more content. Also - they have both a mandatory and helpful category. Again, seems like they have infrastructure for more.
  2. YPT

    I did - I don't recall that being covered. Looking at the course numbers, I presume that more content is coming.
  3. New around here

    Welcome! Thank you for taking on one of the absolutely best jobs in Scouting!
  4. I've seen a lot of WDL who operate a program where the AOL year is the end of the Cub Scout experience. Boy Scouts is a new, but related program for the boys to do next. I think this is why we see the biggest loss in membership when boys go from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. In my mind, it's a continuum. Just as boys go from Wolf to Bear and Bear to Webelos, so too do they take the step from AOL to Boy Scout. It's not that the WDL needs to spend all their time getting the boys ready, but they do need to make it a smooth process.
  5. Nice! We need more folks with this kind of vision. You're welcome to come be an ASM in my troop anytime!
  6. My gut says: - 15 minutes for announcements. summer camp, philmont trip, whatever. - 10 minutes for FOS or other special presentation - 15 minutes for a scout talk or two. - balance on awards. Do most of you do refreshements too?
  7. This is a great idea. It is also 100% within the description of your job (Secretary). To me this is one of those things that if you do it well it can have a tans-formative effect on a troop. A newsletter forces: - up front planning. You can't just wait until two weeks before to say - "hey, we've got a camping trip" - consistent messaging. You, as secretary, figure out length, format, etc. Parents get used to that and love it. - families rely on it. My daughter's middle school has a newsletter. When I can't remember something about a upcoming event I go back and check the latest newsletter. 9 times out of 10, it's there. My troop does not have a newsletter. We literally send of 20 emails a week about all sorts of things. Someone forgot a book - SM sends an email. A reminder to bring shoes on a camping trip - ASM sends an email. I'm convinced that if we had a newsletter our emailing would instantly drop by 75%. So instead of 20 emails, we might send 4 or 5 a week. Parents would be much more likely to actually read them. Now - it's like we're shouting above the noise. This is exactly why the just spent 45 minutes having adults make announcements at the COH. Because no one reads emails, it's the time to tell them everything you've already emailed 3 times about. Go for it!
  8. Cub Scout Patrols

    I saw that too with my son's troop. Making pancakes & hotdogs isn't all the hard for a scout to do. You can easily do it as a Webelos, if not a bear. But, when he got to Boy Scouts, the leaders took a step back and had him doing stuff he did two years earlier. I'd have been bored too. One of the things I saw in Cub Scouts was that den leaders tended to be parents. So they had a pretty good idea of what their son could do. Fast forward to Boy Scouts and the ASMs tended to be longer term volunteers who just liked Boy Scouting. They didn't know the kids that well, so they assumed the least common denominator.
  9. We talk a lot in Scouting about leadership. To me, a big part of leadership is standing up and leading. Every scout could do that, but many choose not to. We've got a kid in our troop that shows up 90% of the time, leads all kinds of events, and puts himself out there. We've got other kids that come 20% of the time, never camp, never participate, never show leadership, and in short - just don't try. We've got a lot more kids in the middle. As adults, I think we want to encourage boys to be more like the first example. Do things, try things, take chances, be a leader. Having a program like the OA which provides an incentive to lead is itself a tool to teach leadership. If a scout tries and puts his heart into it, should he get into the OA - you bet. But, I think for it to be an effective tool, there has to be a line somewhere. If there's not line, how can it be a tool to incentive boys to try & lead.
  10. @Eagledad @Eagle94-A1 I completely understand. I don't think bad of you at all for saying No - I don't have the time. I'm in the middle of my own burnout phase. Been Committee Chair for a troop of 75 boys with a Scoutmaster who has turned difficult and ungrateful into an art form. I do get it. I've said in other threads that I think the real problem behind much of this is the neglect of our district committees. Too few people left doing too many jobs. We lack a structure that develops new leaders and builds up our "community scouting" team. Camporee's suffer, Day Camp suffers, the OA suffers, the list goes on. I just think I've got a choice. I can mourn Scouting's passing, or I can be a voice in my small town that says let's do better. In fact, my plan is to say no to most everything, but instead work to find those people who will say yes. Maybe it won't work - I don't know. But it's all I can think of.
  11. Then change it. Heck, just get your OA group to simply adopt your goal: "By joining the OA, you have chosen to join an elite group. We represent the best of the best scouts. While a member you will become experts with wood tools and will become confident alone in the woods. You're expected to represent the best of the Scout Law. Here you will be given a chance to become even stronger leaders that you are today. If you're up for that, this will be an arena to expand your dreams. If not, that's OK, but this isn't the group for you" I'd start with that. If everyone quits then go recruit a new batch and build it up again. This stuff is only mediocre if we let it be.
  12. What I've been seeing is a much bigger divide between packs & troops that there should be. The WDL are definitely part of the pack culture and leadership group. I think it's just hard for them to think Boy Scout because they are so surrounded by Cub Scout culture. What I've proposed is that we have troop leaders who were once WDL teach the WDL training course in person. Teach the material from the persepctive they now hold being an ASM. Hasn't happened yet, but someday
  13. Has your troop ever gone to Disney World?

    This seems pretty easy to solve to me. The camping coordinator or Scoutmaster needs to ask a better question. Something like: Scoutmaster: Boys, we need to plan the camping trips for this year. We can do one or two large trips - like Philmont or a long road trip. We also need to do 10 weekend trips that are within a three hour drive. Please come up with a list for both groups. The camping coordinator's form can simply ask both questions. If, for the big trip, every boy puts down Disney World - then great. if they put down Disney World for the monthly trips - hand it back and say please fix it.
  14. I think of it a bit differently - your chapter, and perhaps lodge, has lost it's lustre. I'm coming to realize that it's our generation's turn to make these institutions great. Of course the boys run it, but our generation of adults needs to be behind the scenes lining things up so that it can happen. It feels to me a little like volunteerism is down, so it's making that harder these days, but it seems to be the challenge that's out there.
  15. Cub Scout Patrols

    We did something like this when I was a Cub leader. On a few campings trips, each den level was responsible for doing their own food prep. - The Webelos did most of their own cooking with active support of their parents. - The Bears worked with their parents to make food - The Wolves stirred pots, put ingredients in, etc. - The Tigers flipped pancakes. Some dens did a better job of this than others. My son's den leader was a fantastic guy who spent several den meetings teaching my son (a Bear at the time) to cut, cook on a stove, etc. Other den leader's didn't really understand how to challenge their boys, so they got less out of it. The first time we did it, it was a great experience. The second time was pretty good. The third time a disaster. By the third time, nonsense adult politics crept in. One den leader was ill prepared and kept having to borrow food from other dens. Of course scouters are friendly, but when kids started showing up at the other dens areas saying - "I'm hungry", it got a little ridiculous. The den leader who was the most organized took advantage of the fact that other den leaders didn't read emails and kinda horded the pack gear. Yet another den leader sat in his area and was sniping about the Webelos leader all weekend. That was the last time we did that
  16. @MattR Good question. No, they didn't set these. I do see where you're going with it and think it's a great idea. If I had my way, we'd operate more like you describe. I could fill a whole thread on our woes. In short though, our Scoutmaster corps doesn't really understand how to grow you in the way you describe. We've got more of a Webelos 3 approach. During the skills development portion of our meetings, the ASMs of New Scouts works with the Troop Guides to have some sort of development program. Usually it's something rank related - but not always. I think of our approach a little like a cruise. The ASM is the Cruise director and has a series of fun activities each week. While the boys are not doing those, they work as a patrol to do other things. It's not close to perfect, but it's what we've been doing.
  17. Yes & No. I'm suggesting a second, alternative course in addition/as an alternative to Wood Badge. In fact, I'm fine with Wood Badge as the leadership course. To me, Wood Badge is the leadership course for Committee Chairs, Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, etc... I think it does a fine job at that. I've been a staffer twice and really like Wood Badge - but I see it for what it is and is not. Wood Badge is clearly not a course on how to be a Scoutmaster. How to mentor the SPL, how to organize patrols, how to organize campouts, how to promote boy led, etc... I could go on and on. I can recite the Stages of Team development in my sleep, but I can't tell you how to make patrols work in my troop. In my council, Wood Badge is done very well. At the heart of it is a staff that are all very professional about their roles. More importantly, each member of the staff really, really works hard to do a great job. For Wood Badge, being a Scoutmaster really doesn't matter - so the staff selection here doesn't really focus on that. The staffs end up being a mix of positions and programs. If anything, the staffs are generally composed of very good leaders who really strive to deliver an outstanding training. The one thing we do have is a very methodical process for finding good staff. Existing staff all share insights on participants. This is then used to help find the new 1/3 of the staff every year. In my mind, the separate Scoutmaster course I'm suggesting would be different and would be staffed with the best Scoutmasters. I could see much the same process. Some key people put together a Scoutmaster curriculum, great Scoutmasters are recruited to review it, refine it, and teach it. You make it a worthwhile course, so staff are willing to continue year to year. You rotate in some new staff so that there is a development process that continues to challenge & grow the staff. Come up with some kind of mentoring program after the fact new Scoutmasters have someone to talk to as they grow in their own positions.
  18. After the adjustment in requirements a year or two back, I thought 18 months to First Class is the new number. Not sure if that's national or just our take. I really don't mind an 18 month journey to First class: Scout - 1 month Tenderfoot - 3 months Second Class - 9 months First Class - 15 months That all seems like a pretty leisurely pace to me.
  19. Yep - like many things in Scouting, I think the OA has lost it's luster because the people in it have stopped giving it luster. One can't be entrusted with the OA in your district, phone it in, and expect it to be a great program. I think many havn't gotten that message.
  20. The BSA's fundamental flaw in training is that they assume basic training is sufficient. It is not. The fundamental problem with all of this is that the program is too complex to be understood in a basic training. Look how much time we spend around here talking about patrol method and boy led. It's ridiculous that every troop does this a different way. For the BSA to really fix this, they need to either: - reduce the complexity of the program - develop a real Scoutmaster training. To go to SM training, you should have been an ASM for a while and understand the basics well. Like Wood Badge (I duck as I write this), the staff needs to be pulled from those Scoutmasters that really understand the program. This should be followed up by a mentoring program. Take those experienced Scoutmasters and have them mentor the new Scoutmasters.
  21. Has your troop ever gone to Disney World?

    We did Universal once. We spent a day driving there, stayed at a local campground. Got up the next day and did the park. Stayed late, had dinner at the park, and then went back to camp. Next day we packed up and went home. It wasn't cheap, but it wasn't crazy expensive like when my family stays in the park at one of the resorts. It seemed to work pretty well. I've got a couple of teenage kids. They seem more interested in Universal than WDW. I love WDW, so it pains me to say that.
  22. Will you poach our crew's women?

    I love the concept of Venturing. Honestly though, I'd be okay with it going away. As a movement, Scouting in America just doesn't seem to know what go do with it. If it goes, I'd like to see a focus on improving the Boy Scout program for the 15-18 year olds. The elements are all there, but far too many troop see their older boys get bored by the same thing year after year.
  23. Am I the only one?

    The reoccurring theme I see here is the atrophying of our district committees. I imagine this extends to the commissioner staffs. I'm guessing that there probably wasn't ever a time when there was a nation full of well formed district committees devoid of politics and personalities. But, I am guessing that something happened 20 years ago that has led to a slow erosion of them. What that is I don't know. I'm not entirely sure it matters. The point is that we're at this point where district committees are struggling. That leads to what I see,in my community - irregular troop program quality, poor recruiting, poor community events, etc. Everyone is focused on their own unit. I'm still of the belief that the way out of this is through us volunteers building back up those district committees and the unit commissioner staffs. They are still the most logical way to focus on strengthening Scouting across a larger community. Create good community events. Increase the ability of packs, troops, and crews to recruit kids and grow. Improve the quality of training and as a result the delivery of program. I'm guessing that's how it worked in the early days of Scouting when the program grew rapidly.
  24. Am I the only one?

    My recommendation is for us volunteers to get re-engaged at the district level. If you really want to improve tbe,program in your area, this is where to do it. Get involved with district program, camping, training, or membership. Sure, skip the finance part. The BSA is supposed to be volunteer led, professionally guided. I'd worry less about what the council employees are saying and just do the right thing for the units in your area. Maybe we use this forum as a place to brainstorm how to do that?
  25. Private Council Security Guard

    Sounds pretty weird. Makes me wonder if something happened that resulted in it. Given the tight budgets, can't imagine they're doing it on a whim.