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ParkMan

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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. But, it's very true. Both the CS pack & BS troop we've been involved with have been strong enough that the district doesn't add much to the equation. It took me a few years to figure this one out. I've come to understand that the district is really a peer organization to the units. The district provides support to the units, but they are not the "boss" of the units. Don't like what the DE tells you - just ignore him. The unit belongs to the CO - end of story. Your status as a volunteer rests with the institutional head (and by extension the COR). Sure - in extreme cases, the Co
  2. Ok - I'll admit to being amused if someone has indeed pranked the councils here.
  3. In our troop, we maintain a list much like what Col. Flagg describes. Yes, as a result, we end up getting all our merit badges counselled in-house, but it works well. Trying to navigate a district list is an unnecessary hassle. If there was really interest in making this work in districts, the BSA would do: - encourage every troop to identify a merit badge coordinator. - have the troop merit badge coordinator manage the list of counsellors from their troop families. - have the district advancement chair work with the troop merit badge coordinators to assemble a consolidated list from
  4. Plan it well ahead of time, get the families to make a commitment, and then purchase tickets when they become available. Don't try to guess how many.
  5. But a good troop should be able to absorb and train less experienced adults. Senior leaders should have had the knowledge of how to plan for adventure passed down to them. They in turn pass it along to the next folks. My troop is somewhere in the middle. The biggest problem we seem to have are adults stuck doing the same trips over and over again .
  6. In my neck of the woods, Troops are very different. If my son's troop had a weak program, I would have no problems moving to another troop. I think a lot of scouts would benefit from moving troops after the first year. In your case, I won recommend finding a role that could bring about some of the changes you'd like to see. Show others your ideas working and it's easier to get others to go along. I'm the CC of a troop of about 70 boys. Our use of patrols is poor. I get lots of people willing me things are broken and how to fix it. The reality is that if I knew how to fix it, I wo
  7. I've been both a CM and Pack CC. I'm a troop CC today. One thing I've learned in this time is that a good CM/CC relationship is important. If those two people are not working together, problems occur. It seems like I'm talking with or emailing the CM (or in my case SM today) 3-4 times a week. We're constantly in contact. Do we always agree - nope. Do I probably micromanage in some places - I'm sure I do. However, I know what's important to the CM/SM and he knows what's important to me. Reading your post, it sounds like that might not be happening here. If things are really bad,
  8. I don't mind council donations. The council provides services that my pack & troop take advantage of. I see my council donation as providing for scouting as a movement. On top of that, I regularly benefit from having a district executive and I know those donations in part pay his salary. I'm happy to contribute to that. However, I know that others disagree with me on payments to council- which is fine too. I'm also fine with the military donations myself. The only point I had before was that a pack should not need to justify their fundraising by saying "a part will go to the troo
  9. While I applaud the intent, I too think they're perfectly fine to take all the donations and spend it on the program. People give money to the scouts to give money to the scouts. If I were a visitor to that unit, I'd tell the adults that don't need to feel pressure to turn over donations like that. Sometimes these things happen because a well meaning adult has an idea like this and people don't want to argue against it. But, if this is something the unit really wants to do - it's fine. Part of the program is teaching the scouts how to make good choices. If the scouts see that 10% (or
  10. When I think of thrifty, I think of this. Today the monthly camping trip is usually at least $30 a pop. We use a formula of $5 per scout per meal plus overhead for fees & gas. When my son shops, he never thinks about saving money. It's mom who teaches him about smart shopping. Her meals come in closer to $3 a person. I'd almost rather he learn the lesson my wife teaches him than about fundraising.
  11. I agree. I'd recommend spending your time getting the new volunteers ready for the transition. Be ready to hit the ground running. Once you all take over, run a quality program and have a great pack.
  12. When I was a scout, you could earn 4 merit badges at summer camp. Now, our troop has boys come home with 6. I told my son to just sign up for 4 - have some free time to just have fun. Different boys have different priorities and interests. Some like lots of merit badges. Some like to just hang out. Others want some kind of adventure and doing something. The challenge of summer camps ought to be how they can appeal to the different kinds of boys out there.
  13. A trip to Disney World is discretionary? Somehow I missed that note Like many things, I think this is really a question of where you are as a troop. If you've got a world class, boy led troop, then yes - having the boys lead and execute a fundraising campaign sounds great. They learn a new skill, get to show some leadership, get to apply some elbow grease to making their dreams a reality. But, if your troop isn't quite there yet, then I think I'd be perfectly fine with having this be adult led. For example - my son's in a good troop, but it's got a long way to go to being truly
  14. I look at the question of surplus as really separate from the question of program. Plan the program you want and then find a way to pay for it that lets you not have to worry too much about the financials. For example - as a troop, we follow a pay as you go model. If a scout wants to go on a camping trip, he contributes the cost towards that event. Some camping trips we come out ahead, sometimes we have a loss. In the end it works out. Our annual dues are modest. We purchase badges and other fixed costs from the dues. We have scholarships for those who cannot afford it. This makes
  15. We have a pretty healthy bank account. We keep it that way so that we have the ability to respond when needed. Generally, our priorities are: - have emergency funds available should sometihng happen. i.e., if we've got the Troop at Philmont and we need to get some people home quickly, we can. - pay upfront fees for trips. - purchase/upkeep equipment as needed If you tried to build up a balance quickly, then I'd agree - it would impact the current program. But, when you add a bit to the account every year, it eventually gets there. Our approach is to run cash positive every year and
  16. Not all GS troops as the same size as a patrol. Some have found that a larger structure that is similar to a CS pack or BS troop works for them. There is a local GS troop that's about the same size as our pack. We regularly do joint activities - including campouts. It works out great. The boys & girls get along fine. Some families have kids in both the pack & troop - it works out great for them. We've been doing this for years and have had a lot of success with it.
  17. I was a Cubmaster for many years and now have moved on to my son's troop. I now sit on the troop committee and still sit on the pack's committee. My only recommendation for you is to work to build a bridge to the pack. Visit their leader's meetings. Visit their pack meetings. Get to know the leaders. Odds are that they are a bunch of dedicated volunteers just trying to make it work. There may have been a problem in the past, but work to get past it. When you talk to the pack people really listen to them. Most really don't understand boy scouts - but also do not want to be told
  18. Well, that's a whole thread unto itself. It's interesting as a brand new CC coming into such a large troop. Before I comment, let me just say that it's a very active troop with a number of dedicated volunteers - I'm very impressed with what they've accomplished and their dedication. That said - would I have structured it the same way - no, probably not. But they've evolved to where they are and there is a method to it. Basically, adult involvement breaks down as: - 4 people - Asst. Scoutmasters with specific roles. Two who lead the new scout program. Two who serve as summer ca
  19. I'm recently the CC of my son's troop (about 90 boys). We've got about 30 adult leaders. My understanding is that the path to adult involvement includes: - get adults camping. Have them experience your program first hand. This helps the to see what how it works, what you need, and how they could help. When they get on the trip, give them something they can do - and be successful at. - identify small, specific tasks that they can do to help and then ask them. Plug them in to be an adult on a hike, support the scouts when they organize a small event, etc. - develop mentors. Get
  20. Our park does essentially what ScoutNut describes. Generally we get about 75% of the den leaders. There's a couple of dens who's leaders attend about half the time. The biggest problems we have are that 1) there is never enough time in 90 minutes to cover it all, and that 2) some leaders gripe that they are boring. Of those leaders who do not attend, I definitely see the pattern Stosh describes. Folks who don't come and simply wait for other leaders to organize the pack level activities. I'm not sure how to break that pattern though.
  21. We have a fairly developed pack website. It serves three purposes: - marketing - a central spot with our most current calendar - a repository for frequently asked questions like - how should I pack for a campout? what patches do I need for my son's uniform We do not use it as a mechanism for sending out pack info. We use email for that.
  22. I think we're missing an important component in this discussion - the pack committee itself. From the BSA website: Every pack is under the supervision of a pack committee... (rest omitted) Responsibilities: Regardless of the size of the pack committee, these responsibilities must be performed: Make recommendations regarding pack leadership to the chartered organization for final approval of pack leadership. Recruit the Cubmaster and one or more assistant Cubmasters, with the chartered organization’s approval. Coordinate the pack’s program and the chartered orga
  23. The canceled trip(s) where when the primary adult canceled. They made an attempt to find an alternate, but could not. There were others adults that would go, just not anyone who felt comfortable leading a group. It's a mix of which trips have problems - sometimes it's local trips - 20, 30 minutes from home. Sometimes, as was recently, it's longer trips or 2 to 3 hours. Adults who drive can always stay the weekend and camp, though it's not required.
  24. I appreciate the guidance all. These are all helpful. As I'm digging into this role, I'm finding that my predecessor was a "do a lot of it myself" guy. He called parents to get them to drive, he made all the reservations for trips, he planned the join scouting program. He liked taking these jobs on. That's not to say that there are not a lot of parents involved - there are. For example, there's a finance chair and an advancement coordinator, but no membership coordinator or activities chair. My gut sense is that you've got the committee structure for a troop of 30-40, but a group of
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