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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. I just took over as the committee chair of my son's troop. It's a large troop - about 100 boys. One of the classic problems the troop has is that there are never enough parents to help with driving on campouts, or serving as adult support on trips. Almost every trip there is a flurry of emails begging for someone to drive. A few times a year, the Troop plans some trips where adult support is crucial. In those cases, it's always a lot of work to make sure there are enough adults to cover the program. The troop has had to cancel trips when a trip's adult leader had to cancel at the la
  2. When I was a scout, I didn't want citizenship or religion either. In isolation, most kids don't want to spend their time off on that. I wanted adventure and fun. I was very gung-ho to start. I tolerated those things because I recognized that were necessary to advance. I wanted to advance because I enjoyed scouting and wanted to move along in it. Being Star or Life was the goal - not earning Citizenship in the Community. Eventually, I ran out of steam on Scouting itself. I became disillusioned with the silly rules and structure. Once I did, advancement became meaningless to me. I ended up
  3. If I were debating this, I'd consider bringing a camera and taking pictures instead. Most collections can be accomplished through photography. Beyond that, my question would be - what's the location where the items are being gathered from and do you have permission to gather the items? If it were a high traffic, public place, and you had permission to do so, then it could be OK. For example, collecting rocks on a school playground could be fine. Similarly, gathering shells on a city beach could be OK too. Getting permission would be great too as it would give you the opportunit
  4. It will be interesting to see how the CS -> BS leader transitions work out in the CO's Troop this year. That particular troop is pretty large (100+ scouts) and openly welcomes CS leaders to join as BS leaders. While I'm planning to bow out of whichever troop my son joins, I know of a couple at least that will make the den leader to BS leader transition. That troop will generally will find them some specific role - such as being a MB counselor or serving on the Troop committee.
  5. Thanks for the advice. Yep - my plan is to retire from scouting once he crosses over. 5 years wearing all kinds of Cub Scouting hats is enough. Maybe it's a year - maybe for good.
  6. Thanks for the comments. "We" were visiting the Troop because the Troop invited the scout and parents to attend. As dad, I'm here to help him weigh and discuss the choices. But at the end of the day, yes, it's his choice.
  7. As a fellow CM, I commend you for all your hard work. Thank you so much for working as hard as you are. As CM, it can often feel like everyone is looking at you to make this all work. First thing I'd decide is if you want to keep trying. I wouldn't question you at all if you said - I'm done. It seems to me that many packs recruit a CM and stop there. They forget that he/she is just one of many players. If you want to make it work, there are some fantastic suggestions above. In additional, a few specific thoughts: 1. In my experience, the most important thing now is get more h
  8. I suspect kids today are not that different than they were when I was one. I had no interest in school, homework, etc. I didn't earn every badge I could by a long shot. I enjoyed being recognized for my accomplishments at a pack meeting, but didn't connect that to actually doing work. That said, I think that all the managing of the program to award Cubs lots of bling has reduced the amount of self reliance. I recall as a Cub doing work on my own. The cubs in our pack - they rarely do individual work. Each month you see every boy in a den getting the same awards - those earned by att
  9. Thanks all for the continued advice and coaching. We'll be going back to visit again. Perhaps it was a great meeting, but my son & I didn't realize it. Perhaps it was a bad week, not indicative of a regular meeting. Or perhaps they are not the Troop that will excite my son. I just don't think we saw enough to know. To add a little more background. We have camped with the CO's Troop many times. They usually invite the Webelos to join a camping trip once or twice a year. As a cub leader, I usually attended these. My son has joined me several times. When we do camp with the
  10. I think I was writing my append as you were posting - sorry! The word expectations seems very appropriate here. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but I was surely expecting something to happen. Perhaps I was looking for a little bit of idealized Troop behavior. SPL in charge, scouts working in patrols on something. Thinking about it, I'm not quite sure what to expect from a Troop meeting. I remember attending many as a scout myself - but the only ones I have any recollection of was when we were planning for a campout, or cleaning great after one. Maybe I'm expecting too muc
  11. I like that idea. That feels like a good way to see just how much of a patrol oriented troop it is.
  12. Thank you all so much - your suggestions are immensely helpful. We'll be back to see how a meeting really runs this time. We'll definitely visit another troop(s?) and do the same thing there too - maybe even more than once. We've camped with them numerous times in the past and do think they are generally a good group. They do a ton of outreach to the pack. But for all that outreach, I couldn't tell you what life is like for a scout. Thinking about it more today, one of my concerns (as Dad) was the lack of patrol structure I saw. It always seems like a bunch of Scouts and the SP
  13. My son is getting ready to crossover into Boy Scouts. Last night we had the visit with our CO's troop. It did not go well. A little background. Our CO has a very active Scouting program. We've been involved with the pack since my son was a Tiger. Our pack is very active - lots of camping and activities, good leaders, strong dens. For the last two years, I've been CM of the pack. Our CO's Troop is very large and has a very active program. Lots of trips - usually more than one a month. A good mix of local camping and high adventure. There is a very active leadership team in
  14. Over time, we've evolved our calendar such that we have three events. 1. Our B&G is a regular pack meeting with games, cake, & ice cream. It's a birthday party. 2. Our crossover is a part of a separate pack meeting. Boys line up, cross the bridge, and are welcomed by a troop 3. We have a banquet late in the spring. It's kind of an end of year thing. We split them up for the reasons listed above: - having a banquet, awards recognition, and crossover all at once meant 2 hours of boys sitting. it was no fun. I took over as CM minutes before the Crossover. I looked up an
  15. I try to remember that a DE is a paid staffer for what is essentially a non-profit, volunteer organization. Organizations like that still have to pay the bills & keep the lights on. With that in mind, I'm not surprised that a DE's focus is heavily on membership & fundraising. For our units, we don't really put the DE in our critical path, but don't really ask him for permission to do things. He's more like an adjunct leader we interact with for assistance than someone we have significant expectations of. I don't mean that to sound harsh or negative, it's not. Our unit leader
  16. I took it and would take it again. I'd been a scout leader for about a year. I was involved as a youth for about 6-7 years. I've taken numerous leadership development courses outside of scouting, but was fine with listening again - reinforcing those ideas is not a bad thing. I see Wood Badge primarily as: a seminar on leading units, a survey course of the scouting program, an opportunity to interact with some pretty committed scouters from around your council, an opportunity to let go a bit and have fun with adult scouters. Wood Badge is not an outdoor skill building course.
  17. I'm not a DE, but having dealt with DEs and watched district operations, here's my .02: - Ask the field director what his (or her) goals are for you as a DE. Is it FOS, it is membership, district operations, something else? Have a discussion about that with the FD. - Ask what has worked in the past in regard to meeting those goals. For example, if it's membership, what has been done in that district in the past. For example, I never see our DE going to schools and doing boy talks - I can't imagine that happening here. If this is a really successful council, perhaps they already have u
  18. I am referring to all Cub leaders - that includes pack committee members, Cubmasters, Asst. Cubmasters, as well as Den leaders. Many packs I know are 40+, if not 60+ boys & families. Organizing a pack is a lot of work. However, since you mention den leaders, let's look at that. One of my den leaders plans our B&G banquet. It's a feast for 200 people with catered food, program, activities, etc. It requires coordinating amongst numerous adults, leaders, and dens. Several other den leaders plan portions of our campouts for 150 people. The Webelos den leaders coordinate joint act
  19. It's going to be hard to find a single sentence description. Scouting really is many different things. Probably the closest you'll get is: "The purpose of this corporation shall be to promote, through organization and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using methods which are now in common use by the Boy Scouts."
  20. Cub leaders should definitely attend Wood Badge. Leading a Cub Pack has different dynamics than a Boy Scout Troop, but it's no less difficult. It requires trained leaders too. Many of the skills you learn in Wood Badge are directly applicable to the Cub experience. Leading a team of adult, planning large events, developing an annual program - these are all the things that den & pack leaders do all the time.
  21. Sounds like someone on the staff misunderstood the curriculum. I can see someone saying that it's up to you to make a difference, but not that Wood Badge is all about you. As both a participant and staffer, the message I saw was one of service to the scouts and take what you learn here and make a difference in your units,
  22. Hi Bill, That sounds great. What's a backdater? Is that an assessment/writeup on the event?
  23. Hey Smmortgat - Yes - sorry if I went a bit off the path from your earlier comments. I definitly remember you started this looking for a new troop. I think we're on pretty much the same page - you basically have a choice - stay & see if you can "fix it" or go find a new troop. I won't try to convince you to stay - sometimes it's better just to find a new home with folks who may be thinking similar things. Sorry if you've already mentioned this... Have you had a one-on-one coffee with the primary leader. Maybe she has similar goals to yours, but isn't sure where to start. Or m
  24. Seems someone's fixed the problem. Interesting though that now there is a duplicate of a topic. Wonder if that was the issue.
  25. Isn't there an old rule that says "never do for a DE what a DE wants to do himself"
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