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Posts posted by ParkMan

  1. I've been down this same path in the last year.


    In the absence of rules on this, first I'd think about safety. Then, I'd just ask yourself, "what was my son able to do at that age?"


    Some ideas from what I've seen:

    - if you've got a large pack, cook by dens or program level (i.e., all the Tigers cook together). Then, you can have the parents jump in as appropriate at that level (i.e., Webelos are pretty self sufficient, but Tigers mostly just help or do simple tasks).

    - if you've got a small pack, split responsibilities by program level. In this instance, Tigers do simpler things, Webelos do more complex things.

    - find a leader/parent or two to organize the meals and purchase food. That way, you can have an experienced person develop age appropriate plans. Don't assume this person is a den leader - in fact, it likely will not be.

    - have some practice sessions. If you've got a unit where scouts have never cooked before, some camp cooking practice is a great use of a den meeting or two. That way, when they show up at camp they are more at ease with doing it for real.


    Have fun!

    (This message has been edited by parkman)

  2. I'm with a couple of other posters. I really don't think this is the new shirt.


    I was looking for a new shirt in the fall of 2009 and then again in fall 2010. At least one of those times I saw this shirt (or one exactly like it) for sale.


    it's a nice shirt and all, but until we get some confirmation this is where we're headed, I wouldn't but it thinking it's the new shirt.

  3. I'd blame both...



    I've been a very active cub leader for two years now and from what I can tell, the Cub Scout struggles with figuring out what it wants to be.


    Some in our pack appear to view cub scouts as controlled play. In this world, cubs are playing games, acting silly, running around in the woods on campouts while the leaders and a few volunteers do all the work. Cub campouts end up being a place where parents & scouts go in the woods, pitch a tent, and just hang out for the weekend.


    Others in the pack want it to be a strong preparation program for boy scouts. In this model, scouts are working on developing skills & pushing their boundaries. There is plenty of time for play, but play isn't the primary goal.


    In the end though, the annual program seems to end up being a race to a rank badge at the Blue & Gold. Then, for the spring the pack gets less active - because once you've earned your rank, you're done.


    Now, I don't really fault the leaders - either den or pack. I think it's really the lack of training. Send a new den leader to a few hours of training and they're ready to run a den?


    I'd like to see a more developed basic leader program. Training shouldn't be just online intro, leader specific training, BALOO, and then OWLS a few years later. I think you need something in the middle there. A weekend new leader training - perhaps taken at the start of the wolf year. In this course, the training would focus much more on specifics.


    My daughter is in girl scouts. From the earliest time, there is a program for camping. Girls are helping in camp. Parents are encouraged to stay home. I watched a friend who is a new girl scout leader come back from her camping training (spread over two weekends) come back with ideas about how to take a bunch of second graders camping and get them engaged. They have jobs charts and responsibilities.


    My son's den mates end up hanging out while 6 adults cook for the pack of 30 boys. In the pack, when you talk about a pack campout, the question is "how do I get parents to help cook" instead of "how do I teach the youth to cook on their own". Somehow we wait until Webelos to expect that a boy can do much of anything on a campout.


    In short, my criticism of the cub scout program is that we just don't know what it is. Some think it's light weight camping where the goal is just to get kids out doors. Other think it's not even the camping that's important. Other's have different ideas. As earlier post mentioned that cub leaders fight a lot more - I think it's true and because we're not really sure what a pack is supposed to be. That makes it difficult for leaders to have a solid program as they are figuring it out as they go. In the end, some burn out because they try to hard doing the wrong things or do the "right" things with little help.


    Boy Scouts:

    I don't see why any boy scout campout should be anything like the most challenging Webelos campout. My first Boy Scout campout, I strapped on a back pack and hiked 5 miles and then set up camp. When I set up camp, I pitched my own tent. Then, we built our own fire, prepared our own meals, cleaned our own dishes. All the SM did was point us in the right direction and tell us where we'd stop for the night.


    My second boy scout campout, it rained the entire time. So this time, I learned to hike in the rain, pitch a tent in the rain, cook food in the rain, etc... In Webelos, you're not hiking, so just run under the shelter until the rain stopped.


    Sure, maybe that level of engagement rules of 50% of the troops and Scoutmasters, but so what? Why don't we set lofty goals for our scouting program? Then, maybe those 50% will try harder, or will get more training, or perhaps, just perhaps, a whole crop of people who thinks Scouting is boring will become engaged and we'll have even better Scoutmasters.


    So, to sum up, I think they are both to blame. Cubs doesn't really set the right expectation nor does it prepare boys for boy scouts. Boy Scouts just needs to have higher goals that will challenge boys.

    (This message has been edited by parkman)

  4. I'm coming late to this discussion, but I'd answer it differently.


    No, not everyone needs Wood Badge. I don't even think most should take Wood Badge.


    The ticket process can be a very time consuming, yet rewarding, process. However, unless you are really willing to invest the effort to complete the ticket, I'd say don't start the program.

  5. I signed up for WB after about a year as an adult leader. I had been both a cub scout & boy scout as a youth.


    In my patrol there was a mix of experienced scouters and newer scouters.


    I got a lot out of the two weekends. Certainly, there were times that I probably would have gotten slightly more out of the sessions if I'd had a few more years of leader experience. However, I think it was good for me to start the program when I did.


    Now that you're signing up, my free nuggets of advice to you are:

    - don't not think about WB as just the ticket. It's so much more than just the ticket.

    - embrace the program. Get all you can from it. Sure there are parts that you probably know better than the instructors. Sure, there are parts that are a bit corny. Sure, there are parts that might not be 100% relevant to what you do. Leave those feelings at the door and have FUN! After all, how often do you get to spend 6 days focusing on being a better scouter?

    - don't research the specifics of the program ahead of time. Sure, ask questions about how to prepare or what to bring. But, don't go out and find out what you'll do on day one, day two, etc... The program is built in a way that expects you don't have this info and is better when you don't. One of the prior attendees in my pack (unsolicited) told me some info ahead of time. When I got done with the training, I really wished he hadn't.

    - meet people. Many of these people (be it instructors or participants) are people you'll interact with throughout your time in scouting. From my district, there were 7 people who went - only one from my pack. I see them often enough (roundtables, district meetings, trainings, etc...). Spending 6 days with them is a great way to get to know them.

    - when you design your ticket, remember that a good part of WB is about leadership. Be sure to think about your ticket now just as "I will do X or attend training Y", but instead that you will put in place a program to accomplish your goals and leverage others to help you do it.

    - design a challenging, yet achievable ticket. I'm about half way through my ticket now. It has been very challenging for me. Not so much because of the effort required, but because it requires me to do things I'm not usually comfortable with. Frankly, when I got back from my second weekend, I really thought I could never complete the ticket. But, then I started chipping away at it. Now, 9 months later, I'm at least half way through and the stuff I have left I now see as achievable (but still not easy). It's been a great growth opportunity for me.


    Good luck!


    This all seems like a very natural development step to me.


    - you're son decided to split his backpacking load. Seems reasonable to me.

    - you're son and this other scout were not responsible enough to follow up

    - you're son realizes his mistake many months later

    - you're son has to bear the consequences of this mistake - i.e., having to search all over for it, fund a replacement, etc... But also you're displeasure too.


    So next time he is in a similar position again, hopefully he'll remember the mistake and hopefully not repeat it.


    Sure, it stinks that you have to handle the collateral damage - but that's just part of the process.


    I've seen so many people who have been sheltered from mistakes their whole life and then not know what to do when one happens.


    Just my .02.





    In my mind the question is one of whether pack leadership sanctions and supervises the campout. Since the explanation from national is that it's an insurance issue, I read it that their concern is that proper leadership and due diligence is provided for the campout by the pack.


    Once you open it up to more than one den and have it supervised by Pack leadership, it becomes a defacto pack campout - even if only a subset of the den's attend.


    Scoutfish - I'd turn the question around and ask if you'd be willing to attend this campout and provide pack level supervision. If no, then it's a den level campout which would be against the rules.


    Now, we can all debate the merits of a Bear only pack campout, but I see that as a different discussion.

  8. I find that having the belt loops built into the dues/budget allows the boys to just focus on earning the recognition. They don't have to think "if I earn this, then my parents will have to pay".


    That said, in the case these number earned gets too significant, I thought about having some kind of limit after which an extra assessment would kick in if the boy wanted to earn more.


    Something like, once the boy earned 10 in an a program year, there's an additional $10 assessment before earning any additional loops/pins.


  9. Another angle of this whole discussion is the message smoking sends to the families.


    When my son joined cub scouts, one of his leaders was/is a smoker. I didn't think too much of it - leaders smoked when I was both a Cub & Boy Scout. I have friends that smoke too. However, my wife was very surprised. Not so much that this fellow smoked, but that he'd smelled very strongly of smoke and that he'd sneak off from time to time for a "break". She also couldn't believe that the BSA hadn't banned it by now.


    Her impression was something like "I thought Scouting was supposed to guide boys in growing and making good decisions." Having the boys know their Den Leader smokes can't be good.


    Over time, this DL has really shown he's a great guy and she's quite happy with him, but I still regularly hear "I just wish he wouldn't smoke at Scouting activities".


    I mention this because she's just one parent. There's been such a push in during many of our lifetimes about not smoking, I think this is a very common sentiment amongst parents today. I know of no parents that want their kids to smoke. Most parents I've talked about this want their kids to see as few smokers as is possible.


    An official policy from the BSA would give you cover, but I'd recommend thinking about a unit policy.


    I like a policy like a smokers "don't ask, don't tell". In other words, smoking is legal and you are absolutely free to do it outside of scouting. When you're Scouting, don't smoke. When you're Scouting, don't smell like smoke. When you're Scouting, leave your smoking materials at home so the boys don't see them.


  10. Generally, I'm with shortridge on this.


    I'd not only look for adults to help out with events, but also try and develop some additional adult leadership help.


    Build up a team of some ACMs & develop a stronger pack committe. And then instead of delegating activities, give these folks some long term jobs. Maybe one person organizes logistics for pack meetings and coordinates which dens do what. Perhaps someone else organizes events and another person handles join scouting & recruiting. My experience has been that when folks realize who's calling the shots on an activity, they go to that person. If they realize that you're not directly handling the new boy sign-ups or the sign-ups for the next campout, they won't ask you about that - they'll ask that person. Even if they don't, your job can then become facilitator.


    Hopefully, then as a result, you as CM can have the bandwidth to focus on the areas you can add the most impact and enjoy.


    I'm in a similarly sized pack now with a CM who delegates a little, but not as much as he could. As a result, we have a couple of guys who do 95% of the work.


  11. It might also be worth a friendly CM to DL question about whether the DL should outline some guidelines for parents here.


    As CM, you're thinking about this question. I bet many parents assume that their boys can't do any work outside the dens.


    Perhaps the DL thinks it's a great idea for the boys to do some of these at home if they follow a few basic guidelines. The DL may just never have thought about it. Or perhaps the DL did think about it and just assumes that all the parents know it's OK.


    Who knows, it could even be a good lesson in honesty & trust for the boys. Were I DL, I'd go for it.


    EDIT - I don't mean to imply that as CM you should tell the DL he must let the boys do this. In my opinion, it's his call. I would just suggest that as CM you ask (in a friendly way) the DL if he's thought about it and whether he wants to come up with some guidelines for parents.(This message has been edited by parkman)

  12. Since they only happen every four years, that means most boys will only get one shot. I that case, I'd be inclined to not screen them. Sometimes going on a journey is more important than being completely prepared for it.


    Instead, I'd focus on preparation for those who do attend. Perhaps even holding out the possibility that you'll scrub those who do not demonstrate they are up to it.


    This discussion reminds me of an experience from my youth.

    When I was a boy scout I took JLT as a very young age. I was an aggressive scout and my SM thought I was up for it. However, it rained all week and I had to pull my weight with a bunch of scouts I didn't know who were all a year (if not 2 or 3) older than I was. I clearly was not ready for it and had a miserable experience.




  13. I watched a den earn this belt loop.


    We had a physically handicapped person attend a den meeting and give a talk. The boys were all very respectful - there was not really a freak show feeling at all.


    The boys were mostly just curious and asked lots of questions like "how do you ride a bus" or "how do you get dressed" kinds of questions. It helped that our visitor first gave a short talk about his life and how his disability has impacted him.


    You'll get some off the wall questions from the boys. In our case, the boys were very nice, they just ask some questions that adults wouldn't. For example, we had a few boys keep asking questions about how they got dressed. Our visitor would explain an answer and then we'd get some similar question from another boy, but with a different twist. The boys were not trying to be difficult, just trying to figure things out and were not afraid to ask questions.


    I think whoever you have them interact with needs to be comfortable with their disability.


    I like having one or two people visit the den or pack. I'd be less inclined to attend a sporting event or Special Olympics as you need to be aware of the impact of the boys on the entire group - not just one or more individuals. Also, at a sporting event it's more difficult to engage the boys in Q&A, so you get more nervous energy while their watching the participants.


    I'd have no problems trying this with a person with CI as long as that person is comfortable with their impairment and would be comfortable fielding the questions you'll get from the boys.



    (This message has been edited by parkman)

  14. Hi Trainerlady -


    Were they just setting expectations lower for the next Jamboree (due to the time they have to prepare) or are they going in a new direction with the Jamborees? Perhaps with all future Jamborees being smaller than they've been recently.





  15. I think I'm on the same page w/ Vicki here.


    Sure, when you have a child, you do need to take that responsibility serious.


    But, to say that Scouting is just a child's activity does a disservice to the value Scouting provides. If it's just something for kids to do then why bother teaching life skills to them?


    I'd argue that a youth that has a child may need Scouting even more.






  16. I think a Chaplin POR would be great. I'd say a unit could also have as many as they want. i.e., why not have a Jewish Chaplin, Catholic Chaplin, Muslim Chaplin, etc... You could make it a district or council position to allow the Chaplin to serve multiple units like a commissioner does.


    Not sure about organizing it past that. I'm not sure how much hierarchy we'd need in Scouting outside the unit level.


    I think it would be helpful to have a sort of Chaplin's Roundtable/support group/committee in a District. It could meet regularly, focus on how to be a great Chaplin, common issues, expectations on what a Chaplin does, etc... Sometimes just having a group of folks to talk with about a role can make the role so much more effective.







    Good question - I think the answer would be different based upon the message that different units would want to send.


    In my unit, the concept that I'd go for is that in areas where the uniform is specified, we should indeed be uniform. i.e., we should all wear the shirt, the pants, etc...


    In areas that are not specified, I think it permits the leaders to show creativity to the boys. i.e, I'm wearing a homemade slide, the Bear DL is wearing the official Bear slide, and the Webolos leader is wearing a bolo. The same thing is true for hats and the temporary patches.


    To me, the message then becomes, you should take the uniform seriously and wear it with pride, but show you individuality where allowed.



    Of course, a different unit may want to send a different message - it all depends on your unit culture.



  18. I wonder if you'd want to break it up into a couple of different tracks. Building off the existing lists...


    Tracks would be something like:

    A. animals & nature - would focus on understanding nature & the world around us.

    Plant ID

    track ID

    animal ID

    reptile ID

    Sounds of the wild


    B. warm season camping - would focus on camping when weather is not an issue and the camping is easier. Allows you to focus on taking your IOLS training to the next level. For example, cooking

    Cooking over an open fire

    Gear selection, type and quality

    Campsite selection and setting up with in the site

    Fire building

    Leave no trace

    Respect and the outdoors

    Pioneering, rope work

    Improvised shelter,

    gathering food


    C. challenging conditions camping - focused on the challenging conditions you may experience with scouts. This is a region specific unit. i.e., the north east might do winter camping

    Gear selection, type and quality

    Campsite selection and setting up with in the site

    Weather forecasting

    Season specific issues


    D. hiking & back country/minimalist camping - A several day trek covering a moderate distance and focusing on building those hiking and orienteering skills.

    way finding

    True cross country Orienteering.


    Gear selection, type and quality

    Campsite selection and setting up with in the site


    Each track would be a combination of a class room day and then a long weekend camping experience.


    If there were something equivalent to Woodbadge beads given out, you'd need to complete all the tracks to earn them.



  19. On a related note - if you have a unit that ceased to exist, but then started up again years later, will they generally let you use the old unit numbers or give you new ones.


    Specially, there's a church I know that had a Troop years back. At the time it was quite old for our area and had two digit troop number (15, 17, or something like that). Somewhere along the way, the Troop folded. I'm not sure when, but my guess is more than ten years ago.


    There's been one or two loose discussions about starting the Troop back up.


    If it started back up, I wondered if they'd let them use the historical Troop number, or make them get a new 3 digit number.





  20. In addition, I'd share the basic concern with the boys. Have a brainstorming session with them on how to reduce costs for the camping aspect of the program. They may come up with some great ideas on their own and be inspired to implement them. It's also a good real world learning experience.


    On the food side, a couple of ideas:


    1) give your scouts a food budget and then cutting it back say 15% - 20%. It still lets them make the decisions and plan the meals, but now they need to work within real world constraints.


    2) provide each patrol a set of camp sized staples (condiments, TP, etc...). Basically, there would be enough for one campout. As much as possible, use reusable/refillable containers (i.e., a small bottle of ketchup). Then, each patrol is responsible for keeping these up-to-date on campouts. This could be part of their patrol boxes or something separate. They manage keeping them filled & stocked. Encourage them to keep them stocked through buying in bulk and filling them prior to a campout.


    3) as some others said before - encourage them to manage costs through responsible environmental actions. i.e., no paper cups/plates, no single serve packages, minimize wasted food/staples. I'm amazed when I go camping to see some of the stuff people bring and then throw away.



    Pardon the unsolicited advice...

    I wonder if the formal nature of the request caused an over reaction on the part of the IH. Now that the decision has been made, it may be more difficult to "unmake it". Especially since you refer to waiting for "their response".


    Sounds like you needed to submit a request for permission in writing to the IH. Perhaps next time you could have a verbal discussion with the IH about the request. You could discuss concerns, do additional research (such as you are doing on your #2 question), and make additional preparations before making a formal request. Then the formal request (if even necessary) becomes a formality and you'd know the response of the IH prior to ever making the request.



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