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Posts posted by ParkMan

  1. Ken makes the point that I keep reminding myself about:

    "As I age, my Scouting game becomes more and more about the boys than about me. "


    When I think about putting anything on my uniform, I ask myself that question. Is it for me or for the boys? Generally, I think the scouts understand what the eagle knot looks like so I don't personally see a need for the rank badge.


    For those making the transition from Scout to Scouter, I think this kind of issue helps reinforce that being a Scouter is about the boys we serve, not about us personally.


  2. Like others, I doubt this will be an issues later on.


    When I was a Cub & later Boy Scout, I have almost no memory of religion coming into my Scouting youth career. In Cubs, the only place religion ever entered was when my parents & I chose to earn a religious award. There was never any other mention of religion I can think of.


    When I was a Boy Scout, the only place religion ever came in is when I attended Scout Sunday to show support for my CO. That attendance was optional.


    My recommendation, shop around for both a pack and a troop that fits your needs. I'd be very honest with those units and tell them exactly what you want - a pack/troop that does not every push or suggest religious activity.

  3. Looking at it general leadership perspective.


    If you did something like that you'd be essentially asking that Scout to take on the responsibility of being SPL, but without the authority of being SPL.


    I think that it could actually make it harder for him. How does he resolve issues when a decision is required? Is he empowered to make the decision, does he need the approval of someone else? If he can't make the decision, do the others respect him in the role?


    I guessing the issue you're trying to avoid is putting someone chronologically "junior" in a leadership position over someone "senior". Personally, I think this is a great leadership skill for someone to learn with in a supportive Scouting environment.


    If your more "senior" Scouts don't like having #4 in charge, I think there's a lesson in there for them too. When opportunities open up for the more senior position - take the challenge. If you choose to not take them on, then you need to be prepared for someone else to do it.


    Sure, there's the national political bias against the BSA. I just think we live in a time where there is a segment of our population that doesn't like institutions such as the BSA, organized religion, the military, etc... Personally I think it's got something to do with folks who grew up in the 60s and 70s being in charge today. A lot of those people in turn passed their feelings along to their kids.


    At the local level, I can't say I see a lot of discrimination against the BSA. Generally everyone I meet is pretty OK with the BSA. Sure there have been some policy decisions that affect the BSA at a local level (such as no units in schools), but I think I can count those on one hand.


    Sure, a lot of the kids think it's not cool to be in an organization such as the BSA. But I don't think that constitutes discrimination.


    I certainly don't feel discriminated against.


  5. I'd say it depends on how close they were to earning it. If it's one requirement, there's always room to tell the boys and their parents you "assume" it will be completed by the next pack meeting. No one says you need to check up that closely.


    However, if it were more than that...


    This year I watched our Tiger den work pretty hard to get those badges done. Like many, we had to push the last month to get those last Go See Its in. I'm guessing that the majority of your den has worked similarly hard. I'd be concerned about the message you send to the boys and parents. i.e., I know all you worked hard to get the requirements done, but it's OK for those that didn't. First graders are pretty astute - they'll pick up on this.


    Have a heart to heart with the parents of those boys. Set an expectation that everyone will EARN their badges by the end of the year. Then work like crazy to help make it as easy as possible to do and make sure they do it.


    If they're missing a Go See It, help the parents set a reasonable goal to accomplish it on their own (i.e. don't make them go to a TV station, but let them go to Kinko's for 20 minutes on a Saturday afternoon). If you need to do some Den requirements again, take another Den meeting to do it again (but perhaps in a slightly different way). If the family isn't doing the family requirements at home, find a way to do them in the Den meeting. i.e., practice a fire drill in your Den meeting, talk about getting lost, look at a map together.


    Show the boys and their parents that it's very achievable and do whatever you can to get them there.


    If you get some flack for this from the other parents, just explain the Den works together to help each other be successful.

  6. Our B&G is a potluck dinner in our CO's (a local church) fellowship hall.


    Once the meeting starts, people go through the serving line. Then, the program starts. The program is very similar to a normal pack meeting.

    - general announcements

    - a few Dens do a cheer, skit, or song

    - every den then awards their rank badges. (Seems that about 80% of the boys receive their rank badges at the B&G.)

    - meeting concludes


    It's a large pack, so even this program lasts anywhere from 60-90 minutes.


    One thing I noticed this year (but don't remember from years past) - it seemed very loud and only about half the people focused on the program unless their son was involved or receiving an award - others were talking in the background, getting seconds of food, etc...


    Love the topic. I'm also very interested in what different packs do & what kind of program they follow.

  7. Is it OK for an adult to wear the medals he earned as a youth? Mine was the Parvuli Dei and I had just assumed that I shouldn't wear it.


    I'm thinking my initial instinct was incorrect.

  8. I remember when I was a scout, I initially had no problem wearing the uniform to scout events. The only time it ever bothered me was the few times I had to wear to school. Then, there was just this fear I'd get laughed at (and I did somewhat for that matter). There is no amount of changing the uniform that will ever prevent that feeling. When I was a boy, I could have worn a Marine uniform and I still would have been embarrassed.


    As I got older, I eventually became dis-enchanted by scouts. Once I was, the uniform simply became an excuse. I'd fight wearing it, I'd show up to meetings without it. Was it because I didn't want to wear it - no, it was because I wanted to be difficult and make a statement.


    Years later as my son is now getting into scouting, I see the uniform as a what it was when I first started - something to be proud of. There's a few unnecessary things on the uniform (what boy really needs a quality unit patch), but much of it is there for good reason. i.e., look how far I've advanced, here's some cool activities I've been involved with, here's my troop number's (which I'm proud to be part of).


    If there are boys being driven away by the uniform, the we (the entire scouting community) are not doing enough to make the case about why Scouting is a great thing to do. Establish a troop with a great reputation for doing things that the boys really are proud of and boys will join. You're also never going to get 100% of all the boys out there, so, again, do the things that boy's love to do and will be proud of and they'll tell their friends. You'll see the uniforms will matter less...


    In fact, I'd like to see scouting go the other direction. Make a concerted push get scouts & leaders to get wear the uniform with pride when they are scouting. Generate some pride in that uniform.


    I visit a lot of national park and this discussion reminds of the NPS rangers. One thing you notice - the rangers are always either 100% in uniform or 0% in uniform. I can't recall seeing a ranger wearing a shirt, some jeans, and a pair of flip flops. They wear it with pride. On top of that, they have a really cool job. They explore some very interesting places, they rugged, their knowledgeable. You could drop many of them in the back country and they'd do just fine. Sounds a lot like what scouting tries to be too... Would a ranger wear the uniform on a date, to "school", our with friends? No - they probably wouldn't. Makes me think that in the right place, at the right time, the scout uniform can be a source of pride too...


    Just my .02.


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