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Posts posted by perdidochas

  1. 43 minutes ago, Double Eagle said:

    The 2019 world jamboree really got some BSA folks spun up.  Most participants wore t-shirts with a neckerchief tied at the bottom, loose fitting without a slide.  BSA frowns on wearing the neckerchief with anything except the field uniform (class A if you will).  Maybe we will just go with this as an infraction.  I'm one that leans on having a neckerchief available for its many uses as well as a scout staff/stave.

    The only thing I would have to mention is wood badgers should not wear their neckerchief as this manner.  They have beads approved but look goofy with a T-shirt.  May be double standard, but we can't be correct all the time.     

    Well, per this 2015 article, the above (t-shirt with tied necker) was totally acceptable per official BSA guidelines.





    This line on page 12 of the Guide to Awards and Insignia, 2015 edition, confirms the change: 

    When engaged in Scouting activities, members may wear the neckerchief with appropriate nonuniform clothing to identify them as Scouts.

    Previously, according to an earlier version of the Guide, the Scout neckerchief was “worn only with the official uniform and never with T-shirts or civilian clothing.”


  2. 15 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

    How do you handle a situation where a scout is a member of another Troop and reaches out to ask to attend your Troop meeting as they may like to switch?  I’m definitely welcoming to the youth, but do you let the other SM know?  

    My concern is that I continue to see Troops in my area collapse.  Many have SMs who would like to step down (at least to ASM) but they cannot find parents willing to serve.  We have scouts that would have attended several other Troops in the area, which is accelerating their demise. I would never push away a scout, but it would make the Troop he leaves even weaker.  Would it make sense to reach out to SM to see if he has ideas on why the scout would leave?

    I think I would discuss it with his ScoutMaster, but would mainly do it to make sure the boy isn't being punished by the old troop, and he's reaching out to a new troop as the easy way out (we've had that happen in my boy's troop--a boy was being punished for an incident involving a knife, and he quit our troop and joined another.).  

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  3. On 1/19/2020 at 5:45 AM, Cambridgeskip said:

    I had some interesting conversations with my older (13-14 year old) scouts on Thursday night. With an expedition style hiking camp coming up in the spring I ran a session for the PLs and APLs about dealing with emergencies and how to take control of things if something goes wrong. We did a few role plays where I invited them in turn to be the one in charge in various scenarios including first aid, being lost, dealing with busy roads etc. As we went through I gave them some coaching on body language, tone of voice, keeping instructions simple, all that sort of thing. Generally how to come across as confident and how to keep things calm when something is going wrong or there is an element of risk.

    They did pretty well so I moved onto a scenario which was a bit more challenging was based on a real life incident I was involved in* some years ago. It was being in charge if an adult arrives on the scene who wants to do something daft. In this case I played the role of a bumbling adult who wants to move someone with a suspected broken leg, but who is in no immediate danger, while waiting for the ambulance. Essentially getting the scout to tell an adult clearly and firmly NO!

    I was genuinely surprised at how difficult they found it. It is of course something they are not used to, they are well used to doing as parents, teachers and, indeed, scout leaders tell them. They found the idea of saying no to an adult genuinely awkward and totally out of their comfort zone. I don’t know if that’s a reflection of our area or the kind of kids that come to scouts in that they generally do as they’re told.

    It brings up all kinds of questions in my mind. Is it the same the world over? Has it always been this way? And of course what age do we trust young people to over rule adults?

    Lots of things to ponder!

    I was curious how that would compare to your side of the pond. Would a 14 year old in the state find it hard to do that?

    On a darker note it did open my eyes to actually how vulnerable kids can be in terms of being drawn into crime, being abused etc.

    *I came across at RTA where a motocyclist had come off and was on the ground complaining of pains in their neck. There were a couple of other adults who were trying to remove the casualty’s helmet and were refusing to listen to a teenage girl, who turned out to be an air cadet, who was telling them not to and they wouldn’t listen till I backed her up. Even the paramedics didn’t attempt it! They got her on a spinal stretcher and off to hospital before attempting it.


    I raised my sons to be that way.  They had no problems telling adults if they were wrong. They were also pretty good about knowing when not to do so, albeit my oldest not so much as my youngest.

  4. 10 hours ago, Liz said:

    We discussed this at our committee meeting and we decided to use a CYA approach and assume they meant 24 months. This also makes it simpler because you won't have kids who are eligible or not eligible to tent together at different times based on whether they've had their birthday yet this year or not. 

    It is the simplest way to do it.  

    • Upvote 1
  5. 3 hours ago, Cleveland Rocks said:

    There used to be a belief--I don't know if it was ever true--that Scoutmasters were automatically Merit Badge Counselors for every merit badge, just by the fact that they're a Scoutmaster. Many long-time Scoutmasters still hold that belief. I have been to events where I have had Scoutmasters proclaim this, only to be told by practically everyone else in the room, "no you aren't!"

    That may be where that thinking came from.

    There are many who believe that Scoutmasters (or Assistant Scoutmasters, or Committee Members, etc.) should not counsel their own child on Merit Badges (or sign off on rank requirements, perform Scoutmaster Conferences, etc.). The GTA does not prohibit this, although I know a number of leaders who do follow that practice so they are not potentially accused of taking it easy on their own kid.

    I've heard both of those as well--that SMs are automatically MBCs for everything, and that MBCs shouldn't counsel their own children.  Neither, of course, are real policies, although the second is a good idea, in most cases.

    I was an MBC for most of the Eagle Required (except First Aid, Swimming, and Lifesaving) Merit badges as well as an ASM.  I would not counsel my sons on a MB if there were anybody else in the Troop that I thought could do a good job of it.  I was their MBC for Cooking and for Environmental science for that reason. We didn't have other MBCs for those, and I was tougher on my sons than on another scout. I also wouldn't sign off on any rank advancement that they had that wasn't recorded elsewhere.  I would sign off, for example, requirements of number of outings, etc. for them, but that's because we had that recorded in the advancement record system we were using at the time.  

    Our SM had two sons in the Unit.  He never signed off anything for them, and had others do the SM conferences with them.  

  6. 10 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    There's also a strong sense of community in many troops.  We have many merit badge counselors that work with just Scouts in our troop.  These adults have been long standing members of the troop community and want to help.  They're not volunteering for Scouting in general, they are volunteering to help strengthen options for boys and girls they know.  Becoming volunteers for Scouting in general isn't what they signed up for.

    I don't see the big deal.  When I signed up as a district level MBC and did it for about 5 years, I had two Scouts from outside of my troop request for my services as a MBC.  

  7. I've always thought the purpose of YPT was as a CYA for those of us who don't violate children. I've been YPT certified for most of the time since 2006 or so. Besides the "rules" of interacting with youth, I've never thought it was a good training in recognizing the predators (the training I've had to do because our Troop is chartered by a Catholic Church is much better at that part, although not as clear about specific rules for interacting with youth. Having both the BSA and the diocesan trainings has been a good combination for me).  


    That said, the situation outline by the OP is troubling. My first  YPT training was in September, and by the end of my time as a leader it was in June (did it early a few times, to make sure I had it for summer camp or some other situation).  

  8. 2 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

    Followed the link.

    Seems to me that this 'story' is nothing more than an advertisement for Skaa Speakers.  Not only does the SM extol their virtues, but this in not an actual news site, but a trade website, pushing a product.  

    I agree with @malraux, in that a one time thing is fine, but not every time it is too cold for manhunt.  Besides, this is an Alabama troop.  How often is it cold enough that scouts would not be able to run and chase?


    In Alabama, it's never too cold for manhunt.  It can be too warm for it, though.  

    • Haha 1
  9. 3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    Back in the day, we acted shadow creatures using a white sheet and flashlights...or  watched the stars. 

    Recently, ten scouts and three leaders from two local Scouts BSA Troops from Montgomery, Alabama embarked on an overnight canoeing adventure,” explained McNew. “We were canoeing part of the Coosa River, which is a local whitewater river in Wetumpka, Ala., and camping on an island. The rule in our troops on normal campouts is that if it's not warm enough to play manhunt in the evening or at night near our campsite, then I’ll show a movie instead…

    On this particular occasion, McNew explained that since the clearing on the island was so small and they were all packed in so close to the fire pit, there was no way to safely have a campfire, nor room to have a campfire program.

    So, instead, an old bed sheet was tied between two trees and two wireless speakers were tied to the trees on either side of the screen so we could watch a movie,” McNew said. “The wireless speakers work so much better than other options in a remote situation like this as there is no discernible lag in audio and they provide true stereo sound. ...Everyone enjoyed watching the movie before heading off to bed. Simple set up and simple tear down.”

    McNew added that during another recent shakedown hike leading up to his troop’s Philmont trek this summer, he decided to add about three pounds to each Scout's pack to account for some of the crew gear that they would have to carry this summer. “Each time we hiked about nine miles on the Pine Mountain Trail in Georgia with each Scout carrying one of the following: one of five speakers with a battery, the projector, the tripod, or the screen with a battery to power the projector,” McNew explained. “The Scouts were more than happy to carry the extra weight knowing that they'd be watching a movie that night. So we were in a backcountry campsite at least a mile from the nearest other campers with the speakers at full volume surrounding the Scouts watching the movie...




    Don't quite understand this sentence "the rule in our troops on normal campouts is that if it's not warm enough to play manhunt in the evening or at night near our campsite, then I’ll show a movie instead…"

    It's never too cold to play manhunt. It can be too warm to play manhunt.  I will admit, we have watched a movie as a troop at a campout. It was a hot, rainy night (84 degrees or so with 95% humidity at 8 at night), and was actually too hot to play manhunt or almost any other outdoor game.  

  10. 53 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

    Funny part is we sort of do that.  When the Webelos cross over in the spring they have a new scout program April and May.  Then summer camps, when we start back to regular meetings in August they are rolled into the existing patrols.  For our troop we have found success in keeping a set number of patrols then add new Scouts to these as needed as they older Scouts age out.  That works for us and provides continuity and encourages the older and more experienced Scouts to actually work with the new Scouts.

    They sort of wanted a guarantee of keeping them together, making sure they were lockstep.  One parent in particular want to know when their Scout would be at X rank and what our "plan" was for advancement.  Also wanted to know what specific requirements would be worked on at which outings so they could plan accordingly.  I got the deer in headlights look from them as we explained that outings were not for advancement, they were for fun and adventure.  IF a Scout needed to work on something, he certainly could, but that was up to him. 

    She asked if we "allowed" a Scout to go for a few years and not advance a rank...we said yep.  We don't monitor.  You can lead a Scout to an outing, but you can't make him advance.

    Not sure she appreciated the humor.  We explained there were many good units in the area.

    Wow, we just always told the parents that rank advancement in Boy Scouts was an individual thing, and that there was no plan. Yes,  the ASMs would individually talk to scouts, and might even help them plan out their next rank, but there was no overall plan, other than a campout every month, and a meeting every week (at the time, we met every Monday except for the Monday between Christmas and New years (or both if those holidays occurred on Monday) and the week of summer camp.  Rank requirements were done at every campout, the Scouts are responsible for doing them.  Scouts could ask an ASM to sign off on requirements on the great majority of meetings. I would have reassured her that we don't kick out Scouts for non-advancement, so we allow them to go for as long as they want without rank advancement.  

  11. On 9/30/2019 at 7:51 AM, Double Eagle said:

    As I'm seeing other posts and reading about camps closing across may councils, LDS separating, negative BSA legal commercials during prime time TV, and price increases, I have to question what is going on with marketing, protecting the scouting legacy, and whether scouting is on the downslope.

    Long gone is the public support of scouting like Waite Phillips donating Philmont to the BSA.  We need some of our wealthy folks in or out of social media circles to save camps too.  My  beloved Silver Trails Scout Reservation in the thumb of Michigan just announced a buyer for that camp.  Crossroads of American Council is doing the same with one of theirs.  Most scouts will never attend a national jamboree or high adventure base, but will spend their first summer camp at a local camp and carry those memories forever.  I only wish the wealthy could see the value of our program and help protect it.

    The last greatest marketing push came from "are you tougher than a Boy Scout in 2013.  Hard to think its been that long.  Most of my scouts from that year watched every episode and even put some adults through our own unit competitions.  We had quite a membership increase in my units in 2013/2014.  I wish Scouts BSA could get the same positive attention rather than watching useless reality match-making shows and crazy wife shows in cities.  I guess they have their place, but I can't find anything useful in them. Wide-world of Sports and American Sportsman would be great about now.

    The prices just keep climbing and it shows.  Whatever the reasons: protection lawsuits, china-made scout knives, uniforms you don't want to trash on campouts, but for indoors scouting, or scout shop Osprey backpacks that cost you fortune, or just paying for big camps and programs, the cost is driving away all, but well-off families.  We get asked to sell popcorn (which I hate doing), and raise scouting member numbers only to see lawsuits and sticker shock around the BSA.  I don't know how low income unit areas manage to pay $6 for a raingutter sailboat with two tiny pieces of balsa, $6 neckerchief slides and $15 books and hats. 

    Rant over.  Please share your ideas whether you agree or disagree.        


    We are dying, slowly but surely, and have been dying for at least 20 years.  I don't understand why. I personally still think that Boy Scouting is the best youth program developed in the United States.  (that said, all youth activities are dying. The number of youth athletes is also down).  

  12. On 9/30/2019 at 4:35 AM, shortridge said:

    I’m frankly a little surprised to see troops having Scouts (and parents) front the cost and then get reimbursed. That would have been impossible in my day - some Scouts barely had the $10 food fee, let alone affording $80 for the whole patrol. We were a fairly rural area with some lower-income youth.

    We just brought cash to that week’s meeting, gave it to the shopper, and doublechecked receipts on Friday to make sure he hadn’t pocketed any cash. That almost never happened - leftover money usually went toward picking up an extra box of Pop-Tarts or hot chocolate mix.

    Sons' troop is very middle to middle upper class.  

  13. On 9/27/2019 at 3:20 PM, mrkstvns said:


    Well, Latin Scot, you're right. That's what the policy says, but don't you think that maybe the policy is the MINIMUM amount of Flair we should put on our uniforms?  And maybe some of us might want to express ourselves a little more loudly....

    Look at perdidochas over there....he has 37 pieces of Flair on his uniform.

    No, I'm not saying you need to add lots of blinking lights and clown emblems to your uniform....unless maybe you feel it lets you be you....

    Why do I feel like these discussions of rogue uniform practices always sound so much like Jennifer Aniston getting a lecture about her "Flair" in the 90s flick, "Office Space"...


    Actually, the only flair I have is the two Eagle Dad pins, and the three Eagle Mentor pins (and sometimes a temporary patch, usually a Camporee patch). 

    • Downvote 1
  14. 4 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    Rarely have I disagreed with Latin Scot,  I'm not sure I ever have. But, nothing to be gained by showing pride for your kids kind of goes too far. Most here know that I take the uniform very seriously and setting the proper example is ver important. But, there are limits to what the adults are trying model.

    To be fair, the only parents I saw wearing parent pins on the uniform were mothers. It didn't seemed like a dad thing to do. But, I always felt the pins looked appropriate.

    I have nothing against knots, even though I'm a less-is-more kind of person and only wore the adult religious knot, I didn't mind other adults standing on their rows and rows of knots. In most cases, they earned them. That being said, I wouldn't mind a parent giving up a row or two to parent pins.


    I've always worn my Eagle Dad (and Eagle Mentor) pins on my uniform.  I don't care about the regulations, it just seems like the right thing to do.  That said, in Cub Scouts, the Cub leaders all had leather name badges, and we would put our sons' pins on it. 


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  15. On 6/17/2019 at 9:09 AM, Double Eagle said:

    In the south, mosquitos were out even in January.  Mild temperatures allow for easy winters and hearty bugs.  While regular sprays work mostly, we used to put Avon "skin so soft" on and it worked great.  I don't know if it is even around any more.  While at a stationary site, a Thermacell is now the going option.  Most campers and hunters in L.A (Lower Alabama) carry these and consider them an essential. 

    Permethrin is sprayed on clothes for ticks and chiggers.  Chiggers are the worst.  This yankee growing up in Michigan didn't know what a tick or chigger did until entering Alabama.  For those without this critter, chiggers are the number one evil.  Seed ticks follow, and big old wood/dog ticks are easy. 

    As for buying permethrin, as described above, getting it at a tractor supply type store in 16 or 32 oz and mixing it is the way to go.  I have a 3 gallon sprayer that makes it easy.    


    I have a Thermacell. My problem with it is that it doesn't work well in a breeze, which is pretty common around here (Pensacola, FL). That said, my brother-in-law, who lives in central Florida, and is a major naturalist (and one of his hobbies is collecting bugs at night), and he swears by the Thermacell.  

  16. 1 hour ago, qwazse said:

    There are probably hundreds sites about what it takes to be a good emcee. But, here's a link to tried-and-true advice from Toastmasters https://www.toastmasters.org/magazine/articles/when-you-are-the-emcee.

    My metaphor: if the event was a body, the master of ceremonies would be the ligaments that hold the bones and muscle together. He/she is neither the bones nor the muscle. The bones are the outline of the event ... what needs to be accomplished. The muscles are the people of the event, the bring life to the bones. The ligaments hold muscle and bone together so that the event is accomplished.

    So ... most of the communication for a troop event involves identifying what needs to get done (and many times what doesn't) and who should do it. Well in advance of the event, the emcee communicates this, identifies the principals for the event, reviews the outline with them, adjusts accordingly, and allocates their time. At the beginning of the event, he welcomes the audience and tells them what the skeleton will be, and who will be providing the muscle.

    At the event, the emcee has very little to say, because what he/she has to say is very important. He/she has to make the right muscle pull the right bones at the right time. The fewer words, the more likely his/her cues will not be missed. An example:

    Then, as the court proceeds, the emcee simply repeats himself as he cues everyone down the agenda. E.g., "Thank you, Mr. SPL. We will now hear of our troop's adventures from our Scoutmaster, Mr./Mrs. ____." ... "Thank you, Mr. Scoutmaster. Mr. SPL will now acknowledge the advancement of individual scouts" ....

    A more articulate scout may put things more eloquently. He/she may acknowledge special guests in the audience. He/she may give a word of encouragement after all the scouts have received their advancement. He/she may ask to could give the report in lieu of the SM, to give the FOS presentation (an ideal job for certain boys who've staffed camp before). But, those "extra's" aren't central to the emcee's job. What is central is his communicating to everyone, "now Mr./Mrs./Miss. will do ____"

    Needless to say, if you have a youth who seems to do that sort of thing naturally (or, maybe has announced at sports matches and sounds like they could do the same thing at your events), you might have that scout emcee the fist event or two, even if he/she isn't working on Communications MB.

    So, @rickmay, I think you can be very frank with the SM and ask, "So, what youth can we have emcee the next CoH? Last time, we were really hurting because we did not have someone in that role."

    In the old Troop, we had three types of Scouts that were MCing. The first was those working on Communications MB. They were usually the worst. Second was the SPLs and ASPLs.  They varied, but were usually better than the Comm. MB Scouts. The third was the kids with the gift of gab.  (Often they were the older scouts who were former SPLs).  They were good, otherwise they wouldn't just volunteer for it.  

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  17. 1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

    Did I miss something? Of course letting the scout run the COH is the obvious solution, so, why didn't he do that in the first place? I believe the SM Handbook talks about how to run the COH, but I haven't seen one in a while. I don't remember the COH being in the SPL Handbook.


    Not sure if it's in the literature, but I know in my sons' old troop, the Scouts (the SPL/ASPL and anybody working on Communications MB) rant the COH, just like they ran the regular Troop meetings. I believe in the general rule of "Don't have an adult do what Scouts can do."  That said, the Advancement Chair of the Committee assembled all the awards before the COH.

  18. 1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    That sounds like a fine basic plan, but when do you start letting ordinary rank-and-file scouts do the planning and running of the ceremony?

    In our troop, we almost ALWAYS have several scouts working on Communication merit badge and they need to emcee a CoH for Communication MB requirement 8 (either that or plan and lead a campfire, which some scouts like to do).

    I can only see having the SPL announcing names & awards if nobody in the troop needs an emcee role for Communication MB.



  19. 20 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

    The COH should be planned, developed, and executed by the Scouts.  They run it, depending on the unit, CM's, ASM's and SM may hand out ranks and merit badges.  Not sure what was covered under citations.  If there was / is a concern with the COH, the TLC (formerly known as Greenbar) should address

    The separate ice cream social as a unit, that happened unbeknownst to the SM is a concern.  Actually sort of rude.  If there is a challenge with the SM and his actions (and he has been SM for what...6 months??) address with the COR and the committee, and the SM.  Don't start a troop within a troop.  It will not end well

    Exactly.  The Scouts should do most of the work for the COH, but should inform the adults of plans beforehand.  

  20. On 9/22/2019 at 8:35 AM, rickmay said:

    our new troop (an all-girl troop) just had its first court of honor (coh). by far, this was probably the worst coh I have been tied to. the average amount of time a coh honor should last should be about an hour and a half or until the scouts get tired (at least enough time for one to enjoy themselves); about the same size as a usual scout meeting. I am an assistant scoutmaster (as) in this unit and I tried to find out from my scoutmaster (sm) what he had planned for the coh. he didn't want to tell me anything. once I clarified to him that I was willing to help prepare the coh (based upon my experiences--very positive experiences) and would love to assist in the logistical aspects of getting this done, he more or less told me to mind my own business and he could get all of the coh work done on his own.  never-mind the fact that he had cancelled the coh three times for misc. reasons. I was cool with that answer he gave me and moved on with my life. the night of the coh, the sm opened his 'welcome' address by saying that he was not staying any longer than 30 minutes and he was leaving. he only shook hands with 1/3 of the parents, couldn't say anything positive or memorable about individual scouts to either the scouts or their parents, to show the parents that they were equally involved in scouting and that we were happy to have their child with us. he did go around to a few tables and imply to the scouts and scout-leadership that we were not eating fast enough and he was ready to hand-out awards. when it came time to hand-out awards, he had mashed all of the merit badges and rank patches into these tiny zip-lock bags and given them out to the girls. one couldn't even tell what was being given to the girls or what was in the bag--until he read-out the awards' citations. when  he read out what each girl was being awarded with, he read it so fast and low-soft that we didn't even know much of what he said. halfway into the awards, he thought it might be a good idea to start actually shaking the girls' hands as they walked-up to receive their awards. at the end of the night, most of the female scouts and their parents were all pretty ticked-off at what had just happened. to make up for it, myself and another AS threw a party at a local ice cream shop, where we showed funny slide shows of the girls' past scouting experiences and talked to the parents and spoke positively about each individual scout and what they mean to the troop and to the leadership. needless to say, the sm was not invited--this was because the actual girl scouts had (namely the senior patrol leader and patrol leaders) requested we not let him know until after the fact, when pics of the event would probably be posted on social media.


    is there a template for how COHs are supposed to be run and what all is supposed to be conducted and how? I didn't think a COH could get screwed-up, but apparently it can. was my sm correct afterall with the way he handled this? ANY insight would be greatly appreciated.    --rm

    The Scouts should be conducting the COH. They should work with the SM and other adults in determining the specifics, but they should be doing it. They should be making the awards, etc.  Both of my sons were Eagles, so I attended my share of COHs.  Every one was done by the Scouts. Yes, the Advancement Chair prepared the actual awards, but the presentation was up to the Scouts.  

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