Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by River2K

  1. Excellent topic. I've already taken some notes.


    When my son was ready to cross over we looked at two troops, the two closest to us. We're very rural and 25 miles is as close as they get. He picked the Troop that seemed to be having the most fun and were friendliest to him. I would have picked the other Troop due to its handier location, bigger meeting room, more convenient meeting time, more uniformed adults. The biggest "turnoff" for my son was the older Scouts were not friendly.


    At the time I had no idea what questions to ask about a troop. Neither did my son's Webelo leader. I believe most Webelos parents don't have a clue how to evaluate a Troop. Even so, had I known the questions that FUZZY suggested I don't think my son would have wanted to stay in Scouting at the other Troop unless he understood the indicators himself. This would be a good topic for Webelos leaders to learn. A reccomendation from the Webelo leader regarding what Troop to cross over to could hold a lot of weight in the decision.





  2. What did Batman say to Robin just before they got into the batmobile????


    "Get into the batmobile Robin!"


    Sorry, dumb joke. I enjoy the humor and useful information on this forum. It's helped me more than any one single resource for Scouting. Bob White has been one of the most helpful contributors. I think Mr. BW is just taking a leave of absence and will be back when he's ready. I don't have any proof or inside knowledge, that's just my gut feeling.



  3. in OUR troop FIELD uniforms are expected to be worn to all regularly scheduled meetings, ceremonies, and during travel to & from campouts. We do have one meeting a month that is game night where ACTIVITY uniforms are expected to be worn. Other than that, what to wear is decided after a discussion with the SPL & SM.



  4. There are experiences with most of the Scouts that I'd rate 8-10. And there are experiences with some of my fellow Scouters I'd rate 8-10. But then there are the troublemaker-Scouts and adults that score 3 and below.


    Right now I'd have to give my Scouting experience a 3.


    Two months ago while hiking in the Grand Canyon with the best of our Troop it was a 10! Especially when the first trout was pulled out of the river.


    I've never minded working too hard, having to pay an extra share, using my vehicle as primary transportation, doing the job of somebody who had volunteered then bailed out, or lost sleep to truly help a Scout/Scouter, but having to deal with an evil person in the Troop, whether it's a Scout or adult, just kills my interest in Scouting.





  5. BW,

    Thanks for the response. That's the kind of discussion and help I was hoping to find on this thread. I would welcome any further help you have time for. Over the phone would work for me.


    For those of you that have decades of experience being an adult leader in Scouting I would appreciate hearing about any failures you've had using any aspect of the program and how you overcame them, or maybe you didn't. Even if you're a newbie like myself I would like to hear your stories. It's probably the "troubleshooter" in me, which is my profession, but I enjoy hearing how others have dealt with failures and how they were overcome. It's a lot less painful learning from others' mistakes.


    I have a tremendous amount of respect for those that share their experience here but I don't enjoy the personal attacks.



  6. The PLC.


    Our Scouts meet once a month for a PLC. They are supposed to fine tune the following month's meeting plans and then plan a rough outline of the month after that (which all follows a yearly plan done in May). The SPL has no idea what to do, even after being given several suggestions by adults. The ASPL usually takes over the meeting and tells the rest what the plan will be. The Scribe takes few notes, if any. Nobody ever sees the scribe's notes after the meeting. Campouts & other activities are given little if any consideration. The Troop would quickly fall apart without adult intervention.


    The PL's don't come to the PLC with any feedback from their patrols because when they ask for feedback they get "I don't know". Patrol members know they have control over meeting plans & activities through the feedback but don't seem to care.



    They plan the same games, same skill instructions, some opening/closing every month. The only time things change is when the SM or ASM get involved.


    I think we're following the program but it's not making the Scouts care or take ownership of their Troop. All leadership has gone through JLT at least once. Some more than once.


    Our COR is pushing for a venture patrol to keep the older Scouts involved.



  7. We're a Troop, around 20 Scouts.


    Our PLC recently overturned the "no personal tents" rule. They felt if a Scout is willing to bring their own gear they are more likely to take good care of it and, by example, teach others how to care for a tent. It also provides an opportunity to see how different types of tents work, as there is a variety of tents owned. This reconsideration came up before a backpacking trip. Our Troop tents are more suited for car-camping.


    Our Troop has about 8 3-man tents of the dome style, Wenzel brand I believe. They have served us well for about 4 years. The patrols are constantly having them repaired though.


    The argument against allowing personal tents was; the campsite looks cleaner and more organized when all tents are the same, a damaged personal tent could cause an arguement of who is responsible for repair, somebody might feel bad because they don't have their own personal tent.


    Adults don't encourage or discourage either way.


  8. Hepatitas A does not sound like any fun.


    We've been lucky never to have had any serious problems from contaminated food on our outings. I say lucky because I know the Scouts dont always practice perfect hygiene around the kitchen.


    A bottle of hand sanitizer sounds like an easy way to get clean before preparing food, but does it really get the hands CLEAN? It doesn't seem to take the dirt off. I've heard of a hand washing setup that uses a 5 gallon bucket, some pieces of tubing, and a small pump, similar to that used to prime an outboard boat motor, for a hand washing station. Of course you still need a bottle or bar of soap and a towel for drying. I've never built or used one but it sounds like a "Scout-like" solution for washing up.


    Another sidebar on hand sanitizer: I was at the last phase of my scoutmaster training this past weekend and somebody mentioned that hand sanitizer, which has a high alcohol content, can make an excellent fire starter when put on a cotton ball. I'd never thought of that. Sounded interesting. It's always cool when an item has a multi-use.



  9. ) What type of scouting unit is it?



    2) Do you feel you have a well functioning committee?

    If I have to answer yes or no only, I would say yes.


    2) How many memebers are on it and what are their specific assignments?

    About 12.


    Chair, Advancement, hospitality, adult quartermaster, transportation, treasurer, charter org. rep., chaplain, newsletter, the rest help out when they can.


  10. Most of the Scouts in our troop are too poor to afford the $2 per can price of Red Bull and such. Soda is nearly restricted on all our campouts. It is used as a reward occasionally though. We encourage water, gatorade, & powdered mixes. I don't have a problem with soda as long as it doesn't cause a problem.


    Soda is not allowed on backpacking trips due to the weight and diuretic (sp?) properties of caffeine. More garbage to pack out too.


    I on the other hand do prefer coffee in the mornings and a Monster Energy drink in the afternoon (They are 16 oz. Twice the size of Red Bull). My wife gets sick at the smell of it though.







  11. The usefulness of this forum is incredible! Thanks to all for the feedback.


    The idea of having the PLC assist in recruiting adult help is a great one. I will give that more thought and present it to them.


    We do have a curmudgeon in the Troop that runs people off. He is our COR and knows it all (he told me so). Really, he is very knowledgeable and can organize any kind of event. He is our biggest asset but at the same time offends those that are sensitive. He is only part of the problem though. If the committee were functioning correctly he wouldn't have as much influence as he does, which goes back to getting good people. It's hard to break this endless loop.


    I'm also a believer that (good program)=(good turnout), which translates to fun. Fun for Scouts and adults. That's where my focus has been but things seem to continue downhill.


    I realize our problem is multi-faceted and there are no easy solutions. I may rethink the "requirement of participation" in our parent letter.



  12. The Troop has the same few adults that do everything, from attending meetings to campouts. These are the same few adults that help with fundraisers, provide transportation, attend committee meetings, are MB counselors, provide general help and backup for the Scouts. It's a struggle to get an adult quartermaster, advancement chairman, committee secretary, adult grubmasters & campmasters.


    It would be nice to have a larger pool of people to choose from in providing the 2-deep leadership on activities & campouts. The Troop has few adult leaders that like to camp and backpack. Most backpacking trips have only the bare minimum of adults.


    This idea came from local sports programs that require a certain level of parent participation for support.

  13. Our Troop is having a hard time recruiting adults to help on campouts (and other activities) and is considering sending out a letter requiring parents of each Scout to sign up for at least 4 campouts a year or their son/s won't be eligible for campouts. Some exceptions will be considered, but for the drop & leave parents I don't think this is unreasonable.


    We currently have no "volunteer" requirements in the Troop. Those that do help are overworked and approaching burn-out. I was wondering what other Troops do regarding this subject and what might work or not work. Any suggestions or criticisms would be appreciated. Thanks.



  14. Our SPL is 15 going on 16, Life rank, been in the troop for at least 4 years, his mom & dad are presently going through a divorce. He was the only Scout to run for SPL so the troop had little choice. He did an excellent job at summer camp last year helping out younger Scouts, although he was not in a leadership position. He's had troop JLT but nothing as formal as Brownsea or Council JLT. He served as SPL about 2 years ago and I believe he thinks he knows it all. (Don't all teens?) His Dad is an ASM that hasn't been active all year. Talking to the dad is something I should do. I would desperately like to help the SPL but I get the message of "your bothering me" whenever I call him. I'm going to keep trying.


    The troop plans their own yearly program but few Scouts take "ownership" of the plan. The next yearly planning campout is in May. I'm afraid coming up with a plan will be like pulling teeth, painful and difficult to get out.



  15. KS, thanks for the reply and suggestions. I hold them in high regard.


    >"Low camping turnout? What changed from last year to this year? What are you doing at your campouts? Are they tied to the Troop program feature of the month; are advancement opportunities built in to the campout plan?"<


    About the only thing that's changed is the boy leadership and Scoutmaster. One of my goals has been to plan campouts in different and exciting places. New places where the troop hasn't camped before. They seem very successful with the Scouts that do attend, its just getting others to attend. Maybe it will just take time. The month's theme at the troop meeting is always tied to the campout. We are a little weak in providing advancement opportunities on the campouts though, which is due to nobody planning them. That task could be delegated to an ASM (thinking to myself). The SPL seems to have no motivation in that direction, even with my prodding.





  16. Wow! How time flies. It's been 3.5 months since I officially became Scoutmaster of our troop. It hasn't been all cake and ice cream, but there have been some fun moments. I still don't feel qualified for the job but it's getting slightly easier. We've had 3 successful campouts this year: A JLT program, Winter campout (with a few tents collapsing from the snow we got), and a backpacking trip which we covered at least 5 miles.


    Some of the biggest problems that keep reoccuring are: 1. SPL doesn't do what he's supposed to (doesn't plan for anything, showed up to 1 of 3 PLC's, yells, sets a poor example) 2. Very little advancement seems to be taking place. 3. Participation in campouts is low compared to last year. 4. Older Scouts are dropping out.


    One of the Scouts is going for his Eagle BOR this Wednesday. I think that's pretty awesome. I'm afraid he will become less involved in the troop though once he gets this rank, as others have done. I don't know how to draw the older Scouts back in. Any suggestions?


    I feel like I'm too involved in planning activities and can't focus on the indivual Scouts. I probably need to delegate more. I would appreciate any comments.





  17. My favorites are:


    Clear, wide mouthed nalgene bottle. Doesn't absorb odors or colors. It's lasted 3 years so far on dozens of campouts/backpacking trips.


    LED headlamp and a second backup LED flashlight. The batteries last forever and the light is good enough for me, excpet when trying to find the trail at night, then a focused beam light works better. They do make a focused beam LED light, but I don't have one.


    Big Agnes sleeping pad. I have to blow it up, but it's lightweight, rolls up real small and is well built.


    One pair of good leather gloves. They are great for cooking around a fire. Also great for hiking through brush and up steep, rocky inclines where I need to hold onto the rocks.


    Coffee singles. All you need is hot water to make coffee.


    A good, reliable, lightweight tent. Thinking about the new MSR Hubba Hubba, but it's a little expensive ($279) and just came out this year (unproven in the field).


    One good, sharp pocket knife.



  18. I quit my troop a couple months after receiving my Eagle. The troop went through a Scoutmaster change at the time. It just felt different afterwards and a little uncomfortable. I never officially quit, just stopped attending meetings. Nobody ever called me to ask why I stopped attending. I wasn't missed. At that age I was easily distracted. Other friends in the troop did the same.


    At the time it felt like once a scout received their eagle they were through. That was my perception back then. The troop never promoted "giving back" to scouting. I didn't know any better. I think had the new scoutmaster called and asked me to continue as an example to younger scouts I would have stayed. One phone call would have made a lot of difference for me then.




  19. I had an idea for an opening ceremony of a Troop meeting and thought I'd ask for a few opinions of my idea here.


    Boston's Greatest Hits CD, track 15 is The Star Spangled Banner/4th of July Reprise. It's an electric guitar instrumental of at least one verse of the Star Spangled Banner.


    I was thinking the Scouts would get a kick out of some rock music played for an opening at a meeting. It could be done respectfully and might spark some interest for finding other creative openings. I might even be able to convince them to sing.


    What do you think?



  • Create New...