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Everything posted by RMV

  1. Here is a link to pick up one of my favorite collections of Scout Songs. They are sung by a male chorus from a Troop. The tape I have is, "Hail all ye olde time campers." http://www.tuscazoar.org/prod05.htm The one I think would be great for your show is the one that was used in the movie "Follow Me Boys." There is a great rendition on this tape. RMV
  2. I am not LDS, but have worked with many LDS folks in the past. Here are what I have seen as the main differences for programming. They do not have Tigers or two year Webelos programs. The Boy Scout program really doesn't start till the young man is 12, the first year of Boy Scouting, they are a part of the Blazer group, which is registered in the Troop, but actually doesn't fully participate with the Troop. The younger Scouts are considered a part of the Primary group for the church and when they turn 12, he joins the Priesthood. So they have matched the Scouting programs up to their church program. The Church has chosen Boy Scouting as their youth program and fully support it. They actually use the Chartering Organization concept better than most. When they need a SM, they don't try and convince a parent to take over and fold when no one steps forward. They select the next leader and they move into the position. This has some positives and negatives that go with it, but ownership of a unit by a Chartering Organization means that they can decide how they want to do this. Because the turnover happens at times when there is no training or the new leader doesn't know anything about our culture and what is available to them, it may explain why there seems to be more accidents. I actually think that because there are such a high % of Scouts in the State, that the % of injuries is probably about the same as anywhere, the volume is just higher. The other difference is that they stay in the troop for a couple of years and then move to the Varsity Team. This keeps the young men in Scouting groups that match their Sunday school clases. Other than these organization things, the requirements for Eagle are the same. RMV
  3. Not being a Field Director anymore, I would imagine that they would spend more of their time at naps. When I started Scoutreach units, I always asked myself, what can I do to make this as close to a traditional unit as possible. Sometimes it was close, other times it wasn't. The chartering organization was often the deciding factor in how close we got it. One year I sent a group of Boys to Boy Scout Camp. Because of zero tolerance with knives, none of these Scouts could participate in Woodcarving. They couldn't do shooting sports either. But they still had a great time with great role models. The experience was a great one. The goal was always to try and work Scoutreach units into as close to a traditional unit as possible. When the program got big, more than 9 full time den leaders out in projects running den meetings every week, I even hired a Scoutreach Roundtable Commisioner. Her job was to get everything these den leaders would need to run program for the entire month, then teach them what to do each month at roundtable. It was great to have roundtables bringing program to life at the office once a month. I always would let my SE know when the meeting was going to be, so he could stop in or even bring a Scoutreach donor to see what was going on. Did this guarantee a successful den meeting? No. But it gave us a much better chance at sucess. In the end, our mission is to help young people make ehthical choices throughout their lives. I don't want to throw out tried and true methods of Scouting, but I can tell you that those methods are not tried and true when you are talking about families with parents that have made some really bad choices. When you look into the eyes of their kids, you see young people desperate for some stability in their lives. If we give up, who will be there for them? I always viewed my job as a Field Director as a teacher. My guys didn't need me to beat up on them all the time, but they did need someone to show them the way. At the same time, each DE I worked with needed to learn a lot to become succesful. Not all of them were willing to pay the price needed to provide volunteers with the support they need and deserve. The past two days have made me very reflective of what I do and why I do it. Sorry this went on for so long. Hope you are having a great Scouting day! RMV
  4. Hi There, It has been awhile since I have made a post to this forum, my new job has been keeping me very busy. I have been involved with lots of Scoutreach units in projects. Some I am proud of, others didn't work out the way I had hoped. In one project I started the program with a day camp for the whole housing project. The first day, we had 12 kids, on the last we had over 200. Transportation costs would have prevented me from bringing the kids to a traditional day camp location. Also, I would have only touched the 12 that came that first day, and even they may not have had parents that would allow them to travel with a stranger in a uniform. It has been so long since we were a part of these families lives, they don't know who we are. On the last evening, we invited the parents, and many came. It was our first touch of Scouting to most of these families. Did we change all 200 of these lives? Maybe, maybe not. What we did get for sure was an entry into the community. We started paying a leader to put in Boy Scout program on a weekly basis. The college student that did this talked his church into helping out. His church troop would go camping, and so would his Scoutreach troop. Every quarter we had a council meeting in that church and there was an advancement chart on the wall. When I left that council, there was a boy that was a life Scout, working toward Eagle. When the state decided to bulldoze the project, the families called me to a meeting to tell me that they all planned to move to nearby apartments so that their kids could stay in the troop. It was one of the highlights of my Scouting career. The cost of Scoutreach is high in both money cost and human resources, but if we believe that we are a movement, it is a cost worth paying. RMV
  5. I've seen fos goals set in lots of different ways. I think your input on the goal is critical. This year we had the largest increase in FOS goal that I have ever seen. (About 20%) It was done after a group of volunteers, including several district chairmen, had reviewed the budget and saw no other way to maintain services at current levels. Without the buy in from everyone, these goals would have only been a pie in the sky thing. We are running more than 20% ahead of last year, even in an economy that is pretty depressed. Big corporate gifts are down, small grass roots gifts are way up. As for the other district, they probably don't have the same quality of leadership as yours. That should be the focus of the council leadership. If the DE is not capable of building such a team, then there should be some fear as to the fate of that DE, or the management that is teaching this DE how to do their job. Don't be surprised if your DE gets a new challenge in a larger, underachieving district soon. A few things that are facing some Councils this year that are impacting budgets. Most of these are facing the Council I am in. United Way contributions are down. Council contribution to employee medical benefits are up. (employee contribution went up almost 30% as well.) Liability insurance cost is higher than budgeted. Perhaps your Council is responding to some expenses that are higher than expected. Congrats on being at goal by the way! Not many are done this early, I am shooting for the end of June. $250,000 to go. RMV
  6. Hey Tim, Most of the time it will be at meals, but also at flag ceremonies, and at the opening and closing campfires. I would show up in uniform as well, then let the instructors set the times you will be needing it after that. There can be other times, but those are the main ones. Doesn't matter shorts or long. Although, most camp staff I have been around wear shorts no matter how cold it gets. It also doesn't matter how old the uniform is. Once a uniform, always a uniform. If your friend is truly not going to need it aferwards, he might be able to borrow one. If buying one, take a look at the venturing uniform, it looks to be something more along the line of what a COPE guy would want to wear. You may want to check with your camp director to see what they think as well. The borrowing might be something to look at in order to have a second uniform. RMV
  7. Hi Tim, I have been on staff for National Camp School, and you are in for a great experience. Camp School is beyond just learning about your specific job at camp. Much of the school will be devoted to showing scouting aims and methods. Because the uniform is one of those methods, there will be times when it will be needed. COPE is part of the program of the Boy Scouts of America, so the uniform for Boy Scouting or Venturing would be appropriate. Your friend should find a uniform and bring it to the school. As for two uniforms, you may be able to get away with one, but either clean it in the middle or it will get a little gamey by the end of the week. The other issue with only having one is the question of what will you do when camp starts. Going to camp school means that you are a senior member of the camp staff and should be setting the best example possible. I have always had trouble finding time to wash uniforms at camp, so I have two or three to get me though the week. Have fun at camp school! RMV
  8. I don't think the council has to be notified unless the removal is for youth protection issues. If the leader is a registered unit leader then the council would need to be notified to remove the leader from the list of leaders registered in that particular unit. The leader would then be able to join another unit, with proper approval of that unit. Most of the time the council is asked to get into the middle of such a dispute, but not always. Being asked and doing so are two different stories. The chain of command is that the COR, then the IH is the final authority witin the unit. The CC has the authority to make the removal, but the COR can then overide if they choose. There are times when a council removes the leader and informs the IH or the COR of the removal. This is usually regarding youth protection issues. Other times because of some sort of hit in a criminal background check. Since April 1, all registered leaders mush submit a social security number for this background check. The main question has been was this done right? Still not sure, but it sounds like it was. The SM was just the messenger. I have never heard of a whole family being removed, but I wouldn't find it outside the power of the CC to do so. RMV
  9. National does make uniforms to order. They are pretty expensive, and by the time you get them, your future Cub will probably be born. (Big assumption on my part.) Haven't heard of maternity uniforms. I would suggest going to a class "P" uniform and wearing what works, even if it isn't from national supply. Good Luck! RMV
  10. The actual national policy on SSN has just changed. Starting April 1, all adult applications must have a SSN on them. Scoutnet will actually check to make sure the number is correct. The number is being used to do a nationwide criminal background check. Our council has been doing a three state background check for years, but this system is much more thorough. If you have something that is likely to come up on a background check, make sure you disclose it. I know in our council, we have a lot of leeway when someone comes back with a criminal background but has disclosed it, if something comes up that hasn't been disclosed we start wondering what else this person is hiding. The number is not required for youth, but is now required for adults. RMV
  11. Hey there, I don't fit any of the positions that you asked for, but hopefully can help out. The real question here is, is the committee in agreement? Then it doesn't matter who delivered the messaage. It is not an everyday thing to remove a family. That said, it is within a committees power to do such a thing. I think most troop committees try hard to not penalize youth when adults can't get along, so this decision must have a lot more to it. If you think that the SM did this on his own, call the committee chairman and ask. If the SM did this on his own, then you may find that this resolves rather quickly. If he/she had committee backing, then the decision is pretty final. The only other recourse would be to go through the chartered partner, but that would typically not solve your problem, but create even more. People often ask why we need more than one troop in a town. I find the reason to be that each troop has it's own personality. I hope that you and your son look for another troop that might be a better fit. Good Luck! RMV
  12. I would start an endowment to give good camp staff members college scholarships.
  13. Eamonn, I used some examples that might have been why a DE would consider something busy work. I don't mean to imply that your district has those problems. They were examples of things that DE's have told me were busy work that I had given them. It sounds like you are running a great show. The whole point of my post is that it isn't you that is the problem. It is probably not the Field Director. It is the DE. If they feel they are getting too much busy work, they then need to work that out with their Field Director or that persons supervisor. I stand by the statement that instead of whining, the DE should be doing something. Instead of delivering something at the last minute, they should have planned ahead. The camp promotions example was a great one. Critical Achievements are agreed upon at the start of the year. They are not pie in the sky goals, but are realistic goals that are set to make scouting better. If you were to look at the DE's critical achievements at the beginning of the year, I would bet they would sound very fair. If they don't, then the Field Director has set unrealistic expectations and that would be the Field Directors fault. What is wrong with setting a critical achievement on the number of units that have a camp promotions presentation? Sounds like it would better the movement if more youth went to camp. The problem came when the DE figured out that they hadn't done enough in advance. Poor planning does not excuse poor performance. At the same time, their poor performance should not be your problem either, and they should never try to hand it to you in such a way. As a Field Director, if I found out the DE was making their CA's your problem, we would have a counseling session on that subject. Again, sorry if I implied that your district was the problem. I truly meant no offense! RMV
  14. I'm not angry. And sometimes my DE's think the work I give them is busy work. Many of them have called me much worse than a nitwit. (Although I didn't see that reference.) They don't like keeping track of things, like how many schools have join nights scheduled. Who is covering each school? Are the flyers delivered? Is there a budget for the camporee? Which donors have been contacted to date? Which ones have been thanked? Our program is complicated and a lot of things need to be kept track of. There are many personalities that are within the ranks of professional Scouting, it is sometimes hard for some personalities to see the value of keeping track of such information. Sometimes what a DE thinks is busy work really is becoming an adult and making sure that all the details to help make a district run smoothly are completed. Its easy to forget things. I think you should tell your DE to stop being a whiner and get this "busy work" done. It's human nature to complain about things, it is hurtful to the movement when such things start dividing us. If you really thing the work that is being given is "busy work" call the field director. I would meet with you if you called. And I would be willing to explain why I was requiring the work I was requiring. I think the nature of critical achievements is what makes being a district executive have value. There are so many things they can spend their time on, here are the ones that we will hold you accountable for. It is easy, and more fun, to do things that volunteers are much more capable of. For example. A DE might have a CA (critical achievement) about the number of trained leaders in a district. Does that mean that they should start running all the trainings? Or does it mean that they should work on recruiting good volunteers and getting them the materials to put on a good show. It's a lot more fun to train than to do the support. As for how many professionals should be in a council? That is up to the volunteer board to decide with your Scout Executive. Some districts need more staff than others. An urban district will not find the level of volunteer capability that a suburban district might. Rural districts have lots of windshield time for the DE. Instead of doing things, they are always driving somewhere. One of my rural guys logs more than 40,000 miles a year. That is more than a 1000 hours of driving. You are right about Baden Powell and his feelings about pro's. He thought we weren't needed. He also thought that training junior leaders was the job of the Scoutmaster. Why then do so many districts and councils take this job into their own hands? The question here is, is he always right? Remember, BP died feeling that he was a failure for not preventing WWII, even he is wrong sometimes. The truth is that Scouting is stronger here than in England because we have professionals and volunteers together. It is also weaker because we sometimes fail to work with each other. Winners Circle is an award, not something that should be used to beat someone up with. I bet if you read the critical achievements you would find that they have been written in such a way that they cover the basic expectations of what that employee should be held accountable for. The whining comes along when a DE decides that results are too hard and perhaps if they whine loud enough someone will let them play rather than work. I typically call that being a crybaby, but then, I am one of those mean field directors that expect them to get things done. Just a few thoughts! RMV
  15. This gets to the heart of a quality program. There are so many things we can do, having the courage to tell people that their special interest isn't going to continue is a tough job. I would love to have you in my Council as well! Some logic to help you: We are here to assist unit program, not to replace it. So many programs are spreading volunteer support too thin. We must decide what is important to us and make those programs of the highest quality possible. RMV
  16. Part of the fun of Jamboree is camping with Scouts from other troops in your council. They talk about their troops and often both troops are better for it. I don't see jamboree as a "Troop" activity. It is a highlight experience for the few not the many. Looking for a simular experience for your troop? Try Philmont or one of the other high adventure bases. There is one way a Scout can go to Jamboree without the council contingent, the Order of the Arrow has a service crew. Not sure of the price, but it is a lot of work in the service of others! RMV
  17. I would try putting a little patrol method into getting the food. The boys plan a menu for the weekend at a troop meeting. Have the SM approve the menu, that way they don't eat twinkies and snickers all weekend. They then schedule a patrol meeting at the store to buy the food. Have one of the parents show up to make sure they get everything they need. By the way, this is a great way for a parent that can't be a leader to help out. Have each Scout bring some money, maybe $10 each. Each one gives the patrol leader their money. The boys will be the shoppers, get the food, and will start to build some patrol spirit. Since you are a small troop, make sure they know how many they are cooking for, including leaders. Make sure the leaders put in their money for the food as well. At the end, any leftover money is returned. When they find out on the campout that they forgot something, turn it into a learning experience. Sounds like you are off to a great start! RMV
  18. I would bet that this leader is not against female leadership, only female leadership at camp. This is something I have run into from time to time. My wife was business manager at camp the first summer that I was camp director. As a DE she never ran into any trouble with this, at camp she did. After that first summer, she never wanted to return. As a camp director(3 summers as director, 11 total summers on camp staff) I found most of the women I hired to be great staff. At the same time, because there are very few of them, they find themselves getting a lot of attention. Some they like and encourage, other times it can get pretty scary for them. It is seldom the girls behavior that makes it so Troop leaders wish that the girls were not at camp! I had a group of leaders upset that I had female camp staff. They insisted that the female staff distracted their Scouts from completing badges and having a full camp experience. The law on this is pretty clear. I have to hire the best candidate for the job. Personally, many of these young women were better Scouts than the young men that had been in the program for years. By the way, there are many LDS cub packs with female leaders. Most are Den Leaders, but there are also CC, MC and WL. I have seen a few registered female leaders with their troops, teams and crews, only in MC positions. Not sure what their church policy on this is, but I know that they try to match the Scouting program to be the workshop for what they are teaching in Sunday school. They want the young men to see that their teachers not only say they live their lives in a certain way on Sunday, they get to see these role models live their lives on Scouting activities. I was a DE on the day the announcement came that women could hold all postions in Scouting. I remember one woman that had been acting as a SM for three years at the time, she was living in a neighborhood filled with wealthy business men that were too busy to serve as an SM. Without her, these young people would have never had a Scouting program. She ran a troop of more than 100 Scouts. One day you would find her on a campout, the next at the country club with the other society women. She was a great leader. I remember the day that her leadership was validated. What a great day to be a Scout! RMV
  19. I wish all Scouter's could get along...even when they disagree. RMV
  20. A few thoughts on FOS. I keep reeding articles in my local paper about non profits that are in trouble financially. Most are organizations that have depended on corporate giving, especially placing a heavy reliance upon large gifts. Why do this? Because it is easier than finding lots of small givers that believe in their mission within the community. In tough times, it is often the biggest gifts that are cut back. Would it be morally right for a large corporation that just laid off 100 employees to continue with large donations to non profits? Not sure I would feel too good about taking such a gift. The United Way started Boy Scout Councils down the pathway of family FOS. They wanted to know if families were given an opportunity to particpate as contributors. By the way, I still consider the United Way as one of the best friends that Scouting has ever had. Even at only 2% of my Council's budget, they are still the single largest donor. Even in Councils they no longer fund, the contributions they have made to making this the most powerful youth organization in the world is pretty amazing. I think scoutldr is partially right above, FOS should not be forced down anyone's throat. At the same time, because families are not in a financial position to support FOS in one unit, that doesn't mean we should stop asking all families. I think that we should ask every family for their support, be grateful for the ones that can, and be thankful that the families that can't have found a way to afford Scouting anyway. I would also say that I prefer to get a smaller gift that I can count on each year than a large gift one time. That way we can build our budget in such a way that we can pretty much count on being within our abilty to fund as well as spend. As a citizen of the community I live in, I give donations to a variety of organizations that I believe in. Most of the time it was because someone that I have faith in asked me for the gift. I think it would be a shame if we stopped telling our families our story. It is amazing how many family donors continue to give, even when their kids are out of the program. They see what we did for their kids, and want to support our mission to serve more. If we leave fundraising to the professionals, then that is truly all they would be doing. That is not the job I signed up for. In a lot of organiztions all fundraising is left to the pro's, ever notice how high the fundraising overhead is? I have seen it as high as 50%. In Scouting it is typically in the 3-5% range. Because we use the passion of so many Scouters to spread our message, our success rate is much higher than other organizations. If we were to quadruple the money raised by any Council in America, think of all the incredible things that this Council would then be able to do in the service of youth. Think of the projects at camp that would become a reality instead of a dream. RMV
  21. I too wouldn't want to be the ASE, it's lonely in the middle as well. But I guess that is why they pay you the big bucks. (Fortunately we aren't paid in Scout Bucks!) I think that I would meet with this leader one on one. Make sure that his side of the story is told. He may well agree that the story told was what he believes, if so I would be very direct in asking how such comments fit within the Scout Oath and Law. For lack of a better description, a verbal spanking would be in order. Can't do this if others are present. He may wish that he hadn't said such things and may well be looking for a way to make peace and move on. If so, a personal visit may be less of a stern lecture and more of a learning session. When I was a Scout, we called this a guided discovery. I think we would now call it reflection. There may be some positive that can come out of this. Look for the win, win. If he chooses this route, set a meeting with he and the directors, then have him report his thoughts of the meeting at the next roundtable, have faith that the Scout will come out. He will probably say that the story is close to right, but was taken out of context. Either way, find out if he has any real reasons to have a problem with the camp or the staff. He may. He may have then made a bad jump in logic as to why. If he doesn't think that women have a place in Scouting he is flat out wrong and every effort should be made to convince him of that. Have fun out there! RMV
  22. I find myself on vacation this week and using a borrowed computer that is very slow. Will respond some more when I get home, but thought I would say something about venturing. Perhaps the greatest thing someone can do to get venturing rolling is treating it in the same manner that we treat Cub and Boy Scouts. Do we have outdoor programs, training, activities on the schedule for these groups? Then we need to get some things on the schedule for venture crews. We then can't give up when the first camp fails. I work with about 25 church youth groups that are using venturing in a very positive manner. We are experts in outdoor program,safety, leadership training and youth protection. When we realize the the chartering organization concept is one that partners us with organizations that need our help, we can start to help them become better. Think like a youth pastor. The average tenure is going to be just over a year for a youth pastor. They burn out, don't get the job done, don't get paid well, or something causes them to quit. Our program can help them create a high school youth program that works. RMV
  23. I didn't see the video's during the teleconference, too busy schmoozin with the prospects I guess. Heard that it was pretty good. I would bet that the lack of female representation was not intentional. We had more than organizations at our location, one of two for the council. More than turned in commitments. Kind of scary that we might actually have that many new units soon. Have to get the district structures ready to make sure that they stay healthy. RMV
  24. Not sure I can say things better than the last two posts. I have always thought of myself as a missionary for Scouting. Changing lives, one boy at a time. I would imagine that all Scouters feel such. I have yet to have an eight year old tell me he is joining Scouting to get his character developed, yet my fervent hope is that we will open his mind to a new world of making choices for the rest of his life. They join because it is fun. Sometimes we forget that being a part of Scouting is supposed to be fun for adults as well. When professionals and volunteers find a common cause that unites them in bringing this program to youth, there are no problems that we can't overcome. Together we are a force. Divided, we can never achieve our full potential. There are so many ideas of what we can do out there that sometimes it is hard to narrow down our focus to what we will do. Sometimes, in an effort to make everyone happy, we choose to do more than we can handle. Do we need to supplant unit program with a large number of district and council programs? Or should we focus on teaching units how to run great programs at home? For a district or council to be great, they must make the decision that everything they touch will be something everyone will be proud of. At the same time, they must make the hard choices of what they are not going to do. How many activities can a district do well in any given year? Only a few, if each will be great. A strong group of Commissioners is the best way to make sure that units tie into trainings, roundtables, activities, service projects and outdoor program. rmv
  25. Wonderful news! Amazing what a bunch of Scouts can do when they decide to do something. RMV
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