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About SagerScout

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  1. thanks, Eamonn, my husband was raised in Pa and would have been delighted to return - but alas, the job I've been offered is out west. My scouting son wanted me to take another position I was offered in Virginia near DC, but the cost of living there just seemed unmanageable... he really was hoping for 4 seasons, but it was not to be. Still hoping that there's an Arizona scouter out there - I've googled it several times and haven't found a unit yet.
  2. We're moving to sort of central Phoenix about Christmas time. Any troop(s) in that area looking for a package deal? For a small fee of a welcoming smile, you get: 1 - One 15-year old Life scout with den chief experience (would like to find a den to serve), OA ordeal completed. 2 - A mom willing to register as an ASM, fully trained in Texas and willing to do additional training as needed. Fat and a little crippled but camps anyway. Good natured and supports a boy-run program. Training experience. 3 - A dad who doesn't care for weekly meetings much but is usually ready for camping duty. Major vice is cigarettes. 4 - possible 14-year old female Venturer or Girl Scout also available after March 1 In addition, a 19-year old potential ASM is negotiable, but troop must accept long hair and pierced ear. Non-smoker, non-drinker. Small-to-medium sized troop preferred, home school or unschoolers preferred, and we're United Methodists also seeking a small to medium UM church... I hope y'all don't mind me asking here. Our move is involuntary but we're looking for a silver lining. Finding a great troop would really help. I expect to be quite busy with my new job and don't want to leave this to chance once we move as it's too easy to delay. My son just made Life and I don't want him to lose his momentum.
  3. I'm not one of the wise and experienced members to which you referred, but as a mom I think it's an easy answer: Call "Shotgun." Tell the SM "How lucky that I'm free tonight since there's not another scout buddy to go with my kid." Then explain your actions to the TCC, and why - "I thought it was important to set an example of YP compliance even though I didn't have any special concerns about Mr. SM...." And explain it to all the less-educated parents as well, in the same way. But don't help your son at the store.
  4. DS - your examples are excellent, and not too unusual. As FOG says, the one young lady might have just not been very bright, in which case school may not have helped in any event, or in a family that did not wish her to be educated in some subjects (sex apparently on the list) - in which case school still might not have helped as many states have parental permission required for sex ed. Rare for me to agree with FOG, but there you are. Although I am fiercely FOR homeschooling and wish to maintain the right of parents to homeschool, I would like to point out that one of my children did 13 years in the public school system here in Texas prior to going to college, and was a rousing social success (ADHD kid...). Another is currently in the eighth grade in the local public school and is quite successful both socially and academically. So it isn't that I'm totally against public schools. I just think their effectiveness is questionable for many kids. My third was diagnosed as OCD, we were told he would have to be on medication for the rest of his life and that we should be aware that his obsessions and anxieties could and most likely would worsen to a life-long disabling condition if we did not keep him both drugged and in weekly therapy. He was in the Level 5 classroom (the most restrictive environment at the local school) and at one point they wanted him to go to school in the local mental hospital. In the level 5 classroom the kids he was "socializing" with had done such charming things as verballly threaten their parents and teachers, set fires in dumpsters, bullied other students, and been so consistently disruptive in class that they were thrown out. At the mental hospital where they wanted my excessively anxious son to go the behaviors of his "peers" expanded to include such endearing traits as throwing desks across the room and self-mutilation. Now, after 2 years out of the school system he's about to go up for life scout, is off all medications, has been released by his psychologist, elected to OA this summer and completed his Ordeal, enjoyed the fall fellowship campout with his buddy (and reassured him when it got dark and scary in the woods)... Now, I didn't opine on the cub scout in question before - but I will now. Why doesn't someone tell the kid's parents that although he "could" be in boy scouts he's missing a great, fun, part of the program that he still could qualify to attend - namely a bear den... Home school parents are proud of their children's academic achievements, as are most parents, but they also understand more than most the difference between academic fitness and emotional maturity. I wouldn't think it would even be a confrontational discussion.
  5. DS and NJ - so y'all know, some homeschooled kids are ahead of their same-age public school peers, some are behind, some are even-steven. (Hmm, much like the kids that are still in school...) In public school the grade advancements are based on time-in-grade, for practical purposes. Homeschool parents who use published, graded curricula very often do find that their kids get ahead of their ages. The fact is that there just isn't that much work in a "typical" elementary school year. At home you're not waiting for other kids to catch up - or for the teacher to have time to come help you. You also are not spending time waiting for a drink, the bathroom, in the hallway, in the lunch line, your turn for library, to go out for recess. Nor are you socializing when you are supposed to be working - because as a homeschooler, your social time will be REAL social time- scouts, or park day, or 4 H - rather than whispers squeezed in between the glances of the teacher. School time is school time (well, unless you're an unschooler in which case all time is school time...) Most of the people I know that homeschool do so because either 1) their religious beliefs were not honored in public schools, and/or 2) their children were identified as having some sort of problem in public school, and they got tired of the alphabet labeling game (ADD, ADHD, MBD, low IQ, OCD, Aspergers....) None of the families I've met are especially well-off...most are close to poverty level or below. That makes the findings in the article below even more remarkable, if true for their study group as well....in short, it says that homeschoolers are much more likely than their public school peers to go to college, vote, volunteer, be politically active, read books, go to church, attribute success to hard work rather than luck, and report being happy. So, DS, why would you only support homeschooling when there is no other alternative? Personally, I'm grateful that homeschooling is legal in EVERY STATE IN THE US. For more on homeschoolers - http://www.washtimes.com/culture/20031022-092314-2522r.htm
  6. In San Antonio, T302 is chartered to Home Haven Educators.
  7. Here in Texas a fairly high percentage of doctors will NOT see anyone without health insurance, even if you are able and willing to slap cash on the barrelhead. If you do manage to find one that will see you, the cost of the visit for a cash customer averages $100. I know this, as I have paid for several of these for my uninsured grandkids when their parents were either unemployed or underemployed and the kid just could not stay well. Lest you say, oh, but we have PROGRAMS for the unemployed - but did you know that we ration availability for Medicaid and TANF by putting intensive physical and paperwork obstacles in the path of applicants. For instance, my step-daughter was asked to provide PROOF that she had no income, since she was staying at home taking care of her 3 pre-schoolers, and had no job. The social worker demanded to see her pay stub - from her non-existent job - and told her that she would not qualify since she couldn't provide a pay stub. (She provided the pay stub of her boyfriend, who is supporting her and her children to the best of his limited ability. More on that later.) Two months and several 8-hour visits later (another limiting strategy - leave them in the waiting room with their preschoolers for hours on end until they give up or must leave to pick up after-schoolers) they finally deduced that she probably was not going to be able to provide pay stubs from the job she didn't have, or child support receipts for child support she has never received - no, not once - and finally gave her Medicaid and WIC. No food stamps though; since her ex- has NEVER made a child support payment, they can't run a report on his payment record and oh, yes, she has to have that report to qualify. Medicaid is actually quite excellent insurance -but a lot of doctors no longer take it...so her work wasn't over, but it was an enormous improvement. My grandson was finally able to get the reconstructive surgery he needed for a urological birth defect. Now, if you are uninsured, can't pay cash, and your baby has some minor health complaint- say, ear infection or the like- you can go to the county hospital where the wait will be somewhere in the 12-16 hour range. You will eventually be seen, get a prescription for amoxycillin, most likely, and will generate somewhere around a $250 bill which will end up on your credit report if you can't pay it. You've been protected from the feared "overprescribing of antibiotics" at a cost of a week's pay for a construction worker in this area. If you DON'T do it, you could be subject to prosecution for medical neglect and could lose your kids over a bad diaper rash or an ear infection that bursts. I have health insurance. My insurer pays my doctor about $38 for a visit. I pay another $10. But I couldn't find any doc willing to take that amount for a visit if I were paying it myself - the over-the counter price is double the insurer's price. My old-fashioned prescription medications frequently cost the insurer less than the amount of my $15 copay, although I do have one that's a budget breaker, or would be if my kind insurer didn't help. But I pay the $15 nonetheless, that's the way it's set up. (I'm OK with it, since they pick up that other one.) The irony is clear - the consumers that can least afford it pay the highest rates. The insurers spend a double-digit percentage of our premium dollars providing benefits to their own employees (including salaries, of course), which adds no value to the medical care at all. Now if we could have a total free-market system, the average cost of a doctor visit would most likely go DOWN for most of us - and UP for the big insurers. This would put a total squeeze on them as their costs would rise but demand for their services would drop, as more people would be able to self-insure, at least for the small stuff. So I'm not seeing it happen. If you've never lived without a steady job and a health insurance card, and wish to offer opinions on this topic - why don't you give up both job and insurance to one of the many in my area who would love to have both (or EITHER), and live as they do for a few months? Day labor pays $6.50 an hour, no insurance, no worker comp coverage, no pay when it rains. The boyfriend I referenced above is 28 and both hands are already numb and tingling due to his use of power tools 12 hours a day (paid at straight time only) when the sun shines - but his employer pays him "as a contractor" so he won't have worker comp available to him. Of course has no insurance for himself - so he'll work until he's crippled...which won't be long. And he'll have no way to get medical care then either. My other son-in-law works for a government contractor (!!!!) that doesn't pay time-and-a-half over 40 hours - doesn't pay for drive time for out of state work - doesn't pay Davis-Bacon Act rates for the work provided - no insurance - and certainly doesn't pay when there is no work. They tell the workers that if they don't like it they can leave. They hire guys with records whom no one else will touch. (I bet you didn't know that having a prison record eliminates not only your right to vote, but to a large extent, your right to enjoy the protection of the labor laws?) I'm virtually certain based on MY 8 years as a government contractor that this employer is robbing you and me of our tax dollars on the pretense that he is paying these guys appropriately... but it ain't trickling down, that's a fact. Now, if we had "socialized medicine" - Brian could get his cumulative trauma treated before it becomes crippling - my grandkids could have their immunizations - probably half-a-million Americans with good business sense and business ideas could START a small business, as they wouldn't be locked into jobs for the sake of medical insurance - and oh, yeah, a whole bunch of insurance company clerks would need new work. Bring it on.
  8. Can't advise based on my own experience as I've never been south of the US. However, if asked my more-traveled dad would chime in loudly for Costa Rica. He likes it very much down there, considers it a lovely place in which his propensity for leaving the hotels and seeking out the locals didn't seem likely to have fatal consequences. He and my mom went several times before her untimely death last year. (Dad's 76 now, going on 45.) What he likes was that every person he met in Costa Rica was unfailingly proud of their country, generous with their time and possessions, and appeared to be generally content with his or her lot - although the "standard of living" was lower by far than what we are used to in this country, there wasn't much hopeless, depressing, grinding poverty. The country has a high literacy rate and a lot of people making it OK, if by dint of their kitchen garden and a few chickens in the yard. Actually, Dad considered it similar to conditions back on the Wisconsin farm - not much money, but nothing to buy anyway so who cares? No gap between rich and poor, since no one was rich at all. They used to vacation in Mexico but the past 10 years or so their favorite spots seemed to get excessively touristy - and the non-touristy spots seemed to get somewhat scarier. Now, my other well-traveled friend went to Honduras and loved it there too - but she was there on a medical mission trip which might not be quite the relaxing endeavor you have in mind. And there was danger there, in liberal quantity.
  9. My son and his buddy just came home from the local OA fall fellowship. They had a great time. This was their first "fun" weekend with the OA as both recently completed their Ordeal. But their only complaint was this: both observed that the other OA members seemed to only know vulgar jokes with homosexuals as the butt. I do not have examples as they both declined to repeat them, for which I think I may be grateful. My son's buddy apparently told the other guys to cut it out, as he didn't appreciate jokes like that. He pointed out that he knew some guys (outside scouting) that maybe were gay and they were his friends. I told him that I was proud of him for speaking his opinion, which apparently stopped the jokefest. Does the forum agree? Should I or he have done something else?
  10. I have the same problem and am hoping someone will pop up with an answer. Right now this difficulty has prevented me from starting our fall troop meetings as I am under a lot of stress and I just don't think I can handle their behavior without losing it myself.
  11. Well, this is timely as all get out. Our troop had been having optional merit badge activities for 30 minutes before the troop meeting started - but it was announced at the last one that these would now be an hour long, as the boys "just won't be getting enough done" with only 30 minutes ... and I'm pretty dang sure it's the SM and his wife that came up with this bright idea. The 30 minutes I didn't really mind as it was sort of "take it or leave it" - and my son "left it" for the most part, then we had a REAL meeeting which was fine with me. We have a very weak SPL just now - didn't want the job, his dad forced him to run - and he's the son of the SM and not inclined to argue with his old man. I think the SPL can't think of anything better to do with everyone, frankly, and finds himself floundering with bored boys (and adults), and so the idea that some adult MB counselor will take the pressure off him was great from his standpoint.
  12. Good question, Ed! All I can say is that more than one seemed to need my permission. A friend with 18 years in the classroom explained to me that teachers often find themselves in trouble when parents complain to the principal about their little darlings being failed. So my reassurance was necessary. Sounds insane, but there it is. My husband is a school bus driver. He got into trouble at work because he repeatedly wrote up a youngster on his bus for hitting and spitting on her neighbors - she was a littl'un, first grade I think, and just didn't have good impulse control. Not a bad kid, just badly behaved after a long day of classes. Her parents complained about the Mean Old Bus Driver's harassment of their sweet child - but upon viewing the videotape of her popping out of her seat, swatting another kid with her lunch bag, and spitting on him - they had to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, their daughter wasn't behaving appropriately. But nonetheless, my husband was disciplined for failing to control her. Mind you, the ONLY disciplinary tools bus drivers have are 1) assigning seats and 2) writing the child up for action by the school administration. That is ALL they can do. He had already reassigned her to the front seat - which did help getting the good video of M**** in action. But then he got into trouble for writing her up when the bad behavior persisted... does that make any sense to you? Sometimes it does seem the inmates are running the asylum....
  13. Thought I'd pop this thread back up to add my son's recent input. He's 19 now, in college, and yesterday he thanked me for NOT "making him do his homework" when he was in middle and high school. he acknowledges that if I had made him do his homework he would probably have had better grades - but he doesn't think he would love learning for the sake of learning, the way he does now. As I've said before, we chose not to medicate his ADD. When his teachers called me to inform me that he was failing, always because of failure to turn in homework, I would thank them for the call and tell them I would bring it to his attention. Then I would specifically give the teacher permission to fail him if he didn't turn in the work. I'd let my son know about the call, ask if he needed any supplies or other support from me, then let him figure it out. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. If he failed a class - well, he failed a class, and took it in summer school. It prevented him from going on band trips. Oh, well. We tried to let him know we loved him anyway, and supported him, and tried to keep the depression from running him over. He ended up taking the GED, which he found laughably simple, and went on to community college where he now has a 3.1 gpa. Many of his A-B honor roll friends whose parents closely supervised and monitored their homework during high school are kicking up their heels with college freedom and are NOW failing classes where they never did before. Go figure.
  14. I've not had an autistic child, but I've had a technically "retarded" child in my scout troop for years. (I say technically as her IQ is 72 but you wouldn't know it to meet her at all - she's been mainstreamed her whole life and functions quite well in high school society - helps that she's a knock-out...pray for her and her parents as she's dating now!) I've also heard 4 diagnoses in my own family - OCD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and depression. We're all fine, thanks for asking...half of those diagnoses appear to have been incorrect as life unfolded. Things to try - use whatever works best, discard the rest and try something else: 1) Ask the mom to stay for the meetings but give her something to do other than "help" her son -perhaps put her in charge of another child that needs extra attention. Find a kind parent to help the autistic boy. Explain to mom that the plan is designed to help her son gain independence from her, and ask her to talk to the other parent about how best to help him. This way, Mom is there in case there's a major meltdown but she is distracted from causing a ruckus herself. 2) In my experience, very shy and withdrawn children often find it difficult and threatening to make eye contact - but sometimes respond nicely to someone that stands next to them, shoulder to shoulder, and talks to them or shows them stuff. So if you have information to impart, stand next to him rather than facing him. Have stuff he can touch and hold and mess with without getting into trouble. Come to think, that's good advice for any Tiger-age kid. 3) The kid's a Tiger cub, for heaven's sake. If he doesn't finish the night's craft, it isn't a big deal. If he participates in the meeting at any level (stands for the pledge, puts his wolf ears up with everyone else, tries to work on the craft, whatever) it's a successful day and you should tell hiim so. If ever he makes eye contact, he should only see smiling eyes. 4) If he gets into mischief due to his disability, he should be prevented from causing disruption to the meeting (to be fair to the other kids) but not necessarily "punished" as he is likely unable to connect the dots between his behavior and the punishment. Logical consequences are OK - hit a boy with a stick, the stick gets disappeared. Write on the wall and voila! NO more crayon (although redirecting to paper and cleaning the marks off is another viable option) Kick and those naughty shoes go on the mantel until time to leave or go outside. My son's Montessori teacher taught me this one and it really works. She also told my son he had to keep his angry shoes under control or he couldn't wear his beloved cowboy boots. He was SO tall and proud the first day he had permission to wear his boots - he was sure he could control their evil tendency to kick - and they were still on his feet at the end of the day! 5) Keep the other kids from teasing him. Teach them how to interact with him and tell them that if he doesn't want to play like they do, it's ok - it's just his choice - it isn't their fault. If you just accept him, they will too.
  15. Years ago, I voluntarily stayed home with my toddlers and sent my older son with his Dad, as chasing toddlers in unsafe environments does not make for a relaxing weekend. Tried it a few times and it wasn't fun. Now their Dad stays home with whoever isn't going. Slightly off topic but for those who haven't tried it: IMHO the only effective way to slow down running kids is to inform them up front that running is NOT allowed, and then when you see one run, make him go back to the point he began to run and WALK the distance again. Just telling them to stop running is a temporary fix but making them double back imprints it on their little brains - particularly if they, for instance, lose their place in the chow line or some such thing.
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