Jump to content

sandspur

Members
  • Content Count

    129
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

10 Good

About sandspur

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Profile Information

  • Location
    Kansas
  1. sandspur

    Committee Meetings Open?

    He may not be required to invite anyone other than committee members, but is there a reason not disclosed that he did not do so? Since that was past practice, I am left to wonder if this was just an oversight (unlikely if the above quote was his response) or if a sensitive discussion was held and the committee did not want certain folks there.
  2. sandspur

    Our CC has a problem with a patrol name...

    Agree with Beavah it is not the CC's call unless the name is really not scout appropriate which is not the case here.
  3. Other thoughts for bus use: 1. Insurance is not as bad as you might think. We own two former school busses and our insurance is about $2,000/year total if you shop around. It was much more expensive through the CO so we went on our own. Works out to about $35 per scout/year for us. 2. Repairs can be big ticket, but the worst we have seen is $2,500 for a single item. That is over a period of several years so we have had good luck there. 3. No need to pull a trailer (and dangerous!). You can store all the packs for 30 passengers if you remove the last couple of seat rows and build some storage areas out of plywood. Also, you can install storage bins under the floor similar to what you see in a greyhound. Just big metal boxes with doors that open to the outside but holds all the troop gear and the scouts keep their packs inside in the rear. This was professionally done for a few hundred dollars. We also built overhead shelves. 4. Our busses get used for monthly trips and 2-3 major out of state trips per year. 5. Adults get CDL on a volunteer basis. 6. We do minor bodywork etc ourselves, but contract maintenance with the same outfit that services the local school busses. Most folks will give you a reasonable deal for scouts if you ask. 7. Keeps the troop together on trips, not in the convoy has anyone seen Joe in the last 100 miles? mode. A former troop of mine did the more traditional troop trailer and rented 15 passenger vans for high adventure. This worked OK but some downsides were: 1. Finding someone with a big enough vehicle to tow the fully loaded trailer. Same couple of guys with big pickups had to step forward a lot. It was not a big trailer, some troops had larger ones, but loaded up it was HEAVY! 2. I am sure a former SM burned out his transmission pulling that baby up the Rockies. He was dedicated and ate the cost, but we found later a lot of dads politely refused to pull the trailer and some asked for compensation beyond gas cost to compensate for maintenance on long trips. Consider you are really asking volunteers to donate the cost of vehicle maintenance/wear if you go this route. 3. The troop grew to the point where it needed two trailers for High Adventure, which doubles the issues above. 4. I have known several troops to have had their trailers stolen. Never seen a bus walk away.
  4. sandspur

    Managing troop advancement

    We use TroopMaster.net The scouts signed handbooks and blue cards for records are the core records, as are forms we have designed for BOR sign off, and the advancement chair enters these results into TM to help us keep track of things. We use TM to generate paper advancement reports to send to the council office to update council records. If there is a difference between the paper records and TM, we go with the paper. One good thing about the .net version of TM is that the files are kept on a server, and are accessible to anyone with the correct passwords and permissions. So the SM or committee members can look at the records but have limited permission to change them. The scribe can record attendance records on TM from a home computer but not change other areas of the program. We do not however attempt to put each requirement sign off in a scouts handbook or partial MB into TM. We are a large troop and that is too much of a data entry issue for us. We generally update a scouts records when a rank or MB is attained.
  5. sandspur

    New Definition of "ACTIVE"

    Well, maybe notDoes say you can drop a scout after six months of nonresponse or non-scout initiated contact. But at recharter. So is the nonresponsive scout active until recharter?
  6. sandspur

    New Definition of "ACTIVE"

    So let me see if I understand. A scout is active if he pays his dues at the start of the year, never shows up for any meetings or activities, including campouts, but the scoutmaster e-mails every few months. If the SM mass e-mails a troop newsletter, I guess that is contact as long as the message did not bounce back as undeliverable. Why do I suspect national is really interested in keeping numbers as high as possible?
  7. Well, arguments like this never convince anybody but for what it is worth, my $0.02: Full disclosure, I am a scientist, but not a climatologist. There are really three intertwined debates that are related, but not the same: 1. Is there a general climate warming trend (are glaciers melting, sea ice receding etc)? 2. If so, is this related to CO2? 3. If it exists, is the trend man-made? Question one: Hard to say with certainty in the mid-term, since temperature records past a hundred years or so ago must be inferred from secondary sources (tree rings etc) but most evidence seems to suggest a warming. Question two: If there is a relationship, it may be inverse (CO2 levels seem to rise AFTER temperatures, not before and in any event CO2 seems a minor greenhouse gas as compared to others). Question three: Here is the real argument! Here it pays to be skeptical. Are glaciers receding: Seems yes, did we do it? Seems no. Why? For one piece of evidence, look at this link to the US Govt. map of Glacier Bay AK showing the historic extent of the glaciers there since 1750: http://www.nps.gov/carto/PDF/GLBAmap1.pdf You will note the glaciers have receded dramatically and steadily, but have been doing so since at least 1750 (the first year for hard data). Since no-one was driving SUVs or flying jet airliners at the time, and the industrial revolution did not kick off in a big way for another hundred years it seems the glaciers are receding rapidly but humans are not the cause. May have to do with warming or with precipitation changes. Similar data for Greenland , Newfoundland etc. In the same vein, NASA says Mars is warming too. So are we the cause of warming? At the very least, this is debatable (sorry Al Gore, the debate ON THAT is not over!). And as a scientist, but not a climatologist, I will say that keeping raw data hidden and trying to censor peer-reviewed journals is a real red face offense and they should be ashamed and suffer the consequences, but I have known folks who have done it in my field (scientific arguments can be very heated and some folks will do anything to prevail, including not playing fair). My take, based on the data I have seen: The globe is warming (but not nearly as hot as it has been in the past) and our emissions may have some effect but are not the whole story. If we can clean up our act, reduce emissions and pollution, lets do so. Why pollute if you dont have to? But it is not time to panic and bankrupt national economies until we are a lot better informed than we are now.
  8. sandspur

    off-piste Skillbases

    Had a SM in a former troop who decided the scouts should know how to do laundry, iron clothes and sew on a patch or repair a button. He devoted one meeting to it. Seemed a good idea, but did not become a troop tradition. Ironically, my Dad (a Kings scout from Canada many years ago) showed me a badge he earned for that very thing.
  9. sandspur

    Troop Trailer Insurance

    Do you leave your troop equipment in the trailer? Better make sure your insurance covers the contents and not just the trailer. Also, check if it covers depreciated or replacement cost. Invest in a good hitch lock and park in a garage or fenced area. Unfortunately, I know of several troops that have had trailers stolen.
  10. sandspur

    Park Rangers and Scouts?????

    Beavah: I have had the opposite experience. Rangers have been very cooperative and we have never had a bad experience. Not only do we leave a campsite cleaner than we found it, we have a troop policy of performing a service project as part of any high adventure trip. So, if we go to a national park, we coordinate with the rangers in advance to perform a project they select and supervise, giving them the labor of 30+ scouts and scouters for 4 hours or so. Since most parks are cash-strapped and under-staffed, we have found the rangers not only supportive but grateful. On our last high adventure, the national park rangers asked when we could come again since their experience was so good. Local (state parks) in a neighboring state frequently waive camping fees for us for the same reason. However, I find your comments on the noise created by a large group of boys to be spot-on. The cure here is good planning. There is usually no reason to camp the scouts in a family camping area. It is up to leaders to find that group or isolated area not next door to the retirees in their Winnebago.
  11. sandspur

    2010 Scout Weight Restrictions

    Equipment capacity and evacuation explanations are not valid explanations for what the policy is doing. The restriction in on height/weight ratio, not weight. As pointed out, the 510 guy who is 234 is banned, while the guy 2 taller who weighs the same is OK to go. The scouts/stretchers and job of carrying out the weight is the same, regardless of the height. National is trying to enforce a physical fitness standard without actually testing fitness. For those who think this is great, will we bar smokers? Insulin-dependent diabetics? Scouts on anti-seizure meds? Right now we have all three headed to Philmont this summer but just cut one adult from our crew unless he drops five pounds by then. This same guy did Rim-to Rim on the Grand Canyon two years back at the same weight. I would feel better about a physicians release that the participant is fit to handle the trip and leave it at that.
  12. sandspur

    Not passing Board of Review

    I agree with Beavah. Wens seems to be asking (several times) how the troop can ask this scout to go back and do more work when the troop has accepted POR with little or no effort in the past? Wens: Yep, that is the question. Now that you are hip deep in the swamp, how to you get out? Yeh, there are troops out there where a POR is just a formality. After six months, it is signed off even if the scout did not do a thing. My experience is the scouts dont like it, if anyone bothers to ask them. They feel it is unfair to those who put forth effort in a POR to give credit to a scout who did not. Cheapens the efforts of those who put forth the effort. And yes, the leadership should have put a stop to this before, but that is in the past. Unfortunately, I have been in both extremes. I was part of a troop where PORs could be a joke, and part of one currently where POR evaluation is run like a Fortune 500 job review. Try to set reasonable standards for boys. What do you do now? Suggestion: Revisit with the scout as suggested above. Perhaps he will agree he did not really do much. Get this one out of the way with the lads buy in. Importantly, give him a clear path forward. But for your troop, I suggest you discuss this in committee, agree there has been a problem in the past and set some standards for the future. Then, bring this to the PLC. I think you might very well find the PLC is supportive of assuring that scouts put forth some effort in the POR. Get them behind you. With the PLC and committee aligned, announce in a meeting that FROM NOW ON, the following standards apply to POR credit in our troop (insert whatever reasonable rules you come up with). Then put the past behind you.
  13. sandspur

    Youth Protection Issue or Over-reaction?

    SMT 224 wrote: Bottom Line: Dont ever be alone with a scout SMT: I agree totally. But I also maintain the ASM in this case was not alone with a scout as he was in a public area with, we are told, hundreds of other people around.
  14. sandspur

    Youth Protection Issue or Over-reaction?

    SMT224 wrote: this leader should not have gone off alone with one of the youngest Scouts in your unit But read the OP: a very new (3 months), very young (11-13 yo) and pretty small (11 scouts) troop. There ARE no older scouts in this troop. The SMs main beef, normally justified, is that the ASM is having trouble making the mental jump from cubs to scouts. But I still have seen no real discussion of the difficulty doing this in a troop without ANY older, senior, experienced scouts to serve as SPL, ASPL PL etc etc. Maybe I just like being devils advocate but perhaps in a troop without the normal leadership structure, the ASM sees some justification in acting more like a cubmaster than a venture advisor (to take the extremes to make my point). Just thinking.
  15. sandspur

    Youth Protection Issue or Over-reaction?

    YP does not and cannot protect all scouts all the time from nefarious adults, nor can it protect all adults all the time from false accusations or misunderstandings. It is quite clear if you have taken the training that an adult and youth together is acceptable in a public area in sight of others (door open in a room with others outside, in sight of others at a campout etc.) Think: Scoutmaster conference (do you make an ASM sit in and listen to every word?) Do you insist on two adults in every car transporting scouts to a campout? What if a scout wants to have a private word with you about something? Do you insist another adult listen in or do you move out of hearing of others but still in sight? You are on a canoe trip with scouts. You are an adult with 1-2 younger scouts in a canoe but other adults in canoes are in the group and nearby (but not close enough to hear every word said in your canoe) Is that OK? In this case, from what we are told, the ASM was with a scout and there was no other scouter from the troop with them, but they were in a public area with hundreds of other people around, including other adults, and in sight of others. It was never alleged they went off alone in private. If you insist on having two YP-trained adults from the troop in close contact when with scouts (in hearing and sight) even in a public area like a mall, restaurant or theme park you had better have a LOT of adult volunteers!
×