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About scouter659

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  1. I wonder if anyone can share any ideas or opinions on this one. Almost 2 years ago, a very dynamic assistant scoutmaster took over for the retiring scoutmaster of our troop. He has been with the unit for many years and was a natural choice among all of the leadership and committee that he should do the job. Hes a great people person and the boys loved the idea as well. His greatest strength is his ability to train junior leaders and that has resulted in better than average youth leadership in the troop. He is a really NICE guy but that is somewhat of a problem. During the past few years the general discipline of the unit has been on a slide. One of the unique problems we face is that the boys never misbehave when hes around so he never directly sees insubordination. He is aware of it and freely admits that disciplining is not his strong suit and he is about to reach out for help among the leadership. We want to keep him as scoutmaster and are just looking for ideas in support of him. Of course, its all even more complex than I can explain here but wed like to know what seasoned veterans think of the situation. The main thing is that we want to keep him as scoutmaster. He is a talented leader with so much more to offer just weak in the discipline dept. What do you think?
  2. In just over a month from now I'll be going to my 6th consecutive Summer Camp but this is my first since taking over as Scoutmaster earlier this year. I spend almost every waking moment thinking about how perfect I'd like it to be, although I know that things aren't always perfect. But I am preparing and think I have put together a good plan for our Junior Leaders to truly run it. I am arranging for 5 of our Staff members to have various jobs for the week in camp and am assigning one of them the task of making sure, with the help of others, that a small campfire is burning by 9pm in case I decide to deliver a SM minute before they relax and retire for the night. So I'm driving into work this morning and, although I am not at all deeply religious, I thought a nice prayer might be nice to help set the pace for the week and these words just came to me. I hope no one finds it inappropriate if I share it with you in case anyone's interested. I guess I was just thinking, gee I suppose a SM minute like couldn't hurt: A Summer Camp Prayer Lord, please grant us a productive and safe week in camp. Help us to take seriously, the opportunity to take a giant step forward in our advancement goals. May we model our behavior according to the words of the Scout Oath and Law and to treat each other with dignity and respect as brothers as we share the week together in your great outdoors. From the Young Brave, to the veteran Scout to the adult leader, help us to grow, learn and live according to the principles established by Scoutings founder, Baden Powell. Guide us to truly help other people at all times and to keep safe our families and friends back home. Allow us Lord, to have the kind of week that will let us tell great stories about for many years to come. Amen I think this forum can, at time, be a great source for Scouters. Enjoy your summer.
  3. Ive just started to get up to speed on your story and it all seems crazy to me. I have been involved, through my son, with our Troop for about 15 years and just last December became Scoutmaster. Heres my quick spin. I guess I look at every boy as an individual. They come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention personality quirks. Hmmm, sounds like most adults I know. Arent we there to teach, spread the principles of Scouting and train them to be leaders? We have a boy who has been with us for 3 years who has down syndrome. HE has been a miracle and just by his presence has taught all of us more about the special needs of human beings than we can ever hope to learn. Nobodys perfect and I would hate to criticize a 20 year Scouting veteran but it does appear to me too that he is out of line. Ive read, with great interest so many of the responses and tend to lean with the people who think you should find another Troop. I dont know where you are but I hope theres a healthy dose of alternatives for you to choose from and wish you the best of luck.
  4. Thank you all very much. To be honest, your responses were what I was hoping to hear. Funny how a parent can throw you off your game sometimes and actually make you doubt what you're doing is correct. Or maybe it's that important to have a good conscience and have the need to reaffirm your decisions. I love helping to conduct the training program and feel that if even one boy is so inspired to become a better leader and human being then we've done our job. The web site I was referring to by the way is www.scouter659.htmlplanet.com My hectic schedule precludes me from doing a lot of updates but a lot of the info is there. I am hoping that, after this weekend, I'll have time to insert photos of the 'Trust-Fall' in question. Again...thank you all.
  5. Hello all: Just would like to get a few opinions here. This weekend were going to be presenting our 6th consecutive Troop Junior Leader Training Graduation Weekend. This is an event that we created that is the culmination of a yearlong JLT course that we have developed over the years. Without getting into specifics that would require many pages of written volumes, were very proud of our course and have developed a website that, as we understand it, many Troops use as a model to design their own JLT courses as well. I wanted to give you a little background before getting to the meat of my issue. Part of the Training weekend involved a Trust-Fall activity. It is run by C.O.P.E. Trained skilled Scouters and has become a highlight feature of the weekend that we do directly following a very good class on Youth Protection that is very age appropriate. It is a highlight but only one of many different activities that we present throughout the weekend. This year, we have a mom who is extremely upset about the Trust Fall activity. I explained to her that no activity is forced and there are times when some boys opt out of even doing it. That is handled in a very respectful and positive way. She was basically insisting that we cancel that exercise altogether. My first impression was simply that her son certainly doesnt have to participate in it and theres no problem thereit will in no way affect the outcome of everything he has earned in the course along the way. She went on to tell me how she has lost sleep for a few nights thinking about it and was very upset. I got to thinking about how dangerous camp, in generally can be. I guess, as soon as we step out of the car at camp we all enable the possibility of danger. I guess its possible to severely twist an ankle on uneven terrain. We allow Scouts to handle axes, knives, bow saws, lightweight stoves and matches and, wellI guess that can be dangerous. So I wondered if denying the 10 other boys involved, most of who know about the activity and are looking forward to it should be denied the experience. I even had doubts about doing the exercise at all wondering if it is even an approved activity by the BSA. I decided to call and speak to a professional about the situation. Well, I found out that it is a sanctioned and approved activity falling under the 2002 revisions of C.O.P.E. and it goes on to talk about what a positive experience it can be and the good things that it teaches. I called her back and the compromise is that the Scout in question and his dad will simply take an impromptu walk with his son away from the activity. Shes mad at me for going back on my word but, not being new to Scouting but new as a Scoutmaster, I felt it my responsibility to both respect her feelings AND research the thing to make sure that its alright to do. I intensely thought about the good of the one and the good of the group. I was just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and how it may have been handled. In my heart, I just want to see everyone walk away happy from any experience we present and the thought of doing anything that would hurt a child is obscene to me. In addition, theres nothing we would make them do that we wouldnt do ourselves. Is there an added sense of danger involved? Possibly but I dont take anything lightly and am solidly confident in our staff. How safe are our homes? Like many of you, I am inspired by teaching kids good things and thats what it is in my heart. I may have a chance to check in on this forum tomorrow but them I am off the weekend and will look forward to any follow up that may be posted. Thank you.
  6. Like many of you have said we allow matches but we don't like lighters. And it's also true that most of the boys don't bring them anyway. We do, however, issue matches to Patrols when we train them on and they cook with lightweight stoves. We actually also teach match lighting techniques because, believe it or not, a lot of boys aren't accustomed to that. We see many of them strike the match and watch as it goes out before reaching an igniter. So in our Junior Leader Training course when we teach things like dual fuel stoves, we also teach them the proper way to strike a match and cup their hand to keep the flame lit all the while making them understand that, like a wrench, a match is a tool. Bottom line is I also agree that the idea of it not being allowed truly may be urban legend.
  7. We have an interesting Troop Junior Leader Training website you may like: www.scouter659.htmlplanet.com
  8. HOLD EVERYTHING! I found it. I am preparing for the end of our year-long Troop JLT course and I really like to use this poem...can't believe I misplaced it. I'd like to share it with you all & I'll explain how I use it. The JLT candidates are lined up and each get a piece of nylon rope about 8 inches long and we ask, "What can you do with a piece of rope like that"? We get a few answers but then we ask each boy to tie a square knot to the next one, and the end of the rope to the next boy and so on. When it is one long length we ask them again and get a host of great answers. We then read them this: I picked some scraps of rope apart To see how they were made. Most of it was twisted hemp Yet some was cotton braid. And from the stuff I played with I thought aloud, "Rope size runs To hawsers that hold battleships of fifty thousand tons. But there's another kind of rope Not made by a machine. Stronger than the best steel cable Yet so fine it can't be seen. I'm not talking of the kind of rope That anybody buys. But the magic line of friendship That holds two friendly guys. I learned a lot of things at camp But the best trick that I got Was to take that line of friendship And tie the proper knot. (Author Unknown) Since some of you may have gone through the trouble of looking I thought it responsible to share it since I FOUND IT! Thanks and enjoy!
  9. I'm wondering if anyone is familiar with a little poem about rope and the analogy drawn in the verses is all about the ties that bind friendship in Scouting. I used this poem for the last few years at the end of our Troop JLT course and I seemed to have misplaced it. If someone out there knows what I'm talking about or has a copy or can provide a link where I might find it I would appreciate it. I believe I found it once somewhere in the vast collections of Scoutmaster Minutes on the web but I have checked the major ones and can't seem to locate it. I check out the forums every few weeks and have often replied to issues and have also been helped with many opinions. Thanks for taking the time to read this and hope that someone out there may be familiar with this little, but very meaningful little poem. Thanks! I'll be checking for replies late tonight and tomorrow. Good Scouting to you all.
  10. I joined our Troop as Committee Chairman (why I took on that job immediately is a long story...perhaps someday 'round the campfire) when my son was 11. He will soon be 23 and is still an active ASM. About 9 years ago if someone would have told me I would go to (what was then Scoutmaster Fundamental Training) I would have said you're crazy. I went, loved it and it inspired me to create a year-long Troop Junior Leader Training Course. About 5 years ago if someone would have told me that I'll be going to Wood Badge, I would have said IMPOSSIBLE...no time for THAT. I went, it was incredible (One of the first in our region to do the 21st. Century Course). If 3 years ago someone would have told me I would be on Wood Badge Staff I would have said...I don't think I really have the talent for that. Last year...Troop Guide NEIII-163. I assumed the role of Scoutmaster last December because our prior Scoutmaster (a dear old friend who is still with us) had just had enough after 14 years. If someone would have said when I joined that someday you'll be the Scoutmaster...I would have said, YEAH RIGHT...GET THERAPY! Best and most rewarding decision I ever made. You should make that decision too. I agree with many of the others, your strengths WILL get stronger and your weaknesses will slowly melt away. Just surround yourself with the right people to make the program happen the way you would like and VALUE their friendship & opinion even if it sometimes means swaying to the other side. That's not losing control, that's diplomacy. Best of luck and it seems you'll do well. For anyone to even post here and ask strangers their opinion says a lot for you. Good Scouting www.scouter659.htmlplanet.com
  11. Hello all. Actually I was the person that posted in the previous thread regarding the Leaders Meetings. I dont think youre out of touch at all. I do think that the leadership structure of most Scout Troops vary from Unit to Unit. In our case, we have in excess of 20 very active ASMs, 12 of which are Wood Badge Trained (four of whom who have served on Staff) the rest except for one great new guy are all basic trained. We are a close knit group passionate about the Unit and helping to turn young boys into better human beings. We also subscribe heavily to the boy-run concept and Patrol Method of Scouting. We also meet as a leadership group, perhaps, in a sharing of ideas that keeps enhancing our program. Its just the structure of how we do things. And now, we plan on including our SPL and Junior Asst. Scoutmasters to those meetings that were previously inclusive. Like most Units, we are always evolving and changing. This works for us and we are, proudly, one of the premier Units in our District and Council. We also have a Year-Long Junior Leader Training program, the most comprehensive training system that we know of to train our youth to lead better. That, I would guess is an unheard of concept as well. I feel lucky to be involved in such a smooth running, diverse and concerned group of people who are focused on an ongoing set of goals to be the best we can be. It just works for us. As Scoutmaster, I very much appreciate the input of everyone and I still have the final say. But I do appreciate your comments.
  12. Yes it is sticky, isnt it? We had a similar situation in our Troop where a dad who was also a leader had to go for a variety of very good reasons. Now he and his wife are divorced but somewhat amicable. Their son is in our Troop and doing well, a great kid. Mom watches him (and us, the leaders) like a hawk but she is, inside, a good person who also understood the problems with the dad. True we could not remove him from Scouting, and that wasnt our intent but he WAS detrimental to the Unit. Its sad and, fortunately, very rare when something like this happens. I wish you luck.
  13. Thank you for all of the great replies! The structure of our Troop is that Committee meetings are actually separate things, as are our leader meetings, PLC's etc. I think because of the uniqueness of our leadership group this action would be most appropriate at this time. I feel kind of bad for the one Scouter (Fat Old Guy) who replied giving the impression that their Scoutmaster is IT and what HE says goes. Personally, I am a big fan of the 'Shared Leadership' concept and, as I have just taken over the position, I am NOT looking to make sweeping changes...just ones that I believe will improve an already successful group and its program. By the way, I love this forum and being able to gather opinions from everywhere. This forum is a great tool for getting a feel for what's out there. Thanks!
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