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Scouting Mom

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  1. District commissioner or Unit Commissioner???? There are multiple unit commissioners and our district's policy is that whenever possible, the unit commissioner should not be a member of the units he is commissioner for. And yes, the reason is if there is a conflict, an outside perspective is often needed. Now a District Commissioner is a different issue. There is only one per district and he is the head of all the Unit commissioners. Since he most likely started out in a troop position and often still has a son in scouting, he usually holds some sort of position in some troop somewhere. Since he is a parent first, it's unfair to say he shouldn't hold a troop position if he so desires. If conflicts arise and he is part of the problem, there is the District Committee Chair and the District Executive to appeal to.
  2. My son joined our local version of "Troop 1" when he crossed from Webelos. He was ok with that. He had an ok time. Then when he got involved with an after school activity that conflicted with troop meetings, he transferred to "Troop 2." The decision to transfer was strictly a scheduling thing and I wouldn't have thought the differences were that big, but the difference in his experience is amazing. The boys in Troop 2 have a bigger ownership of the troop. They take more responsibility for the advancement of younger scouts. The SM may need to point out that Little Johnny is still Tenderfoot, but once he does, Joey Life Scout gets right on it. My son was a Tenderfoot when he left the first troop and within a month he was First Class. He'd done most of the work before, but no one in "Troop 1" could be bothered to sit down with him to discuss his progress and sign things off... he'd asked repeatedly, but didn't pursue it when he was put off for later. "Troop 2" didn't put him off for later because the older boys are almost always available for the younger scouts. My son is now a Life Scout, while the boys from his patrol in "Troop 1" are mostly 2nd and 1st class after three years. My younger son is 1st class and the boys who crossed over to "Troop 1" around the same time he did are Scout or Tenderfoot. AND when "Troop 1" needed more volunteers to work on an Eagle project, they called "Troop 2" because they know that if the boys can be there, they will be. Are meetings unorganized? Usually, but they eventually get the job done. Are the CoHs chaotic? Sometimes, but usually the boys are prepared and there is an adult Advancement Chair, who usually has all the background work done. There are those who argue that "Troop 1" gives the boys more experience working with adults outside their families and being able to assert oneself (which was my son's greatest problem) is an important skill to learn. I will grant you that and I will grant you that "Troop 1" is a perfectly fine troop for many boys. But my son interacts with adults frequently in merit badge meetings, with the OA, in BORs, and most recently, at district level meetings that he has gone to. He learned to assert himself when he realized that when he spoke, the other scouts and the adults listened and considered what he had to say. IMO, as long as the adults oversee health and safety concerns, the more hands off, the better. If the COH is running late, the awards are given out of order, they forget their lines, the scoutmaster has to find his own chair, in the end the job gets done. Next time, the boys remember the things they forgot this time because they'll have seen what happens when they don't remember.
  3. I agree with the others, fill out the application, be honest. As a committee member in that same situation, I could see a restriction on you being able to drive other scouts, but in my experience in Cub Scouts, parents mostly drive their own kids. If there is some question of you having an alcohol problem as opposed to a temporary lapse in judgement, a wise committee chair may make surprise visits to your den meetings and/or occasionally ask other parents, "So, how is that new den leader working out?" But a single DWI with no history of them or further occurrences should disqualify you.
  4. bsahandbook.org still contains the position descriptions that were linked here a year ago in the last post. Now, on this page: http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/ProSpeak/insights/2010_03_leave_no_trace.aspx it says, Leave No Trace Trainer The troop Leave No Trace Trainer helps minimize impact on the land by teaching members the principles of Leave No Trace and improving Scouts outdoor ethics decision-making skills. The senior patrol leader may appoint a Scout, 14 years or older who has successfully completed the official 16-hour Leave No Trace Trainer training course, to serve as the troop Leave No Trace Trainer. A Scout under the age of 14, or who has not completed Leave No Trace Trainer training, may serve as an instructor teaching Leave No Trace skills until he obtains the necessary training. At what point did this change officially? When my son heard that Leave No Trace Trainer was going to be an official position, he was practically drooling with anticipation. He was appointed to the position in January 2010, before the training course was even introduced. He is not 14 yet. He got his Star rank on the strength of this leadership position. Now, an online conversation that includes members of our council's advancement committee is saying that when he goes for Eagle, they will disqualify anyone who lists this position before he turns 14 and without proof of having taken the LNT trainer course. If someone can point help me figure out when this position description was changed, I would appreciate it so that a couple of years from now my son doesn't have to deal with a bunch of garbage because BSA contradicted itself and didn't clarify this from the stare. TIA
  5. Every pack, every district and every council does this differently... Our district used to recharter in March, now we recharter in December. Our pack charges a pro-rated amount in September for new scouts and then charges everyone, old and new, in late November to cover the next year from January 1 to December 31. When we rechartered in March, we charged everyone in February. Between September and November, we lose a few, when our recharter was in March, we lost even more. No point in rechartering people who aren't attending and no fair for the pack to have to pay recharter fees for people who dropped. If they've paid a year's worth, they aren't going to tell you that their kid got bored after 2 months and they don't need to be on the recharter. They are going to tell you to keep them on the books (they have already paid for it afterall), because they will work on changing the boy's mind. So the pack pays the recharter fees and the boy never comes back. When we changed the recharter date (a decision made by our council, which we had no control over) we had to decide if we were going to continue pro-rating for those joining in September or collect for the remainder of the year PLUS the new year. We decided that even though those joining in September are only paying up front for 3-4 months membership and then paying again in November, we decided that was a better option than putting them in sticker shock by charging them for 16 months up front. Some other packs opted to risk the sticker shock in the interest of not begging for money twice. One pack I know has always collected in September for everyone old or new. Problem with that is, that when they recharter they are paying recharter fees for a whole year, but the families have only given them 8 months worth of dues. This also back-fired on them when they failed to hold the recharter money in reserve until recharter time and then had no money for it. At least the way we do it, we are taking in the money within a couple of weeks of when we have to pay it out, so we have it readily available.
  6. I don't have a small pack. I have the larger pack that absorbs all the surrounding small packs when they fail. The biggest complaint I hear from the members of the packs that fail is lack of parent involvement. In our medium sized pack, we have plenty of drop and run parents. There are those who are looking for us to be babysitters but by and large the reason is because they have other children and other demands on their time....they are rushing their kids off to soccer or ballet class and Cubs are just one more thing to squeeze in. You can't afford to let them drop and run, you have to get your parents actively involved and make them want to choose scouts over other conflicting events. You only have 6 kids, you have a maximum of 12 parents if you are lucky. If you are really lucky, you have some grandparents or other extended family. Out of that you need a Committee Chair, Cubmaster, 2 den leaders, a treasurer and at least one other committee member. That's half your parents right there. You have to make the parents as well as the kids want to stay involved. Make sure you are having advancement of some sort every month. Get those kids some beltloops or something every single month. It's the parents, as much as the kids, who want to have tangible proof that something is going on. If you don't have the funds to do beltloops all the time, start a patch segment program.... Patch segments (around here they are called "wedges") are little patches less than an inch that are designed to go around a center patch. The Patch Place (http://www.thepatchplace.com/) calls them "Fun Arc" awards. Ideal Emblem (http://www.idealemblem.com/) calls them segments. Those 2 companies use different sizes, so pick one company or the other, don't bounce back and forth. Here's an example of a council that has incorporated segments into their program: http://www.overlandtrailscouncil.org/pubs/c/4_segmentpatches.pdf That council has assigned meaning and earning requirements to the segments, but BSA doesn't view these as official patches, so feel free to assign them whatever meaning you want. You can come up with something every month, maybe more than one thing....ie. they did a skit at a den meeting, there's a segment for that...a song? one for that too. Go-see-it to the firehouse? there's a segment for that. They cost about 50 cents a piece. The boys put a circle patch in the center of their patch vest or blanket, surround them by a row of segments and then start a new row and see how big their circle can get. Yes, people will tell you it's all about the program and what makes families want to stay is the fun they are having...yes that's true, but what happens when they MUST miss an event? As far as they are concerned, nothing happened. Then they miss another event... BUT when the other Cubs are getting awards and showing them off, the kids AND the parents want to know what they missed. Their non-scout friends are going to want to know what they missed too.
  7. How do you all figure you cannot register a boy who is 11 as a Cub? We recently had a boy register with us whose Dad filled out the application saying he was 11 (almost 12)and in the 4th grade. ScoutNet didn't kick it out. As it turns out Dad mixed up his sons' birth years and this particular boy was only 8, but ScoutNet STILL has him listed as being 11. Our pack also had a boy who was held back in Kindergarten and was 11 and in 4th grade when he last recharted with us. He crossed over just before his 12th birthday in his 5th grade year. As has been said, a boy can be a Cub until he is 11y6m or 5th gr +6mo, whichever is later. And sorry, rrelaljrksw, but your parents CAN interpret it exactly as written and keep the kids in Cubs until the Fall after 5th grade. Just make sure that all the parents understand that just because the DLs want to keep their kids back, doesn't mean they have to hold their kids back. Sounds like the real problem is that the local Troop is not to their liking. To this problem I would make 2 suggestions. 1st, make sure the parents understand that Troops are boy-lead. Was the meeting they went too controlled chaos or just chaos? Despite appearances, they may actually have been getting things done. As Webelos leaders, they are supposed to be getting the boys and their parents used to the boy-lead idea, but they may have missed that lesson themselves. I'm new to Boy Scouts, since my oldest crossed over less than a year ago, but I've seen truly boy lead troops and I've seen the opposite (sometimes called Webelos 3) and trust me when I say the boy lead ones are healthier troops with boys who learn more and learn about taking responsibility. The "Webelos3" troop I know of had so much in-fighting among the adults that the only thing the boys learned was how to pick on each other and intimidate the new kids. (They were emulating the adults). My second suggestion is to go "troop shopping." If the one troop really is unsuitable, look around. There are bound to be other troops nearby. A few years ago, our Webelos went to visit the troop they thought was their only option (see earlier comment about "Webelos3" troop). All 5 boys opted to not crossover and to quit Scouts altogether. Our CC, a die-hard Scout geek, encouraged them to look a little further down the road. The Webelos took his advice and every one of them crossed over afterall. In fact, 4 years later, 4 of the 5 boys are still in Boy Scouts.
  8. Speaking as "the wife".... I knew what I was getting into when I got married to an Eagle Scout with fond memories of his time in Scouting. While we were dating, he got a job in the next state and we didn't see each other as much as we wanted to, so he filled his time by becoming an ASM with a Troop in his new town...never laid eyes on these people before, but he found a sense of belonging anyway. Flash forward a few years... When our eldest became a Tiger, my husband walked into the JSN wanting to be DL and couldn't volunteer fast enough. However, it was a rare event when I wasn't there too. He eventually became Committee Chair and I became Advancement Chair and DL for our younger son. I am just as involved as he is and I love it. Would I have gotten involved if my husband wasn't so into it...maybe, maybe not. It would depend on my kids. It was always a forgone conclusion that they would be Scouts, so in other circumstances, I can't say if it would even occur to me to sign them up. My involvement is because of my children, not because of my husband. I want the program to be the best it can be for them and for other kids like them. So, supporting my husband in his obsession is in reality, supporting my boys. However, when my oldest crossed over to Boy Scouts, I got left behind. My younger son is still a Cub and I'm still his DL, so I'm still very Cub focused, while my husband and older son are involved with the Troop. Without meaning to, I got cut out of the picture in relation to my oldest. I don't understand Boy Scouts so much. I haven't had the chance to learn and because I have 3 other children to tend to, while my oldest son and my husband go off to troop functions. It's sometimes like they are talking a foreign language and I'm expected to nod and smile and pretend I understand what's going on. Now, in case you haven't figured it out, I'm not the passive, "nod and smile" type. Frankly, I got downright ticked at my husband for cutting me off. He didn't realize he was doing it. Once I made him aware of it, things started to change. I'm still not officially involved with the troop, but they know who I am and I'm included in most things. So, having seen a touch of how the other half lives....I would say those spouses who are upset at their overly involved Scouter spouses, I'd say they are feeling left out. What can you do to involve them? Think of it the way you would recruiting any other parent participation....what are your spouse's strengths? How can their vocation, hobbies, interests, etc. benefit the unit? Can they run a den meeting? Be a merit badge counselor? Can they make brownies for the bake sale? Can you bounce ideas off of them when writing your ticket? Presumably you and your spouse share some interest in common or you wouldn't be together in the first place. If he/she feels your shared interests are no longer important to you, what does that say of your interest in him/her? There are two options, keep up with your shared interests or share your new interests with your spouse. The best solution is some mixture of both.
  9. 10.5 years or 4th grade plus 6 mo.... My son finished 4th grade at the age of 9 years, 10 months. He could have crossed over at the age of 10 years, 4 months. He wasn't even the youngest boy in his den. OTOH, my younger son has boys in his den who will be 10 in October of their 4th grade year. They are eligible to cross over in April of their 4th grade year (assuming all AOL requirements are met), without ever being a "Webelos II" (As someone mentioned I or II is not an official designation, just what is commonly used for convenience sake)
  10. I agree with Sephrina and would add... Make sure you know who your Unit Commissioner is and have their contact info. A good UC can provide valuable assistance in your situation. Make sure you go to your District's roundtable. These monthly meetings are important sources for all that is going on in your district, council and at the national level. It is also a wonderful opportunity to network with other lesders and draw from their experience.
  11. Ok, so what I'm getting is that the Journey program is along the lines of the Cub Scouts program helps and monthly themes...a plan to guide the leader, especially geared to those who don't have any ideas of their own, but not the only resource available for that purpose. The leader we have usually has pretty good ideas for activities. She's not focusing on petals too much, in fact, she seems to be trying to spread them out over the entire 2 years and fill in meetings with craft activities. The Troop went to one Service Unit activity last year and the leader mentioned another one in November. Other than that we parents don't hear anything about the Service Unit, in fact, the only reason I'm familiar with the term is because I know the heads of the service units from our county from Cub Scouts. Our Troop leader does mention going to monthly meetings with them, though. Also, we haven't had a parent meeting, per se. She usually just calls all the mothers together at a regular meeting (and yes, I do mean mothers, she has been known to exclude fathers, even if they are in the room) to discuss things. All I know of her plan this year is that she has asked each family to plan a meeting. Every other meeting a parent (yes, fathers are included here) does something and every other meeting she'll do something like work on petals. Overall, I don't have any serious complaints. I'd be doing things differently in her place, (different isn't good or bad, just different) but I hedged when they asked me to be leader and lost the opportunity. Attempts to volunteer since then at the troop or any other level have been ignored, which is frustrating.
  12. My daughter just started her second year as a Daisy. I'm pretty new to Girl Scouts, but I know a lot of GS leaders because they have sons in Cub Scouts. I recall, before my daughter joined up, that one of these leaders was talking about "journeys" and basically that it was designed to supplement the Daisy Petals and that now that there were 2 years of the Daisy program, most leaders were using the journeys for the second year. So, I didn't give it much thought last year. Then over the Summer, we were at Cub Scout Day Camp and there were about 6 Daisy Girl Scouts hanging out in the "Tot Lot" (aka. Camp based daycare for children of volunteers). So, one day they took the girls around and they planted flowers and I don't know what all, but when they were done, one of the other volunteers, who happens to be the Daisy leader for 2-3 of the girls, informs me that my daughter, along with the other Daisy Girl Scouts in the "tot lot," have qualified for some sort of award. I tried to ask her about it, but we got distracted and I didn't think about it again until recently. We had our first Troop meeting of the year and there were 3-4 new girls in the Troop. I overheard one of the new mothers asking about the Journeys program and the leader's response was, "We won't be doing that." Now, if this were Cub Scouts and I, as an experienced parent and leader heard another leader say that they just won't be doing part of the program, even a technically optional part, I would be appalled. Why wouldn't you want the kids to do some part of the program? Why would you, in a sense, prohibit them from earning an award if they are interested in doing it? But this isn't Cub Scouts. I don't know exactly what the Journeys program is. I don't know if it's appropriate for the leader to just decide that she doesn't want to deal with it (which is basically the reason she gave). Can someone enlighten me?
  13. Tiger Stripes All boys but one line up facing away from the audience. A boy walks up the the first in line, taps him on the shoulder and asks, "Why do tigers have stripes?" The boy who was tapped turns around and says, "I don't know" taps next boy and asks, "Why do tigers have stripes?" and so it goes down the line until the last boy turns around and says, "Because they would look silly with spots" and we see that the last boy has spots stuck all over him.
  14. Any new word on this? I looked on scoutstuff and the old book isn't on there anymore.
  15. "Elmer's white school glue will temp. hold a patch to be stitched. It washes out. " Yeah...I use a glue stick
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