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ScoutPerson

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  1. ScoutPerson

    Committee Chair

    The key to remember, or at least in our unit, is it is a boy run program. Therefore, we ask the youths, the PLC in particular, to help approve leaders and work with the committee chairman on insuring the SM has the proper adults on outings. With that said, we work hard at enforcing the rules of the BSA and ensuring adults are trained. Ive found that adults need to get trained as soon as possible. There are several reasons, from Youth Protection to just knowing the rules. If adults attend the training they often see and learn what they are to do. In my experience, adults are more difficult to work with if theyre not trained. By being trained, they now understand what their role should be. What makes this issue even more clouded is, especially with adults, is there is no list of rules let me explain. Often adults are accustom to having everything listed and clearly defined as were often treated that way ourselves daily, like in an employment contract, employee handbook, legal system, my civil rights, or bylaws etc. Adults often are looking for a precise set of rules or laws as that is now such a big part of our adult life. But, in scouting, BSA provides rules where they are appropriate without turning it into a list of legal bylaws. The guidelines are general but detailed enough to allow the youths to execute a youth run organization. Along with these rules, is the Scout Law, which even the adults are charged with following. Therefore, I would say that the BSA provides enough rules. With that said, it often is not enough for the adults to understand. Therefore, I would suggest you do the following: 1. Put together a training schedule with council to get your adults trained. Make it mandatory before they can continue going on outings. Its painless and it really can be fun. Also, training covers everything from YP, Safety a Float, Safe Swim, issues, and etc. You really cannot afford not to have your leaders trained. a. Ive noticed that after training, adults often see for themselves what to do or not to do. b. Ive had adults that act similar to what you are experiencing and after training they remark how they were unaware of how things were suppose to work. 2. Im also a believer in making a troop handbook for adult leaders. We issue a list of troop rules we expect each adult to follow. The committee with the PLC establishes this and maintains it. Each adult is handed a copy and asked to read it. Some of it is a reminder of BSA Policy, like drugs, tobacco, and YP. But we also have items like: a. Adult chain of command and how youths are to be corrected. b. Not singling out your son nor disciplining your son. If your son needs correcting we ask that you ask another leader to perform this (unless safety deems otherwise). 3. Prior to each camping trip and upon arrival the first night. I call an adult meeting with the SPL and clearly explain the Adult Patrol and what they are expected to do. On the camping trip, I explain that I am their SPL while the boys have their SPL. I say it nicely, but firmly. The above has worked for me. Ive had situations where adults dont or wont do the training. As hard as it is to do, I say sorry cannot use you. My CO makes it mandatory to attend training (after a reasonable amount of time). By forcing the training, I think it often weeds out potential problems before they occur. If they cannot do the training then I believe thats an indication of a problem in itself. Secondly, I dont have time for adult issues. Im running a boy scouting program for the boys, if after doing training and being explained the rules, and I still have an adult that doesnt follow the rules then I politely tell them we cannot use them in the future. If they dont like it, then theyre more than welcome to join another troop in our area. Maybe they can go to that unit and work the way they want. In the last 10 years, Ive only had one adult that, after doing the training, refused to listen. I talked to him and said you cannot do XYZ but he continued. So we fired him and he went to another troop. That troop welcomed him with open arms and all I heard about every month, at Roundtable, was all the adult fighting that was going on in that troop. Ive had a few that say they cannot take the time to do the training, so I dont know if I lost a potential good, bad, or ugly. I just know that setting the expectation clearly upfront with the training seems to work for me. My 2 cents
  2. ScoutPerson

    Common traits of failing troops

    I would have to agree with Bob. I would just say that some are more important than others while all are important these are the ones that I feel are fatal. The number one reason is 1 and 2 on my list. The others are just listed in the order I cut and pasted them. 1. Leaders NOT TRAINED 2. Adults hollering at boys 3. Leaders do not follow the policies of the Guide to safe scouting, Advancement or Uniforming 4. Scoutmaster runs the committee 5. Troop meetings are merit badge classes 6. They don't get outside once a month 7. greater than 10% drop off rate 8. Poor troop meeting attendance 9. SM doesn't train junior leaders 10. Scouts are punished by unit leaders 11. SM who doesn't trust the boys to elect their own leaders Each item on the above list, I believe has enough merit to break a program individually, whereas the following are mistakes but individually will not be fatal (in my opinion). Most parents are unwilling to help (think about it, its not that they don't want to work with their children.) -- I would say not having enough parents willing to help; just trying to distinguish the difference between Cub Scouts which needs more parents. -- The key is can you get enough parents to help. If not, then this moves to the other list. Leadership distain for district, council, and professional scouters. -- Important, but in some councils the driving distance between troop and office may make it difficult to achieve. They don't have quarterly Courts of Honor -- Or any at all. If you have semi-annual youd be ok, if this was the only thing on the list you did. But often I see many not doing them at all or yearly. New scouts do not advance to First Class near the first year -- I would say new scouts MUST have the opportunity to get to FC within a reasonable amount of time to ensure FCFY is obtainable. Adults cook for scouts at campouts -- I would say not allowing scouts to cook at all. We do patrol cooking and troop cooking with a scout kitchen too. I do believe in always allowing the scouts to cook and/or help. But, we focus this around the activities. So sometimes the adults cook while other times a patrol or individual scouts cook. But, if every time you go the adults cook then you need to rethink whats going on. No monthly Patrol Leaders Council meetings -- Again, based on your council this may or may not be as feasible as youd like. Good work Bob, I wonder how many units have several from your list?
  3. ScoutPerson

    Eagle verification Mess

    We all need to take note of this and be aware that boys that approach 18 years of age may run into a problem that just may prevent them from getting Eagle; yep and my son was one just under the wire. I had a young man a few years back that submitted his Eagle paperwork and there was a mix-up on his Life rank and merit badges similar to the one mentioned here. Luckily, the boy was only 16 years old so he went back and did the requirements and we made him do another Eagle Project. If he was approaching 18, we wouldnt have had the time to redo it. Im not sure if it would have been refused, but there was a lot of guessing going on at council as to what the correct course of action was. Just to be safe, he redid the work and another project just to be safe and then we submitted it. Bobs right in that at 18 the advancement stops (unless you get a wavier which is usually because of a medical condition). I also had a boy that transferred from another unit within our council (2 yrs before Eagle his family moved) and during the review council could not verify an Eagle required merit badge. The boy didnt keep his blue cards and his old troop did not keep very good records. He was already 18 when we discovered it. What a fun time, finally I located the merit badge counselor and luckily he remembered the kid and he submitted his copy of the blue card to resolve it.
  4. ScoutPerson

    Earrings

    I got one for you. Sit down with your troop and ask the kids if they should be allowed to wear the earrings. In my last troop, we had a scoutmaster that said no way, or thatll be the day etc. In our new unit, I just asked the kids. I said I dont think loops and dangling earrings would be very smart and you know what they agreed with me. Haircuts the same way, you just cannot have any unnatural colors (no kids showing up in purple/green hair unless it something special like a school event). This is the list of restrictions that came from the kids: 1. Shirts, which can be considered as vulgar or rude, cannot be worn. 2. Open-faced shoes or sandals where the toes are exposed cannot be worn. 3. Ripped, torn, badly soiled clothing cannot be worn. 4. Short-Shorts, tank tops, short shirts, etc. that overexpose yourself cannot be worn. 5. No more than 3 rings maybe worn on a hand at anyone time. 6. Earrings such as loops, dangling chain, etc. that may become entangled or caught will not be worn. 7. Excessive lipstick and makeup will not be worn. If makeup is worn it will be moderately applied and worn in good taste. 8. Hair, mustaches, beards, sideburns will be neatly groomed and maintained. 9. Body piercing, such as noise rings, naval rings, tongue, eyebrows will not be worn. 10. Unnatural hair colors such as green, purple, maroon, etc. will not be worn. Applies to all members, male, female, and adults.
  5. Bobs correct on this one; the CO has the ultimate say. If the CO and committee disagree then council will help mediate it to resolve the issue and they will even make a recommendation to the CO as to what should be done. But, if the CO drops the axe youre done. Either way you may want to consider another unit as politics like this maybe more than your son can handle. Whatever you do, do not allow him to dropout especially since Eagle is on the horizon. You may find another unit more to your liking. Kids relate to athletes, so I use professional players that change teams as an example where players change teams but they dont quit the game. I another unit maybe in need of adults and welcome you into the program. If another unit is not an option, then consider starting another unit. Many organizations are willing to charter a unit, but often they are without leaders to run the program. This can be a sticky situation for council if they feel the area is not big enough to support another troop causing a feud between troops is not what you want to do. If thats an issue, charter a Crew or a Varsity program. These programs are a standalone program that allows a boy to complete Eagle without being in a troop (they have to be a certain rank prior so check the rules). With a Venturing Crew you can offer something to the community that turns into a win-win situation for everyone.
  6. ScoutPerson

    Earrings

    I wasnt comparing the cost of the uniform to other expenditures, nor was I making a reference to spending money on other items. Yes, some do just that, but many of my youths are not driving Lexus, nor wearing $120 sneakers. Everything cost money and so does the uniform. In my unit it takes $25.00 to join. We spend more than that on each scout as we provide troop numbers, books, class-b shirt, and registration, etc. Roughly its $30 average as the registration is prorated throughout the year (so the troop looses $5 on each kid that joins roughly). If I insisted on a full uniform youd have at least $100.00 (more if you wanted additional items) for pants, shirt, socks, shorts, and some sort of tie or handkerchief. With the $25.00 fee were now at $125.00 minimum plus you have to purchase gear. At least a flashlight, a good sleeping bag, and rain gear (Thats another $75-100), often it is considered too much money to spend on little Johnny because he may not like it or quits after one or two outings. This is especially compounded if they went through Cub Scouts purchasing complete uniforms. How about a progressive uniform policy? For example, 1st Class and above require more of the uniform while Life Scouts and especially Eagle Scouts should have a complete uniform. We require just the shirt within 60 days of joining, this is a struggle at times, but we enforce it. Do I like the blue jeans instead of pants, no, kids fully dressed look better. Ill share with you that when we go to summer camp that troops that have the full uniform look sharp and often I feel somewhat out-of-place with shirts only and a mismatch of pants and shorts. But, I also hear the leaders complaining at little Johnny wheres your hat, or wheres this or that. But with that said, Im very proud of my unit and I have the best scouts in camp. You might not know it to look at us, but Im very proud of every one of my guys and I feel very lucky to have each and every one of them. Scouting isnt about wearing a uniform (no quotes for the manual please I know what it says), its much more, its a way of life, a tradition, and it means something. Hey, I think thats called Scout Spirit. If I can have kids participate in scouting, I can make them a better citizen, better adult, and more and I dont need the uniform for that here comes the emails on how the uniform helps in achieving this. My kids are good scouts, and I wouldnt trade one of them for a uniform. In my years of scouting, my most memorable times are when I run into a scout now years after hes out of scouting. Yes, I see that little redhead kid with freckles now all grownup with his family and he stops me and says Hey Mr. ____ I would like you to meet my wife. Im introduced as his scoutmaster and then he refers to scouting as the most enjoyable years of his childhood. Its not the rank nor the uniform he remembers but what scouting has taught him and how that has somehow helped him in his life. Often they say, in a few more years little Junior will be joining the pack. I wish you all luck in your all your programs. My 2 cents
  7. ScoutPerson

    Earrings

    We allow earrings as long as theyre not obstructing and causing a potential risk like those that hang down. Personally, I dont like boys in earrings but thats the fad. Showing up to a weekly meeting with an earring doesnt cause a health risk, it maybe a little hard to get use to but thats the fashion. As far as wearing all the uniform or nothing at all then give me a uniform that cost less. The uniform should be half of what it cost and maintaining a full uniform is financially tough on many including adults. Just my 2 cents
  8. ScoutPerson

    A wagon on a backpacking trip

    However you resolve it is fine but going forward, make a rule NO equipment other than troop equipment period. Next time it will be a $200 tent or a $900 camera or who knows what. In our troop only your personal items are allowed and a wagon doesnt make that list. Ive seen this same thing before with a canoe on a canoe trip. A word to the wise, for those of you reading this, make strict troop policies on non-troop equipment and get an equipment permission slip (or something) before you use it even if the adult that owns it is on the trip. Youd be surprised what Ive had adults ask for when theyve offered the use of their equipment and it breaks. Its much easier to resolve these prior then to be faced with it when theres a problem. We went to Canada a few years back and one of the parents brought along their speed boat. During the trip he hit a rock and tore off the lower unit of his motor. Yep, he wantrd the troop to help pay for it; wish I would have learned on a red wagon before we had over a $2,000 bill in dispute.
  9. Wow, hate to tell you this but you maybe out looking in. The key to your organization is the Chartering Organization which appoints the Charter Rep. If they are the ones indorsing this then youre done. Technically, the scoutmaster has no say in the matter but this is of little value if the Chartering Organization and the Charter Rep. agree with him. If the Chartering Organization has a different opinion then your council will (or should) help you resolve it along with your commissioner etc. But, bottom-line the CO has that right and Ive never seen any council ever tell or try to tell a CO that they cannot appoint whomever they wishunless the appointment is against BSA policy. Also, in another thread I started How many adults heres another example of adults not being trained and widely accepted just because having many adults is thought a good thing sorry but just had to get that in. Anyway, work with council and your commissioner and try to resolve it. If not then either have your son participate in that troop or look for another one. If you cannot find another unit then seek starting your own. Starting your own isnt difficult at all and many counsels are more than happy to increase charters.
  10. ScoutPerson

    How many adults

    Remember, I never said we restrict the number of activities ONLY the number of adults that can attend on the activity roster. We often have two activities going on per month and sometimes more. The more adults, the more activities we can hold and offer. Why take one camping trip when you can offer two or more?
  11. ScoutPerson

    Membership down or is it?

    My troop and crew numbers are up but at every national meeting I attend or council meeting etc.; the focus is on declining numbers in membership or the high dropout or at least thats my impression of the message. Numbers are funny and you can play games with them (as were seeing in the stock market), so Im just interested in others opinion regarding it. The kids do refer to the uniform as being dorky but I like it and so do some of the others (or should I say its not as dorky as other uniforms Ive seen).
  12. ScoutPerson

    How many adults

    eagle90, Start a Crew for your 18+ youths and expand your program. If you have more adults than hold 2 campouts a month, or more. Seek high adventure, start a varsity program, etc. Everyone has said they don't want to loose adults when they ask to go. So, if you have 10 adults have 5 this weekend and 5 the following weekend. Too many focus on the program for adults, whereas it should be focused on youths. I'm perfectly fine with having 40+ ASM but having them on one campout defeats what our program is trying to do. But, instead I would have 10 events scheduled with each event having 4 adults. Show me that and you'll have one heck of a scouting program.
  13. ScoutPerson

    Should we start a Venture patrol?

    We started a Crew and not a Patrol because it allowed co-ed which has been great. Even though the Venturing Crew is a standalone program it does not mean that you cannot hold the meetings at the same time. Our Crew and Troop meet once a week and this synergy is great. Many others, in our council, have tried crews but theyve struggled and/or failed (patrols have been more successful) and I believe holding weekly meetings is a key. We keep the Crew and Troop tightly knit so the troop sees what scouting has to offer. In my opinion I would do both. Assign the older boys to a Venture Patrol, charter a Venturing Crew and plan activities for your crew and the patrol. You can even plan activities together where the Crew leaves from point B while the troop leaves from point A. The next day they meet and camp and both hike to point C. One of our biggest strengths is limited adults in the crew (see how many adults in another thread for that heated discussion), but young men and women like to be in charge and if they run the program it is great. My crew just hiked Hawaii and in two years were hiking Alaska again. Want to see a motivated 11 year old then say when youre 14 you can join the crew so get those Eagle requirements done.
  14. Why is scouting membership down or maybe in your area it isnt? Keeping kids in scouting seems to be more and more difficult any thoughts on the idea? This is often the voice heard at our roundtables. Many offer things such as sports, electronic devices to games, and a failure for scouting to keep current, the uniform, lack of money and the need to do fundraisers etc. Ive asked my youths this very same question and received their opinion as to why and what would improve it. If anyone else has done the same I would like to hear your thoughts on it.
  15. ScoutPerson

    How many adults

    Ill take women leaders in a minute; love to have them. Two of our ASM are women and some of the best campouts have been with 2 male and 2 female leaders. Again, were focused on trained leaders regardless of gender and age (assumes at least 21). We just cannot have them all going at the same time, sorry but the adult roster is full for this trip. One of our thoughts is to expand the program beyond monthly camping trips to camping trips every two weeks. So, instead of 8 adults attending each monthly camping trip, were focusing on have 4 adults taking camping trips twice a month. We can have a high adventure backpacking trip the 1st of the month for older kids (or kids able to do it) and then a general camping trip the 15th without hiking. Again, I would rather use the patrol method and have patrols doing weekly activities (including camping) instead of one large camping trip monthly with more than 4 adults. If women want to attend then fine as long as theyre trained. Every year our PCL and youths have a meeting where they plan next years activities, their list is often three times larger than what can be accomplished. It would be nice to say, sorry Mrs. Jones the adult roster is full but we still have openings for next week.
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