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ScoutPro

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  1. ScoutPro

    Perceptions about Scouting Professionals

    The problem in all this is the DE is responsible for BOTH! Yes, the volunteers are the ones responsible for the program. But, the DE is responsible to ensure the volunteers are established and working. So, like in the picnic example Bob uses, is it the committees fault or is it the person that appointed the committee? Surely, you cannot merely appoint a picnic committee and then wash your hands of it nor can the committee be held blameless. On the other hand, without the money you arent going to be able to do anything and without the volunteers all the money in the world isnt going to help. So we ask these professionals to build us great camps, buildings, and provide equipment. Then we tie their livelihood which supports their families to these standards and then complain about them pushing the fundraisers. So, what do you do? Do you take a DE that never talks about money or one that 'money grubs' you all the time? The problem is not the perception; its the lack of everyone remembering we're all here for the same reason. Let us just kick back and relax, drink some coffee and eat some popcorn (Trails End that is). Hopefully, we can see both sides of the issue and working together (hey isn't that what we're suppose to be doing) to overcome these to improve our programs. PS.> Anyone want to buy some popcorn?
  2. ScoutPro

    Scout Rank and Rewards

    Sctmom, bossing kids around because of rank is not proper and it may (and most likely will) lead to a lot of other problems. So, if youre referring to using rank as a means to becoming a boss thats not proper nor would I consider that leadership. Within the troop you should have a SPL and PL's they are the youths in charge regardless of the rank. We use rank for ways to improve upon the recognition without detracting from the proper patrol method. If you want to reward kids that achieved more, fine. I would not hesitate taking every kid to McDonalds that earned a certain rank, or advanced, or achieved X number of merit badges. As the age group changes recognition is different and if it just means a handshake and that works then I would say thats fine too. But I would not have a system in place where rank means you boss little kids around. Just my 2 cents
  3. ScoutPro

    1st Class / First Year follow-up

    Bob, maybe I should explain that the merit badge counselor allows troop cooking as one of the many ways to fulfill the requirement. I never said that it was the only way to do it. We offer Troop cooking, Patrol cooking etc. many opportunities throughout the entire year. Again, the same applies for summer camp. It is just one of the many ways to get FC it is NOT the only way in our unit. So, Im doing it the scouting way all the way. Were neither adding nor changing BSA policy. Were offering every chance to complete the FC requirements with every campout and or activity. If a youth fails to achieve FCFY its because they choose NOT to do a whole list of things and not just one time. So, when its time to participate 13 months later in a FC activity theyre not going to because theyre not FC. For example, one boy spent the summer playing baseball in a youth league, he showed up for 2 weekly meetings and did ZERO campouts, did not do Summer Camp. Nothing at all was done, I cannot make him FCFY now can I. Again, this year I can give you each of the 4 or 5 that joined after crossover, oh let me do that: 1. Scout played baseball, went to BB Camp. Since joining he has only attended 2 weekly meetings and nothing else. 2. Scout went to another state to visit his father per custody agreement. Scout has attended 4 meetings since crossover and nothing else. 3. Scout was in a car accident resulting in a badly broken leg. Out and unable to go camping. He has attended 3 weekly meetings since joining and now wants to play soccer in the fall therefore he wont be at any of the weekly meetings for a while nor any of the campouts. 4. Scout just doesnt show up. Doesnt think scouting is fun, was bored in Cub Scouts. Weve called and reminded him, never seems to make it to any of the meetings but I see him running around town prior and after. Parents are divorced and mom gives little support. 5. This scout may make it, he missed summer camp and one (maybe tw) camping trips where some items were covered, but if he goes on the next two hell have it. Now the others are all going to make it. None of this because of any BSA policy or golden book not being followed or anything, it is just the way it is. Thank you Bob for some ideas, but I cant think of a way to improve the above.
  4. ScoutPro

    Scout Rank and Rewards

    I use rewards or special privileges for rank advancements, not in having scouts boss others around but instead as rewards toward achieving rank. So does the BSA, for example OA is such a program along with COPE, also many summer camps offer special privileges for rank. Little things make the difference, so kids that advance see rewards associated with advancing while those that dont advance only receive those awards theyve achieved. To make FCFY, in our unit you should attend summer camp, but if you do not then you must attend more of the meetings and attend campouts. Ive found that by allowing rank to achieve some special privileges you have more kids advancing. For example, if you want to go or do XXX then you must be of a certain rank. If I let every kid that wanted to do activity XXnotX do it without regards to rank then I would have the same program for all without any acknowledgement for their work.Again this is my unit and our program as this is what works for me, if its not to someones liking then fine. In my unit there is plenty to do, so you do not suffer because of less rank advancements. But during the year there are one or two additional activities that youre allowed to do that makes scouting more fun and exciting. Eating first, or being allowed to stay up later on campouts, like allow all scouts over FC one extra hour before bed as an example; one of my units treats kids all the same and that works for them, but my Eagle and advancement is higher than any other unit in council. I believe it is directly related to a yearly schedule that works with the ranks to make an overall program that kids want to excel in. We go canoeing and everyone goes and loves it. But, early in the spring we canoe a faster river and do fifty miles a float. If youre not at least FC and at least 14 years of age youre not doing it. Kids look forward to those extra privileges, so yes, I believe extra privileges go with earning the rank.
  5. ScoutPro

    1st Class / First Year follow-up

    Bob, this year my troop has about 45-50% FCFY it is because the kids do NOT show up for the outings and meetings. If you show up at least 75% of the time youll be FC. Now, maybe its different parts of the country, but my first year scouts this year just are not participating enough to make it. It has nothing to do with the program as Im running the highest Eagle rate and retention rate in my council. Unless were just going to just sign off their requirements, theyre not going to make it. They have to earn it before I will give it to them. So, in my case (this year), the reason isnt because of the trainers or lack of opportunity or the lack of courses, its because these scouts are not participating because they have chosen not to. As far as your judgment goes about my program, youre in no position to judge. So I would like to politely ask you from doing so in the future (thank you). I never once ridiculed your program nor have I ever made assumptions about your program. Ill standby my program, and as youve pointed out in many discussions, troops have different policies and BSA offers guidelines to follow. In my unit you earn the rank and with it come the rights and privileges of that position. And yes, if youre not a certain rank youre not hiking in a patrol of scouts that are older and have hiked before. In our unit, you have to be FC before youre allowed to hike alone in a patrol. This is a rule that has been established therefore it applies to all. We dont hold kids back, we encourage them to FC. Some just refuse to do it and for this year its 45-50% of my first year scouts. Yes, they could complete those requirements as you mentioned with the FC patrol, but you know what, they cannot because they did not do it at least 5 times prior with everyone else. You see Bob; they didnt attend summer camp, prior weekly meetings, and prior trips. So, in a years time they missed out several times. Therefore they cannot hike with the FC patrol until they do the requirements. Again, this if our program and what Ive found to work. As far as the Cooking Merit Badge requirements, it is our Cooking Merit Badge Counselor that meets the requirements, for cooking for more than one, as being completed by cooking for the troop. That is how that counselor chooses to fulfill the requirement (others may do it differently). Kids not wanting to go on a trip Ive seen several times over 30 years, its not every camping trip nor does it happen yearly. But, in my council, you will have troops mention it. Looking at 217 units, with monthly campouts, youre talking about lots of youths and often kids dont want to go. This is no reflection on any of my troops, its just a fact. If one of my SMs came into my office and said they had a 40% failure rate to FCFY, I wouldnt say well your program stinks or its your fault as you seem to imply. I would rather have retention, no where did anyone say in their posting that they had a retention issue. Instead, FCFY was discussed with different approaches. If it works for you Bob fine, it works for me sometimes, it doesnt work other times but we always offer it. I thank you for your suggestions and welcome anyones ideas as to how scouting can be improved.
  6. ScoutPro

    1st Class / First Year follow-up

    Bob, youre not correct in assuming that FCFY is easy nor is it the only method. I work with lots of units in our council and several others and Im the SM in one and have been doing this for 30 years. Nice that you have FCFY working, but this year its 40-50% for me, I provide the means for it and Ive tried things as you suggested sometimes its just the kids. You missed the point in not being able to hike in the patrol. Its because, if your not a certain rank, you do not have the skills (or proven the skills) to hike alone with a patrol which is guided by a youth (COPE would be another example where it's not allowed, OA being another). Its more of a safety reason. As far as eating first, we cook in patrols but for the Cooking Merit Badge you need to cook for your troop, so when we cook for the troop, youre called to the food line by rank. When we travel, we often stop at McDonalds, again rank has its privileges so they go first learned that one from Uncle Sam in Vietnam. You missed the point on kids crying and not wanting to go camping, so I cannot even address that with you. Anyway, this year Im at half, last year I had all crossovers to FC so I had 100%. Same program, same activities, nothing new. Its not a reflection of a poorly run unit. Matter of fact, I can show you many units that have a high FCFY program that are poorly run. Those units just pencil whip the kids through the program, next time youre in my counsel (as you make your visits) stop by my office and well chat. If you got some time Ill show you around some of my units and maybe we can both brainstorm the solution.
  7. ScoutPro

    1st Class / First Year follow-up

    Bob, Nice that you visit many troops too, like you, I visited several hundred units each year across the country and in the past 30 years Ive seen many different approaches. My troop this year had 9 new boys from the Cub Pack. We push the FCFY program too and you know what, I have 44 percent not going to make it and it maybe more a 50/50 split. I cover everything at least twice, sometimes 3 times so theres plenty of opportunity to get what you need. Unless I pencil whip the requirements, theyre not going to make it and Im not going to just give it to them. I have a very strong program. The issue is not a weak program in many cases. You cannot advance if you do not participate. The reasons the kids dont participate are wide, but here are just some reasons that Ive seen in my unit and the units Ive talked with this year (no particular order): 1. Divorced parents and the weekend is their time with their other parent. We try to get that parent involved, but the feud between parents sometimes spills into scouting. If the parent with visiting rights is remarried then often there are issues there too. Sometimes they live in different areas, towns, states, etc. The list goes on. 2. Lazy parents that just dont seem to have the time to take them to the meeting. We dont require parents because we have plenty of adults so leadership is not the issue, they just cant be bothered with driving them to the meeting. a. I did offer to pick kids up, and still will in an emergency, but I found I was being used so I stopped that. Now if I had a scout that just cannot make it because their parent cannot drive (for some reason) then Ill make arrangements. 3. Kids often dont know what fun theyll have so if their parent doesnt push/force them to go then many will take the easy way out and not go. Many parents of first year scouts baby them allowing them to quit. a. Ive had kids show up for an outing crying, kicking, and screaming they didnt want to go. The parent forced them and they pouted the first several hours, but when it was time to go home he didnt want to go. He was having the time of his life. b. My son made Eagle, years ago, and if I would NOT have made him go he would have quit several times. My wife and I have a rule, you start something you finish it. So the year he wanted to quit he was not allowed until it was time to renew his membership which by then he was over it. Too often, parents just allow them to quit. c. I sent my daughter to a girls summer camp and she hated us and she thought we were the worst parents in the world. A week later, we could hardly get her to go home and now years later she still communicates with the girls she meet at camp and one of her leaders. Youre right in saying that if the program is weak youll have problems, but even in top troops like ours, yours, and Eds you have kids not making FC. Sometimes it takes two years before they can make it and Ive had them out as long as three with some just never making it because they dont go camping. I have one young man thats been with me now 4 years, comes to every weekly troop meeting but has never gone camping once. I cannot advance him because he hasnt met the requirements for FC. Ive tried different approaches and have talked to many others about their approach. I prefer to push them as in the FCFY philosophy, but also use a carrot stick approach that others seem to suggest and I do this year to year. Now, if I get only 5 of the 9 original crossovers to FC then the remaining 4 maybe held back and form another patrol with possibly next years crossovers. Some things I use is to use rank to determine who eats first, or who can stay up later, or who can have two pops, and who can ride in what vehicle etc. I also use the Patrol Method and allow the patrols to do activities by themselves like during a hike. They are dropped off and given directions and a map and told to meet us that evening at camp. This works real well when a second year scout cannot not go because hes not FC so he has to go with the adults and the little kids.
  8. ScoutPro

    Membership down or is it?

    Its down because the program needs an overhaul and should be updated to work more in the ways of the youths today. Failure to change is the cause of many business failures. Im not suggesting to abandon any moral believes or principles, but we should be able to update it with what the youth members want. Here are some of the key opportunities presented by the youth members to our council on this very same subject: 1. Uniform, dress code, and overall lack of a more modern look. 2. Lack of funding because of BSA policy of exclusion 3. Lack of trained professional adults, to many parents, and not allowing the kids run the program. 4. News not often seen positive because of negative publicity associated with when something goes wrong. 5. Boring activities, need more adventure. 6. Cub Scouts boring in the age group of 10-11 (last year of Cub Scouts) therefore many will not do Boy Scouts. 7. Boy Scouts boring after 15-16 years of age. 8. Many other activities to choose from that are more fun and excepted as fun within the youth peer group. 9. Sports 10. Computers, TV, and electronic games are more fun.
  9. ScoutPro

    1st Class / First Year follow-up

    Been away for a while, but I have to say it. Bob youre wrong. Dead wrong, and a scout not making it to FC in a year is NOT an indication of a weak program. You cannot make that conclusion. Bob, I admire your dedication to the scouting program, but youre often too quick to quote a regulation, page, or make a comment regarding scouting based on the book. The handbooks in scouting are a guide not a bible. Take a step back and listen to others as they present different points of view, if you and Ed both have good programs then Im happy for you both and for every kid you BOTH keep in scouting I thank you. Keep in mind, theres more than one way to get there. Good luck to you both.
  10. ScoutPro

    Question for Bob White

    ScoutParent, Theres suppose to be no secret societies within your scouting organization so why does the committee not have written policies? Just a question, also whats the issues with your son transferring while youve said others have? Here are some questions: 1. Are they afraid of losing others therefore theyre holding monies as a means to holding membership? a. Has there been a mass exiting of youths leaving for other units? If so why? 2. Have others transferred to the same troop your son is transferring to if so, did these other scouts get their funds and if so how? If not why not? 3. I also read in another thread that you asked about a BOR or SM conference and you thought your son was being grilled (I believe for Life?); this leads me to believe your son is out of favor with the troop. Can one assume that this is now personal? 4. Whats the relationship between troops within your council; cannot your new unit possibly help resolve the issue? a. Troop leadership usually gets along therefore, SM to SM normally should be able to resolve this; hopefully they act like adults.
  11. ScoutPro

    Active Venture Crews

    There is no requirement to be a Boy Scout to be awarded an Eagle as long as you earned 1st class in the troop prior to joining the crew and are not 18. I have awarded 2 Eagles, the last one being last month, and they were registered in the Crew only. There is NO reason to stay dual registered. But, it does only cost one dollar.
  12. ScoutPro

    Executive Power

    If you dont succeed try again, you learn from your mistakes. Stick it out and learn from this. I would try to sit down with the committee and ask for some help and not place blame as there is plenty to go around. I find it too often the case that parents like to **** but arent willing to participate. Sometimes they even think I get paid for this and its my job therefore they have the right. I would also get the committee to draft bylaws to cover all these types of issues and get them published and keep them updated. Set rules and expectations for the CC to clearly define what needs to be done prior to a camping trip. I would not quit and would stick it out until Oct. but they can always fire you and find someone new in which case you can at least say you tried.
  13. ScoutPro

    Question for Bob White

    What Im hearing here is ScoutParents sons troop has a general fund for equipment etc. and they also allow the scout to keep a portion (set by the committee I would assume) of fundraisers to be used by that scout only. These are what weve all called scout accounts for years and is what many in my council have; this is what many believe is the best way to run a troop. For example, the profit from the first $200 of popcorn goes to the general fund and any profit from sales greater than $200 goes to the boys account. So, ScoutParents son sold $1,000 in popcorn. $70 goes to the troop (assumes 35% profit) and $280 is for the boys account. This is to clearly benefit the scout and not the troop. Now, what do you all feel is the proper use of this money when the boy leaves this unit and goes to another unit clearly to continue scouting? What about this: 1. The scout is a member of the OA and the scout wants to spend his money on an OA activity. This is clearly not a troop activity, should he not be allowed? 2. The scout joins the Sea Scouts, Venture Scouts, Varsity Scouts, etc, and wants to camp with them too. Should he not be allowed to use these monies for these activities? 3. What about equipment? 4. What about uniforms? 5. What about offsetting the cost of an Eagle Ceremony? 6. The scout joins another troop and continues scouting there? The question here is ScoutParents son has money set aside in a scout account that was to be used by him for scouting. Now he has joined a different unit, which should be easy to verify, and he is continuing his career and from what ScoutParent has said, the committee refuses to award to his new unit the funds that he earned. Also, the CO and Council refuse to step in and help. Why? Why? Why? This sounds too bizarre to me, and if it is true then this CO has no business chartering a scout troop period. Again, if this was you at your work and it was money you earned and put into a 401k plan would you not sue if they refused to give you the portion you clearly earned?
  14. ScoutPro

    Assault by scout

    The CO has the right. I agree with you about having a special needs troop. Start one, get a sponsor and start one in your council. They should even welcome the idea, after all they too want scouting to grow. good luck
  15. ScoutPro

    Question for Bob White

    Yep, protesting and running it in the paper sounds sad and hopefully the threat of such action makes them think twice and willing to at least make them listen. But sadly this is my profession and what gets results when dealing with these types of situations. Do the means justify the results? I dont know. Were only hearing one side of the story and I realize this but I can sympathies with ScoutParent as in my council we dont get involved in troops and we run the other direction during these types of situations. We cannot afford not to. But, I will also tell you that if a parent makes enough stink I will advice our council to at least call and try to intervene and come to a resolution. Enough heat and our council will refuse the charter next time around to that organization.
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