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Second Class

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Posts posted by Second Class

  1. Happy New Year, all.

    We had a great year in my troop. Positive growth, again, four years in a row. New high for membership.

    Had a OA member reach Vigil. Three Eagle scouts. Have six scouts attending the Jamboree.

    On a personal note, I was awarded the Silver Beaver.

    We have a huge New Scout Patrol. In fact, too big to be one patrol.


    We have run a new scout patrol for the past few years. We had one patrol crash two years ago, and only had four scouts remain. We discussed what to do, and these scouts decided to go into the oldest patrol, which needed additional members. I did hear one comment from a parent of concern about possible hazing. I remember telling her that each of those boys were all fine people, so much so that I'd let any of them date my daughter.


    Fast forward to the end of the year. Opportunities for advancement in the NSP were handicapped because of their numbers. The patrol with the four sophomore scouts did very well. Based on all of these inputs, I am getting to the point where I want to propose that we dispense with the NSP, and let the new scouts determine which patrol, and with whom they want to go.


    This will break up the stratified age groups, which I think have become an impediment to success. It will give each patrol a group of scouts to mentor and train. The older scouts success in their patrol will in part be based on how well they train their new members. I hope it will breath new life into two nearly dead patrols.


    I'll let you know Jan 1 2014 how it went.

  2. Kidu, an interesting post. I'm trying something this next term, and am not filling any POR's unless a scout comes to me personally and requests it. We'll work out performance metrics then. (like it or not, this is where we are-we being US Scouting).


    I have been encouraging our patrols to make physical separation between each other and the adults. This is pretty difficult given available land and campsites. But we are trying. Moving to backpacking gear, and away from the trailer, is helping do this.


    I think the aims and methods are good. But without camping every month (which we do) the paperwork becomes more pressing than prepping for an overnight. I try to encourage attendance at our camping trips, as this is where real advancement takes place. Building a fire, but not lighting it, is, in most cases, laughable. (I know the drought exception-we had it here a few years ago).


    I've been in a one patrol troop and now have a four patrol troop (should be 5), and can see in hindsight that using Bill Hillcourt's method would work just as well for both.


    Keep scouting!


  3. We use the NSP method as well. This year, especially more than others the ill effects of it have shown more, in that there are not enough mentors to go around. With 13 in the patrol, I really should insist on a split, but they don't want to. Some are seeing now that 13 is too large a patrol. Otherwise, in normal years of 7-10 boys, the NSP has been good for us.


    This is a thread about Patrol cohesiveness. Does Patrols in your troop stay together for a long time, or are the members moving around a bit more?


    Our four patrols have been pretty cohesive. The oldest is our legacy patrol, from the troop we split from. The remains of a crashed patrol has helped to boost their numbers to viable. Of the middle two patrols, one changes its name every chance, the other does not. They are the weakest in event attendance. We do not combine patrols anymore. Used to do that, now, they backpack / lightweight camp if they don't have a full patrol.


    Do you feel like this is a good thing for your troop or not?


    Either way, I don't see that this matters at all. The boys that camp, camp. The boys that won't, don't. I'm all about suggesting they do a fruit basket turnover at the next election. That might be a good thing. Get the campers together.


    What does your troop do with an inactive or disfunctional patrol?


    Not much. It's their patrol and troop. I've told them, many times, to expect results based on what they put into it. Some are so lazy, if breathing weren't an autonomous body function they'd die. Others are fired up and working the program. Some (few) scouts have moved from one patrol or another where there were severe personality clashes.



    Who does it? The SPL and PLC or the Scoutmasters?


    They do. As SM, I ask questions and try to get them to think of possibilities.


  4. Yes, that attitude is out there. I try to get the parents up to speed on how we operate before they make the decision to join our troop.


    It's about developing boys into leaders, not about earning Lifesaving or Personal Fitness at age 11.

    I've pulled a few parents back, to allow their sons to do their thing, be it setting up a tent or cleaning a pot.


    Best to squash that attitude as soon as you see it. One effective way I have used it to refuse to speak to an aggressive parent about advancement.* If little Johnny wants to speak to me, see me before or after the meeting. Or call me at work. Or call me at home. (that never happens.)



    * I do this by explaining that adult association is one of the methods of scouting, and his desire to advance will overcome his not wishing to speak to me; and short circuiting that process cheats Johnny of developing. And you wouldn't want to cheat your son, would you?

  5. I recommend that families always visit three or more troops, to find the one that fits.

    We have many families that drive by 12 other troops to come to ours, just as conversely, neighbor kids drive just as far to go to others. It's all about the fit, and the philosophy of,the unit.

  6. Yes, I suppose some scouters are "possessed" by the movement. These might be the scouters that start a unit, that see a unit thought the years of 5-8 boys in a unit, that may inspire others to put a shoulder to the wheel.


    I have a scouter aquantance that wears a patch well, walks the hall with a cell phone and looks for any reason to cancel an event. Would you rather have him?

  7. I asked my 18 year old daughter about Train. She rolled he eyes and said they were old news. An old man band, and that I should like them.


    For the record, I've never heard if them, and I have XM and am reasonably current on "stuff". (or so I thought).


    Then asked he about Carley Jemsen, and again got the eye roll. I have heard her song, it is a catchy tune. Don't know what else she has done.


    AFAIK, it's a good selection. I've got ear plugs. Whatever.



    BTW, ELP might be available. I hear rumors of a makeup.

  8. Sounds like a great night. We have a hard time getting into schools. Odd for being in the south. It's all administration.


    We recruit mainly by word of mouth, bring a friend night, and one supportive Cub Pack. And younger brothers. Lots and lots of younger brothers!


    I used to shudder at the thought of 50+ in the troop. Not anymore. Bigger may not be better, but it allows a certain level of greater opportunity you might not otherwise have.


    Of the 12 families you met, what percentage do you think you'll see again?

  9. My troop does not have a fund for this.


    The first thing I do is look at how much they participated in the popcorn sale. We have this structured that they can pay their dues and 100% of camp fees by selling. Had 6 do that this year.


    The times we've been approached with a "need" situation, adults in the troop paid for the scout. Once then found out later Pops had just bought an expensive race car.


    I don't want to know the details. But I would like honesty. As with Qwazse, having Scouting cut into the Disney fund doesn't cut it.


    It boils down to parental choices. Paying for them because they don't value scouting? What does that teach?

  10. We use $3 per person per meal. This leaves them with extra food to go back in the patrol box, as well.


    When I cook for church youth, it's more like $3 breakfast, $4 lunch $5 dinner, and they eat well.

    That's for 100 plus kids.


    What you will find is breakfast is usually the cheapest meal, if you forgo a lot of bacon, and spend the extra on supper.

  11. Find a home school association that is looking for a scouting outlet for their members. Recruit from that group, and you will get leaders and kids. Don't wait, time is not on your side.


    What is the SM doing to recruit? What about younger brothers of friends of your members?

    Get after it, and remember that you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Find your Unit Commissioner, and engage him in this process.


    Good luck, stay in touch.

  12. Interesting observations by Eamonn. And also by CubsRgr8: Change the leader if you want to change the culture.


    I've told many members of the Committee and my CC and COR that if they think it's time for a change, don't try to have a coupe. Just let me know and I'll gladly step aside and help with the transition, if they desire that.


    I find myself drawn to each of Eamonns' caricatures of scout troops, because almost each has parts that reminds me of mine, and many that I've visited. One in particular that I know well.


    Because each Troop has its own personality, I urge Webelos parents to shop around for the troop that fits them. Just because they might be in a feeder pack is no guarantee that little Johnny will fit in, and like it.


    The culture is hard to change, but should change be forced? And if so, by whom? I see the variety of scout troops with their respective (dis-)functionality as part of the tapestry of scouting. I suppose this depends on how involved/meddlesome the CO is, and if their expectations are being met.


    If every troop was the same, all high adventure, all of 32 scouts, all doing the same thing, would we be meeting the needs of the larger scouting community? I think not.






  13. Beaver (Beavah?) made the point that scouting sells itself cheap sometimes, relative to other youth activities.


    High school band, for instance, costs $550 a year to participate. Volleyball costs $2,200 per year. Football and wresting are similar. Scouting is anywhere between $50-$150 per year in dues, assume $100 per year in uniforms, then add monthly event fees. I don't include food, because scouts eat cheaper on a campout than they do at home.


    Because scouting is a value, relative to other youth activities, it is the one that gets bumped when the "tired" or "lots of homework" card is played.


    If parents had more financial skin in the game, would that improve attendance?


    I don't know. But I do know I spend the majority of my time with the scouts that take the time to come to meetings and camping trips, and not so much chasing the ones that don't want to be there.


    I do note that the scouts who attend summer camp are the ones that choose to go to high adventure bases, which costs thousands of dollars. Anything done at a high level, be it band or scouts, costs a lot of money.


    So because the entry cost is low, parents perceive scouting as worth less? Until the hook is set, and they see the value, and agree to pay more? That has been my observations.






  14. We did not provide Boy's Life for a number of years. Two years ago, we started including the subscription with dues, and the response has been well received. The boys enjoy getting their own magazine delivered to them, and each month there are one or two good stories of high adventure camping which they like.


    So on the whole, I like it and will continue to provide it with dues.

  15. Using your logic you could get all you wanted if you lowered it to zero. No, I don't believe that registration costs are keeping your youth away. It is other interests, opportunity costs, that are keeping them away.


    What good is having a name on a piece of paper if they never participate? Clutter is all.


    If you did one, two or three activities a year that they were able to participate in, they would find a way to cough up the registration fee. It's not a backbreaking amount. (I have 3 in college now. $20 bucks won't move the needle).

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