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SemperParatus

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About SemperParatus

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  1. At the last (elementary) school in which my wife taught, a teacher started a club called "Girls Run the Nation". There was (and probably still is) a huge banner in the lobby proclaiming Girls Run the Nation, they have special activities and events just for girls in the school and there has been a push to replicate the club in other schools as well. As 50% of the school's population (boys) walk under that banner every morning, I can't help but think what message they are taking away. Add to that the fact that the overwhelming majority of the teachers are young females that have no clue how to handle active young boys (besides pushing for a diagnosis) and I am afraid that boys have become the second class citizen of the public education system. Unfortunately, the push for "empowerment" for girls has translated into boys (in general) falling behind as less positive attention is given them. Boy scouts has been a 'safe space' for boys to go to, where they can be themselves and develop strong character based on positive male role models. Over the past twenty years, it really had become one of the last places to which a boy could escape the growing feminization of our culture. My son earned the rank of Eagle. My daughter earned the Gold Award. I served as a Den Leader, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster and Committee Chair. My wife served as a Girl Scout Troop, Cluster and Community Leader. We all cherish the memories of our scouting adventures and would not change the years we poured ourselves into making the respective scouting programs the absolute best they could be. We had our family time, our daddy-daughter time, our mommy-son time, and our separate time with the boys and the girls. It was all good and important to us to have all of these experiences. Just as my wife and daughter looked forward to their girl relationships in scouting, my son and I found that boy scouting created special bonds of friendship that have endured. Unfortunately, this policy change will bring an end to "boy scouting". The camel's nose is now under the tent and it is only a matter of time before the program is fully co-educational in every respect. Separate but equal has never been enough for the progressive elements of our society. Scouting will be just another youth activity, albeit with strange garb, high participation costs and no real mission that is indistinguishable from other youth groups. It is difficult to witness a program that you loved so much to disintegrate before your very eyes. For the BSA, I am sure it is all about the money to prop of their declining membership. For volunteers such as myself, it is a time to mourn what once was an institution that shaped who we are as individuals and a community.
  2. SemperParatus

    Visit the troops night

    Our district has over 25 troops and probably 50 packs or so. Finding a venue would be challenging, but my bigger concern would be the potential of it turning into a chaotic situation with too many people and choices (I envision the same anxiety I feel when looking for my toothpaste in a supermarket). Maybe a better approach would be a district directory that includes pertinent and current information relating to each troop (location, leadership, size, age/rank distribution, etc.) to give webelos a quick snapshot of troops in the area to better focus what troops they may want to visit. Sort of like the Princeton Review for colleges - when my children started looking at colleges I told them to go through the Review and pick 10 they were interested as a starting point.
  3. SemperParatus

    Questions to ask a prospective Troop

    I found that the simplest way to limit troop size is to limit the number of crossovers you accept each year. For many years, our troop limited crossovers from only our affiliated pack as a means to control growth. We would take older scout transfers on a limited basis after assessing the interest and fit. I fielded many calls from webelos leaders desiring to visit and had to explain our 'policy'. It kept us in a nice range of 50 - 75 scouts for a good long time. When crossover years were small, we took in more transfers to manage the numbers. There is nothing wrong with limiting the number of scouts accepted into the troop.
  4. SemperParatus

    Mama Bear... disheartened today

    It sounds like your son is highly motivated when it comes to sports and girls, while scouting has become somewhat of a drag. You seem to blame the troop for this, but it could be that your son is just trying to prioritize his time to achieve the greatest happiness. It appears that scouting is not bringing him joy anymore. I would hope that becoming an Eagle scout is not simply the finish line for him, but it may very well be given the circumstances you have described. He does not sound like a quitter - perhaps an appeal to his pride is in order. Dealing with difficult people and seeing things through to the end (no matter how unpleasant they may seem) are important life skills that this situation will help to develop.
  5. SemperParatus

    Questions to ask a prospective Troop

    All good responses so far. I would suggest one additional question - how many crossovers did you have in the past 2 years and how many are still active with the troop. The transition from cub scout to boy scout can be a challenging one and a strong troop is defined, in part, by how well they address that transition and retain the interest of their youngest scouts.
  6. SemperParatus

    Please help?!

    My advice...forgive, forget and move on. It sounds like things have reached the end with this CO. Nothing will be achieved by fighting with the pastor, hiring a lawyer to represent you, etc. For your mental health and more importantly, the health of your group of scouts, find another CO to sponsor a pack that has demonstrated its success. The hurt that you feel now will fade quickly as you focus your attention on scouting rather than politics.
  7. SemperParatus

    Financial help to those who wont help fundraise??

    It sounds like you may be in this situation again this year because no expectations were set last year. If you want to avoid this being an annual discussion, then you should set some expectations for mom and the scouts. I would renew their registrations from pack funds and the committee chair should lay out with mom some kind of plan to make some kind of non-monetary contribution to the pack for the coming year.
  8. SemperParatus

    Boy Scouts of Harlem

    Flipping the channels last night and came across the documentary film - Boy Scouts of Harlem - on Maryland Public Television. It was the simple concept of following four boys from Troop 759 based in Harlem, NY on their week-long summer camp adventure at Ten Mile River Camp (Keowa). It was touching and incredibly well done. For the experienced scouter it is so familiar. For those outside our scouting community it offers a portrayal of the character development that is instrumental to the scouting movement. Anyone else seen it? http://www.harlemscouts.org/
  9. SemperParatus

    Creativity Needed

    From Our Tent to Yours, Merry Christmas
  10. SemperParatus

    Stepping down as SM

    gwd - I know it must have been a hard decision for you, just as it was when you made that leap of faith six years ago. Have a great final year of scoutmastering.
  11. I'm with you Eamonn. For the past few years, my giving has been very local - to organizations that I know personally and trust the folks running it, and where I can see my money going directly to aid actual beneficiaries. I got tired of black hole giving to national groups that seem to support executive salaries and professional fundraisers at the expense of those in need. You can never go wrong leaving money to dogs.
  12. SemperParatus

    FINALLY! - Brings a Tear To My Eye

    Great story with a happy ending. Me thinks this is the beginning of something new and exciting for your troop.
  13. SemperParatus

    can I brag a little today?

    Congrats, cheffy! Sounds like a great time was had. Here's to the grandkids carrying on the tradition.
  14. SemperParatus

    Kinda sad!

    Yes, it is sad. I think a lot of camps have made excellent attempts over the past decade to expand their programs with more high adventure activities, many times offsite (BRMSR comes to mind). I can certainly understand a 16 year old not interested in sitting in merit badge classes or doing a cope course (for maybe the third or fourth time). Sounds like he (and the troop)needs an introduction to some of the other more exciting (nonadvancement oriented)opportunities available at other camps.
  15. SemperParatus

    BSA Centennial History Book

    Last night my wife and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary. I was quite surprised when she gave me this book as a gift. I'm no historian, but I do think the book is well done. The price is steep...but she tells me I'm worth it.
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