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bigbeard

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About bigbeard

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    Mid Atlantic
  1. bigbeard

    Very Short Scoutmaster Minutes.

    On Perserverence . . "The best way to eat an elephant is one spoonful at a time." On Teamwork . . "The best way to eat an elephant is to invite hungry friends."
  2. bigbeard

    Gay Lifestyle vs. Good Rolemodel

    We used to call this a Pisa Poll. It leans so far to one side that it stays unoccupied and is essentially useless. Tough issues deserve better treatment, not "have you quit beating your wife" questions. FWIW
  3. How about an online board @ National to review "field calls". Posters could ask for guidance/ rulings/interpretations on G2SS issues and receive a National-sanctioned decision. Responses could be archived for reference. Maybe limit it to boldface issues to keep it under control.
  4. bigbeard

    Hazing

    Bob, There is no question in my mind you are seated at the right hand of Scout Knowledge; me 'ats off to ya, Gov. By the same token, after a couple of years and every training short of Wood Badge I could get, (and WB this fall, fingers crossed), I'm no ignoramoooose, either. Please don't insinuate that I can't/don't/haven't done my homework. I try. I try real darn hard. Deal? I'd like to submit the following: Seems to me that hazing requires both hazers and hazees. With our policy, there is not a single soul who has not graced us with a rendition of his favorite ditty, adults included. In our small troop, nearly every family has an adult as ASM or CM, (and position-trained at last!!), most all veterans of a performance or two, and they support the tradition. The PLC set the current policy, and accepts its consequences. Where is the abuse? One of the leadership skills you mentioned was communication. The "abuse" sessions have proved a valuable tool for overcomming the shyness and fear of public presentaion. What better forum than among friends, doing something you've seen them all do, with smiles and laughter all around, and you parents approving of your courage? Even my "deer in the headlights" scout is far more comfortable speaking his mind in meetings, "desensitized" to his fear. Maybe the singing isn't the only reason for his improvement, but I submit it has played a large role. Each session is dripping with Patrol Method. No scout faces his fear alone, his brothers are right there, where they want to be. To be honest, there isn't much fear left in any of them. Does it count as humiliation if they like it? If I abolish the practice, override the troop will, I tell them its their troop, except when I say different. Now THAT smells like ego. Spin is spin. Until the day that a SM's role is scripted word for word, everybody is presenting the program as they see it; you, me, every adult. We are not automata. If I believed as you do that Scouting should take place in a "glass bubble", impervious to the real world, molded only by bold face type, they wouldn't have to throw me out, I'd be gone. Bob, in this place at this time, singing for forgotten stuff is not hazing. Far from it; its like that boot camp haircut that helps forge a unit, a tool to be used for the betterment of the program. The potential for abuse exists in every phase of Scouting, here included. That's why were here, to keep that from happening. If I have earned my removal from Scouting for standing with the Troop, so be it. Who do I call? Sorry. Love the forum. Rant over. (This message has been edited by bigbeard)
  5. bigbeard

    Hazing

    Gotta go with Rooster, with a few wrinkles. The current leadership decided to continue the singing tradition over my suggestion to substitute a good deed on the honor system. Thanks to Mr. Murphy, the first incident following this decision involved our most "deer in the headlights" scout. At the end of the loadout, his PL came to me with an appeal on how to deal with it and be fair to all concerned. Our solution, following a little strategic forgetfullness, was a nice rendition of Yankee Doodle for Trios, arranged for scout, PL and SM. Fun, supportive, instructive, fair. The new rules for forgetfullness call for patrols to sing together, solos optional. Works on a bunch of levels: Patrol mates looking out for each other, policing campsites, peer presure not to forget stuff, "we band of brothers...", etc. etc. Patrol choice of song. The Geezer Patrol, taking turns being human, also performs as needed. Leadership often means standing out front, all alone, and doing what has to be done. Boys need the opportunity to learn this, and Scouting is the perfect place to do it. It's also a SM's first duty. Life is full of unpleasantness, we owe it to the boys to teach them how to deal with it early - could save a lot of heartache down the road.
  6. bigbeard

    Why we do what we do

    As the SM of a small Troop, I sometimes get discouraged. Too much work, not enough hands. My grass is always too tall, my oil needs to be changed, my wife is unhappy, my weekends spoken for far into the future. In the Troop, it sometimes seems that for every step forward, we take two back. I know we're getting better and making the right moves, but once in a while, the funk gets the upper hand. Here's a world-class funk-cutter. A week ago Sunday an F-5 tornado ripped through a town named La Plata, about 5 miles from here, in Southern Maryland. Few lives were lost, but the level of destruction was overwhelming. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed. Words are inadequate to describe the devastation. This isn't Kansas, for Pete's sake - this is home! With schools closed, one of our Scouts called the Troop, and then the authorities, to see if we could help. (The boy behind this effort was my son - hear the buttons popping?) After delays caused by safety concerns and such, we got our chance. The boys, a couple of parents, a few chainsaws and a big boxful of good intentions headed down this last weekend. The scene was that of a war zone. The neighborhood we went to had been devastated, with pieces of shattered houses, homes, lives, in huge piles along the street. Kids toys smashed. An untouched house here, and next door a lot with only a heap of rubble. The grass gone in many places, blown away. Towering trees broken and tossed like straws. And on and on and on. It was a scene to put a lump in the throat and unshed tears in the eye, not all of them belonging to young Scouts. Assigned to tree and brush clearing, the Troop began to work. Among hundreds of other volunteers, the boys dragged and hauled and rolled and cleared and piled the debris. We moved from house to house, doing what we could to help. The sounds of heavy equipment and the chainsaws the adults were using never stopped. Working with the boys on the hauling crew, I saw our rest breaks grow more frequent as the day wore on. It was hot and dusty and hard. The volunteer effort was scheduled to end at 6 PM that evening. At the last house, work not finished, we sat in the driveway resting before packing up. The lady of the house came over and, sitting with us for a moment, thanked the boys for all their hard work. It was clear that our efforts meant an awful lot to her. As she finished, the PL of our younger boys, weighing maybe 90 pounds, sweaty, dirty, tired, wearing the scratches from the mountain of brush he had hauled that day, spoke. He said he was sorry we hadn't finished for her, and that he and his patrol would stay, if it was allowed. When I said we had to leave, he turned his back on me and said to the lady, "We'll come back. We'll come back for as long as you guys need us. That's what we do." When my grass gets too tall, and my work is piling up, and the boys are bucking the system, I'm gonna think back to last Saturday, to the spirit of those boys, to the PL's words. I'm sure this scene has played itself out hundreds of times in hundreds of towns, but this one is all mine. And I'm gonna hang onto it forever. Bigbeard Waldorf, MD
  7. bigbeard

    How to reach more youth

    NJ, in brainstorm mode I was thinking of Den Chief for everyone, a National change to current requirements. Might be difficult to work out the numbers, Scouts vs. Dens. Might be dangerous too. Some Scouts might just not be cut out for it. On the other hand, if more Cubs get to know Boy Scouts better, maybe more would make the transition. Also introduces to concept of paying back at an earlier age. Just an idea. Most respected Bob White, help me out. Our program, long adult-run, is in a stage of transition to the Eight Methods. We are young, disorganized, a little helter-skelter, last minute and scrambling. We are also now boy run. After this weekends OLT, all four of our ASM's will be trained (Amen!)for the first time in memory. Our ASM's, CC and I meet twice a month to work on the 1001 thing that need to be done to speed the transition we are committed to. Our Spring and early Summer are chock full of Scout-selected events. The Troop's first Eagle COH in more than two years is May 5th. Our program is getting to where is should be. In all honesty, it was alot easier when the last SM ran things and I was just a Dad, but we're getting there (due in no small part to the experience and eloquence of yourself and the other members of this forum). I acknowledge the importance of boy-to-boy recruiting, Den Chief-ing (3 of my 13 boys are currently serving), and other Troop level activities aimed at membership development. In community based efforts - Scout Night, school presentations, high visibility community service, etc. - we are hard presssed to compete. Other Troops in this area, all larger and of long standing (some adult run - and very popular, by the way) give us a poor relation look in comparison. Our focus has been on our own house. We are doing what we know and can do to recruit, eating the elephant one spoonful at a time. In what way does our developing program provide what we need to grow? How does it communicate the Aims to parents who have many outlets to let their boys have fun? Parents want their boys to develop character, citizenship, mental and physical toughness. Outside of the Scouting community and its immediate circle, (groups that need no convincing) how does the program spread that word to those parents? The Program can and does speak for itself. It's the voice that's lacking. Present the nations premire youth development organization in the right way and in a larger/national forum. If a parent brings the boy, the program may well capture him. If the parent does not understand the opportunity, that boy won't have the chance to be captured.
  8. bigbeard

    How to reach more youth

    IMHO, Irving needs to develop a stronger relationship with Madison Avenue. I can still remember that commercial with the dark street, a worried man, and two scouts. Boy Scouts ina nutshell. The modern one with the lost wallet on the mountain is also memorable. With all due respect, it is the parents who start a boy's path in Scouting. Reach them. Wouldn't you love to see a 60 second spot during halftime of the Superbowl starring NFL'ers who are former Scouts/Scouters saying all the right stuff? Or a father lecturing his daughter about the date she is going on, and the boy turns out to be a Scout saying and doing all the right things, to his visible relief? At $1,000,000. per minute, that's $.30 ea. per member. How about Nascar, NCAA, etc.? Go where your targets are, and tell them about it. Surely Hollywood, mass media, news organizations are not void of Scouting supporters. Find'em and use'em. Hire a pro and put him/her to work on the macro level. Target anyone you wish - latino youth, urban areas; heck, develop a plan to go after entire soccer teams, en bloc. Make an enriched recruiting module part of SM/ASM and CM training. Is the 12-Months of Recruiting syllabus part of JLTC, Wood Badge, other advanced training programs? Are they emphasized? Insist that every Council Scouting University have BA, MA and PhD. level membership development courses, run by advertising pros whenever possible. Create/energize District PR chairs to get the word out. In the Troop? Make Den Chief an official rank requirement for Star, maybe. Reward a Scout for bringing guests, make Recruiter a much bigger deal. Develop a package a SM can take to pricipals and pastors to provide a little topical damage control when pitching Scout Nights. Try and find an outgoing parent, sign 'em up, and turn 'em loose on local youth organizations for a shot at recruiting. There are lots of ideas, but only just so much a SM/ASM can do. Grassroots are the most widespread and influential, but they need a little fertilizer from above every now and then. Bob, I agree on the importance of a strong program, but it is geared more toward retention than recruiting. The issue is important enough to require special emphasis outside the program at many levels.
  9. bigbeard

    Changing Charter Organization

    Thanks for the advice. Am awaiting a DE response. Hunting is the primary focus of the club, but they are active in a number of areas, including Scouting. In fact, they recently hosted a Support Scouting dinner at their hall, attended by all the District wheels, and made a most generous donation. NJ, good point about potential prices/agendas. I'll keep that in mind during discussions. Thanks again.
  10. Posted this earlier today, haven't seen it. Pre-apologies if it doubles up. Our Troop was noticed by a VIP of a local sportsman club during a campout/service project this weekend. The Troop the club sponsors currently has mostly faded away, and he offered the oportunity to us. The organizations is very youth and outdoors oriented. Our current CO, a Neighborhood Association, is of the "sign here once a year" variety. We do not meet in their facility except for monthly Committee, we pay our own recharter, and receive no financial support. If we went away tomorrow, I doubt they would notice. Has anyone out there changed CO's or have a reference on the proceedure? The longer-serving adults in the Troop have concerns about keeping the Unit number (we are turning 25 years old this year). I'm familiar with some of the other "ownership" issues, but could use all the advice I can get. Thanks
  11. bigbeard

    More than one POR

    Small Troops do have special challenges. You do the best you can. No boy is allowed to take on more than he can handle, but he is allowed to TRY. If it becomes too much, he is usually the one that makes the call to ease up. BTW, Historian and Scribe work well together. Strong attendance and good word skills make for a fine scrapbook.
  12. bigbeard

    Broken Rules and

    Bob, You have probably forgotten more about the Rules and Regs than I will ever know. I stand in awe. If we had a dollar for every BSA rule I've bent or broken, the Troop would be on the NYSE. Ignorance is not an excuse, they say, but it happens. I wear the Trained badge, took SALT, and am taking the new training course with adults in the Troop (lead from the front, right?). I learn more each week, but I still lack your range of knowledge. To be honest, if I gotta learn it all A to Z, then we're doomed. In our small Troop, we've done our best to follow at least the Big Ticket Items in BSA's version of Rocks and Shoals. We've had to cancel outings for lack of 2-deep leadership, stayed out of the water on a hike along a waterway, etc. Not popular decisions with the boys, but rules are rules. Ignoring them sends the wrong message to the boys. I signed on with them in place, and the requirement to follow them is a matter of duty. They are there to help produce The Program safely. Follow 'em. That being said, in the hypotheticals proposed by Eisley, et.al., (or in their perfect versions) the rules would be a secondary concern. A no-brainer. If there is a price to be paid for one of my decisions, so be it. That price will not be the life/health of a child entrusted to my care. "Train us, trust us, let us lead!"
  13. bigbeard

    Traditional /Family Values

    Values are based on what we value, as an individual, family or society. If we valued those twelve character traits, and ONLY those twelve traits, would we be missing anything? Well put, tj. Values, almost without exception, have practical roots, refined over time to perpetuate the species. Family values are no exception. To the Law's list, I would add a requirement to nurture and teach our children. There is no greater charge we as parents have. It is the charge we as Scouters have taken to ourselves. My wife (whom I married only after rigorous scientific analysis ) is a world-class sixth grade teacher. In her room, she has this: Come to the edge We can't, we are afraid Come to the edge We can't, we will fall And they came to the edge And he pushed them And they flew. Appolinaire Boy I love that poem. A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent, and On Wing.
  14. bigbeard

    How DO I Fix This?

    I have a 14-year old son in BSA and a 9-year old daughter in her first year as a Brownie. The subject of father participation is one near and dear to my heart. When my daughter saw my BSA involvement with her brother, she exacted from me a promise to "do Brownies" with her. The people who run her Troop are good folks, but they do have a pronounced anti-dad bias. Neither leader has confronted me with a "you're not welcome" speech, but the disapproval is sometimes overwhelming. I guess I can understand it, but it's something I would like to work to change. My daughter has friends in the troop and wants to stay, and I have made her a promise I intend to keep. I need to win their hearts and minds, somehow. Anyone have any ideas? In the words of John Merrick, "I am not an animal"!
  15. bigbeard

    Eagle Problem

    Long Haired Eagle(almost), Please read all the posts above carefuly - finer counsel you will not find. Dedicated Dad makes some interesting points. Making Eagle is a significant milestone in a young man's life. It implies you are capable of thinking for yourself, able to start steering your own course, deciding what "right" is. Many years ago, hair became an issue in a choice I had made. In a nutshell, my mid-back locks were left in a pile on the floor, revealing an unattractive, smooth-skinned melon. To this day, it's not when I signed the paper to go to work for Uncle Sam that I remember, it's the day I got my haircut. It's the day I stopped being a boy and started being a man. The ball is entirely in your court, as described above. Think about it all, plant your feet, and do what seems right to you. Don't be pushed or shamed or cajoled, decide for yourself. Good Luck!
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