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About smalltroopSM

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  1. There are already plenty of electronic guidebooks out there to help with stargazing, tree identification, and the like. How about something along the lines of a reasonable national troop database that you can address with any internet-savvy device and keep track of troop records, camp registrations, advancement, training, etc. Really help the SM/CM's in their work! Dreaming on......(This message has been edited by smalltroopsm)
  2. As long as it shows respect and teaches the boys, not to mention breaking the boredom, why not? Have the boys (SPL/PLC) decide how they wish to handle it and carry it out. You might be pleasantly surprised.
  3. I have done some software development in the distant past. It appears to me that most of what BSA has done along that line is about where we were in 1985-86. Maybe a good thing they decided to hire a Chief Information Officer as in the video. Maybe not, too. Usually those guys are a lot of talk and no action. Scouting needs a strategic plan to service the needs of the volunteers, then execute. Paying a lot of money for executive horsepower doesn't seem to have worked up to now! Maybe they need to get on Scouter Network and ask what we need......won't hold my breath!
  4. Just finished signing the troop up for summer camp using a web-based package (apparently commercial) called "Campersoft 2005." Absolutely one of the worst applications I have ever used for this type thing. Took me 3 hours to sign up 8 scouts - yuck!! Signed most of them up twice, the rest three times. At least it works somewhat with my Safari Browser, which is better than all of the recent BSA software I have tried, like Internet Advancement, etc. You might think with all of the smart folks involved in scouting that we could at least get reasonable web-based stuff on a national leve
  5. I buy my ASM's the Harbor Freight variety for Christmas every year and engrave them (Job well done, year troop #, etc). The anodized finish is great for this after you screw up two or three. Those go to me and I use them till next year, but not on night hikes! Oh, No!! That would be sacrilege!! Also I am not allowed to shine them in my scouts' eyes as they do me all the time! They are cheap and I have proven they will survive a trip under the tire of a very heavy 4X4 Ford, long as it's off-road. Also just the right size to hold in your mouth and knock out your teeth as you try to
  6. Hmmmm!? Seems like it's all a matter of what are you doing. Moose antlers don't fit on my internal Kelty, but it holds everything for a week-long hike. Think about this, though. Most of us don't average over a day or two a year strapped to a load of stuff on our back, so whatever you buy, it better fit you because you will never change to fit it! A vote for the Kelty: I mistakenly ran over it with the scout trailer last year and I just bent the spring steel bars back into shape and kept on packin. Bought it for Philmont in '08 and have left it packed ever since. The squeaks just le
  7. Good info and some fine suggestions. Seems, as always, that one like this depends a lot on the folks involved. My own experience suggests maneuvering around the District/Council staff involvement any way you can. They usually have a tendency to muck it up and cost you a lot of unnecessary time and effort. I have carried in my SM notebook (and am now carrying) a lot of crossover registration forms already filled out and signed so the boys can be Boy Scouts while they wait on some laggard adults to get the AoL ceremony fulfilled. Makes the parents feel good, and that is worth a lot.
  8. Great job! Keep up the good work. Started our troop 10 years ago and had all the same hassles, worries, etc. Keep the Patrol Method foremost and remember this is for the boys. Everything becomes fairly routine if you handle it that way. And get some sleep! Remember, "It's only an hour a week." Kidding! One thing I did right was not trying to do it all myself. Sure, boy led troop, but recruit a trusted ASM to look after each patrol and help them solve the problems, learn the skills, etc. Not do it for them! And DON'T let the PL's Dad be that person. No nepotism here. Keep a
  9. And what is a MBC? Just a human with maybe a little extra knowledge of a particular subject. Second the other guys opinions about new scouts and merit badges. Give him a little time. As he moves through TF, SC, and FC, you will see his interest pick up. Encourage it! Merit Badges are meant to help a boy get a quick look at a variety of subjects, some of which could be possible career paths. Ranging from obviously elementary (Swimming and First Aid) to much more complex (Family Life and Personal Management), they tend to be sort of a side program which seems not to lend itself to any
  10. Some great stuff in this discussion. But while some of you were waxing eloquent about our scouting predecessors, you were ignoring the real reason we do all of this. BOY LEADERSHIP TRAINING! Of course a small troop needs a SPL. Ever been to a summer camp or Camporee that did not have a meeting of the SM's and SPL's? Somebody needs to wear the patch and take responsibility for the troop. And that, my friends, will do more to teach the boy leadership than anything any of us will be able to accomplish. The PLC is just a small part of the SPL job, and is an important interface for the
  11. Great question, but not easy to answer. I always ask a newbie to just be an unassigned Committee Member until we get to know them better. Had many disappointing experiences with "experts" straight off the street, including getting the application back from the Council with a felony No-go stamp. Better to be safe than sorry! Most troop and pack positions are optional, with the possible exception of Committee Chair and SM. Those two positions need your best and most experienced. Try temporary assignments to find strengths and weaknesses. If training is done well, by the end of one
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