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Everything posted by starwolfmom

  1. starwolfmom

    I have an Eagle!

    Matt passed his EBOR on Saturday. I am the mom of an Eagle Scout (to go along with being the sister and the niece of an Eagle Scout). Matt's EBOR ran about 2 hours and 10 minutes. It was scheduled for 2 p.m., so I had him there at 1:45 p.m. as his Scoutmaster requested. I told him to call me when he was sent out of the room for the board to deliberate. I was called at 4:40 p.m. Turns out that the actual BOR didn't start until 2:30 p.m., after the board members met for pre-board stuff for half an hour. The actual board went from 2:30 to 4:40 p.m., then we were called in at about 4:55 p.m. Since nothing is supposed to leave the board room, Matt didn't share much about the board, except that they asked him a lot of questions, some of them seemingly "trick" questions, but that he felt he handled himself well. At one point, the district advancement chair asked Matt if he thought he deserved to be an Eagle if he couldn't follow directions (he forgot to include the chair's approval letter for his project in his project binder). Matt said that he did, because everyone makes mistakes and one small mistake shouldn't outweigh 12 years of positive Scouting performance. Another board member asked him which of the six lines of the Scout oath he felt was the most important. Matt said "to obey the Scout law" because that then embodied everything else. The board member said that he felt the most important was "on my honor" because without that, the rest was meaningless. However, he saw the validity in Matt's response. We're both just really glad that it's over. We probably won't have his court of honor until mid-May, after the spring semester of college is done. Elizabeth
  2. starwolfmom

    I have an Eagle!

    Evmori--two hour EBORs are pretty standard in our district. Matt's best friend's EBOR ran 2 1/2 hours. Yes, Matt's Scoutmaster was there. Matt is his first Eagle--he's been Scoutmaster about 3 months (although active with the troop for about 4 years). Ohio--I probably won't get to Eagle squared. My younger son quit the troop in January. He was tired of being bullied by kids who obviously don't take the Scout oath and law as seriously as his older brother. Elizabeth
  3. starwolfmom

    I have an Eagle!

    Thanks, Ohio. I guess technically I'm now eaglestarmom, which just shows you how long I've been hanging around this forum. Elizabeth
  4. starwolfmom

    I have an Eagle!

    Well, I thought the secrecy thing was kind of odd, too, although I heard the district advancement chair say it. I did find this on the eaglescout.org web site, in a document for people who are serving on an Eagle Board of Review: The contents of the Board of Review are confidential and the proceedings are not to be disclosed to any person who is not a member of the Board of Review. So I figured it must be an official policy, though why, I don't know. Elizabeth
  5. starwolfmom

    I have an Eagle!

    Our troop typically doesn't provide anything for Eagle courts of honor--they are entirely planned by the family. They participate, of course, reading some parts of the ceremony, boys in the unit serving as color guard and whatnot, but it's really up to the parents and the boy to put the whole thing together. Fortunately, since Matt's best friend had his Court of Honor last spring, and his mom and I are friends, I can pick her brain for ideas and do's and don'ts. Matt doesn't really want an outdoor COH. Mid-May in Michigan can still be pretty iffy weather-wise. Elizabeth
  6. starwolfmom

    EBOR is Saturday!

    Since you were all so supportive of my vent about the delays in my son's Eagle process, I wanted to let you know that his EBOR is this Saturday afternoon. I've been reading up on what Matt should expect and also how long some of the guidelines say an EBOR should be. One document said, "more than 15 minutes but less than an hour." Another, from the advancement chair for the NESA, says that they should be about 30 minutes. I talked to Matt's friend Andrew, and he said his was about 2 1/2 hours long. If Matt's goes that long, I think I'm going to show the NESA document to our district folks and ask why theirs are so long. It's just not fair to these young men. I'll let you know after the weekend if I have an Eagle Scout. Elizabeth
  7. My oldest son just squeaked all of his paperwork in for Eagle hours before his 18th birthday. We knew from his friend's experience that it might be six weeks or so before we heard anything about when his EBOR would be set up. We received our packet from the council with the Eagle recommendation form for us as his parents to write our letter, and turned it back in by the October 28 deadline that was set. From some of the other people whom Matt had listed on his application, we heard that they had also turned in their letters. So we waited, and waited. Cut to Christmas break. Matt is home from college and we had really expected that he would be having his EBOR when he was home. But still, we've heard nothing. So, I asked our Scoutmaster (new to the position, but not to the troop), if he'd heard anything about Matt's application and Eagle process. He asked around and heard from somebody that maybe it had to do with his letters of recommendation. It took until yesterday for him to get a definitive answer that the council had received 4 of Matt's 6 letters and was waiting on those last two before moving forward. It's been 10 weeks since the letter deadline, so why has no one at the council office mentioned this to anyone yet???? Last night, Matt called one of his references, who said that he HAD sent the letter in weeks ago, but he had a copy and would send it again. He also contacted his other reference and left a message about the letter. I'm steamed and also confused. It's now nearly three months past Matt's 18th birthday. The district advancement chair told our SM (and he relayed it to me) that when EBORS are 1-3 months after the lad's 18th birthday, it's usually not a problem, but when it's 3-6 months after, people usually have questions and it becomes an "issue." Why would it be an "issue" if Matt had nothing to do with the delay? Is this common? I am less than thrilled right now and so is Matt. I know he wants his Eagle, even though he's said, "I know I did the work, Mom, even if I don't get the badge." End of vent. Elizabeth
  8. starwolfmom

    need to Vent (Eagle process)

    Well, Matt's employer (who is also a Scouter) got his letter in--again--yesterday. Thank goodness he had saved a copy. The assistant principal at the high school said that he had sent his in ages ago. However, he said that after school today he would go to the scout office in person, get the form, and fill it out right there and hand it to a live human being to ensure that it was received this time. Fortunately, the high school is less than a mile from the council office, so this is not a problem. Thank you all for your support. By the way, to answer a couple of questions: yes, OGE, I am the freelance writer, but I don't think I'd write about this. Narraticong, I live in Lansing. I'll let you know when Matt has his EBOR and earns his Eagle. Elizabeth
  9. starwolfmom

    need to Vent (Eagle process)

    Thanks for listening. I found it strange that the council felt it needed all six letters in order to proceed; I'm glad to know it's not required, but is just something our council wants. (Our District Advancement Chair is also one of those guys who insists on a project proposal so detailed that "if the Scout was hit by a bus, anyone could pick up the book and proceed with the project.") Matt and I were told that it was only necessary to have the project done and paperwork in by his 18th birthday; that the EBOR could be done afterward. (that happens a lot in our district) But three months seems ridiculous. Our SM has said that Matt's Eagle process has been a learning experience for him; hopefully future Eagle candidates will benefit from this. I don't know whether to call them on the fact that they don't need all six letters to move forward; I'm afraid of jeopardizing Matt's chances somehow if I make a fuss. EBORs in our district are already traumatizing enough. I think that Matt's friend's EBOR was more than 3 hours long--and this was a kid who was gold-plated Eagle material, not somebody with iffy credentials. I'm almost glad my younger son has decided to quit Scouts. He has an anxiety disorder and I'm afraid he would have a breakdown trying to get through the process. Elizabeth
  10. starwolfmom

    How is your "Journey" going?

    I'm a new Daisy leader (as you can probably tell from my user name, I've been a Boy Scout mom--although the Star in my name is almost an Eagle, and the Wolf is now Star). We're kind of combining our Daisy journey and Daisy petals. Gardening in Michigan in the winter is kind of tough--just finding potting soil and seeds in stores is a challenge. So, we're going to wait until closer to spring to begin gardening. Elizabeth
  11. I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who had that reaction to Tom Brady on the cover. "Morally straight" he is not, and I don't consider him a role model for any of my children. I also felt the same about the Exxon exec who named Ayn Rand's book as his favorite. Not a philosophy compatible with Scouting. Elizabeth
  12. starwolfmom

    Movies for Citizenship in The Community

    re: the requirement "With the approval of your counselor and a parent, watch a movie that shows how the actions of one individual or group of individuals can have a positive effect on a community." In our troop's rather slap-dash way of doing merit badges, the group of boys working on this badge were merely asked, during a troop meeting during which they were working on the badge, to come up with the title of a movie that had watched (in the past) and talk about how it related to the requirement above. (I discovered this when my son told me he had finished the Citizenship in the Community badge and I inquired about the movie requirement--knowing he had never asked me about watching a movie in conjunction with the badge--and he told me, "Oh, we just had to tell about some movie we'd already seen that fit.") I asked him what movie he had picked and why. He chose "Newsies," a musical about a group of newsboys in New York in the late 1800s who successfully organized and went on strike to achieve better working conditions and fair pay for the kids who sold newspapers. I thought that was an excellent choice, actually, but I was none too happy about the lazy way that the MB counselor was going through the badge work with the kids. Elizabeth
  13. starwolfmom

    Eagle Scout Project Approval

    My son is going through this now. He's been working on his project write-up and still isn't done. He thought he might be close, and showed it to a friend (and his mom) who went through this all about seven months ago. They gave him some pointers in hopes that it would "pass" the first time the district chair reviews it. Stupid stuff like when he says "screw the screws into the wood" they added in pencil "with a screwdriver." Well, duh? What would someone think otherwise--with a hammer? My son is three months away from turning 18, has wanted to be an Eagle since he was a Tiger, but the thought of all this bureaucratic hoop jumping is paralyzing him from even gettingthe workbook finished--much less the project (that will be a breeze). It's very discouraging. My mom (who is anxious for her grandson to make Eagle, like my older brother and her brother before him) says "your brother didn't have to go through anything like this." Well, yeah, mom, but he earned his Eagle 35 years ago; things have changed, and not for the better. Elizabeth
  14. I am growing increasingly concerned with how my sons' troop is handling both merit badges and rank advancement. This involves my younger son, who crossed over a year ago February, and did not happen with my older son, who is nearly 18. Monday evening, at our spring COH, the Scoutmaster was holding a big handful of Personal Fitness merit badges. The boys had been working on the badge in troop meetings for a while (I know, don't even get me started about THAT!) and I knew that my younger son had told me that they had "finished all the questions." The SM came over to me and asked if my son had taken phys ed in school this year. I said, "yes, and he even earned the Presidential Physical Fitness Award." He said, "great, that's all I needed to know." The next thing I know, my son is getting his Personal Fitness badge, along with a half dozen other boys. He was thrilled, and a little surprised. I was surprised and not in a good way. I look at my almost-Eagle son, and he looked appalled. I looked at the SM, and he said, "it's okay. If he took gym, he's done everything for the badge." Um . . . I don't think so, but I'm not going to burst my kid's bubble. So, I went online and checked out the MB requirements. I know the boys did the initial fitness measurements, but I'm reasonably certain that they didn't develop a 12-week plan (I even asked my son--he didn't) and I know they didn't do the 2-week checks and measurements to see how far they came in 12 weeks. I also know that my son didn't research three careers in fitness and report on one of them. I asked him if he had done this and he looked confused. "No, that wasn't one of the questions." So, since we were all at the dinner table, we discussed various careers in fitness. I also asked my son who the MB counselor was for this badge. He wasn't certain, and said it might have been one of two of our ASMs, and named them. My older son reported to me that one night at Scouts, he witnessed the group of boys working on this badge, going through the questions and flipping through the book and answering them as a group--with no adult in sight. This isn't the only instance of shoddy work like this, but I dont want to write a novel here. What do I do? Who do I talk to about this? My son is having fun with this troop, but I'm upset by the shoddy, slapdash way that MBs are being done. Elizabeth
  15. starwolfmom

    Autistic scouts

    When I proposed an article to Scouting magazine back in 2006 about how troops/packs can help boys with autism and Asperger's be successful in their units, I had to lobby long and hard that it was a needed article. The editor didn't really think so, but eventually he assigned the story to me. This is it: http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0609/a-boys.html A month or so later, the editor contacted me, because that story generated more letters to the editor than just about any story they had ever run. A couple of those letters are here (scroll down): http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0611/d-lett.html Certainly not every unit or every district or council will have the resources to work with families of boys on the autism spectrum, but many are trying. Here are just two of several pages that came up when I googled "Scouts with autism": http://usscouts.org/netresources/autism.htm http://www.bsa-gwrc.org/district/wp/adult-trng/ADD_handout.html The troop to which my sons belong had very active Scout with autism and mental retardation. Everyone in the troop worked well with him and he was included in everything. In fact, he was often the one showing newer/younger Scouts the basics. He was with the troop until he was 21 or 22, and earned Eagle. My son with Asperger's is NOT a Scout, but that was his choice, and not the result of a poor Scouting experience. Elizabeth
  16. starwolfmom

    I hate spring sports

    Not really, but I hate what they do to our pack meetings. I had a terrific meeting planned for last night--our Scout executive, dressed like a pirate, came to talk about summer day camp, and I had a herpetologist bring several of her snakes to show the boys. On a really good day (like the Pinewood Derby) I'll have 18 Cubs. Last night, I had 7. Soccer practice, lacrosse practice, baseball practice--wiped out my numbers. Certainly the boys who were there had a great time--they loved the snakes! And the pirate! I told them to be sure and tell their buddies what they missed. But I still felt really discouraged. Do you have similar experiences in the spring? Elizabeth J
  17. starwolfmom

    Why the chaplains aide?

    In our troop, as far as I can tell, the chaplain's aide only ever does two things: 1) lead grace at the three courts of honor we have each year 2) at the end of each troop meeting, says "Hats off--Scout sign of reverence. May the great master of all Scouts be with us 'til we meet again. Good Scouting." That's it. As far as I know, we don't even have a chaplain. Elizabeth
  18. starwolfmom

    Why First Class First Year?

    "you get a bunch of young, first class scouts who are now expected to do first class scout things such as troop leadership positions, eligiability for OA, and they are in no way ready for any of it." I agree. Our Scoutmaster asked me if both of my boys planned on working at the Scout Service Camp on Mackinac Island this coming summer. I was a little taken aback and expressed the opinion that my younger son was too young to go. He said that as long as he was FC, he could go. (My older son didn't go his first time until the summer after 8th grade; my younger son is currently in sixth grade.) I asked my younger son if he wanted to go and he said, no, he didn't think he was ready. Also, it's his older brother's last year to go (he'll be ASPL for the contingent) and he knew that big brother wouldn't want him underfoot. By waiting a year, big brother gets his last hurrah without little bro there, and the next year, little bro gets to go without being in the shadow of big bro. I thought that showed a lot of insight and maturity on little bro's part and I agreed with his assessment. Elizabeth
  19. starwolfmom

    Why First Class First Year?

    OGE--I don't think I would dignify our troop's push for FCFY with the title of "program." It's not like we have a new scout patrol, a troop guide, or an ASM dedicated solely to the newer boys. It's just that there seems to be a "rush" to get stuff "out of the way" and get all the boys to FC. That "rush" didn't seem to be there six years ago; I'm not sure what's changed. Elizabeth
  20. starwolfmom

    Why First Class First Year?

    In my sons' troop, I have to admit that I'm less than thrilled with the way they rush boys through to First Class. My younger son, who crossed over last February, came home from a meeting in October (8 months as a Boy Scout) and announced that he was First Class. He seemed a little surprised, and I was a lot surprised. How was that even possible? Yes, he had done the "Netomi Trail" at summer camp that took him through a lot of the T-2-1 requirements, and he had participated in every event and campout offered by the troop, including a four-day canoeing trip during which the younger lads worked on advancement, but I didn't think he really had done everything yet. I pulled his book, found the requirement that states, "Visit and discuss with a selected individual approved by your leader (elected official, judge, attorney, civil servant, principal, teacher) your consitutional rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen." It was signed off by one of the troop's ASMs. I asked my son,"Do you remember doing this?" He was confused, but thought that they had probably discussed it when they were doing advancement stuff during the canoe trip camping weekend. He couldn't even really remember what they had discussed, only that they did and the requirement was signed off. I wasn't really thrilled about this, but he was so happy to have made FC that I didn't want to pee in his cheerios and tell him that I didn't think he had really done all the requirements yet. My older son wasn't really thrilled either. When he was 11, he and his patrol went and visited one of our city council members, who gave them a tour of city hall, let them sit in the council chambers, and chatted with them about their rights and responsibilities as U.S. citizens. The boys then reported back at a troop meeting about what they had learned. But in the six years since the older boy did that, the troop seems to have shifted in its outlook and is more concerned about rushing boys to rank and not really giving them a real understanding of what it is they're supposed to be learning. At a recent meeting, the SM announced that by now, all of the new boys have done enough that they should have the camping and cooking MBs. Well, if they haven't intentionally been working on those badges, have they really "earned" them? Same with OA eligibility. All of the new laddies are eligible for OA election in the spring. And guess what? They'll probably all be elected in, too. That's all very nice, but if everyone in the troop is in OA, is it really all that special of an honor? My older son is disgruntled with the way he sees the troop going--he just want to finish up his Eagle (two more badges and his project) and be done with it. (this is a kid who has really earned all his badges. He won't have anything to do with a "merit badge blitz" or "college" because he thinks that's the lazy way out.) He keeps his grumbles for my ears, though, because Scouting is still fresh and exciting for his little brother. Elizabeth
  21. starwolfmom

    What is your frequency of Den and Pack Meetings?

    I'm the Cubmaster. Most of the dens in the pack seem to meet twice a month, although when my sons were in this pack, their den meetings were weekly, except for the week when the pack meeting was held. Our pack meetings are the third Thursday of the month, except when there is a conflict (e.g., this month, our December meeting will be the second Thursday). We also try to participate in activities offered by the district or council (Webelos day at fall and spring camporees, Cub Scout Healthy Hike, Space Exploration Day at the Science Center, etc.), which happen every couple of months. In the past, we had never been really big on summertime activities--only my son and one other Scout ever went to day camp. That changed last year when we did a concerted effort to promote Cub Scout day camp, parent-son camp, and Webelos resident camp. We had more than half the pack participating in one or more of these offerings, and I expect a similar turnout this summer. Elizabeth
  22. starwolfmom

    In favor of adding a sewing merit badge

    Scouting did teach my son to sew, with or without a merit badge. Earlier this fall, in preparation for attending the Scout Brigade at Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake, my son decided that he wanted a uniform. This was a week before the event, and I informed him that I didn't have time to make him one. He told me he didn't expect me to; he would do it himself, including making the haversack that was part of the uniform. When I asked him whether he even knew how to sew, he informed me, "Well, in leatherworking, I had to stitch together the pouch for my OA regalia, and I suppose sewing uses the same principles." He did ask me to show him how to sew on buttons (his uniform required about 20 button). I did, and he did the rest. Toward the end, we did break down and get some of the heat-fuse stuff, but that was just an extra layer in addition to the sewing, not in place of it. I've learned that I don't need to be surprised at the skills my son has--chances are, he learned them in Scouting. Elizabeth
  23. starwolfmom

    Snapshot of Scouting Weekend of Oct. 26

    A bunch of my Cub Scouts went on our council's "Healthy Hike" and Chemistry Day at the local science museum, making the 1.5 mile hike in the cold and rain. My oldest son, a Life Scout, worked 8.5 hours outside in the cold and damp (it eventually stopped raining) helping one of his buddies with his Eagle project along with about 10 other people. They'll continue next Saturday, when hopefully the weather will be better. Elizabeth
  24. starwolfmom

    Mid-year Recruiting

    Our council just emailed all pack leaders a flyer they created for "After Fall Sports" recruiting. It lets boys know that even they hadn't signed up in September because they were busy with soccer and football, it's not too late to join. The flyer can be customized with each individual pack's information. I'm going to print a bunch of the flyers and have them sent home from the two elementary schools that my pack draws from and see if we can get some more boys into the pack. Elizabeth J
  25. starwolfmom

    Proud parent brag

    As my username suggests, when I joined this forum, my Scout sons were a Star and a Wolf. As of Monday night, that little Wolf is now a Second Class Scout (he crossed over in February). His brother is a Life Scout who is two badges and a project away from Eagle. I''m not changing my name, though. Elizabeth J