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Posts posted by TAHAWK

  1. Kudu, I don't fully understand your beef.


    I first took Scouter training in 1962. Our SM required it for new SM's. I still have my notes (now seriously brittle and tea-brown): "Scouting is a citizenship-training program wrapping in a game." "Our goal is turning out young men with the sound body, sound mind, and sound values required for them to be good citizens and good leaders of our communities, states and nation."


    I heard pretty much the same thing when I re-upped in 1982 and retrained in 1983, took WB for the first time in 1985, and taught Trainer Development earlier this month. It's implicit in every Eagle Charge I have given since 1965 ("Our Country has no greater need . . .")


    I guess I just don't see these sorts of statements regarding the goals of Scouting as inconsistent with BP's comments. In fact, they fit just fine for me.



    "1972": My complaint about Boy Power/urban-relevant Scouting, which I viewed from outside Scouting and, later, in a historic perspective, is that weakening the outdoor program reduced the attraction of Scouting to urban youth, NOT that any method is more sacred than the goals and objectives.



    As for the Scoutmaster's job vis-a-vis training "leaders" - a term applied strictly to Scouts in our Troop (adults are "Scouters"), I think the Patrol Method works better with trained leaders just as a squad, platoon, company, etc, functions better with a trained leader.


    Are there "natural leaders"? Sure. And my experience is that THEY do better as leaders with leadership training, just as they do better as Scoutcraft trainers with training in Scoutcraft. And I've seen some pretty sorry "material" do significantly better after leadership training.


    Which makes me wonder why district-level leadership training of Scouts - a program that impacted much more widely than the week-long course, disappeared when I wasn't looking. I keep hearing that it's coming back, but I have not seen it.



    "Pink"? The wearing of the beads is encouraged with any neckerchief. Is it the beads that offend? If so, recall who introduced them as an outward sign of the demonstrated commitment of Scouters who wanted to do better.



    I will be taking WB agin this month. My only misgiving is how to deal with the fact that my employer put me through Situational Leadership I & II (2 weeks) and something called "Breakthrough Leadership" (1 week), the latter including sessions on "Change Management" and "Managing Diversity." I think I will be doing a lot of keeping my mouth shut.

  2. I have been clear. I will try to be clearer.


    I did not ask about program - only a particular training issue.


    There is no vacuum of volunteer leadership in training in this Counsel.


    There is no shortage of OLS training opportunities. They are offered by different districts at various times utilizing staffers from more than one district. This is a cooperative effort of all the district training volunteers and has produced higher quality courses.


    There is a vacuum of volunteer-lead ONE-DAY OLS courses because the volunteers have made a decision to offer only weekend courses. This decision was based on a consensus (not sure if it was 100% - but certainly close) that the official syllabus could not be presented in one day, much less indoors.


    If anyone has any information about whether one-day versions of OLS have any official sanction, I would like to hear about it.


    I would also appreciate the sharing of any experience with how one-day courses actually function since my next opportunity to see one in action is in April -- one week before the Sring weekend course.




    Now if you want to discuss what a great job James West did, perhaps that might be covered in another thread. Our Troop was founded in 1908. The Troop I Scouted in as a boy was founded in 1908. My views probably differ.

  3. BW, while you concede, as you must, that you lack the relevant facts, your comments nevertheless assume that there was a need that volunteer Scouters were failing to meet and that the SE had to set up one-day courses to correct a volunteer "doesn't."


    That would only be possible if a one-day course legitimately meets the BSA requirement that a Scouter complete OLS in order to be recorded as completing the basic training suite.


    Our training staffs have concluded, based on the official BSA syllabus, that a weekend course is required. Several are offered each year, as I noted above.


    Now as to:

    "There is an old saying I am told among Scouting professionals that goes something like this, 'Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, when a volunteer doesn't a professional must.'"


    Interesting quote, that. It assumes that "a professional" CAN do what needs doing. Some can, and some, with the best will in the world, cannot. Thirty-seven professional Scouters have come and gone in the twenty-seven years I have Scouted in my current, home District. Some have been among the best Scouters, best people, and best friends with whom I have ever associated. Others were in place until better employment opportunities came around. A few could not be trusted to lead a panic in a yard of turkeys. One had no honor.


    I note that you can "only guess" that any issue is the "fault" of volunteers. As to that, I only concede that volunteers, like myself, have limitations like professional Scouters. Because there are more of us we likely are more often at "fault."



  4. BW, as always, your post is informed by your considerable experience.


    I find the comments on skills training inetresting.


    I asked about a "course" being put on by professional Scouters answerable in theory to the Executive Board but practically to the Scout Exective, not volunteers.


    I wonder if a nine-hour, indoor course satisfies Scouting's definition of Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills. So I started this thread on that topic.


    I cannot ask the BSA because it elects not to offer any regular channels of communication with Scouters. I have pushed past that on occasion, but thought I would see what might be learned here.


    Our Counsel does have weekend courses staffed by volunteers. They are based on the official syllabus, although, as you doubtless know, the syllabus is a broad outline that leaves much to the staff. I have some decades of exposure to these courses. While the quality surely varies from course to course, they are seem valuable to the learners and receive, overall, positive feedback through a written, formalized, confidential process and through focus groups.


    The "market" for the weekend courses is reduced by the "one day." Not only is the time commitment considerably less; the price is also lower - $20 vs. $30 (no food and reduced materials). The DE's, under pressure to meet the new mandate for "fully-trained" SM's, "push" the "one day" courses.


    As suggested, I will attend one of these "one day" courses. I know that a couple of Scouters who were solicited as assistants at one of these courses were subsequently reported on formal documents as learners who had "completed" the same course.


    BW, I certainly look forward to any comments you may wish to add on this topic.

  5. "But no matter how we slice it, this course sounds like a bit of a joke. If I were a leader in that council I think I'd start looking for an OLS course in another Council. Convenience isn't everything."


    No need to look outside our Council. Weekend courses are offered Spring and Fall - in competition with these one-day, $20.00 courses.


    Let's see. I can go the weekend for $30 (includes food) or do the nine hours course and pay $20.


    The weekend courses go begging for learners. The Fall, 2007 course was dropped (a first) when only four signed up.

  6. "There is a printed syllabus for the IOLS course. If the SE signs the training card that the requirements were completed, then it's "legit". In my opinion, you may get "trained" but you won't learn much. In some councils, you are allowed to meet with a "mentor" to demonstrate the skills (mostly T-1 requirements). No formal training required."

    So we pretend to train them and then pretend they are trained? Who's kidding whom? "Trustworthy"?


    The BSA description I found on line says "hands-on": setting up of a campsite, setting up tents, cooking, use of woods tools, hiking, rope work in "outdoor session." I know how that is accomplished in a weekend outing format. I do not know how it's done in nine hours ----- indoors.

  7. Our Council CEO has decided to enforce a rule that no Troop may recharter unless the SM has completed basic training, including Interoduction to Outdoor leadership Skills. Good.


    I now discover that "professional" Scouters are giving a one-day (about 8 hrs.), indoor course called "Introduction to Outdoor leadership Skills" that Council is accepting as compying with the above requirement.


    Is this legit?

  8. I strongly support the outdoor oprogram because it attracts boys to Scouting, is an effective venue to teach what we are hoping to instill, and is, frankly, fun -- even for an old codger. IMO, the deemphasis on the outdoor program in the Boy Power years was a disaster. My special interests and emphasis in my Troop and Council are outdoor skills and the related MB's.


    Having said that, from the first - "Scouting for Boys" ("A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship")and consistently thereafter in the U.S., it has been clear that the outdoor skills are not the final objectives.


    While I love teaching while camping and backpacking, we can and should teach as well through service to others, education in traditional American values, and the experience of leadership in the indoor program as well as outdoors.


    I respectfully submit that we lose more boys through deficiencies in the non-outdoor program than through any problem with the outdoor program -- other than a failure to actually fulfill the promise for an exciting outdoor program at all That is to say, the typical Troop meeting has lots of room for improvement on the "fun, challenging, and exciting" fronts.


    Cooking? It's a skill for living. We could make it an objective in our Troops that each Scout earn that MB, whether National makes it "required" or not.


    And Communication certainly seems to be one should be required as that skill it is essential to leadership and a fruitful life in general.

  9. Only five miles? What, no packs of wolves? No bloodthirty pirates?


    But did you take my somewhat obscured point?


    As for my comment on the Wilderness Survival MB, I have been a MB Counselor for this badge since 1982. I am familiar with it's requirements as they have changed somewhat over the years -- and the sad state of the MB book. Two weeks ago, I monitored the sessions for that MB at a camp in W.Va. Crippled by a total lack of gear and supplies (not one magnifying glass, firesteel, or flint and steel set for example) and a near total lack of knowledge by the staff of even the little that is in the MB book, the sessions were fairly disappointing.

  10. I tell them that there is only so much air to breath, water to drink, and land to farm.


    I tell them we should conserve resources.


    I point out that the world's population has more than doubled in my lifeime.


    I tell them that the seas have risen over 300 feet in the last 18,000 years.


    I point out the sources of added carbon load (Do you know? It's easy to find.) and tell them there is a relationship between "greenhouse" gases and temperature.


    I tell them water can hold less gas in solution as it gets warmer.


    I tell them it is getting warmer and that 75% of all recorded annual temperature increase was measured before 1800.


    I point out that the temperature is also rising on Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter.


    I invite them to investigate further and ask them to report back on their conclusions.

  11. When, in 1964, I was to sit on my first Board of Review for rank beyond First Class, I was given a set of instructions. I still have them. They say, in part I ws to look for:


    "definite, concrete, satisfactory evidence that the Scout has: First actually put into practice in his daily life the ideals and principles of the Scout Oath and Law, the Motto 'Be Prepared,' and the 'Daily good Turn.' Second, maintained an active service relationship to Scouting. Third, made an effort to develop and demonstarte leadership ability."


    The document included this statement from the National Council:


    "The challenging need of America is leadership - people who have ability and reliability enough to carry responsibility in business, in government, in church, elsewhere."


    The document was dated 1946.


    IMO, requirements for advancement were more difficult when I was a Scout (starting in 1954). Gear was heavy. Foot wear was "tennis shoes" or "work boots." It was routine to awake from cold before light and watch the sun come up as one huddled around a fire. Tents were cotton and leaked on occasion. No nylon. No polyester. No Thrmorest. The very first plastic sheeting was a wonder. Down was for the few "rich" kids. My Troop camped every month and backpacked half of those weekend "outings" using home-made packboards or rucksacks. We cooked over open fires in No. 10 cans with coathanger bail handles. But I never confused Scouting with an organization whose primary purpose was to teach mastery of outdoor skills. I was taught, and observed, that the purpose of Scouting was to turn out good citizens and good men. It succeeds, or fails, according to whether it accomplishes that purpose. And first we have to "catch" them.


    By the way, I think Wilderness Survival should be a required MB for Eagle because it teaches how to respond to unexpected crisis. STOP works as well when the boss tells you the plant is closing as when you find yourself lost - in the woods or the mean streets of a city.



  12. Hi, Packsaddle.


    It seem to me that the quality of a Scout's experience has always depended on the quality of the Scouters making decisions or passing along information that impact the Scout.


    I do question the notion that a Scout is "exclusively" bound by the inclinations of volunteers on his B of R. Were a Scout to be denied advancement -- or membership --contrary to BSA policy, he would have recourse to higher authority within Scouting. I have been involved on both the district and council levels in correcting improper actions by unit and District Scouters rergarding a Scout's religious obligations. I conclude from policy and experience that volunteers do make mistakes regarding the rules, but their errors are subject to correction.


    Nor do I regard Scouting as a "religious" organization. I regard it as an educational organization that has, as one of several membership requirements, a requirement that its members have some, undefined religious belief.



  13. Because your question was in the context of a BofR, the current BofR training materials might be of some relevance:


    "'Do you believe in God' should be avoided as there are some religions that do not use the name 'God' for thier supreme being.


    . . .


    A Scout may fulfill their duty without being a member of a particular denomination or religion."


    The use of the term "God" in the HB or otherwise should not be understood as requiring belief in God as revealed to Christians. As suggested by some posts above, the BSA's requirement of fulfillment of one's "Duty to God" should not be narrowly understood as defined by any creed.

  14. So we have a policy on "large sheath knives." They are discouraged as unnessary. Safety is not mentioned. (It should be as, being edged, they present safety issues.)


    The most frequent injury with a woods tool is being cut with a slipjoint knife.


    The hand axe is probably the most dangerous woods tool considering the geometry of use and the severity of injury. It shears. It's use is allowed in every council known to me to ban fixed-blade knives.


    Boys will encounter fixed-blade knives in their lives.


    A large fixed-blade knife is sold by the BSA as a Chef's Kit component.


    Many folding knives sold today (see "Ninja, Mall Variety") are larger than many fixed-blade knives and clearly designed as weapons.


    Scouting is an educational organization.


    Draw a line under this and add it up. For me, it means that we should be training Scouts to safely and responsibly carry and use fixed-blade knives. In that context, we can deal with knives sold with unsafe sheaths.

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