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About thriftyscout

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  1. We just received 10 Webelos from their AoL/Bridging ceremony which was held during one of our weekend campouts at the local Scout Reservation. They used a real footbridge across a small ravine at the camp. Parents/Pack on one side, Troop on the other. This is the second year we have done this format and have been very pleased with it. It really puts the emphasis in scOUTING!
  2. Several things that have helped me: 1) Pick your battles. Teenage boys have a tendency to be annoying and they often want to see a reaction. I have found that it is much more effective to highlight and reward good behavior than to try and stamp out bad. 2) Youth led. The more the boys see that they are in charge, the less they find to rebel against. Boys crave automony, if that automony is linked to the success of the youth leaders, they will be more inclined to support "their" leaders. 3) Adventure. I make it very clear that I do not tolerate "willful" disobedience because Scouting is dangerous. I make it clear that it is simply not possible to take unruly Scouts on the kind of adventures that attract boys to Scouting.
  3. I have not been there personally, one of my fellow Scouters has bee there multiple times and loves it. Very primitive wth sites around lake, Scouts travel by canoe with main supplies and some adults ferried by pontoon boat. I believe you are mostly on your own when it comes to program. They did a relatively short (I think 3 to 5 miles) overnight hike to another lake and sleep under the stars. Halliburton forest is nearby and had tree top climb type activities, I believe this is seperate facility with additional cost.
  4. I am not real familiar with the CS side, I know there is a form to be filled out on the BS side for accommodations for Eagle rank. My autistic son just earned his Eagle, we had submitted a letter to our Council along with the form requesting he have help in communication and planning. It had to be signed by a doctor, to confirm his disability. He did, however, do all the requirements. We made heavy use of pictures, he is a visual learner. We would also modify the schedules. For instance, if he needed to demonstrate 5 things he would just do them one at a time while other boys might do all of them at once. Most boys, even those with special needs have strengths and weaknesses. Try and use his strengths to his advantage. Good luck!
  5. After much discussion both here and locally, here is our plan for avoiding ad hoc patrols and more fully implementing the patrol method. This is, admittedly, an adult driven plan but we need to start somewhere in order to get out of the Troop method. We will reorganize the Troop this next fall into (3) Patrols. The Troop at large will elect a Senior Patrol Leader just has we have done in the past. We will also have the Troop elect (3) Patrol Leaders, these Patrol Leaders will each appoint an Assistant Patrol Leader and a Patrol Quartermaster. This will ensure that each leader has several friends that can help him run the patrol. The remaining boys will buddy up into twos or threes that they want to stick with. These buddy groups will then be divided amongst the three Patrols ensuring that every Scout has at least one friend in his Patrol. These three patrols will then plan menus, work on advancement, and camp as Patrols. They will be what is called vertical Patrols that have Scouts of each age in them. (As opposed to horizontal Patrols that have all Scouts the same age.) They should be more self-sufficient with the older Scouts providing leadership to the younger Scouts. Each Patrol should end up being about 15 or so Scouts which hopefully will translate into at least 5 or 6 on each campout. We are also setting money aside to replace the heavy patrol boxes and a large dinning fly with smaller, patrol sized equipment. We want our patrols to be able to walk off a bit and develop more independence. I am sure there will be some snags along the way and I am still open to advice and suggestions. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on this subject, this forum really helps develop ideas and perspective.
  6. We strive to keep trips affordable and include as many Scouts as possible. I think the first word in the title belays the problem. Parents paying...the true value of the Scout program, in my opinion, is teaching youth to be thrifty and pay their own way. While some parents simply write the checks, our treks are affordable to a youth that applies himself. I find that in the long run, boys really want a sense of accomplishment, something their parents cant buy them. Of course, the last Scouting magazine article I read highlighted a rafting trip where the boys were basically catered to by the rafting company. Maybe I'm old fashioned, too cheap, or too poor, but I don't really see the value in parents paying the way. Just my opinion...
  7. Just finished our OA election tonight and the OA rep commented on how our Troop is always one of the most well attended. (Which, ironically, makes it difficult for boys to get elected into OA, but thats another topic.) I'm sure there are many reasons for our success, but I am convinced the major one is our outdoor program. I very much apprecaite Kudu's information, even if he does rough up the 5th point a bit. Without a challenging outdoor program Scouting looses its appeal for most boys unless they are just looking for Eagle as a resume builder (its usually more the parents anyway at that point). I expect the pendulum will swing back towards the outdoor adventure as Troops without good adventure programs lose membership. Boys generally aren't out looking for a character overhaul, they want adventure and it is only then that we can really get their attention for the character development.
  8. Thanks all for you replies. It was not my intention to start an argument. I know everyone means well even when we don't agree. It seems clear it is not part of the official uniform. Thanks again. Chuck
  9. I just received what I consider to be my highest award to date as a Scoutmaster, an Eagle Mentor Pin. Is there a proper way to wear this on a Scout uniform?
  10. Actually there is no mystery or reverse engineering needed. I am simply trying to provide a better patrol method opportunity for some of the boys. We have roughly 50 boys on our charter, we will have 5 age out this year, at least 3 of which are becoming ASM's. We have a great outdoor program but for many of the boys, Scouting is one of 3 or more activities that they are involved. Unlike sports, we do not "cut" Scouts who don't consistently show up so we end up with 15 to 20 Scouts on most of our trips but they are not the same 15 to 20 each time. This makes the out of the box patrol method kind of challenging and we end up with a lot of ad hoc patrols. It isn't that the other don't want to go, but they are committed to different things at different times of the year. I don't see this as a shortcoming of our program. If a Scout is a varsity athlete, he is going to the game/match/tournament no matter what activity is offered. I don't think it is right to say, you can't be in Scouts if your not here 75% of the time or try and lure him away from a sport he enjoys. Just trying to make a good program better not rationalize a bad one. What I am trying to do, based on some of the feedback I have received here, is form a patrol of boys who are consistent campers. Scouting is their primary extra curricular activity, they camp every outing. I would like to start pulling them together into a patrol so that they can have a better program based upon the original BSA program often cited by Kudu. I'd like to do that without alienating all the others or create some other unintended consequence. That is why I use this forum as a sounding board before trying to implement anything.
  11. Not officially. We bridged 15 new Scouts this fall divided into 2 NSPs which has been absorbing most of our time and effort. I have talked with the PLC about it but have not heard much follow up. I am considering one Scout that fits BP's description of "hooligan" that I would like to have be the PL. He needs a little more training and to demonstrate a little more responsibility but he has potential. At times it feels more like the "dirty dozen" than Norman Rockwell but I'm okay with that. Our Klondike Derby is coming up, I am waiting to see what patrols/boys are attending that competition. It could be a good catalyst for forming a mixed age patrol. I'd like to see the PLC drive this, but I'm not afraid to just make it happen if I don't see progress soon. I think the idea still holds merit but it is a little more difficult to implement than I originally imagined.
  12. IMHO one of the biggest challenges for Scouting is the fact that for many youth it is a lot of work. It is much easier to sit at home and play video games. It is interesting to watch the number of boys for whom cooking, cleaning, all around taking care of themselves is a foreign idea. To a large extent, our society has moved away from personal responsiblity (just look at our national debt!). Personally, I would rather see Scouting shrink but stay true to its values than chase the latest trend. Ocassionally, when dealing with discipline problems within the Troop I will emphasize that I would rather have a small Troop committed to our code of conduct than a large one where anything goes. I suggest the same for the National level. In our Troop we don't push the more academic MBs until the Scouts are older and committed to the Eagle Trail. I don't believe they are a deal breaker but I wouldn't want to push them on Jr. High aged Scouts.
  13. Our troop in Northern Ohio camps through the winter. December and March can be unpredictable, January and February are usually below freezing but below zero (F) is rare. We get a cabin for the younger Scouts, optional for FC and up. In January we will do Camp Alaska, which is an overnight, pack in with improvised shelters at our local Council camp. We will be cabin camping the weekend before Christmas. I was a little worried about attendance, a few moms actually seemed excited to have a little more free time just before the holiday.
  14. Thanks for the many useful comments. I knew there would not be a single magic answer, but I do apprecite the different perspectives. I have been thinking about CNYScouter's tale of two patrols (Jambo and No-Jambo) with only the Jambo patrol left after a short time. I need to be careful with terms like "first string" that suggest any patrol is better than another to prevent this kind attitude poisoning the rest of the troop. Ironically, some of the most competent Scouts I work with are 2 and 3 sport athletes who once they reach HS have lousy attendence. When they do attend, they are ideal Scouts, independent for their own needs and willing to help out the younger guys. Most of these types are naturally very talented and could probably figure most of Scouting out on their own. They did well in NSPs doing FC in FY in 5th and 6th grades before school sports really took over. I am really looking at this Kudu style patrol for the boys who do not fit the above mold. They don't have many interests beyond Scouts, they are at every meeting and campout. They may not have the natural ability and probably most need Scouts in their lives. I think this new patrol would provide the very best of Scouting to these Scouts that want to put in the time. I doubt it is a solution for the entire Troop. It is clear from reading these forums that there is no one size fits all solution. I would like to create an environment where Scouts can choose their own path through a number of options. If that means a mix of patrol types, I'm OK with that.
  15. Stosh, I think you are dead on with "everyone dances around everyone else's schedule, but no one else dances around scouts". School sports are the biggest problem. Our district, which is not particularly large, has a full-time athletic director who manages these schedules to minimize conflict. I am considering creating a mixed age Kudu style patrol made up of Scouts for whom Scouting is their primary activity. In a sports analogy they would be our first string Scouts and we would give them as much independence as they can manage. Hopefully they would be an example of what Scouting should and can be to the other Scouts. Our Troop is large enough that I think we could try this and see where it leads. Does anyone see pitfalls to this type of approach?
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