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About trainerlady

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  1. The troop I serve could use a few more trained parents and our main ASMs and the SM need to be re-trained, they all sleep with their sons. They are also all male. The moms that camp all sleep in their own tents and the boys in theirs with a friend or by themselves. The boys seldom put up or take down the tents. Our troop also has almost as many dads on a trip as they do boys. I don't camp as often as I'd like due to my daughter, she can't come to BS camp and I don't want to ditch her every month for a weekend. My son and 2 of his firends are the only boys that regularly camp with out a parent in tow. As I said nearly all the parents are male. All the dads in camp really messes up the dynamics. I'm sure all the parents there is why we have as many problems at camp as we have.
  2. Gas prices have changed the way I look at weekend campouts. If SS had a ball game in the middle of the weekend, and needed/wanted to play in it, I used to have no problem taking him to camp on Friday, coming home, going to get him on Saturday AM and bringing him back Saturday after the game. Then going back to camp and getting him on Sunday. This was a standard practice in our unit. We camp within 30 miles of home most of the time so it wasn't a big deal to disappear for a couple of hours between meals/activities. SM's kid was the worst offender for this practice. His mom would do the driving so dad could stay at camp. Scouts had to tell the SM prior to camp that they needed to do this to be allowed to do it. Also had several dads that would come out to camp in the AM, leave to work afternoons and come back about midnight to be with their sons at camp. Few dads are doing it now. Now we are seeing kids forced to make a choice - go to camp and stay or stay home and play your ball game. Very few parents are now willing to make 4 round trips to the campsite so junior can take part in all his weekend activities. Now before anyone jumps on my unit for this kind of practice please understand that this was a solution to kids not coming to camp because of sports. We are lucky to have several close to home sites to camp at, some aren't great but the kids get out of the house for a weekend and do camp stuff, just not my choice of sites. If we didn't allow kids to come/go for sports on weekends we'd only camp 1-3 times a year instead of 8-10 times a year. About 1/3 of our troop plays elite travel soccer or baseball. This policy was a good compromise to keep boys in sports and scouting (policy has been in place for years, long before I go there). Good or bad it used to work for us.
  3. Got an email on Thursday announcing a new SE for the Great Lakes Council, part of the Area 2 merger. One of the key points we were told before the merger was that we'd have lots less high administration and more DE's. Well now there hiring a new SE for a council that isn't supposed to exist anymore. So where is the reduction in top executive staff happening? More lies about how the merger was supposed to happen and the benefits we were supposed to see. So far the wonderful unified Michigan council has instituted a fee for signatures for volunteering at the national/regional levels, proposed that all contingent members attending national,regional events pay an added fee, and proposed adding that fee to high adventure trips sponsored by the council. The fee is a $155 FOS payment, no FOS no signature no trip. National council was here this weekend looking at the camps in the northern lower pennisula. Speculation is they are assessing for camp closures. Since a majority of Michigan's BS summer camps are within 50-100 miles of each other in the northern LP and don't run capacity programs each summer that by next summer many will no longer run camp at all. Thought is why have several half/3/4 full camps when you can have fewer packed camps. National council folks were here to offer thoughts on which ones to keep running and which ones to close or change purposes of. Concenus of the regular average Joe scouter in teh area is that BSA is trying to drive us out of business in the state of Michigan. More fees, less access to camps, fewer services centers and stores further away from the scouting population. So far we haven't seen anything about increasing membership, only new ways to stick it to the current membership. Too bad the only snow job in this state was by the BSA this fall/winter. I missed my skiing trip for lack of real snow.
  4. I haven't watched the videos yet but I have a question for those more knowledgeable than I. Do I need a tour plan if I have an ad hoc group of scouts attending an out of council summer camp together? If so who would fill it out? I'm an ASM do i have access?
  5. Canadian Girl Guides and Scouts Canada members use patch blankets. I've been to several international events with Canadian kids and adults and their patch blankets are quite neat. Some have even been cut in the middle to create a poncho type thing. The members can use them as a blanket on their bunks/sleeping bags if they get cold or wear them over a jacket as a poncho to add warmth. I have 1 friend that has over 20 year of patches on her blanket. Both sides of her blanket are just about full. A patch blanket always seems to start up an intersting conversation between two Scout/Guides. My vote would be go the blanket route. Get a nice moderate wieght piece of polar fleece or buy a nice twin bed sized blanket and use it. Just make sure that what you buy will stand up to sewing and use and lots of washing. Some materials are better than others.
  6. I'm going out on a limb here and saying that we get rid of the academic merit badges or at least cut down on how of them there are. Do we REALLY NEED 3 different citizenship badges? Family life is a make work project IMHO. A well functioning family will do this already and a poorly functioning family will never get through it, either way its a bust of a badge. Communications is really just Public Speaking with a twist or two. Don't know how it is else where in the country but my kids do boat loads of presentations and speeches at school why repeat in Scouts? If the concensus is having an academic camp to get these badges done is a bad thing for scouting then wouldn't the answer be to get rid of the badges? No matter when or how these badges are done, at an academic camp, summer camp, merit badge fair, or traditioanlly 1:1 with a counselor, you can't get around that they are academic exercises that really don't lend themselves to getting our scouts outside. I know of at least 10 kids that have dropped out of scouting due to the academic merit badges being required to advance. A couple were told by parents do them or quit, we aren't paying for you to play and camp. A couple more had learning disabilities and just couldn't wrap their heads around some of the subject matter (personal management). The last group quit over family life, parents didn't want the needed discussions to occur around the much younger siblings, or put the effort into the family projects - Junior is the scout not us. At any rate if require academic badges then we have to accept an academic solution to the problem or change the system.
  7. Wish my troop had had this problem. We have too many parents that want ot do things with the troop to the point that some boys miss out on the events. This weekend we are camping in a cabin at our local scout camp (not the cabin that caused all the problems last month and a different camp too). There are 17 kids and 7-8 adults going on the trip just over an hour from our meeting site. Last weekend we did a curling event, had 13 boys and 11 adults. If you don't sign up early for events in our troop you dont get to go. Along with the other problems my troop has we seem to run a "fun with son" camping/activity program. Wish there was a way to ditch some of the parents and I as an ASM could enforce it.
  8. Bridging in our multilevel troop is very similar to crossing over to the next level in CS. Since we have over 30 girls in the troop we have some girls bridge levels every year. Sometimes its only 1-2 from each level sometimes its 8-10. We do our bridge ceremony at a park with a bridge, very pretty site. We send the Ambassadors to the far side of the bridge they receive the Seniors crossing to Ambassadors and they pin on their bridging pin/patch. Then the Seniors go over and receive the Cadettes that are crossing over, repeat the pinning portion. Then the Cadettes go over, now the whole troop is across the bridge. The whole troop receives the bridging Juniors and pins on their patches. All girls return to the middle of the bridge and its photo-op time. If scheduling permits, all the troops in the cluster (think BS district)come to the same park on the same night and do bridging the same way. Sometimes there are over a 100 girls and families there, sometimes just 20-30 girls and families. All the troops participating chip in on cake and ice cream and punch. A very nice late spring evening.
  9. TAHAWK, The fee is the idea of the paid staffers, primarily the higher ups. The underlings don't seem happy about it either. They're the ones getting the flack over it and having to enforce it. Those in the ivory towers that can't be accessed don't care they just want money.
  10. IM Kathy, Don't know if my daughter's very large GS troop is using the new badges the right way, but here is how they are handling the 3 different programs. All girls in the Cadette/Senior/Ambassador troop we have (about 35 girls) can work on any badge from any of the 3 levels. They work on their age appropriate journey and Silver/Gold awards. If they are going to a campout and doing badge work they will vote on what level and which badges they want to focus on as a group. Then everyone partakes and receives the badge completed. Daughter is a Cadette and has 1 new badge at each level right now, cooking I think. It is working well for us. Might not be right, but it works.
  11. AK, Nike has some great points. May I add a couple of things. Have your new GS leaders check with their council and see what activities are already going in their area. Things will be winding down now spring is here but most councils have huge activity programs that are council run. The 2 councils I live in/near both publish 200+ page books every fall with activities that range from songfests to high adventure campng, glass blowing to SCUBA diving, mall lock ins to backpacking trips. Some are open to individuals to sign up for some are troop only activities. These books usually have lots of advertisers (pays for free distribution to every girl in the council)ranging from the pottery shop in Anytown that offers GS workshops once a month (and birthday parties too) to SCUBA stores that offer intro classes for GS (and yes classes for the public). If a girl can dream it up its probably in the book or there is an advertiser in the book that offers something similar to it. Also tell you leaders that they aren't bound to using only their council for activities. GS is less concerned about you belonging to XYZ council and supporting them exclusively than they are about every girl doing something fun and benefiting from the program. In fact GS camps are open to all girls, members or not. I guess you can summarize what I'm saying into use your resources. Sometimes they aren't out in the open like the BSA but they are there. Most of all HAVE FUN! (yelling)
  12. Lisabob, I do remember that you are from Michigan, the northern section if I've figured you out right. Please let me know what is going on in your "old" council area. There are 2 paid Pros going on this gambit. Each was the paid advisor on the last jambo for his respective "old" council. Michigan has been merger central for the last few years. Last jambo fell about 10 months after the first merger in the state. Each original council sent its own contingent and staffer. Lots of things were coorindated but not everything. This time around they both get to go again. Less to coordinate, less to order, less total kids even when you add venturers, less work as far as I can tell but double the staff for one council. One more thing that makes this whole fee for signatures thing piss me off. If council is so short on cash that they are shaking down volunteers for signatures then maybe they should only be sending 1 pro.
  13. If the embezzler was like some in this area (GS cookie money and a couple of BS people) then he'd "borrow" money when he "needed" and put it back when he "won". The amounts were never huge in any one transaction but they added up to some serious amounts when you totaled it up over the course of the "borrowing". The article didn't say he'd taken all of it at once or how the "distribution of funds" occured. NOT DEFENDING THE GUY. (emphasis not yelling) Just a possibility of how it never got noticed.
  14. Basement, Haven't read the article referred to in the post this was spun from yet. But here's my personal experiences. My old pack had $5,000 in its account total. But most of the money was in individual scout family accounts. I think we carried about $3,500 in family accounts and about $1,500 in general operating funds after popcorn and other fundraising funds came in during the fall. By spring we'd be down to a hundred dollars in general funds but still have family account money. But it still looked like we had $3,500 in the bank. Big brother troop had accounts totaling over $10,000 again most of it is scout accounts. And this was a troop with 10 kids in it. So it isn't hard to beleive that a big troop could have a high amount of total deposits on hand if they use scout accounts.
  15. Don't know about Philmont or other HA base advisers needing to cough up cash. Probably won't be long if you are a council lead crew, probably not if you are a troop going on your own, but who knows. We have 2 DE/DDs that are acting as ASMs for jambo. This will be their second go around with jambo. Their primary job resposnsibiliy is jambo. Recruit, order equipment, accompany, etc jambo. They are DE/DDs for the time when jambo isn't consuming all of their time. These 2 gentlemen were the first in the council to recieve assistant staffers to cover for them when they are gone or otherwise engaged in jambo stuff. I have a pretty good feeling that they arent paying for jambo or using vacation time to go either. I don't think a non-contributing or under contributing scouter will get kicked out of their leadership position, but again it may only be a matter of time. However, if they tried this game they'd loose so many units it'd be scary. The whole Area 2 thing is about growing membership, can't do that if you kick the unit serving volunteers out for not paying FOS to a specified level. We'd have Rich Scouts of Michigan if they try to make every scouter pay the acceptable FOS payment. A majority of us in my district are blue collar, working class folks that are just scrapping by. There are very few scouters that are so comfortable in my area that they could cough up cash at the whim of the council (at least very few I know personally).
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