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About BluejacketScouter

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  1. Some of ya'll need to cool down and quit tilting at windmills that aren't flippin' there. This is a Pack that gets a lot of direct commissioner service, and cheerfully: I've driven 30 miles out of my way to unlock the church for their den meetings when the Cubmaster was out of town. Helped them create advancement reports. Loaned them equipment. Can we borrow a flag to practice folding? Sure, I've got one just for that. Been invited to teach knots to the Webelos. Can you get us a barrel to collect canned food? Yep. And so on. Two months ago my son, 6-year-old daughter and I were invited and camped with their Pack - I washed their dishes. (Come to think of it, I led songs and washed dishes at their Blue & Gold, too - drat!) This is not mean old Commissioner trying to run the Pack from the ivory tower. There is no desire to micro-manage a pack two towns over. I have a good relationship with the unit but the unit does not have a good relationship with the district. That was long before I came onto the scene. It's one of those small-rural-town vs. big-county-seat inferiority complexes. The only thing I counsel them about regularly (read: forcefully disagree) is the "free" program that the Cubmaster runs. It's really tough for me to stay neutral on that issue. She intentionally prevented a boy from attending camp and I'm still furious about that. We usually have four recruiting events in the district: 1. Units usually (but not all) hold an open house at their meeting location. 2. The district will make certain that all schools are covered with information about Scouting in the district as well as local units. This is what I was doing last week. Sometimes this activity is covered by a local unit. Sometimes not. 3. We do a program kickoff picnic for all units with games/activity and invite youth in the district to attend. Units that send representatives can do presentations or answer questions about their unit. If a unit does not attend, the district will do handouts for the unit. Pack in question does not attend. 4. Read-in night at the county library, same as above. Units not recruiting youth or poor recruiting methods? Yup, that's on the concern list. I'm watching to see who comes back after summer. I know that 2 DL and CC quit. They do have an upcoming open house scheduled through the DE, but haven't posted any information to the school or community. I guess we'll wait and see how that turns out... As for the many comments about DC's job is this, that and the other...unfortunately I inherited a Commissioner staff with only one active UC - me. I was previously this pack's UC, at the expressed request of the CO. Anyway, staffing issue is being worked on, I am up to 5 UC but have not assigned this unit yet.
  2. Imagine you're an elementary school teacher who's a Cubmaster. Imagine you're an elementary school teacher who's a Cubmaster that lives in school district A and your Pack is in school district A, but you work in district B and your children attend district B. Imagine I'm a District Commissioner and my wife works in district A and my children attend district A. And the Recruiting / Membership Chair calls me and says, "Your wife works in A, do you know when they're doing their 'Back to School night?'" And I pass along that information; and also the names from your Pack of adults who helped run the Scout table last year. Because Membership chair is trying to make sure that recruiting is covered at all the schools in the District. But the adults who helped run the table last year haven't been asked to do it again this year, and they aren't aware of any Pack plans to do school recruiting. So I call you on Friday and leave a message, "are you planning to do recruiting at 'Back to School night?'" And you don't respond Saturday or Sunday. Imagine I've left you a message again on Sunday night. "I'll be at the School with my children getting their class schedules. If you have a Pack Flyer, my son and I would be happy to wear our uniforms and pass out flyers in the halls. Send me whatever you have, and I'll take care of getting it printed up". And you don't respond. So imagine on Monday morning, I'm making up a simple flyer for your unit - Pack X, United Methodist Church, meets blah blah, Cubmaster name and phone number. And imagine that Monday afternoon I put out a text message to all the parents in the Pack that I have contact info for (yourself included) and ask for all boys to wear their uniforms and meet at the flagpole to pass out flyers. So I print up handouts, and my son and I put on our uniforms, and we go to Back to School night, and we meet our new teachers, and we pass out flyers. And there you are with a table, no banner or flag, not in uniform, some handouts and applications tucked into a manila folder but not displayed, not talking to anyone - and you're shooting arrows at me with your eyes. Why? Because you weren't planning to do school recruiting, and threw something together last-minute, and I made you look bad? If I'm trying to help recruit for your Pack, why not take what help you can get? Sorry for venting.
  3. Thanks Papadaddy, we do the same weekly email blast in our Council. The tough part is getting the parents to opt-in. I've done data-mining for email addresses and contact info directly from unit rosters, and the percentage of parents who actually submit real email addresses seems pretty poor. But, there's no reason why I can't look over the list again. Additionally there is a monthly newsletter that goes out to the mailing addresses of registered youth. I've heard there was a study that showed people had to see the information in front of their eyes 7 times before becoming aware of it. I suppose an effect of the "instant information, instant gratification" age. Too much data so we filter only what entertains us.
  4. This question is for Commissioners although others will ring in. I am at odds with a Cubmaster. We had a civil relationship until recently. There are no throwing chairs and such, but lately there have been a few arrows coming my way. My children attend school in the Pack's area, my wife works there also. So I do know many of the families and talk to them. There are Council and District events the Pack does not participate in. Recently I was talking to a few parents while at school and discovered the families are not being told of events. Therefore, they are not getting getting the opportunity to attend activities that the Pack is not directly involved in. I made it a point to invite those families I was talking to, to an upcoming event. I was soon approached by the Cubmaster about this (one of the families must have asked her for more details about the event). She stated that she felt the event was too expensive for the families ($9 event fee) and therefore decided that the Pack would not participate. I am 100% behind her on the decision to organize and participate as a Pack, or not. However she is not giving the families the chance to make up their own minds to attend individually, because she's not telling them about it. A very tall fence was thrown up at this point. She flatly told me that she did not want me talking directly to any parents in the Pack, and that any information I had to share should be directed through her. It is a Cubmaster-led pack with a paper committee only. The Cubmaster is the only one from the unit who attends R/T regularly (although as I write this out, I wonder if anyone else in the unit is aware that R/T exists). As a Commissioner, would you honor the request to not contact anyone in the unit besides the CM? Knowing full well that there may be boys or families who want to attend other events, but will otherwise never get the information? Or would you press the issue and determine some other way to feed information to the families, outside of the Cubmaster's influence? There is a slight connection between the Pack and the CO, but the CO recently changed leadership and I'm still rebuilding that relationship. I'll be meeting with them sometime in the next few weeks, though. I will probably be asking to arrange for the CO to post information directly to the Pack families. Thoughts? I will post another issue separately. (edit for grammar)(This message has been edited by BluejacketScouter)
  5. I was wondering, if anyone has seen empirical or anecdotal data regarding Wood Badge completion rates for the application phase? 90% completion rate, 75%...less? Just curious.
  6. I think what you're asking is, "is there a single list of all the training courses?" http://www.scouting.org/filestore/training/pdf/What_makes_a_trained_leader.pdf http://www.scouting.org/filestore/training/pdf/TrainingCoursesReport2011.pdf http://www.scouting.org/Training/Adult/Supplemental.aspx Currently, training completed beyond the basic requirement by position is considered supplemental. 2006 Requirement - Participate in a supplemental training course at either the council or national level. 2012 Requirement - Participate in at least one additional supplemental or advanced training event at the council, area, region, or national level. Note that in both cases the supplemental training must be at the council level (at minimum).
  7. Your local scout shop should have a whole bin of generic award patches that'll fit that situation.
  8. Chuck Norris likes to come home from a hard day at work and slip on a pair of bunny slippers - made from real, live bunnies.
  9. Base... just tongue-in-cheek on those application form questions. Scoutfish...nothing wrong, in principle, with paying for as much as you can with the popcorn fundraising. But when you take it to the extreme that any boy can join the unit for free, and participate all year in unit events for free? There's no investment therefore no obligation from the youth or the family. Obviously there are some families, where the opportunity to participate is a good thing and those families should be assisted. But to make it blanket across the whole unit...trouble. New Year's Day, you joined a free gym. How much effort are you going to put into it? How much more effort if the membership fee was $75 a month, and you had to pre-pay 6 months in advance?
  10. "Is your unit on the budget plan?" - Yes "How much are dues?" - Enough to cover advancement and awards "How much is in your unit treasury?" - Enough to cover next recharter Sorry, couldn't help it This is just my opinion from applications that I have submitted - the Council wants to know that you're planning your program far enough in advance to be prepared for program expenses. A Scout is Thrifty, and Scouts should pay their own way. I know units who do their annual popcorn sale, then use the proceeds throughout the rest of the year to pay for EVERYTHING - recharter, handbooks, awards, camping, Pinewood Derby...the families do not pay one red cent. Those Packs have lots of troubles. The Council just wants to know that the Unit is responsible with its funds, and not just running fundraisers willy-nilly. Maybe also so they know to hit you up for a big donation
  11. One project I had seen was, going door-to-door collecting expired prescription medication for proper disposal. That project had something to do with a recently-published (at the time) water quality report.
  12. My Eagle project was nearly 30 years ago and I'm drawing a blank on a lot of the details, but not the sweat and labor involved. The Troop was (still is) chartered in a small village with two stop lights, about 20 stop signs, 3 railway crossings (the same trunk line crossed by 3 different streets), and a downtown main drag with the usual stores and street parking. I painted all the pavement street markers...by hand. School zone, stop markers, street parking, RR crossings, you name it. The village donated the white reflective paint. I recall I built some sort of template with two boards spaced 4" apart, to keep the parking lines straight. The only thing I did not paint was, the double-yellow line that ran through town on the state highway. I'm thinking I got a pretty good start on skin cancer that summer. Wait a minute...I think the CC was also the town mayor? Hey! I got used!
  13. Another point, position-specific training does not transfer! So if you had a trained Den Leader who switched registration to Cubmaster this year, he is no longer considered trained. Same for changing registrations from ASM to Troop Committee, etc etc.
  14. You're right, I'm moving forward from the standpoint that the IH and/or COR are involved, or at least care. And I'll be honest - I don't have any units that aren't chartered to religious organizations, so if I'm being dodged it's relatively simple to show up in uniform for a church service, and find somebody who cares afterwards. For a non-religious organization - I guess I'd try to find out their business meeting schedule, and crash that party. But I haven't been there, yet.
  15. 1. I have this opinion: the charter agreement is between the unit and the National Organization - not between the unit and District, or unit and DE, or unit and Council. Therefore as volunteers we have no right to decide whether a unit recovers or folds. That is strictly a decision for the IH and his/her organization. As long as the IH wills it, my consultation is always in "help" mode. 2. Registered members of the unit and their families have permission to occupy and use the facilities provided by their organization. Unregistered members (ie commissioner staff) DO NOT. Commissioners cannot just show up at any activity or committee meeting as they please (as much as we wish that we could). They should be invited, or have verbal permission from the unit leader or committee member, or if necessary directly from the IH. I have seen situations where UC were barred from being present by the unit leader. In one case the DE was verbally and intentionally told not to set foot into the building. That issue resulted in a direct visit to the IH and the unit leader was at first counseled, then discharged by the IH (not at the request of DC or DE). Although we will try to be very persistent in visiting a unit, it doesn't always happen if we can't make the right connections or get the right permissions. 3. I have never and will never advise leaders or members to leave and look for another unit. That is not the same as advising a youth to check different Troops if they feel the program is not right for them. But I will not suggest jumping units due to leadership issues or conflicts. The leader/parent/family/youth must make that decision on their own. I will give contact information for other units if asked. My feeling is, if the leader/parent is attentive enough to realize there is a problem within the unit, then they have the means and ability to go directly and privately to the COR or IH and discuss their concern. I will go with them if necessary. If a leader/parent is willing to stay with the unit and lead by positive example, that should be encouraged - and they should be thanked and supported. 4. I inwardly cringe when I hear of parents being told they need to "step up" and fill unit positions. Cajoling volunteers is not the same as appraising prospects and actively recruiting them. That said...I know it sometimes must be done, but I don't have to like it or encourage it.
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