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Everything posted by blw2

  1. I don't recall seeing this guy pointed out here.... I've been following his AT hike on youtube, a SM from South Carolina. He's scattered in a couple monologues addressed to Patrol Leaders and such about running a good program, as well as other scouting stories and references. his youtube channel is named Scoutmaster OnTheAT2018 He's trucking right along the last time I checked, doing good!
  2. Re-engaging Older Scouts

    that's right, get those young scouts involved in setting up a tarp for a dining fly on the next campout instead of teaching knots in a meeting... with the older scouts more of a mentor than a teacher.
  3. Re-engaging Older Scouts

    great points Barry. Adding to this, I've always like the idea of the camporee-esque competitions or games for skills such as knot tying because they give the side benefits of promoting patrol spirit. I've seen several attempts at "practical 1st aid training" but it always seems to fall short....for example making splints or stretchers, but they'e never really followed through to any real completion.... instead ending in lip service and pencil whipping. Your simulated car crash example stimulates a sense of discovery, at least at the kick-off of it.
  4. My girls are both scouts in the GSUSA. My oldest is now a Junior, having been through both Daisy and Brownie. She recently went on her Camporee it the local GS reservation. By now she can answer my questions about the camp and facilities much better than when she was younger. Of course I can't help but to draw comparisons against my experiences at several BSA reservations. It seems their camp condition is good, and their wall tent set-ups and cots are much better than anything I ever saw, with larger 4 person tents complete with screens, and cots that more resemble beds with mattresses. but regrading activities, it seems they have paddling on the lake and archery. No other shooting, and as best as I could tell they have nothing such as climbing walls, copes courses, and such....and their water front isn't all tricked out like an amusement park with the giant airbag launchers and such Does this seem typical of other GS reservations? Also, do many GS troops go on actual summer camp to reservations outside the area like BSA troops do? So far as far as I know there has been no talk of summer camp at all, even a local one...
  5. Re-engaging Older Scouts

    sorry, meant to paste a link, this is the one I meant.... https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24872995-so-far-so-good after I read it i thought it should kinda be required reading for all scouters
  6. A lovely bit of troop history

    wonderful!!! The units I worked with didn't have nearly such a rich ad long history, but I often wondered about the predecessors to my jobs....how they did things, the kinds of outings they went on, what the scouts have become.... When i was Cub master and cleaning out our scout shelf in the church's storage shed, I came across an old bulletin board with a few ragged photos. Looked to be part of some table top display sort of thing...wasn't much there....photo of a pinewood derby race, I think some indication that they did a trip to Kennedy Space center, not much else.... but all things we were still doing. I really wondered things like how many Cub Masters have their been in the pack from it's birth, who were they, and so on....and thought that as I'm struggling through the job trying to figure out how best to make it work, wouldn't it be fun and sit together with all of them over a coffee or beer, and brainstorm..... Then moving onto the troop, I never really saw much out of the Historian POR....such a shame in a way.
  7. Re-engaging Older Scouts

    I suggest this book. Short and an easy read.....just a fictional (based on experience) possibility to get the thoughts flowing about the possibility of discovery and adventure. and really embrace the patrol method. Do some studying to find out what it really is...I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about this.... Obvious is "more adventure".... but I think the less obvious is "more discovery" but I would caution against just making a cut and dry push for more adventure for the older scouts though. My son's SM was doing this and personally I felt that it really alienated the younger guys big time. He had some personal history that drove him o strongly discourage venturing, so he was pushing "adventure patrol". They were planning to do stuff that was a bit better than the stuff they had done, but the younger guys were certainly capable if they wanted.... for example go backpack camping where they hike in a mile or two....(without the troop trailer, gasp!) .....but it was said, only for the older scouts. I don't remember if it was touted as age or rank based, but it clearly wasn't justifiable. This summer, they are going to sea base. Sadly, my son was just slipping in under the age/school grade requirements for that too (but that was a sea base rule, not the troop's)..... if he'd have stayed in the troop, by the time they go he would have been in the troop for 3 full years & I don't believe for a minute that they'll do anything even remotely outside of his abilities. Anyway, one thing is for sure...if the older scouts are bored, that is no good for the younger guys either.... no first year scout wants some bored to tears older kid reading to them out of the book....
  8. Parents as MBCs

    all great points. especially about using a different MBC if reasonably possible, but that's only for your benefit in working with others. If mom is registered as a MBC and your SM signed off on your working on the badge, all is good. I too think it not necessary to record the data for proof, unless that is one of the requirements but for your own private edification, recording the data might be interesting for you. Who knows what you might find in the data! You might set goals for pace, or to beat personal records, , or to find the affects of a headwind vs a tailwind, or design a route in an interesting shape that will plot a secret message when you print the map.... all sorts of side possibilities to make things interesting for YOU. I don't do this as much as I used to but in the days before smartphones and digital maps I used to love to go out and explore, then go back and study a map to see where I'd been. Sometimes it was hiking trails, or on urban walks. I always did this when I moved to a new city. I'd head out on a weekend day when I had lots of time and drive around town. This was back in the days of paper maps. I'd have a map with me so I wouldn't get totally lost, but I had no set destination. I'd just drive around for a look-see. Then when I got home I'd re-trace my route on the map. Sometimes I'd do this for a few different days searching different parts of town. Great way to learn a new area and to enhance you sense of direction.
  9. Unit Leader Award of Merit

    yes, supporting roles... but somebody has to have the vision for the troop and steer it to that direction. From what I've seen most folks look to the SM, or CM for packs, as that top leader that set the vision. I think this is likely because it's usually the Sm that has the "scouting experience" and the CC is often a person that really doesn't know scouting....at least that's been my experience. When I was CM, I tried to support the DL's to set that vision in their dens.... we never had what I would call an effective CC. but now in hind site, I realize that a good CC with a proper working knowledge and vision is probably the best seat from which to steer the vision
  10. My son's troop sorta did this.... it wouldn't really be a calendar month, but basically they'd form for the trip.... decide menu and duties for the trip I think that this way of thinking complete misses what a patrol is supposed to be....misses the point of the patrol method. I saw very little if any patrol spirit, no energy or excitement at all. well said! again, our troop functioned as if the troop was the core unit. I don't think anyone really understood that, but it was the reality. Events were all planned around patrols, menus and such...but everything was done as a troop. the groups of friends that were in different patrols would naturally form up as friends whenever possible. I thought the problem was rather obvious once you looked at it.
  11. I'd suggest this, if you haven't already read it. http://scoutmastercg.com/far-good-new-scoutmasters-story/ Short book, easy read. Fiction based on a 30 year scoutmaster (or something like that) It's really more about the SM, but I think he did a great job outlining a good way for the relationship to exist between two of the "Key Three". Important to support the SM, but equally important to have a SM that supports the CC and shares a similar vision. I was troop CC for a very short time, at the request of the then SM. At that point I knew so little about troops and patrol method that it was really a laugh when I think about it now. I went at it just trying to lead an organized committee and to support the SM. Now I realize that the CC could play such a key role in shaping a troop, so I think it is imperative...as in seriously a big deal important.... for a CC to understand the patrol method (and there is, I think, a lot of misunderstanding out there about what it means) and to have a vision for the troop.
  12. old thread so I'm sorry if I've already written this...b I disagree with this idea.... I think it's never fine Exactly!!! well I've never actually seen it happen so I can't confirm it's fun to see, but "Exactly" to the first part of what you said!!! makes total sense!
  13. Supplemental Training for Youth Leaders

    well, a composite of a lot of things really that lead to a "gut-feel read" on the situations at some points along this trail, I actually looked at web site statistics reports, and most recently the troop using troopwebhost you could see who was logging in and when. also know from talking to folks that said they never looked at it.... other folks letting me know that they don't have access...long after access was given to them....seeing zero uploads or downloads...almost never receiving online payments through the site tools....oh and then the empirical observation of how many folks would email outside of the web site tools.... With the exception of a small core of active folks, ours wasn't the most energetic crowd of parents and scouts...
  14. Supplemental Training for Youth Leaders

    well, yes, I agree for most things, gotta be on the web. and I agree with the keep it simple with the most important thing of how to get in touch I only wrote once a year, really meaning keep it simple and basic, because I have never gotten the feeling that too many people actually look at the site and use it. Kinda echos what others said here. Maybe it's more unit specific, some groups might use it way more than I saw in my experiences. In the pack, and again in the troop we maintained some web presence. It was a lot of work to keep current and we never saw much use or traffic. In the pack, one of the many hats I took upon myself to pick up to wear was sort of un-official den and pack photographer. I tried several different ways of posting and sharing photos, tried to get others to share and post their photos too...and folks could download my photos if there was any they wanted to keep. It was huge work and really was very underutilized. Nobody else posted anything and very few folks downloaded stuff I just see it mostly as a recruiting tool, like a brochure. Something current enough so it doesn't seem like the troop is dead....only high adventure pics clearly from 4 years ago doesn't look good, old generic indoor meeting pics even worse.... but if it's only looked at occasionally by a prospective scout or parent then I don't see a lot of need in huge weekly or even monthly updates. When I looked at prospective troop sites as a parent, I wanted to get a feel for the types of things they did, say over the course of last year...AND I wanted to get a basic understanding of the adults (SM and such)...a bio page....and of course contact info.
  15. Why Did You Leave Scouts ?

    I never thought about this before, but thinking back, in our 5 years through my son's pack...I want to say that I was the only one in any of the dens that ever stepped up as an ADL. I tried to encourage it for other dens, and for son's den when I was recruited away for packwide positions, but I can't think of a single other one.... Is that normal?
  16. Supplemental Training for Youth Leaders

    yeah, if it were up to me, I think it might be worth keeping a very basic web site updated..... just frequently enough so that the correct SM and other primary contacts/bios can be posted....maybe once a year photo update just to show some cool things getting done....just enough for the new prospective parents mostly to get a feel for the troop. ....really nothing more than a current brochure type thing.... and that's a might/maybe kinda thing I think it's really the members only thing for the treasurer, troop member address book, and the live calendar are the only thing worthy of maintaining.
  17. Why Did You Leave Scouts ?

    I totally agree. When I was Cub Master, I ALWAYS tried to advocate for the den Leaders. I always looked at them as having the hardest job in the pack. I frequently would try to ask if they needed anything, look for ways to help them, tried really hard to recruit an advancement chair person to take that chore off their backs, and so on. Still I had a few that just skated by doing the absolute minimum, with infrequent meetings, poor attendance, etc... but I was still thankful for them. It was hard...no nearly impossible to recruit help in my pack at the time. We had den leaders but not much else.
  18. Supplemental Training for Youth Leaders

    That's a very interesting take on it I think.... I agree that the position, and several others like it, aren't used because they aren't needed. I think the marketing angle, or I suppose more correctly the recruiting angle is only a small part of the web site. As a parent, i certainly did try to search out web sites for prospective units for my kid....as a way to try to get a read on the unit, types of things they do, hopefully for a biography of the adult scouters involved, etc.... but that's only such a small part of the web site.... but form a youth perspective if that's all the web site is, then that says something for sure. I'd agree that folks don't generally use things like web sites for the unit. They don't go there to keep up with announcements and such they don't go there for communication all that much It makes for an opportunity for a historian to "scrapbook" and record adventures and history, but really nobody looks ta that kind of stuff often... We used troopwebhost, and folks did log in to make payments with the paypal link some, but not really all that often... I found having the calendar feature, that would sync over to my google account very useful, but otherwise I'd agree that web site functions aren't really used by people....
  19. Why Did You Leave Scouts ?

    another really great point..... on the other hand though, a huge part of making it adult friendly is making the boys want to come. No parent wants to drag their kid out of the house to do something that neither really wants to do....
  20. Why Did You Leave Scouts ?

    good point... I should have qualified in my example, 98% of the time I was talking to parents either face to face or by email or similar. I would have loved to talk with the scout....but after they are gone that's often not practical.
  21. Supplemental Training for Youth Leaders

    I'm reminded of something that wasn't a direct answer to this question, but that certainly could bridge nicely.... and could be changed slightly to apply to all sorts of POR's I had to search for it.... http://scoutmastercg.com/fifteen-minute-patrol-leader-training/ I like the 15 minutes..... or I'd for some POR's actually add in all CAPS. "OR LESS" and I like what he wrote about not calling it training at all.... don't even look at it as training because that alone changes the focus or approach.... While searching for that, I found these other references that might help too.... http://scoutmastercg.com/youth-leader-training/ http://scoutmastercg.com/training-is-doing/ I actually thought there was a podcast on his 15 minute PL discussion too, but I can't put my finger on it just now....
  22. Camping Distance for Adults

    yeah, that's kinda my point.... and they don't change their socks, either....
  23. Raingutter regatta

    I ran a come and go regatta once for a pack meeting.... bought swimming pool noodles and precut pieces. Brought those in along with sticks for masts and foam sheets for sails.... some decorating supplies..... gave the boys some period of time....10-15 minutes maybe to build their boats no rules nobody timing them, get in line when you're ready and go no elimination or formal winners just get in line and race..... as many times as they wanted, against whoever they wanted.... asked a DL to be the finish line judge at each set of gutters, mainly just to cheer them on and keep things moving Good time I think, based on the sound levels
  24. Why Did You Leave Scouts ?

    yeah, I can too....not only in low income. the way my son's troop did it, it was $100 dues..... then $20 here, $10 there, ok no lets do some fund raising, then $20 again....then $200 deposit for summer camp....then $20, etc.... Oh, almost forgot about the silly $1 a week thing they were doing on top of it all.... I always felt it ridiculous the amount of nickle and diming that happened, especially knowing how much money the troop had in the bank....but I went along with it. I like the troops that either do the fundraising or just charge dues enough to cover it all....then actually use that money to pay for all the campouts and grub money. Much less focus on money. As scouter in the pack, i always asked that question, why did you leave? never really felt that I got a completely honest and full answer.... except for a couple that moved away. answers such as just not his thing sports is more his focus or joined another pack/troop to be with his friends. I always tried to have a conversation about it to try to learn what could have been better for them, but it seems like most folks just want to move on. I sorta like cocomax's approach, asking why do you stay....focusing on the positive instead of the negative. My son left because "it was boring"....which I know translates into too much talking to, too much being read to, too much be taught what I already know, too much talking about what we're going to do rather than going to do it. I left cub scouts back in the 1970's because we moved, but I hated it....too much arts and crafts stuff, so probably wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway if my mom hadn't been den mother then two moves later I joined a troop with a buddy, to be with friends. My buddy & I were in 9th grade I think it was so coming in older than many scouts that were younger and higher rank....with our friends that were already in much higher ranked than us....being taught stuff by them that I already knew...it all just seemed so silly, being more mature and more qualified than the guy signing you off....so I lasted about a year I think and one summer camp.... too much boring book work...but I always regretted not sticking through the boring stuff for more of the fun adventure stuff, at least to 1st class...but sadly there just wasn't enough adventure