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Posts posted by Twocubdad

  1. So what data is national looking at besides the Eagle application and the Scoutnet records?  Do they conduct some sort of independent investigation?  Do they conduct interview with folks the locals don't have access to? 




    The appeal process is a different thing.  Routinely approving applications shouldn't be a big deal.  Our council registrar verifies advancement data on the app against the Scoutnet records BEFORE the board of review.  The BOR verifies everything else.  National adds nothing to the process.  It's just the dog wizzing on a bush.  The dog doesn't have to pee, he just wants everyone to know he's been there.

  2. Our summer camp has done more and more to support the SPLs, although it's still not a patrol-driven camp.  For some time the SPLs have been invited to the Sunday night leaders meeting along with the SMs.  I suppose it's up to each troop who communicates the info back to the troop.  For the past couple years, the SPLs all have breakfast together for a daily camp briefing.


    Camporees are another matter.  Just what you describe, above -- adults running things, adult cracker barrels, adults largely running the activity stations......  Another reason we don't do camporees.

  3. Maybe if we took that $24/scout that goes to national each year and gave it to the local council then we'd be in much better shape.



    This ties in with my comments a couple pages ago about council camps stepping up their local HA activities in support of troops which don't have the trained leadership to pull it off.  I wrote that council camps should look something like a guide service, especially in the off season, providing climbing, shooting, aquatics and other specialty activities to units which can pull them off on their own.


    A couple years ago our council had a series of "town hall" meetings with various volunteers to discuss the problem that both FOS and popcorn sales are declining.  I mentioned my resentment of the then-recent increases in national dues, but said I would be more than happy to pay the same money to the council, provided it went to support programs.


    The pros in the room visibly blanched.  I had touched the third rail.  No professional wants to hear questions about value national provides because they all hitched to that gravy train.  Until we change the policy of pros being beholden to national for their career advancement, they will always support the national policies rather than what is best for the council, units or Scouts.

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  4. MIB, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.  We all will miss your mom but are better for having her insight and perspective.  Her passion for Scouting was very evident as was her pride in you.  We could certainly tell how proud she was of you, your involvement in Scouting and your willingness to step into leadership roles at a relative young age.  She will be missed.

  5. Don't sweat it, joe.  This isn't bad.  Several years ago we had a guy here who flipped out at anyone referring to "our troop" or, heaven forbid, "my troop."  Dogma was the troop belongs to the boys and the only acceptable reference was to "the troop which I serve."

  6. Cook sets are the one item where we feel like the BSA brand nesting pots and pans are preferable.  The big advantage is they are sized for a patrol of 8 rather than a family of four.  TexasSport makes a similar set, but it's designed for four.

  7. Our council teaches IOLS and WOLS together, giving credit for both.  I don't know if they add an extra module for the Webelos stuff or not.  I always thought it was silly to require two very similar courses within a year or so. This is one area where the training folks listened to the folks on the ground.


    No one has answered your question about taking Webelos out in November.  There are no national rules concerning this.  I've never heard of council rules related to this either.  It's up to you to know your local weather and the abilities and gear of your Scouts.  Here, in the foothills of NC, we always plan our Webelos campout the first weekend of November.  We usually have pretty good weather around here, cool but not cold, but the big thing is we're getting out of fall sports season and popcorn sales are over here . (Our pack is BIG into selling popcorn, the Boy Scouts could care less.)

  8. So how many such classes does your son go to before he figures out the problem is with the classes?  The only MB classes our troop offers are for a very few required MBs (like personal management), but those are held on multiple Saturdays (requiring extra effort), taught by a team of counselors who know their stuff and teach way more than is required.  The problem is when you throw one instructor at a class of 20 Scouts and tell them they have four hours to complete the badge. 

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  9. T2E -- in London, breakfast and dinner were served cafeteria style.  I think they may be talking about lunch.  On the way out from breakfast, we pick our lunch from a selection of pre-made sandwiches, chips (rather, "crisps" there), fruit, snack and different drinks.  It was a basic bag lunch, but you did have a choice of the "flavors" you selected.  I came to like the prawn flavored crisps.

  10. My campouts as a youth were generally limited to hanging out with my patrol mates, tending a pot of chili or soup all day and staying up most of the night pondering the universe. My first time rock climbing, horseback riding, shooting a rifle, exploring a mine or trying lumberjack sports came at Philmont. The first canoe trek I took was with our OA chapter (which functioned like a HA Venture crew) was at age 15 or 16. Troops simply didn't have the equipment or expertise to pull off these activities.

    I've always called this the Mountain Dew Effect. Caffine aside, kids seem to think Scouting is supposed to look like a Mountain Dew commercial -- take a long swig then ride your mountain bike down the side of El Capitan.  Forget that the guy riding the bike is actually a 48-year-old stuntman with 30 years experience and that shot took six month and $3mil to set up.


    But that genie is out of the bottle.  I think part of the problem is that BSA has oversold HA, beyond the ability of most units to deliver.  We're fortunate that we have ASM with climbing, shooting and aquatics certifications, but how many troops can do that.  In any given year, we hit most of those formerly once-in-a-lifetime activities I did at Philmont.  Not every troop has that ability.


    I've written this before, but I think council camps need to start looking more like guide services.  Camps have millions in infrastructure and equipment which is used 5 or 6 weeks a year.  Sure, camps are available to troops the rest of the year, but without certified instructors, the activities Scouts want are unavailable to most troops.  Councils need to be making staffed facilities available to troops year-round.  I would think that would help the liability issue, too, as a few certified instructors are much easier to supervise than a bunch of troop level guys.


    I know funding is an issue, but if troops could pay a fraction of what a commercial outfitter does, it could work. IMO this was part of the idea behind The Summit.  But even their "summer camp" weeks are pretty pricey -- three days on the ground there is twice the price of a full week of camp, and we're only about three hours away.  Still in the category of  Philmont or Seabase.   Is Scouting is local, national needs to be figuring out how to fund councils to make things like this work.  (Frankly, I think the usual council business model is broken and needs to be fixed.  Why our ever-increasing membership fee goes to national when most unit support comes from the councils, I don't know.  But that's another thread. )

  11. SEC. 594. CONDUCT BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND VETERANS OUT OF UNIFORM DURING HOISTING, LOWERING, OR PASSING OF UNITED STATES FLAG.Section 9 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by striking `all persons present' and all that follows through the end of the section and inserting the following: `all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.'.






    From the US Flag Code:


    "The Salute

    To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge."

    In 1993 Congress specifies "Citizens not in uniform...." but in 2008 says "All other persons present...." So in light of conflicting, ambiguous, inconsequential or poorly crafted law or policy, we get to decide which law to follow? Up to a point (and noting there is absolutely no penalty for violating the Flag Code) I agree with that.

  12. Regarding the hand salute branch of the thread:


    I can't imagine that if a kid were running across the campsite in nothing but a pair of whitey-tighties, that when he heard "To the Colors" being played he snapped to attention, faced the music and instinctively offered a Scout salute, that there is any veteran in the country who wouldn't look upon that scene with pride and a smile.  I certainly can't imagine jumping the kid about his uniform (privacy and youth protection policies would be up for discussion, however.)


    The thing I see missing from this discussion (all -- what are we up to now -- 6 or 8 branches) is reasonableness.  I believe the above Scout has acted reasonably.  Modesty aside, if his greatest transgression is to have offered a Scout salute instead of placing his hand over his heart, I'd call that a win.  He was making more effort to show respect for the flag than most folks ever do.  Been to a ballgame lately? When did it become appropriate to scream like an idiot at the end of every phrase? 


    Truth is, Stosh, I'm not convinced that offering a Scout salute when out of uniform -- however that is defined -- is disrespectful to veterans.  Veterans offering a hand salute (and the law applies to active-duty military personnel out of uniform, too) is a new thing -- 2008.  I don't read this as being an exclusive privilege offered only to veterans, rather a courtesy extended to them. 


    SEC. 594. CONDUCT BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND VETERANS OUT OF UNIFORM DURING HOISTING, LOWERING, OR PASSING OF UNITED STATES FLAG.Section 9 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by striking `all persons present' and all that follows through the end of the section and inserting the following: `all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.'.


    According to this, "all other persons (emphasis added) present should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over their heart..."  I don't see an exemption for the Boy Scout salute here.  Do we really think the intend of this law was to include Scouts in "all others" or is this just sloppy legislation?   Are we going to follow this latest* law and teach our Scout to place their hands over their hearts when the flag passes?  Hell no.  We're going to go for the greater good/big picture and teach flag etiquette as we know it.  Just because some bozo congressman gets a letter from the local VFW and inserts one paragraph into a seven-year-old, 600-page defense authorization bill without really understanding the total ramifications of that paragraph, doesn't mean we're going to ditch saluting the flag.  At least I'm not. 


    Perhaps it's a big lesson for an eight-year-old to understand, but with the federal code at God knows how many volumes plus regulations and state law on top of that, not to mention to policies and rules from all the private organizations we interact with, everyday each of us has to Do Our Best to understand and follow the spirit of what society requires of us. 


    Personally, I have no more interest in getting wrapped around the axel by Section 594 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 than I do the Guide to Advancement.



    *Actually this legislation was amended again in 2009 to include the playing of the national anthem.  Apparently congress didn't get it right the first time.  :rolleyes: 

  13. As long as they're speaking as individuals, there's no issue. But I wouldn't try to present myself as representing "the Scouts." The general public doesn't understand the difference between your unit, the council or BSA. But I don't see any problem with folks going to the town and discussing how the parking issue impacts the use of the park by your Cub Scouts.

  14. We do the Iron Chef thing about once a year. It's always a hit. A couple of winners which have gone down in troop lore are watermelon soup (watermelon, mushed up with powdered sugar) and meat medley which was all the hamburger, bacon, chicken and steak cooked together. What's not to like.


    As to the rule making thing -- have you read the Guide to Advancement? Guide to Safe Scouting? Insignia Guide? Heck, the Boy Scout Handbook? Hundreds of pages of adult-dictated rules.


    I've never bought into philosophy of a strictly Scout-led program. There is a fine line between Scout led and Scout led off into a ditch. I believe we adults are here to create the program within which the Scouts learn and practice leadership, cooking and many other things. There are limits to learning by example, controlled failure, directed self-discover and the like. I don't think any of you have mentioned any programs or techniques here our troop hasn't utilized. They're all great, a lot of fun for the boys, and work at some level. But they all have one major limitation -- they are all very easily undermined by a couple of the cool kids wandering into camp, munching on PopTarts and bragging to the other kids how cool they are because they "cooked" breakfast in two minutes, have no dishes to clean and now have time to wander around camp being cool. They can flush months if not years of work and effort by both youth and adults to build up quality of the troops meals. I've watched it happen several times. You can see the air come out of the program.


    And in the five years Krampus's guy spent trying to pushing the program string uphill, how many Scouts didn't learn as much or have as robust program as they could have. Absolutely give them a chance to figure things out, to learn on their own and struggle to get it right. But five years?


    Consequently, one of my early lessons as a new Scoutmaster is that an occasional, specific adult-dictated rule which corrects the course of the program is good thing.


    No ramen noodles (unless used as an ingredient in something else)and no PopTarts. Period.


    Six months later no one remembers who made the rule (SM or PLC) or cares. It becomes part of the troop culture and everyone goes on happily making their meat medley for dinner.

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  15. In he spirit of this being a volunteer organization, between the line of the Insignia Guide if find a general exception allowing the wearing of insignia, pins, patches of special meaning and importance to the wearer. I challenge anyone to prove to me that I do not find this exception between the lines.


    Consequently, when a Scout shows up at some non-OA function proudly wearing his brand-new, blindingly white OA sash, I keep my dang mouth shut. When the troop's only kid to earn all four levels of the religious emblem shows up with four purple square knots over his left pocket, I keep my dang mouth shut. When an ASM shows up with his Eagle Dad pin on his collar, I keep my dang mouth shut. When the fellow who has devoted countless hours over the past 10 years to helping kids with their Eagle projects shows up for a ECOH with a pocket full of Mentor pins, I keep my dang mouth shut.


    But I do think d-rat has a point -- standing up as a trainer is a different situation. I'll also note that this feedback was part of a Trainers' EDGE course, so I would say it is wholly appropriate in that instance.

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  16. Krampus,


    No, he didn't approach the SM (not that it was his fault, he presumably followed troop procedures).  What you're missing is -- so far as we know -- the Scout and Scoutmaster have yet to speak.   I don't know why.  And absolutely, either one of them could initiate that conversation.  Which is all I'm suggesting.  Instead of us going all policy wonk, griff'smom, who seems to have the Scouts ear or at least that of his mom, should suggest to the Scout he talk to his SM. Who cares about the definition of leadership or what the G2A says?  Ask your Scoutmaster.  I can't imagine he wouldn't explain his thinking. 


    And if it were the SM asking, or if griff'smom were asking on his behalf, I'd give the same advice. Actually, in a round-about way, I did.

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  17. The existence and use of a SMC/BOR coordinator is a matter of troop procedure which should be addressed with the committee and advancement chairmen -- and probably the SM.  I don't necessarily assume that to be a barrier to advancement or the SM's doing.  And I certainly won't make the wild leap that the SM is unapproachable.


    Our troop has a similar structure for BORs -- the Scout contacts the BOR coordinator who puts together the BOR from the committee members who have had the training, usually for the next troop meeting and almost always by the second week.  That doesn't make our BOR members unapproachable.  It meant we had 65 kids in the troop and needed some structure for coordinating multiple meetings juggling the schedules of multiple people.


    Of course, in our troop, the "Scoutmaster Conference Coordinator" handles things a bit differently: 


    SCOUT: "Um, can I have a Scoutmaster's conference?"
    SCOUTMASTER: "Sure. When's good for you?"


    I would conduct conferences just about anytime.  But after a few years I felt I was being taken advantage.  No, I'm not doing you SMC at 11:30 Friday night after the ballgame and dance is over.  My policy was to conduct conferences in the hour prior to weekly troop meetings or on campouts.  If you can't attend one or the other, you probably don't need to be advancing anyway.  Was that a barrier advancement?  Some would say so.  Those are the folks I referred to as The New Scoutmaster. 


    I don't know why griff's troop does things differently.  But they need neither my understanding or consent.

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