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Cleveland Rocks

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About Cleveland Rocks

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  • Birthday 10/25/1970

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    IT Manager

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  1. Cleveland Rocks

    Scoutmasters as Merit Badge Counselors?

    There used to be a belief--I don't know if it was ever true--that Scoutmasters were automatically Merit Badge Counselors for every merit badge, just by the fact that they're a Scoutmaster. Many long-time Scoutmasters still hold that belief. I have been to events where I have had Scoutmasters proclaim this, only to be told by practically everyone else in the room, "no you aren't!" That may be where that thinking came from. There are many who believe that Scoutmasters (or Assistant Scoutmasters, or Committee Members, etc.) should not counsel their own child on Merit Badges (or sign off on rank requirements, perform Scoutmaster Conferences, etc.). The GTA does not prohibit this, although I know a number of leaders who do follow that practice so they are not potentially accused of taking it easy on their own kid.
  2. Cleveland Rocks

    ISO Pack CC and Troop Secretary badges

    Troop Secretary badge? Do you mean Troop Committee badge? There is no official badge for Troop Secretary.
  3. Cleveland Rocks

    Bikes in Camp?

    Our summer camp allows adults to bring bikes to use, provided they wear helmets, and quite a few adults use them. They also allow staff to ride bikes. A neighboring summer camp allows Scouts to bring bikes. I don't know how many take advantage of it, but I believe they allow it due to the distances between program areas, to shorten the travel time between activities.
  4. Cleveland Rocks

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    Merit Badge counselor registrations have always been no charge. There are no fees to pay out of a unit's budget for a Merit Badge Counselor registration, because they are considered district-level positions, not unit-level positions. Merit Badge Counselor (position code 42 on the application), Unit Scouter Reserve (code 91) and College Scouter Reserve (code 92) are all no-fee registrations.
  5. Cleveland Rocks

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    Our Council Scout Executive explained it to us like this at one of our leader breakfasts this past summer at Summer Camp: The national council carries liability insurance for everyone. That's what much of your national fee covers, and that's what most of the fee increase covers. Some councils carry their own liability insurance, that is in addition to the national insurance. Some of those councils that carry their own insurance do not charge their members anything extra for the cost of that additional insurance. They pay for it with things like fundraising and FOS. Other councils charge fees at recharter that are above and beyond what the national fee is. Sometimes, depending on the council and their individual finances, that fee covers the entire cost of the premium, other times it doesn't. As an example, Lake Erie Council (I'm not a member of LEC, they're our neighbors) communicated to its members a few months ago that they carry their own insurance in addition to the national insurance. For years, they've charged $1 per member at recharter time to pay for a portion of that premium. They just announced that they can no longer (or are no longer willing, depending on your perspective, I guess) absorb the additional costs for the premium out of their general fund budget. The annual premium is around $150,000, and they only collect around $14,000 annually from the $1 fee. So, they announced that starting at next recharter that $1/member fee for council insurance will jump to $12/member annually. I'm gonna guess that a significant percentage of the national fee is now going towards the insurance. On some other boards, I've seen people saying they heard that next year, the premium alone for national's insurance will be $50 million. Just for the premium. Now, whether that $50 million number is true or not, I don't know, but even if it's a fraction of that in actuality, it's still a huge number.
  6. Cleveland Rocks

    Best Time for Scouting for Food

    It depends on the GSUSA council. Some councils have essentially told their membership to avoid us like the plague, while others don't care. Our troop has done Scouting For Food drives for years on the weekends right after Thanksgiving. Each of the last two years, we've had Girl Scouts join us and haven't had any issues or pushback from the local GSUSA council. We plan on having them join us again this year.
  7. Well, I think there that there's more to it when they talk about "making it hard to go camping". Some leaders just don't want to go camping, period, and it's an easy thing for them to just say, "we don't camp because national makes it too hard for us to camp." I've spoken to many GSUSA troop leaders who do find the rules and regs regarding camping to be onerous, but I don't see them as much different than what we in the BSA have set forth. The minimum number of volunteers rule tends to be a sticky wicket with a lot of troop leaders, and they tell me it's why they keep their troop membership numbers low, so they don't have to worry about having enough registered volunteers with them on activities. If you read their Safety Activity Checkpoints document regarding camping (really, regarding any activity), their safety rules and bullet points are not the much different than the Guide to Safe Scouting. The leaders I've spoken to don't often like the rule that camping for Daisies and Brownies, whom they feel are the ones who are the most excited about the program, is restricted to resident camp only, and that "Travel Camping", which is what they call camping where a campsite is your means of accommodations, is not recommended. The "you must have a trained volunteer who has taken our camping training" rule seems to rub some leaders the wrong way because many of them just don't want to take training. The phrase "Every Scout deserves a trained leader" isn't emphasized in Girl Scouts like it is in the BSA. It's not totally dismissed, just not pushed as hard as we do in the BSA. And I have spoken to leaders who don't want to camp because they are afraid of rules like the trained first-aider rule. And they worry about rules like the "you need council's permission before camping outside of a council-owned camp" or "if you're swimming you need someone with basic lifeguarding skills with you" and the potential consequences that could come with them. From what I have observed, at least in my area, is that Girl Scouts do camp, and their council-owned camps are often full on weekends. The big difference I see, at least in this area, is that the majority of their camping is cabin camping, and cabins are the primary accommodations at the council-owned Girl Scout camps in my area. Troops do tent camp, and camps are trying to accommodate that more and more. One Girl Scout camp near us recently opened a new campsite dedicated exclusively to hammock camping. Tent camping is still, however, the minority. For example, at the "main" Girl Scout camp in our council, of the 21 campsites they have, only 6 are tent, covered wagon, or platform tent sites, none of which are open from October through April. The others are all cabins, or troop houses. Like a lot of things in the Girl Scouts, the level of participation in activities is largely at the whim of your troop leader. If you have a troop leader who doesn't like to camp, well, you're probably not going to camp. That's why you have so many troops that are referred to as "snack and craft troops", because that's all they ever do. Some of that is just because the troop leader doesn't want to camp, and some of it is that they don't want to take the training or be beholden to the rules put forth. My daughter's troop is fortunate in that her troop leader loves to camp and takes them on outdoor activities all the time.
  8. In many areas, their safety guidelines are similar to what we in the BSA have. But there are some notable differences. One of those areas--and in talking to some GS leaders, this seems to trip them up a lot--is the minimum number of volunteers needed for activities. The ratio varies depending on program level, but it requires a minimum of two unrelated volunteers (note not "adults", but registered volunteers) up to a certain number of Scouts. For Daisies, it's up to 12 Daisies for Troop meetings, and up to 6 Daisies for outings, activities, travel and camping. For Ambassadors, the ratio is higher--up to 30 Ambassadors for Troop Meetings and 24 for outings. Then you need additional volunteers when you have more girls than the minimum. So, for example, if you were doing an outing with, let's say a troop with 27 Juniors, their minimum volunteer levels would require at least 4 volunteers on the outing. As far as prohibited activities, I will say that they do not go to the level that we in the BSA do, but most of the obvious things that you might expect an organization to prohibit, they do, like bungee jumping, hang gliding, parasailing, skydiving, hunting, and outdoor trampolines. The GSUSA, like the BSA, prohibits paintball activities where you are shooting at other people. The GSUSA requires a registered first-aider on all outings. This must be a person who has taken the Red Cross First Aid course. They also require what they call an advanced first-aider, meaning they've taken WFA, if you're further than 30 minutes away from EMS care reaching you. As for specific activities, the GSUSA has a chart like the BSA does listing which program levels can do what. For the most part, girls in all program levels can do all activities but there are exceptions, mostly with Daisies and Brownies. Daisies and Brownies cannot do backpacking (different from just general hiking). Daisies cannot do ziplining, except for playground ziplines. Daisies and Brownies cannot do canopy tours. Daisies and Brownies cannot do recreational tree climbing (using ropes, harnesses and saddles to climb trees). Daisies and Brownies cannot do go-karts. Juniors can't operate self-driving go-karts, but they could be a passenger in a 2-person kart driven by an older person. Daisies can only do horseback riding on ponies or hand-led horseback walks. Daisies cannot do kayaking and can only do rowboats if they're in the boat with an adult. Daisies and Brownies cannot do stand up paddleboarding or whitewater rafting (Brownies and Juniors technically can do rafting, but only on lower-rated rapids) Girls must be at least 12 to participate in gun shooting sports, 14 for pistols. Contrary to popular belief, Girl Scouts in all levels can camp (there are many people who erroneously say that Daisies cannot camp. They can, although there are some limitations). The GSUSA requires that any troop that camps has at least one person at the campout who has taken a council-level training course on camping, similar to the BSA's BALOO training requirement for Pack campouts. For many activities, council approval is required before the troop or individuals can participate. One major difference with Girl Scout Troops from how we do it in the BSA, is that unlike in the BSA, where troops are chartered to a Chartered Organization, and that CO "owns" the unit, all Girl Scout Troops are owned by the local council. They have direct control over the troops, and it is not unheard of for unit leaders to be dismissed, and troops disbanded, for breaking their rules. The GSUSA's version of the Guide to Safe Scouting, what they call "Safety Activity Checkpoints", is nearly twice as long as our Guide to Safe Scouting.
  9. Cleveland Rocks

    Flag help needed

    WOSM sells flags with the World Crest that are available for purchase: https://www.worldscoutshops.com/essentials/scouting-flags The BSA used to sell "generic" flags that you could buy to fly at home, but I haven't seen them in years. There are BSA flags available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/UDSNIS-America-Scouting-Outdoor-Decorative/dp/B07DC3H34M https://www.amazon.com/UNSTARFLAG-American-Veterans-Scouts-America/dp/B07NX67S7D https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CW2K6QD/ref=psdc_553792_t2_B07NX67S7D https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DCRP9QM/ref=psdc_553792_t3_B07NX67S7D https://www.amazon.com/YERZ-Scouts-America-Colorful-Outdoor/dp/B07T9J63RL https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DQPKGPJ
  10. That's interesting, the version of that story I had always been told was that they hiked in 1935 to the Jamboree, only to arrive in DC and find out that it had been cancelled due to a polio epidemic, and that they went back and returned two years later for the rescheduled Jamboree in 1937. That's also the version I see posted on-line in many places. It's also the version of the story the BSA has posted on their Facebook page. Still a great story.
  11. I think part of the problem was that while there were weather delays that of course cascaded across the country as happens with a hub system, there was also the problem that many contingents were delivered to the airport many, many hours before their scheduled flight, sometimes, based on comments posted on-line, 8, 10, or more hours in advance. I saw one contingent was delivered to the airport in the early morning hours, for a flight that was not scheduled to depart until 7:00 p.m. that evening. No airport is equipped to handle that many people arriving that early. You can't check bags for a flight more than 4 hours in advance (at least that's what contingents were reporting online was what they were told at CLT). If you can't check-in yet, you can't get a boarding pass. And no boarding pass, no going through security, which means you don't have access to the food court areas. That led many to get stuck outside, because the ticket counter areas was at capacity, since they were way early and couldn't go through security to get to the more spacious gate areas. It wasn't necessarily that there were delays (there were), it was also that there were departing passengers at the airport waaaaaay early.
  12. Cleveland Rocks

    World Jamboree - Reviews

    There are some councils that have taken an adversarial approach to the BSA in their area since the announcement of the BSA admitting girls into the Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA programs. There have been many examples of directives given by some (not all) Girl Scout councils around the country as to what their troops can/can't do with respect to BSA membership and activities. One of those that was making the rounds during cookie booth season earlier this year was that there councils who had put out notice to their troops that they should "report", supposedly to the service unit director, or something like that, if they were approached at a booth by a BSA member. It was pretty much met with ridicule at the time. I'm not sure what, exactly, they were supposed to report, although many took it to believe that it was to report if the Boy Scouts were doing a fundraising booth at the same location as their cookie booth, which is pretty difficult to do, considering our popcorn sales are in the fall and their cookie booths are in late winter/early spring. I'm trying to find the posts on Facebook from when that all happened, but haven't found them yet. Other councils have stated they do not want their members present at activities when BSA members are also present. An excerpt from the directives given by one GSUSA council: "Do not participate in, allow, or promote any co-sponsored or co-branded events or programs that use either Girl Scouts’ name, logo, colors, or likenesses together with Boy Scouts. This includes long-standing events like Scouting for Food and Pine Car Derbies. "Do not participate in joint flag ceremonies." Then, of course, there's the kerfuffle from earlier this year at Legoland in Florida where, after hearing that BSA members would also be invited to Scout Day there (the nerve of Legoland to do something like that!), the local GSUSA council withdrew their sponsorship of the event, stating it was no longer an official Girl Scouts event (because Legoland would not acquiesce to their request to dis-invite the BSA members) and that while their girls could still go to Legoland that day, they should not wear their uniforms or activity shirts to the event, or otherwise make it evident that they were Girl Scouts.
  13. Cleveland Rocks

    World Jamboree - Reviews

    To be clear, any "bad blood" is not with individual units, but with the GSUSA national leadership and (some) council leadership of the GSUSA. It's GSUSA councils that are telling their units to "turn in" any BSA members they see at their cookie booths. It was the GSUSA council in central Florida that told their membership to not wear their uniforms to Scout Day at Legoland earlier this year because (gasp!) Boy Scouts would also be present. It's GSUSA councils who have put out the memos to their troops not to participate in parades when BSA units will be present. And at our Memorial Day grave decoration ceremony this year at our local National Cemetery, the lack of Girl Scouts at the event was quite noticeable. The organizers said that they got very few responses from troops this year, despite being invited along with all other Scout units the same as they do every year. My point is that if the BSA extended an invitation to GSUSA to participate in the World Scout Jamboree, I think we all know what GSUSA's response would have been.
  14. Cleveland Rocks

    World Jamboree - Reviews

    No, but they could have been invited. Here's the text of eligibility requirements for the World Jamboree as it pertains to WAGGGS members like GSUSA: "Youth and adults of national Girl Guide/Girl Scout associations (i.e., those who are members of WAGGGS only) may attend the event with the agreement of the WOSM organization in their country." This means GSUSA members could have attended as part of the U.S. contingent provided they were invited by the BSA. But would you really expect the BSA to invite them, considering the current bad blood? GSUSA is suing the BSA for trademark infringement, their organization has badmouthed us on more occasions than I can remember, and many of their councils have gone out of their way lately to avoid being seen in public with us (Memorial Day flag plantings, parades, Scout Days at ball games and amusement parks, Scouting for Food drives, etc.). We could be as cordial and "friendly, courteous, kind" as we want, but I couldn't see an invitation like that going over well. Other countries had their Girl Guide/Girl Scout units there with their contingent because in many countries the girl organizations are members of both WOSM and WAGGGS (they're apparently known as "SAGNOs", although I do not know what that stands for). I saw a few uniforms there from other countries that had patches on them that had both the World Crest and WAGGGS logo.
  15. Cleveland Rocks

    World Jamboree - Reviews

    WOSM contracted with American Airlines to provide air transportation, and Charlotte is a hub city for AA, so lots of destinations, including many international destinations. The next closest AA hub is Reagan National. I would guess that they chose AA because they have the closest hub airport to The Summit. United's closest hub to The Summit is Dulles, and Delta's closest is Atlanta. As mentioned above, Charleston has only 15 daily departures, to only six cities, and they're primarily on small "puddle jumper" aircraft.