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Cleveland Rocks

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  1. Cleveland Rocks

    Scouting for Food - checking expiration dates?

    We sort through the donations our troop collects for SfF before we deliver it to the food bank. We separate out all the expired items, and we also sort it all into boxes by food type (all the canned peas in one box, all the creamed corn in another, etc.) The food bank we work with says they cannot distribute anything to people with an expiration past today. If the expiration date is 30 days past, they said they can set it out for anyone to take, but they cannot legally distribute it (so if we were doing it today, October 22, they could not set out anything for people to pick through with an expiration past November 22). It's my understanding that all the food banks in our area operate the same way with respect to expiration dates. We still do door-to-door pickups in our town, and unfortunately it seems to often be an excuse for people to just empty their pantries, even though we put on the flyers in big bold letters, "UNEXPIRED". Most years, anywhere from 25-33% of what we collect cannot go to the food bank because it's expired. Our Scouts have an unofficial contest every year to see who can find the oldest expired item in what we've collected. We've had some items with expiration dates that were 15-20 years old. We've gotten canned items with grocery store price stickers still on them from grocery stores that closed years ago. We've been finding out--and noting it on the flyers we distribute--that the food banks would much better prefer to receive cash donations in lieu of actual food donations. That has worked out well, and we continue to get more and more every year in monetary donations. The food banks will tell you that they then don't have to worry about expiration dates, the quality of the items donated (they can only use so many boxes of mac-and-cheese), and with their buying power they can stretch those dollars very well and get a lot of what is really needed for the needy.
  2. Our troop is chartered to a Catholic church. Diocesan policy requires that any youth volunteer in a parish that has direct contact with children more than 3 times a month (teachers, CYO coaches, Scout leaders, etc.) has to take VIRTUS training (the Catholic church's version of YPT) and has to undergo a fingerprint and background check. And even if you had that exact same fingerprint and background check done for another organization (I have to do it as a volunteer at my kids' school), you have to do it again for the church.
  3. Cleveland Rocks

    Transition from Whittling to Totin (knife use)

    We do not automatically award Scout at crossover, because the Scouts don't know the material. I have no idea how they got the stuff signed off as Webelos Scouts, but when they join our Troop, it's amazing how many of them do not know the Scout Oath and Law (despite the fact that it's been part of the Cub Scout program since 2015), and they don't know the knots. That's just the beginning. If they simply demonstrated their knowledge after joining as the requirements state, that's one thing. But these Scouts are joining and we have to spend the first few weeks going over all the stuff they should have known for the Scouting Adventure achievement. When we cover this material with them, they look at us like we're speaking a foreign language. Clearly the Webelos Den Leaders are simply pencil whipping these requirements (we know this because when we sign their handbooks as Webelos stating that they have met with us as part of the AoL requirements, their handbooks are as blank as the day they bought them--our signatures are the first ones in their handbooks), and we've had discussions with the Cubmasters about it, but in the end, there's not a whole lot we can do about it until they join our troop and spend time working on things that they should have already done.
  4. Cleveland Rocks

    Badge Magic is THE DEVIL!!!

    Take it to the dry cleaners. I have done that with uniform shirts that had Badge Magic applied to them. Bring a mesh laundry bag and tell them to dry clean the shirt in the laundry bag. The bag will catch the patches as they fall off. This is actually in the instructions for Badge Magic on how to remove patches and adhesive if you want to start over on a shirt. I've done this with a number of uniform shirts and they've all come out fine. The perchlorate used in standard dry cleaning dissolves the adhesive used in Badge Magic. It works better than Goo Gone. Not every dry cleaner is willing to do this, though. Some have refused saying that they don't want the liability if it doesn't come out good. I usually tell them that (a) the shirt is already unwearable as is, so they couldn't possibly do anything worse, and (b) the Badge Magic manufacturer recommends this procedure.
  5. Cleveland Rocks

    Lifetime of Leadership - new Girl Scout ad campaign

    Yes, the Girl Scouts views it as a recognition of their "highest award". They had a big celebration in 2016 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award and all its predecessors (although they just called it the "Gold Award 100th Anniversary"). All the logos had the current Gold Award with the number 100 next to it. They view the Gold Award as a progression of the highest Girl Scout award over the years: 1916-1919 Golden Eagle of Merit 1919-1939 Golden Eaglet 1940-1963 Curved Bar 1938-1940 & 1963-1980 First Class 1980-present Gold Award In 1990 a proposal was approved that would keep the name as the Gold Award in perpetuity. So maybe someone realized they should stop changing the name every 20 years or so...
  6. Cleveland Rocks

    Lifetime of Leadership - new Girl Scout ad campaign

    The point they were making was that there is no "submit your paperwork to National" for the Gold Award like we do for Eagle Scout. It's all handled at the council level. Some councils keep the paperwork on file of those that earn the Gold Award, others do not. But that's why you can't contact GSUSA headquarters to ask for verification of earning the Gold Award--they don't even know you earned it.
  7. Cleveland Rocks

    Lifetime of Leadership - new Girl Scout ad campaign

    That's because GSUSA doesn't know how many Gold Award recipients there are. Seriously. I recently toured the GSUSA headquarters in New York City with my daughter and they had a display section on the Gold Award. My daughter asked if she could look up her mom's listing of when she received the Gold Award. They told her they couldn't do that because they don't keep track of that information. When I asked them how that could be, they said that they have no national database of Gold Award recipients. They don't even know exactly how many of them there are. The closest they can get is based on sales of the pin at their shops, but even that is not 100% accurate, since that count would include duplicates purchased if someone lost their original award. They estimate that it's earned by about 6% of Girl Scouts and that over 1 million have earned it since its inception in 1916, but they admitted it's just an estimate they put on fact sheets to compare it to the Eagle Scout award. I asked them if they had heard of these things called computers and databases, and they said they would like to become more computerized, but until then, they had to rely on their existing information, which mostly was kept in card files, like you used to use in libraries to look up books. The rest of us on the tour all looked at each other like we had jumped into some sort of time warp. And if you do have to replace your award because it got lost, etc., you have to show the evidence you earned it. There is no lookup that can be done like we have with the Eagle award. Some councils may keep track of that information, but they said it's spotty at best.
  8. Cleveland Rocks

    President Trump Eagle Letters

    Did he simply send a letter to the White House, or did he go through the White House Office of Greetings, the information for which is usually found through your Senator or Representative? The Office of Greetings is the department that actually processes requests for congratulatory letters.
  9. I don't think it really mattered in that it's probably good to be flexible if you can. Weather and other circumstances can affect when you think you will be going. For example, President Trump's visit last year meant that everyone planning to visit on that Monday weren't able to visit on that day since they closed the Jamboree to visitors. I think the chances of the President visiting next year are slim to none (the WSJ is put on by WOSM, not the BSA, and they have stated that they won't be extending an invitation to visit), so there shouldn't be any issues like that. The other issue is weather. If there's severe weather, areas will be closed down. We were fortunate last year that there wasn't any real severe weather that impacted us for long periods. An hour here or there, and that was the extent of it. Having NWS people on-site meant areas were able to re-open quicker than they did in 2013 once it stopped raining. There is the possibility that things could be cancelled or postponed if severe weather persists. If that happens, that'll impact the visiting, potentially.
  10. The lines at the NSJ in 2017 weren't that bad, outside of the aerials. The introduction of the Jamboree app, with wait times posted like you'd have at an amusement park, helped greatly. Participants were limited to one aerial activity for the Jamboree, and a limited number of Scouts per troop got the chance to ride the Big Zip. This was all based on capacity constraints and how many people could realistically go through the aerial activities. If an area reached capacity and wouldn't be able to process any more than what was already in line, they would close the lines down for the remainder of the day. By using the app, participants could now budget their time better. If they saw the wait was 1+ hours at, say, shotgun shooting, they could opt for something else that didn't have a big line, instead of trudging all the way over there to only find out that there was a huge wait, which was a problem at the '13 NSJ. Some activities had little to no lines. Some of our Scouts told us they could do the cycling or skate park activities and practically get right back in line to go again, because they could process so many people at a time. Many areas had large capacities so they could get lots of people through at once. Aquatics could get dozens through at a time, for example.
  11. The lower half of this map shows what is in the Summit Center. The Charlie and Delta base camps at the top of the map, and the Alpha and Bravo base camps at the right (on the other side of the Consol Energy Bridge), are off limits to visitors. http://44qx633l2wnm2ire6p28zc8u.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Justice-Scout-Camp-Map-1.pdf
  12. A day pass gets you into the Summit Center, which is the central hub of activity at The Summit. You cannot leave the Summit Center area and go to the base camp sites, even if you have a guide. But the Summit Center itself is big, over 350 acres. You will have access to: Summit Center Stadium (at the NSJ, the Saturday pass entitled you to stay around for the stadium show; otherwise you have to leave by 5:00 most days) Brownsea Island Sustainability Treehouse Scott Visitors Center Legacy Village Trading Posts Military exhibits Conservation Trail Food vendors (dining hall, snacks, etc.) Action Point Freedom Field Boulder Cove Exhibits and vendor tents You do not have access to the activity areas outside the Summit Center area. You will only be able to visit those activity areas that are part of the Summit Center. At the NSJ, you could have purchased a participant visitor pass (extra $) which would have enabled you to participate in the activity areas that are in the Summit Center (BMX biking, mountain biking, fishing, skateboarding, Summit Center ziplines, Action Point Canopy Tours), but be aware that there are long lines for those activities, especially the aerial activities. It may not be worth the extra money, considering you only have a finite amount of time available to you. It has not been announced yet whether there will be a participant visitor pass or not.
  13. Cleveland Rocks

    BSA Girls in WSJ 2019

    In order for U.S. girls to attend the WSJ they will need to be registered as Venturers at the time the WSJ starts.
  14. Cleveland Rocks

    WSJ 2019 Application

    Units for the World Jamboree are set up at the regional, not council, level. Applicants must first get approval from their council, and then it goes on to the regional level for approval. This process is the same for youth and adult applicants. At this point, since there are so many slots remaining to be filled, unless your application throws up a giant red flag, you're going to get approved, whether that's as a youth or adult (unit leader or IST). The BSA has set a deadline of July 31, 2018 for accepting applications for the US contingent. The US has been allocated 180 units, the most ever for a host country.
  15. Cleveland Rocks

    IOLS sign ups

    You're probably going to need to be registered because in most councils, when you go to sign up the online registration form is likely going to ask you for your BSA ID number. They'll also want to associate the completion of the course to your record so that would be the other need to be registered in advance. You'll need to have taken YPT before turning in your application, anyway, so you can at least get a myScouting account set up and take YPT while you work on the application.
  16. Cleveland Rocks

    Looking for extra-TALL scout shirt

    The Supply Division does "Made To Measure" uniform shirts and pants. They used to have a web page that described it but now that they've redesigned their site it looks like you have to just call them at 1-800-323-0736 for the details. I believe it's where you measure or have a tailor measure you at various points, and then they make your apparel to those measurements. I've never had to use them but I know people who have and they've had great success with it and been pleased with the results. From what they've said the price is only a couple of dollars more than the off-the-rack sizes. https://www.scoutshop.org/size-charts
  17. Cleveland Rocks

    How do you end your Troop meetings?

    Circle up, Scoutmaster's Minute, the squeeze, and dismissal. We've done Roses, Thorns and Buds a few times, too, but not always.
  18. Cleveland Rocks

    Getting my daughter to wear her jacket whilst on camping trips.

    It's pretty simple. If she takes her jacket but keeps it in the tent, then when the time comes that she's sitting around the campfire and starts to get cold, she will either (a) shiver, or (b) go back to her tent to retrieve her jacket. She's not going to turn into a popsicle; if she starts getting cold she will figure out a way to get warm. Sometimes you have to let kids "fail" to learn the lesson. What's better: hovering over a kid because you're worried they might be cold without a jacket, or letting them get cold and learning the lesson that, "hey, maybe I oughta go grab that jacket out of my tent because it's getting cold sitting here by the campfire." We all make choices. Those choices have consequences, some good, some not-so-good, and we sometimes have to let the kids learn those consequences on their own. Sometimes a gentle nudge from a leader--not you--of, "do you really think it's a good idea to be out here without a jacket on?" will be all that is needed; other times you have to let them learn on their own.
  19. Not sure which Tennessee council is yours, but the profit breakdown for GS Heart of the South Council, according to their website, shows that for every $4 box of cookies sold, the baker gets $1.03 (25.75%), the troop gets 59 cents (14.75%) and the rest goes to the council ($2.38, or 59.5%). That's the same breakdown for our council, as well as the other GS councils in Ohio, although troops can earn an additional 3 cents/box in our council if they forego the tchotchke prizes. And in our council, the extra dollar they charge for the S'Mores and ToffeeTastic cookies goes almost entirely to the council. The baker still gets their $1.03 on those $5 cookies, and the amount to the troop goes from 59 cents to 65 cents. The council's portion goes from $2.38 to $3.32. The other two councils in Tennessee do not publish their cost breakdowns online like GSHOS does so I cannot say how they do their cost breakdowns. The popcorn breakdowns I've always seen have it roughly a third to the popcorn maker, a third to the council, and a third to the troop. There are some variations, and some councils have been experimenting with plans where the troop gets up to 50% profit (but with a limited selection), but for the most part I think you'll see third-third-third.
  20. Cleveland Rocks

    Who discussed BSA branding at Hong Kong conference?

    The BSA has over 120 licensees, everything from the embroidered emblems, logos, and activity shirt (I refuse to call them class B uniforms) vendors, to other areas, like knives, model trains, coins, cookware, scrapbooking supplies, jewelry, even licensed cremation urns. A person from National I spoke to at the last Jamboree said the licensing division takes in a couple million a year in licensing fees.
  21. Cleveland Rocks

    Ireland seeks Eagle now before she ages out

    The World Jamboree does not have a rank requirement to attend, only age. WOSM calls the shots on eligibility requirements for participants, not the BSA.
  22. Cleveland Rocks

    Merit Badge Class . My Thoughts

    I think there are a number of reasons for the Merit Badge program the way it is today. The first is the expectations of today's parents--whether it's right or wrong--that when their son goes to Summer Camp, it's now expected that they come back having earned something. It's no longer enough that they got to go swimming, take hikes, shoot guns, climb rocks, spend time with their friends, etc. You have to have EARNED something. I have had many parents show disappointment if their son comes back from camp and he's only earned one or two merit badges, or he only got a couple of requirements towards ranks completed. If you explain that advancement is only part of the reason you do what you do at camp, they just respond that for all the money they're paying, "he'd better have something to show for it!" I know it's misguided, but that's how today's parents think. Camps themselves play a part of it. The council-run camps near me almost have a competition to see which camp offers the most merit badges. One camp advertises that they offer over 100 merit badges. Another offers 75. Our camp, responding to criticism that many older Scouts are opting to not attend after 4+ years (because they've earned all the merit badges they offer), are upping their game and offering new badges to keep up with the Joneses. Some camps are also putting on "Pre-requisite sessions" in the months and weeks leading up to Summer Camp, to allow Scouts to earn merit badges with time requirements, many of them Eagle-required (Cooking, Personal Management, Personal Fitness, to name a few). You also get merit badge sessions being offered because it's good PR for companies and organizations to offer these badges. Science centers across the country offer science-related merit badge sessions on weekends. The metroparks near me offer the nature-related badges at various times throughout the year. Museums will offer merit badges that pertain to the type of museum they are. The zoo near me offers Veterinary Science as part of an overnight session. And they all offer sessions for Cub Scouts to earn rank requirements. In all of these examples, they work with the local councils to get staff members certified as MB counselors. Some programs are better than others, but the ones I have attended with my son have generally been good. The counselors have made sure the Scouts did the work. If there were prerequisites, they Scouts knew what to do ahead of time. If it wasn't done, they got a partial, where they could make an appointment with the counselor to come back at a later time and complete the missing requirements, or schedule with another counselor to finish up what's missing. Years ago, the local plumber's union offered Plumbing Merit Badge to Scouts from our troop. I think it was the best one I've ever been to. The Scouts had a ball. They got to meet at the union hall which is the training center for new plumbers to learn the craft. The Scouts did all of the requirements and then some, and to top it all, each came away with about $100 in free stuff from the plumber's union, including first aid kits, safety glasses, safety gloves, etc. In all the cases, those organizations do it because it's good PR, but let's not forget that it's also a easy revenue stream for them. 10-20 Scouts paying $15 to do a merit badge at a science center, museum, park, or zoo is easy money for that organization, and word of mouth helps spread the word if it was a good session. But I think one of the big reasons that merit badge universities and Troop counselors have become so popular is the dismal state of the merit badge counselor program in many councils and districts. We are fortunate in my council to have a very vigilant program, where our council registrar does an excellent job maintaining the program for our council. Counselors must register annually by the specified date; miss it, and you're off the list and have to do the whole application process over if you want to get back on the list. Those MBs that require additional certification (scuba, shooting sports, etc.) must turn in that paperwork annually. The list is distributed 4 times a year to Scoutmasters and Committee Chairmen, password-protected on the council's website. When we turn in advancement reports we also have to turn in a list with the names of the counselors used for the merit badges we're recording (I know that's not required but no one has ever questioned it in our council). I know that in many councils and districts, they could only hope for such diligence, and I think that's why a lot of troops just begin using their own lists and only sharing that list with their Scouts. If you can't easily find counselors they way you're supposed to, troops will do what they need to do to get counselors. And let's be honest--if you're a Scout and you have the choice of calling up a stranger to ask them to work on a merit badge with you, or just showing up for a day at a merit badge university session, which are you going to choose? Until there is a concerted push to get the program brought back to what it used to be, I think things like this will continue.
  23. Cleveland Rocks

    Issues that come up inside the Program

    I realize this is minor in the grand scheme of this discussion, but that "price is dependent on the number of letters" is a thing of the past. The new unit flags are nylon and screened with everything printed right on it. No longer do they sew individual letters and numbers on unit flags. The size of the flag determines its price. They'll even add the unit veteran emblem for no extra charge. When we ordered our Jamboree flags it was the same way--they all cost the same not matter how much or little detail we put on it.
  24. Cleveland Rocks

    Council Pressure

    My daughter's GS troop earns 69 cents on a $4 box of cookies. For those "special" ones that they sell for $4.50 or $5.00 (because, as they say, the production costs are higher, despite the fact the neighboring councils sell the same cookie for no additional cost), they still make 69 cents on those boxes. The council pockets the additional profit. $1.20 goes to the cookie maker. So, the council pockets the remaining $2.11 on that $4 box. So my daughter's troop makes 17.25% profit on the $4 box, and only 13.8% on the $5 box. When the prices went up a few years ago from $3.50 a box to $4.00, the profit to troops only went from 63 cents/box to 69 cents. You could earn an additional 3 cents profit per box for your troop if you chose (as a troop) to not take the tchochkie prizes. The annual reports for my daughter's council show that, depending on the year, 70-75% of the council's annual income comes from cookie sales. Things like corporate donations and Friends of Scouting are foreign concepts to them. Not to mention, you're not allowed to do your own fundraisers if you don't participate in the cookie sales and the fall program sale (magazines, candy & nuts).
  25. Cleveland Rocks

    New computer, can't log in to Forum

    Agreed. I work in IT, so I've seen my fair share of cryptic error messages, but that was a new one on me.