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Everything posted by Woodsmith

  1. Kristi -- Have you heard anything new regarding the missing cars? I am still hoping this sad tale has a happy ending...
  2. I have heard that there is a "National" Pinewood Derby Race to be held in May -- but don't know any details beyond that. Does anyone know any more about this race?
  3. "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo,Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." -H. Jackson Brown, Jr., writer (not the singer)
  4. I knew you guys were going to jump all over me about "the tent not being the main problem" -- but I already recognized that and alluded as much in my initial post. I am taking over as SM in a couple weeks and training the leaders is my primary goal (naturally) -- but I wondered if I was out of line in limiting the size of tents... Thanks for all the feedback!
  5. Quick question -- Do any of you have any troop policies regarding the size of, or number of Scouts sleeping in one tent? We've had a problem with one of the older boys bringing an 8-man tent -- and then packing it with at least that many boys. This becomes a big hangout for the "boy leaders" and they invariably spend most of the night hootin and hollerin... My thought -- other than making sure the boy leaders have better things to do (like leading!), is to set a maximum tent size -- or at least limit the number of occupants. Anybody else have any experience with this kind o
  6. UncleGuinea: "Just a couple of rhetorical questions to get your minds working. Do you consider your position (s) in Scouting to be as important to you as the boy's positions in Scouting are, or should be, to them? What is your term limit? How would you feel if someone told you, 'you can do this job for six months and then never again?'" UncleG -- I know you said they were rhetorical questions -- but you bring up some interesting points, so I'd like to answer anyway. Yes, I consider my position very important -- yes, I would hope that the boys take their position seriously too (s
  7. Dan:"Before I could give anymore suggestions, I need to know. Are YOU going to let them vote for SPL and PLS? At the next election?" Absolutely! Actually, I am to address the PLC within the hour -- this is how I intend to begin: "I dont want to scare you, thinking that I am going to make a lot of changes and shake things up with a lot of new ideas because I do intend to make a lot of changes and shake things up but with a lot of old ideas. Those ideas that have been part of the Scouting program for almost 100 years. Much of the Boy Scout program has been tweaked and modified hopeful
  8. Bob and Dan -- I really don't want to create any more rules -- just an effective argument against having the same person hold a leadership position for too extended a period (whatever that is). Our Scribe has been the same for 3 years. The Historian and Quartermaster about the same. Now the Patrol Leaders are into their second year (at least, heck --they may have been a PL before I became involved with the Troop) in that position. I guess this is a situation where I should just butt out, huh? I suppose I should be happy that I have such strong and willing Patrol Leaders -- and be war
  9. I guess my biggest problem stems from the fact that the PLs were selected by the SM and CC (an issue well covered on another thread) -- and I am stepping in as SM just AFTER a the latest round of "elections". The PLs that were chosen were undeniably the most trained, most qualified, most responsible bunch of boys in the Troop -- but I still don't think they should be Patrol Leaders -- AGAIN. The Powers That Be (or at least, the Powers That WERE) felt that the boys next in line are not ready for such a responsible role. It is my feeling that just about any boy can learn to be a quality
  10. I have not found anywhere where BSA states how many terms in succession a Scout may retain the same leadership position -- whether that's SPL, Patrol Leader, Scribe, Historian, etc. Is there a guideline for that? In my opinion, Scouts that have already held the position of Patrol Leader (for example) for one year need to move on. It is my understanding Boy Scouts is designed to develop leadership skills in boys. Boys that have held such a position already know how to lead a Patrol (or whatever duty they're responsible for) and should now be in the position to help teach the next Scout
  11. Thanks guys -- We have our Annual Planning meeting coming up soon -- the first that I will be observing -- and I plan to implement your suggestions and open better lines of communication between SM (soon to be me) and the PLC so we can address any issues and increase participation. Wish me luck!
  12. "17 Scouts out of over 80? This ought to be looked at as a red flag?" Yes, indeed. "Not so long ago you posted that you had 25 new Scouts are you using the NSP? Do you have an annual plan?" Yes and yes. (actually, it is more like 30 New Scouts) "If possible you might want to see if your Council is offering a JLTC course this summer and see if some of your Scouts can attend." All the current PLC members are Green Bar trained -- we have 4 more Scouts attending JLT next week. "There is a very big difference when the PLC plans the event and when the PLC approves the event."
  13. Yes, they plan the events -- for the most part -- some of the events have "fixed" dates, such as the Camp-o-ree. Some are annual/traditional events -- the schedule is planned far in advance, so I doubt the boys really know what conflicts to expect -- except dates that are close to the usual school obligations (exams, sporting events). Some outing locations must be reserved a year in advance, which makes changing things to accomodate schedules tricky.
  14. I apologize if this subject has been addressed before -- I did not see it. I come from a large Troop (over 80 boys) and for 3 out of the last four campouts we have only had ONE or less member of the PLC present. Usually it's a Patrol Leader who has to be temporarily promoted to SPL. This weekend we have 17 boys attending, NO PLC or "Senior" Scouts -- only 3 are 1st Class, 4 are 2nd Class and the rest are New Scouts. The PLC selects, or at least approves, the outings and activities -- and profess enthusiasm -- but at campout the roster is lacking. I intend to address the PLC at their next
  15. FOG wrote:"Nothing wrong with shows either. Just a campfire without the fire. The important thing is that people are getting up and performing." Right -- I was less concerned about the actual burning of stuff in the Campfire Program than I was the "Program" element! I don't understand why Scouts would ever need to PAY a performer to entertain the kids -- from my experience, just asking the audience if anyone would like to perform a skit provides ample entertainment -- at least it used to....
  16. Our Troop participated in our Camporee -- a good time was had by all, but I came away a little dumbfounded... Instead of the traditional Saturday evening Campfire with OA Tapout -- the itinerary stated: 8-8:30pm -- OA Tapout in Pavilion 9, 8:30-10pm -- Live Entertainment in Pavilion 10 I asked the boy who was in charge of planning the event (a slightly overwhelmed 13-year old) why there wasn't a campfire program listed. He told me "Boy Scouts don't do campfires so much any more -- now they're more into 'shows'." That evening, though there had been a chance of rain -- none was to b
  17. I thought I had a pretty long list of songs (not that I ever sang them in Scouts -- I got them from my long-time Scouter Dad -- we used to sing em around the family campfire), but I don't know Boy Scout Sunday School -- and I don't see it at the scoutsongs link... anyone help here? Also -- I grew up with "Green Grow the Rushes Ho" -- anyone have an explanation behind the lyrics? I know there must be a significant religious story there, but I'm not making the connection...
  18. Thanks again Fboisseau -- Good suggestioins -- and I had to laugh when I neared the end of your comment -- I had JUST sat down after returning from the Scout Shop after picking up the latest SM Handbook (had several old ones), SPL Handbook, PL Handbook, Troop Committee Guide -- gotta keep those guys in their place -- and the Scoutmaster's Junior Leader Training Kit. Looks like I have some homework to do....
  19. Thanks for the feedback -- this issue seems to be one where the CC and I butt heads. He strongly believes we need to get a list of all the boys and divvy them up into 6 or 7 or however many patrols that are each consistent and equitable. And he has very logical, eloquent, and persuasive reasons for this. I would like to leave more of the decision to the NSP boys as to where they would like to go (among the existing regular patrols) or whether they'd prefer to stick together and form their own patrol. The problem I have with their being absorbed by the regular patrols is a question of num
  20. I know y'all have beat this New Patrol/Mixed-Age issue into the ground -- but I need to bring it up again... I am an ASM from a large Troop -- there are four regular patrols, each with 8-10 members, and a "Venture" Patrol with about 6-7 guys. Last month we had about 25 new boys cross-over from 3 different Packs. Ideally, as I understand it, these new guys should be split into four different NSPs (or even five) with a Troop Guide for each and an ASM or two asigned to them. Four or Five NSPs??? Yipes! As is typical, our older Scouts are involved in many other things (High School, sports, e
  21. As a recent (litle over a year ago) crossover Dad from Cubs to Scouts (and a Den Leader for five years) I was really looking forward to sitting back and letting the boys "run things". As many former Cubbers know -- this cutting loose the boys is easier said than done. It's hard not to be in there helping the guys when you've been doing it for several years -- and they are also used to having you help them. Then I remembered one thing my Dad had told me (he was a regular Woodbadge Staffer -- and I was just a kid). The Woodbadge staff would always carry around their walking staffs --
  22. First off -- I just want to say how great I think this forum is! It's like a (very large) group of like-minded old far-- er, fogeys -- sitting around a campfire discussing anything and everything remotely related to Scouts (yeah, yeah, I know there's a lot of you young Scouts in the Forum too -- more power to ya!). I was involved in Scouting in one way or another since before I can remember -- my father was a Scoutmaster as soon as he was old enough (21). By the time I had made it up to the Boy Scouts, he was above the Troop level -- a perennial Wood Badge staff instructor. He had a offi
  23. I am also in Bob White's camp on this. The boys of our Troop elect the SPL from a list of "qualified" (and willing) candidates. Currently, the PLs are selected by our SM and overzealous CC. I hope to change this deviation from the official Scout way once I take over the reins in a few months (as SM). One way to avoid electing an inappropriate or ineffective SPL is to be VERY clear to the boys -- BEFORE the elections -- exactly what are the responsibilities and expectations of the SPL. This is important for those doing the voting as well as the candidates themselves. It has been my exp
  24. Well, it looks like I came to the right place with my tales of woe! Thanks to all of you for the excellent feedback -- it is right in line with my thinking, but it helps to have it reinforced by others -- and expressed in a logical and eloquent manner. I plan to have a little sit-down with the CC, and discuss things much the way MikeF proposes. I sure don't want to alienate the CC -- he's a great guy and has been very good for the troop. Quite possibly it is just as Mike suggested -- that he will be quite willing to step aside once the SM (me) asserts himself into the role the CC ha
  25. My Troop has a Committee Chairman who has taken it upon himself to reinstate some semblance of a "Patrol Method" into the program. This is a very good and needed thing, as things had rather degraded over the years, and the Scoutmaster -- a fine and gentle leader -- had let things slide, often tending to lean towards what was "easier" for the boys -- and adults -- rather than what would benefit the boys most. But I digress... I am soon to become the Scoutmaster of this Troop (in a few months), and I am concerned there may be some confusion amongst the boys as to whom is in authority -- the S
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