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meyerc13 last won the day on November 11 2016

meyerc13 had the most liked content!

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About meyerc13

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    Roundtable Commissioner

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    Appleton, WI
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    Information Security Architect

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  1. I was in the Northern Star Council last weekend, and they are doing something similar to what NJCubScouter's Council is doing. The difference is that they are splitting into two person teams, each covering two Districts. I believe one was going to focus on membership, the other on program. They had new position names, but off the top of my head I don't recall what they were. Personally, I'm curious how moves such as this will help with the amount of time they spend working. In our Council, if we had two DEs teamed up to serve two districts, the amount of geographical space covered by the two districts would be quite large. I would think that unless they start hiding out in the office all day that the amount of travel time they incur would go way up. Is there some loophole that allows the Council to not count time spent traveling to a site? In any case, I think the amount of work that is going to fall on the District Committee and Commissioners is going to go way up. Even though this judge has suspended the rule (pending an appeal, no doubt), most organizations are already so far along in planning that I don't see them dropping their plans now on the chance that this injunction might hold up to an appeal. I do find it very curious how many different ways we've seen Councils handling this issue. Some are charging Council dues, some are teaming DEs up to cover larger areas but focus on specific aspects of the job, some are asking their DEs to cap their hours, and some are giving their employees raises. That's just the four ways I know about, I'm sure there might be more ideas floating around out there. Edit, found a link explaining their approach: http://www.northernstarbsa.org/staffing-changes-at-nsc
  2. Found the answer elsewhere on this site: http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/12400-arrow-of-light-knot-meaning/
  3. I hate Badge Magic or any other type of glue. Let's face it, how many of us keep our Cub Scout uniforms for the rest of our lives? I'll bet not many. Rather than throw the old uniform out, I'd rather see it passed on to another Scout. Having bought dozens and dozens of 'experienced' uniforms at garage sales and second hand shops, I can tell you that if you glue on the patches you might as well throw it out. Once in a great while I am successful at removing all of the glue residue without damaging the shirt, but in those cases it takes many, many hours of work. It isn't worth the time. Since my old Pack handed out a lot of uniforms to boys who couldn't afford them, we only asked that they give it back when they were done with it (which might be never if they decide to keep it). We also had to insist that they not glue on the patches because of the difficulty this presents in reusing that shirt. We made sure each uniform we sent out had an American flag, BSA strip, Council Strip, Unit numbers, and World Scout Crest. To offer a quick and easy alternative for the rank patches (which are about the only thing the parents would need to attach), for every shirt we gave out we included one of these diamond badge holders: http://www.scoutstuff.org/diamond-emblem-holder.html#.WDMwpUbaEtE Sewing on the patches would be preferable, but at least with these we offer an alternative that doesn't involve glue for the parents who can't sew and won't go through the trouble of taking it somewhere to have it done.
  4. Great question. The two main schools our Pack pulled from were very different situations. At one, we were allowed to send home flyers with the kids, put an announcement in the school newsletter, etc. At the other, they would let us put up posters/signs, but we couldn't send anything home and couldn't put anything in the newsletter. So we had to get creative: Setup a staffed table at any registration days, back to school nights, or school-wide events. I say a 'staffed' table because the first year we did this the Girl Scouts threw some fliers on a table and left. Nobody stopped at their table. Meanwhile, I was able to talk to the boys and get them excited about Cub Scouts. Guess which unit gained more new members? Find out if your school and/or district will release contact information for families. Our district will produce a list of students and their addresses for a small fee (I think $25). We asked for all K-5 boys for the three schools we serve. We then removed the boys who were already in the Pack, and created a post card about our recruitment night and sent that out to the boys' homes. It helped that we had a graphic artist on our Committee. All told, including supplies and postage, I think we spent around $100 on this mailing. We included this as a recruitment cost in our annual Pack budget. If we picked up a couple of kids and they sold popcorn just to friends/family, we knew we'd recover that cost. A few days before the recruitment event, the District sent someone to the schools to do a boy talk. The day of the event, we stood on the sidewalk outside the school by the two entrances to the playground (all students at the school exit the school at the playground). As boys were leaving, we handed them a flier and asked them to join us that night for our recruitment event. Since we were on a public sidewalk, the school couldn't stop us from sending a flier home. Plus, this worked better than sending something home in their backpack which might not get read immediately. These fliers went from us to the boys' hands, and from them right to their parents. After our recruitment night, we make one more push using our existing Scouts. We ask them to give invitations to their friends inviting them to our next meeting. If their friend joins, they are eligible to earn a special recruiter patch. These are the main ways we used to get people in the door... and even at two schools with a high level of parent apathy, we had a great turnout. Did it take a lot of work? Yes. Did we spend some money? Yes, probably around $100 on our postcard mailing effort and enough toner and paper to print out around a couple hundred fliers. Was it worth it? Absolutely yes. Without boys, a Pack dies. It take a lot of effort to get them in the door. The key is to make a great first impression to get them to come back. Per blw2's reply to my earlier post, I'm split on how to handle that first night. I think too much talking is a bad thing... I like the idea of having different booths/stations to talk about different aspects because it allows for people to come and go. However, I think the fun is missing. Our Cub Scout carnival recruitment night had the fun, but conveying the information was a challenge. I really think we have to have a happy medium of both... have games to hook the kids, and have information booths to convey the information. The only challenge would be staffing, but if all leaders, committee members, and Scout parents are aware of the date well in advance, scheduling around it should be less challenging. Another option might be partnering with a Boy Scout troop... it's in their best interest to recruit more Cub Scouts because over 70% of Boy Scouts started out as Cub Scouts - less Cubs means less Boy Scouts 5 years down the road.
  5. A few years ago what we did was look at our annual calendar, and figured out fun activities that related to those events, essentially making it into a carnival. The idea was for the boys to have fun, while at the same time giving a preview of some of the cool things we had planned for the year. For example: One month we were going to an aviation museum, so we had one 'booth' where boys could make a paper airplane and fly it For Scouting for Food, I think we allowed them to knock over a pyramid of empty food cans by throwing bean bags For our annual Cakewalk, we had cupcakes they could decorate and eat We had nerf guns they could shoot at plastic cups to knock them down to represent BB gun shooting at summer camp We had a plastic bowling set to represent our bowling outing I think we raced matchbox cars down a plastic track to represent our pinewood derby Now, with the Bear rank being asked to do a Cub Scout carnival, for spring recruiting we tied the Cub Scout carnival to recruiting. You can take a lot of school carnival games and adapt them to a Scouting theme if you want to get fancy, for example: Pinewood Derby themed Race to the Finish (roll dice, your car moves that many spots on a board) or Bumper Cars (Pinewood derby car on a board with rubber bands on each end, the car bounces back and forth until it stops, win that prize) Cub Scout Sign Ring Toss - throw rope rings at a wooden hand doing the Cub Scout sign, try to get the rings onto the two fingers Cub Scout Salute Frisbee toss - Try to throw the frisbee into the triangular space between the elbow, neck and 'hand to forehead' on a wooden or cardboard cutout doing the Cub Scout salute Arrow of Light Nerf Archery Do - Your - Best Ladderball (put one word on each 'rung' of the 'ladder') I've also heard of having normal carnival games, but at each station teach them one of the requirements for Bobcat. When they are done, give them a certificate that they can 'trade-in' at the upcoming Pack Meeting for their Bobcat rank. I think the main idea is to have more fun and have less talk. I like BLW2's idea of having stations to talk about Pack Calendar, Den Adventures, Collecting Fees, etc. I think I'm going to steal that next year when I do Recruitment training. The only potential drawback is that it requires more people to staff the sign-up night. In the past, it's often fallen to 1-2 leaders to do it all. I think the better format would make it worth it though.
  6. We have units in our District chartered by a Harley Davidson dealership. I wonder how those units can do service projects benefiting their chartered organization without hurting the image of the BSA. All of those bikers in their leathers... can't have Boy Scouts associating with them. It's a sad day in this country when I say that I might have reservations about a bar or strip club, and the OP lumps a fast food restaurant serving chicken products into the same category. Since when did having morals become a bad thing?
  7. I hate this rule too, but I understand it. I've seen Cub Scout leaders from other Packs do some stupid things at the BB gun range at our Cub Scout resident camp. Sometimes it is just easier for the BSA to ban something than to ensure that it is done safely.
  8. So we can setup tables in a business to sell popcorn, but we shouldn't do a flag ceremony honoring veterans because it's in front of a business? That doesn't make sense to me. I say do the flag ceremony unless there is some morals issue you haven't disclosed (I wouldn't do it if it was a strip club or a bar, or something like that, but a restaurant or store that incidentally sells alcohol shouldn't be a problem).
  9. This is interesting, but I'm not sure what to make of it. Mental health is such a complicated, and not yet completely understood topic, that the correlation is interesting but figuring out what it means is difficult. I've had the unfortunate opportunity to learn and experience more about fighting mental health problems than I ever expected to. There is a lot of ongoing research, and scientists are understanding more about mental health each year. There is a definite physical component to mental health, and research is beginning to point toward a genetic predisposition as well. Yet, just like with other physical ailments such as diabetes, lifestyle also plays a factor. A diabetic who controls his diet will be more likely to keep his disease under control. Likewise, I can think of several reasons why Scouting could have a positive impact on mental health: Exposure to sunlight - increases serotonin levels. Low serotonin can lead to depression, increasing serotonin levels in the brain can reduce depression. Exercise - increases serotonin levels and also releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good, so another way to combat symptoms of depression. Positive thinking Increased social interaction Setting and achieving goals All of these are associated with Scouting, and all of these are suggested ways to help combat depression. In some cases, these may be enough in and of themselves to overcome or prevent mild cases of depression. Even in severe cases of depression, these are recommended along with medication to overcome depression. It makes sense, but Scouting isn't a magic formula that will heal all mental illness by itself. Even with a healthy diet, many diabetics will continue to need medication to control their illness. Many with mental health problems also need medication in addition to positive lifestyle choices. The challenge is, for those with severe mental health problems, making those positive lifestyle choices can be nearly impossible to do on their own. And sadly, due to the stigma of mental illness, many who are suffering don't want to discuss it with even their closest friends and family members. I know my children are predisposed to mental health problems; while I haven't had the genetic testing done to prove it, there are enough cases of severe mental health problems in both my wife's family tree and mine that I am almost positive what the tests would show. Both depression and bipolar disorder are common in our families, and studies over the past ten years have started to point toward certain genes that are linked to patients with these illnesses. We had a local story in the news a few years back, and frankly it scared me quite badly. A straight A student, involved in Scouting and martial arts, held his class hostage by using firearms he brought to school. The description of this boy fits my son exactly - Second degree black belt, Boy Scout, intelligent, does well in school. Eventually the boy took his own life without harming any of the hostages. I'd like to think that in this case Scouting may have been why this mentally ill boy didn't hurt anyone but himself. Sadly, like so many others he hid his inner turmoil and Scouting and Martial Art by themselves weren't enough to fight off the illness attacking his brain. Sadly, because we as a society do so poorly in our handling of the mentally ill, like so many others he hid what he was feeling and nobody knew he was sick. Maybe if we all understood mental illness better and started treating it like the physical ailment that it is, perhaps this boy would have gotten the treatment that in hindsight he so obviously needed. So yes, Scouting undoubtedly helps those with mental illness, but we can't expect it to cure or prevent all cases. What we can do is understand the signs of mental illness and watch our Scouts for those signs. A Scout or Scouter who is able to pierce the illusion that someone with mental illness builds around themselves and convince that sick person to seek out the additional help they need might just save that person's life.
  10. I'm just going to throw this out there, are you sure your charter lapsed at some point? I say this because my old Pack's charter indicated that the Charter had lapsed about 5 years after the Pack was founded (in the 1940's). However, I was able to find charters from just after that period that showed that registration had been continuous. Due to Council mergers and switching from paper to digital record keeping, somewhere the record was messed up so the number of continuous months of charter didn't align with the actual age of the Pack - but the problem was sloppy record keeping, not a lapse in charter.
  11. Read here for answers: http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2016/07/22/can-packs-troops-teams-or-crews-participate-in-political-rallies/ Images of uniforms for advertising are definitely out. Mentioning Scouting experience... I would probably avoid it. You can say something like "I volunteer as a youth leader with a national civic-minded youth organization", which gets the point across without bringing in the BSA brand.
  12. My old Pack celebrated 75 years in 2015. We had a special Pack Meeting and invited our Chartered Organization, past Cubmasters, and District and Council professionals. The Scout Executive for our Council presented a certificate of recognition to the Pack. As Cubmaster, I did a quick presentation on what living in 1940 was like,and on what was the same or different in Cub Scouting. At 40 years, your Pack could have fun. It must have been formed in the 1970's. Check news archives for articles on the Pack, back then it wasn't uncommon for Packs to publish news releases for every Pack and Committee Meeting. Maybe find some clothing that was common then, and have the Leaders dress up. Find some Cub Scout handbooks from then and show the boys what was the same or different. Find kid friendly games from back then... you could have a lot of fun with this. Of course, you also need cake, so don't forget that! And it might be fun to start a time capsule to be opened when the Pack turns 50 years old.
  13. Apparently David CO is in the camp who believes that Unit Commissioners are the Council's spies. That shouldn't be the case. The Commissioner service exists to help units. If a unit needs help, I encourage Scouters at any level, from parent to Institutional Head, to reach out to a Commissioner and ask for help. The purpose of reaching out to a Commissioner isn't to get anyone in trouble, but to get people who need help the help they need (even if they don't know they need help). A good commissioner can come in, observe what is going on for a meeting or two, and probably come up with an action plan along with the leaders of the unit to help the unit to function better. A good commissioner knows that units function on a broad spectrum - from barely surviving to thriving. We know that we aren't going to fix a unit's problems in a week, but that we can help a unit to fix one or two things at a time, with the eventual goal that the unit is heading up instead of down. Don't take my word for it, you can see what we do right here in four simple statements: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Commissioners.aspx The purpose of documenting needs in Commissioner Tools isn't to spy on units, but to get the units that need help the most the help they need. By documenting it other Commissioners and District professionals who work with the unit are aware of the health status of the unit and what the unit needs. Three years ago, I was a new Cubmaster for a unit that needed help. On a scale of 1-5, we were most likely very close to a '1'. A Unit Commissioner identified that we had a need, put us in contact with District resources, and within two years we went from being the unit in the most trouble, to one of the top performing units in the District. Without the Commissioner service, that would not have happened. Now I'm a Commissioner and I use my experience to help other units the same way that my unit was helped. So I encourage you to heed what I've said, and not be paranoid of asking for help. We are really there to help, that's all.
  14. Not true. All Tiger Parents are registered for one year as Adult Partners and assigned a number. So this wouldn't necessarily prove anything. However, in my.scouting.org I think you should see that you are missing training if you are properly registered as a Den Leader and haven't taken Position Specific Training yet.
  15. I think you need to talk to your Unit Commissioner (if you have one) or the District Executive (a paid, professional Scouter) for your District. In most cases, training should have nothing to do with signing applications. The BSA is starting to push in that direction - that only trained front line leaders can be registered (Cubmasters, Den Leaders, Scoutmasters), but in our Council that won't start until we recharter for 2018 (about a year from now). It was supposed to start for 2017 but was pushed out a year. We'll see whether it really happens next year. What will prevent someone from signing an application is them not being properly registered in their position. Every time you change a role in Scouting, you must fill out another Adult Application. So changing from Den Leader to Cubmaster requires a new application. If the Cubmaster didn't turn in an application when he assumed that role, then he isn't official in the BSA system. In that case, the previous Cubmaster might still be in the system. Your Unit Commissioner or District Executive should be able to check this. It sounds like your unit may need some friendly coaching from a Unit Commissioner. I wish to say it is rare, but sadly many Cub Scout packs have inexperienced leaders, many of whom haven't been properly trained, and they try to do too much without asking for help. If everyone did their role - Cubmasters running Pack meetings, Den Leaders running Den Meetings, and Committee handling finances and the backend stuff, our Packs would all run great. Yet out of 50 Packs in my District I'd bet less than half are functioning well, the others have one issue or another. Commissioners like me try to work with these Packs, and it is probably better if they jump in to help now while the problems are small(er) before the Pack starts to fail. Fixing a failing Pack is a lot harder than fixing a Pack that just needs a little coaching and direction.
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