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Everything posted by DadScouts

  1. True, and I have no problem with this. Unfortunately, BSA doesn't allow too many responsibilities to be placed on the Scout either, which is why I sadly just called it quits as Advancement Chair for my Troop after over a decade and 50 Eagles. Far too many parents earning Eagle. When I realized I was ready to tell a couple of parents the Scout store product ID# for an Eagle medal and just go to Council to buy one to save everyone time and paperwork, I knew it was time for me to leave.
  2. DadScouts


    We ban aerosol sunscreen and bug spray for their flame thrower potential at summer camp, actually tell Scouts they will be taken and not returned. You could have a laptop available and show a couple photos of burns for first aid skill purposes. Could ask him if he was alone or with others and how would he feel if someone else had life long burn scares from his antics.
  3. DadScouts

    More Advancement Revisions...

    Rodney Scout Reservation, Maryland. Don't worry, things went up the chain of command above the camp director, both during the week and afterwards.
  4. DadScouts

    More Advancement Revisions...

    Never more a true statement written anywhere. Went to an excellent camp this summer, as far as MBs go. Strict (& low) limits on # of Scouts who could take each MB. Leader guide had highest # of pre-reqs for MBs I have even seen. The week went as expected on both fronts. Saturday morning at the end of camp had a couple of missing MBs I needed to track down for my Scouts. Every dept head and the camp manager were in a building ready for Troop leaders to come in and discuss. I went right up to the camp manager, shook his hand, and thanked him and his staff because I had the highest # and % partial MBs of any camp I had attended in a dozen years. The manager looked at me strangely, didn't say a word, and finally said "thank you very much; I don't get that said to me often and I wish leaders didn't complain all the time about the exact opposite."
  5. Ranks handed out night of BOR, or latest the following meeting. (Our Troop has an excess stash of patches.) MBs? Whenever. Scouts give them to me, I see the 2-3 week/month old date, and toss in my shirt pocket and SM hands them out in front of the Troop about 1x/month. Only exception is no one gets anything post-summer camp until the big COH held each Sep - just too much paper and patches. $s? One BOR, w/o my knowledge, withheld 1st Class rank for a very disorganized Scout who owed $s for an activity months prior. Parents, who actually are well to do, were contacted without results a few times previously also without results. Check arrived the following week. GTA notwithstanding, I had no problem with this given the Scout/parents involved.
  6. What if the Scout developed and implemented a plan to recruit, help in process, and train others to become counselors at that camp? Rather than one Scout doing great service at a camp he would be leveraging his time to get multiple people to do the same.
  7. DadScouts

    New Eagle Palm Policy, August 2017

    Agree 100%. Call them Merit Badge Palms instead of Eagle Palms because that is exactly what these new things are. MB Palms would be held in the proper esteem as accomplishments like, well that international revered award, The World Conservation Award, aka the PPP (the Purple Panda Patch).
  8. DadScouts

    New Eagle Palm Policy, August 2017

    This is a shame. We had palm BORs and for ex-SPLs who were active JASMs, doing mentoring for Senior Patrol and New Scout Patrol the BORs were a great way for some adults to sit down with a Scout and discuss college app process, scholarships, and other true life skill stuff. Ya, could still have that but the palm BOR was a kick in the rear reminder to get some great adults together and have this chat with the Scout. Our palms actually held short-term leadership assignments where the Scout, in advance, set up the goals for those 90 days and the BOR was a great chance to review successes and non-successes. Now the whole program is nothing but a stupid MB participation trophy. Maybe we'll just let the helicopter parents (fortunately few post-Eagle) just buy the bling themselves at Council and put it on My Johnnie Is Special's uniform. Sad.
  9. DadScouts

    Upvotes and downvotes

    I got you to -12. You're welcome. I think Red and Green are simple purpose: Up means you like or find the post helpful and Down means you dislike or find it non-helpful and "Report" is asking someone to taken to the principal's office.
  10. DadScouts

    Camping OR Backpacking MB as Eagle required?

    "Not every good thing a boy may do has to lead to Eagle rank." From your lips to God's ears!!! I will pay big bucks if someone would beat this into the thick skulls of many of our parents!!!
  11. BTW, since I posted weeks ago basically saying "Troopmaster, or nothing" I emailed Troopmaster for a reporting enhancement. This wasn't a bug fix but an addition to a report. One day later they agreed to do the enhancement and said it would be added to their enhancement list - ETA about a month. Next day other email, wouldn't be done by the end of the month but rather the end of the week. That afternoon yet another email - forget the end of the week, the change was done and would be uploaded that night system-wide. This was for a "nice to have" not a "need to have" report formatting change. Can't imagine any other company doing that, certainly not BSA owned ScoutBooks.
  12. DadScouts

    Helping a disabled Eagle

    I agree, but seem to recall the current BSA workbook and policy doesn't necessarily agree with this statement, sadly.
  13. DadScouts

    Just wonderin'

    Local HS has about 15 male sports. Of the 2 best 1 was created and coached the entire time by an Eagle Scout. About 10% of the team is Eagles and about 5% of the team attends West Point, Naval Academy, or Air Force Academy. Coaches who understand the potential of Scouting know how to use those Scouts. As an aside, know personally the # of kids who never get those scholarships but thought they were is VERY high. Worse yet, the # of kids who get the scholarships and then drop the sport or transfer to another college is equally high. Trying to play a sport so a school pays for college has to be about the worst investment of time, money, and emotion the world has ever known. I don't see that same failing investment returns for time spent in Scouting but rather hear more adults lament not staying in Scouting for longer.
  14. DadScouts

    can I sign for my own son's work

    "Audit"? LOL. I'd bet a large % of MBCs are not currently certified for those badges per the "official" district/council records, since those records are out of date or incomplete - if they exist at all. Agree with all the comments here. In a class is the only circumstance where I would even think of signing my son's card. Also completely agree the trend towards "in Troop" MB completions is a poor one. Some parents are pushing to get signed up as MBCs since "it's so hard to find one" off the district list. I thinking taking MBs outside of the Troop and outside of a summer camp (don't mention MB weekends!) is far superior. Even "cutting a deal" with a leader in another Troop is better. "I'll do this MB for Scouts in your Troop if you do this MB for Scouts in our Troop" is better. Lastly, just last night a parent emailed me on being a MBC. It is a fact in Scouting that 90% of Scouts likely have their non-Eagle required MBs completed for Eagle rank after just three or four years. I encouraged this mom, who is not a leader so most of the boys don't know her, to sign up for a couple "different" non-Eagle badges. In that case, if any boys did take a class through her it would be because they want to learn about the topic and would not be just checking off a box towards Eagle. Sadly, a formerly very strong Troop nearby had leader turnover and the new parents all signed up as MBCs for all the badges and turned into a smoothly run Merit Badge Factory & Eagle Mill. Too bad the Scouts' development and growth is the loser here, but all those kids get "Eagle" for their college resumes but little else to show for it.
  15. Troopmaster over Scoutbooks. Period. Email Troopmaster and they will likely have a bug fix out in a week; if you are asking for a Troopmaster enhancement they often give that to you in a month. Ever try to email BSA tech support? The owners of BSA Internet Advancement and myscouting.org, or wait it's now my.scouting.org, now own Scoutbooks. The patient will die quickly. Ask any Council staff about ScoutNet and they will roll their eyes. The day BSA requires Scoutbooks to be used over Troopmaster is the day I start doing paper advancement reports again.
  16. DadScouts

    Just wonderin'

    Coaches (youth & high school) and high schools are the problem. Just need to know how and when to push back, and hard. Had a Scout due to summer camp and another non-Scouting conflict asked to skip an entire week of school, finals week no less. He took it to counselor, then assistant principal, then principal, then assistant district superintendent., and then finally the superintendent. A year later the principal right before graduation thanked the student for "educating" him. 2 years later the principal enrolled his son in Cub Scouts. Coaches and band directors (unless they are Eagle themselves) are awful. Had Scouts miss Philmont since a Scout asked to go to 12 days of band camp instead of 15. If some Scouts push back exceptions are sometimes made. My own son in youth football said he would only play if he didn't have to attend summer workouts. The coaches caved and agreed. Sometimes if a rule seems stupid, it likely is. Tragically, we've lost Scouts due to stupid coaches and sadly a couple of years later these former Scouts quit the sport due to stupid coaches. The kids ended up losing both activities.
  17. DadScouts

    Request for Summer Camp Suggestions

    We require all Scouts to pack one ziplock bag with their name on it and clean socks, underwear and Class B shirt. Collected before we even leave for camp and held by adults until lights out the final night. Bags distributed to the Scouts that night so at least the adult drivers won't have to smell dirty clothes, on top of dirty bodies, in the cars on the way home. One of the better "traditions" has Troop has adopted.
  18. DadScouts

    Scout Rank SM Conference

    Ask them if they are having fun. Yes or No and explore from there. Encourage attendance at outings. Lather Rinse Repeat. (For Scout rank.)
  19. Sounds spot on. Typically we have 5 Scouters & 55 Scouts. 1 at campsite basically all the time, 1 with new scout program, & 1 wandering around camp checking things out; typically 2-3 on Mon & Fri. The rest? Hammock time, Walmart run for ice or supplies, maybe someone has a work conf call for a couple of hours one morning. No one leaves camp for a meal but often the person running errands will make a pit stop somewhere and bring treats back for the Scouters or the whole Troop. Often Scouters don't sit around campsite but explore the camp, chat with staff, and take training or help out staff for fun activities like belaying on the rock wall (after taking training). Rare exception is the dad/Scouter who happens to just be checking up on the same activities & MBs his son is taking. Those dads are spoken to quickly and given a cease order.
  20. DadScouts

    Troop Smartphone Policy

    I once had the best of both worlds. I held out w/o a cell phone as long as I could. Got a TMobile one. Coverage was spotty and in our local camp, very close to my house, no coverage unless I grabbed the metal flag pole in camp or stood on top of a car. Basically I had outgoing coverage if needed but no incoming coverage. I loved it, until my wife switched our plan to another carrier - that got 4 bar coverage in camp. Have had to return home at least once a week from camp, including pool maintenance and once even worse for dinner with my out of state mother in law who was in town the week of camp plus a call or two per week from work.
  21. DadScouts

    Troop Smartphone Policy

    Use to strictly ban cell phones back in the day and confiscate them. Now we don't but tell Scouts AND parents they shouldn't bring them. Lose them? Oh well, were told to keep at home for a reason. Cell phones lose power? Sorry, Scouts not allowed in leader lounge to recharge and if they leave in the dining hall to recharge and get stolen, oops. However, doesn't have to be ban or allow 100%. Did a 6 day wilderness trek with older Scouts. No Scout was allowed to power on cell phones or have a GPS on the trail. Music they would listen to were the birds and wild blowing thru the trees and canyons. Video games was sleeping under the stars and being able to almost touch the Milky Way at 9,000' and look for a shooting star every 2 minutes. Day 5 in cell service area, but still no phones. (One digital camera was shared on the trail for pictures.) Day 6 was the last day and on a 3,000' overlook and 1 mile from the end of the trail cell phones allowed. All batteries were fine and all took photos and texted and called parents, siblings, and GFs. Best part was family and friends hadn't heard from the Scouts in a week and certainly worried. Not only relief but proudness exhibited by parents that their sons survived the trek and loved it. Last item is young Scouts and home sickness. Parents urged, warned, ordered, whatever NOT to call their sons and not to accept calls or return text messages. All cell phone #s for leaders given and told to call them instead. Most comply. We can sort of control Scouts and sort of control parents but cannot control both without some assistance from the Scout or the parent. Unfortunately, those Scouts/parents who have issues are sadly the ones, both Scout and parents, who would benefit most from the Scout staying in Scouting. For new Scouts if the parents make contact the Scout homesickness gets worse, the Scout leaves camp and then doesn't return in the fall.
  22. DadScouts

    How to address gaps in Eagle project

    Current process had a potential flaw exactly how you described. (Old process had a flaw in that some Scouts were spending tons of hours pre-approval on plans that never were approved.) For our Troop I approve all proposals for our TC Chair. I tell each Scout, with parent there, there is a flaw in that their plan and the requirement itself is formally approved at their EBOR and they can deny the requirement. The way to avoid this is to have their Final Plan informally reviewed and unofficially approved before construction by an ad hoc committee that the Scout picks and convenes. This process is STRONGLY recommended but officially optional. The Scout would select a recent Eagle who had a good project and 2-3 adults with project management experience. Names are given to the Scout but up to him on who to ask. Recommended that the Scout have this meeting no less than 10 days before construction so if they recommend changes/improvements the Scout has time to incorporate into his plan. So far 100% of Scouts who had their Final Plans reviewed have sailed through their EBORs. Both Scouts who decided not to utilize this optional benefit have had issues at their EBORs - most likely since both Scouts (and their parents) were cutting corners every step of the way. BTW, please no comments on "adding to the requirements" because we are not requiring anything, only recommending it for their benefit and to avoid exactly the problem raised here. I do ask every Scout after their project is done if their taking the time to have their Final Plan reviewed was a waste of time or not. Half said the comments they got actually saved them time and hassle completing their project. Half said they didn't save time but the time spent reviewing their Final Plan made for a better project. Not a single Scout has said it was a waste of time.
  23. DadScouts

    How to address gaps in Eagle project

    The project is the "Eagle" Scout's responsibile, not the coach's. "Did not follow any of the District suggestions for changes. Did not follow the directions of the city (to wait for 1 week after applying herbicide before planting - instead did entire project in 1 day)" I believe that is the Scout's issue. Sadly, for you, it is up to the EBOR to determine whether or not the requirement was met and if he didn't then he didn't. (Yes, the EBOR can look towards other ways the Scout demonstrated leadership if the project is a weak one.)
  24. DadScouts

    Give me your Cold & Wet camping tips

    Plenty of warm and dry suggestions. Best words I saw were good fire = good morale. I would suggest once camp set up find a parent to walk around wearing nothing but a swim suit, shoes, and sunglasses (zinc oxide on the nose is a bonus) and check in on every scout. Being wet is nothing - ask people in Hawaii on vacation. Being warm is a state of mind. Having FUN is important.
  25. DadScouts

    Troop Meeting Place has a.... stocked bar

    The only true thing in Scouting life is you can never please all Scout parents all of the time. We meet at a church facility that is not our CO. The church is great and allows several community groups to meet there. One or two parents complained when the church allowed an Alcoholics Anonymous group to meet in a different side room the same night as our Troop meetings. The SM was floored. We would even see a couple former Scout parents from time to time attending the AA meetings. It was nice to chat with them, catch up, and see how their sons were doing.