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Everything posted by BornInThe60s

  1. Kids can and will surprise you. I had doubts about my own son getting through his Ordeal, but he made it with flying colors. (He even had that "I'm not going to cry, I'm NOT going to cry!" look on his face as he walked out of the council ring for the Pre-Ordeal.) I'd say it was a transformative experience for him, as he went from being the insecure kid I'd been negotiating with and dragging to campouts for two years into an engaged and involved Scout. (Three years later, he's now ASPL, Chapter Vice-Chief, heading for his second summer on Camp staff, and 1.5 merit badges and the project away from Eagle.) Our Lodge primarily does Inductions over weekends, instead of at summer camp, so there's no way for an Ordeal Candidate to be completely clueless about what lies before him. (Maybe yours is different, when I was inducted into this same Lodge in 1978 I had absolutely no idea what was about to happen.) The one thing I told my son was even though he might find himself worried about certain situations, he would always be safe, and left it at that. Hmm, you know, I've had that same conversation with a lot of parents, too!
  2. If I'm in "Class A" (yes, I know), either my very experienced blue official OA cap, or a red 2009 NOAC cap. If not, a floppy-brimmed Columbia hat when it's hot, and green canvas Tilley when it's not so hot. But it's almost always too hot to wear the Tilley on my sweaty head, which is also a reason I've never purchased the "Indiana Jones" hat.
  3. SctDad: As a freshly-minted Chapter Adviser, I hate reading things like this. The Chapter has let you down, no bones about it. But, while the OA is youth-led, I will suggest that this is really an adult failure. A big part of mentoring/advising OA youth is making them "own" the service responsibilities they take on in exchange for the "privileges" of OA membership. (From their perspective, I think these are exalted Scouting social status, fancy patches, and Lodge weekends free of annoying first-year scouts.) It sounds like someone has not accomplished that task. (And, frankly, it isn't easy. It takes time to build up that kind of credibility with a teenager you may not know very well.) Keep your powder dry with the youth for now, because most of them will just remember you as "that angry guy at our chapter meeting that one time" and never address their own fault in the situation. But do have a reasonably calm conversation with District/Chapter/Lodge leadership about this, because waving their hands and saying "oh, the youth have to take care of it" isn't the right answer.
  4. Congrats! Sometimes, the best thing an adult can do for OA is simply encourage the Scouts to get involved. OA is a wonderful thing when it works, but sometimes it takes a little bit of prodding to get them to events post-Ordeal so they actually get that chance to see it work.
  5. I'm generally pleased with the new uniform, but there is always room for improvement. Good things: The fit is greatly improved. The cotton/poly shirt looks miles better than the old version, while the nylon version is miles more comfortable than the old version. Hey! An actual sewn placket down the front! I didn't like the "french placket" construction in the 70s, and I didn't like it on the De La Renta uniform, either. I love the cargo pockets on the switchbacks - finally, a good place to put all the stuff I carry around in the field - cell phone, multi-tool, etc. These are pants/shorts that can actually be worn camping. Bad things: The sleeve pocket is both only marginally useful, and makes it tough to sew on a POR patch. That button for temporary patches is under-engineered. It works on patches with "built in" loops, like a Philmont arrowhead, but it won't secure a patch with a sewn-on loop. Ugly things: My cotton/poly shirt now indicates that I am a member of the "OY" Scouts of America, and I suspect other letters will be coming off soon. Those pressed-on letters were a really poor choice. I'll probably just pick them all off and hope they release a replacement patch. I'm not at all convinced that a "dress" uniform is essential for our program, but this one is a real improvement over the old, and I'm pleased to wear it.
  6. I was at NOAC, and the National Chief and Vice-Chief were wearing the wool slacks just about every time I saw them. I'm beginning to think that gold loops and wool slacks are sold as a set. I very rarely see a troop or district level Scouter wearing them.
  7. I'd opine that the main reason OA defines youth as "under 21" is because we have a structure of Sectional/Regional/National Chiefs and officers above the local lodges. If you want youth to fill those positions, then you need to give them time to develop as leaders and become known to those outside their local lodge. The possibility of electing an 18-20 year old Scouter who earned First Class as a "BSA" youth is just an interesting by-product. ;-)
  8. flyingember: You say you don't see many lodge flaps on the leaders in your area. Well, unless your leaders are less than 35 years old, there's a very strong chance they were never exposed to OA as youths, and they probably aren't disposed to have much to do with it now. The HOAC merger may have happened in '75, but I know there weren't many (if any) OA elections held in Missouri troops before I went to college in '83. 25+ years later, State Line Road is still something of a barrier in this council. Come over to the Kansas side sometime. You'll find plenty of Arrowmen leading troops, packs, and volunteering at the District level. Mic-O-Say isn't boy-led. That bugged me when I was first exposed to it as a Scout 25 years ago, and it still bothers me today. If the ideal is to have the boys run their units, why do we have honor organizations that are expressly not boy-led?
  9. I've got hundreds of CDs. Everything from Beethoven to Robert Johnson to Frank Sinatra to Led Zep to Willie Nelson to AC/DC to The Clash to U2 to Barenaked Ladies. But the only thing I really need is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Because it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive!
  10. This year, we're doing a fishing derby, a swimming party, and a KC Royals baseball game. (Recently, that would have qualified as minor-leage baseball.) We also let the boys count participation in a District or Council Camp for the individual awards. Last summer, we tried to do a softball night and picnic, but we were rained out. That was just about the only time it rained last summer, IIRC.
  11. htc1992 writes, "To me, those who are Cub Scouter Arrowmen could show the best of Scouting by training and teaching potential Boy Scouts. They'll see their leader wear the stuff and they might be interested in the program in general." Exactly. When I went to Den Leader training, the trainer encouraged us to wear the representations of youth awards to which we are entitled - Eagle, Arrow of Light, and religious award knots, OA Flaps, the (rather complicated) OA coup worn by our lodge, Mic-O-Say coup, etc., as a way of getting the boys to ask us about them. They provide instant teaching moments about Scouting. (So far, I've heard more questions from the parents than the boys, but that's ok.) Funny story: A few months ago I arranged with the "Student Naturalist" program at the local high school to put on a program for my Pack. (Snakes, furry critters, etc.) It turns out that the impressive young man running the program was our Lodge Chief. After a brief chat about my Scouting experience, he teasingly asked me "where's your coup?" (Oops!) Needless to say, I've made a new one since then. (25 years worth of beads? When did I get that old??) I fit right in with all the young staffers at Bear Camp yesterday and today.
  12. From page 33-4 of the Cub Scout Leader book: "Webelos Scouts should not spend the night as participants at the event if the program is Boy Scout-based." In my district, the Fall camporee has seperate daytime programs for Cubs, Webelos, and Scouts, and Webelos are invited to camp with a Troop. Does that sound acceptable?
  13. I'm the only one in my Pack, too. Unfortunately, I don't really have the time to be much more than a "send in my dues and wear the flap" member right now. Chapter meetings are the same time as Roundtable, and it's just about impossible for me to work a weekend Lodge event into my schedule right now. I'm not 100% sure, but I may be the only registered adult in our Pack who was a Scout as a youth. (I know a couple of the fathers were, they asked about my Philmont Arrowhead when I wore it to our Blue and Gold.) Our neighborhood skews a little older, so most of my parents (just like me) would have been Scout age in the 70s/early 80s, when national membership was at its lowest. I do see a few folks with blue tabs and lodge flaps at Roundtables and training sessions. I think some of them are also affiliated with Troops, and were inducted as adults. I have seen one guy wearing our lodge flap from 20-25 years ago, so he must have been an Arrowman as a youth.
  14. Congratulations! I've just spent a year as a Wolf Den Leader, and it is one of the most rewarding (and also frustrating) jobs you can have. The other posters have said many useful things, but I'll toss in a couple more for good measure. 1. Make the meetings fun. Boys who are having fun are easy to manage. Boys who are bored are just about the opposite. 2. The Program Helps and the "How-To" book are lifesavers, when you can't come up with a good idea. 3. Don't make advancement the primary focus of all your meetings. Many of the requirements really are best accomplished at home. A lot of the "talky" requirements do not work well in a Den meeting setting, mainly because they aren't all that much fun. 3. Get the parents involved. If you can get them to each host a meeting, they will have a much better understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. 4. Test ALL craft projects before trying them on the boys. If it's not simple for you to do well, it will be almost impossible for an 8-year-old to do well. (I learned this the hard way. There's nothing quite like trying to come up with 20+ minutes of activities on the fly when the craft doesn't work.) 5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. I had boys in my den that would miss a meeting if you didn't remind the parents about it the day before. Too many people are over-scheduled, and things can fall through the cracks. Hope that helps, Jim
  15. One line in one of Mr. Steele's posts got me to thinking: "Wouldn't it be great if our membership was strong enough to be able to get wierd pants and sox cheaper?" Here's my thought: Why do we need weird pants and sox? There are stores all over the country that carry functional, well-fitting pants in various shades of green. I suspect that if I look hard enough, I'll even find some that are made in the USA. Instead of swimming against the tide with a unique shade of olive, why doesn't the BSA pick a "standard" shade in a style that is readily available from several manufacturers? (I know that "A Scout is Stubborn" is about the 15th point of the Scout Law, but really.....) We could be uniform, have better-fitting pants, and probably save a little money. I wouldn't even complain about the weird sox, if the pants were better. Jim
  16. Let me concur with Pirate - if you are elected, complete the Ordeal. I always considered it an honor to be elected by my peers. After you complete the Ordeal, you can then decide how much further you want to go, and how much you want to devote to the local chapter and lodge. There is an "offical" OA website: www.oa-bsa.org. I think the "Chiefly Thought" by National Vice-Chief Riley Berg (just follow the link on the home page) is very relevant to this discussion. (In short: You don't have to be heavily involved in your Lodge or Chapter to be a good Arrowman! Cheerful Service to Scouting can be provided in a number of ways.) FWIW, I never thought the time requirements were all that restrictive. But we had a big enough lodge that not everyone had to do everything, so you could be meaningfully involved without having to be at every event. However, that was over 20 years ago, so it might be different in these times and in other places. Personally, my involvement in the OA was one of the best parts of my later years in Scouting (ages 14-16, in my case). After pushing a sled around at three or four Klondike Derbies, it was more fun to be on the staff side of the event. (And they snuck in some leadership opportunites and service along with the fun. The BSA is sneaky that way.)
  17. In 1979, I was in one of the first few troops in Kansas to make the trip to Bartle after the HOAC merger. It's a beautiful place with tremendous programs. But I was an Arrowman before they gave me that Foxman's stick, and I could see the difference in the programs even at the tender age of 14. For the boys, Mic-O-Say was about reflection and self-evaluation. OA was about getting out there and helping. Mic-O-Say is an outstanding tool for supporting the Bartle Scout Reservation. It brings boys back the next season, and it's brings the alumni back. There's nothing wrong with that. But unless there are some 16-year-olds hiding behind all the old guys in headdresses on the HOAC website, it appears to be a long way from "boy led". (A little history here: Perhaps the reason that OA had a hard time making inroads in the Missouri side of the Heart of America Council might have something to do with the fact that the powers that be wouldn't let Tamegonit Lodge do any ceremonies at Bartle. Is that still the case? Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. The merger that created the Heart of America Council back in 1975 wasn't exactly a marriage of equals, although they seem to have gotten over most of it in the years I was out of Scouting.) Getting back to the thread, OA was one of the best things I participated in as a scout. At a time when Scouting was even less popular than it is now, meeting other Scouts who "got it" was tremendous reinforcement for a guy from a small troop. If your local lodge isn't providing any "cheerful service", that's a real shame. Jim
  18. Ah, the blue cub cap with the gold piping. My pals in Den 1 thought they looked goofy in 1973. You couldn't have paid us to wear them! On the other hand, my son wants to wear his new Wolf cap to baseball practice. We did like the instant recognition kits, though. As a brand-new Wolf Den Leader, I'm pleased to see they haven't changed much. Jim
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