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Everything posted by pcola

  1. I have a life scout that is in his fourth month of the six month requirement for Eagle Scout. He has an Eagle Project selected, completed the the workbook application and is ready to seek approval. Must he wait for six month requirement to be complete or can he arrange for the interview with the Eagle Project Approval Board? The Eagle Project workbook states: Eagle Scout Requirement 5 While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your unit leader and unit committee, and the council or district before you start. I understand the statement "While a Life Scout" to mean he could have started on the first day after becoming a Life Scout. Any thoughts or clarification - he is a real go getter (in scouting activities) and he will be fifteen in a month.
  2. pcola

    Question about merit badges

    I agree fully here on all points. First this is a situation that will unfortunately occur in all aspects of life (being questioned) and that is one of the reasons scouting is a great way to develop youth, second let him solve the dispute, and third while we are supposed to accept the blue card it might be prudent to work with others (until they are out-of-line) and achieve the same result through compromise and diplomancy. It will be a sweeter victory by accomplishment rather than by confrontation.
  3. pcola

    what does OA do?

    Our Lodge has a lot of dash-n-sash arrowmen, but what is left is a great group of scouts who are mature and enjoy scouting on all levels. We have six yearly activities, two service days, and monthly chapter meetings. This is a good amount of activities so that it does not interfere with troop activities. We have a Native American Weekend - open to all scouts (Cub and Boy), Ordeal, Spring Fellowship, Conclave, Fall Pow Wow, and Winter Banquet. There are leadership training opportunities and good campouts. Most of my troop become arrowmen and love the activities as they seem to be even more "Boy-Led" because they scouts are a more mature lot and generally a little older. I agree that anything one participates in is what you make of it, but good programs require time and dedication. We have several adult leaders that provide a very consistent level of service to the program and keep it vibrant as the scouts pass through the program.
  4. pcola

    Planning Camporees?

    This is a great topic - I would be interested in seeing some program agendas, as I am to work with the District SPLs on planning one in May 2014. I like the Orienteering idea and would like some links or more information about different Camporees. Ours generally tend to be geared for 11-14 year old scouts and consequently older scouts avoid the camporees. I am considering a "High Adventure" camporee, composed of Zip-line and canoeing in September. How much does the registration usually run for the various Camporees?
  5. pcola

    First Class

    Where is it written that the goal of the BSA is that every scout should earn the rank of First Class? In the Wood Badge for the 21st Century Administrators guide, there is a question, with an answer: "What rank is the goal of the Boy Scouts of America that every Scout should earn? First Class" I have always believed a great scouting experience is more important than reaching the rank of Eagle, however, the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. I do agree with the SM LST Manual quote: "Advancement should be kept in perspective. It is not an end in itself, but rather is the outgrowth of the other seven methods of Scouting. A Scout troop can have great Scouting without great advancement, but a troop with an active outdoor program will naturally have a strong advancement program." I was reading about the 13 year old eagle scout, and I believe that situation is a 3-sigma case (could be wrong), but it caused me to reflect upon what is the purpose of scouting. In our troop the scouts view OA as the highest honor, high adventure next, then receiving LNT, WFA, BSA Lifeguard, as next, and then rank advancement. We tend to respect experience more than rank, and of course the two have some correlation.
  6. I would like to attend one of the National Volunteer Training Courses at Sea Base next year, and am considering either "Delivering Training to Unit Leaders", "STEM – Discovering the possibilities for your District and Council", or "Conducting Advanced Leadership Training". My purpose in attending is to help create a better program for the boys in my troop and district. I am curious if anyone has any recommendations, experience or counsel on these classes.
  7. I really don't know that much about the STEM program, that is why I am interested. I don't believe it's so much the content material but the program. That is why I posted the question. One question that is always in the back of my mind about STEM "Is it really a good direction to go with scouting?" I like the leadership and outdoor skills aspect of scouting but I wonder about trying to expand it to areas outside the core concepts in any depth. Maybe I should make that a post.
  8. Our Council Project Director asked me to attend, and since we have need for each, he asked me to see which one I thought was best. While I was leaning toward STEM, he thought the Advanced Class would be interesting. I am the Council's LNT Advocate and a District Commissioner, and we need people to serve. We have a great Council and District to work with; we just lack some more good leaders.
  9. It would have been more helpful in my first or second year of scouting, but was more of a review of the Patrol Method. The course I attended was excellent, but not as beneficial as attending NCS for Outdoor skills. I don't wear my beads because the course seemed more of an item to complete rather than a skill building course. I have encouraged new leaders in scouting to attend, as I believe it is a good leadership course for beginning leaders.
  10. It may be self-serving, but the rangers will often give some good tips on things to see or avoid. As we have developed relationships with the rangers, it is an added dimension to the scouts respect for the park services. We have found relationships are beneficial to both parties. Sometimes (often) fees are waived for "service" or we are let into certain areas that may be generally restricted. So having the scouts keep in contact with the rangers is beneficial in all areas: safety, responsibility, and relationships
  11. pcola

    How Prepared are Utah Scouts?

    On page 4 of the 2013 GSS it say "Safety rule of four: No fewer than four individuals (always with the minimum of two adults) go on any backcountry expedition or campout." You are right that the leaders should have been more fit - same paragraph from GSS continues: "Additional adult leadership requirements must reflect an awareness of such factors as size and skill level of the group, anticipated environmental conditions, and overall degree of challenge."
  12. pcola

    Need ideas for Scoutmaster Roundtables....

    We asked SMs and others to bring a list (and specifics) of camping sites, canoe trails, hiking trails, and other activities to create a district "Trail Book" that we update on the web for troops and others to visit. Geocaching is another great topic - sites and trails. Dutch Oven Cooking samples, Backpacking equipment comparisons. One that is good is MB Counselors for interesting subjects: Radio, Surveying, Orienteering, Astronomy. I agree with the other leaders who suggest asking SMs. One subject was COH and ECOH printed program comparison - plenty of discussion about great ideas was generated.
  13. We have been using the Platypus-Gravity Works system for about six months and it is truly a good and easy product to use. Kinda of expensive ($119.95), but it does about 4 liter (max capacity) in 2-4 minutes. The rate slows down as the filter get plugged with sediment and debris. We let the water settle in the 4 liter dirty bag for a few minutes if the water is dirty to let the sediment stand on the bottom (the drain is an inch or two above the bottom of the bag. We have had to backwash, which just requires turning the filter around (sometimes applying a little pressure to the bag) and when it starts to flow fast we turn it back around, flush and start filtering again. Filter good for 1500 liters, which is about 350-375 uses. We have a katadyn hiker, and the scouts like the Platypus because you collect your water and then filter it away from the water site (in the shade or where-ever). We can also store dirty water in the bladder as a backup and then filter it when needed. We all like it, but our comparisons are: Aqua Mira filter - small and light, Katadyn - low capacity and slow. The Platypus is bulky, but works great with a group. Sometimes its hard to get water is shallow water, but that is the same with all of them
  14. It is hard to comprehend that someone would think that what they were doing was the "greater good". Living in the south, the woods are full of "good-timers" that leave a trail of trash and damage. The pristine beaches are full of trash washed up on shore that are the results of storm run-off, "good-timers" littering, and careless individuals. I traveled to Escalante National Monument to spend a week there for a Master Educator Course with NOLS for Leave No Trace. It was worth my precious vacation time, air fare, and course fees. LNT is becoming more important each day as our nation's treasures dwindle to mismanagement. I led a LNT Trainer class last month, and as we hiked in to our site, the sky was so beautiful (rare due to the humidity), that the boys chose not to build a fire. I was impressed as they all slept under the stars and talked to late into the night. Our LNT Trainer classes are very popular with the boys because the concentrate more on the world around them instead of being entertained. I do sometimes feel that the problem with LNT principles in scouting is the scout leaders, not the scouts. I have found the scouts to be receptive and eager to learn and apply. Hammocks are another "cool" thing with the LNT scouts. Check out the comments at http://lnt.org/blog/hammock-camping.
  15. pcola

    BSA mile swim

    From the Aquatics Supervision -34346 it only mentions "open water" as a discussion", and your "Strict Interpretation" of "course" is your interpretation. Every mention of the mile swim in the Aquatics Supervision mentions pools first: "The distance can be covered in a pool or in open water." - Page 10 "Long distances may be achieved in a pool or an established waterfront swim area by swimming laps in accordance with Safe Swim Defense policies."- Page 70 "The mile may be covered by laps in an enclosed or protected area or in open water . . ." Page 296 However, I do think we should engage in these activities to encourage growth and accomplishment, and not just obtaining "Awards". I use the college pool during the winter months to help develop the skills so that we can have scouts comfortable in water, so that when we are in the Gulf, or Bay, or Lake, or River, we are competent and confident in our skills. The mile swim is just a Milestone along the way for a great scouting experience. You guys must have forgotten your childhood or else had a bad one. Requirements 1. Explain how regular exercise contributes to good health and why swimming is one of the best forms of exercise. 2. Tell what precautions and procedures swimmer and escort must follow for distance swimming over open water. 3. Under the supervision of a currently trained BSA Aquatics Instructor or equivalent, participate in four hours of training and preparation for distance swimming (one hour a day maximum). 4. Swim one mile over a measured course that has been approved by the trained instructor who will supervise the swim
  16. pcola

    Eagle Court of Honor Dilemna

    We have scouts that play musical instruments (usually guitars and keyboards) play what they suggest (obviously within reason - Green Day Songs are a big one), Pictures of our favorite activities (these scouts love to see themselves on the screen), homemade movies, and whatever else they want. We have some with scout cooked food, and some with mom cooked food. Generally the scouts have MBs, other advancements, and any other special recognition in these ECOHs. It is their activity but we do have the basic Eagle scout parts. We try to make it a celebration of their accomplishment, more than just a ceremony. We still hold to the reverence of the honor, but try balance it with what the scouts enjoy. It seems to work for us
  17. pcola

    Summer Camp - In Council or Out?

    We use our scout reservation for many activities throughout the year, and even do some short term camping at that facility, but we usually send the 12-14 year olds there and then send the older boys to camps with more hight adventure activities. I will complement the council because they have added ATV and Scuba to the program over the last few years.
  18. pcola

    National Statistics

    From the official “2014 Scouting's Journey to Excellence†Score Card Short-term camping: The troop conducts short-term or weekend campouts throughout the year. Bronze Conduct four short-term overnight campouts. Silver Conduct seven short-term overnight campouts. Gold Conduct nine short-term overnight campouts. Long-term camping: The troop participates in a long-term camp. Bronze The troop participates in a long-term camp. Silver 60% of Scouts attend a long-term camp. Gold 70% of Scouts attend a long-term camp.
  19. pcola

    National Statistics

    [TABLE] [TR] [TD]From the official “2014 Scouting's Journey to Excellence†Score Card[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] Building Boy Scouting: Have an increase in membership or be larger than the average size troop. Bronze: Have a membership growth plan that includes a recruitment night and either a net gain of one member over last year or at least 15 members. Silver: Have a membership growth plan that includes a recruitment night and either increase youth members by 5% or have at least 25 members. Gold: Have a membership growth plan that includes a recruitment night and either increase youth members by 10% or have at least 35 members with an increase over last year. And from the 2013 BSA Fact Sheet: http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/210-807.pdf, the average size is 24 Youth. [TABLE=width: 545] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [TD]Units[/TD] [TD]Total Youth[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[/TD] [TD=align: right]37,856[/TD] [TD=align: right]430,557[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]United Methodist Church[/TD] [TD=align: right]10,868[/TD] [TD=align: right]363,876[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Catholic Church[/TD] [TD=align: right]8,397[/TD] [TD=align: right]273,648[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Presbyterian Church[/TD] [TD=align: right]3,597[/TD] [TD=align: right]125,523[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Lutheran Church[/TD] [TD=align: right]3,827[/TD] [TD=align: right]116,417[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Baptist Churches[/TD] [TD=align: right]3,981[/TD] [TD=align: right]108,353[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Episcopal Church[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,179[/TD] [TD=align: right]41,407[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]United Church of Christ, Congregational Church[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,191[/TD] [TD=align: right]38,225[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,165[/TD] [TD=align: right]33,941[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Community Churches[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,054[/TD] [TD=align: right]32,311[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Church of Christ[/TD] [TD=align: right]546[/TD] [TD=align: right]15,430[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Evangelical/independent churches [/TD] [TD=align: right]294[/TD] [TD=align: right]7,899[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Church of God [/TD] [TD=align: right]237[/TD] [TD=align: right]5,241[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Church of the Nazarene [/TD] [TD=align: right]156[/TD] [TD=align: right]4,181[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Reformed Church in America [/TD] [TD=align: right]127[/TD] [TD=align: right]4,077[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Jewish synagogues and centers[/TD] [TD=align: right]156[/TD] [TD=align: right]3,738[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Church of the Brethren [/TD] [TD=align: right]101[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,759[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]African Methodist Episcopal[/TD] [TD=align: right]149[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,416[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]The Salvation Army[/TD] [TD=align: right]130[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,233[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Islam, Muslim, Masjid[/TD] [TD=align: right]78[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,222[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Assemblies of God[/TD] [TD=align: right]91[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,193[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Christian Methodist Episcopal Church[/TD] [TD=align: right]95[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,970[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Community of Christ[/TD] [TD=align: right]61[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,899[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Pentecostal Churches[/TD] [TD=align: right]107[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,830[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Other churches[/TD] [TD=align: right]879[/TD] [TD=align: right]23,910[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Groups of citizens[/TD] [TD=align: right]3,115[/TD] [TD=align: right]100,751[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]American Legion and Auxiliary[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,553[/TD] [TD=align: right]68,154[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Business/industry[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,807[/TD] [TD=align: right]66,454[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Lions International[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,271[/TD] [TD=align: right]64,563[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Rotary International[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,333[/TD] [TD=align: right]42,922[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]VFW, Auxiliary, Cootie[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,084[/TD] [TD=align: right]31,199[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Fire departments[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,176[/TD] [TD=align: right]30,819[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Kiwanis International[/TD] [TD=align: right]889[/TD] [TD=align: right]28,547[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Elks lodges (BPOE)[/TD] [TD=align: right]778[/TD] [TD=align: right]21,967[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Community centers[/TD] [TD=align: right]925[/TD] [TD=align: right]21,258[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs[/TD] [TD=align: right]569[/TD] [TD=align: right]19,177[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Nonprofit agencies[/TD] [TD=align: right]603[/TD] [TD=align: right]16,662[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Playgrounds, recreation centers[/TD] [TD=align: right]444[/TD] [TD=align: right]11,610[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Athletic booster clubs[/TD] [TD=align: right]389[/TD] [TD=align: right]11,416[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Chambers of commerce, business associations[/TD] [TD=align: right]358[/TD] [TD=align: right]10,553[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Homeowner’s associations[/TD] [TD=align: right]268[/TD] [TD=align: right]9,519[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Optimist International[/TD] [TD=align: right]246[/TD] [TD=align: right]8,804[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]YWCA, YMCA[/TD] [TD=align: right]312[/TD] [TD=align: right]8,738[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Masonsâ€â€Eastern Star[/TD] [TD=align: right]296[/TD] [TD=align: right]8,664[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Other community organizations[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,656[/TD] [TD=align: right]45,891[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Parent-teacher groups other than PTAs[/TD] [TD=align: right]3,443[/TD] [TD=align: right]144,219[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Private schools[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,802[/TD] [TD=align: right]103,254[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Parent-Teacher Associations/Parent-Teacher Organizations[/TD] [TD=align: right]1,561[/TD] [TD=align: right]65,567[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [TD] [/TD] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]TOTAL[/TD] [TD=align: right]106,200[/TD] [TD=align: right]2,586,964[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [TD] [/TD] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Average Troop Size based on 2013 BSA Fact Sheet[/TD] [TD] [/TD] [TD=align: right]24.4[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE]
  20. pcola

    Re: Rules set forth by National

    The policies are for our protections, and the principles of scouting allow us to apply our own application to the program. I agree with Fred about the volunteers who want to re-engineer the system, and I am also amazed at the adults who become unrealistic in their over-zealousness of applying the principles. When the program is more important to the boys, and the boys sense this and tend to shy away from the program. Amazingly, this is a great program, built with a lot of flexibility, that can enhance the lives of our youth. I find the truly committed leaders outlast the zealots and rebels.
  21. pcola

    How much?

    When the scouts are responsible for their activities, the results will generally be less than ideal, but that is part of the learning process, and it is a success because they are learning and growing. Our role with the boys is to help and encourage and without being someone to whom they see as an evaluator. Two concepts I hold to as a scoutmaster are: 1) work with the SPL, PL and others in leadership meetings before the troop and patrol meetings are conducted. We meet and discuss techniques, ideas, and general thoughts so that they have some clarification before the meetings and activities actually occur. 2) We have developed a troop book with all the campsites, trails, and activities so that they have a good starting place of ideas when planning their campouts and activity days. Given the information, encouragement, and proper planning, the boy-led troop will be success even when part of that success is encumbered with some failure. Seeing the boys grow is a rewarding experience that is beyond compare. But when I recall some of the really bad meals we have had to eat, or campouts gone amok I laugh, and then it breaks my heart to recall so poorly attended activities that were planned well but not communicated well. Overall, it is worth it to see the boys mature to men. That is the reason I try to always help, encourage, and reserve judgment as we stumble through our Boy-Led-Troop.
  22. So where do these MB counselors come from? Do they volunteer on their own? Do you really think each district has plenty of able willing adults in a ready made pool? Wouldn't you think that finding counselors for various MBs originates from the scouts? Do you want to settle on mediocre MB counselors, when there can be more inspiring ones out there? Why have adult leaders if the scouts can "facilitate" everything on their own? As adult leaders we are their to help them, not do it for them. I dislike the MB mills and canned programs, that is why I am always on the lookout for people that can give the scouts an added dimension to the subjects. And since the scouts are responsible for activities, they are the ones that set up these activities. I have met too many adult leaders that just let the scouts sink or swim. True Darwinism - survival of the fittest. I choose to help my scouts learn and grow, not get discouraged and quit. Not everyone is an alpha in life.
  23. If there are adults in our troop that can be MB Counselors, we have "Field Days", where the scouts come and work on finishing, or redoing a lot of the requirements. We also use campouts to provide an opportunity to finish up these loose ends - it helps make a good campout sometimes. As a scoutmaster, I may not have final authority over the MB process, but I can help facilitate it personally, or provide the opportunity. Reaching out to the community: professionals, colleges, and other organizations to help may require extra effort, but the relationships it develops really makes a difference in making scouting a greater experience. Also, having the scouts associating with other individuals increases their view of the world. It increases ambition, interpersonal skills, and knowledge. Specific examples include: Outdoor Program at the local university for Climbing, Survival Skills, and Cycling. ROTC program for orienteering. Professional Surveyor for Surveying. Engineers for Pulp and Paper. Chemistry Grad Students for Chemistry. Many organizations are always looking for service hours also. Some may say that this is the responsibility of the scouts, but we are there to facilitate the program for their sakes. And to conclude, the scouts will start using and even developing relationships with other people in the community.
  24. As a scoutmaster, a good scouting experience is my goal for each youth first and foremost. Eagle is great if they want to work towards it. Developing skills, confidence, and a giving attitude are the true products of scouting. Not all achieve it, but if the program is utilized to develop the youth, then that is what we are striving to acheive. Training like Wilderness First Aid, Leave No Trace, NYLT, 50-milers, BSA Lifeguard, Order of the Arrow, Shooting Sports, Climbing, Canoeing, High Adventure Camps and Merit Badge Activities are core in developing scouts. It is also a great vehicle to have scouts associate with adults in a safe environment. We generally award Eagles in our Troop Court of Honor Program, so that they are part of the troop, not set apart, and to keep the achievement in perspective. Striving to have a good scouting experience helps the Eagle Scouts stay in the program, because of the activities and personal development.
  25. In the Merit Badge Counselor's Guide: A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling , No. 34532, 2010, it states: SCOUT BUDDY SYSTEM A Scout must have a buddy with him at each meeting with a merit badge counselor. A Scout’s buddy could be another Scout, or be a parent or guardian, brother or sister, relative or friend. This is plain wording, and does not require any interpretation. I also have witnessed fanatical leadership and parents creating "additional" requirements for "Two-Deep Leadership" and find it pointless to try and educate them on this matter. It is more productive to appreciate their position, and either work with them, or decline involvement. That being said, I strive to be "above reproach" in all my interaction with the scouts.