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Pack18Alex

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Pack18Alex last won the day on July 18 2014

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About Pack18Alex

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  1. Small Pack. We actually organized our sibling dens into a Girl Scout Troop. We meet same night. We couldn't get leadership organized on Girl Scout side, ended up opening a few flag ceremonies jointly with Girl Scouts, everyone loved it. Right now, we are "one room" school house. Sometimes the girls go to another room and do their thing, sometimes the activity is mixed and we figure out how to apply everyone's requirements. We hate the GSUSA programming. My girls are transferring to my Pack the DAY Council will accept an application (one will need tenure for AOL). Parents all seem on board. If anyone wants the GS Troop, they can have it. We're going to run GS Cadettes (Grades 6-8) for a year while BSA rolls out their new Program. COR is on board, which SHOCKED me, very conservative CO, but he's a Queen's Scout and it was Co-ed over there for years. I'm excited if only to reduce my paperwork.
  2. Boys and Girls (Co-Ed) Cub and Boy Scouts Are Coming

    On a few pages of this thread, people would probably call my program "co-ed" -- and I guess it is. Our sibling den evolved into a Girl Scout Troop, which tried to forge it's own identity and collapsed under the crappiness of GSUSA. At this point, the GS Troop functions without our Pack as a Patrol (or two, depending as size), where they work of GS Advancement during Den Meeting nights and the Pack Activity during Pack Activity nights. We got a lot of amused looks at a district cub event last year where I had two patrols of girl scouts at it. My take on the matter: Cubs could go entirely co-ed. The new program is very "boy" oriented but not gendered as strongly as the old one. The old one I'd make tweaks for a Cub-Girls program, and designate Den's co-ed. Boy Scouts should not be Co-Ed, but I'd create a middle school Girls program that is similar. Alternatively I'd permit a CO to charter Male and Female troops, but not co-ed ones. In our neck of the woods, the major Council Events all invite GSUSA units to participate, and some did. There was huge excitement when a Girl Scout Troop won a "Chief's Choice" gateway competition at Camporee. I'm just not seeing the issue. I think it's a regional cultural issue, and Councils should have some flexibility. But it does bug me that our Girl Scout "Troop" sends money to GSUSA instead of BSA, and they'd all drop GSUSA in a heart beat. Caveat: my wife is the Girl Scout Leader, our GS Troop was started as an adjunct. Our units are very religious in nature, with strong gender separation, so I don't see co-ed patrols/dens in our future anyway. We don't use the LFL backdoor, doesn't seem trustworthy. Our events are all "family" events and open to the family members of all unit members. The participating "girl scouts" are almost always siblings of "boy scouts." In the few cases where they aren't, we signup and train a girl scout dad as an Adult Leader, and they participate as the Adult Leader's family. It works for us. When our Boy Scouts visit the Pack campsite and discuss pioneering with Daisy/Brownie girl scouts, it's an utter riot.
  3. How much money in the Troop Treasury?

    1. If the money is a legacy that you are a steward of, continue protecting it. You should keep a reserve that is the amount you need for 4-6 months of the program (i.e. time between fundraisers). 2. Invest in the future of the troop, spend some on recruiting. We have done custom signs, custom flyers, etc. Some are pitching our brand, some are pitching our specific scouts (instead of generic pictures). 3. Invest in your Pack. Does your CO have a pack? If not, start one right now. That's the best source of new recruits, and it's a no brainer use of money bequeathed to you. 4. Invest in a Satellite Pack. See if you can get a second Pack chartered to your CO. Find a location that is within a 15 minute drive of your CO. Recruit a Pack there. If you have a Pack there, those boys should be encouraged to float over to the Troop each year, where 15 minutes is less of a big deal (Cub Scouts are tired at night). 5. Shiny Webelos Recruiting? Advertise a free, Webelos Only PWD or other event with a fancy new track. But if you have two new NSPs coming from two packs/year, your longevity is safe. Now, funds are part of the issue, an adult to champion each of these things is another story. This will be super unpopular with the core group here, but if you have money in the bank, but not enough Scouts in the Troop, to me the most obvious use of the money in the bank is to convert it to Scouts. You can't exactly buy Scouts, but you can invest in marketing. I am super against the idea of "we have this big legacy supply of money, and we're shrinking, so we'll spend our endowment today on a big hedonistic bang." If you don't want to invest it growing the troop, go purchase zero-coupon bonds for the Troop, with various maturities, so the Unit can fold but when it's time to restart it you have a legacy. Good luck. But you didn't earn the money, the scouts of today didn't earn the money. It's robbing the past to spend it on today's Scouts. It's a tribute to the past to spend it on recruiting tomorrow's Scouts.
  4. Girl Scouts Debate Their Place in a Changing World

    Wife is a Girl Scout leader. The training is part of the problem, plus the ad hoc nature of the troops. A normal GS Troop is a two Kindergarteners, their mom, and 6 friends. As they drop out, they replace them or the program folds. They take their fundraisers and spend it on a single activity, never acquire gear or permanence. The Charter-Org system that gives BSA Unit's a sense of longevity is a HUGE part of the long term success. Not letting dads really volunteer in GSUSA doesn't help. When I go to Round Table, it's probably 60-40 men-women, and around 40-60 men-women with the under 50 volunteers. When my wife goes to Service Unit meetings, there isn't a male attendee. I don't think that the programs will, or should, merge. I think BSA should offer co-ed scouting and GSUSA should offer co-ed Guiding, since they aren't looking at the same stuff.
  5. FYI, one of my Scouts had really spotty attendence for a year or two. However, since he had previously been early registered (and was in too advanced a level), we just left him at the level for two years, earned rank with his classmates, and seems to be back active. It's really all about the boys. They'll get more out of the program if they are at the right age. The fact that we've slid back the grade by a year has made the program already too advanced... They don't get out of doing things ahead of the curve.
  6. Humanist is now a religion.

    I think that someone who has his children in parochial school and running a scouting unit at said school would satisfy the idea of doing his duty to God, even if he doesn't believe in Him.
  7. Local AHG Unit no more

    Irrelevant. Nothing is required. BSA and Council will NOT get involved in Unit Membership issues unless policy requires it. Unit refuses black members, Unit is in trouble. Unit throws out a boy for saying he's "gay oriented" (I interpret as SSA), Unit is in trouble. Unit throws a boy out for talking about his boyfriend, CO says, "we don't approve of middle school boys dating," BSA will say "find another unit." It doesn't matter what most people interpret it as, if a Unit wants to remove a boy, they can, as long as it's not for saying "I'm gay oriented." I think that 95% of people don't want to deal with this anymore. If there is a problem, most boys will either drop out of scouting or drop out of the unit. Few parents are twisted enough to make an embarrassing moment (kicked out of his troop for being gay) a huge case to fight to keep him in the unit, they'll either find a new unit or drop out of scouting.... that's how I predict this plays out. Major difference: RW Religious unit removes gay kid from Unit, BSA doesn't remove them from Scouting, they transfer to a non-RW Unit, life moves on. Basically, the revoked that "gay = no BSA" policy and threw a bone to gay rights activists that the boy can't be removed from his unit for "orientation" but left enough wiggle room that anti-gay COs can effectively remove a scout for holding hands with another boy. BSA will stay out of Unit Membership policies, which is the correct thing to do. Boy Scout Age youth (because this doesn't apply to Cubs) should find a Unit that they are comfortable in. This barely applies to Venturing, because if you're RW enough you're looking for an excuse to toss gay boys, you probably don't have a co-ed Venturing Crew.
  8. Adult Leadership to Help Troop Advance

    The W2 Den is filled with boys that are Sabbath-observant Jews. Therefore, joining a Church based Troop that will do Saturday day events, is a non-starter. The Troop has a few Sabbath-observant Jews, but is primarily not. There is the disconnect. So we're in an odd situation where the Troop is overly Boy Led for their level of experience. But obviously, converting to an Adult Led W3 Troop would be lame, but strongly possible. When I get a chance to read through all these links and resources (thanks again everyone!), that will be helpful. I know that putting together the Pack Calendar the first time was REALLY complicated, took my over educated Pack Committee 6 hours to get right. The next year, it took two hours, and next year, I hope it can be done without my involvement in 1 hour, then I know I've built something to last. I think that a lot of these areas where the troop is floundering are areas where building from nothing is REALLY hard, while maintaining is easier. I also think that learning to maintain and improve on a foundation is a more reasonable skill to impart on 14 year olds than building the foundation is. I see a lot of topics of "moving the troop to be more boy led" and then the comments of "I wish we did this years ago." If your struggling troop never had more than 2 boys, canceled half their meetings for lack of two deep leadership, and struggling to do 1 campout a year, you wouldn't be like "well, it's boy led so that's great" you'd suggest it's a flop. It's REALLY hard for adults to step back and transition to the boys, I get that, but at the same time, you need to have some level of infrastructure for them. I used the wrong word Advance, it's less about 1st Class Scouts (but it's a problem that the troop is working on), and more the Troop getting better on an annual basis. One of our goals in a Jewish Unit is to get Jews of all denominations and backgrounds working together and taking pride in their accomplishments as Scouts and Jews. If your Unit sucks, the only people that stick around are those that NEED to be in a Jewish unit, so we don't get the different backgrounds. When you have a top performing Unit, you get Scouts of all backgrounds because they WANT to be in the Unit, not HAVE to be in the Unit. Boy Led and leadership development are absolutely critical. And I don't want to deny that and turn the Unit into an Eagle factory. But I also don't want to only be able to retain a small portion because the program is weak and anyone that wants a solid program transfers out (happened to Troop 2 years ago and Pack 4 years ago).
  9. Adult Leadership to Help Troop Advance

    Thanks for all the reading material and feedback. It'll probably be a few days to digest everything you've sent my way, a LOT to chew on.. Thanks for all the help! A few comments back to qwazse who gave a very detailed response. "But a dozen boys don't need a trailer." When the CO has no storage space, and none of the dads drive a truck, and the people storing gear in their garages are griping, it's a BIT of a concern. In terms of the Calendar, we have a few extra concerns... CO is officially of the opinion all Jewish Youth should be in Jewish Private Schools. Therefore, even if there isn't a single boy in a particular Jewish school, if the Unit schedules things that would interfere, that's a potential lightning rod. There are also black out dates for Jewish holidays that simply aren't at the discretion of the boys in the Unit. Basically, if the boys in the troop decided, screw it, most of us aren't Sabbath-observant, we're going to do an event on the last day of Passover because it's convenient for us... that's simply unacceptable to the CO. "And, what 1st class rank advancement will this achieve? I'm not against a sales coach offering your boys some tips on how he/she plies her trade and having the boys apply those skills at a fundraiser. But, only if the boys have bought in that this is something they need to do." None. But they are upset they don't have "stuff" and they don't do fundraisers because they've never seen a need. A lot of this is just getting the ball rolling and giving them the tools to have a successful year with the NSP joining. If they have a successful year, it should feed on itself and go great. "That's actually a selling point. The W2's in a boy-led troop can be assured that they will be pretty much scouting with their buddies. No being split up into a half-dozen existing patrols. They have a majority when electing leaders, etc ..." But that's not the decision facing the CO boys in the W2 Den. They aren't considering other Troops. Their choice will either be: Join the current Troop, or Drop out of Scouting. The parents have option 3, which is take over the CO's troop, because the CO only nominally knows they have a BS Troop as opposed to a CS Pack.
  10. Adult Leadership to Help Troop Advance

    Qwazse, Thank you, great and useful comments. Very true on the adults vs. group of boys. It needs to be VERY careful. However, if I were to listen to the other comments here, after appointing the Scoutmaster, depositing dues and turning in re-charter, the committee might as well disband, because everything should be on the boys. I don't think that's realistic, and doesn't jive with BSA policies. Might match some of Baden Powell's "Scouting for Boys" manual, but he was writing for older boys in a society where majority was obtained younger. So here is a big picture issue. Charter Org partnered with the Units for the Cub Scouting program, which is heavily filled with boys from the CO and surrounding area. The boys from the CO dropped out of the Troop because of issues with the program and leadership (prior SMs, not the new one). CO wants the programming for it's youth. We have a W2 Den, larger than the Troop, predominately with CO boys. So this is the driving issue, at this point, there was talk of spinning up a second troop and ignoring them. Because of BSA policies and CO rules, that's not what actually happens, the existin Troop would be off looking for a meeting space and Charter Organization, a handful of boys would "transfer back" and the continuity would be wrecked. That's what amounts to the Plan B, so looking for better alternatives. So jblake may be 100% right about why he thinks that the SM is doing great and we should all butt out, but his opinion is irrelevant. The crucible is coming in a few months, and either things are better, or everyone in the troop is going to be out on their butts. Which is why I am here, looking for constructive solutions to make things better while minimizing the damage to the boy-run part of the program that goes great. The well meaning posters telling me everything is fine are basically inadvertently trolling, because things are NOT fine in this Unit/CO combination, even if this would all be fine in their CO. We're the only Jewish Unit in our area, so "go to another troop" isn't an option. In terms of adults... few skills between them all. Most of the adults at the meeting are there because they live 30 min+ away, so no reason to drop and run, they have to stick around. When the Cub Scout Pack got a trailer, the Boy Scouts got jealous, and talked about how lucky they were. Every penny that went into the trailer was from Popcorn sales, not a dime came from parents... pack even paid my gas and tolls getting it here. But the Boy Scouts don't think it's possible to accomplish these things. So after the back and forth here, one thing pitched to the PLC, having a guest come in and run a budgeting and planning exercise... so the boys identify, with their SM for guidance, what they'd like to acquire for the troop. Then learn how to price them out (tablet + Amazon.com gets a broad idea), how to rank, and how to set the sales goals and how to divvy it up. The goal is to have them all commit to a certain volume of sales. Idea being, volunteer teaches them the skills, they do the process. But, it's NOT a skill that the SM has. Same thing for annual planning. We start with the BSA Calendar, we know which Council/District events Troop wants (obviously reverify with them), black out dates that adult leaders need blacket out, add the CO events we're supposed to volunteer at, add the joint Pack/Troop activities, and then back to the PLC for filling out the rest of the calendar, guided by an adult. But what ends up happening now, is nobody is aggregating the BSA Council/District and CO events, so they come up and the PLC is dumbfounded. Sure it ought to be a learning experience, but when the CO expects our help and nobody shows up, that's a problem. When the Troop/Pack are supposed to do something together, the Adult led Pack needs an answer, not the PLC will discuss in 4 months. But, the inadvertent trolling from well meaning posters here telling me why everything is okay are derailing the thread. There have been some great concrete suggestions, and warnings about losing the boy-run aspects, but lots of back and forth about the SM which is totally irrelevant. The SM is awesome, but like all people, they have limitations. Drop me in a forest for survival purposes, I'd drop dead, the SM would build a shelf and be fine. Drop me a mount of BSA paperwork to get everyone's awards on time, mine are turned out, digitally signed, and ready to go in 48 hours, the SM would be months before he remembered where he misplaced things. We all have different skills, and we want to relocate things where the SM isn't skilled to the committee, but my question here was how to do so without interfering in the programming. For example, dates of religious holidays, Council Camporees, and the joint Pack/Troop stuff are all kind of fixed. If the PLC have 8 people from 6 patrols, it'd be a great learning experience to do what we do on the adult side. When the PLC consists of 3 people, with really one patrol, there is a firm limit to what they can do because of the manpower situation. 3 Hours, 3 people, yields 9 Boy-Hours. If the tasks involved are more than 9 Boy-Hours, then the adults should do enough that it is possible for them to get it done in those 9 boy-hours, otherwise, they are being set up for failure.
  11. Unit Treasurer

    Correct, when the Unit Committee is operating as a BSA Committee, votes are not taken. Roberts rules of order NOT followed, no motions/seconds/etc. One of my complainers started arguing that a decision that was made shouldn't me mine alone, it should be a committee decision, I explained that that's not how this works. However, when the Committee is instead operating as a committee of the CO, those rules may not apply. When the Committee Authorized us to open a bank account, a motion was made, a second was obtained, and the vote was taken. Why? Because Bank Account authorizations, in Florida, need to be made by vote by the governing association.
  12. Local AHG Unit no more

    Read the rule change: 1. Sexual activity for scouts is totally inappropriate. 2. Same-sex-attraction is not grounds for dismissal. Essentially, a Scout can still be removed from a unit for behavior, not for coming out as gay oriented. No, a CO could prohibit all sexually active scouts, prohibit same sex sexually active scouts, or simply ignore the issue and assume that BSA wants to be done with this. I'm pretty sure we're all done with this issue, but BSA's rule change was written VERY carefully to not offend any religious groups that participate.
  13. Adult Leadership to Help Troop Advance

    No clue. I watched someone testing some skills, and it was "couldn't do it to save his life." But, the basic knot tying stuff my younger daughters can do just from hanging around it at the cub scout stuff, so I'm pretty certain it's a training approach and a lack of practice. But I'm not entirely sure.
  14. Local AHG Unit no more

    Correction. The BSA decided that gay attracted kids that were totally celibate needn't be thrown out until their 18th birthday.
  15. Adult Leadership to Help Troop Advance

    MattR, You talk to the active scouts, they want to be better. Plenty of snarky sarcasm from the less active ones at campouts, but hey, they're teenagers. No, we had that Pack/Troop campout I mentioned elsewhere in the thread, the SM and myself were chatting. He runs the program his way, we're all on board with him and the program he's running, at a tactical level. The training needs work, so we want to get him the resources to make that better,, and the program needs some strategic focus with a longer term horizon than high schoolers have. I have also seen a HUGE improvement since he moved up from ASM to SM. However, as I've alluded to elsewhere, the prior leadership, in the pack and troop, was not so ideal. The old cub parents didn't think they had to do anything at campouts. The old members of the troop didn't think advancement was a big deal. In the Pack, this was easily fixed by getting new families in and the natural churn of cub scouting. In the troop, without new blood coming in, we're struggling to fix. But we are hitting a natural crucible with the largest Den in the Pack now in Webelos 2. Plan B sucks, we don't want Plan B. But Plan B happens if we don't fix this, so there you go. What does everyone think of the SM? It's generally consistent. Great guy, super dedicated, great scouting expertise, a boon to the troop. However, he's not the most punctual of people or organized of people (in his scouting or real life), and has a problem seeing the forest from the trees. So the budding consensus seems to be, let's identify the weaknesses in the program OR the SM, and fix them. Nobody wants to replace the SM, but we do want the program being better. So we want to take back parts of the program that are not the SM's strong suit, and re-assign those elsewhere, so he can focus on the areas he's good at. We don't have anyone in the wings that we think would make a better SM, so we're looking for ways we can help make things stronger. I got some good feedback here, and some "well, have the SM magically become better at personality train X" which is really just wishful thinking and not a plan. As far as the lack of advancing, there are a bunch of Scouts who ignored advancement when the SM did, then they decide they want to be an Eagle Scout and they are a Scout or Tenderfoot, but with all the Eagle required Merit Badges, and they are struggling to master the skills. The consensus between the PLC, TC, and SM is that we need to do better on advancement. We had no 1st Class Scouts until recently, then advancement push this year, two hit First Class and then going straight to Eagle (POR + time = BOR, they have the merit badges) as they could schedule SMC and BOR. But the other Scouts aren't have as much luck.
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