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ScouterWamp

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About ScouterWamp

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    Junior Member
  • Birthday 07/15/1973

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  • Location
    SHAPE, Belgium
  • Occupation
    Military
  1. ScouterWamp

    Cub Resident Camp

    I'm sorry to post again with another topic …. There is a possibility of another Resident Camp in our Council (slight). Currently there is one summer Resident Camp offered for our Cub Scouts in the Council and it is about a 10hr drive from us (longer for others). There is the possibility of starting another one closer to our location (this would encompass 2 of the 5 Districts in our Council), but this needs to be at little/ no cost to our Council due to recent budget cuts. Since this will benefit me, my sons, and my Cub Scouts, I'm VERY interested in this possibility. Day camp has been discussed, but in our District there is about 1- 1 1/2 hour drive between Packs, so Day Camp would be difficult. I guess what I am looking for are ideas for theme, program activities, budget estimate (especially for program), staff (we're looking at no more than 100 persons total including staff, Cubs, and leaders/ adults), and what other areas may charge for participation (from Scouts and adults) to provide plan/ estimate to our Council Camping Committee. What do people think of Resident Family Camp?? Looking at 4 1/2 -5 1/2 days of program available to Scouts Wolf through Webelos. I have already asked Council for historic numbers, but would like input from other persons/ places. The challenge is there is historically a VERY low showing for Resident Camp, so it would be nice to offer something special and intriguing for these Cub Scouts and family (program!!!!). Any help and ideas for developing this opportunity would be great. Thank you!!!!
  2. ScouterWamp

    Den Chief Advice

    Hello. I'm having a slight issue with the role of Den Chief. I am currently CC for a Pack and was previously the CM and the SM for the local Troop. At the beginning of the year we requested Den Chiefs from the Troop to assist our DLs. No one stepped forward (the previous year, we had four). The Troop recently had elections for POL and selections for POR. One Star Scout was not selected for any position and his parents complained to the SM, who refused to change the SPL's selections for POR (and rightfully so). The parents then said they would just have their son serve as a DC, in that case. As the SM, I had issues with this Scout being a bully, not wearing his uniform properly, not knowing his skills, etc (most of his advancement occured after I left the Troop). The parents went direct to a DL and requested their son be his DC (five months into the program). He showed up at the Den meeting this week (I only know this because one of my sons is in the Den). This Scout, and his family, are focused on him winning (not necessarily earning) Eagle. I am of the belief a DC should serve the Den for the entire year (though not directly stated in literature I can find) and should not just come in late in the program for POR credit for advancement. First, what are the opinions of others in this forum, and second, can the Pack CC or CM deny the Scout the role of DC?? Thank you!!!
  3. You do have a few points to help you in this matter: 1) As has already been mentioned, who in the Troop (specifically SM) has signed approving the project (weak, but one option) 2) Scout Spirit: Where has he demonstrated his loyalty, integrity, etc especially to the Troop?? This is a requirement for every rank and one which only the SM should approve. This is the most nebulous of requirements, but one which should be taken most seriously. Remember, Eagle is not just a piece of cloth the Scout wears on his shirt (which I had a Life Scout tell me while "waiting" for a SM Conference ... my next point 3) One of the requirements is for the Scout to have a SM conference ... don't grant it until you feel he is ready. I had a Scout complete all the requirements, but still did not demonstrate the behavior or qualities to be an Eagle Scout. When he requested an Eagle SM Conference, I denied it, and instead, granted a SM conference to define his path ... I wanted to see him demonstrate more maturity and leadership (especially interaction with younger Scouts ... he was a "bully" in the eyes of many of the younger Scouts). I even sat with his parents and laid this out for them ... after about 6-7 months of further mentoring and experience, he matured and learned ... he actually thanked me for doing it. 4) The actual EBOR. Tell them your conundrum. You should also have a chance to address the Board. If you have misgivings concerning the Scout, let the TCC know about them, and bring them up to the EBOR. Hopefully, they can make a right decision (or at least address your issues towards this young man and see how he responds). There are options open to you, as the Scoutmaster. You just have to be strong enough to be honest with the Scout, and possibly his parents and your Committee. Good Luck.
  4. ScouterWamp

    What Makes Good Pack Meetings?

    Pack Meetings ARE all about showmanship ... whether it is with competition, skits, songs, or awards, it's how you interact with the Scouts. Keep the meetings lively, engaging, and interesting (these are for the Cubs, not the parents). We have a monthly theme and the Pack Meeting sticks with the theme ... songs, jokes, and activities. We will open with a flag ceremony and go into "role call" (always loud and boisterous) and straight into a song ... usually brining the parents and leaders in, as well. Sometimes we will have the Dens talk about what they did, sometimes we will focus on the theme. There will be a physical activity (relay race, obstacle course, game, etc) combining the Dens (as has been mentioned earlier, this is a Pack event, mix up the Dens, let the Scouts get to know everyone else) run by the Cubmaster and Den Leaders (siblings invited, parents stay behind). Following this is the "downward" trend for the meeting (settling them down), such as presenting advancements ... all other awards are presented at the Den Meetings (we learned a long time ago, it is too easy to turn a Pack meeting into a BORING awards show). At the end, the CM will actually sit down and have a "personal" chat with the Scouts as his Cubmaster minute .. this is directed to the Scouts, and should have the Cub Scouts' full attention. Then close. Big thing to remember, make the Pack Meeting all about the Cub Scouts and keeping them engaged. Any announcements which need to be made, have the CC make them during the activity when the Cubs are otherwise engaged. This has worked for us for the last few years.
  5. ScouterWamp

    Parents Using ISA accounts to attend events

    The WRC does bring a new light to the situation. I'm not sure about ISA for Cub Scouts. More times than not, Cub Scouts cannot really earn the money themselves, as Fred mentioned, it is usually the parents. Fundraising should go to the entire Pack (offset the cost of activities for all involved???). Our Pack has a pay-as-you-go program, subsidized by the different fund-raisers. 2Cub is right .... parents should start cutting the cord with parents at this point ... before they become too much of helicopter parents which cause nightmares for SMs. However, Bottom Line, if the money has been provided to the Scout, for his Scouting "career," then that is where the money should go (uniform, gear, cross-over, etc). Provide you opinion/ input to the Committee, and let them address the issue with the parents. Especially with such a young Scout, he needs to see the money he has "earned" goes to benefit him (not "taken" by his parents). A Webelos is too young to fully comprehend the idea of "transferring" money to someone else.
  6. ScouterWamp

    Pocket knives for cub scouts

    A pocket knife is an invaluable tool, not only for Scouts, but for anyone. Everyone I work with knows I carry one, even in a suit. This being said, we start teaching knife safety and proper knife usage, first with popsicle sticks, then with plastic knives (all with soap), with our Tigers (we actually have the Boy Scouts teach this during our Cub Day Camps). Starting with the Tigers teaches habits and by the time they are Bears, most of the Whittlin' Chip is "old hat" and they can easily recite (and teach the new Cub Scouts) the rules of using this tool. However, our Scouts don't usually their own pocket knives until 1/2 way through their Bear year (parents will usually "present" the pocket knife as a Christmas gift to their Bear Scouts). The Wolf elective requirement of assembling an outdoor kit introduces the Scouts to proper camping skills. Yes, you want them to learn what they really need, especially when taking care of themselves while camping. This is not to give them while camping, but to start teaching them and introducing them to the "tools of the trade." If the Scout is taught properly, he should ask Mom or Dad before the campout ... "Do you have the ....??" By the time he becomes a Webelos, he will be checking himself for the proper outdoor kits. Now, as for the proper type knife one should use, BSA does not "allow" lock-blade knives (funny, though, they sell lock-blade knives at scoutstuff.org). I do not like for my sons to carry a lock-blade knife until Boy Scouts ... they are usually too difficult to close for the younger Scouts. Start with something simple (I really like the Cub Scout knife at scoutstuff.org, or the whittling knife). If you get one with too many "toys" (like a multi-tool or a larger Swiss Army), the knives become too large for the Cub Scouts to really learn how to use the tool. The point of the Whittlin' Chip, and the knife skills taught in Cub Scouts is to teach whittling ... for this, you only need a single, small blade. Let the Scouts learn more uses for the tools as Boy Scouts (however, it is quite entertaining, for a while, to watch a Cub Scout try to open a can with a can-opener from a pocket knife). Teach knife safety early, and thoroughly and appropriately, and you shouldn't have to worry about the "dangers" of "arming" ... (as already said, stress the tool aspect of the knife and correct whenever a Scout refers to it as a weapon, or anything other than a tool) Cub Scouts with small, personal pocket knives for whittling ... at least until they start hanging out with those older, non-Scout boys, referenced in an earlier post. Good Luck!!!
  7. ScouterWamp

    Parents Using ISA accounts to attend events

    Personally, I like the ISA in a Troop. As for Scouter Accounts, this is the first I have heard of this theory. I would have to support accounts for any person who participates in Troop activities, especially for the SM/ ASMs (but we also have all of our SM/ ASMs wear a patrol patch and use the same exact equipment as the Scouts and camp and interact as a Patrol, to set the example). I do not believe a parent should use a Scout's account for participation in activities (the Scout earned the money, let the Scout reap the benefits ... allowing parents to use the account, even with Scout permission, doesn't set a good example for the Scouts that you have to earn your own way). Along the same line, I do like qwazse's solution of having every participant attend IOLS. For now, I tried to require every participant to attend position specific training prior to participating in Troop activities (didn't work ... overruled by the TCC). It would be good to set standards, and set the example for the Scouts ... our most important role.
  8. ScouterWamp

    Leader Challenges

    Thanks to all of you. I have always in the past (either as a SM or CM) enjoyed a good relationship with the CC, where we would stand together on issues (there were places where we didn't agree, but talked through them and developed a solution beneficial to the Scouts and the Troop/ Pack). The Pack CM and I currently enjoy the same cooperative relationship (I happen to serve as the CC for the Pack .. I know two different models, but both should be based on cooperation between the SM/ CM and the CC). In this case, this wasn't happening; as TwoCubDad put it so well, the Committee was running the Troop as a Board of Directors. The DC and UC have both contacted the CC and they are now looking at a time to schedule training. Hopefully this will help the new SM. This is a very small community (one Troop, one Pack ... next closest is over an hr away) and I still seeand interact with the Scouts and am still friends with the ASMs (also new, like the Committee) and continue to talk to them. I also enforced the Den Chief role last year, and intend to continue requesting the Boy Scout involvement in the Pack next year (for the Den Leaders/ CM who request them). I also intend to maintain an active, parent role in the Troop, as long as my son wants to stay with the Troop and they are not stepping on the Scouts' development too much. At that point, we'll look at making the long weekly trek. This experience is a good learning lesson regarding interaction, education, and training with the parents and the Committee, utilizing District resources (as much as the Committee is willing to experience), and timing of replacements. Admittedly, I fell short in not sitting with the outgoing and incoming CC, together, to discuss the way ahead for the Troop or to sit with the new CC upon his arrival (I was gone for 3 1/2 months immediately following the transition). The CC operated how he was used to in a military realm, and by the time we had the opportunity to sit and talk, he had already established procedures which made him feel more comfortable than trusting Scouts to plan and execute. I read in another thread about parents are encouraged to join the Committee "at large" for their sons' first year in Scouting, and then may be asked to move up to fill a specific role on the Committee. This may be something worth looking into (in addition to training) and discussing with the Troop so the parent observes how the different functions interact and the parent understands how taking the "scenic route" and how exercising the methods of scouting actually work to develop the Scouts, and provides great antecdotes along the way.
  9. ScouterWamp

    Leader Challenges

    I see one of the roles of the Scoutmaster as the conduit between the PLC and the Committee. The PLC plans (with guidance/ sanity check from the Scoutmaster), and the Committee resources the plan (again, the SM provides the plan to the Committee). For this reason, I see a need for the SM to attend both meetings. When both meetings occurred simultaneously, we had the issue of each group planning the same activity for the same organization, and the Committee usually took over, leaving the Scouts to learn, if they don't plan, the parents will take over and do it for them. Instead of if they don't plan properly, the activity won't occur how they want. The PLC is now held the week before on a non-Scout night, and their are no scheduled Troop activities the evening of the Committee Meeting. This works out well as we encourage the Patrols to meet on these nights, and the SPL and ASPL are available to help, if the PLs wish. I used to have my SPL provide the plan to the Committee, but after a few months of him dealing with the Committee inquisition (who do you have as drivers, have you put out the permission slips, have you collected the money, etc) as opposed to the Committee understanding and fulfilling their role, I decided it was better he not experience this issue and I started discussing with the Committee what the Scouts should be doing vs what the Committee should resource (again, the lack of training piece).
  10. ScouterWamp

    Leader Challenges

    Mozartbrau and Stosh, thank you for the guidance and advice. I have to agree with both your points of view. Though the Scouts in question attended the campout, the leaders continue to deal with parental involvement and Committee insistence. After being told the "supporters" (parents) didn't appreciate a meal plan and the Committee Chair requesting a Scoutmaster Conference for his son prior to a Board of Review, I found it time to find another calling in this field (I will remain involved in the Cub Scout program in our community). The individual "appointed" as Scoutmaster (he found out after my decision to pursue a different path) is a good friend and I will continue to help him with the Troop (though behind the scenes). I will run ILST this weekend, but then my frustrations with the Troop will come to an end (hopefully). My wife finally became fed up with my frustrations and complaints to her and told me it was time to find a better way to spend my time. I have spoken with both the Unit Commissioner and the District Commission and have found someone willing to accept the role as Committee Chair (more dedicated to the Troop and Scouts). Hopefully she will be able to make a difference (especially for the incoming Scoutmaster). This is a wonderful program for our young men and I plan to continue to support it; however, I don't have the energy to fight a Committee along with trying to develop their sons. Again, thanks for your input and I look forward to continued wisdom from these threads. Take Care, Richard
  11. ScouterWamp

    ILTS/TLT in Your Troop. Who does it?

    We actually try to do ILST after each election. We explain to the Scouts that leadership experiences change based upon the leadership team; different SPL, different goal, different dynamic, different expectations, etc. Typically, as the SM, I will bring together the PLC and staff and do an overnight lock-in with them. The "culminating" piece of the ILST is to walk them through (in detail) what a PLC planning meeting should be. I do like the old JLT much better than the new ILST (based upon the resources they provide), but have been using the ILST cirriculum for the last two years. We will be having leader training this weekend and I will be changing it a little bit. I was away following the last elections, and will not be the SM for the next elections, so I am opening this training to anyone who wants to run for SPL or PL (2nd Class or above and at least 1 year as a Boy Scout). This will introduce a lot more Scouts to the theories of Scout leadership and planning. Additionally, we will be using this event to make our Annual Plan and basic budget development. I also remind the Scouts, this is only the beginning of learning how to lead and encourage them to attend NYLT. However, we have not had anyone go to NYLT in at least the last four years (rather difficult as it is only offered during the last week prior to school, about 8hrs away). This is an issue we are trying to remedy. FP, If a Scoutmaster won't train the Scouts, refer him back to his position description and the Scoutmaster Handbook. I see this training as one of the most important of my responsibilities. Does your District provide ILST (I know ours does, but that is a second choice to Troop level training)?? It is important for the Scouts to understand how to lead, expectations of them, responsibilites for their positions, and other tools available to help them do their job. Is the SM against doing the training himself, or against any training provided to the Scouts?? Maybe a ASM or CM can help in this issue?? Just my $.02 ....
  12. ScouterWamp

    Leader Challenges

    I have been following these threads for quite a while, and use many of the ideas to help guide my recommendations and directions as a Scoutmaster and Cubmaster (rather busy in my current community). I want to thank all of you for your input to these, though I have been a silent beneficiary of your wisdom. Sorry for the long note, but lately, I have been facing a rather difficult problem as a Scoutmaster; our Committee has been trying to run the priorities and plans of the Troop. We have a brand new Committee Chair who has accepted the role out of a sense of obligation (the previous moved and no one stepped up to fill the position) with no experience, and the rest of the Committee has followed suit. I have put up with being "invited" to Committee meetings for the first 15 minutes, and then sent to the Troop meeting to "watch the boys." To rectify this situation, the Scoutmasters have convinced the PLC to meet on a separate night from the Committee (who insisted on meeting on the previous PLC nights). Recently, the Committee has planned a fund-raiser (without a developed budget or Council support) to occur on the same weekend as one of our Campouts, and one of the Committee Members has decided to hold his sons back to support the fundraiser (the only Scouts staying behind for this reason) in lieu of full participation in the campout. Though the Scoutmasters have encouraged the Committee to sit through at least the on-line training, they still have not done so. I am now torn between supporting the Scouts (with the flaws and conflicts of the Committee) or just cutting my ties and focusing my attention on the Cub Scout Pack. I "drew a line in the sand" of the PLC annual planning conference (24 May) for the Committee to reassess their support to the Scouts (versus the Scouts supporting the Committee) and the Committee being trained, for my participation as a Scoutmaster (currently, the only trained, experienced adult leader for the Troop). I don't want to leave the boys, but I don't feel as if every meeting (virtually every day/ interaction with the Committee) should be a challenge to support the Scouts and the BSA program. I am currently discussing with a Committee member why it is not acceptable for his sons (grub masters) to arrive late (the next morning) to a camp out, in support of a Committee Fundraiser (the same Committee Member to whom I explained just two weeks ago how Scouting is about teaching skills and not awarding badges and why we don't give merit badge lessons or pair Scouts up with Merit Badge Counselors during Troop Meetings). I have spoken to our Unit Commissioner, but have not seen too much movement (or I may just be too impatient). Here is the message I sent to the Committee Member: Mr XXX, I am not sure you realize this, but your Scouts are the only ones staying behind in support of this Committee fundraiser (as far as I know). As the Scoutmaster of this Troop, your Scouts not participating in the entire campout versus support of a Committee fundraiser is not congruent with the methods of Scouting. Mstr YYYY is staying behind for his induction into the National Junior Honor Society; however, Mstrs XXXX will miss the set up and initiation of the campout (including the responsibilities of grubmaster) for an activity the Patrol Leader Council did not support and for which the Committee obligated the Scouts of the Troop. Though we support the participation of Scouts in all possible activities, thought and priority must be given to the methods of Scouting which include Leadership (“Boy Led, Boy runâ€Â), the outdoors, and the Patrol Method. None of these have been exhibited in the Committee’s unilateral decision of fund-raising in lieu of an outdoor, international Camporee. Your Scout has volunteered (or has been volunteered) as a grubmaster, which demonstrates a quality of selfless service to his fellow Scouts. However, proper follow-through includes full participation in the activity and in the Patrol Leader Council planned event(placed on the annual calendar last June). While our Troop fully supports Scout development in organizations outside Scouting (National Honor Society, Junior ROTC, 4H, Religious Youth Organizations, sporting events, to name a few), missing an integral piece of the program (outdoor development) to raise funds, an activity neither planned nor budgeted by the PLC (nor approved or sanctioned by our Council), should take back-seat to conflicting Scouting activities. Your son’s role as grubmaster makes him an even more integral piece in the entire outdoor and Patrol Method experience. Scoutmasters with our Troop will not deny Scouts the opportunity, as much as in their power, the opportunity to participate in activities; but priority will be given to Scouts who participate from start to finish in the Scouting events. In this case, your Scouts have registered for the International Camporee, so they will participate for the entire time for which they are present. I only ask that your Scouts, in the future, participate from beginning to end in these type activities (outdoor activities, planned by the PLC), especially in so far as they support the Mission and Methods (fund-raising outside the PLC NOT being in any of these) of the Boy Scouts of America. Yours in Scouting, Richard Scoutmaster, Troop ZZZ Please, does anyone have ideas how to help me maintain sanity in dealing with a Committee like this (I love the Scouts, just don't like the challenges of the Committee)?? Thank you, Richard
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