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About brooklynscout

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  1. Beavah raises several good points- the adding to requirements point and retesting point are too oft quoted by those who just want to get it signed off and done with. It is ultimately the spirit of the regulations that counts, not the letter. For example, some might say having a scout do a basic orienteering course for second class is adding to the requirement. After all, he just has to show how the compass works and orient a map, right? Well, in my mind it isn't adding to the requirement, but simply making sure the scout meets the intent of it- to know how to use a compass. Another situation with retesting- up until a few months ago, our troop guide would sign off just about anything on the vaguest trace of accomplishment. Is it retesting to go over the requirement with the scout and test him again? No, it is simply helping the scout and saving him (and the troop guide-don't even get me started on people who subtract from the requirement) a bunch of trouble from the scoutmaster. Another thing people need to drill into scout's heads- you aren't learning these skills just for advancement. Whether you get it signed off or not, keep practicing and doing it. I, an Eagle Scout, still practice my basic knots every so often lest I forget how many turns are in a taut line hitch. I will admit, as a young scout, I had the mind set of "sign off, advance, repeat". Now, looking back, I understand it differently- learn the skills better than you're required to know them, and keep practicing. Not only does it behoove you, but your parents love it when you can cook them a great meal.
  2. My personal leaning is towards a combination of these two methods: teaching in the meetings by the troop guide, with activities to reinforce it, and then testing in the field. Take for example, the menu planning. The way I would conduct this is by first having the troop guide use the EDGE method to have the patrol plan a menu for their campout, and teaching them about basic cooking and cleanup procedures. This not only introduces them to the skill, but having 6-8 eleven year olds plan meals together is a great exercise in compromise and teamwork. On that campout, they'll all cook and clean together, teaching them the skill and fulfilling the tenderfoot requirement. On the next couple campouts, as they refine the skill, they'll each take ownership for a meal and fulfill the second class requirements. Finally, each scout can then plan and cook for one campout, fulfilling the first class requirement all in one piece. At their board, they have by this time prepared meals on at least three campouts, and have practiced the skills on each one. Throughout, the troop guide is providing instruction, but the patrol leader will be facilitating all of the actual cooking and planning so that each scout can fulfill the requirements. Basically, this combines the more formal teaching element with practice and signing off in the field, ensuring they've learned the skill. PS- Always teach safe food handling before the first campout. Even if you don't sign it off, you must teach this one formally so that the scouts know it. Food poisoning makes for tough questions from parents.
  3. Hi MapleScouter, First, I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse here. First, a little background on myself: I'm an NYLT staffer and have been a PL and acting SPL. My advice for you: Split your patrol into 2 or even 3 patrols. I was the PL for a patrol of 11 two years ago. I will tell you this- anything more than 8 is basically a small troop. A group of 17 will only serve to give you headaches eventually. The age difference, while it is usually a good thing, is something you should be aware of. When I took NYLT, the staff accidentally put a 16 year old in the 13 year old patrol. The 16 year old ended up almost being asked to leave, and one of the 13 year olds went home as the result of bullying. Age differences can create enormous rifts in patrols. My second reason: The scouts deserve more independent leadership experience. You might want to look into becoming a troop guide for the younger scouts and their PL, as you seem to have a wealth of leadership ideas to share. However, more of the scouts should be functioning as PL's and APL's. My final word of advice to you: Don't refer to your patrol as a socio-governmental experiment. This was the attitude I had as a new scout patrol leader. The only direction that will lead is the scouts resenting you and it will undermine your leadership ability. Also, if you have not, I highly, highly recommend that you take NYLT and possibly NAYLE after that. You sound like you have many great ideas, and that you are doing the best for the scouts in your patrol. Best of luck in your endeavors.
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