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Posts posted by mashmaster

  1. 1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    I believe about half of the Scouts we see enter at 10.5 to 11 years old (and their parents) are not really psychologically ready for the shift towards more personal responsibility and less parent involvement.

    Over the years I have seen attrition in that age cohort of about a fourth, at most.

    If they make it through the first year , their retention rate thereafter is high...over 90%.



    From my experience it really depends on how well the Webelos leaders prepared the scouts and parents for the transition to Boy Scouts.  many seem to run at the cub level which is still very parent led without preparing them to being a hybrid or scout-led and parent-led.  For example, Webelos should have Webelos only campouts where  they plan the menu and cook it.  But have a parent help really review and help teach them how to menu plan and cook.  The parent should be within ear shot and let them do with a review after each step.  If they do this a few times, the scouts will figure it out.  The parents too will learn to step back.

    I have seen plenty of 1st year scouts that can't boil water and setup a tent.  And others that are rock stars at both.  The unprepared scouts are frustrated compared to to the confident scouts.

    • Like 1
  2. I don't understand or believe this.  As a Sea Scout Skipper and a leader for a Crew, the are truly Co-Ed. They get along great.  We have had male leaders and female leaders both great in their own way.  It is sad that they aren't even considering it.  I think they should have Troops that can be co-ed, all male, or all female.  Why not have the option?

  3. There is a local troop nearby that is the definition of an Eagle mill.  Every week there is more email and promotion of past Eagles "So and so what our 250th Eagle scout, it's his birthday".  "Come to our meeting tonight and earn the XYZ Merit Badge"

    That troop has zero youth that know how to advocate for themselves.  They expect to get Eagle and have everything handed over.

    I have the immediate distain for a Troop that starts the conversation with "we have had X Eagles last year, this year, ever."  I want to here "Our scouts love camping and going on high adventure"

  4. 4 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

    I've been thru dozens.  At least 20+.  Sometimes it was monthly.  Each was half recognition and half promotion.  It gets old.


    I hope they at least bought cake for the scouts 🙂  That's a lot of cake.  Cake makes everything better

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  5. 25 minutes ago, MattR said:

    Maybe the program shouldn't be so important. Maybe all the shiny objects should be thrown out so the kids can just have fun. The scouts need places to camp and adults that know how to teach skills. That's it. It's a lot like soccer. If it doesn't support that then chuck it. If people can't support that then they are no longer needed.

    IMHO, the things the scouts are going to remember aren't the awards, they are the adventures, experiences, and trainwrecks of campouts/meals.  The scouts need us (even if it is only for transportation) but they really do remember everything that happens on the adventures.  If you talk to someone in their 50's that is an Eagle scout, they will note talk about their Eagle rank.  They will go on and on about Philmont/Northern Tier/canoe trips.....

    My son will talk your ear off about World Jamboree, Sea Base, the canoe trip on the Buffalo river.  But if you ask him about Eagle rank (he is almost done) he we clam up and say that is the boring stuff.

    just my 2 cents

  6. 5 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    I think there's two challenges here:

    1) The watering down of the program. Having never taken it in any of its iterations, I cannot comment.

    2) The Really Big Deal Cult. This manifests as a) acting as of they were elites/putting on airs/talking down to other Scouters (rare, I saw this only once personally, but I know it is a concern) or b) the cult of constant reference. I don't care what your critter is or was. I'm sorry, I really don't. And all that kind of referencing and chanting and singing and beading ceremonies that cut into scout time does is to send an "us cool kids club" message that you aren't part of the "cool kids".

    <Ramble On>

    Yeah, I get the Cult reference.  There is a lot of it.  It is comparable to Eagle as well.  There are a lot of great scouts that never got to the Eagle rank but yet are phenomenal scouts.  Conversely, there are a lot of Eagle scouts that aren't.  Advancement is just one of the methods.

    The critters are like astrological signs, you are assigned it randomly.  I understand while in the course why you adopt your critter just like you are supposed to adopt your patrol name.  But afterwards...... who cares.

    I do think that Wood Badge is good training, but there are a lot of good training courses in Scouting.  I have taken Woodbadge, Seabadge, Poweder Horn, IOLS, OWLS, WFA, IOWLS, Baloo, US Archery, NRA Range Safety, and others.  All were good and bad for their purpose.  Not one of them should be considered the best or the premiere training.  

    <Ramble Off>

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  7. Not a board of review, but somewhat related.

    When I was Scoutmaster, I had one boy that I didn't pass off on the Scout Spirit  requirement for Life rank because of attitude and actions from the scout.  I explained to the scout why I was doing it and what I expected to have him change to get signed off.  He understood and expressed interest in changing his behavior.  An hour later I received an angry email from his parents about how what I did was unacceptable and that I needed to pass him off.  I refused and let him know I am happy to meet with him and the committee chair.  He showed up with the printed guide to advancement and told me unless his son is taking drugs then he is passing the scout spirit requirement.  I explained that was not correct and that I could not in good conscience sign off on it.  I also explained to him what I had told his son about expectations.  He then complained to the District Commissioner and Executive who told him that I was fully justified for not signing off.

    Afterwards, I did get feedback from other parents thanking me for doing the right thing and not just passing him off.  His parents continued to shoot daggers at me with their eyes and talk bad about me behind my back for a couple of years.  

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  8. 1 minute ago, CynicalScouter said:

    As I understand it, once upon a time Woodbadge was the premier training, limited only to Scoutmasters, and a Really Big Deal(tm)

    Today, it is simply training open to any registered BSA adult.

    Some/Most Woodbadge people I know treat it as a cool, or neat, or interesting training program.

    SOME I repeat SOME are part of the Really Big Deal Cult and treat it as if they are part of a semi-secret fraternity.


    IMHO you are correct.  And Tickets like Eagle Projects have become more and more watered down over time.  Some take it seriously, others take it to say that they have taken it.  I know someone who was a WB course director and he was graded on how many completed their tickets by the time the 18 months were up.  And was pressured by other volunteers to lower standards on the tickets that people have.

  9. I try to not be judgmental.  I fail many times at that but I try. 

    <Rant On>

    Way too much focus on getting Eagle and collecting Merit Badges.  I wish that Scouts and Scouters would focus more on the Leadership, Service, and adventure part of the program.

    My son's project is currently about 300 hours in and getting close to being finished.  

    He actually used this line during his review with the committee about his project plan "I want to build a park, not just a park bench".  His words not mine.

    I do recommend to my scouts that they choose a project that they will be proud of when they are a parent of a scout.  

    Anyway, I am working on trying to be more accepting.  I am a work in progress.


    <Rant Off>

    • Upvote 1
  10. I have attended a few of them.  Personally I find them boring and I would prefer they just come to a unit meeting to hand it to me.  Or maybe hand out the award at a camporee.  None of us do it for the awards, we do it for the kids and the conversations around the campfire.  

    • Upvote 1
  11. 1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    A partial update to this:

    So, this caused a mini-panic in my council as dozens of unregistered MBCs started coming out of the woodwork.

    The result was two fold.

    1) MOST people I've heard from are trying to do the right thing and get registered/get the paperwork in. Of course Council is already flooded trying to do unit recharters, this won't help. But hey, at least they are trying to come into compliance.

    2) At least two units I know of are taking the "Screw National" approach and either a) going to keep using their unregistered MBCs and use paper blue cards or b) the MBCs themselves are balking at having to fill out the paperwork/take YPT ("takes too long/I have no time for this").

    So, yeah.

    I am happy the see the #1's.  The #2's are acting like #2 IMHO.  YPT doesn't take a long time and is important to stay up to date.  It takes 1 hour online and is good for 2 years.

  12. I think this is a good thing.  Taking and re-taking YPT is important for BSA as BSA is already is deep with a history of poor decisions surrounding youth protection.  This is an easy step to take care of and an adult should be able to take the YPT class online, it really isn't hard to take IMHO.  Agreed people need to reach out to them for keeping current with YPT and registration, it isn't a hard task but someone needs to do it.  

    If you have an expert that you really want to talk and present to the youth about a particular topic, you can bring them into a meeting with other trained leaders present so they can present to them as a consultant.  They can even document the activities so that a registered MBC can use that info for sign off.

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