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Posts posted by scoutergipper

  1. Well, it does get tiresome fighting off the group (small but vocal) that wants a "Webelos 3" Troop. Happily, I've recently had some of my worst parents get tired of not being allowed to wash their kid's dishes on campouts and transfer their Scout elsewhere.


    I would guesstimate I get 10 "you're an SOB's" for every "good job." I've told the Committee that I'm happy to step down any time they want me to, but as above I'm having a good time and as long as that's the case, I'm around for a while.

  2. As is obvious, Lee, you're not alone. We all have Scouts like the ones you describe from time to time.


    I am surprised any Patrol Leader would choose these two boys for his Patrol, except under duress. I like the "Patrol of Two" idea, and suspect that may end up happening by itself if the current PL doesn't somehow force the issue. Other Scouts and Adults need to quit bailing these two out. They need some positive peer pressure to help them understand what is expected.

  3. We encourage the PLC to schedule "something different" on a Troop meeting night every once in a while - bowling, swimming (although we'll work with any Scout who wants to on BSA Swim Test or other water-based advancement or Merit Badges) and the like. Our Patrols also get together and do stuff, although these aren't "Scout events."

  4. Our Troop does not allow cell phones, games, laptops or other electronics on campouts or at any other Troop function. We just had a Scout transfer to a different Troop because his cell phone was more important than his fellow Scouts. "Loyalty? What is that?" His new Troop has Adults that take their laptops on campouts so they can work and the Scouts can watch movies.


    These items isolate Scouts from each other and from their responsibilities in camp. Scouting is an opportunity to "get away" from the constant connectedness for a while.


    Technology is a tool. Like any tool, it can be used appropriately - or not. BSA can put all the wi-fi networks in camps they want, we won't be accessing them. Or we'll camp somewhere else.

  5. The single biggest challenge faced by DE's is to convince volunteer unit leaders that they can provide some kind of benefit to the units. When I mentioned to our DE that most of the units didn't think the District or Council did anything for them, the response was "well, they need to tell me what they want me to do." Not exactly the response I was looking for there.


    As I mentioned above, I spent the last several years spending quite a bit of time on Cub Scout recruiting in my District. I spent hundreds of hours on this, outside of my work with my unit. My reward was to have my decisions as a unit leader questioned.


    Running a volunteer organization as a professional staffer (something I've been doing for 25 years outside of Scouting) takes the right kind of professional staff.


    Some of the schools in my area are 90% Hispanic and maybe 5% White. If your main appeal is to the 5%, it's tough.


    This is also an issue for our District. The Pack we re-started that I mentioned above includes an Adult Leader who is fluent in Spanish. We have used him extensively for outreach at any school that has a significant Hispanic population. We believe that Districts should note on their websites (or BeAScout) which units have Leaders/Adults who are fluent. We had parents telling this guy, "Oh, we would like to come and join your Pack."


  7. I just spent the last couple of years on the Membership Committee in my District. I focused my efforts primarily on the 4 public and one private grade school in my area. We had 1 Pack at a public school, 1 Pack that serves a public school but meets at a church, and one pack at the private school. During this time, we lost the private school Pack to Leadership Standards issues and the public school Pack to disinterest and PTO hostility, and re-started another Pack at a public school that had been shut down about 5 years ago. We increased Membership at the Pack that meets at the Church and gained Members for that Pack from 2 public schools that don't have a Pack. There are more total Cub Scouts in this area now than 3 years ago, but the difference is small.


    Recruiting is hard work. Pack's need to have visibility year-round at their school or Chartering Organization. Packs need to recruit year-round. Any event at the school that brings families in (carnivals, concerts, etc) where the Pack can have a display table and a chance to talk with parents and kids should be taken advantage of. Any opportunity to send information to school families about the Pack should be taken advantage of.


    BSA does a miserable job of marketing. There is no competing public narrative to the "child abusing, gay-hating" narrative Scouting's enemies use. Neither units, nor Districts nor Councils do enough (in many cases they do nothing) to let the public know through use of earned or purchased media the good they are doing in the community. If this, in particular, does not change, Scouting will have a tough time surviving.

  8. My personal view is that Cub Scouts makes a mistake (particularly in Webelos I & II) in not doing at least a little camping. "No outdoors" is frequently the #1 complaint I get from Webelos when I interview them before they cross over and camping is the #1 thing they are looking forward to. I wonder if we lose boys in Cub Scouts over this.


    In many cases they may not be big enough (even if they had all the gear) to carry a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, cook kit, food, etc. Some level of car camping may be required due to this. However, you have to evaluate the individuals in your Den, figure out what gear they have (or don't have) and work with what you have. Car camping is better than being inside all the time. Let them do the maximum they are capable of achieving.

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  9. For a lot of kids, making a sale is tremendously exciting. Without all the "no's" the "yes" wouldn't mean much. Reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode where the bad guy gets shot and ends up in "heaven" where he wins every time he gambles. After a while, it becomes clear that getting everything you want with no effort or risk is "the other place."

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  10. This is an important moment/opportunity. I have seen young Scouts (like you, had to use them in POR's - it's all we had) destroyed as Leaders by a bad experience early on. Why not volunteer to sit in with the PLC and help them lay out the plan as a team? Not doing it for them, just making sure they know where to dot the t's and cross the i's. Make sure they know the only expectation is that they "do their best," and Troop meetings or campouts that don't come off at 100 percent are only learning experiences not disasters. As long as they are having fun and learning, that's all anyone can ask.


    Second the ILST - get that scheduled right away. A Leadership Campout is a fun way to make the boys gain confidence in leading.

  11. As an SM, I don't sit on Boards either. We never hold Boards of Review on Troop Meeting nights. The committee arranges either other weeknights or on weekends. We also do them on campouts, when we have sufficient registered Adults along. Generally speaking, the Boards take between 20 and 30 minutes. This usually depends on how talkative the Scout is. Scouts are rarely more than a couple of weeks away from a Board.

  12. I've seen it happen a few ways. Sometimes there is a "Council Contingents" going to a High Adventure Base. I have also seen Troops that have some Scouts who want to go and are trying to fill up a Crew and will announce it at Roundtable or contact Scoutmasters. Northern Tier also has several programs for individual Scouts, including hooking them up with a Crew that has a spot: http://www.ntier.org/About/Summer%20Canoe%20Trips/IndividualPrograms.aspx

  13. It seems obvious, I suppose, that if you only recognize boys when they earn their AOL, they'd be spread out over what could be a significant period of time. I see the Cross Over as a special ceremony that celebrates the Webelos II's who are continuing into Boy Scouts. I have also seen Packs use it as a night to "elevate" each Den to the next level. I wouldn't "hold" the AOL awards until that time, but that doesn't mean you can't have a ceremony recognizing them (again in some cases) for their achievement. Some Packs give out extra AOL recognitions at the Cross Over.


    The AHA! moment came once when the Scouts were cooking breakfast. in separate patrols about 100 feet apart from any other patrol. When the Scoutmaster looked at me and simply remarked. "It's so much less chaotic then if we were all under the dining fly."




    This was the AHA moment for many of our Adults as well. We had conflicts on every campout ("stolen" equipment, no accountability, etc), then tried the separation camping a couple of times and the conflicts virtually disappeared. We were then forced to go back to close quarters at a BSA property (couldn't convince them to give us 4 separate campsites) and all the problems re-appeared. If there's some kind of mess in a separated Patrol campsite, there's no way they can try and pin it on someone else. It's their mess, and I'm happy to sit in my campsite and wait until they figure out how to deal with it.



  15. I recruit hard, and by that I mean I invite Webelos from all over my area to visit our Troop, to camp with our Troop and to join our Troop. And I tell every Webelos and every Webelos Parent: we'd love to have you in our Troop, but the only important thing to me is that you stay in Scouting regardless of what Troop you join. We offer Cross Over ceremonies to any Pack that wants one, regardless of where their Webelos are going.


    I wish Eagle94-A1 was in my area! I have a home for his Cubs :)

  16. It's interesting that WE as Scouters trust the Scouts in our care more than their own parents trust them.


    Well, it's a different world we live in. When I was in Scouts, everything except Summer Camp and Camporee was Patrol camping without any Adults. Neither of my parents ever went to a Troop meeting or a campout.


    These days, I constantly have to ask my Troop's Adults to quit selling their own kids short. Most are ok - they aren't really involved. Some wouldn't trust their kid to lead anything as far as they can throw them, and a handful simply can't let their own kids - or other people's kids in some cases - alone. I've had parents wash dishes for their kid, parents follow their kid around Summer Camp every minute for a week.

  17. I'd go ahead and give them the patches now. I have seen Packs that have a ceremony at Blue & Gold, but I think that's because their boys are more on the suggested calendar for earning the AOL and earn it closer to the B&G date. You could still do an "extra" recognition at B&G and give them any other memento/keepsake at that time.

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  18. I would suggest about half philosophy and half mechanics. Boy Scouts is not Cub Scouts. Explain the Aims and Methods and the ultimate goal of Scouting. Let them know the Troop is boy-led and the level of involvement you expect from Parents (as opposed to Adult Leaders). The other half can be about Dues, when you meet, how often and where you camp, etc.


    If you have an articulate older Scout, you might consider giving him a minute or two to talk about his Scouting experience in the Troop.

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