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Posts posted by scoutergipper

  1. While that might be quite a bit unfair in most parents eyes, there's one boy out there paying the way for the others.



    You're lucky. We had a similar situation, which people did notice, so we had to revamp our entire fundraising plan. We had low dues, with a single fundraising effort that paid for the majority of the Troop's needs. However we had quite a number of Scouts that made no effort at fundraising, but went on every campout. Some were getting a Scout program for $65 a year. Others were paying $400. A few of our newer parents tumbled to this pretty quick. So we went to higher Dues for everyone with ISA's for "excess" fundraising dollars based on effort.


  2. And as we move onto Weblos and eventually Boy Scouts' date=' I know the requirements get more stringent and complex in the demonstration of faith. Although the BSA is non-denominational and only technically requires that member have faith in God or a higher power, it seems most of the associated requirements are still very focused on things you can do within your religious organization. [/quote']


    Aside from being Reverent (and we've had some interesting threads on what that means recently), there are no "stringent and complex" requirements in Boy Scouts with regard to demonstrations of faith, at least under the current program. A Scout who professes a believe in a higher power of any kind will have no problem. I've had Buddhist Eagle Scouts in my Troop.


    As ScoutNut indicates above, I think you may have mis-read the program a bit.


  3. This is the #1 complaint I get working with Packs in my District. There's no magic bullet, but I would suggest creating a list of the top 5 things you need done, with a brief description of what each one entails and an estimate of the time commitment. At least a couple should be simple and quick. Have individual meetings with each family's Adults - coffee, at your home, at their home. Don't do it at Pack meetings. Explain the general need for help and talk with them about the specific opportunities available. For your new parents, give them an early, easy "win" (you might consider having a 5-point list of really simple, one day or "a few hours" jobs just for the new Adults). Ask them personally for their commitment to help make their son's - and all the boys - Cub Scout experience better. When someone says "yes" praise them to the skies at your next Pack meeting...and add a new job to your list.

  4. He wants to be in Boy Scouts' date=' but cannot talk his parents into it. Hopefully, his parents will come to their senses. But if not, I enjoyed spending the three days with him.[/quote']


    I trust you will make an effort to reach out to the parents directly - buy them breakfast or something. They are doing their son a disservice.

  5. My Troop does this frequently - in some instances they are younger brothers of Scouts who aren't old enough to join yet. We call them "permanent guests" of the Troop, although you might be looking at a one-time deal.


    My only concern would be from an insurance perspective, but I assume potential recruits would be covered under the Crew's policy.

  6. It just blows my mind that a group of kids would join Boy Scouts, and then stay in it for a year or two, if they didn't like to camp. I also don't understand how it could become optional. It seems like the pressure of the expectations of the rest of the Troop would cause this group to either start camping, or leave to find another activity they liked.


    This is not to say that Scouts is for everyone. I tell people all the time I think Scouting would be of great benefit to any boy/family that gives it a try with the right attitude. But the reality is that not everyone can muster the attitude or open mind. Some are always going to allow some part of the program - the mud, the patriotism, the chaos - to get in the way of what the program really is.

  7. This is a bit confusing to me (as most of life is). Why aren't any of your Scouts leading? How in the world can it take 3 hours to plan 3 one-hour Troop meetings (I just returned from a one hour PLC where five Patrol campouts were evaluated and four Troop meetings, and five Service Projects were planned and there wasn't a kid in the room over 14)? I sure wouldn't dump a 12-month planning requirement on a group that takes as long to plan a Troop meeting as it takes to execute a Troop meeting.


    How can any Scout have "no ability to advance?" I could understand no "desire" to advance as they all go at their own speed. Trying to force advancement is not going to work - you're just going to burn the kids out and suck all the fun out of Scouting.


    There is such a thing as too much "hands off" which is why we're supposed to "Train 'em." It sounds like your Adult Leadership has not taken the time to train your Youth Leaders. Have the SPL and the Patrol Leaders been given Handbooks for their jobs, and has any Adult talked with them about what's in the Handbook after they've read it so they understand their jobs? Are the Adults mentoring the Leaders, helping them reflect on the decisions they've made to see how they can make things better? Does every Scout understand why they're in a Boy Scout Troop?

  8. There are definitely Scouts who need to have planned activities in order to have a good time, and other Scouts who have no problem filling up a campout with "activities" they just make up when they get there. I had a very interesting and lengthy discussion with a Scout at Summer Camp about precisely this issue - he was "bored" with Scouts generally because his Patrol wasn't doing things he liked. But his attendance was poor - both at Troop meetings and campouts - and he wasn't really a participant in planning activities or making suggestions for them. I explained to him that the Patrol - and the Troop - do the things the Scouts want, and that there were definitely Scouts in the Troop who liked what he likes (he's an athlete, so he wants to swim, hike, bike, etc) and that he could impact whether Scouting was "fun" for him by taking some ownership of his Patrol and it's activities. So in September, he switched Patrols, became the APL and hasn't missed a Troop meeting or campout. Sure, it's early, but it's nice to get through to a Scout and see results so quickly.


    With that said, I personally have no problem with just making up your fun out of whatever happens to be there on a campout. But when I was a kid, there were no such things as "play dates" or "structured play" or whatever buzzword they're using these days. On Summer or weekend mornings, I would just head out the door to find my friends and see what happened. We would decide together what we wanted to play that day. I'd be back home at dinner time...maybe. All the "stranger danger" fears have pretty much ruined that way to be a kid and that, I think, is reflected in the OP's experience.

  9. Finally I walked over to the table, opened up a dutch oven and swept the coals into it and put the cover on.



    So here's a great example where an Adult can step in to a situation to solve a problem "for" the Scouts because it's safety-related. Other possible safe solutions weren't immediately obvious to the Scouts, and that's when unsafe solutions can easily come to the fore. Probably a demonstration they'll remember.


  10. So I see that the dreaded "situational ethics" has reared its ugly head in this Cub Scout group. Today, it's looking the other way on a registration form, tomorrow maybe we're back to hushing up YPT violations. I would think a trial lawyer would have a field day with a unit that was purposefully submitting inaccurate information should there ever be an accident in the unit.

  11. I was wondering what were the rules for asking for donations outside of the pack? Also' date=' is it possible for the pack to get a 501(3)c non-profit organization status with the IRS so people that donate money could claim it on their taxes? [/quote']


    So far as I know (and the way I operate) is there are no "rules" about asking for donations to support the Pack in general. I know there's some concern/disagreement about individual Scouts asking for support for their Scouting experience, but that's not what we're talking about. I believe that BSA expects you to "clear" any fundraising efforts through your local Council, but I personally see that as a "request" rather than a "rule" and chart my own course.


    Normally, Packs and Troops are registered under the tax status of their Chartering Organization, and I think it's normal to use their EIN or TIN. If your Chartering Organization is 501©(3), you're in clover. If not, you could always form a Pack XXX Foundation and apply for tax exempt status BUT as Stosh notes above that may be more than you want to bite off right now. In any case, I ask for and my Troop receives monetary and non-monetary contributions, and my thank you letters always say, "Your contribution may be tax deductible as the law allows. Consult your tax advisor."


  12. As for the lackluster attendance from the younger patrol' date=' it's typically due to sporting conflicts or family issues. [/quote']


    Yeah, not much you can do about that, especially the sports stuff (but at least that's scheduled ahead of time). I have a couple of two-sport athletes, but the important thing is what they do when they're on campouts or at Troop Meetings. One is more of a shy, retiring type who acts like a stranger during and when soccer season is over. The other one jumps right in when he's there, like he's never been gone.


    The solution (easier said than done) is to get big enough that having a few boys miss doesn't impact the Patrol Method program.


  13. I think it's fair to say that families don't expect to participate in a program like Scouting for free. Given that you're a "start up" you might consider explaining to the other families that you're not sure yet what this will cost in total, and lay out the amounts you know you have to spend for registration, Boys Life, etc, and add $25 or so to get the Pack started with the understanding there might be another "ask" later in the year based on the activities. You might also think about asking for a one-time larger contribution ($100?) for which each Scout and Adult Leader would receive a "Founder" patch they could wear permanently on their uniform. This would give you a solid financial base out of the gate. The feasibility of this, of course, depends on the financial condition of your Pack's families, but you can always take payments of $10 a month if people are struggling.

  14. Why do you have such low attendance from the 11-13-y.o. Patrol?


    We're just now to the point where we have a group that could be called a "venture" Patrol. We've empowered this group to plan "high adventure" activities around regular campouts (for instance, if our younger boys are going to Winter Lodge to inner tube, they should consider snow camping or snow caving) - same destination, different activities.

  15. That's great news! Shows, again, that persistence can pay off big-time. Get ready for the speed bumps and complaints from the parents the first few times things go wrong. Remember that things going wrong means it's working the way it's supposed to. Only in Adult-led Troops are things ever perfect. "Train 'em, Trust 'em, Let 'em Lead!"

    • Upvote 1
  16. Teaching the adults seems to be a lot harder than teaching the scouts.
    This is the crux of the matter, and sometimes it applies to registered leaders as easily as to Troop parents. Many Adults see themselves as problem solvers in general, and most specifically for their kids. When they first join, Boy Scouts (in their parents eyes) are still "babies" and need to be looked after and protected, just as they have been doing for the past 11 years. Some parents "get it" right away, or can be weened off their habits. Others require a tougher approach and some simply are not willing to bend to the reality of the Scouting program. It's hard work.



    A SM if he cared to do so could keep a handle on a couple hundred boys. :)




    I think this is probably true (although when you reach your 10th "Zack" or "John" I'd think your head would spin), but the SM's of the large Troops in my area clearly don't care to. I went to an Eagle COH at a large Troop once where the Scoutmaster had clearly not been camping with the Scout since he was new to the Troop, but also decided to tell a story that did not place the Scout in the best light. Cringeworthy performance.


    It's also kind of fun to watch my ASM's struggle to keep track of the names of all the Scouts (and we're only at 40!).

  18. I'm not an evangelical, but I believe they are called by their faith to "witness" it to others. That you see this as something to "fear" opens the real possibility that you are a religious bigot and intolerant. Fear, by its definition, is unreasoning - the "mind killer" as Frank Herbert called it. But you're entitled to your own thoughts on this and whatever consequences might flow.


    As young people, some are touched by a religious calling. I saw it happen to others my age when I was a teenager, although I never found myself moved in that direction. None of those kids were harmed in any way and the ones I'm still in touch with went on to happy, fulfilled lives. Some stuck with this original "conversion," others found different paths. No big deal and certainly not a learning process to "fear."


    There are definitely weak people who can be swayed by strong personalities, but most kids Scouting age are either following their parents or their friends. There won't be many Scoutmasters who can try to shoehorn kids into a religion that's not their family's without having the kids quit or the parents pull them. And if neither of those things happen, maybe the kid will be happier.

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