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Everything posted by Torchwood

  1. Our Troop has dues of $50. this used to cover the re-chartering fee for each Scout, including Boys Life. We have kept this the same, even though the fee has gone up. We have a single fundraiser each year, selling wreaths and other holiday greens. The Scouts go door to door and sell, with each Scout expected to hit a $300 minimum. Most go over that, some by a good margin (we had 3 boys top $1000 this year).Some Scouts also opt out entirely. We assess an additional dues payment from those Scouts of $150- approximately what the Troop would net from the minimum of $300. That money is our operating
  2. We just had a District Camporee at the abandoned Medfield State Hospital in Medfield, MA. Parts of the grounds were used in the filming of Shutter Island, and the entire campus was the principal location for the upcoming New Mutants movie. Filming wrapped at the end of September, and we had 8 Troops there on Columbus Day weekend. The caretaker of the property took the whole crowd on a tour of the center of the campus one of the 2 nights we were there. The first trailer just came out, and it was cool to see the buildings, and how they added things, both real and with CGI technology.
  3. Talk to your local Scoutmasters about getting a Webelos Den Chief or two. Having Boy Scouts at your meetings and activities will definitely ramp up the excitement level in your Webelos Scouts. We are looking at a class of 12 Webelos crossing to our Troop in early 2018. We have 2 Den Chiefs- one is a Life Scout that is on his game, the other is a 1st Class Scout who is young enough that the Webelos know him from when he was in their Pack. Between the two of them, they can reach most of the boys in a positive manner. We are also being very proactive with the boys and their families. We are havin
  4. Has your son been to NYLT? It will help fill his toolbox to deal with all of the issues of Troop leadership. And just a short story: I had a parent speak to me about an older Scout who was being a jerk to her son, who is 3 years younger. Sh was worried about the two of them being together at Jambo, without any of the Troop's adults around. While mulling over a solution, I saw the older Scout sitting near the door at the end of a Troop meeting, waiting for his ride home. I sat down next to him and asked him what was going on with him and the younger Scout. He told me that the younger Scout
  5. Actually, I am very much in the Scout's corner, and would love to see him earn his Eagle. But, it has to be HIM doing the work, and not the father. My issues with dad are purely based on his pushy behavior regarding his son's advancement and his acting as if his family is above the rules that apply to every other Scout and parent involved in the Troop. The Scout's older brother earned his Eagle just before he turned 18, with a lot of pressure exerted on the Troop by his father. The younger brother was, at the time, completely checked out on being in the Troop. He wasn't around all that much, a
  6. We have a few helicopters and bulldozers in out Troop. I am pretty up front with them about the fact that this isn't their journey. If they email me, I will generally email the kid and cc the parent. I address most mass emails to the Scouts, not the parents. If a parent asks for Merit Badge info, I tell them point blank that I need to have that conversation with the Scout. If they want to be involved, and we hope that they do, we need them working for the good of the Troop, not just their own kid. I have one dad with a 17 year old Life Scout that is on the edge of being able to earn his Eagle
  7. Brian- Have you gone to NYLT? I know that you are close to earning Eagle (as is my 15 year old son, who is also the SPL of our Troop). He spent a week this summer taking the course, and came back with the tools to engage both the younger boys, some of whom sound just like the boys in your OP, as well as the older boys who ordinarily wouldn't generally listen to anyone younger than they are, regardless of who is wearing the SPL patch on their uniform. He has stepped up his game, and is truly committed to improving the Troop program.
  8. I was told that this no longer exists at my local store.
  9. The Taurus Outfitter tents have bigger (stronger) zippers, and the floor is a heavier urethane coated nylon material that will stand up to the abuse of Scouts throwing their gear around better. They also have aluminum poles instead of fiberglass, and they have 2 doors, which makes it easier for middle of the night trips to the latrine. Each door also has its own vestibule, so there is plenty of covered space for gear outside of the tent. They were designed for companies that outfit groups for camping expeditions, so they would be used by many people over the course of a single camping season,
  10. Apparently this decision has wiped the sense of humor from some of the adults in the room...
  11. I promise you that the boys are equally foolish with or without the presence of a girl...
  12. If the Troop in question is operating according to the rules, then the SPL should have selected a different person to replace the newly elected PL as the Scribe. Unless the Troop is so small that other Scouts are also doubling up to cover the required positions.
  13. Just my opinion, but generally I think that FOS barks up the wrong trees. Why on earth would you ask the families that are already supporting Scouting at the Unit level to contribute more to the Council? They should be working like the development arm of any other non-profit, and target businesses. Go for deep pockets, and stop the nickel and dime stuff.
  14. Other than holding elections for SPL and the individual PLs, the other Troop PORs are supposed to be APPOINTED by the SPL. They are not elected positions.
  15. The SM is asking a simple question. How YOU see YOUR duty to God is how you answer that question. There is no wrong answer, it is just a way to open the topic for discussion.
  16. Sorry for the soapbox, but I hope that you have noticed that all of the advice you have gotten doesn't mention YOU doing anything. Boy Scout advancement is your Scout's responsibility. If he has questions about how to get help with a Merit Badge, he should be asking his Scoutmaster to help him find a registered Merit Badge Counselor for that topic. Merit Badges have a very specific order: The Scout meets with the Scoutmaster to get a signed blue card and the contact info for MB Counselors for that Merit Badge. The Scout contacts the MB Counselor for an initial meeting to talk about the process
  17. I don't think that all of the measured changes are due to a single cause. The reductions in sex, drinking and drug use are far more likely to be due to better access to healthcare and the millions of dollars spent on PSA campaigns and school programs aimed specifically at those issues. In the upscale community where my Troop is, most kids never need to have a part-time job. Some do delay getting a driver's license, although I am willing to bet that the average family in town would eagerly buy their teenager a car as soon as said license was acquired. We do have quite an issue with helicopter a
  18. There are certainly exceptions to what I said, but the rest of them should be exploring a subject area. The MBC can guide the Scout to find the answers without lecturing...
  19. Just my 2 cents: Your job as a MBC is NOT to "teach" a Merit Badge. If you look at the requirements, very often they say "discuss with your counselor" or "do the following". In none of these cases is there any expectation that the MBC is lecturing to a group of Scouts. The Scouts are supposed to become familiar with the subject matter through things like reading the Merit Badge pamphlet, or looking things up on the Internet. Your job as a MBC is to then make sure that they know the information. Now, you can certainly use the EDGE method for things- a perfect example would be Home Repairs. But
  20. Here is my opinion on the subject: I am absolutely in favor of admitting girls into the Scouting program. I think that it will, at least here in MA, have a positive impact on membership. Personally, it would keep me involved in the Troop for at least an additional three years, as my daughter, who is presently in Girl Scouts, would definitely cross over into the BSA if given the opportunity. She is bored to tears with most of the activities in her Troop, and the leadership has made it pretty clear that they are not interested in my help to enhance their outdoor program (which can barely be cons
  21. When I was a youth soccer referee in High School, it was an ACME Thunderer- the one with the metal band that went around your fingers- no lanyard. Now, the Fox 40 is what I usually have clipped to my pack. Not sure what happened to my ACME...
  22. I hope that cows are still getting female names, since a male wouldn't be a cow. I also wish that the HRC would stay away from cutesy names. Hurricane Cynthia is way more intimidating than Hurricane Cindy...
  23. We have Troop tents- mostly Kelty Gunnisons and some MountainSmith dome tents. My personal tents are ALPS, and I highly recommend their Taurus Outfitter line for Troop tents, even though they are a little heavier than the standard Taurus. I have one of their Chaos tents that I use when tenting alone, and a Taurus for when Mrs. Scoutmaster joins me (which happens more often than not- she is on the Troop Committee and is a Merit Badge Counselor too).
  24. I am not a big fan of cloud anything- but I think part of that is the fact that all of that stuff is blocked at our firewall at work, so I don't use it anyway. The "cloud" is just someone else's computer. That being said, here is a recipe for safe computing for your family: 1. Make sure that you change all of your router settings from what your ISP has as defaults. That means changing your home network name (SSID) and password, and setting an admin name and password for the management console. If you go to a browser, generally the way to access this is to type into the address
  25. Colonel- I absolutely agree. I work in a DoD research facility. I absolutely add to the curriculum (not the requirements, as that would be wrong) about things like creating strong passwords, watching for phishing and other scams, the importance of good (and up to date) antivirus software and firewalls, etc.
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