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Posts posted by jpc763

  1. Early this summer, a new scout in my troop and his younger brother tragically drowned.  They were at their fathers house near a river and they somehow got washed away.  The younger brother was a Cub and the older brother had just become a Boy Scout in my troop.  I had only met him a couple of times.  This happened in May.


    I wanted to do something for the boys parents and a member of my committee suggested a tree.  I worked with our local parks department and got a lovely tree planted and plaque erected in the boys honor.  The boys were members of 2 packs so I have been working with both Cub Masters and our local District.  Everything is finally completed and I have scheduled a dedication ceremony that both parents will be attending.  That is where I need help.


    I know I need to do this...

    The district is presenting the "Spirit of the Eagle" award to the two boys.

    Our Chaplain Aid will give a prayer.


    I am not sure what else to do so I thought I would ask the scouting braintrust!


    Thanks, John


  2. Going with Backpacking.  Troop started of with 20 scouts trying for the badge, with only two left at the end.  (The tallest and shortest scout) Yes, you can do it at Philmont, but not all scouts will get to attend.

    That is about the attrition rate that I had when I offered the Cycling MB to my troop.  I think I had 25 attend the maintenance workshop and 2 ride the 50 mile ride.

  3. You are the SM, so the Scout's preparation for rank advancement falls to you, as does everything up to the BOR..


    This scout has been with the troop since before my son joined.  I have been SM for 2 years and he "came back" to troop meetings maybe a year ago.  All other ranks were covered by the previous 2 SMs.


    EBORs are handled by the advancement chair and, in most troops I know, an "Eagle Coordinator" or advisor of some kind. Most units I know have parents or committee members sitting in on BORs. Same for EBORs but with the addition of the district rep.


    This is almost exactly the case.  The Eagle Coordinator and Advancement Chair set up the BOR and invite members of the committee.  The District Eagle Rep runs the BOR.  The difference is that the scout requests one community member for the board.  I sit in and am quiet.  The parents are outside.


    SMs can sit in on BORs if allowed, but we usually don't say a thing. Parents are not allowed. 


    We have ASMs as part of the EBOR but never SMs


    You may want to point out to your District Advancement Chairman page 55 of the 2015 Guide to Advancement, Section

    Composition of the Board of Review
    A board of review must consist of no fewer than three members and no more than six, all of whom must be at least 21 years of age. For further specifications, see “Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks (or Palms),â€, and “Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank,â€ Unit leaders and assistants shall not serve on a board of review for a Scout in their own unit. Parents,
    guardians, or relatives shall not serve on a board for their son. The candidate or his parent(s) or guardian(s)shall have no part in selecting any board of review members. (emphasis added)


    I assume that this means that the SM and ASMs are supposed to precluded from the EBOR.  That would be a change in 100% of the EBOR that I have been in.


    How about Committee Members?


    Also, who is supposed to make sure that this is adhered to?  The District Eagle Representative (who sets up the board)?  We have 2 of them and they both apparently do not follow this rule.

  5. All,


    I want to thank you for your thoughts and comments.  I really appreciate it.


    Your answers reinforce the training I received and the way our troop operates.  I have a member of a recent board who has asked some questions which I tried to answer and he had more questions so I thought I would ask the collective wisdom here.


    The scout earned the badge.  I believe him to be an Eagle Scout and therefore have no issue with it.  


    I know this young man and although he does not talk about God, he does have a higher power.  He just is a 17 year old kid who has a hard time explaining it.


    The BOR reviewed his blue cards only because he provided all of that as part of his BOR.  These cards were from 2010 or 2011 and as I had mentioned they were earned at a different districts MBU.  The SM at the time has long since retired.  Signing them on the spot is a good idea as I just had a scout who recently transfered to my troop have a BOR for Star and he has a couple of Blue Cards that are not signed by his previous SM (The signatures I am talking about are not the ones on the front that acknowledge that the scout is working on the badge.  They are the ones that the SM signs after the councelor signs off all of the requirements)..


    Another reason to gather the collective wisdom is because a meeting has been requested to review how to make sure that scouts are ready for the ranks that they aspire to.


    Thanks again.

  6. Keep it in mind that politics plays it's role in every aspect of BSA.  Remembering that helps one sleep easier at night.

    I am not sure what this is supposed to mean.


    If a Scout has no belief in a "higher power" or whatever the politically correct terminology du jour is that satisfies "A Scout is Reverent", the Eagle board is not the place to be questioning it for the first time.


    Likewise, if he had blue cards that had not been properly approved, the troop committee did not do its job when awarding the merit badge. Once the badge is awarded, it cannot be nullified. As the current SM, your job is to work with your Committee to fix the process.

    I understand that the higher power question is not for the EBOR.  Exactly where is that supposed to be covered and by whom?


    For the committee, there are no members left from that time.  This gets more complicated when you understand who the boys parents are.  They are both very active at the council level.


    So if the EBOR is not supposed to ask about God and not supposed to follow up on blue cards, what is their purpose and once again, can they deny the rank?

  7. Hello, I am a troop SM and recently had a scout go through his EBOR.  As SM, I sit in support of the young man and do not ask questions.  Some things came up that troubled me.


    First, this scout had several blue cards without SM signatures (from before my term).  These MB's were earned at district level MB Universities.  This causes some consternation on the board but ultimately they determined that if the district validated his application than they did not have the authority to deny him based on this.


    Second, this scout had a very difficult time explaining his concept of God.  He does not attend any kind of organized religion.  Once again, this caused some consternation on the board and once again, they ultimately determined that he should pass given that he had a letter of reference from his spiritual leader (his father).


    This got me thinking about the purpose of an EBOR.


    In our District, the EBOR is made up of the District Eagle Advisor, several members of the Troop Committee and a community member of the candidates choosing.


    Are they supposed to be a rubber stamp or can they actually deny a scout the rank?  I remember specifically (because I asked for clarification) from my SM training that once the scout passes the SM Conference for ANY rank (including Eagle), they cannot be denied the rank.


    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  8. Fellow Catholic here.

    Is your CO the parish or the Knights?


    So far, I have not heard any rumblings.  2 years ago, we were told we would most likely be sent packing.  I joined the Knights so I could participate in the Vote to keep or drop the troop.  Since then, the Knights and the Troop have built a much better relationship so I am hoping that the Local rule will be enough.

  9. I' not Mormon so I don't care what the LDS units do. I am waiting to see what my CO does. They are meeting in late August, but for now they said proceed under the local option.

    If you don't mine, who is your CO?


    I am SM of a troop here in CO that is chartered by the Knights of Columbus (Catholic).  We are also waiting to see what the Knights will do.


    I just hope that we do not lose our charter before my youngest son has a chance to make Eagle.  He is Life and a year or so away.

  10. I am a SM of my troop and have recently had an issue with a parent of a scout who is not registered.  The parent was a respected member of the community and had a great relationship with the Scout.  The parent was charged with abandonment and the story gets really strange.  Personally I believe the parent but the point is, it does not matter what I believe.  I called our Council immediately and was told that the parent could have no part in our meetings, outings, etc.  This was not to protect the specific scout, but to protect all of the boys in the troop. 


    I informed the parent of the council's decision and gave them our district CEO's phone number (with his permission) for further discussion.


    My recommendation it to remove your emotion and escalate the issue to the District and/or Council.  We don't get paid enough to deal with these types of issues!

    • Upvote 2
  11. @@jpc763 it does sound too good to be true. I would talk to the scouts and walk through what they did. If it sounds like they did not complete the requirements then follow the GTA and use the remedies they outline on how to address this situation.


    We had a similar experience with cooking at a "MB college". All was signed off without the MBC validating the work was done. We met with the scout and asked him to produce his documentation regarding all the menus and meals. He couldn't and agreed he just told the MBC he'd done the work, not bothering to realize that meals in question were also being applied to rank advancement and other badges.


    I will discuss this with committee chair.  Forgive my ignorance, but what is GTA?


    I run a Cooking Merit Badge program for our toop.  We start off with an hour meeting where the boys plan the menus that they will be cooking in the outdoors.  I do the shopping for them based on their food lists (this saves money because I can combine the lists (so you don't have 4 pounds of butter when each group only needs a 1/4 pound) and can use spices and other ingredents from my pantry at home).


    The class is 8 boys where they are paired up into 4 groups.  Then we meet in my backyard on a weekend day at 8:00.  The start out by washing their hands.  Then we prepare a dutch oven full of monkey break. I then teach them how to cut with the various cooking knives and then they chop ham, cheese, onions and peppers.  By the time the monkey bread is ready, they have  made egg omlettes and fried up some bacon.  We then eat and clean up.


    We then spend some time going over first aid, foodborne illnesses, safe food handling and food allergies (Requirement 1).  The boys then cut up some potatoes, start a fire, grill some sausages over the open flames and deep fry the potatoes in a dutch oven.  We eat and clean-up.


    We then talk about healty eating habits (Requirement 2) and then about cooking methods (Requirement 4).  We talk about backpacking food and make some beef jerky.


    That takes us to around 3:00.  The boys then begin cooking dinner and dessert.  Each pair of boys cooks a full meal and dessert both using a Dutch Oven.  In the past they have cooked braised short ribs over polenta, beef lasagna, BBQ spare ribs with apple sauce, cole slaw and corn bread; chicken cacciatore over pasta and beef stew over noodles.  The desserts have included a chocolate cake (not a dump cake, but one baked in a cake pan), chocolate brownies, choccolate chip cheesecake, peach blueberry cobbler and an apple pie.


    The boys' parents join us for dinner and we award the Cast Iron Chef honor to the pair that got the best results.  The boys clean up and we call it a day.


    We then have one more hour long meeting where we discuss food labels and careers (Requirements 3 and 8).


    The boys then have to make their menus, pepare their shopping lists and cook the meals at home and then on a trial hike or backpacking trip (Requirements 5 and 7).  I accept prior cooking on backpacking trips as long as the write up the menu and shopping list. 


    So, it probably takes 1 hour ahead of time, 9 hours on the weekend, 1 hour follow up and then the work to do at home and on the trail.


    I have thought about designing a program for our summer camp for next summer.  There would have to be an hour a day session for the coursework and then a morning, afternoon and evening session for the outdoor meals in lieu of the dining hall and then two trail hikes for a breakfast and lunch on the trail  

    This is a great program.  It is great of you to put this on for the boys!


    November 2013, we made our campout a "Cooking MB" campout.  I was the counselor for that badge and we went through all of the book requirements except careers (old book so I am not sure what number it is).  I had a ASM helping and we broke the boys into groups of 3.  Each one had to plan a menu for the campout (5 meals and a dessert) and then cook them on the campout.  The adults were assigned to one of the patrols so each patrol ended up cooking for one of the adults.  It worked out very well and I am planning on doing it again this November with the new requirements.


    That being said, even with focusing the skill part of 2 troop meetings and a whole campout, the boys still had to do cooking at home and on the trail.  My younger son was on that campout but still has the backpacking cooking left.

    • Upvote 2
  12. So a question for you - how many of the Scouts that started the merit badge with this counseler completed the badge?  Are there any lads from the other Troop having the same problem with him?  If so, then not only is he denying the Scouts the opportunity to complete the badge (and adding to the requirements in doing so, by the way - more on that later) - he is embarrassing your Troop since your Troop is the one that provided him.


    Now as to adding to the requirements - the requirements of the Merit Badge do NOT require that the "testing" be done in front of the Merit Badge Counselor.  In fact, they are written in such a way as to suggest that they be self-administered and they're written that way so that the merit badge can be accomplished at any time without being dictated by the counselors schedule and availability.  Heck, a Scout could do the full 12 weeks and log everything and then not sit down with their counselor for a year to discuss the results and it still counts.


    I'll revise my earlier answer just a bit - I think you would be much better off recruiting someone else in your unit to be a Personal Fitness Merit Badge Counselor, make sure they understand how the program works, and get any of those Scouts with partials in front of him/her right away so that they can get the merit badges they deserve.  I think it's also time for you to separate this counselor from your Troop until he's ready to come back, get trained, and do things the right way.

    His class had 8-10 boys in it from two different troops.  I know of 3 that attended the final test day.  I am not sure of the others.  They received blue cards and most likely got a new MBC with their own troop.  The boys in my troop are just sitting on them (as is often the case!).


    Mrs. X is back and I have been in contact with her.  She has not read the email (I forwarded it to her) and we will talk tonight or tomorrow once she digs out.  I have lots of items to discuss (she was gone for 3 weeks and a LOT happens in 3 weeks!) so I know I will talk to her in the next day or two.


    Thanks all for your responses.  They are overwhelming in support of finding someone new to work with my son.  That was my gut but I am glad to have confirmation from so many great scouters.



  13.    Just a few questions here. You say in previous posts that you've had some other problems when it comes to this leader and the scouts advancement. Would you not agree that adult leaders or scouters job is to work with the boys? Do you feel that this scouter has done well at this incident, as well as others? Would you recomend any of your scouts to see this guy for MBs? Just because he is an Eagle Scout and has all the "bling" does not make him any better. Just because he was a, shall we say stand out scout, does not mean he will be the same as a scouter. Do'nt know if you have ever heard this before or not but it may fit here. "Not every great SM is an Eagle Scout and not every Eagle Scout make a great SM". Now just replace MBC with SM. He still needs to be counseled on what is expected of your scouters.

    I have one example that I have first hand knowledge of and have heard of other similar but all of that is second hand.


    The first one was when he was on a BoR and he began re-testing the boy.  The Advancement Chair pulled him aside and said that it was not appropriate for him to do that.  His answer was that he had to do it when he was a scout.  The Advancement Chair and I clearly set the expectation that he would not sit on another BoR if that was the attitude.  The second hand accounts are similar behaviors in MB situations and other advancement situations.  When he firsr rejoined the troop, he was at every meeting.  Now he attends very rarely so he is moving away on his own.


    I like the young man.  He is a nice guy, but he has the attitude that since it was "hard" for him, he is going to make it hard for the youth of today.


    If Mrs. X is the advancement Chair, she has no authority over the MB Counsilor.  If he is deferring to her, then the MBC is not doing his part correctly.  There is no reason this Scout should not be given the names of some alternative MBCs to finish up with.  This is part of the reason why I do not encourage participation in MB 'Universities'.  My son had a similar problem with followup after doing cooking.  After a year of chasing the MBC from the class he asked for a new one and was signed off right away.


    Mrs. X is both the Advancement Chair and the Committee Chair.  Our troop had gotten to a very lean point before I took over as SM.  We had many older scouts and very few new ones and the new ones were almost 100% drop off's so we had little parent involvement.  That is the reason that she has two positions and we accepted this guy as a committee member.  We have since begun growing again (through recruitment) and are getting some great new blood, both scouts and scouters.


    Our troop does not participate in District level MBU for the reasons put forth.  We put our own on and this year we combined it with another troop.  All of the MB counselors are from our troop or the other troop, not the district.

  14. I am a SM at a Troop here in CO. My older son is a Life Scout and only has the cooking MB left to complete. He started the MB at summer camp last year in South Dakota.  At camp, they finished all of the book requirements and a few of the actual cooking requirements so my son was left with the campout meal planning and cooking and the backpacking meal planning and cooking.


    My troop just came back from summer camp here in Colorado (I was at High Adventure) and had 6 boys take cooking.  I was amazed to see that all 6 completed 100% of the cooking MB at camp.   That means that each boy had to cook 8 meals and 2 deserts/snacks using two different camp methods (fire, stove), a one pot meal (dutch oven, foil pack or kabob) and 2 backpacking meals.  That seems quite difficult given the amount of time each boy spends in the class.  They all had 2 hours a day of the class for 4 days so a total of 8 hours.


    It just seems pretty hard to do all that cooking.  What are your thoughts?



  15. You're probably right.  Anytime I've had a difficult boss or client I've always found it better to just move on rather than try to work things out.  Bail and shop for a better venue is the life lesson I'd want my son to take from the situation.

    I assume sarcasm by your response.


    My son had a conversation with the MBC.  He told my son that it had been too long and therefore he would not do the test.  My son went home and sent the 17 week program explaining that he maintained his exercise program beyond the 12 weeks and given the concern the MBC had about the time lapse, could he do his test with another adult given that the MBC is not available.


    The MBC flat out said no and that if he was overridden by the Advancement Chair (who is also Committee Chair) than he would not sign the blue card.


    I ask who is being more childish.

  16. Some questions

    Did this scout receive a partial blue card from this MBC?

    How many other scouts from your troop were in this particular class?

    Was his son one of them?


    What goes around, comes around applies to more than just toilet paper.

    He received a partial card with only requirement 8 left.


    There were about 8 other scouts in the class from two different troops.  Two other scouts from our troop attended his "final test" date.


    He does not have kids.  He is an Eagle Scout and former member of our troop.  His father is a former scoutmaster from our troop as well.

  17. Well, in a sense there is a time limit, but I see no requirement to do the tests in front of the counselor.. Did the Scout do, record, compare and analyze exactly as it says in the requirement? If so he is ready to talk to a counselor, discuss and describe as it says, and pass that requirement. The first counselor quit on him. I think he is entitled to a substitute.

    He did do the compare and analyze.  He has all of his documentation and was trying in June to talk to another counselor since the original one was not available.

  18. All,


    Our troop along with another troop held a "Merit Badge University" in January.  This counselor is a young man from my Troop.  He is a former Eagle from our troop (with 5 palms) and has come back as a leader after college.  His father was the scoutmaster 10 years ago when he made Eagle and was rumored to be tough.  We have had to correct him in the past for "adding requirements" to Boards of Review and Merit Badges but all in all, he is a very good scouter.


    I should have said this in the first post, but this scout is my younger son.  I did not direct the counselor to "follow the requirements" as it was my son.  Instead, I told him to talk to the committee chair before he made any decision.  He did not take that advice.


    The Counselor is not readily available.  All of the boys from both Troops received partial blue cards.  This is the only requirement left for all of them.  About 3 months after the MBU, the counselor sent an email out saying that the final test would be on this date.  My son had a swim meet and could not make it.  The counselor told him to arrange another time so my son waited until after swim season to arrange another time.  My son owns responsibility for not "hounding" the counselor but the counselor also owns responsibility as he does not attend meetings or answer the troop email.


    Here is the rough timeline

    January 24 - MBU and first test

    Early to Mid April - Counselor schedules final test

    Mid May - My Son completes his swimming season and tries to meet with counselor at meeting.

    Mid June - Gets alternate contact info from Advancement Chair

    Mid June - Calls and leaves message for counselor

    July 6 - Counselor comes to troop meeting and tells my son that he cannot do the final test and needs to restart his 12 week program because it has been too long.

    July 7 - My son sends counselor 17 week program showing continued work until Mid May and asks if he can have his final test administrated by someone else.

    July 8 - Counselor sends email to my son with the following.


    "You are 12 weeks past the end of the merit badge testing date.  I will not test you for this merit badge till I have a chance to talk it over with Mrs. X. ...  If Mrs. X approves your delayed testing she will sign for the completion of the merit badge not me."


    Mrs. X has been on vacation since July 3 and will not return until July 22 so his final testing will be delayed further by a month from when he went to Mrs X to get alternate contact info and 2 months from when he began trying to schedule it after swim season.


    I firmly believe that the kids need to do the work, but I also believe that it is not fair for counselors to interpret the requirements.  I expect the committee chair to agree and this will likely result in the counselor being dropped from the list.  He will likely drop completely out as well.


    I just wanted to get other opinions on this situation.  Please feel free to ask more questions.





  19. Hello,


    I am a Scoutmaster and I have an issue with one of my MB Counselors.  Here is the issue.


    A scout in my troop began the Personal Fitness MB in January.  He documented his 12 weeks of fitness program and then was not able to attend the group re-test.  He tried to contact the counselor (probably not very hard) but was unable.  The counselor has stopped attending meetings and rarely answers his phone.  Fast forward, the scout got ahold of the counselor who showed up a meeting only to tell the scout that too much time has elapsed since the end of his 12 week program so he has to start over.  The scout updated his document to show 17 weeks of program (varsity swim season) but the counselor said  the he would not perform the retest. 


    Requirement 8 states: 

    Complete the physical fitness program you outlined in requirement 7. Keep a log of your fitness program activity (how long you exercised; how far you ran, swam, or biked; how many exercise repetitions you completed; your exercise heart rate; etc.). Repeat the aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility tests every two weeks and record your results. After the 12th week, repeat the three tests, record your results, and show improvement in each one. For the body composition test, compare and analyze your preprogram and postprogram body composition measurements. Discuss the meaning and benefit of your experience, and describe your long-term plans regarding your personal fitness.


    There is no time limit that I can see.


    What are your thoughts on this?





    Scoutmaster in Colorado

  20. Hello,


    First post.


    My troop is chartered by the Knights of Columbus and they are having a pig roast as a fund raiser for their youth programs (our troop included). In addition to pork and other food, they will be serving beer. We have discussed this at the troop committed and have consulted our district and were told it would be OK for the boys to act as bus boys if they did not handle any of the cups, just plates.


    My question is, can the boys still wear their class A uniforms? The Knights have requested it of us.


    Thanks in advance,


    John - Scoutmaster Troop 81, Loveland, CO.

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