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Loomans

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Loomans last won the day on October 25 2014

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About Loomans

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  1. Loomans

    Millennials and their phones.

    Our patrol leaders do make phone calls. Each scout is requested to provide one 'good' phone number for contact. New patrol leaders collect updated information. PLs are instructed to continue attempts until they speak to the scout. That, of course, does not always happen. PLs can also use texts or messaging as appropriate, but the phone number is a troop requirement. With two scouts in different patrols in my household, we are quite used to receiving awkward calls from PLs especially the night before the troop meeting. And just as I promise my own sons, the adult who answer are very helpful, kind and courteous. My eldest son, in particular, had a good bit of anxiety about using the phone to contact fellow scouts. The practice of calling his patrol mates with a purpose has helped him gain the confidence to call merit badge counselors, make camp reservations, and order pizza for lock-in night. Now he is applying those skills to job interviews and college application questions. There is such an age span in Boy Scouts. In my area, most 10.5 year olds do not have cell phones, email addresses or social media accounts. The troop can't expect them, either, if because of cost, parental controls or age limits on apps. We've settled on phones as the best option.
  2. Loomans

    Recruitment

    I agree, blw2. Spring recruitment brings in Tigers but would be more effective if focused on older boys who can attend district and council camps. Recruitment boy talks always focus on shooting sports and camping, but there are few opportunities to participate in either after fall recruitment. The average pack size in our district is about 22 boys. I think 35 is a better number, the dens are a good size and there are sufficient adults to share the work.
  3. Our pack is doing both programs. Current Webelos scouts will finish with the old program and plan to be finished mid-fall 2015. New fifth graders will be put in their own den and use the new AOL program. Adding a den is a little more work but meets everyone's needs in the best way, we've decided. If only one or two new fifth grade scouts join, we may try to cross them over to the troop with the current Webelos. It all depends on the birthdays and the parents. Question - has BSA committed to keeping the soon to be obsolete pins and belt loops in stock during the transition? I think our DL is planning to stock up on what he thinks he will need for his summer and fall program.
  4. Girl Scouts use a different unit model. IME there are advantages and disadvantages. More flexibility in decisions and activities, less support from other leaders are the two main differences I've found. We have a local homeschool group that runs Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and American Heritage Girls meetings all at the same time. Sounds chaotic to me, but it seems to work for them. We have a pack meeting next week, we needed more participants so we invited a GS troop to join us. I'm looking forward to it!
  5. Loomans

    Stolen popcorn money

    I am always amused when someone on the internet maintains that it isn't possible to be successful if you do something the way that is already proven in my actual, personal experience to be successful.The vast majority of our scouts sell to customers who know them - friends, familiy, parent work colleagues and neighbors. A good portion of our local population will buy popcorn to support scouts from any scout in uniform. Doing show and sales or neighborhood blitz programs will take care of the rest. Any potential loss of sales is offset by avoiding situations like the one described in the original post.
  6. Loomans

    Does your pack charge fees / dues?

    Certainly not to pick on you, resqman, but I wanted to point out for anyone reading this topic that raffles are specifically mentioned in the BSA Fundraising Policies and Procedures Manual as not permitted: Gambling Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, Article XI, Section 1, Clause 1: (e) Gambling. Any fundraising project designated to benefit chartered organization units, districts, local council, or on a national basis which involves games of chance, lotteries, sale of raffle tickets, bingo, or could be construed as a gambling activity, is not permitted. We also found that our charter organization also did not permit gambling on their premises.
  7. Loomans

    Stolen popcorn money

    Seattle, our council does not take any responsibility for bad checks or non-de,ivery. Responsibility lies 100% with the unit. I agree with those who said to consult the charter org, final decision on any action is theirs. I also agree that the scout should not be punished and that unit policies around popcorn be changed. We ask for payment from customers at the time the order is placed. Popcorn money is turned in with the order forms, before the unit orders from council. We've lost a bit of product here and there from show and sells, but nothing at the $230 level.
  8. After spending a good chunk of my afternoon getting ready for a leadership meeting tonight, I am ready to resign! Our council website promises much, delivers little. Cub camping information hasn't been updated since last year though all the links are still active and pointing to outdated information. There is a Cub Camping Rally coming up, according to my UC, but since it wasn't on the calendar or any of the aforementioned pages, it was tough to find the time and date. I did locate an announcement on a side feed of upcoming events. And trying to find information about facilities and rates for using the council camp for a family campout? Equally obscure. I don't understand the logic behind having online! registration! for your event! as trumpeted on the website when I have to call a person (who didn't pick up, so waiting for a call back) to get real information about availability and fees. This follows a horrible experience in registering troop scouts for the upcoming merit badge round-up where a new, untested registration system was deployed. Scouts had to be registered individually and any changes processed by phone call or email. Of course, there was no communication on this so a week went by while we waited for someone (anyone!) from council to let us know that the 'edit your registration' button didn't work. All changes had to go through one of two people. While waiting for call backs and emails to be returned, every one of our scouts were closed out of the classes they wanted which only increased the time lag as info went back and forth between the scouts, the troop and the registrar. Then the council contact went on vacation right before registration closed! And re-charter was another mess. All registered scouters had to have updated records through my.scouting.org and a printout included with the recharter documents. Except it took up to 2 weeks for the records to appear on that system, so the person doing rechartering kept trying to do the training records and freaking out when her changes weren't reflected on the screen. Yet another instance where communication would have made a big difference to a volunteer. Other issues as well, but I find it discouraging to keep typing it out. I know why I volunteer. I do it for my sons and the other scouts in our unit. The amount of time I end up wasting because BSA and our local council are so incompetent is infuriating. And I am tired of apologizing to parents and scouts for the screw-ups, as well. I won't quit, but I am pulling back and reducing my commitment just to keep the time I devote to scouting manageable. I feel like I've been given no choice. Is it like this in every council?
  9. Loomans

    Frequency of Den Meetings

    My pack meets weekly through the school year, all in the same building. Den meetings are the first three Tuesday nights and last one hour. Pack meetings are the fourth Tuesday and are scheduled for an hour and a half. A consistent and reliable meeting schedule is a strength for our pack, it is a selling point for recruitment and the primary reason we retain so many transfers from other units. Den leaders are free to schedule Go-see-its and the like as needed, of course, but most find that doing so on 'scout night' gives a better turn-out.
  10. Loomans

    Any opinions on Columbus OH ?

    I think Basementdweller is from that council, or nearby. Ohio has multiple councils, lots of BSA property, state and local parks for camping. Hocking Hills is beautiful, as stated above. I'm in Ohio but south of Columbus.
  11. Loomans

    Facebook Page for Cub Scout Pack

    I see your point, qwazse, but I have to mention that using FB for parent communication really improved parent participation for our pack. We get a much better response to requests for volunteers on FB, and more parents are willing to look at FB for weather cancellation, meeting reminders, and general info about pack activities. FB is easy to use, parents respond to that.
  12. Loomans

    Do you use the Cub Scout Immediate Recognition Kit??

    We do the immediate recognition program, but we don't use the official materials. The Tigers make their own emblems from leather, using purchased arrowhead shapes. We stamp them with the Cub Scout emblem, the pack number and the scout's name, and punch 8 holes along the sides. Four holes for Tiger, four more for Wolf and Bear. Waxed cord and refill packs of beads from the scout shop and we have inexpensive attractive and frustration-free emblems for the scouts to wear for three years of scouting.
  13. Loomans

    Facebook Page for Cub Scout Pack

    The guidelines clearly refer to Scouts and social media. Our pack has a private FB group with no scouts as members, just parents. My council says that this is fine and has similar groups for some activities. The risk isn't with private groups anyway, but with private messaging. I don't think FB is appropriate for Cub or Boy Scout communications as the age in the TOA is 13 years old. I could see a crew using FB effectively, but IME that age group is texting and ignoring FB for the most part. As an aside, if I do tag photos on FB, scout or otherwise, I tag an area on the photo that doesn't have a person, like a tree. Serves the purpose of directing someone's attention to the photo without identifying the subject, especially group shots.
  14. Loomans

    Easy and Good Camp Food

    Foil dinners, as long as you have a campfire or other means to create a bed of coals. At our favorite campsite, I can feed 70 people in about an hour. Nice big fire ring and lots of pre-prepped ingredients to chose from, its popular because everyone gets what they want. Our second most favorite site has electricity, so we do pulled pork sandwiches (purchased and heated in a slow cooker) along with vegetables with ranch dip. It all depends on what you have to work with and the manpower you have to pull it off.
  15. It's an ongoing problem. I feel that as a den leader, if I've communicated to a parent throughout the year about advancements, noted specifically what their scout needs to do for an advancement, and given them access to scout track and other advancement resources, they cannot look to me when their scout does not receive an award. We generally do advancement work in our den meetings and expect the scout to work at home if it is missed. On the other hand, I've been generous about giving an award to a scout who was missing a requirement because the adults messed up. We've had the occasion or two where a requirement was thought to be done and wasn't, with no time to do it before B&G so the award is given and the requirement met after the fact.
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