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Hedgehog

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Hedgehog last won the day on June 19

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About Hedgehog

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  1. Hedgehog

    New and comprehensive Family scouting FAQs issued:

    Our Troop has been to Camporees (West Point and others) where there were Girl Scouts and Venturers. NYLT is co-ed due to Venturing. OA allows female adults to be inducted. Cub Scout Pinewood Derby in our Troop always had a "non-scout" division (read younger or female siblings). Rick: Really? I guess I have to be specific. "I also see the co-ed dynamics and understand that there are reasons that co-ed scouting would not work as effectively as a program that focuses on single-gender development between the ages of 11 and 14 due to the cultural, educational and political factors at work in the United States." Hopefully, you can't twist those into a situation where I'm insulting other forum members. I'VE HAD IT. I'VE TRIED TO BE REASONABLE AND STRIKE MIDDLE GROUND AND HAVE A PRODUCTIVE DISCUSSION. BUT YOU ALL ARE SO FREAKING BOUND TO YOUR OPINIONS THAT YOU TURN EVERYTHING INTO AN ARGUMENT. THE SCOUT LAW DOES NOT EXIST ON THESE FORUMS - THERE IS NO TRUSTWORTY, FRIENDLY, HELPFUL, COURTEOUS OR KIND TO BE FOUND. YOU GUYS GO ON HAVING FUN BASHING THE BSA AND BASHING EACH OTHER. I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DEAL WITH ALL OF YOUR PETTY BEHAVIORS AND COMMENTS. I'M OUT. I HAVE A LOT BETTER USE OF MY TIME INCLUDING WORKING WITH MY TROOP, MY CREW, MY SON AND... YUP... THE FEMALE SCOUTS BSA UNIT OUR CHARTERED ORGANIZATION IS STARTING.
  2. Hedgehog

    New and comprehensive Family scouting FAQs issued:

    For me, equality of opportunity has always been a conservative value (with apologies to any Liberals on the forum). I've never been one who has seen demonstrations, protests and battles of words (read name calling and personal attacks) as a solution -- it makes those involved feel better about themselves but does nothing to find solutions. I also don't see life as a zero sum game - just because someone succeeds, someone else doesn't necessarily lose. I don't like the idea of co-ed Scouting at the Scouts BSA level. There is something unique about the program in the way it nurtures 11 to 14 year old boys. I also think that same nurturing and growth can best be obtained through having a separate program for girls. Girls deserve the opportunity to participate in the best personal development, leadership training and outdoor program. Of course, the program isn't perfect, but it is the best. The question of how much the Boy and Girl programs overlap is an easy one to answer - the youth are in charge and they decide. We had the same false issues arise when we started our Venturing Crew. Are the girls in the Crew just going to tag along with the Troop? The answer is that in two years, the Crew hasn't done a joint activity with the Troop except for helping out with the Pack's Pinewood Derby. I joke with parents that our 11 to 13 year old boys shouldn't be around girls the same age because "they really aren't fit to be out in public." Those who have ever been a parent of a kid that age smile in agreement. Also, I've had the ability to observe the differences in leadership style between boys and girls in the Crew. Girls tend to be more organizationally inclined (they very much dominate the planning meetings) and boy tend to be more operationally inclined (when we get into the "field" they take charge). I also see the co-ed dynamics and understand that co-ed at the younger ages won't work. So, the BSA structure actually works - a boy Troop, a girl Troop and a co-ed Venturing Crew. My advice is that if you want to have a strong program for the Boys, work to build a strong independent program for the Girls. Build both programs with the foundations of youth-led, patrol based, servant leadership and then mix in a lot of outdoor adventure and fun. As Richard Covey says, think win-win.
  3. Hedgehog

    Austistic Scout being bullied

    The issue is one of Troop culture. Culture begins with the leaders. The older Scouts take their cues from the leaders. The younger Scouts take their cue from the older Scouts. Our Troop has a Scout with on the Autism spectrum, a Scout who is Downs Syndrome and a Scout who is in a wheelchair due to spinal cord issues that affect his ability to walk and use one of his arms. The Scout on the Autism spectrum does need more adult interaction than the others. The older Scouts (who are his same age) have been taught how to support him by treating him as an equal. The Scout with Downs Syndrome became best buddies with our ASPL last year at camp and one of the younger Scouts was his "buddy" all week. Honestly, he is a rock star when he comes to meetings. The Scout in a wheelchair just joined our Troop and has been befriended by the other ASPL (who is my son). He quote is "it is so cool he is into Scouting, I want to make sure he succeeds." Our Troop's culture is that every kid who joins a a Webelos is treated as a little brother. This has been the way since 10 years ago, a bunch of youth decided to make the patrols mixed age when they become the senior leaders, because they were remembered what it was like to be excluded by the "cool" guys when they joined. One of the things we do is cover "bullying" in our leadership training. We explain that what one person thinks is funny and a joke, may not be a joke to the person it is aimed at. The question isn't whether you thought it was funny, but whether the other person also thought it was funny. We define "friendly" to be from the perspective of the other person. Don't get me wrong, there still is a lot of razzing on folks, but everyone involved knows it is in good fun. I have a saying that everyone needs Scouting for a reason. Some to enjoy high adventure, some to learn leadership, some to learn self-responsibility, some to have a place that they feel like they are among friends, some to have a place to goof off, some to find self-confidence, etc. If the adult leadership approaches it from that perspective, the rest comes easy.
  4. Howdy Hedge...   Here is my email.   lehmaj@verizon.net  James Lehman, UC, ADC, RTC,  ASM, IOLS trainer, (hoot hoot),  at your service.   

  5. Remember EDGE method - Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable. The guide and enable parts are what work to keep them interested because they are doing. Have fun with them. I love when I talk to Scouts about knife safety and saying "Thank You" before I let go of the knife. I then say, "let's practice." I hand them the knife and hold on to it until they say "thank you" and then I let go. I then say, "OK, give me the knife back." They do, I take it and tell them "You failed." I continue to do it until they realize that they should hold on to the knife until I say "thank you." Actually, when they realize they are supposed to hold on to it, I make it look like I'm trying to pull it out of their hands (smiling the whole time) until I realize they want me to say "thank you." NOTE: I used a closed folding knife. Learn some stuff that isn't in the book. I love to do rope magic tricks. There is a Cub Scout Magic book that has a lot of good stuff in it including a two person rope escape challenge that I've used for leadership training. Show them how to use a magnifying glass and char cloth to start a fire. Think of things that you've learned that are really cool and show them... it doesn't have to all be requirements. My son has a "training" balisong knife (non sharpened blade) that he has learned some tricks with. Most importantly, show that you love Scouting and that you love being with the new guys. That will make them love learning. Bring your book and in the morning look at the skills you are going to teach. Don't be embarrassed to look at your book if you forget something. I always say something like, "I want to make sure I'm teaching you the way it is done in the book." That sort of implies you know how it is done but you want to do it so they can look at their book to remember.
  6. Hedgehog

    The need for personal liability insurance

    I would start with having a signed permission slip with language similar to what is on here: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/19-673.pdf. I can't say that the waiver is ironclad, but I see no reason NOT to have it signed by every parent. I suspect that our CO has insurance, but I've never asked. I have contemplated getting an umbrella policy. My recollection is it is around $350 a year for $1 million and $450 a year for $2 million and $600 a year for $5 million. As @Saltface said, make sure that there isn't a gap between where your home and auto policies stop and the umbrella kicks in. Remember, the order is your home or auto, then the umbrella up to the limit and then your assets. So don't determine the amount of the insurance by the amount of your assets. That is, if you have $500,000 in your house, savings and retirement plan, don't think that $500,000 of insurance is enough. A $1 million verdict will be satisfied by the insurance and then by your assets. The major consideration is the likelihood of someone actually bring a lawsuit against you personally and their likelihood of success. A broken bone on a camping trip isn't likely to result in a lawsuit (assuming the person has health insurance and doesn't have any significant out-of-pocket costs). A car accident is more likely to cause a lawsuit. If something happens on a BSA outing, the person bringing the lawsuit is more likely to be looking at the BSA's insurance and the CO's insurance than your assets. Unless, of course, you have enough assets worth looking at. One of the things to look at regarding insurance is if they insurance company will cover the cost to defend you against the loss. If they do, then the premium is probably less than you will spend for two hours of a lawyer's time. Remember, even if you win, you still have to pay the lawyers.
  7. Dog tags. They have a small chain that is supposed to go around a toe or something. Can get them inexpensive on the internet. Have the Troop and Patrol on them. One on the Dutch Oven and one on the lid.
  8. @Cambridgeskip, it's not you, it's me. @David CO 's "three act story" comment was a jab at me and an attempt to discredit what I've said. I've written and deleted three responses and then realized that I don't need to justify my experience, my story or the depth of my faith to him or anyone else on this forum. If what I've posted helped some people to move toward a common ground, than I'm glad. For others, nothing I can write will make any difference because they are focused on winning the argument rather than seeking to understand. As a result, this is my last post in this thread.
  9. Each patrol has a Patrol Box (pots, frying pan, cooking utensils, cast iron griddle, measuring cups, paper towels, wash bins, etc.), stove, lantern, Dutch Oven (and lid lifter / lid stand), propane tank, stand pipe, pop-up garbage can and 5 gallon water jug, large clear plastic bin for food and a cooler. We have around 10 troop tents and a couple of old loaner backpacks. I think there is a sleeping bag that someone donated that we haven't found a home for. I also have a bunch of hiking shoes and scout pants that people have given me to be provided to new Scouts. We encourage Scouts to first get a mess kit, sleeping pad and sleeping bag. I do a backpacking gear presentation for the Webelos and their parents before they join the Troop. That gives them an idea of what gear to get (my advice is to save money by getting good gear first rather than buying something inexpensive just to replace it).
  10. Hedgehog

    All Scouting is Local

    I'm not sure. If the girls in my Crew are any indication, I'm guessing the older ones will be out to kick @$$ at the camp games. I do know that the majority of girls in my Crew opposed the BSA opening the Boy Scouts program to girls. I also know that the Crew hasn't liked attending Boy Scout events (both the guys and the girls) but has loved attending Venturing Events. I"ll have to ask the guys in the Troop what they think when they are at camp this summer. I'll also be interested in my son's opinion about how the camp he works at will be different. My sense is that most of them won't notice a difference because our campsite is where all the fun happens. There hasn't been any real effect when we've been at Camporees with Girl Scouts or Co-Ed Venturing Crews.
  11. @The Latin Scot I understand and respect all of what you said in your post. I think that what you said about making everyone feel loved, appreciated and safe is the common ground I was looking for. If people start with an agreement on that idea, the disagreements become less heated and maybe as @Eagledad suggests, the discussion becomes more pragmatic.
  12. Hedgehog

    All Scouting is Local

    @gblotter that isn’t quite what I was trying to convey. My point was more along the lines of despite all the gloom and doom and despair on the forum, you can run programs within National’s guidelines that provide a quality Scouting experience for youth - both male and female. Despite your suggestion, some of my son’s best experiences this past year have been at OA, NYLT, and Council Events and Summer Camp. All of which are run by youth. My solution is for people to focus on what is in their control by building a youth-led, patrol-based fun seeking program. I don’t think Scout units should be co-ed, but instead of complaining and walking away declaring the end of Scouting as we know it, I’m focused on building a strong, independent girl-led Troop with strong leadership. Guess what? All of the girls’ parents LOVE the idea of it being separate and independent. Trust me, 11 to 14 year old girls don’t want to be around 11 to 14 year old boys. For those that want co-ed, we have the Crew when they turn 14.
  13. I didn't intend to be self-righteous or grandstanding. If I came across that way, I apologize. My purpose was to encourage people to look at this a different way. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm very conservative - voted Republican every time except once where I voted for a third-party candidate that was more conservative. I'm Catholic and take my Church's teachings on issues like sexuality, abortion and compassion very seriously. If you asked me about transgender kids three years ago, my response would have been to consider those kids abnormal freaks (my words, not any of yours) that I wouldn't want in my Troop, Crew or to be friends with my kid. But then I met two kids who were transgender and my viewpoint changed because I stopped thinking in the abstract and all of a sudden had to think about how my views of gender identity affected my interaction with these kids. I still don't wholly agree with this transgender thing and I truly don't understand it. I can tell you that some parents of transgender youth have similar feelings. However, I know these two kids and they are good kids and good Scouts. I focus on that because, ultimately, that is more important. So yes, my views have changed and I am passionate about it. And yes, I do get a bit defensive about the Scouts in my Troop and especially my Crew. So don't mistake my passion, emotion and defensiveness as being self-righteous. That was the goal of my post. I wanted to try to reach some common ground where we could disagree on the underlying concepts / beliefs regarding gender identity but agree that when it comes to a kid interested in Scouting, we would be there for them no matter what gender they identify with. If by taking things out of context, you are referring to my use of the term "normal", my intent was not to make other people's use of that term seem negative but to "own" that term by pointing out that everyone is not normal in some way. Barry, I have a sense of who you are from being on the forums. I do believe that if you had a transgender Scout that you would treat them with dignity regardless of whether you Chartered Organization would permit them to join your Troop. I also believe that David would treat a transgender student in his school with compassion and dignity. I hope everyone who has chimed in on this thread would do the same. Based on the circumstances I found myself in, I've done a lot of reading on the topic. I still don't understand the "how" or the "why", but I've come to understand the "what" -- that these kids are struggling with who they are, sometimes at an existential level. I can help with that even without knowing the answers to how and why. That doesn't make me a better person, it is simply how I reacted when life put me in a situation where my karma ran over my dogma. I tried to stay out, but you are right... I can't help myself because I'm emotionally invested in this issue. For some reason that I"ll never be able to figure out, I've stumbled across two great kids that happen to be transgender. I don't want to change your opinions. I"m really not even sure what my opinion is. What I want to do is to put a thought in the back of someone's mind that the important word in the phrase "transgender kid" is "kid." I don't consider offering a different perspective "guilting you" into change. I've never said that anyone's view is wrong and have never disparaged anyone. I try to follow Richard Covey's "seek first to understand, then to be understood." I think I do understand your perspective and I was asking you to understand mine. You don't have to agree with me, but to just understand mine. I don't think my vision of scouting is either utopian or liberal. I acknowledge that the world is a pretty tough place, that our kids have to deal with so much crap that we didn't, that life is imperfect and that disappointments hurt us more deeply than success heal us. I do treasure what little difference I can make in any Scout's life. I've heard the stories of the Scoutmaster's that Scouts remember years later and I aspire to have at least one of those stories. I do believe in living by the Scout Oath and Law and by my faith. But I'm not perfect in either area, but that doesn't keep me from trying. I try to run my units by the BSA guidelines and as envisioned by Baden-Powell and Hillcourt, but I am not perfect there either. If I was going to provide my vision, it would be that Scouts provides a place to learn character and leadership among friends primarily in the outdoors. I don't think that is either liberal or utopian. Maybe you are seeing the side of me that is an unceasing optimist. My point in that thread is we should judge the Scouting program and our beliefs by what we are doing in our Troops, Crews and Packs to help kids. Barry, I'd love to hear those stories. For me, that is what Scouting is about. I apologize if my stories somehow offended you. I"m proud of my kid and I'm proud of the kids in my Troop and Crew. I have to deal with much of the same BS from parents, Council, National, etc as everyone else, but what keeps me doing what I do is that I actually see kids benefiting from the program. I know that isn't exclusive to me and you probably have had a lot more kids pass through your program that I have, but that is what makes it worth while to me. I'm not selling the BSA better than anyone else... at least that I know of. I have no idea how any of your Troops are run. I know what I'm doing that seems to work. If someone can learn from what I'm doing - great, if someone can get there by doing something else - great. I also know that I can improve and always welcome suggestions My intent wasn't to impute anyone's moral character, but to have people look at things differently. As I said, a hypothetical debate is different than when you have a kid in front of you who wants to join Scouting. I've never said any of my Scouts were victims. Far from it. They are kids learning to deal with the problems of life.
  14. Hedgehog

    What's your best Scouting memory?

    We are on a patrol hike on a campout. My 13 year old son and his buddy are leading and we just trekked up to a scenic overlook and looped around to a second overlook. My son tells the group that we have to double back to get back. A parent disagrees and points to a trail saying, "its right there." Son take out compass and has buddy go 100 feet down the trail to see if it turns to go in the right direction. It doesn't. My son repeats, "we have to double back." The adult repeats, "it's this one right here." My son looks at me and asks, "what should I do?" I responded, "lead." He said, "OK, lets go this way" and led us in the opposite direction of where the parent was insisting. In three minutes we were back on the trail headed in the right direction. The parent didn't say anything the rest of the hike. At the West Point Camporee, our five foot tall Venture Crew president heard an Adult Leader insult his Scouts by calling them "a bunch of girls." One of our Crew members got a picture of her correcting him. I'm guessing he never did that again. My most favorite memory is when my son was SPL for summer camp two years ago. A new Scout didn't have anyone to tent with. The parents came to me, insisting that I fix it. I told them that their son should talk to his SPL. They were obviously annoyed, but told their son to talk to the SPL. I saw the conversation happen and then my son called to his buddy who was tenting with him and said, "George, can you tent by yourself, I'm tenting with Bobby." In a moment, the kid who felt like he was the last one picked for a team, was sharing his tent with the SPL. My son woke up a half hour before everyone else that week and we talked about the plan for the day. He put his heart into leading the Troop and by Friday he was exhausted. At the closing campfire, one of the adults talked about their first experience at camp and told the story of how he didn't have someone to tent with and how one of the older scouts in the Troop kicked his buddy out to tent with him. I could see how the story impacted my son. As we left the campfire, we (as SM and SPL) had to check in with some of the MBCs to make sure they got the prerequisites our Scouts finished up the night before. On the way there, my son broke down crying -- exhausted from the week and emotional from the campfire. At that moment, I stopped being his Scoutmaster, gave him a big hug and turned into the dad of a very amazing 13 year old. I've got tons of other stories about the guys and gals in the Troop and Crew demonstrating what Scouting is about, My best memories aren't about me, the are about them.
  15. Hedgehog

    All Scouting is Local

    Certainly... if you allow me to edit and expand it. Send me a messaged I'll send you an edited version.
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