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Everything posted by Hedgehog

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. @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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. @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.
  11. @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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Certainly... if you allow me to edit and expand it. Send me a messaged I'll send you an edited version.
  15. I'm back (and probably just for a limited time). First, for the Merit Badges, it is the Merit Badge Counselor, not the Scoutmaster. Second, a Merit Badge Counselor cannot add, subtract or change requirements. The specific requirement is: Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent. The question is what constitutes a long term camping experience. BSA provides guidance here: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/06/24/ask-expert-isnt-camping-night-camping-mb/ Under that guidance, it is clear that summer camp, 50 milers and High Adventure are all long term camping. You can count up to six nights only for one of those events. Krampus and my examples were designed to show that "bending" the rules is a slippery slope and many absurd results could be justified. I see this all the time in units where the Scoutmaster thinks that they can make all the call regardless of the BSA program. At that point it isn't Boy Scouts, its Scoutmaster Bob's version of scouting. Your situation is a close call. It does meet the spirit of what short term camping is, but it is nonetheless during a long-term camping experience. Ultimately, I see this no different as my not counting our 50 miler (they packed up your gear each night so each night was a different camping experience) or Seabase (some scouts slept on deck under the stars two nights during the trip) or the outpost at NYLT or the kids who did the Wilderness Survival merit badge at camp. Ultimately, you are teaching the wrong lesson to your Scouts because your approach is to encourage doing the bare minimum and skirting the rules based on an adult exercising discretion they don't have. A lot of our Scouts earn the Camping Merit Badge and then get the National Outdoor Award with a gold pin because when you add in the long-term camping nights, they have over 50 nights camping in the time it took them to earn 20 nights for the Camping Merit Badge.The senior leaders (all 10th grade) in our Troop all had well over 50 nights camping with one just breaking 100 nights (it would be 135 if you counted the nights he spent last summer as camp staff). At the end of the summer, some of our Webelos Crossovers will have 11 nights ( 5 nights camping and 6 nights at summer camp). Over half-way there in four months. Merit badges are earned, not given.
  16. This isn't about agreeing with or understanding the concept of gender identity. I'll be the first to admit, I don't understand what those kids are thinking, feeling or going through. I just know they are kids who need love and acceptance and who deserve a chance to get the benefits of Scouting. I've got Scouts that outwardly are not normal -- one on the autism spectrum, one with Downs Syndrome, one in a wheelchair. But with the rest of them it isn't evident until you get to know them. I've got a Scout with hearing loss in one ear, a Scout who has an inner sadness because his Dad passed way when he was in middle school, a Scout who has a fear of fire because of a neighbor's house burning down. I have several scouts who have been bullied including my 6 foot tall, 185 pound, 2nd degree black-belt, son who gets harassed because he follows rules, believes in what is right and just and because... wait for it... he is a Boy Scout and proudly wears Scouting shirts to school. I have a bunch of Scouts who are shy and reserved and bookish or some would say socially-awkward. But it amazing how those Scouts shine when they are with their fellow Scouts or when an adult recognizes their potential. How about the Scout who was eating powdered sugar covered in maple syrup or the two Scouts that were having a contest to see how many spoonfuls of grape jelly they could eat -- that is definitely not normal. Are my Scouts strong - yep. I'll put my 5 foot tall former Crew president against any Scout and she will win in any event. Our Troop routinely wins the camp games at summer camp, not because we are the biggest or the strongest or the oldest but because my guys know that leadership means using every Scout in an event where they can shine. Want to talk smart? I spend most of December writing recommendations for Scouts for a National Honor Society. On devoutly religious, the most religious Scout is one of my transgender youth. That Scout learned sign language so to serve as an interpreter for someone who was completely deaf that joined their church. If you think any kid is normal, you haven't taken the time to get to know them. See, the thing is that I don't see any of those "stereotypes" as negative. I see them all as part of the amazingly wonderful people that have been drawn to our programs because each of needs Scouting for a different reason.
  17. So this whole discussion is purely hypothetical based on which might happen by people on both sides who have never knowingly met a transgender person. We have two transgender kids in our Crew. One is gender neutral and one identifies with the gender that is different than what is listed on the birth certificate. Guess what? They are kids like any other kid. I'll vouch for the fact that NONE of the kids in our Crew or Troop are normal. They are all goofballs, goobers, geeks and misfits -- that is why I like them so much. There is no other group of kids I'd rather spend a weekend camping with or a week at summer camp with. Transgender youth need Scouting for all the reasons every kid needs Scouting. A place to be a kid. A place to enjoy the outdoors. A place to be among friends who treat you as a person, not a label. A place to feel accepted. A place to be challenged. A place to learn to learn and to lead. In our Crew and Troop, the words "Friendly, Courteous, Kind" mean something for the youth and adults. Imagine yourself telling a kid, any kid, for any reason, that they are not welcome in Scouting. Here on the forum it is all hypothetical, but when you realize that we ultimately are talking about real kids here, maybe just maybe some of you will change your mind. In the Crew, they sleep with people of the gender listed on their birth certificate (with both sets of parents understanding and agreeing to the situation) or tent by themselves. It wasn't an issue because the kids figured it out without any issues. In a Troop where you won't have two genders, talk to the kid and their parents. I suspect the kid or parents have ideas and preferences. My guess is that they tent with another transgender youth or by themselves. From a humorous perspective, it probably wouldn't be a problem for most Scouts because they don't change their clothes all weekend on a campout anyway. From a serious perspective, the parents of transgender youth are trying to figure this out too and are willing to make accommodations if you are willing to make their child feel welcome. @David CO, to quote Pope Francis, transgender youth are "children of God, loved by God and deserving of accompaniment by the Church." I am happy to serve the children of God by giving them a place in Scouting.
  18. To paraphrase that great sage Meatloaf, one out of three ain't bad.😁
  19. Our rule is if they want to do it, we find the adults necessary. Kids are so over scheduled these days that nothing is spontaneous and everything is planned in advance, so it isn't difficult to get the adult leaders if it is going to be a Scouting event. The difference is that is an individual activity not a team sanctioned activity. Do my son and his buddy's who are Scouts take bike rides together or go hang out at the nearby lake or go into town to get pizza together? Of course. Does that need adult supervision? Of course not. Could a whole team meet on school grounds, use the school equipment and have a practice without adults? I highly doubt it. If it is a patrol, Troop, OA Chapter or other activity, does it require adult supervision? Of course it does. As @NJCubScouter said in another post -- it is the darn lawyers. As one of those darn lawyers, I understand that no organization can undertake any activities with youth in the absence of appropriate adult supervision. A kid falls and breaks his arm while on a patrol activity, the boys were encouraged to undertake the activity by the adults in charge of the Troop. However, there are no adults there. The boys that are there try their best to help the boy up so they can walk out of the woods, but in doing so causes permanent nerve damage. Can you tell me there won't be a lawsuit based on negligence for failure to provide adult supervision? In a perfect world, patrols would be able to do those sorts of activities without adult supervision. Unfortunately, the world isn't perfect. So we have two options - bemoan the rules and declare the death of the patrol method or figure out a way to keep the patrol method alive and kicking in our Troops. I chose the latter.
  20. You need two registered leaders. That could be the SM, an ASM, a Committee Member or a Chartered Organization Representative. Is the problem with not having adults or not having them registered? If it is the second, have them registered as Committee Members -- the training isn't as extensive as for a SM or ASM. The G2SS rule is here: At most, that is two adults per patrol. At the least, it is too adults for the troop. My sense is it would depend on the scope of the activities -- if the Troop is meeting in a park with each patrol in a different area, I could see two adults for the Troop being enough if they are centrally located and can see what the groups are doing. However, if patrols are hiking in different directions in the woods, you would need two adults with each patrol. Our CO requires two adults (not necessarily registered) in any room where there are youth. This is really a protection for the adults. That way, there is another adult in the room in case any scout falsely accuses an adult of doing something wrong. That exact situation happened in a neighboring Troop. But for the other adult being there, the child's accusations would have permanently damaged this adult's reputation. Your comment about trust is hyperbole. It is more about best practices in youth protection. Would your school allow a 7th and 8th grade baseball team to meet at night at your school without any adults present? Would it allow a team practice with a single coach? How about just a parent instead of someone who the school has run a background check on? I suspect any school or church's youth protection policies are very much in line with the new G2SS rules. As for the more registration fees, you are required to have a Committee Chair, two Committee Members and a Scoutmaster. Assuming you have a small Troop (less than 10 boys), you need half of your registered adults at any given meeting. Even for a Troop that size, I would want at least one Assistant Scoutmaster. Our Crew which is 12 Scouts has six registered adults. It is not hard to get two adults. We've had the two adults with each patrol rule imposed by our CO for years and it hasn't hampered our use of the Patrol Method or the concept of boy leadership. The key is to make sure your registered adult leaders buy-in to the concept. Like your signature says, we train our Scouts, we trust them and we let them lead. An adult sitting in the quietly sitting back of the room and giving the leaders some feedback and suggestions after the meeting doesn't change it.
  21. I haven't been around the forums for about a year. I was too busy with the Troop, the Crew, raising a son and working a paying job in between all of that. I also figured there would be a lot of drama with all of the changes in the BSA program. I came back yesterday only to realize that, according to most of the threads and posts on the forum, THE SKY IS FALLING, SCOUTING IS DOOMED and everyone is RUNNING, not walking, FOR THE EXITS. Just WOW. Former House Speaker Tip O'Neal would say that all politics are local, I would say all Scouting is local. Scouting is thriving where I am. The Troop had six Eagles this year - many of which started Cub Scouts together in the pack (and unfortunately, all of whom are graduating). We had eight Webelos crossover into the Troop. Net of incoming and outgoing, we are around 45. The three other Troops in the area reported a increase in the number of crossovers. The Crew is doing great and expanding its membership and having a lot of youth-planned and youth-led adventures. In the Troop, we continue to be extremely boy-led and the patrol method has taken hold. Ask any Scout who is the most important leader in the troop... four years ago it would be the SM, two years ago the SPL and now it is the PL. We picked up 4 ASMs this year, all of whom really get and are excited about boy-led (part of the reason is that my NYLT trained son functioned as a ad hoc Den Chief for the last couple of months of their time as Webelos and the adults were more than glad to have him teach them the skills they were learning). The new crossover Scouts accompanied the Troop on a Wilderness Survival campout in the Pine Barrens in May. It dropped down to 20 degrees that night. The next campout featured a bear wandering into our campsite as they cooked pizzas in Dutch Ovens and a 10 mile hike that was advertised as being "just over five miles" (my bad... I went from memory rather than checking the map. They keep coming back and seem more excited as a result of their adventures. As one Scout said, "this is what it means to be a Boy Scout." As I did their Scoutmaster Conferences for the Scout rank, one Scout told me he loves Scouts and that it the only reason he looks forward to Tuesday nights (and confessed that he had piano lessons in the afternoon). We have a Scout with Downs Syndrome and a Scout confined to a wheel chair. Every Tuesday they are among true friends and it is amazing to see the Scout Oath and Scout Law at work among the boys. I already have two boys who have challenged me to chess matches during Summer Camp. My son finished up his POR as ASPL and is looking forward to being on staff at summer camp (he was a counselor in training last summer). When he gets back, he is looking to do his Eagle project as a 10th grader. I've told him once he gets his Eagle, he will be a JASM. He is also finishing his stint as the Crew's President and is bummed he is missing some trips over the summer while he is at camp. Every time I see the Crew together, I'm just astonished at the bonds of friendship. It really has become a place where a bunch of goofballs can relax and be themselves and feel truly accepted. Fixating on what National comes out with and then looking at the worst possible implications doesn't help the Scouts. One of my favorite sayings (stolen from Richard Bach) is "says can't when means won't." That is what my reaction is to a lot of the posts of gloom and doom. Whatever the decision, rule or guidance, we decide how to implement it so that we deliver the program we know the Scouts deserve. Allowing girls to form Troops by National is neutral. How it works is dependent on how may of the folks here on the forums who know the right way to run a program step up. It is only a nightmare if implemented poorly. We need to convince people that the only way to do this is to do it right. It is up to us to build the groundwork necessary to have youth-led, patrol-based Scouting that focuses on being a game with a purpose played by youth in the outdoors. We are the coaches and it is up to us to help the Youth learn to play the game correctly. Our CO is implementing it right -- separate girl Troop, separate meeting night and letting the youth lead by deciding how much interaction they want to have between the two Troops and the Crew. We have had an amazing response of youth and adults to the idea. Build it and they will come. Whether we agree or disagree with the decision to allow girls, we should do everything in our power to make it succeed - not for the sake of National, but for the good of the Scouts we have promised to serve. The new G2SS guidelines are only an issue if you make it one. Our CO's youth protection policy for many years required two-deep adult leadership in patrol meetings. We work to have adults that are trained in what boy-led actually means (you observe and then talk to the leader after the meeting as a coach) and what the patrol method is (they are the cornerstone of the Troop). We have Patrol Leaders who are trained (by the older youth leaders in the Troop) in the leadership concepts of boy-led, patrol method and servant leadership. That prevents a leadership vacuum that adults instinctively find the need to fill. We let parents know that Scouting is a safe place to fail - and we let Scouts know it is better to try and fail then not to try at all. The adults and youth practice the Scout Oath and Scout Law -- it is all there and it works. On outings, we have enough adults to accompany the Scouts. We train the adults to be observers. The adults are last in line on the trail. The youth are in front, with a newer Scout leading and an older Scout guiding him. That is the way it is supposed to be. The last question I ask at Scoutmaster conferences is "are you having fun?" My answer is a resounding yes. I'm excited to see the boys take responsibility and lead the Troop. I'm excited to see the Crew grow into proactive leadership and form amazing bonds. I loved going to SeaBase with the Troop, I've loved sleeping in Adirondack shelters in 15 degrees as it snowed; I loved doing the Wilderness Survival campout; I've loved having guys over my house to starts fires using magnifying glasses, fire pistons, potassium permanganate and glycerin, batteries and steel wool and a bow drill; I loved going whitewater rafting with the Crew and I'm looking forward to a week at summer camp and a long weekend kayaking trip in Upstate New York. Best of all, I love the responses I get from Scouts when I ask them if they are having fun. I've learned so much about the right way to do things on this forum from @Stosh @qwazse @TAHAWK and others. Every time I become frustrated with adults -- be them in our Troop, District, Council or National - I remember why I"m doing what I'm doing. It is for the Scouts... my Scouts.
  22. I'm not sure what your position in the Troop is and that has an effect on how you should deal with this. My advice is to focus on what makes Scouting great. "Friendly" and "Helpful" are good starting points. Call up the dad and arrange to grab a cup of coffee or a beer. Make a friend out of him by explaining you are both on the same team. "Servant Leadership" is the next step. Explain to him that you are willing to work WITH him and his son to help his son succeed. Then hit "Trustworthy." Be honest about your exasparation and you observations of how the his son is affecting the other Scouts. Acknowledge that you "lost it" at the last meeting and that it wasn't your best moment but put it into context. See if he can trust you enough to confide in you any issues, frustrations, difficulties he sees with his son and his thoughts about how to work with it. Ask him if he has any ideas or strategies that you and the youth leadership can put into play to help his son succeed. If that doesn't work, then you can walk away from the problem knowing you've tried your best. One strategy I've employed with distracted / distracting Scouts is to give them authority. Sometimes is it just explaining that at 15, I need them to be a good example for the other Scouts. In this case, why not have this Scout make the announcements at meeting of upcoming events and the times? One of my favorite quotes from Richard Bach is that "we teach best what we need to learn most." How about having him work with you or another adult on the personal management merit badge. One of the best way's I've seen to make a Scout attentive and responsive is to put them in charge of an event... once they experience a lack of response to their e-mails or people not doing what they are told, they tend to realize the value of being responsive and responsible. We have a Scout in our unit who is on the autism spectrum. What I have found to work best is to build trust with that Scout and his parents. I've learned how to listen to what is bothering him and to sympathize. Rather than trying to tell him "don't worry about it" or "now isn't a good time to focus on that" or "stop complaining", I listen, ask questions and then ask him to think of solutions we can do. If there are no solutions (e.g. we are 2 hours from home and he really wants to be home), I sympathize with him by explaining that I really want to be home so I can relax and take a good nap but that we both have to wait two hours to get there. "Courteous" means to listen with concern when you really don't have to. "Cheerful" means being patient and caring and working with kids with a smile inside even when you want to beat them with a stick. Another strategy I employ is having Scouts talk back to me. No, not what you think... but when I tell them several things, I ask them to repeat them back to me. I will then repeat it for them saying, "that's correct, the plan is .... " For children on the autism spectrum, repetition is provides focus, understanding and structure. For other kids, it provides a focus and a responsibility to remember what they are told. Follow up with praise... "you've got it." With problems like this, I always go back to "boy-led." Ask the PLC to think of ways to get greater Scout engagement and responsiveness. Make it their problem. YOU are not running the event THEY are. Let them fail. Scouting is a safe place to fail. Once they fail, they will figure out a way to make it work the next time. Maybe is its having a sign up sheet. Maybe it is having people raise their hands if they are coming. Maybe it is asking people at the end of a meeting - "What time are we supposed to be there for the pancake breakfast?" and having the Troop answer. Younger kids will then pay attention because they will get to yell out the correct answer. Older kids will pay attention because they don't want to look bad in front of the younger kids. Also, push it down a level to "patrol based" -- have the patrol leaders coordinate who is going to be there from their patrol. If the patrol is cohesive and is used to functioning as a unit, then they should have each others backs and should show up. Finally, ask if this is something the Boys CHOOSE to do or the adults chose for them. In the corporate world, people use the word "buy-in." It applies to Scouting. I've found that we get the worst results when the boys go along with something an adult suggests. The boys don't own it and it shows.
  23. When the Webelos and their parents come over to visit the Troop, the boys are temporarily assigned to patrols and the parents are taken aside. The SPL or ASPLs then talk to the parents to tell them about the program. As SM, I'm in the room but I couldn't get a word in edgewise. The first words out of the SPL/ASPL is "we are a boy -led Troop. That means that the adults are here for just health and safety reasons." The second thought is "We are a patrol-based Troop. The patrol leaders run their patrols and our jobs are to help the patrol leaders succeed and to coordinate the patrols to work together as a Troop." They then talk about how we do camping and about summer camp and advancement. After around 30 minutes, I suggest they go check no how the meeting is going and I get a chance to talk to the adults. By that point, the adults already get it. They see two 15 or 16 year olds comfortably talking to a group of adults and explaining how the Troop works. I explain that he adults are the coaching staff. We work with the kids off the field or on the sidelines, but we let them play the game. I explain that the Scouting program is a safe place to fail and how we will let them fail because they learn best from their mistakes. I explain our Troop's culture, where the older Scouts really adopt and take care of the new guys. The adults then paraphrase Renee Zellweger and say, "You had me at boy-led." When parents come on campouts, I give my 30 second training. "Do you have a chair?" "Yes." "Do you have a coffee cup?" "Yes." "Your job is to sit in your chair and drink coffee. If a youth comes to you and asks you a question you have a decision to make. If it is a matter of safety, you become involved, otherwise, you tell them to ask their patrol leader." That is the major difference between Cubs and Boy Scouts.
  24. Right now, there is a lot of overlap between the Troop and the Crew. We have three senior guys from the Troop in the Crew and potentially, three guys from another Troop joining. I expect some of the Crew will join the to be created girl Troop but will continue with the Crew. I have good ideas who will make good PLs and I know that they will make sure the Troop is youth-led. Within our CO's BSA Unites, we have had to redefine the role of the Crew. Originally, it was "Boy Scouting for Girls" but the Crew turned it into something different. This is a group of friends (some friends before starting the Crew, some becoming friends after) that like to do outdoor activities together. To me that sounds like the ultimate definition of a Patrol. The draw for Venturing is going to be those that want the next level of adventure and the camaraderie of a co-ed group of friends.
  25. The key is that there is no overlap in youth. Different youth = different youth leaders = different Troop. The level of interaction between the Troops is decided by the Troops' youth leaders. The rest is details.
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