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Hedgehog

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Everything posted by Hedgehog

  1. Hedgehog

    Positions of Responsibility

    Exactly. There is no need for the boys to do anything as a patrol. I mean, the concept of a patrol is an adult rule. Also, forget the uniforms, that is an adult rule. How about knife safety and getting a Tottin Chip -- more adult nonesense. Oh, and the advancement rules and rank requirements... complete adult claptrap. Give the boy a badge when they think they should get it regardless of the requirements. To quote Baden-Powell, "Scouting is a game for boys under the leadership of boys under the direction of a man." Playing soccer by picking up the ball and running with it is no longer soccer. Boy Scouts without having the boys function as a patrol (which includes cooking as a patrol) is not Boy Scouts. @@Stosh, I know you are always looking to decrease the amount of adult involvement and I generally agree with you. However, there are adult directions that are necessary so that what we are doing is Boy Scouts. Given a decision of having the boys all bring their own food and having them cook and clean up as a patrol, in my opinion, the rules of the game of Boy Scouts require them to function as a patrol. Our former SM let the boys do what they wanted on campouts. There was no patrol cooking. There were no patrol activities. There were no patrols. When the new SM came in (and my son and I joined the Troop) that changed. The boys now cook as patrols. They use dutch ovens (based on them noticing how much better the adults were eating). The older scouts are getting involved with the younger scouts in figuring out the menu so that they don't eat the same thing. The boys know who has gluten allergies and who doesn't eat meat for religious reasons and adapt the menu for the boys. The older boys automatically teach the younger boys how to do the cooking. What caused this change? The adults told the scouts they were required to cook as a patrol and the adults set an example with the cooking for their patrol. @@Stosh - My question is do you think that the adult direction (in B-P's words) in this situation was inappropriate?
  2. Hedgehog

    Positions of Responsibility

    Foil soldiers? http://www.mariescandies.com/foso12lb.html Doesn't seem very healthy.
  3. Hedgehog

    Talking politics around the campfire

    It is actually interesting to hear the opinions expressed on politics by scouts. At an OA ordeal dinner a couple of political issues came up. Much of what was said clearly mirrored things they have heard -- most likely from parents. My perception was that all of the guys were expressing opinions on the same end of the political spectrum with some opinions being more extreme than others. I asked a bunch of questions that probed their level of understanding of issues and asked questions that made them consider whether a generalization (despite making a good sound bite) would make good policy. I also asked questions which tried to get them to think of principles and goals as opposed to policies - WHY your are doing something rather than WHAT you should do. We also talked a little about the WHO in politics and to what extent personal traits of the candidates should matter.
  4. Hedgehog

    Best tent for Scoutmaster

    So true. I have an REI Air Rail pad: https://www.rei.com/product/845298/rei-airrail-15-self-inflating-sleeping-pad I have back issues and it is very comfortable, doesn't slide out the side and is lightweight.
  5. Hedgehog

    Positions of Responsibility

    As we like to say in the legal profession, assuming facts not in evidence. We had someone who had served as a PL and SPL working with the NSP. The only way we could have had more experience and knowledge was to have an adult do it. My point was that B-P used mixed aged patrols that were assigned by the SM and that seems to have worked out pretty well. Some folks use the NSP concept well. I like the idea but realized it didn't work in our Troop. Unlike Stosh, I didn't attribute it to the complete and utter failure of our (very experienced, now Eagle) scout leading the NSP, but to the dynamics of our Troop. The single age, NSP concept might work in other troops. I don't think we are disagreeing at all. Regardless of how the patrols are set up, using the patrols as the basic unit of scouting IS what Boy Scouts is about.
  6. Hedgehog

    Positions of Responsibility

    @@TAHAWK - I have no doubt if I posted that the SM in our Troop decides on the patrols for summer camp and appoints the PLs and APLs and then provides the names of the patrols and designs their flags like B-P did, our Troop would be firmly derided. The "it wouldn't work" comment was a reference to how folks on this forum seem to think that the minor details can derail the whole program. Obviously, B-P's adult lead experiment did work to generate scouting across the world. As for leadership, leadership can be learned in many environments and through many different methods. It can range from leaving the boys alone and expecting them to figure it out, to guiding the boys through adult interaction to even having the boys lead in limited circumstances with close adult supervision. I agree that it is not a critical issue, but I suspect others here do not agree. Although the BSA's statements on the patrol method is inacurate theology (we all know that the patrol method is the only method for boy scouts) but it really is just an attempt to explain that the two go hand in hand. The patrol functions as the "just right" number of scouts that can be lead by a Patrol Leader. With a 24 boy troop without patrols would be too much for one boy to lead. So you break it down into three patrols of 8. That is managable. The Patrol Method allows a troop to be boy led.
  7. Hedgehog

    Positions of Responsibility

    From a Scout Leader's Guide to Youth Leadership, p. 38: I can only imagine the slings and arrows that B-P would have to endure on this forum for what he did. I can hear the chorus of "adult-led" or "forced patrols" and the predictions of "that is never going to work." I love to quote Richard Covey (the late author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) when he says seek first to understand and then to be understood. From being on the debate team in college and being a lawyer, I understand that everything cannot be black and white. In reading all of the posts regarding the mixed age vs. new scout patrol, it is obvious that there are both benefits and disadvantages to each approach. It is also obvious that whether a troop uses a new scout patrol or mixed patrols is or was an adult dictated decision - whether we admit it or not. Our Troop's lore is that a group of scouts abolished the same aged patrols because they didn't like how they were treated when they crossed over. The felt ignored and segregated in meetings and on outings. That was a failure of the older scouts. But when these guys became older scouts, they made a decision to change how patrols were made up so that the older scouts were with the younger scouts and that the older scouts knew their job was to welcome them in as part of their patrol and to teach those scouts. Over a period of around 8 years, the troop grew from 14 to over 50. Last year, we had a large number of new scouts crossing over and tried to have a new scout patrol based on some wide-eyed ASM (that would be me) idea that new scout patrols were essential to the BSA model. We assigned a former SPL who was a JASM to work with the patrol. After three weeks, he reported back tothe PLC that the new scouts were getting restless, weren't that interested in learning skills and kept asking "when do we get to be part of a real patrol?" The SM told the PLC to decide what to do and they decided to integrate the new boys into the existing patrols. We typically lose 1 scout out of around 6 that cross over. I can tell you who that scout is by the end of June. If they don't do a campout before the end of the school year and if they don't do summer camp, they won't be back in September. Scouts don't stay or leave based on patrol structure. Scouts stay or leave based on whether they are having fun.
  8. Hedgehog

    adult led and ceremony

    Compare all that to the look on a scout's face when the SM or ASM quietly says, "Bob, I saw you really stepping it up and helping out your patrol this weekend... keep it up."
  9. Hedgehog

    Best tent for Scoutmaster

    I have these two tents: https://www.rei.com/product/862423/rei-quarter-dome-2-tentand https://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Detail/Tent/FlyCreekUL2. My son typically uses the quarter dome for plop camping and I use the Fly Creek. For backpacking, my son and I share the Fly Creek. We're thinking about getting these for our new Troop tents -- sort of a throwback but in a ultralight model: https://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Detail/Tent/scoutul22016 But for a scoutmaster, THIS IS THE TENT: https://www.rei.com/product/897944/big-agnes-super-scout-ul-2-tentall for less than 3 pounds.
  10. Hedgehog

    Scout Behavior Question

    I agree that this isn't cause for overreacting but instead is a teaching moment. I would have a talk about being Morally Straight (not using drugs), Mentally Awake (thinking about the effect your actions have on another) and leadership (setting an example). My concern with it being addressed by the PLC is that is an ADULT RESPONSE. If an adult didn't make a big deal about this, the PLC would't care. A simple talk with the boy would let him know not to do that the next time and to consider how he would react if he saw another scout do that (a simple "that's not appropriate in scouting" would go a long way.
  11. Hedgehog

    Time for New/More Gear

    Actually off to REI to get some rain gear for the son for the weekend. Wife keeps feeding him and he keeps growing. Getting him the Mens Large -- so if he outgrows this, at least I can use it.
  12. Hedgehog

    Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back.

    We typically averaged 3 to 4 out of 8 first year scouts on every campout, probably more for the sea kayaking and COPE / rock climbing. The bicycling was 7th graders and up with the boys who just crossed over meeting them at the campsite. The camping in lean-tos in 15 degrees was all 8th graders. The 50 miler included one guy who just finished 6th grade, two guys who just finished 7th grade, one guy who just finished 9th grade and one who just finished 11th grade. The 250 miles of hiking and backpacking is cumulative over 3 years that I've been in the troop. My son has logged 215 and I'm around 239. Planning 50 more this summer (a 20 ile trek and a 30 mile trek). I think the only scout that did almost all of those activities over the past three years is my son (he's missed one campout and one urban hike). I think he will be around 70 nights camping after this weekend. There are another five or six scouts who probably did 90% of the activities. Probably around 30 scouts did at least half of the activities.
  13. Hedgehog

    Time for New/More Gear

    When you are there, check out the Granite Gear Blaze : https://www.rei.com/product/824361/granite-gear-blaze-ac-60-pack It is under 3 pounds and adjustable.
  14. Hedgehog

    Looking forward to Conclave

    I don't mind the rain, I've got a nice Marmot rain jacket and pants.
  15. Hedgehog

    Looking forward to Conclave

    Enjoy! My son and I are both doing our Ordeals this weekend. I'm hoping the rain stays away until Saturday so we can sleep under the stars on Friday night.
  16. Hedgehog

    Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back.

    Our mileage does vary. We do a canoing trip down the Delaware river each year. Anyone in the troop is permitted to do the trip. We've done sea kayaking -- anyone in the troop is permitted to do it. Horseback riding, backpacking, winter camping, rock scrambles, mountain biking, etc. - anyone can do it. The older guys watch out for the younger guys naturally. Had a 12, 13 and 14 year old do our 50 miler last summer. See above - nobody in the kiddie pool, our guys jump into the deep end. By putting the younger boys in patrols with the older boys, they are stepping up to the level of the experienced boys. It actually results in the younger boys learning faster than if they are kept isolated. Additionally, it leads to higher retention because they feel like real Boy Scouts, not stuck together in a Webelos III den. To move our troop to same age patrols would require the adults making a pronouncement. Activities like kayaking, canoeing and small boat sailing tend to be individual or two person activities. It is hard to fit an entire patrol in a single canoe. When all of the boys are on the water, they are having fun together with their patrol AND with other patrols. Backpacking for our troop is an individual activity - we teach boys how to do it in a manner that they can continue to enjoy backpacking after they age out of Boy Scouts. The 8 person number was 4 patrols each needing 2 deep adult leadership for outings, NOT having a certain number of ASMs assigned to patrols. We don't assign ASMs to patrols in the outdoors - that is what the PLs are for. There is a mini-PLC meeting on Friday night when we arrive and the adults sit back until Sunday after everything is packed up. The assumption that all of a sudden a troop is a "Troop Method" troop or "Adult-Led just because the outdoor program is organized on a troop basis, is absurd. Maybe I should have just said, "the Patrol Leaders at the PLC meeting decided that all of the patrols will do the same outdoor activities for each month during the year." We have no retention problems. Yes, some of the older boys don't camp as much due to other constraints in their lives, but we have 18 year old ASMs that stick around after they have aged out. Over the last three years, we've camped over 70 nights, hiked over or backpacked over 250 miles, sea kayaked, canoed, rode horses, biked 25+ miles to a campout, did orienteering courses, COPE courses, hiked waterfalls, did 15 mile lightweight backpacking treks, camped on the beach, camped in lean-tos in 14 degree weather, done urban hikes and campouts, done a 50 miler, had cooking contests while camping in cabins, camped in cabins with only a wood stove and outhouse in 10 degree weather, done long hikes in the snow, etc. And guess what? Any boy was welcome to join in the adventure. Do we have ad hoc patrols on campouts because all 50 guys don't make every campout? Yes. Do the guys function as patrols? Yes. Do the boys lead in the outdoors? Yes. Do I make the best coffee for the adults to drink? No doubt. Just like with boy-led, there are degrees of using the patrol method. Your way might work better (and I'm open to trying it if that is what the boys want), but the way our troop does it works within the structure of the boys WANTING mixed age patrols.
  17. Hedgehog

    Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back.

    Yes, but the problem with having all the inexperienced boys in one patrol is that there are no experienced scouts to teach the skills because they are all shooting the rapids. So you have the adults stepping up and teaching the skills to the den... I mean patrol. Also, how is the older scouts deciding to segregate the inexperienced scouts to float in the kiddie pool taking care of your boys? About 10 years ago the boys in our troop made the decision to have mixed age patrols because the boy leaders felt that when they were younger scouts they were ignored and looked down upon by the older scout patrol. That dynamic of inclusion and friendship has become part of our troop's culture. As for the "same old float", shouldn't it be up to the boys to find a solution to the problem? Rather than making an adult decision to have same age (i.e. putting the inexperienced folks together) patrols, should the boys figure it out? Ask a simple question of "how can we do this so you guys get a greater challenge but the younger scouts don't feel left out?" Our guys are used to answering that question. We have backpacking treks where the older guys start a day earlier and do 10 more miles before they meet up with the younger guys. We have done low COPE together as a troop and then split up with the older boys doing high COPE and the younger boys doing a rock climbing wall. The boys are doing a boating campout where you can pick a canoe, row boat, kayak or sail boat depending on your ability. Also, there is nothing wrong with having an outdoor program organized by the PLC at the Troop level. With four patrols in our troop, that would require at least 8 adults camping out each month if each patrol did a different activity. That just isn't feasible. Just because the outdoor program is organized as a Troop, doesn't mean the boys don't function as patrols on outings.
  18. Hedgehog

    Patrol leader election questions

    Well done. Boy-led is a a continuum and your troop is moving in the right direction. I like the "ladder" concept explained here: http://scoutmastercg.com/ladder-of-youth-leadership-infographic/ Our troop is between a 2 and a 3, hopefully moving closer to a 2. The irony is that moving an existing troop to be more boy-led, patrol-method troop does require adult leadership. Your troop's tradition of the "senior" patrol seems contrary to boy-led and patrol method because it is taking boys who are leaders and removing them from the patrol. You were right to discourage that tradtition. I tend to think that elections go more toward competence and commitment than popularity. Well, at least that is what I told my son who is running for PL next week.
  19. Hmmm. Will have to track that down. In developing a leadership training program for our Troop's leaders, I've been reading this Working the Patrol Method and have ordered a copy of GBB's Patrol Leader's Guide.
  20. Hedgehog

    Please Pray

    My thoughts and prayers are with the scouts and their families.
  21. Hedgehog

    Hiking Merit Badge - New Requirements

    The number is a little off. Going South to North, you start at Penn Mar Road in Pennsylvania which is at 1054.4 from Springer Mountain. You go past Shenandoah River Biridge is at 1012.5 from Springer Mountain which would be 41.9 miles. It is then around 2.4 miles to the Virgina border skirting off on the Loudoun Trail to hit the Virginia border. That makes it 44.3 miles.
  22. Hedgehog

    Hiking Merit Badge - New Requirements

    Interesting. The progression really isn't a big deal. Most of our guys do a 5 miler the first year at camp. The ones who would go for the badge have done 10 miles a day with packs on. The 20 miler is a little more difficult. It's hard to find a 20 mile stretch of trail around here that doesn't have a lot of PUDS (pointless ups and downs). That makes the 20 miles feel more like 30 miles. But then again. how about doing 42.9 miles across 4 states on the AT in one day: http://www.backpacker.com/trips/maryland/appalachian-trail-four-state-challenge-pa-va/ Maybe two days.
  23. Hedgehog

    Positions of Responsibility

    That would be me ranting about the APL not being a position of responsibility. In my son's case, he has been more of the patrol leader than than the PL. Also had served as a PL on outings more than anyone in the troop. I'm working on our training program The first step is doing a leadership campout. The second step was to decide to have the materials printed on 5 x 7 cardboard cards that are connected by two round binder rings (so they can flip through them or tear them out as needed). It will cover the ILST materials PLUS teach real leadership. I'll post the card deck when it is done for comments and feedback.
  24. Hedgehog

    Time for New/More Gear

    I wouldn't recommend buying a backpack that weighs more than 5 pounds. I have a pack that weights 3 pounds and 14 ounces -- a pound and a half to two pounds lighter than the ALPS packs.. Even better: https://www.rei.com/product/824361/granite-gear-blaze-ac-60-packwhich is 2 pounds 14 ounces. My son has this backpack which weighs 3 pounds and 8 ounces and it works great: https://www.rei.com/product/878460/osprey-ace-75-pack-kids Spending an additional $30 to $40 to save a pound or more is well worth the investment. Although it doesn't sound like a lot of weight, the majority of the weight that a backpacker carries is the pack, the tent, the sleeping bag and the sleeping pad. My sense is you want a pack that is less than 4 pounds, a sleeping bag and pad that are less than 4 pounds and a tent that is less than 3 pounds for a total of less than 11 pounds for the big three.
  25. Hedgehog

    The Meaning of Eagle Scout

    I love that idea. I'll share it with my son and see what he thinks of the idea. He's always loved the organized campfires at summer camp and there is probably no better way of signifying HOW he earned Eagle than doing the COH on a campout.
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