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Everything posted by Hedgehog

  1. Hedgehog

    Son and Friends Starting a New Venturing Crew

    Six month update... Crew is up to 12, with 3 more likely to join over the next two months as they turn 14 or graduate 8th grade. That will make 15 (8 young woman 7 young men - 4 of whom are double registerd with a Troop) ranging from 8th grade through 11th grade. Crew has done bicycling, COPE camping, indoor rock climbing, two service projects, rustic cabin camping and several 5 mile shakedown hikes with packs. For the next six months, the plans include the West Point Camporee (backpacking in), a canoeing campout with the local Troops, whitewater rafting, sailing, backpacking, camping and hiking and rock climbing on actual rocks. Hopefully, they will get their Discovery Rank soon, but as you can see, that isn't a priority.
  2. Hedgehog

    Backpacking/lightweight tent cots

    Hammock!!! Your back will thank you. If there aren't trees around, get an REI AirRail Mattress. It is more comfortable than my bed at home.
  3. Hedgehog


    I'm with you. We just bought three new Venturing uniforms this year (in addition to my son's and my Boy Scout uniforms). Wear them well.
  4. Hedgehog

    Personal Safety Awareness Training

    The videos are dated. It actually serves to release any tension about the discussions. We focus the discussion on the Scout Law. That makes it personal. What does it mean to be cheerful to someone who going through a rough time? What does it mean to be friendly to someone who tells you they are contemplating suicide? What does it mean to be courteous in a relationship? What does it mean to kind and helpful when you see someone really intoxicated? What does it mean to be obedient regading underage drinking? What does it mean to be brave when you see someone taking advantage of another person? Ultimately, the Crew needs to know that they are there for each other and that the adults are there for them NO MATTER WHAT.
  5. Hedgehog

    Best way to plan for overnights

    You forgot to have them pay for the cost when they committ. For things like that, our policy was if you say you are going, you make a deposit which you don't get back if you decide to not go unless you find a replacement.
  6. Hedgehog

    Plan for culture change as new cubmaster

    1. Shoot for an "Every Parent Helps" culture but ASK certain people to do specific tasks. If you ask a group, you ask nobody. Very few parents will say no if you ask them to do a specific task. "Denise, can you call a couple of caters and get estimates for Blue and Gold?" "Bob, can you get a couple of guys together to set up the Pinewood Derby Track." "Alice, can you make the trip to the Scout Shop to pick up awards onece a month?" 2. Ignore JTE. Design a program that is fun and easy and that works. 3. Do keep it simple and make it fun -- but think about what that means. Assign groups of parents WITH THEIR SCOUTS to tasks "Bears do set up" "Wolves do clean-up." We had each den be responsible for cooking the food and set-up at an outing (Wolves for Fall Campout, Webelos 1 for Pancake Breakfast, Webelos II for B&G and Bears for Summer Campout. That avoids asking for volunteers. Also, don't be afraid to do some stuff yourself -- I got really good at making runs to Sams or Costco to get the food for the Campouts. 4. Simplify. Yes. After action reports? That doesn't sound simple. I had the outline for the year on two pages with phone numbers and everything else needed to run the program. Our program (for a Pack of around 50) was as follows on a budget of $125 per Scout (including all awards): September* - First Meeting of the Year. We hired entertainment including the Snake Guy, the Science Guy, the Knight Guys, the Animal Guy, etc. The adults had a separate meeting in two groups - returning families and new families. The Den leader for the Tigers usually stepped up at that first meeting. October - Fall Barbeque and Campout (Friday night into Saturday Morning) November* - Service project in decorating lunch bags for local soup kitchen, popcorn awards and watching It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. December* - Pancake Breakfast followed by Den skits, scout jokes and a scout talent show. Pinewood Derby cars handed out. January - Winter Cabin Camping (additional charge for Scouts and Adults) February* - Pinewood Derby Beauty Contest (Friday night) and Race (Saturday) March* - Blue and Gold Banquet - Catered with Cake Baking Contest April* - Model Rocket Handout at Meeting with Launch later in the month May - No Meeting Because of Marching in Memorial Day Parade June* - Spring / Summer Campout* July - Campout at local baseball stadium on Scout Night (additional charge) August - Scout Family trip to nearby (1 hour drive) amusement park with discount tickets (additional charge) July / August - Individual Scouts attend Cub Scout day camp (additional charge) * Awards Given Out at Meetings We did it with a Cubmaster (and my wife), a group of Den Leaders, two Awards Chairpeople (they alternated picking up awards) and a Treasurer.
  7. Hedgehog

    Grow Up!

    My pitch line is "Every boy needs scouting for a different reason." I also tell parents and Scouts, "Scouting is about leadership. Leadership is about being responsible for others. The first step of learning how to be responsible for others is learning to be responsible for yourself." Talking to a bunch of parents, I told them, "We'll teach your sons to do dishes and clean toilets." All of our Scouts would get this one... "We teach them to fish."
  8. The program offers many paths. It is up to you to decide what path your Troop takes. As leaders, the question we have to ask is what is OUR goal for the Troop. To get guys to Eagle Scout? To teach life skills? To develop indoor leadership skills? To create true citizens? To teach boys to lead in the outdoors? To create and encourage independence? Have scouting be fun for the boys? What the goal is defines how you implement the program. For me, the goal is to teach skills, independence and leadership using fun activities in the outdoors. For me, Scouting is a game with a purpose played in the outdoors. I can lament what I think other Troops are doing, I can itch and moan about "the Program", I can react to BSA pronouncements or I can focus on my goals for my Troop and Crew. Looking forward, between now and when school starts in September, I've got 4 Troop camping trips (Klondike, camping and hiking, beach camping and bicycling based) , 2 Troop backpacking treks, 1 Troop week at summer camp, 1 Troop High Adventure trip to Sebase, 2 Crew backpacking treks, 1 Crew camporee (that we are backpacking into), 1 Crew campout (hiking among waterfalls) and 1 Crew whitewater rafting or canoeing trip. On each of these trips, the Scouts are in charge - leading, teaching and having fun. My hope is that when they go off to college and beyond, they will decide with a group of friends to go camping or backpacking and without thinking take the lead in planning and doing the trip. More importantly, I hope the skills, confidence and leadership they learn helps them lead in whatever path the choose in this world.
  9. Just because they spend a day cooking in the outdoors, doesn't mean they don't cook as patrols on outings. We don't have a problem with guys going camping. We have 20 guys over 25 nights in the last three years and 5 guys over 45 nights. In fact, I think it helps doing the Cooking MB ouside the camping context, because that makes camping something you do for fun, not for advancement. Further, most of the cooking done on our outings are for the 2nd and 1st Class advancement. The guys who have taken the Cooking MB now mentor the younger scouts in the menu planning and in showing them how to cook. When there isn't a younger guy who needs advancement, these guys take charge and go beyond the ususal cooking. Even at Summer Camp where there was a full menu including dessert, they wanted to make dump cakes in Dutch Ovens and pies in the pie iron. How about hot pretzels after setting up on Friday night or hot freshly fried donuts in the morning for Klondike? Also, doing it this way has the advantage that the boys can do more complicated cooking. During the Cooking MB, they generally start cooking dinner at 3:00 to have it served by 5:30. It is hard to have them spend two and a half hours cooking on a campout. Plus, it is really cool to see 4 cooking stations set up and 8 scouts cooking. It really becomes "Outdoor Stadium" for the Cast Iron Chef. Not to mention the 8 dutch ovens stacked up (stacks of 3, 3 and 2) cooking dinners and desserts. Does what we do meet the letter of the requirements? Yes. Does it meet my goals of: 1) challenging the Scouts to cook something more challenging than typical camp food; 2) giving the Scouts a sense of accomplishments for cooking a camp dinner and serving it to their parents; 3) encourage Scouts to cook more often and more difficult meals at home; 4) teach the Scouts skills they can apply on campouts and teach to other scouts; and 5) share my love of cooking with the Scouts? All yes. How does your Troop do it and what are your results?
  10. The requirement is your patrol or "a group of youth." "In the outdoors, using your menu plans for this requirement, cook two of the ve meals you planned using either a light- weight stove or a low-impact re. Use a different cooking method from requirement 3 for each meal. You must also cook a third meal using either a Dutch oven OR a foil pack OR kabobs. Serve all of these meals to your patrol or a group of youth." The 8 boys that participate are "a group of youth." For the dinner, the rest of the Scouts families (parents and siblings) are invited. So they are actually serving the meals to a whole lot of youth and their parents. The bottom line is that the Scouts actually learn to cook. That knowledge is evident on campouts, where the guys who have done the merit badge are working with the younger scouts to plan menus and teaching them how to cook with the Dutch ovens. Plus, I've had several parents tell me that their children have started cooking stuff at home. I'll put the difficulty meals they cook and the amount of skills they earn at the one day session against what anyone else does for the merit badge.
  11. The way I run the Merit Badge is to have an hour preparation session where they plan the "outdoor" menus and develop their shopping lists, a one-day session that runs from 8:00 until 5:30 where they cook three meals in the outdoors. For breakfast, we cover knife skills and make bacon and egg omlets / scrambles. Between breakfast and lunch we discuss and demonstrate. For lunch, we grill sausages over a fire. After lunch, they start cooking dinner. The dinners involve a dutch oven main course and a dutch oven dessert. Selections have been chicken pot pie, Italian short ribs, barbeque spare ribs, vegan chili, lasagna, beef stew, chicken caccatori and more. Desserts have been apple pies, brownies, chocolate layer cakes, cheesecakes and cobblers. The sides have included home make cole slaw, apple sauce made from apples, caesar salad with homemade dressing (including anchovie paste), cornbread, biscuits, noodles and linguini. We then have an hour follow-up meeting to cover the career requirement (and anything else we didn't cover). I give credit for any backpacking cooking they have done previously -- they just need to do the menu. If they haven't gone backpacking yet, they have at least two opportunities a year in the Troop. They also need to cook for their parents and turn in that menu. At that point, they are done.
  12. For 1(a) - Some of the hazards are not injury or illness related. For example, how to prevent and mitigate a grease fire in a kitchen (Cover or ABC Extinguisher) or a fire in an oven (Close Door). How to avoid melting plastic utensils on cast iron, what to do with a hot pan (don't put it on Formica or a wood table), etc. Also, some of the prevention ideas are more suited here than 1(b) -- I talk about where to position frying pan handles (toward the side of the stove so there is no chance of knocking it over), turning a flame or burner off before removing a pot (sleeve on fire anyone?), using pot holders or mitts, using proper tools when grilling (not kitchen flippers which may be too short), etc. Honestly, #1(a) through (e) becomes a big discussion followed by a first aid demonstration and looking at food labels (which actually leads into a discussion of 2(e)).
  13. Hedgehog

    Odd Year in OA

    Things seem good. Going to my third election this Friday with our Troop's election the following week. Several Troops have not had elections in the past. Our chapter meetings have a handful of kids, but they have a lot of fun. Our Lodge numbers are good and finances are great.
  14. Hedgehog

    Transgender policy change

    First off, the BSA policy is for membership, not YPT or other purposes. As stated above, unless I hear differently, I'm defering to state law definitions of gender for YPT. Second, I don't think that someone being transgender is required to be a secret. Even in the articles about the Scout from New Jersey, it was made clear that everyone was aware that he was transgender. Third, I don't think there is a basis for a lawsuit for treating transgendered youth differently if their birth certificate identifies them differently than their gender identity. Again, state law controls. In my limited dealings with parents of transgendered youth, they are only looking for reasonable accommodations. They recognize that their child is different -- they aren't in a state of denial. They realize that their child's gender identity makes their child's life so much more difficult and sets their child up for a host of potential problems. But they are like any other parent, they love their child and they want to protect them from life's cruelties as best they can. If they know that you understand their situation and are living the Scout Law in respect to their child ("Trustworthy" "Friendly" "Courteous" and especially "Kind") they will understand your situation and work with you to make sure that there is a Middle Way (reflecting the Buddhist concept of a path that takes neither extreme but focuses and values our shared humanity). In our Crew, the transgender members tent with other scouts that have the same gender identified on their birth certificate as opposed to the scouts having the same gender identity (with the scouts and their parents fully aware and comfortable with this situation). This isn't because of some adult rule, it is what the Scouts figured out on their own.
  15. Hedgehog

    Transgender policy change

    "Required" wasn't the best word for that sentence. I wasn't speaking specifically to YPT but more so to common sense practices. I think it would be better to have said, "Having one adult of each gender would be advisable because under state law, you have a co-ed situation since (absent specific legislation to the contrary) gender under state law is controlled by what is on the birth certificate." Couple that with the maxim that nobody ever got in trouble for exceeding the minimum requirements and you get a better sense of what I'm suggesting.
  16. Hedgehog

    Transgender policy change

    @@Stosh, if the Boy Scout's identified gender of male is different than what is listed on their birth certificate, I think it is required to have a female adult along on the trip. If the gender listed is the same based on state law, no female adult is required. First problem solved. Latrines - Most latrines have doors. The one's that don't the scouts always impose their own "one person at a time rule" and the buddy stands outside. For public bathrooms, state law applies. Second problem solved. Showering - Typically, scouts don't shower on weekend trips. At out summer camp, any scout under 14 might shower once and the showers are individual. You only have issues when you have State Park like facilities where the showers are in the bathroom. Then state law applies, whatever that may be. Three down. Tenting - Again, birth certiicate controls and then individual preferences (scouts have to be comfortable with who they tent with). Honestly, on most weekend campouts, the Boy Scouts don't change their clothes at all during the weekend. If they do change, they take turns being alone inside the tent or change in their sleeping bag. Most of my Scouts want to tent by themselves anyway. Four. Our Cub Scout pack has one boy with Downs Syndrome and one confined to a motorized wheelchair. We are looking forward to welcoming them into the Troop and willing to make any accomodations necessary. We currently have Scouts on the autism spectrum that we make accomodations for on campouts and at summer camp. We have kids who do sports that come late or leave early on campouts. I don't think this would be any different - we make accomodations based on the needs of individual scouts. My experience is that transgender youth and their parents understand that this is a difficult situation and are easy to work with when they see people treating their children as human beings and not an "issue" or "agenda." I can and do understand objections to the decision based on someone's religious, moral, political and scientific views, but I think that arguing the practicalities of implemeting the decision are red herrings.
  17. Hedgehog

    Transgender policy change

    I agree that Boy Scouts should remain boy-only (and have said so in other posts). Allowing transgendered youths who identify as boys into Boy Scouts doesn't automatically results in Boy Scouts becoming open to any female youth. Even with the most supportive parents, friends and adults, announcing to the world that you are transgender is a difficult task and one that kids don't take lightly. As others have pointed out, abuse of the check-the-box-you-identify-with rule can easily be addressed.
  18. Hedgehog

    Transgender policy change

    I've read through the various posts and thought that it would be helpful to share my perspective as a Venturing Crew advisor for a Crew with two trangender youths. I haven't seen anyone else post that has experience with transgender youths within the BSA. Let me start off by telling you that in the Troop and in the Crew, I consider all of the Scouts to be "my Scouts." I get to know them on a personal basis. I truly like all of them based on their positive traits and I truly care about all of them based on their shortcommings. I know there is amazing power that youth derive from having an adult like them for who they are and believe in them. So let me tell you about my Crew. We've got the muscian and actor who loves backpacking and hiking. We've got the NYLT trained goofball that is my son. We've got a Crew President who is intelligent, atheletic and a complete robotics geek. We've got the similarly geeky friend of the Crew president who loves adventure. We've got a kid who was never in scouting before but loves the outdoors and a sarcastic 9th grader who I've known since around age 6. We have a child of our Troop's SM who is shy and quiet and a child of one of our Troop's ASMs who is intelligent, curious and talkative. We have a Venturer who transferred from another Crew because it wasn't youth-led. We have a Crew member that my son has known since he was six months old, who is good friends with most of the Crew members and finds time for the Crew despite being so involved in activities and academics. Last but not least, we have the really shy Scout (in whom I see great potential) that smiles everytime I tell the Crew that "In Venturing, everyone is a leader." That IS who they ARE. Gender (or gender identity) is irrelevant. It is all well and good to have opinions in the abstract. But opinions don't matter when you actually meet a transgender kid, especially a teenager. They are like any other teenager, trying to figure out who they are in the world. I often say that every kid needs scouting for a different reason and transgendered kids are no different. The youths in my Crew all need to learn organizational skills, leadership, how to build a fire, how to organize an outing, how to cook as well as the adults, how to pack for a week long backpacking trip and how to grow into an adult. Do we have YPT issues? No, because it is Venturing and we have a male and female advisor along on every outing. Do we have tenting issues? No, the youths figured it out without any adult interference. Do we have toilet issues? No, most trees are not gender specific and most latrines are singular with doors (except for the latrine from last weekend's outing which had two toilet seats side by side on a bench without a divider -- we all laughed at that one). How does the Crew feel about it? They are a Crew built on interlocking friendships -- to them, they are all just Scouts. How cool is it to have a group of kids that like each other for who they are? Just for reference, I'm a true conservative having voted for a conservative (not libertarian) third party Presidential candidate because I couldn't vote for a candidate that said "government is the solution" or a candidate that said "I am the solution." I have strong religious values. My conservative politics believes in the power and value of individualism. My faith teaches that we should love one another as Jesus loved us. The Scout Law teaches that we should be "kind." Each of the members of the Crew are MY Scouts and I can tell you that they are all amazing, unique and good kids. That is all that matters.
  19. My son did NYLT last summer and it was transformational. I know in our council as well as the neighboring council where my son did NYLT (which I think may be @@NJCubScouter's council) it is age 13.
  20. Hedgehog

    Can a SM ban OA elections?

    I like the Venturing term "Advisor." At summer camp when the staff would say "Adult Leaders" I'd inform them that the term is an oxymoron.
  21. So our Troop of around 50 scouts makes $3,000 in income from popcorn. At 35% tax rate that would be a whopping $1,050 in tax a year for say four years (three prior plus current) if we were not chartered by a tax-exempt church. If you hit all the 10 scout units in the area (assuming they were all for-profit entities), that total around $40,000. More likely, they will have to audit 500 scout units to find 10 that are for profit. The booster clubs (especially the independent sports teams) often raise around $5,000 per member with a team of 20 members that is $100,000 per year which would generate $35,000 in additional tax per year and $140,000 for four years. Do ten of those audits a month and the additional tax is $1.400,000. Since the understatement would be more than 25% of income, the statute would be six years brining in $245,000 per entity or $2,450,000 for 10 similar entities.
  22. Somebody need a woodland creature who impersonates at tax attorney? I've never encountered this situation, so all I can do is provide some educated speculation. I think the answer as to the profits is clear - you sell popcorn that is a gross receipt, you pay for the popcorn that is a cost of good sold, the difference between gross receipts and the cost of good sold is income. Same answer if you are the local grocery store selling popcorn out of your inventory or the local freight company selling Boy Scout popcorn. From a technical perspective, I doubt most of the amounts paid for Scouting expenses could be properly deducted for tax purposes. Some expenses could be considered advertising or marketing such as painting "Troop 247 Sponsored by Bob's Shipping" on the side of the trailer (similar if they purchased uniforms with their name on it for a Little League team). The general test for a deduction is if it is "ordinary, necessary and reasonable." For example, It is hard to say that paying for a campout is an ordinary, necessary and reasonable expense incurred by a trucking company. The amounts spent on Scouting also wouldn't be charitable deductions because amounts paid on behalf of a specific person cannot be a charitable deduction. Additionally, the Scouts selling popcorn could be considered employees and scout accounts could be considered compensation. However, my sense is that most auditors would nonetheless allow the popcorn "profits" to be reduced by any scout related expenses - if they even bothered to look at it. Probably would just tell them to fix the problem by forming a 501(c )(3) entity and running it thorugh that. Correct. Only certain sales by non-profit entities are exempt from sales tax (e.g. sales by a non-profit hospital's gift shop are typically taxable). However, most states do not tax food, so popcorn wouldn't be taxable anyway. Although it is easy to get an EIN, it is much more difficult to get federal 501(c )(3) tax exempt treatment. To get the 501(c )(3) designation you need to provide the appropriate formation and governance documents.
  23. Hedgehog

    What Makes It Worthwhile ?

    When my son realized we were going the wrong way on a trail and turned the patrol around to backtrack despite another adult insisting that we were going the right direction. Followed by my son being respectful to the adult who insisted we were going in the wrong direction when my son was proven right. The smile of a new scout after his first campout when his worried mom asked him if he had fun. My son addressing the parents and telling them about our week as SPL at the end of summer camp rather than the adult leaders doing the talking. Our last Court of Honor which was (with the exception of handing out awards) entirely run by the boys. The SPL announcing at the Court of Honor that the TLT weekend that I organized was a lot of fun. Being named a Eagle Scout mentor by a scout based on what he learned from the Troop's adventures in the outdoors. My son getting selected for NYLT staff two days ago. The inside jokes that I share with scouts in the troops because I've been there. The comradarie of scouts and leaders around a campfire.
  24. Hedgehog

    what do your scouts pay?

    Scouts pay $125 for registration. That covers 3 CoHs, rank and advancement badges and a holiday party. We maybe raise $1,000 through popcorn. Scouts and Adults pay per outing - the cost of the campsite divided by 15 (average number of scouts going), $14 for food ($3 breakfast, $3 lunch, $5 dinner, $3 breakfast) and $1 for supplies (propane and paper towels) plus the actual cost of any activity. Scouts pay for summer camp, the camp lets 4 adults go for free and the troop pays for the additional adult that goes to camp.
  25. Hedgehog

    EDGE In Action

    Our Troop teaches and uses the EDGE method consistently. When the patrols are planning to run an activity for the Troop, the older guys teach the younger guys the skills they need to know using EDGE. Then when they run the activitiy, the younger scouts used EDGE to teach other scouts. After doing this for a while it becomes natural: We're going to do this by going through these steps Let me show you how to do it. OK, I'll say each step as you do it. Great, put it all together and do it yourself. I agree with @@qwazse that there are other ways to learn skills. I think the Research, Understand, Memorize and Practice (the "RUMP" method) works well when you don't have a teacher available.