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Everything posted by Hedgehog

  1. Hedgehog

    "You Guys Were Awesome!"

    I actually told the Camp Program Director that I was getting confused when they kept using the word "Leaders" to refer to the adults. The camp pretty much told the adults the same thing at the "Leader" meetings that they told the SPLs at the "SPL" meeting (actually, the SPLs seemed to get more specific information).
  2. Hedgehog

    "Boy Scouts thrive after lifting of gay ban."

    There really are two optons - to expand the program in the STEM area (which most likely will work as well as the expanding Explorer Scouts to include career exploration did in the 1970s) or to double down on the essential parts of the BSA brand. If you ask people what the makes a boy a Boy Scout they will most likely mention camping, integrity and leadership. A pretty good brand if you ask me.
  3. Although I agree having a UC with a son in the unit isn't optimal, I think the key conflict of interest is that Zuzy's son was elected SPL over SM's son. That is what lead to the repercussions for Zuzy's son. It seems to me that UC didn't do anything different because his son is in unit. The SM sounds so disfunctional that any UC would have tried to help him get on the right course.
  4. Hedgehog

    "You Guys Were Awesome!"

    We've made a lot of progress in being boy-led in the outdoors over the past three years. Both the SM and I knew that summer camp was the last vestage of adult lead and we were able to break that this year. I'm hopeful building on that for next year. I think we have five guys (including my son) that are doing NYLT this summer -- including the incoming SPL and ASPL. We haven't had anyone NYLT trained before. I'm making it clear that they have my support to change what they see fit. Also, I'm coordinating a weekend training for the rest of the boy leaders to build on what they did at camp (which of course was built on the efforts of the SM and myself over the past three years). Agreed. I'm pushing for this year's patrols to be very close to last year's patrols (knowing that the SM will still appoint patrols). Then I"m hoping I can convince people to keep the same patrols for the following year but allow boys to switch patrols if they want to at the end of the school year. Although I'd like to just throw it open and say form your own patrols, I'm not in the position to do that at this point. The best I can do is have the appointed patrols become permanent and give the boys the ability to switch. In the meantime, I'm working to strengthen patrols both in our weekly meetings and on outings. Those types of small changes can shift the troop culture over time. The line i've told the boys to use is, "I've got this Mr. Hedgehog." I spent the whole week at camp telling boys that approached me to ask their question to their PL. Over the past three years, one of the main changes is training the adult leaders to respect and foster boy-led. All of the folks at camp this year (except the Camp SM) have joined in the last three years and I've been able to impress on them what boy-led means.
  5. Yes, how dare he have the audacity to try to get someone to run the program they way it is designed. Really? I can't understand how you can stick up for an SM that ignores the way the BSA tells us the program is supposed to be run and runs it like his own personal scouting program. I realize you are just the Chartered Organization Representative and SM Training is not required for that position, but you should take SM Specific Training so you understand the program that your SM is supposed to be offering to your boys.
  6. Hedgehog

    "You Guys Were Awesome!"

    Stosh: Troop is around 47 boys (were over 50, had a bunch of guys age out and a couple of guys join). We had 25 boys at camp. One of our issues is that we have ad hoc patrols on campouts because we see around 50% of the guys attending any particular campout. Leadership on campouts is appointed by the SM or the ASM in Charge of Outdoor Program (me) based on Elected Position, Appointed Position, Rank, Grade and Experience (we don't appoint an ad hoc SPL on campouts unless there are three or more patrols - the elected SPL or appointed ASPLs come on camp outs they are part of the adult patrol). There are the guys (like my son) who have only missed one campout in three years and others that only attend one campout a year. The other issue we have is that the patrols change each year and are assigned by the SM. The next issue we have is that the PLs are elected by the entire Troop (i.e. you vote for 4 PLs and one of them will lead your patrol). Those are the constraints that I'm working with. When I become SM at the end of next year, I have a number of gradual changes planned (as well as a couple that I'm sneaking in this year). So summer camp is no different. Three of the four PLs that had just been elected were going to camp. They were paired with the APLs that they will have for next year. Their patrols were then asigned by the SM. SM selected my son to be SPL for summer camp based on his rank and experience (as mentioned in the first post, I stayed out of that decision). SM (with my advice) also appointed two ASPLs for summer camp. My son will be the TG for next year. One of the ASPLs is going to be the QM for next year. As i've mentioned in other posts, we don't do a NSP (although next year I think we will have one from crossing over until the end of the School Year) and we don't have a Venture Patrol (I've advocated for both, but wasn't able to make those changes). So at camp, we had an SPL, two ASPLs and three PLs. With the exception of one of the ASPLs who just finished 9th grade, all of the other leaders had just finished 8th grade. With the exception of my son and one of the new PLs, none of the leaders served as a leader last year (son and new PL were APLs at camp last year and during the year with the regular patrols), none had been trained (except son and one PL had TLT and son had NYLT) and with the exception of my son, none of the boy leaders had served as an ad hoc PL on an outing (son was PL or APL on every outing last year). So we had an eager but very inexperienced team of leaders. That would typically result in a Troop this size being very much adult led at camp. Fortunately, that did not happen. My son took the lead and was helping and guiding the PLs. He truly viewed his job as making sure his PLs suceeded. He consciously put as much responsibility as possible on the PLs and APLs. He viewed his role as doing all the campwide SPL duties and coordinating the activities of the patrols. He set the tone for the week by his servant leadership -- his biggest concern was that everyone felt that they were responsible for their boys. Based on my coaching over the past year, he even quoted you, telling the PLs that their job was to take care of their boys. All of the boys put in a tremendous amount of effort during the week, not just my son - hence the theme of my original post: they all were amazing.
  7. Hedgehog

    Eagle board of review?

    Our Eagle SMC's are, in part, preparation for the EBORs. We tell our scouts that the questions asked at the SMC will be more difficult than the questions asked at the EBOR and they are.
  8. Hedgehog

    Summer Camp Went Well for my Nephew

    The quieter ones always do. Get two different colors of paracord. It is more fun if you can see each rope separately. Maybe even get a long thick (like an inch) dowel and cut it into three sections for practicing lashing (I did this for my son and he carries it in the scout pack he brings to every meeting). The website you linked to is great. They even have a phone app. One other suggestion is to get a book called "Self Working Rope Magic" by Karl Fulves. It is a great book full of rope magic tricks.
  9. Son had talked to the Program Director, our campsite Commissioner and several counselors who head up the various areas during the week about being on staff. The campsite Commissioner came up an told me "There are boys who want to be counselors and there are boys who are just natural born boy scouts. Your son is a Boy Scout." He borrowed the camp baseball hat I bought at camp and while he was wearing it on Friday he was mistaken several times for a counselor. My son actually enjoys being with scouts outside of our Troop a lot. He has loved his experience with OA and loved hanging out with the counselors at camp. I guess he feels at home with other guys who are as "scouty" as he is.
  10. Hedgehog

    "You Guys Were Awesome!"

    Stosh: I know how you feel about SPLs from other posts. Although I think we agree about delegating as much as possible to patrols, I think we disagree on the role of the SPL. In most of your responses you listed someone else who would do the job, be it the QM, TG, a PL or the SM. I don't disagree with where you pointed out the TG doing things in line with their position (my son is TG next year which is why as SPL he took the new guys to the campfire) or the QM doing things in line with his position (the Troop QM was also an ASPL and did handle the unloading of gear while my son had PLs focus on unloading the gear for their guys). However, you have PLs and TGs doing things that are outside their roles on an ad hoc basis or done on the basis of being the "oldest" or being led by the venture patrol. Most of those activities require coordinating various positions within the Troop and I see those as being the role of the SPL. To me, it makes more sense to have one person in charge of coordinating the activities of all the leaders. I also agree the need for an SPL looks different if you have 6 or 12 boys vs. 25 or 50 boys. At 25 boys, we had three patrols of 7 or 8, an SPL and 2 ASPLs. The PLs were new, untrained and without a lot of experience. If they were put in charge without an SPL, I suspect that there would have been a lot more adult involvement. Having an SPL who had acted as a PL on a lot of outings and who was NYLT trained allowed him to work with the PLs to make sure they were able to do their job. He very clearly understood that his job was (with the help of the ASPLs) take care of his guys who were the PLs. The fact that the PLs and APLs felt more in charge and valued than in the past is all the evidence I need to know that my son did his job as SPL. As I said in response to Tahawk, we had an amazing level of Patrol Level leadership for a Troop that has is very much a troop method Troop and was at a camp that is strongly focused on troops. We had boy-led, servant leadership and some level of patrol method. To misquote Meatloaf, "Two and a half out of three aint bad."
  11. Why do you think I've asked that question so many times? Although I may get in trouble if I keep asking because my son is intent on being a counsellor there next summer.
  12. Hedgehog

    "You Guys Were Awesome!"

    Each of the PLs at camp had not served as PLs before. Only my son (the SPL) and one of the PLs were APLs last year at camp and during the year and had undergone our troop's leadership training. Neither of the other two PLs had any experience or training. Simply put, to enable the PLs to lead under those circumstances, the SPL had to almost serve as their "guide." Could the PLs have done more? I'm sure they could have. However, their role was 1000 times greater than it was in the past. I find that to be an accomplishment worth celebrating. The strength of the patrols in our Troop is an issue that we need to work on. We have historically been a Troop Method troop in the outdoors. We have made some progress in the patrol method but still have a long way to go. I'm currently reading GBB's Patrol Leader's Guide and a book called Working the Patrol Method. There are some structural changes that need to be made... but that is another post.
  13. Hedgehog

    "You Guys Were Awesome!"

    The structure of the camp makes the SPL the "coordinator in chief." In the past the SPL did EVERYTHING leaving the patrol leaders feeling like figureheads. This year, the SPL worked to push down responsibility to the PLs (as well as the ASPL and APLs). The SPL didn't "DO" a lot (with the exception of the Thursday build-it project) except attend meetings and take care of his PLs. As he said at the pre-camp PLC to the PLs - "You guys are in charge, my job is to help you succeed." Some of the SPL duties (with parentheticals of how the PLs were involved this summer): Setting tone and preparing ASPLs, PLs and APLs at PLC meeting prior to camp. Coordinating unloading of Troop gear and boys moving into tents (asking PLs and ASPLs to take specific roles) Leading Troop on camp tour, dining hall table assignments and swim test Lining up the Troop whenever we leave camp (PLs were responsible for lining up their patrols and making sure guys were in uniform if appropriate. APLs were responsible for taking attendence. Duty was delegated to ASPL if SPL was unavailable). Helping PLs by providing materials to make patrol flags at camp Coordinating with Patrol Leaders to do daily responsibility charts for their patrols to make sure that campsite wide jobs are assigned. Serving as a waiter every day at lunch (with PLs and ASPLs to show that they were working as hard as everyone else) Doing morning and evening flag ceremonies at campsite (each Patrol was assigned to handle the flags at one ceremony) Lead the Troop to Campwide Morning and Evening Flags (relatively ease after line-up because each patrol was led by its PL) Attending Daily SPL meetings with Camp Staff (and then relaying the information to the PLs through a PLC meeting or one-on-one) Making sure camp is ready for inspection in the morning (APLs were charged with guiding their patrol members on what needed to be done and ASPLs did one final inspection during line-up) Making sure that waiters report on time (PLs were responsible for knowing who their two waiters were and making sure they were ready) Attending to issue related to playing music in the morning with neighboring Troop's SM Deciding on Troop activities on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (done at PLC with PLs) Being cheerleader in chief by telling ASPLs, PLs, APLs and others what they are doing well. Taking new scouts to First Year Campfire on Monday while ASPL led PLs to participate in Older Scout Competition Coordinating Troop boating activity on Tuesday night Leading Patrol Leaders in deciding roster for Troop Games on Tuesday night at ad-hoc PLC meeting Acting as a liason between Adults and PLs and PLs and Adults (i.e. keeping everyone informed of how everyone was doing) Coordinating participation in Troop Games on Wednesday (games were not done by Patrol but by Troop) Coordinating service projects on Wednesday (for the first time they were done by PLs and SPL and ASPLs joined patrols under PLs leadership) Coordinating Wednesday Troop activitiy (ultimate frisbee game against staff) Checking on how PLs were doing and asking them how the guys in their patrols were doing. Backing up PLs on any issues with their patrols. Addressing any issues that arose during the week with PLs, APLs, scouts and activities Coordinating building of Troop Build-It Project for Thursday (OK, didn't do the best job coordinating but stepped up to get it done) Making sure PLs knew what they were doing for Patrol Games on Thursday night Coordinating Troop Campfire on Thursday night (advance planning to get snacks, soda and music, having one PL build fire, another make popcorn and another make dump cakes) Attending waiter auction where Troops buy staff waiters for Friday night (asked PLs who their patrols wanted him to get). Coordinating making of Troop plaque for Dining Hall Coordinating move-out and clean-up of camp. Add that to the regular camp schedule (line-up at 7:50, Breakfast and then MB classes till lunch, a break and then MB classes until 5:00, line up at 5:50 for dinner and then a campwide campfire every night except Tuesday (activity) and Thursday (Troop campfire). The guys are usually pretty busy without being in a leadership position.
  14. If that is the case, it seems like the SM is using that for justification for disposing of a scout who wanted to lead and is doubling down on adult-led. Sad. And that there won't be elections because we all saw what happened the last times the boys were allowed to choose a leader -- they chose one that the SM couldn't control.
  15. Hedgehog

    Troop Recruiting

    I'm with most of the guys here. A new unit would not be started unless there was a need. That need might come from the fact that the current units are not delivering the program to the boys the way it is supposed to be delivered. It might come from the fact that the current unit is too big (that is how our unit started 50 years ago splitting another Troop to make if more manageable). It might come from an IH's desire to have a Troop and a Pack based on their positive experience with scouting. As for recruiting, we have up to five Packs that feed into our Troop. There are three packs that have the same CO and numbers as Troops in the area. One of those is the Pack that has the same CO as our Troop. When I was CM of the pack, we had boys go to three different troops and encouraged the boys to visit a variety of troops. We've had guys from the other "affiliated" packs come to our troop too. This year, the Webelos II Den leader in one of those packs was estatic that one of his boys who wasn't too keen on continuing in scouting decided to join our troop. We've actually been happy that a bunch of boys from our affiliated pack joined the troop down the street (the one we broke off from 50 years ago) because it was struggling with members almost dropping below 10 scouts (we are around 50 currently). Two of the packs don't have Troops associated with them and we pick up a couple scouts from them every year or so. We find that the most important factor is scouts that have older brothers, friends of scouts that have older brothers, scouts who's parents have friends who sons are in the troop and then affiliation between the Pack and the Troop (in that order). Each of the area Troops has a different feel to it. We are known as being large, boy-led and chaotic (no surprise there) and recently have gotten a reputation for having a strong outdoor program. We also have a rag tag, sort of F Troop feel to the boys. As one parent put it, we have a great bunch of goofballs. The Troop down the street was smaller and somewhat boy-led (we think that it is becoming more boy-led due to a new SM. The Troop to the west is midsized and much more adult lead and much better organized. The Troop to the north is smaller and does a lot of camping and activities. We really aren't in competition, rather we all are promoting Scouting and we are happy when a boy continues in Scouting regardless of which Troop they are in.
  16. I'm with you. When the SM forgets what servant leadership is (i.e. helping the boys run a program as designed) and puts his own ego and interests above the interests of the program and the CO (which presumable signed on to have a successful program that builds boys up with integrity rather than tears them down with control issues) the SM must go. As adults, we have to always remind ourselves that it is about providng the program for the boys and not about our own egos.
  17. Hedgehog

    "You Guys Were Awesome!"

    What really surprised me is how contagious servant leadership and boy-leadership can be. In talking to my son, we both realized that there was a lot of factors that all converged to make this happen. A big part is that the boys who were in charge had been being primed for this role for three years. The idea of boy-led was ingrained in them and they saw some leaders (both adult and youth) do the opposite of servant leadership (authoritarian or "do as I tell you to" leadership). So the groundwork was there and a bunch of other things (me being there to keep the other leaders in check, my son being SPL right after NYLT, the other leaders being eager to lead, having the other adults at camp buying into boy-led and even the Camp SM being out of camp for a couple of days) were the cataylist. The next challenge is to build on this at our leader training campout in September. I could see how the SPL is fully occupied. My son had no free time even with two free periods until Friday (and he used that time to finish up work on two merit badges). Although it would be nice to have a separate campsite for the adults, that really hasn't been a problem. Three of the adults that are there all week have tents that are together at the front of the camp (they are a little bigger than the scout tents) and the other adults tend to tent on the fringes of the scout tents. I'm now jotting down my notes and thoughts on how we can build on this for next year.
  18. We do the same camp every year. I"ve talked to a lot of parents and a lot of boys about the posibility of changing and the unanimous answer is they want to do the same camp. We don't have a formal decision but there is absolutely no inclination to change camps. I have to agree with all of them, the camp we go to is pretty good and I think it would be hard to find another camp that has a full turkey dinner served on Friday night with the waiters being staff dressed up in costumes.
  19. Hedgehog

    Summer Camp Went Well for my Nephew

    The mantra I repeat to the new guys every year is "Scouting is about leadership. Leadership is about responsibility. The first step in learning responsibility is being responsible for yourself." Maybe as a congratulations for a good week at camp, you can get him a book on knots and some paracord to practice on. Ask him to show you how to use a knife safely to cut it into lengths that he can practice knots with and ask him to show you how to fuse the ends of the paracord so they don't unravel (otherwise you would have a frayed knot... get it "afraid not"?) . He should have learned those skills at camp. I've found that learning knots (and lashings) are great for kids like your nephew because it is something they enjoy learning and because at some point someone will ask "does anyone know how to tie a bowline knot?" and he will feel empowered. You could even ask him to teach you the knots he learns using the EDGE (explain, demonstrate, guide, enable) method. Notice that everything I'm recommending is turning the tables -- he is showing and teaching you what he learned by himself. How empowering is that?
  20. The answer is communication. Talk to new SM and ask what his expectations would be and then listen to the answer. Essentially ask what do you think is the best way for me to become part of the Troop and advance to Eagle as a member of the troop? Most scouters love to be given a chance to express their opinions.
  21. Yes, we can get to know the boy pretty quickly but I think that having the boy willing to spend 6 months with a new Troop before asking for an Eagle SMC dispells any concerns about his intentions. It conveys that he is in Scouting for the right reasons and not just in a rush to get his Eagle. It conveys that he is mature and can wait to earn that rank rather than being focused on rocketing to Eagle to get it off his checklist. It also gives him time to develop an attachment to the Troop rather than just being perceived as using the Troop to get Eagle. My sense would be different if he was 17 and 10 months, but he just turned 15. He has time. I can also see how that will help him at his Eagle BOR. "When I joined the troop, I wanted to spend six months with the Troop to get to know the guys before I asked for an Eagle SMC. I felt it was important to truly be part of the Troop before I became one of the Eagles from the Troop. I wanted to show everyone in the Troop that I truly deserved to be an Eagle and wanted to demonstrate my appreciation for the Troop accepting me by being "helpful" for that six months."
  22. If he does have to join a new troop, my advice would be for him to be active in the Troop for six months before asking for an Eagle SMC. That will give the SM a chance to get to know the boy and will help alleviate any concerns about Troop hopping. Having the SM be able to vouch for the boy at an EBOR makes a big difference. Your son has time. If he goes to a new Troop encourage him to act like an Eagle remembering that Eagle is not just another rank but something that becomes part of who you are.
  23. So the camp theme this year is pirates. My son, as camp SPL, wants to know if the troop can vote to have the official headgear be a pirate bandana. I remember reading somewhere that the troop designates headwear - allowing troop hats and even berets. The idea would be to designate this as official troop gear so the boys can wear it to the camp flag ceremonies. Is anyone aware of where I can find the rule on this?
  24. Hedgehog

    Question about Sustainability MB...

    My son had additional categories like "necessary based on a choice to have something that is a want." This included things like dog food which was necessary once we decided we wanted a dog. Another catagory was "desirable method to satisify a need." That included things like eating out. He also had "necessary to fulfill a necessity." That included my train ticket to get to work (I have to get to work to work and I need to work to afford necessities). As others have said, the thinking process is what matters.
  25. Hedgehog

    OA Grace

    I'd love to have the translation, that would be something neat for the boys in the lodge.