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Posts posted by Hedgehog

  1. 3 hours ago, gblotter said:

    Scouting is not co-ed. (1)

    (1) Unless you attend a summer camp, or a merit badge university, or a Camporee, or a Cub Scout Day Camp, or an OA Induction, or NYLT, or any other event sponsored at the District, Council, or National level.

    So the Scouts BSA structure actually does not work if you engage in anything outside your own troop.

    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).

    1 minute ago, Rick_in_CA said:

    So it doesn't work? At all? So the 120+ coed scouting programs around the world are all failures? Really?

    Look, I think the reality of international scouting clearly shows that coed scouting can work, and work well (ask Cambridgeskip or ianwilkins). That doesn't invalidate the argument that single-sex scouting is better than coed (and some rather cogent arguments in favor of that position have been presented on this forum). But can we leave the hyperbole out of it?

    I understand that there is a lot of passion around this question. But some of the hyperbole I have seen around this topic is silly and discredits the arguments being made. Not to mention that it can come across as an unintended insult to our international scouter friends ("your coed program sucks").


    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.



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  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.

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  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.

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  4. On 6/14/2018 at 7:22 AM, ItsBrian said:

    As I said I will be working in the first year program, if anyone who has staffed one or even watched some of the programs could give me some tips. I don’t want to go into too much detail or too less, and don’t want to make it boring. Unfortunately I am missing staff week and the first week of camp due to PA ending school before me.

    Any advice would be great.

    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.

    19 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

    I’m more afraid of forgetting how to do a specific thing, even though I know that I know everything that will be taught.

    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.  

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  5. On 6/19/2018 at 9:18 AM, cchoat said:

    With all the discussions about the potential for lawsuits over recent policy changes made by the BSA, do you, as a Scout leader, feel that it may be necessary for either you or your Chartered organization to take out personal liability insurance to protect yourself / itself against lawsuits?

    Is anyone already doing this? 

    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.  

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  6. 57 minutes ago, thrifty said:

    Did you mark the dutch ovens somehow?  I could never find a good idea on how to mark those so they could be easily identified.    

    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.

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  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. 2 hours ago, gblotter said:

    I'm curious to know how your 11-14 year old girls will feel about attending a co-ed summer camp with boy troops (because co-ed BSA summer camps will be the reality). Speaking only for our 11-14 year old boys, the idea of co-ed summer camp is anathema to them. They would rather skip summer camp altogether and do our own wilderness camp instead.

    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. @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.  

  11. 2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    Well, I find all your self-righteous grandstanding sickening.

    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.

    2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    Most of us hear have similar experiences as yours and most of us respond with similar reactions.

    You have no proof that any scouter here has acted or will act otherwise. But you use our posts out of context to express judgemental accusations on most of the forum list.  In your hypocrisy, you are see all scouts as amazingly wonderful, but not all scouters.

    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.

    3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    This is a place where scouters have an open forum to express their thoughts on these subjects. But since many of the opinions aren't your opinions, you find the differences offensive. I hinted earlier that sometimes silence is the most powerful response to a post. But you can't help yourselves. Your emotions drive you to change us.

    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."

    3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    I lost respect you guys because you have no respect or trust for anyone who thinks differently than you. You can't guilt me to change, I have too much of real life experiences with real life people balanced with religion and pragmatic sense to fall into your shallow utopian vision. Folks who know me know that the "My way of the highway" doesn't work for me. I'm open minded about new ideas and approaches. But at the same time, I know what works and what doesn't. If you want to change the goals, fine. But don't get angry with those of us who don't accept your idealist progressive vision. Just accept that we go our way, you go yours.

    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.

    3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    Remember, scouting is local.

    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.  

    3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    You want heart tugging stories, I can pretty much match anyone here.  But if you think you are selling the better BSA, well you will have to contend with my real life experiences and the wisdom that was painfully forged from those experiences.

    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

    3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    We all want a civil discussion of looking at life from our different perspectives. But when we start ranking each others moral character by our words, well something has to be said. 

    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.

    3 hours ago, David CO said:

    This liberal culture of perceived victimhood and phony psycho-babble has really got out of hand. 

    I've never said any of my Scouts were victims.  Far from it.  They are kids learning to deal with the problems of life.  

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  12. 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.

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  13. 16 hours ago, SSScout said:

    Welcome home, Hedge.

    I would ask your permission to reprint your "confession" in our Scout District  Newsletter , pretty please?

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

  14. On 6/10/2018 at 4:08 PM, MattR said:

    One thing to note is both Hedgehog and Krampus haven't been heard from in a while.

    I'm back (and probably just for a limited time).

    On 6/10/2018 at 12:59 PM, Koolio said:

    I guess I am over 2 years late to the party here.  I support Skeptic.  The BSA states that the scoutmaster determines when a requirement is passed off.  I thought it was very disrespectful that Hedgehog and Krampus were bullying Skeptic with their made up scenarios.  

    The weeklong scout camps I go on, often have a canoe overnighter where the scouts paddle across the lake and camp on their own.  This gives them a unique camping experience and I always give the scouts credit for 1 night camping for their second scout camp.  They are doing everything needed to camp like selecting a site and pitching at tent.  BTW the National BSA is out of their minds nuts.  RIP BSA.

    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.

  15. 2 hours ago, David CO said:

    Not where I live. The only place I have ever seen a transgender person is on TV. 


    1 hour ago, NJCubScouter said:

    I have never seen a transgender person in person either.  (That I know of.)  But I do not expect that situation to be permanent. I did know a couple in my town whose son later turned out to be transgender.

    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.

    18 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    That question came up at my last roundtable, Where will they sleep? From going through Youth on Youth Protection training, it seems as if putting someone who is a biologicall female in a tent with biological males is asking for trouble.

    Apparently one of the troops may have this issue in the near future.


    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.

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  16. 9 hours ago, Hedgehog said:

    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.


    9 hours ago, Hedgehog said:

    Would it allow a team practice with a single coach?  



    7 hours ago, David CO said:



    To paraphrase that great sage Meatloaf, one out of three ain't bad.😁

  17. 2 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Does your patrols do their own hikes whenever they want, or they do they have to wait for adults to get off work? Do they do their own patrol meetings, outside of troop meetings, whenever they want, or do they have to schedule them around around adults?  

    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.

    6 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Regarding your baseball analogy, have players gotten together to practice on their own, without any adults around? Heck have they ever played a pick up game without adults around?

    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. 

    • Like 2
  18. On 6/16/2018 at 3:49 PM, Kryten said:


    i am in a smaller troop with limited leader availability.

    I am looking for some ideas to try and keep our patrols active in spite of the new G2SS rules requiring 2 21+ leaders at all patrol activities and meetings.

    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:


    Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. 

    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.

    1 hour ago, David CO said:

    There's no question about it. BSA doesn't trust us. Any of us.

    I also think there is a financial motive. BSA wants to force more of us to register and pay registration fees.

    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.

    11 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    So the Patrol Method is its terminal stages. 😪


    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.  

    • Like 1
  19. On 5/31/2018 at 3:10 PM, blackft said:

    We have a 15 year old boy who may be special needs, or he may just be difficult.  He'll never answer a question directly and he'll argue and renegotiate everything you ask him to do, all with a smirk on his face.  So many events have been derailed because he seems to innocently mis-participate that I'm left wondering if he simply enjoys the chaos he creates.  Last year I resolved to do my best to give him special treatment because the other boys were distancing themselves.  He was not voted for AOL and the SM was so nice is playing it off like the boys didn't understand the voting procedures.  I've asked my son to also be more inclusive to see if this would change the outlook of this scout, but this guy just won't make anything easy.  

    He asks so many questions over and over again that the SM has asked that he does not ask another question without a note pad and pen.  

    Last camp out, the boy insisted he was told the wrong time and caused all sorts of problems with our SM's wife needing to get involved to escort him to where we were.  I put the time and location of all of our events on our Facebook page and on an electronic shared calendar and we cover the events in meeting and we re-explain it to him and his parents after the meeting.

    The exact same thing was set to happen when last week I overheard the boy tell his father the wrong time for our upcoming camp out.  I took out my phone, showed father and son the information on the calendar and Facebook and spent about 5 minutes covering the details that were just discussed in the meeting.  As I turned around to leave, the dad asks the SM to recap everything I had just covered.  I threw up my hands and said something to of the effect, "I just covered that!" and walked to my car where my son was waiting.  

    Last night the father walks in and confronts me to ask if I have a problem with his son being a Scout. Do I have a problem with his son specifically?  I had forgotten about the week before so I'm wondering where all this is coming from.  I start telling him about one of three of today's situations where the boy was being needlessly difficult and he cuts me off to remind me about last week.  The more I try to explain the more of a creep I feel like because I didn't volunteer to be a leader to make anyone upset.  A moment of natural frustration on my part has unraveled years of patience but I can't help but want to distance myself like the rest of the troop has.  What do I do?  Or is this difficult behavior really not supposed to be tolerated at scouts?  Every kid forgets but this kid in particular has me at my wit's end.   


    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."


    On 6/11/2018 at 11:25 AM, blackft said:

    I guess he really hit my main hot button lately and that's communication.  We just had an event where the Scouts were to prepare breakfast for the Church congregation.  Only two of my boys showed up, but thankfully the Venture Crew and older (retired?) Scouts were there to run things.  I had several folks challenge me that we didn't communicate it properly.  We mentioned it in the meeting.  We mentioned it at the Camp out the week before.  It was on our Troop Facebook page, an Email was sent to all parents and it was on the Google Calendar.  We had a great event, but I agree with you when you say that I need a plan for how we communicate.  I thought I had a plan but communication only happens if the message is sent and received.  

    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.

  20. On 5/29/2018 at 2:40 PM, Hawkwin said:

    Even though my son's SM did a good job of trying to teach the parents how boy scouts was different from cub scouts, I still didn't get it for many months later and much through my own self-education. I would imagine that the vast majority of parents (especially those not active in any leadership capacity) never really get it at all.

    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.

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  21. 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.  

    • Like 1
  22. On 6/15/2018 at 8:43 AM, fred johnson said:

    When reality sets in, it may be viewed as co-ed because many troops will have significant overlap to make it work.  

    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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