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Posts posted by Hedgehog

  1. Print this out and bring this to the next Troop Committee meeting to foster discussion and reflection:




    Our Troop was a 4, we're now a 3 and we're moving to a 2.  Sounds like your Troop is a 6 moving toward a 7.


    I think that your Scoutmaster means well.  He probably is very good at managing adults.  He also sees the Troop's sucess as being a well-oiled machine and feels that he will be judged upon the Troop's success.  The Troop's vision needs to change.  The vision needs to define success as TEACHING THE BOYS TO LEAD.  Boys don't learn through watching, boys don't learn by being told what to do - they learn by DOING.  It's messy, its disorganized but it works.


    Part of our Troop culture is that the SMs and the ASMs encourage each other to be more "boy-led."  Make that part of yours.  Doing that acknowledges that we all have tendencies to want to take things over and that we need encouragement to stay on the boy-led trail.

    • Upvote 2
  2. If I knew it was pirate bandanas all round, I'd probably try and get a pirate captain's tricorn hat or something, maybe for your SPL son that's running it, or maybe just for me. :)


    We have fabric tubes over here trade name of Buff, non trade name possibly multifunctional headwear, I would expect you can get them with skull and crossbones, ah yes...




    Bit pricey though.


    Actually, not that unusual to see the odd scarf worn heretically as a bandana over here. And I know you can get skull and crossbone neckers.





    SPL son made decision that the SPL and ASPLs would wear the same bandanas -- the patrols are around 8 guys and the bandanas come in packs of 12, so there was no need to spend more money on something different for them.   Also, his idea of servant leadership led him to decide that being SPL or ASPL shouldn't entitle them to something better.  For me however, he has strongly recommended:



    • Upvote 1
  3. Wow, quite the controversy.  


    You let the scouts decide, but with a bit of advice and supervision.  As far as flags go, it is simple enough; just do not salute, but rather stand properly at attention when required and put hands over their hearts.  


    Even before reading all of this, my son (without any input from me) decided that the each partrol would choose a different colored bandana and use them for the Patrol Games and not the flag ceremonies.  

  4. I think you might be getting a lot of sideways looks wearing a pirate bandana during a flag ceremony. I hope they don't salute with an "aaarrgh" :)



    I suspect the idea was to get the sideways looks.  I also suspect there will be some orchestrated aaarrghs.


    Sounds like a fuzzy line. To me, temporarily changing the uniform to have some fun just doesn't sound right. Maybe there's another way to have that fun? Pirate neckerchief slides made of painted pvc with a skull and cross bones? It could be a good discussion to have with the scouts.


    I like the neckerchief slide idea -- a nice keepsake.  Will mention to my son.


    Are yeh really lookin' for a "rule" on this, @@Hedgehog?  Good heavens, why?


    My sense was I didn't want them to go down this path only to be shot down when they got to camp.



    Scoutin' is a kids game, and this is a classic youth leader choice.  I bet da use of pirate headscarfs in your troop will be more "uniform" than da use of the uniform.  ;)   It will bring a sense of identity and teamwork that's exactly what we want to encourage, particularly at camp.  It will be fun.  It will make your troop stand out for its spirit.  Your kids will talk about it for years.


    I'd let it be.  It will be good fun for awhile, and good scouting.  I reckon I'd actually join in and figure out what to bring to help the lads lash up some piratical camp gadgets.



    That is exactly why I"m behind it.  I'll gladly wear one -- it will help keep the bald head from getting sunburned.


    I see a plank and gibbet camp gadgets in your future! ;)


    I think if his is a camp theme related theme, it could at least be activity wear, if not for flags. Give the camp director a call before you go all in. One time our VOA had such a theme, and bandanas came with the price of admission.


    Be prepared with some good history to use in SM minutes or at campfires.


    Ultimately, that is the answer -- I have to e-mail the director on some other issues and can get his sense of if this is permissible.  Also, a good idea for activities -- there are a lot of opportunities for that!

  5. I believe that only the Venturing Crews can designate "uniforms".  The headgear for Boy Scouts, like neckers, is an issue of Yes or No, not whatever.  Otherwise, up here in Wisconsin half the units would be wearing the triangular cheese hats and we wouldn't what that to happen. 


    Whereas bandanas might fit the category of head gear it is not within the realm of being a hat.  I don't think a babushka qualifies either, nor does a head scarf, which would be close to the bandana issue.  Sweatbands?  Probably not either.



    Agree on Venturing for Uniform.  I think what I had looked at was the Uniform Inspection Sheet which says "All troop members must wear the headgear chosen by vote of the troop/team."  http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34283.pdf


    Maybe headbands would work, especially if the camp has a Richard Simmons retro exercise theme.   :blink:

  6. 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?

  7. I let my son take his cell phone (with a 20,000 mah battery) to NYLT.  He used it to track the weather, take pictures, send texts (during permitted times), in a geocatching competition and call home a couple of times.  I suspect he also used it to play games during downtime.  Did it detract from the experience?  I don't think so.  Did it enhance the experience -- I do think so.  Most of the phone conversations were recounting his day.  


    One of the phone conversations was after he had a very frustrating day with his patrol.  According to him, they had done an activity and everyone was telling everyone else what to do and arguing.  He said he was quiet during the activity, and then when they got back to the campsite he pulled the patrol together and told them they weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing and that they should be applying what they learned.  The response was that he was taking it too seriously and that "we're 13 years old, we can do whatever we want."  His response was "at 13 we should be mature enough to do what we are supposed to do."  After venting his frustration, I told him that his patrol had done what it was supposed to do in the storming phase.  It clicked right there for him (they had gone over the phases, but it seemed more academic until that point).  He was concerned because he was going to be the PL the next day.  We talked about servant leadership and how he has to lead by helping others work together -- not yelling "we have to do this!" but by quietly encouraging "we can do this."  He went to sleep, feeling pretty good.  The next day proved that his patrol was up to the task and he said, "we're definitely more norming today."


    Part of it is maturity - to only use the phone when permitte\d.  We allow boys to bring phones on backpacking treks and allow patrol leaders to have them on any campout (because patrols can do activites on campouts without adults) as a safety precaution.  My son brought his DS when we did a backpacking trek with just the two of us.  He played some at night after dinner and before we went to sleep.  My son also has a battery operated radio, which he takes backpacking.  We were able to get the weather on that when we had no cell phone signals.  I'm looking at buying a portable projector to do a movie campout.  The older scouts would love to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail and my son was thinking that a movie night with the Minion movie would be fun for Webelos.

  8. Isn't this the responsibility of the PL/APL team in the patrol?  After all, if the PL is signing off on the advancement, shouldn't he be aware of where the boys are at in their progress?



    Yes.  The PL / APL / TG and Instructors are the "older scouts" I'm talking about.


    Actually, it is the responsibility of the scout.



    And yes too.  But with younger scouts, they sometimes need encouragement and guidance from older scouts to be resonsible for themselves in advancement and other areas.



  9. My best cup of coffee at summer camp is before most of the scouts wake up.  There are a couple of early risers among the scouts who sometimes join me occasionally having a cup of hot chocolate.


    I find every possible opportunity to check in with individual scouts.  Walking to and from meals and events.  At meals.  In the morning.  Around the campfire.  I'm teaching the boy leaders to do the same.

  10. Our guys get 80% of the Tenderfoot through First Class requirements done at summer camp.  The rest of the requirements come naturally as part of the program - camping, cooking, hiking, orienteering, etc.  The guys develop our "Indoor Program" by selecting monthly themes and then developing programs that allow them to teach, learn and practice skills like knot tying, lashings, first aid, etc.  It is haphazzard, but in most cases it works.  Boy-led activities and boy-led sign off.  


    Where I'd like to see improvement is having the older boys do a better job of guiding the younger boys through advancement to make sure nobody gets left behind or falls through the cracks.  That can be by just looking at their books to see how they are doing, teaching a skill one-on-one, working to set up a campout that covers a certain skill or just encouraging the scout to learn something on their own and come back and show them the next week.


    Advancement is good, but having fun is what keeps the boys involved.

  11. One day I'll get clean, but today is not that day.



    As a general rule, we require people to shower once a week at camp.   :D


    As of last night, my son has taken the lead over me in nights camping in Boy Scouts at 65 nights.  I suspect that his lead will become insurmountable.  By the end of the summer, he will be at 79 nights.  I also think this addiction thing might be heriditary.

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  12. It is interesting that this thread popped up today.  Over the weekend, I had a conversation with my son, one of his girl friends (notice the space between the words) and her mom about Venturing.  The consensus was it would be VERY COOL.  Add my son's best friend and the girl's best friend and we've got 4.  I mentioned it in an e-mail on another topic to one of my fellow Assistant Scoutmasters and his daughter would be on board with one of her friends.  So, I'm up to 6 potential crew members.  My sense is 10 to 12 is the right number and that won't be difficult to get to.  


    What have I gotten myself into?

    • Upvote 3
  13. I'm new to Camping Addicts Anonomous.  My name is Hedgehog and it's been 5 weeks since I've been camping.  I tried to convince my son to take me with him to NYLT this week, but he refused.  We're doing a 20 mile backpacking trek into summer camp in two weeks and I'm spending Sunday through Wednesday at Camp.  My job is to run interference with the other adults to give the boys an opportunity to lead.  :D  Well, that and encourage them to make some dump cakes and campfire pies.


    Then at the end of the following week, I'm off for a 5 day, 30 mile backpacking trek.  Unfortunately, we're not doing any camping in August, but we've got a leadership campout and a Troop outing planned for September and a beach camping trip planned for October.  Some addictions just need to be fed. :p 


    @@Eagle94-A1, I hope you enjoy summer camp and get to relax.  I'm curious how many books you get through.  I've never managed to even crack a single book.

  14. Really? Both my boys got it; I really didn't pay much attention. You stay really active and keep track it is not that hard.



    The badge with the segment for camping or hiking is easy.  The other segments are more difficult.


    However, the Medal is a lot more difficult requiring 125 nights of camping, additional merit badges and additional training. 

  15. First question - Wouldn't the Confirmation service hours count for advancement other than the Eagle project?  They just have to be approved by the Scoutmaster.


    Second question - Why can't Eagle projects count toward Confirmaiton service hours?  We have one Scout that is building pantry cabinets on wheels for the local faith-based soup kitchen.  I know not all of them would count, but I've seen a lot in our Troop that have a faith based component and many benefit our local churches.  What better way to show service to faith than by organizing a project rather than merely attending an adult organized project.


    Third - Is the restriction "no outside service projects during your confirmation year"; "no service projects that interfere with confirmation service projects" or "you need to get your Confirmation service hours in before doing any other service"?


    Fourth - How many 8th graders do you get trying to complete their Eagle projects in your unit?  I mean most of our guys are wrapping up the week before their 18th birthday.

  16. As for summer camp, I think a lot of adults make it too complicated.  Our camp has an early registration discount.  Parents need to get the permission slip and the check in to get the discount.  Anyone else can register up to the time of our camp preparation meeting which is two to three weeks before camp.  Our camp needs final rosters a week before we arrive.  We get 95% of the folks registered early if you exclude Webelos.  This year we had two scouts out of 25 register after the early deadline -- one who decided to go late and one who was a Webelos crossover.


    The medical forms are due at the camp preparation meeting.  The boys can't go to camp without them.  We make it clear that they need Part C filled out to go.  The one or two folks who need extra time bring it to the parking lot before we leave.


    People respond to real deadlines, not arbitrary cut offs with unnecessary consequences.  We do one e-mail providing all of the materials, one e-mail reminding people of the early deadline, one last call e-mail in early June and one e-mail reminding people to bring the medical forms to the summer camp preparation meeting (sent about two weeks in advance to give time to get Part C).  Actually, it is pretty much the same e-mail with an additional line or two at the top.


    The key is not to stress about it.  To quote Mick Jagger, "you can't always get what you want (i.e. forms turned in well in advance") but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need (everything in order by the time you start off to camp).  

  17. While in my thinking the spirit of it might be that they repeat these requirements for each rank to better set these skills, that is not what it says.... so in my thinking these new boys get a big chunk of three ranks done with two merit badges.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the SM handles it.



    Generally, the merit badge requirements will specify if something done for rank advancement can count for the badge.  For example, the 5 mile hike for advancement specifically counts toward the Hiking merit badge.  The nights camping for advancement specifically count for the Camping merit badge.  The meals cooked for advancement specifically DON"T count for the Cooking merit badge.  If I correctly recall the First Aid merit badge says you have to complete the Tenderfoot through First Class First aid requirements, so it counts twice.  I don't remember anything saying that the Tenderfoot through First Class requirements for swimming can't count toward the Swimming merit badge.  My rule is that if rank requirements or merit badge don't say otherwise, it can count for both.

  18. Common sense would prevail.    With the risk of ruining a trip, why would anybody in their right mind want to go running around in the outdoors without their feet protected?   Duh



    1.  Hiking sandals (such as Tevas) provide excellent ventilation keeping feet from sweating and forming blisters.

    2.  Hiking sandals are very useful on long treks to change the contact points if you have blisters.

    3.  Flip flops and other sandals are very comfortable to walk around camp with and better than barefoot or in socks (seen both)

    4.  Flip flops and Crocks are great if you are going to get wet due to swimming, bathing or being hosed down.  Also, having a boy stick a foot that is wet from the lake and dirty from the mud / grass they just walked into in a sock is asking for feet that smell toxic.

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  19. I'll echo everyone else.  Go to the council's website, call council and ask to talk to the Scout Executive.  Do not settle for talking to anyone else.  If you have to leave a message, make it simple, "my son and I have been kicked out of a unit because my ex-husband was charged with violating a restraining order put into place to prevent spousal and child abuse."  The Scout Executive will act and act quickly -- it is his job to do the right thing because if he doesn't and something like this gets into the press, he will be looking or another job.

  20. What a rip-off.  My unit has never participated in OA, so I had no idea.  



    Shouldn't the value of something be considered based on what you get in exchange?  If your unit never participated in OA, you have no idea of what you get in exchange.


    So, for our Ordeal it is $60, less the $10 discount is $50.  Included in that is the first year's dues of $15.  So that is $35.  For that we got two HUGE meals, two small meals, two nights camping and a sash, pocket patch and book.


    My son went to Conlclave for $38.  That included food on Friday, three meals on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday with two nights of camping.  He also received a goodie bag, pocket patch, hanging patch and more.


    However, there are things you can't put a price on.  My son went to Conclave alone -- without me and without anyone from our Troop.  On the way going there I asked him what parts of the scout law he would focus on.  His response is "friendly, helpful and brave -- because I don't know anyone."  He came back after having the time of his life.  He said, "I made like 10 friends in an hour and felt more at home with the guys in my lodge than I do with alot of the guys in our Troop."  He is with a bunch of guys who take scouting as seriously as he does -- not the guys that are doing Eagle for their college application and not the guys who are sash and dash.  He is already planning on running for a chapter position in the Fall.


    Over that weekend he learned the meaning of a new word, "fellowship."  PRICELESS.

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  21. As of the early 80's, New Jersey probably had about 15-20 councils, and I would not be surprised if earlier there were 25 or more. Now I believe there are five councils entirely in NJ and two others with some territory in NJ but based in Pennsylvania. (The late great OldGreyEagle's council, Minsi Trails, is one of the latter; the other was the Bucks County Council up until a couple a couple years ago, now called the Washington Crossing Council to reflect the fact that it now includes both sides of Washington's crossing of the Delaware.)


    Some of the old councils in New Jersey were very small geographically. My father was a Boy Scout in the Bayonne council, which consisted of one small city.



    The George Washington Council merged to form Central Jersey Council which disbanded spinning off districts to neighboring councils.  We went to Bucks County which changed its name to the Washington's Crossing Council.  Central New Jersey had two camps - Kittatinny Mountain Scout Reservation and Yards Creek.  Neither were maintained sufficiently to operate a summer camp.  My experience with Washington's Crossing has been positive.  The only downside is that it is a longer trip to the Scout Shop.  The councils that remain in New Jersey seem pretty strong.  Northern New Jersey, Patriot's Path and Garden State  have multiple camps and Jersey Shore has a nice facility at Citta.

  22. Hedgehog,


    The OP was never very specific about the rule change that started this whole mess.  The OP only said that it has the effect of requiring his oldest son to complete 10 more days of camping.  I don't think I have enough information to judge the reasonableness of the rule.


    The very first post in the thread lays out what happened.  The boy actively participated in the Troop and actively served in a position of responsibility for 6 months as required for Eagle. After he met those requirements, the SM and CC added a requirement for "scout spirit" which required additional nights of camping.  The first post is reproduced below with the most important sections highlighted.


    My older son is 17, an honor student and highly involved with sports throughout the year. He has been consistently active as a Boy Scout since crossing over as a Webelo in the 5th grade.


    He has successfully completed his project and the final write-up in the workbook. He has completed all merit badges, with the exception of one required badge for which he has one remaining partial that he will have completed very soon. My son has been a Life Scout for more than two years and he has been on several camping trips in that time, including one long term camping excursion. He attends troop meetings regularly. He has held two acceptable PORs as a Life Scout and performed both admirably.


    While he has been on the several camping trips, including the one week long camping excursion, his Scoutmaster feels that he has not been “active enough†and indicated that he needs to complete a complete an impractical and unrealistic additional number of camping trips in order to earn his scout spirit to be eligible for Eagle. Both the scoutmaster and the troop committee chair, have both adamantly refused to sign my son’s completed Eagle project workbook, his Eagle application and the SM has stated that he refuses to grant a SM conference until these additional nights of camping are completed.


    At this stage of his life, and with the timing involved, it is not realistically possible for him to complete these additional nights of camping.


    The troop committee imposed new, and more demanding, scout spirit/active participation requirements, however, my son had already completed his camping trips and six months of active participation, many months prior to the new requirements being put in place.


    My older son has been very proactive in moving the Eagle Application and Workbook process forward and he and I have long suspected that the scoutmaster was intentionally delaying this process.


    His announcement to my older son just a few days ago that he was adamantly refusing to sign anything or grant a SM conference, marked the first time in the past year that he had made any mention of the additional nights of camping.


    If I were to share all of the details and specifics around this situation, this post would be the equivalent of a short novel, however, to give you the condensed version, it’s clear from the SM’s comments and the indifferent way in which he’s been working with my son (or rather not working with him) that he is doing his best to see that my son does not earn this rank that he has rightfully completed. I suspect that I know his reasons for this.


    The SM and the troop committee are very much in cahoots and the majority of the troop committee, or at least it’s loudest members, are all supporting the scoutmaster.



    The first problem is that you cannot add camping requirements for Scout Spirit under the BSA Guide to Advancement



    Evaluating Scout spirit will always be a judgment call, but through getting to know a young man and by asking probing questions, we can get a feel for it. We can say, however, that we do not measure Scout spirit by counting meetings and outings attended. It is indicated, instead, by the way he lives his life. 


    You can add them for active participation in the troop and for serving actively in a position of responsibility, however they need to be established in advance, not after the Scout has fulfilled those requirements.  The BSA's Guide to Advance Section provides the following regarding active participation: 



    3. The Scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations; or, if not, a lesser level of activity is explained.

    If, for the time period required, a Scout or qualifying Venturer or Sea Scout meets those aspects of his unit’s pre-established expectations that refer to a level of activity, then he is considered active and the requirement is met. Time counted as “active†need not be consecutive. A boy may piece together any times he has been active and still qualify. If he does not meet his unit’s reasonable expectations, then he must be offered the alternative that follows. 


    The alternative requirements provide that "If a young man has fallen below his unit’s activity- oriented expectations, then it must be due to other positive endeavors—in or out of Scouting—or due to noteworthy circumstances that have prevented a higher level of participation." 


    The BSA's Guide to Advancement Section proves the following regarding Positions of Responsibility:


    Meeting Unit Expectations. If a unit has established expectations for positions of responsibility, and if, within reason (see the note under “Rank Requirements Overview,†, based on his personal skill set, the Scout meets them, he ful lls the requirement. 


    Reasonableness is defined in Section as:



    The concepts of “reasonable†and “within reason†will help unit leadership and boards of review gauge the fairness of expectations for considering whether a Scout is “active†or has fullled positions of responsibility. A unit is allowed, of course, to establish expectations acceptable to its chartered organization and unit committee. But for advancement purposes, Scouts must not be held to those which are so demanding as to be impractical for today’s youth (and families) to achieve.


    Ultimately, a board of review shall decide what is reasonable and what is not. In doing so, the board members must use common sense and must take into account that youth should be allowed to balance their lives with positive activities outside of Scouting. 


    The first violation is you can't require camping for Scout Spirit.  The second violation, assuming the requirements are active participation or leadership based,  is that the requirements were established after the requirements were already met.  The third violation is that the 10 nights of camping over 6 months (the time required for Eagle) is not reasonable because that would be missing one outing over six months (assuming the troop has a 2 night outing every month).

    • Upvote 1
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