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Everything posted by Hedgehog

  1. The boys decided this year to do a couple of merit badges as monthly themes. This month is Pioneering. Our (the adults) requiirement is that the boys teach all the skills and do all the instruction. The Merit Badge Counselor is there just to sign off on the requirements for those that want to pursue the badge. I'll let you know how it goes.
  2. For the Pack and Troop, the future leaders are selected by the current leaders. As Cubmaster, I had to recruit my successor. The Committee Chair in our Pack was a ceremonial position. The Cubmaster ran the program, recruited the Den Leaders and was the face of the Pack in front of the boys. For the Troop, I've been active as an ASM for three and a half years and asked by the current SM and CC to step up and be SM at the end of this school year. The CC of the Troop is more involved than at the Pack but very much works in coordination with the SM. The three of us have been engaged in filli
  3. I perceive Varsity Scouting as a separate program often focused on sports. The way to keep your Troop intact is to make if fun for the younger boys and the older boys. That doesn't necessarily mean the same things. Develop an outdoor program that is both a learning experience for the younger guys and includes challenges for the older guys but make it fun for both. Nobody abandons something fun and exciting for the unknown.
  4. As I told the President of our Crew, the magic words are, "Mr. Hedgehog, I've got this."
  5. So the youth made the decision after researching and understanding the issue? You obviously haven't met people who are itruly nvolved in the OA. Yeah, the pocket patch is cool (our Lodge designed the first one), but to say people who are involved are there only for the pocket patch is absurd. You can keep the pocket patch on if you just pay your dues and I doubt anyone will forcibly make you take it off if you stop paying your dues. More than anything else, the lodge flap serves as a conversation starter -- hey, your in OA too? My son loves OA for one reason - the gu
  6. We did a best in Den Award decided by the scouts,, parents and siblings voting by using different types of beans for each Den and placing them in Dixie Cups that were placed in front of each car. The Boy Scouts helping with the event decided among the top cars in each Den which car got 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall. In those Dens, the 2nd place car got Best in Den.
  7. Welcome neighbor -- from a former Cubmaster, Current Assistant Scoutmaster and Venturing Advisor and future Scoutmaster in the Washington's Crossing Council.
  8. Troop: September - Leadership Training Campout September - Canoeing and Camping on Lake (Canoe across, pitch tents, canoe some more) October - Beach Campout November - Hawk Mountain Camping and Hike in Sanctuary December - Urban Hike in Philadelphia Crew: September - 10 Mile Bike Ride October - AT Hike (postponed due to conflicts) November - COPE Weekend December- ??????
  9. Grade level does matter. I can see a huge difference between even 10th and 11th graders. My son did like scouts, because it was a chance to hang out with his buddies. Six guys from his Cub Scout Den crossed over with him. His best friend was there with him and that made a huge difference (they are still best friends, still go on the same campouts and both were founders of our Venturing Crew). Ask your son what he likes about scouting and what he doesn't like. My impression was that he felt excluded from the Troop because of the outings. If that is the case, talk to the Scoutmast
  10. Rob: For clarification, "under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America" includes activites done as part of a merit badge even if those activities are not done as part of a unit's program. For example, backpacking trips, bike rides and hikes that my son and I have done outside of scouting were credited toward merit badges and therefore were "under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America" and thefore count toward the National Outdoor Award. For requirement #2, the additional 100 miles of riding doesn't need to be under "the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America" because the requirem
  11. My son was the same age - August Birthday, 5th Grade and March crossover. I wouldn't have put him down then as the atheletic type. He did summer camp and struggled through the 5 mile hike. That summer we did some hiking and kayaking while on vacation in Maine. The one trail was a 1,000 foot assent over less than a mile, including rock scrambles. Going up was hard, going back down was worse. We did a 7 mile (each way) backpacking trek with his best friend. He was on the verge of tears several time on the way in. I told him that Scouts couldn't be more difficult than what we did that sum
  12. I agree. I was intentionally being overly "lawyerly" with my reading for @@NJCubScouter 's amusement. The Eagle Project Workbook is a nightmare. It needs to be streamlined and simplifed to reflect "Lean" project management goals of removing unnecessary steps. It also fails to recognize that the best leadership doesn't fit into a linear form. The best leaders that I know find bureaucratic processes cumbersome and circumvent them to accompish their goal. That would be a great spin-off thread -- how to fix the Eagle Project Workbook. My frustration with BSA advancement and other g
  13. I saw that he "asked" the son if he could get to know him for a couple of months before haiving a Scoutmaster's conference. Asking isn't requiring. And unless the old SM will sign off on Scout Spirit (yeah, not likely), three months is a reasonable time to get to know a scout. Also, being blessed to think like a laywer 24x7, you could interpret the word "your" troop in the six month active requirement and six month POR requirement to mean the troop from which the scout is seeking to become an Eagle. If they meant the requirement otherwise it would be "a" troop.
  14. @@qwazse is correct. It is a matter of developing at Pack culture or faking that there is one until everyone believes the myth. With our Pack, Troop and now Crew, the expectation is that EVERY adult helps out in some way. In Lions and Tigers, the adults are supposed to be experiencing Scouting along with their kids. They are the "adult partners" not going off into a corner and chatting. Last weekend we had our leadership retreat for our Troop and in my e-mail to the boys I told them, "Scouting is as fun as you make it. You are in charge. Lead." The same applies to parents in Cub S
  15. We had our second meeting on Sunday. We had six youth (3 male / 3 female) turn in their forms with two more (1 male and 1 female) expected to turn them in next month. Before the meeting had started they had already completely organized a 10 mile bike ride for September. We have an Advisor (me) and 4 Associate Advisors and a 3 member Committee. Paperwork was submitted on Monday. We were supposed to have elections but the youth all wanted different positions. After running the nonexistent election, I turned it over to the Crew President. She ran with my agenda - having the crew decide on
  16. It counts. The requirements can be done on one camping experience or two. Backpacking is hiking with a backpack. I've counted days where a boy has backpacked10 miles for the Hiking Merit Badge.
  17. We camped last year outside D.C. in December. It was in the 70s during the day and the 50s at night. Sigh. We did camp in adirondacks in February. The ranger told us his thermometer registered 18 degrees F in the morning. The Adirondacks had fireplaces right in front of them that we could fire up at night to keep us warm as we fell asleep. We had the benefit of a cabin with a wood stove for cooking and hanging out in. Check out Camp Tuscora. Also, check out the Patriot's Path Operation Zero. I'm trying to convince the guys in our Troop or guys and gals in the Crew to do that.
  18. For the 50 miler, the youngest was 12 and a half. His onlyprior backpacking experience was camporee where we hiked in 4 miles. He did as well as anyone else on the trip. My son was a couple of weeks short of turning 13. The summer between 5th and 6th grade, my son (who was just turning 11) did a 14 mile round trip bakpacking trek (7 miles out, one day of camping and then 7 miles back) with 1400 of assent each way with one of his buddies. We've had recently crossed over Webelos do 6 mile hikes, two day canoe trips, sea kayaking and backpacking shakedown hikes. It typically takes them ab
  19. The problem seems to be having boy-led without servant leadership. Servant leadership means that the leader is responsible for taking care of the boys he leads so that the boys succeed. Our guys know when the Webelos are crossing over and they tend to plan the first campout after they cross over to be something that would be fun for them. The PLs know that there is a transition and they watch over the guys as if they are little brothers. At summer camp, the crossovers go to the First Class Adventure together and bond both with the other crossovers and with the Troop. By September, the new
  20. Interesting. I think the requirements are for the adults. I tend to like the more detailed requirements because they make sure the boys at least cover those topics. If those were removed and the requirements were just to cook three meals in the outdoors and at home, then I'm sure everyone would be complaining how easy the merit badge has become. I use the requirements as the basis for discussions with a group of around 8 to 10 scouts. The discussions are usually mixed with some of the doing requirements. The kids are usualy interested in hearing about the topics and really participate
  21. How about sitting down the scouts going on the Trek and asking them to come up with something? Tell the boys that they are responsible for figuring out the gear requirements, they are responsible for figuring out how far they are hiking each day on the trek, they are responsible for figuring how much training they need, they are responsible for planning several backpacking treks between now and Philmont. They might just surprise you.
  22. Our dog was howling and there was smoke from the charcoal from the Dutch ovens... does that work? My mantra has been "start as you intend to continue." As the Advisor, I'm asking myself at every point is that something a youth could do? The answer usually is yes.
  23. On Sunday night we had the organizational meeting for our Venturing Crew. The four young woman in attendance (and the three young men) all said the reason they were there was for the adventure. I got the sense that everyone there was there because they thought Venturing was going to be FUN and not something to put on their resume. The answer that one of our 18 year old scouts who is off to college gave at his Eagle Scoutmaster conference is telling. The question was "How would you feel if for some reason you were denied Eagle?" Answer, "I'd be really disappointed after all the work I
  24. UPDATE: We had our Crew's organizational meeting on Sunday night in my backyard. We had 4 young woman and 3 young men at the meeting. Each of them talked about part of the Venturing program - Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth and Service. They also covered introductions, recognition, officer positions, the Scout Oath and Law, etc. We also had 10 adults at the meeting to help in various capacities (including the COR and DE). It was neat to see the adults sit back as the youths explained the program. There are two other young women and two other young men that expressed in
  25. Somehow, it seems the only question that a Webelo needs to ask a boy in the Troop is "Do you guys have a lot of fun?"
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