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Posts posted by Hedgehog

  1. In our Troop the SM signs off on Star, Life and Scout. This is just verification of something that was done, not teaching and testing a new skill. Those requirements lead to a nice discussion. What did you teach for this requirement. What did you find interesting about each merit badge? What did you learn about leadership in your POR? Why add another step when the same discussion is part of the SM conference?


    I don't like the idea of testing the teacher by testing the scout at the BoR. TRUST them. Ultimately, the boys learn to be proficient at the skill. After 3 years my son knows his knots and lashings inside and out because he has had to use them and teach them so frequently. If the program is built right they master the skills by using them.

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  2. Your points are spot on.  Three thoughts.  


    First, the youth will never learn the skills, the ability to teach or how to be responsible if they are not given the chance.  


    Second, our PLs / APLs / TGs sign off in the boys book and it is recorded in Troopmaster when the boy attains the next rank.  So it's not complicated. Just test and sign.


    Third, it works in other Troops.  Enough said.

  3. We went to Camp Tuscarora in New York.  On check in my son asked about the sheath knives, throwing knives and throwing tomahawks we had packed.  The ranger said, "if they are legal for the BSA, they are legal here." :)


    I typically carry a Ontario RD-7 and my son carries a Becker BK-9 when we go backpacking.  The cool factor more than compensates for the extra weight.

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  4. @@David CO., Thank you for your response. I understand what you are saying and appreciate you clearing up any confusion. I apologize for misinterpreting your comments.


    Catholics do not use the word "Christian" to denote any religious affiliation.

    I guess it ultimately does come down to words. I use the word Christian to denote someone who believes in the Christ as the son of God. I don't think that Christian is a religion but more of a descriptive term for a group of religions with a common element of faith.

    • Upvote 1
  5. Each incident, on its own, may not be that unusual as @@Beavah says.  Taken together, it indicates that the troop is adult-run and run poorly at that.


    As others have said, scouts should be signing off on Scout through First Class advancement.  In some Troops, adults take it over because it is being done poorly by the scouts.  That isn't the solution.  The solution is to teach the scouts how to do it correctly.


    The confusion on Blue Cards indicates that the ASM your son talked though doesn't understand the advancement process.


    The failure of get the awards at Courts of Honor, reflects that the Advancement Chair isn't doing his or her job.


    My advice, is to volunteer to take over as the Advancement Chair for the Troop.  As I tell my son, the best practice when someone comes to you with a problem is to give them the power to solve it.  As Advancement Chair, you can master the rules for advancement.  The BSA Guide to Advancement is available as a free download.  Then you can teach the SM and ASM the right way things should be done.  Maybe even start by having a scout go to an older scout and an ASM for sign off on the rank requirements.  Have them demonstrate the skills to the older scout with the ASM watching.  Set up times for Patrol Leaders to ask if anything needs to be signed off (at beginning of patrol meetings?).  That can lead to having the older scouts do it by themselves in a year or so.  Set up a meeting for new Scouts and parents and work with one of the older scouts to explain advancement to the boys (with their parents in the back).  

  6. I recently finished up with a boy working on his hiking MB. At the end of the process as I was signing his blue card I asked him if there were any changes  to the requirements he would recommend to HQ. He said it should be required that the counselor actually go hiking with the scout as the real test and possibly "fake" some scenarios for the boy to respond to in real time. Personally I loathe the workbooks and worksheets and even the explain. Too much like school.



    I've banned the use of workbooks and worksheets in for the Merit Badges I'm a counselor for.  I like when the boys do the "active" part of the merit badge - the hiking, the backpacking and the camping - and then discuss the "learning" requirements.  It provides them with the ability to think about the answers and to put any learning into a context.  When we have merit badge seminars, I've stopped giving them the requirement list and we just talk about and do things related to the topic.  At the end of the seminar (which may take place at meetings over several weeks), they have covered everything without going through a checklist.

  7. Smart boy, snow caves are warmer than tents.  A 4 season tent means it can take the harsh weather of winter.  It offers no creature comforts.  There are a few features of the 4 season to reduce the moisture buildup inside the tent due to warm breath and may add a few degrees of heat retention, but I still prefer the snow caves or meadow crashing in the winter.  Be careful with the 2' of snow forecast when you meadow crash.  :)



    I'd be fine with a snow cave or quinzie, but he choose his warm bed in the heated house.  As far as I can tell from my research, the main difference in the 4 season tent is that the poles and design are stronger to support the weight of heavy snow on the tent.  


    I forgot to add the lightweight $14  that my son and I used to sleep on for our Order of the Arrow Ordeal (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DUKKVR8) - nothing  like sleeping under the stars.

  8. I am not, however, interested in playing any more word games.  So please, do not put words into my mouth and then ask me to defend them.


    I'm not interested in playing word games either.  Your statements strongly infer that you think Catholic doctrine teaches that Protestans are not Christians.  You have have multiple opportunities to correct any misinterpretation but at each opportunity you have doubled down on your position rather than provided any clarification.  Your response is:


    I never said that.


    Now I agree you never came out and "said that" but it seems to be inferred from your statements. The statement you disagreed with is as follows:


    Just a reminder here, one Catholic scouter to another, 'Catholic' and 'Christian' are not opposites.  We Catholics ARE one christian denomination of many, but we are still christian (i won't get into the 'first Christians' issue here as that is not ecumenical).  You can contrast catholic and protestant, or even catholic and a specific other denomination (Catholic and Lutheran), but Catholic is a subset of christian and can't fairly be contrasted to the whole.    In our council we clearly denote the various faiths for services, and if it is all faith we make that clear.



    by stating:


    I don't agree with your statement that Catholic is a subset of christian.


    So logically, that can mean one of two things - either Catholics are not Christians or Protestants are not Christians.  That is, if both Catholics and Protestants are Christians, then Catholicism is a subset of Christianity.


    If you have any honest questions about something I have actually said, I would be happy to respond.


    My honest questions are:


    Do you think Catholic doctrine teaches that Catholics are not Christians?


    Do you think that Catholic doctrine teaches that Protestants are not Christians?

  9. What was actually said was that Protestants and Catholics are two different religions, not that Protestants aren't Christians.  



    Here is what @@David CO has said:


    I don't agree with your statement that Catholic is a subset of christian.


    Then, in response to a statement asking:


    What part do you disagree with?


    Webster's online defines subset as "a part of a larger group of related things."


    And Pope Francis refers to non Catholic Christians as "Christians of other churches"


    “As bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to beg for mercy and forgiveness for un-Gospel-like behaviour on the part of Catholics against Christians of other churches,†the Pope said on Monday at a prayer service concluding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.


    “At the same time, I ask all my Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if, today or in the past, they were hurt by other Christians,†he said. “We cannot erase what happened, but we do not want to allow the burden of past faults to continue to poison our relationships.â€


    I can't imagine you dispute that we Catholics are Christians, and if the Pope recognizes that there are Christians in other churches ipso facto Catholics are a subset of Christians. 




    @@David CO replied:


    Pope Francis is often a wonderful speaker.  One of the things I like about him is that he usually speaks to us in a familiar way, using a more conversational language, rather than speaking in a boring, careful, legalistic, and pontifical manner.


    This sometimes causes confusion.  Some people like to use his statements, given in a conversational style, to claim that he doesn't believe in or support the traditional teachings in our catechism.  This is a mistake.


    I believe that the Four Marks of the Church (One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic) preclude the possibility of denomination.  So I do not believe the Catholic Church is one denomination of many, and I do not believe Catholicism is a subset. 


    This is what I was taught in all of my catechism classes, both youth and adult, and this is what I believe.


    I do not generally use the word "Christian" as a noun, as most Protestants do, but I often use it as an adjective.  I do hope that all Catholics would act in a Christian manner.



    My reading of his statement is that If the Catholic Church is Christian and the Catholic Church's doctrine precludes the possibility of denominations, then Protestant churches cannot be Christinan.  @@davidcO has not at any point corrected that understanding and stated that he believes that Protestant churches are also Christian.  If I've misread what he has said, he can let us know and I will apologize for jumping to the wrong conclusion.

    There it is.  Stosh's mother-in-law was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. I knew it had to be something like that.


    When someone shows this degree of vitriol against the Catholic Church, 99 times out of a hundred, it turns out that they, or someone close to them, had been kicked out for violating our canon laws.


    @ David CO, I am a devout practicing Catholic and I disagree with the way you are representing our faith.  


    As an initial matter, Catholicism recognizes other religion as Christian. That is why someone who is baptized in a Protestant demonination does not have to receive baptism again to become a Catholic.  They have already been baptized in Christ and are already Christian.  I think you are misreading the doctrine.  Although Catholic doctrine, like many other religions, believes that it is the only true and correct religion, that doesn't require denegration of Protestant religions by insisting they are not Christian.


    Also, I do not think @@Stosh is in any way disparaging the Catholic Church in his posts, but rather he is disagreeing with your view that Catholic doctrine requires a belief that Protestant faiths are not Christian.  

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  10. we had a very small sampling of scouts, all of the SM and ASM's, myself and one other committee member and a couple parents.

    So the SM sort of "introduces the SPL, reminds him that it is his meeting, and after a few awkward words form the SPL kicking off the meeting, he asked so does anyone have any input.....

    and then that was pretty much the last scout voice I heard. (a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much...)


    I know you know, but I'm going to say it anyway....


    First off, there should be a limited number of adults in the room.  At our PLCs, we have the SM and me.  Second, the adults shouldn't talk.  Our rule is that we only respond to questions.  Until you get the adults to agree to run meetings that way, boy-led will never take hold.


    Second, there needs to be a meeting or discussion before the meeting.  As you transition to boy-led, the boys need to be coached and mentored to develop leadership skills.  Your SPL doesn't have a clue as to what he is supposed to do.  He hasn't seen boy-led in action.  He knows nothing except for the adults taking over.  So he needs to work with an adult to develop an agenda and to learn how to run the meeting.  It sounds like you did this with the canoeing.  Proper planning prevents poor performance.  If the scout is prepared, there is less liklihood an adult will step in. 



    As far as being bummed out about going.  Remember, it's for the boys and you are probably their best champion for making a boy led, patrol method program an eventual reality.  No one ever said the transition was going to be easy.  It's a lot of hard work, but worth every minute one puts into it.



    Don't give up.  The boys need you.  Find happiness in small progress and eventually a bunch of small things will turn into something big.

  11. So far, my REI Quarterdome had held up great (except for one spot where it looks like embers from the fire hit the side of the tent - but that is covered in repair tape and is good as new).  


    I also love my Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 for backpacking.  You can't go wrong with a 2 pound tent.  It has held up well for two years with the exceptions of some small pinholes in the fly (which let through a total of five drops of water during a torrential rain storm) and a rip in the stuff sack (which also is covered with tape).


    My ENO hammock with Atlas straps and a rainfly weighs about as much as my two person Big Agnes Fly Creek.  However, it makes up for it in comfort and ease to set-up.


    My Bearpaw Wilderness tarp with flaps is great and lightweight (about a pound) but I haven't used it for sleeping yet (just for gear or a dining fly).


    I haven't tried out my Eureka Alpine four seasons tent yet because I haven't been winter camping (it was 60 degrees on our December campout, we slept in Adorondak shelters in January and cabins in February).  I tried to convince my son to try it out in the backyard the night we were supposed to get two feet of snow but for some reason he didn't think that sounded like fun.

  12.  SO. I told my young troubled friend, "you know, you CAN and SHOULD have all this stuff, and more! YOU BOYS lead the Patrol, not the Scoutmaster. If you want a Patrol Name, CHOOSE ONE! I will help." 



    It makes all the difference in the world if an adult can say and mean three simple words: "YOU CAN LEAD."


    Thank for the great story.  Gives me food for thought.  More on that later.

  13. My son needs wilderness survival, nature, soil and water, for his NOA medal. We don't have any non camp counselors for any of them in our district. 



    I'm surprised about the Wilderness Survival.  The knowledge base doesn't cover much more than you would need to know for Hiking, Camping and Backpacking MBs and there should be a lot of people who have experience in those areas that would qualify as a counselor.  If you are anywhere near New Jersey and your son's troop wants to do a Wilderness Survival campout, I'd be glad to help organize it and sign off on Merit Badges.  You could even check your local camping store to see if someone there would be interested in signing up to be a counselor for the merit badge.


    For nature and soil and water, reach out to local parks and conservaton groups.  I suspect that the people working there are more than qualified and would gladly sign up for being a counselor because they could hold merit badge seminars which would draw youth into their parks and programs.  

  14. I think the Meet the Troop night is a bad substitute for visiting the Troop.  My sense is the best information would be contained in some open-ended paragraph response type questions.


    1.  How does your Troop implement a boy-led Scouting program?


    2.  What did your Troop do last year in its outdoor program?


    There are a lot of questions you can ask the SPL / PLs or even SMs that will tell you the nature of the Troop, but none of those would be able to be answered in writing:


    1.  Who runs the PLC meetings?  How many adults are there vs. scouts?

    2.  Who plans the outdoor program?

    3.  Who is in charge of packing the gear for campouts?

    4.  Who takes care of the trailer or gear shed?

    5.  Who makes announcements at meetings?

    6.  Who plans the menus on campouts?

  15. Leadership is hard.  I'll admit that I've pushed my son to similarly lead.  For the first year, I pushed him to be responsible for himself and to be responsible for his advancement.  OK, I probably pushed him too much with advancement.  He made first class within 15 months.  For the second year, I pushed him to participate in the outdoor program and to be a good Den Chief.  For his third year, I coached him as an APL who frequently had to do a lot of things himself because his PL wasn't organized or effective.  I also coached him to lead in the outdoors - being an APL or PL on every outing.  He sat in on the PLC and even planned an outing to go horseback riding.  He ran for PL and wasn't elected.  After some gut wrenching disappointment he decided he wanted to be Troop Guide and OA Rep.  We talked a lot about servant leadership and how it doesn't matter what you arm patch says you are.  He went to NYLT and came back changed.  He finally got it.  He was appointed to be the SPL for summer camp by the SM.  By applying what he learned at NYLT (as well as some coaching by me) and me running interference with the other adults, he was able to lead by providing an environment where shared servant leadership could take hold (see this thread for more detail: http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/28395-you-guys-were-awesome/). The other boys actually took note and stepped up - they all were leaders because the emphasis was on SHARED servant leadership.  He's now helping me develop a leadership training program and he is working with his friends to start a Venturing Crew.


    Your son is just a 12 year old.  He is listening to you but the time isn't right.  After being involved with our Troop for three years, I see the difference that each year makes in the boys.  I've also seen the difference that increasing the threshold of being boy-led can make. They know when they can't make a difference and they know when they can truly lead.

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  16. I'm very interested in this, and I'm wishing you well with it!  (I have two daughters coming up behind my scout son, and I'm also interested in the type of stuff that venturers would do.


    our SM is forming a venture patrol in the troop.  He is opposed to a crew.  Says he experienced years earlier when he was scouting with an older son, that a crew will take the older boys away from the troop and hurt the troop.


    I understand that logic, but it seems to me that maybe it just wasn't done right.  Seems like it could work.... and it also seems to me that even if it did happen like this, there's no reason the troop couldn't continue on just fine anyway!... if done right.....


    Regardless, we are in Northern Florida, and not even close to mountains......and so the obvious venture stuff, such as great trails for distance hikes, climbing, rafting, and so on are out.... so I'm at a loss as to what a crew would do around here that isn't so different from what a troop can do already.... except the coed thing



    It doesn't sound like it was done right.  Our COR is truly behind this and he understands how the program operates and how it won't hurt the troop.  I'm going to be the Advisor and I"m the incoming SM for the Troop next June.  We have one SM of another neighboring Troop who has signed on as an Associate Advisor, the current SM of our Troop is likely to take an adult leadershp position and a current ASM of the troop as another Associate Advisor.  So many of the adults recognize the importance of having the older Scouts participate in the Troop.  As a result, this is being pitched as something in addition to the Troop.  The boys who are interersted are the ones that attend almost every outing and are looking for a reason to do more.  The idea of being a servant leader means that the boys will continue to serve and lead in the Troop.  Also, I've decided that Boy Scout advancement should be done through the Troop and not the Crew.


    As I've mentioned before, our Troop has a great outdoor program with a lot of great activities -- rock climbing, canoing, horseback riding, beach camping, COPE, winter camping, backpacking and high adventure (50 miler / Sea Base).  The Venturing program will mirror a lot of those activities but the Venturers will decide what they want to do.  So the Venturing program isn't desinged to provide something that is missing -- just to provide something different.


    We are up to 6 young woman and 5 young men interested in the Crew just by word of mouth.   The Crew's existence is being driven by what appears to be an untapped need in our community to provide adventure on a co-ed basis.  Although a lot of the potential Venturers don't know it, the program has a very different design than Boy Scouts and presents a lot of different challenges and opportunities.  It should be a very interesting year getting this Crew started.

  17. Then you'll find there's not much in the HBs that you haven't already consumed.


    I would suggest that you and your son and his posse take this approach:

    • Note the strengths and interests of the adults.
    • Note the strengths and interests of the crew.
    • Each youth pick one activity they would like to do by the end of this year.
      • If they overlap with one another that's okay.
      • If an activity doesn't match anybody's strengths that's okay too.
    • Each adult determine if their is an activity that they could support a youth in implementing. (This might involve as little as providing the phone number of a consultant or as much as committing learn whatever.)
    • This information is all you need for the first open house. Which should be sort of like the AA meetings:
      • Hi, my name is ___ and I'm a {venturer/scouter}.
      • I can {insert strengths} I wish I could {insert interest}
      • Sometime in the next three months, I would like to {Insert activity}

    From there, you get to say "And here's how we're gonna do that".

    Exactly what you say next depends on your youth. If they are into bling, talk about ALPS; If they are into program, talk about the calendar; If they are into leadership training, talk about courses or clubs like Toastmasters. You won't be able to talk about it all (and you really shouldn't because you have 5 minutes max), so this part always ends with something like "And there's more, but all we need to know is if you want to be part of it (and can stand a little paperwork). Questions?"



     I like the introductions and will suggest.  My recommendation is to have the core group explain the program by focusing on the possibilities -- Adventure, Activities, Group Identity, Service, Advancement and Personal Growth.  Leaving the best for last - Leadership.  Then I will tell them the most important thing - they are in charge and the program is theirs to decide.

  18. Nice!

    If you are anxious for something to read, you can try the VLST syllabus: http://www.scouting.org/filestore/training/pdf/33491.pdf



    Clicked there, read that.  I also found the guide to Crew Officer's Leadership Training, the spreadsheet for tracking the ranks, the description of the Ranger, Trust and Quest awards, the Crew Officer Orientation videos (awful), the Personal Saftey videos (really awful), the GTA sections related to Venturing; the Venturing BoR guidelines (very cool in that it is run by the youth) and the Venturing uniform guidelines.

  19. Wait, Hedgehog, are you saying that the lake/camp in the film is literally a BSA camp that your troop uses? If so, you're the winner of the awesomest-thing-ive-heard-all-day award.



    Exactly.  Although the camp doesn't publicize it, the movie was filmed at the camp.  The Camp Crystal Lake sign is in a display case at the Trading Post.  Looking forward to 2018 when our Troop will be there on Friday the 13th.

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  20. UPDATE:  Our COR for the Troop and Pack is on board and very enthusastic about this.  He has obtained approval from the CO and has talked to Council about what we need to do to proceed.  We are up to 5 young woman and 5 young men that are interested just through word of mouth.  We have 2 female adults and 3 male adults volunteering.  


    The next step is for the three catalysts - my son and the two young woman who are his co-conspirators - to meet to plan for the introductory meeting of the potential Venturers.  The planning meeting will probably be at the end of the month due to vacations and the introductory meeting most likely wil be in September.


    In the meantime, my son and I will start reading the Venturer's Handbook and Advisor's Handbook -- well, as soon as they arrive from scoutstuff.com.

  21. Have you ever seen the movie "Friday the 13th"?  That's our summer camp.  Except it really isn't called Camp Crystal Lake.


    The camp is on the edge of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and a mile and a half off the Appalachian Trail.  Some of our guys have backpacked into camp the last three years (going in around 18 miles down from the North, canoeing on the Delaware and then hiking in around 10 miles and coming up 21 miles from the South).


    The camp is in the woods and has a lake for swimming and boating.  Each Troop has its own campsite.  We sleep in platform canvas tents with army-style cots.  We supply our own sleeping bags and bug nets.  There is an open air dining hall that cooks amazing food.  The boys are kept pretty busy with six merit badge periods but most of them take 5 merit badges and keep a free period in the afternoon for boating or shooting practice.  Some take 4 merit badges and an extra free period to goof off.  There is an opening campfire on Sunday, a new camper campfire on Monday, an OA campfire on Wednesday and a closing campfire on Friday.  There are Troop activities such as shooting, boating, swimming, frisbee, etc. on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  There are camp-wide games on Wednesday afternoon and a build-it competition (where each Troop builds an object related to that year's theme and sees how the built object competes in a competition) on Thursday.  We have morning and evening flag ceremonies both for each Troop in our campsite and camp wide.  

  22. Our sequence is SPL and PL elections are in June.  SM and ASM meet with SPL and ASPLs (and a couple of other scouts) in August to plan leadership training campout.  Leadership training campout is weekend before first scout meeting.  As part of that campout the plan the montly themes for the years meetings and begin the process of thinking about outings.  Our first two outings are already planned, so they plan the rest of the year at the September and October PLC meetings (which gives them time to do research and meet with the boys in their patrols).  When they have decided the outdoor program, the SM presents it to the Committee and everyone nods and smiles and then the Committee moves on to the next topic. 


    Thinking about making a couple of changes this year.  Maybe sending out an e-mail encouraging the boys to think about outings and do research before we have the leadership campout - that way we can have a list of options they can take to their patrols for input in September.  The other change would be that one of the boy leaders such as the SPL, ASPLs, PLs or TG takes the lead for each outing.

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