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Everything posted by Longhaired_Mac

  1. I was wondering if anyone has seen a skit like this done in scouts before? I recall something similar done by OA guys during the evening campfires at summer camp but it involved some stomping as well. (20 err or so years ago) But haven't seen anything like this done since then, and it has always stuck in my mind as pretty awesome. I remember alot of us trying to repeat it for months after seeing it.
  2. I've already posted my thoughts on this topic but this last weekends family camp-out has brought something to mind I thought I would share all the same. I used to read Pat McManus books on the trail because clean camp humor really lifts the spirit when a downpour is ruining fine and well thought out plans. As I got older and more confident in my place in the troop, I would sometimes read a story or 2 or 3 in the evening by the campfire aloud for the benefit of those who didn't know how to play Rummy or Cribbage, or at least couldn't ever win a hand. More and more the humor kind of ran out as those I met in camps or on the trail morphed into Glampers. The experiences in camping just weren't the same and the laughs were lost to them. Now as my kids are getting old enough to be taught how to do "age appropriate camp chores" without killing themselves or their mother, I've dug Pat's books out and begun reading them aloud to the kids before lights-out. As my children experience some of the hardships in being outside and preparing food and shelter in a more primitive fashion, they are picking up on the humor and giggling the brisk evenings away. One of the first books of Pat McManus I ever read, "A Fine and Pleasant Misery," really kind of sums up the nostalgia of scouting for myself. The short story talks about how camping has changed with light weight tents and sleeping bags, propane camp stoves and dehydrated meals. How a camper used to suffer such misery just to tell stories about the trip the entire month following to his co-works and friends. And then plan greater trips for greater adventures and better stories. Now I always liked hearing our SM's tell humorous or even spooky stories of their own camp experiences...it started the rest of us sharing and joking about difficulties and hardships. Group therapy I suppose. The camp-outs didn't just bond us scouts together but taught us we could survive and do it better next time. Laugh at past mistakes and move on. It prepared us better for dealing with stress and hardships in life. It had us wanting to go camping more so we could correct past mistakes and have even better stories of our own to share. I think as summer camps continue to morph into Glamps, the Boys are missing out on life lessons. Plug-and-play scout camps accomplish merit badge accumulation and some time away from mommy, but what are they really providing? Are the Boys learning to work with peers instead of isolating themselves? Maybe. Are they learning to laugh at past disappointments instead of holding on to festering resentments? Less likely but maybe. Are they learning to take some lumps and persevering instead of bringing a handgun to school to fix a childish squabble? Not so far as I have noticed, the adults learn enabling quite well though. How are kids suppose to understand priorities in life if they have nothing in their experience to compare to anything else? Because a 10 year old melting down at camp because his porridge doesn't have fake apple flavoring in it is in fact no where near the hardship of having numb fingers and shivering in the cold wind while being frustrated on your 10th attempt to start the fire in the morning so you can cook your porridge or have to go without. I'm not advocating any kind of cruelty to force hardships on kids, though many children believe any form of summer camp is exactly that, but I do think Boys will become better men if they suffer a bit of misery due to natural consequences and struggles, and learn to laugh about it and move on. Check it out scouters: "A Fine and Pleasant Misery" (1978) by Patrick F. McManus ISBN-10: 0805000321
  3. As a dad I have to teach my children about rights, privileges, responsibilities, and consequences. The need for and the difference between them as well as what each looks like. It is not the Boy scouts job to parent my kids. By design the Boy scouts are values-based youth development organization that ADDS to my teachings as well as what school, church, and personal experiences provide but not replace. Expecting SM's to replace all parenting, regardless of training or personal experience, is just wrong. It so often starts out in Cubs when Den moms are used as free babysitters. The assumption that Scouting will fix a "bad seed" is ridiculousness and lazy. If you have to struggle this much with a scout then he needs to be removed from troop activities until he and his parents have figured things out. Now the parents or council may not go for that so natural consequences may need to be allowed to occur. This can be done without bullying or hazing. No food until morning duties are accomplished while at camp is a very good suggestion, hunger is a rather primal motivator, and no one died by being sent to bed without any dinner (so to speak). Putting less effort in to trying to get him to do anything, and more time into the other boys will leave him bored, lacking attention, and alone. His own sloth will become too much and he will seek you out. At that time you need to uphold the consequences that have been established for this boys behavior. An Amish shunning so to speak. More than likely he has already experienced some of this from the other boys. Peer pressure at that age is also a very strong motivator. Don't give up, but don't give in either. If you just can't figure it out then utilize your leadership structure and get help from others above.
  4. As scouting goes I think it would be great if the BSA would allow Utilikilts be worn at functions, dress or otherwise. The BSA logo embroidered on the front panel in gold on a green Survival model would look very sharp. I've had my denim Utilikilt for 15 years or so and have worn it to weddings, clubbing, BBQ's, and campouts. It has made hiking a lot easier when terrain is steep or involved any climbing. Camping has its benefits too. http://www.utilikilts.com/shop/survival.html
  5. I like this CPenn I think the double and triple dipping is used far to often to get a 12 and 13 year old Eagle. It's something I disagree with strongly. Service is just that, SERVICE. The Boys are doing a task to serve, to understand giving back and participating in their community. As with anything else, the more they do it the more practice accomplished the more the lesson is integrated into the Boy's character. The more it's done the easier it it for them to continue. I've known a few Eagles that had the whole troops help executing their Eagle Project and after that you couldn't drag them to another outing to help with service hours much less help another with their EP. Very disappointing. And if the Boy is standing around counting time then he isn't actually working and needs to get on with the service with a smile. I do think clear and direct conversations with the Boys about the honesty of double dipping needs to happen BEFORE they have a chance to make assumptions about it themselves or feel sabotaged.
  6. Just saw this and had second thoughts about a troop of boys in hammocks. LOL!
  7. I'm certain there are multiple reasons for these regulations but the one I hear about the most is the concern of a parent signing off on things without any verification. A Boy shooting up the ranks because mom and/or dad want whats best for their son and unintentionally enable him rather than support him can be detrimental the his program and the troops in general. Similar but different is the household where mom and dad are trying their best but the zoo is a ZOO, so expectations are lower in order to manage other challenges in the home...as in "It's good enough for government work." This too is detremintal to the Boy's development because he will hit obstacles later on when side by side with others and the knowledge or skills are not equal. BUT another reason, is that sometimes parents want what's best and hold higher expectations for their son which comes out as overly critical behavior. This can stress the Boy but push him ahead, or it can stress the Boy and shove his nose to the ground. I don't know the SM so I can't say which of these are the more likely reason for his concerns and as such his request for the Boy to start changing it up a bit. He may feel mom is overly critical, or not critical enough. For all that the Boy himself might think mom is overly critical or not critical enough for his own needs and may have discussed it with the SM himself. So to christineka I would suggest you talk with your son about the pro and con's of continuing with you as a MB counselor for the full 7 or 8 badges you are allowed. Then if your son feels that the pro's outweigh the cons, as a concerned mother you should approach the SM and ask his reasoning's, share with him you and your sons own discussion, and decide if the change up needs to happen yet or not.
  8. There are probably "proper channels" to file complaints and concerns about the SM's behavior or processes to deal with him within the troop and they should be used. If sexual harassment is or isn't the correct pc term for what has happened doesn't really matter. There are really only 2 people who need to label or define the behavior, Chagrined Chair and the SM's wife. So I would take your concerns to his wife. Even if she gets upset with you and says she doesn't believe you, his poor behavior will stop.
  9. I'm not going to go into my local councils choices on camps and their development and upgrades over recent years (leading to near bankruptcy, lots of hot feelings about that). I will say that the need for flushing toilets and hot showers and restaurant grade cooking facilities and/or staff usually aren't needs but expectations. Expectations are built on experiences. "Cat-holes" or "crapping-log latrines" were the norm for me when I went through scouts. My wife was brought up on a commune and as a teenager she worked as a river guide for her fathers white-water rafting company, both situations required primitive elimination habits of her. Our experiences have taught us we CAN take care of business without a toilet. Our expectations aren't what others are because of those experiences and so both of us can go into the backcountry and camp with no problems. We family camp probably every 3rd weekend from spring through fall and our kids have learned that they can go potty in the woods and the world won't end. We do have to watch the 5 year-old little miss from dropping trow in the front yard at home when nature calls but when shes older she will be empowered and capable of handling "emergencies" better than others who lack her experiences. Learning to be prepared isn't just about having camp gadgets and tools, a pocketknife or first aide kit on you at all times, or knowing which knot to use when. It includes practical mental processes and practiced skills to deal with everyday issues that emerge out of context. The move to GLAMPING shows the experiences behind the leadership and their expectations. I'm not putting down parent's or adult scouters, we all know sometimes if any parent steps-up to help its a miracle so any help should be met with gratitude. Just stating a fact of how camps become what they are.
  10. I do know that it isn't true anymore, I was trying to make a point contrasting what might be and what was for affect. However those policy even removed, intentionally or not, did set a precedence that hard lines can be drawn. When it comes to drugs I feel, and it's IMHO for sure, high expectations and strict consequences need to be in place. Policies made strategically beforehand rather than later reactively usually work far better. Is there a criteria set down by National to deal with drug possession and distribution by a boy or an adult while on scout properties or outings? The corruption of minors?
  11. I understood he was looking for something for himself and not necessarily trying to re-outfit a whole troop. And admittedly I am in the foothills of the Cascades where there is no shortage of trees when we go camping, and the hammock tents are MY preferred way to go. Still if tree space was limited the hammocks can be stacked double to a set of trees like bunk beds and I've seen poles for "treeless" camping at Jamborees.
  12. I earned my Eagle at 16, and would have had it at 15 if I hadn't gotten tapped for OA and got busy with that. Alot of the requirements along the way were not easy for me. Some were easy as pie. Personal aptitude definitely played a role in the speed of my advancements. I can imagine a scout just being one of those people that everything comes easy to and with supportive parents, pushy or not, making Eagle earlier than most. I belonged to a small troop, I think we had a max of 8 boys the majority of the time with little parent involvement and little money. At that time I was aware of large troops, as well as troops with more finacial backing or parent support, that the boys shot up the ranks like rockets. That said, I don't agree that the emotional maturity is the same at 12 and 13 as 16 or older regardless of how exceptional a boy is or how much financial or parental support he has. If you are a slob or a screw up (as an example) or not, by a certain age you learn to cope with your own bad habits and compinsate for them, you overcome your faults to get the job done, to lead. I honestly don't see a 13 year old being emotionally and mentally self aware or mature enough to do that, or being able to win the respect of others to lead them. My son is almost 12 and even though I have taught him how to use a hatchet, and his mother trusts him to be safe with it, I wince openly when he picks it up. I know without a doubt that as soon as he is out of my sight he is going to try to throw it or something else impulsive because he's a young boy and that's what YOUNG boys do. So I definitely wouldn't want him leading a patrol of other possibly equal impulsive boys. As I recall, you have to hold specific leadership roles for 6 months at a time to meet one or more of the upper ranks. These requirments may have changed but if so, they shouldn't have. If those requirements remain how can someone so young even be put in such a role? Or maintain it successfully? So I am really unclear how ANY boy can make Eagle at 12 or 13 period. As for the SM's, I agree with others posts, the problem should have been dealt with before it was a problem. It doesn't take but 6 months to figure out when a parent is riding their son for the glory and the boy is shooting past everyone else who's attendance is equal to his. Once the SM understood what was going on there should have been discussions with the parents and the boy about the value of what was occurring. Its to late now and its not fair to the boy to sit on him. Instead a strategy for earning palms or focusing on OA or other scouting activities needs to happen. If hes earned Eagle what else can he earn?
  13. When backpacking and having a tent to yourself (buddy system always in the back country) Nothing, NOTHING beats a hammock tent. I know Hennessy's have been popular at jamborees. Check this out There are companies that sell extra loft coverings for the bottoms and such so winter camping can be done just as comfortably.
  14. The Boyscouts refuse membership or kick boys out for being Atheists, for not believing in a greater power. They believe such belief is core to personal growth and as such an Atheist Scout MAY NOT fullfill his best potential. The Boyscouts kick out boys who are gay or transgendered, because of a fundamental belief that who they are may not be ok. That any form of homosexuality is morally wrong and that such a boy MIGHT behave immorally during scouting activities. This Boy DID break a civilian law as well as scout law and his scout oath (mentally awake? I don't think so. Morally straight? Still not thinking so). He DID offer it to others, younger and impressionable scouts. When policy has others being refused membership or kicked out for what they might or might not do, this boy should definitely be kicked out for what he DID do. No eagle scout, no pat on the back and saying good try next time you will do better. If he is almost eagle then he has had the opportunity within the troop to know right from wrong and be mature enough to answer for his actions through experiences if not in age. I live in Washington where it is now legal to buy pot, 3 stores within 15 minutes of my house! My son is almost 12 and very impressionable to the older Boys activities. We all know kids steal cigarettes, booze, or dirty magazines from older siblings or adults in the household out of curiosity. Now the likelihood of pot being easily accessible and stolen in similar fashion and ending up on a camp-out is a guarantee. Policy and examples need to be made now before its not one boy shaming scouts here and there but entire troops.
  15. How elections are officially supposed to be done has already been covered so: To MomLeader I would respectfully say that no matter what the odds your son will get in when he deserves it. By that time...after gaining experience, skills, and maturity he will be the description of an OA member period, and that will be in its own time not yours. To JCMom, I understand your son's disappointment in the situation as well as your own frustration and obviously consequences should occur and probably have already begun to happen. Most likely no one will really be happy with the end result. I do believe to be fair to the boy who's mom "cheated" his way in to the OA, he should be given the opportunity by the SM or the Lodge Chief if necessary to retract his membership and agree to go through the process again honestly. From that point if he's a scout he will do whats right. NOW if he won't, and his mother is the pushy type with such a personality as has been attributed to her beyond your own description by many here (that pops-up in every troop sooner or later)... petty as it might be, you may feel some recompense when his Eagle BoR comes up. There is little doubt the boy will make it that far with such a mother. BoR's are supposed to be teaching moments and recognition of development but they can also be the place of honest comeuppances to teach and develop.
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