Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Eagle94-A1

  1. Eagle94-A1

    Hair-Brained Idea du Jour...

    It was a complete flop. Can't believe someone is going to try it again.
  2. Eagle94-A1

    Troop Pressure for OA

    I too would rather 10 serious Arrowman, than 100 going through the motions. I remember upsetting a SM when I stated that those who are not interested in the OA could leave their names off the ballots, and several of his Scouts volunteered NOT to be on the ballot. This is the Same SM who had a bunch of Arrowman in the troop, but none active I knew this would happen when they changed the election process in the 1990s. I just didn't know how long it would take. Combined with some other decisions by national OA, specifically the new new AOL and Cross Over Policies, I do not see anything inspiring Scouts to be interested. And of course, the poor Call Out Ceremony I attended really upset people.
  3. Eagle94-A1

    Troop Pressure for OA

    I think there is a ton of pressure on lodges and chapters to up membership and Brotherhood conversion rates, especially since it now takes only 6 months to earn. From reports elsewhere, OA is in a downward spiral nationally. P.S. I think pressuring candidates and Ordeal members will backfire.
  4. Eagle94-A1

    Backpacking..... with Webelos

    While to a Webelos it may be "backpacking," I do not think it is. I remember my old council having a mega event where people had a choice of either carrying their gear 1 mile or more from the parking lot to their campsite, or using the "4th Marine Division Delivery Service" to drop off their gear at some point at their campsite. We had a number of families carry things in. So I have seen Cubs carrying their own gear a mile or more to a campsite. I know when my youngest was a Webelos, he was ticked off that his older 2 brothers were going to go backpacking on the AT, and he could not go. To prove his point that he was capable of backpacking with his brothers, on a pack camp out that included hiking, he wore his pack and carried everything but his hammock and tarp. He did about 6-7 miles that day. And the only reason he didn't carry the hammock and tarp was good trees to hang in were few and far between. I would make sure that the campground is approved by your council for Cub Scouts, if they even have a list. I know my council does not have one, and packs in my district use the OA's WHERE TO GO CAMPING BOOK as their guide on whether the campground is approved or not. Sadly I have met a few council level Scouters who have stated, "Cubs don't need to camp."
  5. From https://oa-bsa.org/article/national-committee-immediate-policy-changes National Committee: Immediate Policy Changes Ed Lynes June 07, 2019 Announcements Brothers, In recent years, youth membership in the Order of the Arrow has declined significantly — down 18 percent since 2015. These changes have impacted lodges, and their ability to support councils and deliver program. The Order must grow, alongside the Scouting movement, to achieve its purpose. The best way to do this is through supporting a “High Performing Lodge” in each council. To help achieve this aim, the national OA committee approved several, significant policy changes at today’s meeting: Brotherhood Requirements: Effective immediately, the waiting period between induction and eligibility for Brotherhood membership has been reduced to six (6) months. All other requirements are unchanged. Journey to Excellence (JTE): The lodge program is being discontinued and immediately replaced with the new Performance Measurement Program. There are a small number of requirements and clear benchmarks for lodge achievement. The requirements are consistent with the former JTE to align with your lodge planning. Purpose of the Section: Effectively immediately, the role of the Section has been expanded beyond hosting an annual Conclave. Sections share in the responsibility of empowering, supporting, and helping lodges become high performing. The Lodge Ledger will have more detailed information on these changes and other new programs and policies approved at the meeting. They will also be covered extensively during Thrive, the national OA webinar, on October 19. If there are questions on these changes, or feedback on how to better support your lodge, please contact either Vice Chairman of Unit, Lodge, and Chapter Support Dan McCarthy or myself at membership@oa-bsa.org. Thank you for all you do to make our Brotherhood stronger each day. WWW, Ed Lynes Vice Chairman of Strategic Performance National Order of the Arrow Committee membership@oa-bsa.org
  6. I. HATE. ONLINE. TRAINING. Not only for the lack of contact with others, especially experienced Scouters who have "been there, done that," but also because the Powers That Be don't seem the grasp that technological disparities across the country. Not everyone has high speed internet. One person took over 4 hours to do just the YPT2.0 training because he had to use dial up; there are no high speed providers in the area that will service him. We had a group so fed up with trying to do YPT2.0 online, that they begged council to allow a live class, which thankfully council obliged. We would have lost several units if we didn't have that class. And don't get me started on the Specific Leader courses. Out of all the Cub Leaders in my district, 5 are completely trained. And 3 of those are experienced Cub Scout Leaders who took Cub Scout Basic Leader Training way back in the day. The bulk of the problem lies in internet connectivity issues. But also the way the training is presented, in a series of courses and not as a single, standalone course as in the old days,is confusing and intimidating some folks. Add in the fact that National changed all the courses, and if you were in the middle of training you had to start all over again, was the complaint I head from one of the 2 trained CSDLs who did it online last year. Plus National has attempted to state that in order to be "Trained" you have to have all the current courses, which makes people ask "why get trained at all if they will be invalid when they change?" Thankfully enough volunteers complained about that policy that it was quickly, but quietly , reversed. But sadly even the classroom training appears watered down. I was asked to be training chair again, and I am in the process of getting my syllabi to start setting up courses. In comparing my old syllabi to the ones I have used in the past, I am noticing the following: Length of courses have shortened; Topics have been watered down, or omitted completely; writing style of the syllabi seems to be geared towards a Middle School First Class Scout instead of adult learners.
  7. Funny thing this topic of recruitment. We were doing a compass course at a local park. One group was about 30 minutes behind schedule because two non-scout friends showed up riding bikes. They ended up tagging along and watching the Scouts do their thing. I am hoping one, if not both show up at the meeting they were invited to.
  8. So for good news from this weekend. We are a small, one patrol troop. The SM had some serious concerns about the patrol as they were your typical Scouts: having fun, not focused on practicing for the events, etc. But he followed Green Bar Bill's adage: "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" Over the past 2 months as they prepped, he had some major concerns, and thought he was setting them up to fail. Took all of his self control not to step in. And to his credit he did not interfere. At camporee, our Scouts had no adults following them around events. In fact we saw them only at 2 events the entire weekend: the event our adults were running, and the one right next to us. The success or failure of the weekend was all on them. They came in 3rd overall. And that was with one event they were DQed from for safety issues. They built a catapult at camp, using a shovel as part of the arm instead of some type of basket end. Scouts will surprise you , if you let them.
  9. Because we have shrunk so much. 10 years ago, the troop had 4 patrols . Not having a feeder pack is killing us
  10. Sadly we would apply as a neighborhood patrol. Oldest picture we have of the troop is their 1926 trip to DC and the White House. At lease 50 Scouts are in the picture, if not more.
  11. As some may know, I have been in the OA for a long time. I have served as an executive board member as a youth, and as an adviser in multiple lodges. Even when I stepped down as chapter adviser to focus on Cub Scouts, and working with a troop, whenever I was asked for assistance, I provided it. Especially when it concerned ceremonies. I know how powerful ceremonies can be, and want them to be the most meaningful and special for those in them, and watching them. So last night I was very discouraged at the Call Out Ceremony I attended last night. An adult in uniform, stepped forward, read names off a sheet of paper, and lined them up. No youth were involved except those called out, no regalia, no mention of what it means to be elected into the OA. Nothing I have seen in the numerous ceremonies I've performed, wrote, coached, or saw to make the ceremony special was done. There were a lot of disappointed Scouts and adults present at that ceremony. To rub salt into the wound for me, my two oldest sons were called out. They have been eligible for 4 and 2 years respectively BUT have had no interest in the OA, and always removed their names from the ballot. I do not know what their SM said to them to agree to give the OA a try, but I fear that last nite's disappointment may have gotten them uninterested in the OA again. I found out what happened when the camporee chief, who not only had a son that was called out, but he himself was called out, apologized profusely for the ceremony. Apparently the Arrowman responsible for the Call Out Ceremony did not communicate with anyone about the need for the ceremony. He emailed the the camporee chief the list of new candidates and asked him to give the list to the other chapter's ceremony team, less than 2 hours before the ceremony. No one in that chapter knew anything about doing a Call Out Ceremony. As for my chapter, we no longer have a ceremony team because they no longer can do AOL and Cross Over Ceremonies, which is the bulk of what they did. It seems as if the OA is slowly dying. "Sash and Dash" Arrowman are on the rise. One individual lamented that it appears that getting into the OA is a "gimme" nowadays; something to be checked off on the path to Eagle. It seems as if no one cares anymore as the OA has lost it's uniqueness.
  12. Eagle94-A1

    Troop t-shirts for summer camp

    Troop I grew up in made their own shirts. We had a silk screen made, and used it every year. Each year was a different color shirt and ink. Got them at the Christmas COH/ party. It was way cheaper making your own.
  13. Eagle94-A1

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    Don't I know it. My old troop had Cubs coming in from 2 different packs at one time. One pack had an outstanding program, and their Webelos were fully prepared, if not chomping at the bit to join a troop. Their WDL started off with SCOUTING ADVENTURE so that A) to give them, and their parents, as much time to transition to Scouts and B) prepare them for the Webeloree Competition in March. The second pack did not have a mediocre program, still treated their Webelos as Cub Scouts incapable of doing things on their own. They were not ready for Scouts, and over 1/2 dropped within a year. One good comparison between the two packs is watching the dens at Webeloree. First pack's den may struggle some, but you see them doing it on their own. Second pack's adults kept jumping in and doing stuff for them every time they struggled. Best comparison was a CASTAWAY WEEKEND with the troop, 3 weeks before Cross Over for the first pack, and 3 months before the second. First pack had their shelters either completed are almost finished before the second pack even started the single large group shelter.And then the parents were doing the bulk of the work.
  14. Eagle94-A1

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    So yes, they SHOULD have Cyberchip.
  15. Eagle94-A1

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    Theoretically, Webelos 2s/AOLs who Cross Over SHOULD (emphasis) be able to earn Scout after their very first Troop meeting. Here's why.
  16. Eagle94-A1

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    You may have read my feelings on NSPs on other threads. I am not a fan. Currently my troop is a one patrol troop, and hence use the Traditional patrol model. They placed 3rd overall at camporee, and that is with the patrol being DQed for one event. The two patrols that beat them were also Traditional Patrols.
  17. Eagle94-A1

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    HastTagScouts reminded me of another factor, how the troop is organized? Some troops have aged based patrols, i.e. New Scout Patrol (NSPs) , Experienced Patrol, and Older Scout Patrol; while others use Traditional Patrols, aka Mixed Aged Patrols. In My experience, NSPs focus more on advancement, whereas Traditional Patrols tend to focus on skills. For whatever reason troops around here don;t like youth signing off. I.HATE.THAT. (emphasis) If there was one thing I could change in my current troop, is have more youth than the SPL sign off.
  18. Eagle94-A1

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    There are a lot of variables that affect how fast a Scout advances. One of the biggest differences between Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA is the standard for. Cub Scouts is "Do Your Best." Scouts BSA is currently'"DO, " and once upon a time it was "master the skills." Whereas a Cub Scout could have some trouble with something and still earn advancement, Scouts need to meet the requirements as written. So that is one factor. As for having AOL, I use to say if they had it, they should get it within a month or two since SCOUTING ADVENTURE Activity Badge is 86% of the Scout Rank. BUT I have found the quality of Webelos dens vary from pack to pack, and even from WDL to WDL within a pack. Best example are the WDLs my three boys had. Oldest had a good WDL who really prepared them for Boy Scouts. They knew the stuff, and advancement occurred fairly quickly, 1 to 2 months tops. Middle son had 2 great WDLs, and most of his group that joined the troop he was in got it withing 2 weeks of joining. One thing his WDL did was SCOUTING ADVENTURE in 4th grade, using it as an elective for Webelos rank, and then having them do an elective to make up for it during 5th grade. Youngest had a good WDL, but started the transition late. Since she started working on Scouting Adventure a few months before Cross Over, they didn't have as much repetition fro the Scouting Adventure as the other dens. Most of them got Scout either during or after Summer camp, 5 months after Cross Over. So that is another factor. A third factor is who is authorized to sign off? I have found that when PLs, SPL, and select older Scouts sign off, the Scouts tend to take more ownership on the matter, especially PLs. The PLS work a lot more with the Scouts, and are easier to get access for the sign off. If only adults sign off, everyone is trying to get their attention. Another factor is how flexible is whomever is signing off. Sadly my older 2 boys had been in a troop that only adults sign off. All three boys' current troop only allows the adults AND the SPL. A little better IMHO. Anyway they have met adults outside of meeting nights, at their homes, at Starbuck, or at a park to get stuff signed off. I have met Scouts at the library too. Regarding meetings, that really isn't the time set aside for that because each Scout advances at their own pace. In adults only sign off troops, It is either before the meeting, during the Interpatrol Activity aka Game Time, after the meeting, or some other time.
  19. Eagle94-A1

    Take a Tent to Northern Tier and Misc Questions

    While I have not done N. Tier, I did fly up to LaDomaine, Quebec for canoeing. Here are my thoughts. Weight and space are not nearly as important compared to backpacking. I would use the tents they provide. MAKE SURE YOU SET THEM UP PRIOR TO LEAVING BASE CAMP! (emphasis). We used a Canadian troop's gear Saved weight and cost when flying. Whatever you do, do not rely just on a dry bag. Have layers of protection. I usually have 3 layers of protection, 2 waterproof ( items in individual bags and one for the compartments of my pack) and 1 strong, protective water resistant bag, aka ALICE. ALICE protects the garbage bags I use, and I carry extra bags. I have not had any problems in 31 years using this method. And that includes 3 water based 50 milers, and numerous weekend trips and training sessions. I have a dry bag and used it for less than a year before it got holes in it. Yes it was a Coleman, so it was cheap. If you do use a drybag, make sure you got materials to patch the holes if you get any. And I would still uses the layers of protection above. Your call. I didn't have a chair back in the day. But I'm older now and enjoy my creature comforts. 😀 OH HECK NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! (emphasis) I had a friend relying on an iphone sized drybag, and it leaked, destroying his phone. I would keep electronics to a minimum. You can have too many issues. Only reason I would carry a phone is for pictures. Do they still sell the disposable waterproof camera's still? There are cheaper options. I've seen someone use stretchy work gloves before. I personally use diving gloves, but I've had them for 25 years now. I do not see why not. I've heard good things about them, but never used one before. And when i went to Canada, would not have been able to afford it. We were advised to get either a military surplus European rucksack or a USGI medium ALICE. I got the European rucksack because it was canvas and cheaper. MISTAKE! Fell apart within a few months of use as a school book bag. My ALICE has been with me a long time, and still going. Plus the quick release straps make it easy to attach to thwarts. Good luck.
  20. Eagle94-A1

    BREAKING - Fee Increase Numbers

    I am told the move to belt loops was because parents did not want to sew the arrow points.
  21. Eagle94-A1

    Discouraged: A Very Poor Call Out Ceremony

    Apparently the chapter is no longer giving that option. My boys received their letters today. When I gave it to the oldest, he told me he is still not interested. He told the OA election team that, but they still left his name on the ballot.
  22. Eagle94-A1

    Discouraged: A Very Poor Call Out Ceremony

    I bet those stats do not include those eligible who do not want to be part of the OA and declined to put their name on the ballots. Again my oldest declined when his name came up to be on the ballot the previous 3 years. Ditto my middle son last year. In fact thinking about it, the last time I witnessed an election, 1/2 of those eligible declined.
  23. Yes. Rationale for that is to allow the Scouts to compete and have fun. HOWEVER the ideas for the events are picked by the SPLs. We have a SPL & SM Crackerbarrel Saturday nite that is a Thorns and Rose's session as well as planning session for next year. All of next year's events have already been selected by the SPLs.
  24. Eagle94-A1

    Discouraged: A Very Poor Call Out Ceremony

    I admit, when I was a youth doing elections and as an advisor. I hated "sash and dash." But if National believes numbers are more important than quality, if the OA is now a "gimme" instead of a true honor society, if OA is now another check mark or line on the Scouting resume, then I will encourage my boys to go through the Ordeal...and allow them to walk away. And if the boys think it is pointless to join something that has no real meaning, and do not want to do the Ordeal, I am not pushing.
  25. Eagle94-A1

    Discouraged: A Very Poor Call Out Ceremony

    They sat down during the work part of the Ordeal, not the ceremony itself. When I asked why they were not sent home, the lodge adviser told me sending candidates home fro violating the restrictions is considered hazing and is no longer allowed. A candidate has to willing quit and ask to go home.