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Everything posted by SMMatthew

  1. Camp Minsi (located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania) is a great camp! Our troop has been going there every-other year for the past 2 decades... it's practically our home-away-from-home. A beautiful camp, a wonderful program, and an extraordinary staff.
  2. SMMatthew

    Venture Crews at summer camp

    I don't care how the girls were (or weren't) dressed... courteous and kind are still two points of the Scout Law! A girl dressing like a "tramp" doesn't mean that those two principles no longer apply to how a Scout should carry himself.
  3. SMMatthew

    Botched Call Out at Summer Camp

    I think this is a situation, like many in Scouting, where a black-and-white, hard-and-fast policy or rule can't just be handed down from on high and applied universally... you need some situational common-sense and individual assessment to find a solution that is fair to the individual person and circumstances while keeping in mind the ultimate goal of supporting the three aims of Scouting. And treating two people or situations "fairly" doesn't always mean treating them "identically."
  4. SMMatthew

    Botched Call Out at Summer Camp

    As a Scout, I wouldn't want to take credit from something I didn't actually earn or deserve. I wouldn't want to encourage a Scout to do that either. Becoming a member of the OA merely due to a clerical error made during a call out ceremony is meaningless and should not be what that honor represents... but sending a Scout back to his campsite humiliated, disenfranchised and in tears due to an adult's mistake is hardly what the Scouting program should stand for either. In such a situation, I would explain to the Scout what happened (off to the side, to avoid any public embarrassment), and I'd let him advise us on what we should do. He may opt to recuse himself until he is properly elected in... but maybe not. If he decides to stay, I would encourage him to go through all the steps to get into the Order legitimately, even if the steps he's taking are somewhat out of order ("okay, you were called out, so you can go through the ordeal tonight; but to be fair to all the other Scouts that wear the sash, afterwards we should make sure you get voted in by your peers and let's make sure you've completed all the required nights camping, reached First Class, etc."). That way when he wears the sash and pocket flap and attends OA events he can say he did truly deserve the honor listed on his Scouting résumé and he does deserve to be there (even if his pathway there was unorthodox or backwards). I had a Scout several years ago that accidently got signed-off on Citizenship in the Nation merit badge at summer camp when he didn't actually complete all the requirements (due to a paper-work mix-up with the councilor at the camp, he got credit for writing a letter to a congressman when he never actually did it). I didn't withhold the badge (nor the advancement to the rank of Life that earning the badge entitled him to). But I did encourage him to actually go do that requirement he had skipped... which he did. Now he wears his Eagle badge with pride and knows he did everything the badge requires (even if he technically did them out of order). If he hadn't written the letter, I wouldn't have withheld further rank from him; but he'd know that he took a shortcut and I think his Eagle would be less meaningful to him. So, in this case, I wouldn't withhold membership or participating in the ordeal due to an adult mistake during the callout, but I'd encourage the Scout to make the honor meaningful by going back to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's.
  5. As Homer Simpsons once said: "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true! Facts schmacts."
  6. I'm an associate advisor for a Venturing crew. This past year we did a Pinewood Derby as a crew. Our group of 16-20 year-olds built their own cars and we raced them using a track borrowed from a local Cub pack. The one added rule that differed from Cub Scouting was that no one but the Venturer could touch their car or contribute to the design/building... it had to be done 100% solo. Now many of the Venturers in our crew were Cubs in their younger days, but they wanted to do a Pinewood Derby where (as they put it) "we actually get to build the cars ourselves." They now have an understanding of aerodynamics and such due to all the STEM ideas they've picked up in school and Scouts, so they could build cars based on what could win a race, not just what "looked cool." Now it's not that they didn't have a hand in building/designing their cars as Cubs, but their "Akela" (in most cases, their dads) did do a lot of the physical work (such as using power tools, perfecting the balance of the wheels, putting the weights on just right, etc). The Cubs helped come up with the overall design, picked the colors, helped paint or apply decals, worked it over with sandpaper, and were there every step of the way... but they weren't the leader of the project (they were 7 and probably had never used a jigsaw before). It was a great learning experience to work side-by-side with their dad on building the car, but what 7-year-old could build a car on his own? The Venturing Pinewood Derby was a great success, and now they're thinking of building a more advanced track (one that's longer and has some curves and little ups and downs, as opposed to the standard straight-shot downhill track) in order to take their "grown up" Pinewood Derby to the next level.
  7. SMMatthew

    Scout Law responsive reading for many faiths

    Thanks, LeCastor. I'll be sure to take a look at that book, I think my local Scout Shop has a copy or two in stock.
  8. SMMatthew

    Failure to Pick up scouts after events.

    12 hours! Did you specify AM or PM when you told them the pick-up time? Maybe they just misunderstood. My troop generally provides home drop-offs after outings. It takes the stress off us on the event to try to be back at a specific time (either we'd be a few minutes late and the parents would be sitting there waiting around for us; or we'd be a few minutes early and we'd be stuck waiting around for the parents) and it takes the stress off the parents having to come pick up their kids after they've spent the weekend in the woods. Given the area that the Scouts in my troop are from, the most "out of the way" drop off would only add an extra 5-10 minutes to any driver's time getting home (which is much better than an added 10-15+ minutes stuck waiting at the pick-up place). One or two cars usually go back to our charter organization to unload any troop gear and then the drivers drop the Scouts off on their way home. We try to coordinate the cars on the way home based on where people live to avoid a single driver having to drive all over town.