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Posts posted by BSA166

  1. I have had the Poly-Wool shirt and pants for five years now and I an very happy with it. This is my "dress uniform" that I wear to courts of honor and other special occasions. I would never think of wearing it to an outdoor activity. When I ordered the pants, the woman at the local scout shop recommended ordering one waist size larger than normal as they ran small, and she was right. I have had the combo dry cleaned a few times and it still looks new. It is expensive, but I expect to wear it for many more years.

  2. Is there any official interpretation of the short term camping requirement for OA eligibility? Must the camping be in tents or under-the-stars? Or, does cabin camping, camping in museums or sleeping on a battleship qualify? The written requirements use the word camping, but they do not define the word. This will have a significant impact on which scouts in our troop are eligible for election.


    If there is no official policy, how do you interpret this in your troop or lodge?


    Here is the pertinent section of the requirement from the official scouting.org site.

    - The youth must have experienced 15 days and nights of camping during the two years before his election.

    - The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America.

    - The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps.



  3. It has been a long time since I have been heavily involved in the Boy Scout program, although I have been very involved with Cub Scouts for the past few years where I am presently a Cubmaster.


    As I have been talking with the local troops, it looks like things have changed a lot since I was a scout regarding advancement. I am not sure how much is local custom vs. national policy but what I see here is the fast track to First Class and merit badges. Specifically, when a scout graduates from Webelos in March, he is encouraged and expected to finish First Class by the end of his week at summer camp in July. He also is also expected to have at least a handful of merit badges. Not a bad haul for some of the boys who are barely eleven years old, but I wonder how much they are getting out of the program. Many years ago a scout who earned First Class in two years and knew his stuff was doing great. Plus merit badges weren't even an option until you were First Class, a little older and theoretically more mature.


    The summer camp runs an intensive program on second a first class skills, but most the boys are being signed off on many of the requirements by participating even though they may not have not mastered the skills. With the rush to First Class, the troops devote a lot of troop meeting time to merit badge classes. One example recently pointed out to me was a three week First Aid merit badge program. A portion of three consecutive troop meetings was devoted to First Aid. It was taught by two nurses who are First Aid merit badge counselors. All of they boys who participated earned the badge. I had a couple of parents who were former scouts tell me that their sons learned some first aid skills, but they were shocked to learn he had earned the badge, as their son's had not mastered many of the requirements. The same parents had previously told me about den chiefs who couldn't teach their Webelos scouts the basic knots, because they did not know them all.


    I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days at the National Jamboree with my Webelos son. We spent some time at the merit badge midway and the learning opportunities impressed me. Some of the stories I heard made me wonder again about getting the most out of the program. I heard stories of scouts earning 10 badges during the Jamboree. There were QBSA radio interviews encouraging scouts on Monday morning to come to the XYZ merit badge booth because even though their was only two day left, you could still earn the badge at the Jamboree. One of the instructors at the Leave No Trace exhibit said scouts were earning Nature and Soil and Water Conservation badges in one and one-half hours each. If the local custom is a fast track, this is warp speed.


    Is this normal around the country and am I just too slow to change? Or is this very isolated? If it is normal, help me understand the philosophy and the benefits. Any insights are welcome.


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