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Adamcp last won the day on January 12 2017

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  1. So I just watched our Troop's Scouts conduct the Troop's Spring Court of Honor over Zoom, ending the formal Scouting year for us since Summer Camp is closed for us. This COH marks the culmination of twelve years of Scouting for our family. Quite a night. In the Troop, there are fourteen graduating high school seniors who I had as the den leader of a gargantuan Tiger Cub Den starting twelve years ago. My guys. I was their Cubmaster and then became their Scoutmaster along the way, five years or so ago. Six Eagles in the graduating Group. My older son was a year older than this group. He earned his Eagle in 2018 and went off to college last year. My younger son earned his Eagle in 2019, is part of this graduating group of Scouts, will turn 18 in August, and is off to college this year (COVID permitting). I know Scouting is not perfect. Not by a long shot. But Scouting has been the constant in our life for twelve years. Through thick and thin. Childhood friendships. Adult friendships. Summer camp every summer. My wife along at summer camp, since she is a nurse and functioned as such as our Troop Nurse for the week. But no summer family vacations because I work in a demanding profession with limited time off, because of summer camp, and because I somehow squeezed time to go with my guys to Sea Base in 2016 and Philmont in 2019. My wife is a saint, and she supported it all. She loves her two Eagle Mom pins. So now what? Two sons will be away at college, if the world allows. The nest is empty and my wife and I have our plans to fill the time well. The camping trailer in the garage was her idea and is her baby. We will use it well. And we love ecotourism in Central America. But what of Scouting? I am still the Scoutmaster and I still feel connected to the Troop. For me, there will never be a group like "my guys". They were a special group of boys, and not just special because they were my son's friends or special to me because of our shared history of Scouting experiences. At the same time, the younger Scouts are great. Especially so, there is a group of eighth grade Scouts who really "get" Scouting. They love to camp. They love to hike. There are a few high school students who JUST grew into themselves. So mature. All of sudden. They will make excellent patrol leaders. So do I stay with these new guys? I am good at the SM position. But would I be an anachronistic Scoutmaster, with no kids of my own in the Troop? I do think a parent has a different (although not always better) kind of investment in Scouting. I would not abandon them now, since I have not set up a succession plan (although there is a very strong Committee Chair, so I know the troop will manage no matter what). But am I going to do this for the next year, five years, ten years, fifteen years? What are the experiences of those who have made a similar transition? I know I am emotional since the COH was tonight (a mixed happy and sad emotional), and I am not making any decisions right now. But it does feel like a crossroads. I would appreciate any thoughts from the hive mind. I will wait for any responses you all may offer by enjoying the knowledge that right now my son is in the backyard with a campfire going in the fire pit, socially distancing with his Scout friends, who drove over after the COH. Life is good. Thanks, and good Scouting to you.
  2. I start by telling them what a Scoutmaster Conference is ("talking to you about your experience in Scouting"), and I explain that each Rank will have a Scoutmaster Conference, and every other rank from now on will also have a Board of Review. I explain what that is, too. And then I tell them that the last step is to take your book to the Advancement Chair to have the info about their rank put into the computer. Then I ask them about what they like about being a Boy Scout. I ask them which of the Rank Requirements was hardest for them to do and what was the most fun. I ask them what they think about their patrol and how they think their patrol is doing. I ask them what they think the Troop could change or what could make the Troop better. I ask them about what they think about their Duty to God ("since all Scoutmasters are asked to talk about that in each SM Conference" - so they know it will come up again, and so they know it is important) I ask them what their plan or hope is for Scouting (some say "Eagle", some say "patrol leader some day", some say, "going to Sea Base", some say "have fun and go on trips" - tells me a lot about the boy, but I am not pushing for anything) I ask them what they like outside of Scouting, how they are doing in school, and if there are any really stressful things that are going on for them now. We end on a positive note back on Scouting by talking about the next few activities and what they are looking forward to. One of my favorite parts of being a SM.
  3. We did a different adventure off Big Munson, but we only heard rave reviews about the sailing adventures. Enjoy!
  4. Congrats! You'll have a great time. Which adventure are you doing?
  5. When UK and Ireland and Canada went to co-ed Scouting, did they just go "all in" (any girl 12-18 could join right away) or did they "phase in" girls joining in some way (younger girls first and letting them grow up in the troop)?
  6. "Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!" "Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow! Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow! Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!" "Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho! Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho! Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!" "Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff! Tchoff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff! Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!" Oh wait. That is what the Fox says, not the Coyote. Carry on. (Sorry, could not help myself.)
  7. I have worried a bit about this issue as well. We do not use last names anywhere on the Troop website, for example in the patrol section. The Troop Shutterfly account has only pictures (no names) and there are no pictures that would show someone's name, i.e., a certificate awarded to a Scout that would have their name listed on the Certificate. Beyond that, the website and Shutterfly account are technically open to the public and I have had a lingering doubt as to whether this is okay.
  8. I must sound like an old man telling the kids to get off my lawn, but I just keep thinking, "Why didn't they just leave well enough alone?" Who cares what rank the Scouts learn the taut line? But also it is the minutia of things like (for second class): With your parents or guardian, decide on an amount of money that you would like to earn, based on the cost of a specific item you would like to purchase. Develop a plan written plan to earn the amount agreed upon and follow that plan; it is acceptable to make changes to your plan along the way. Discuss any changes made to your original plan and whether you met your goal. At a minimum of three locations, compare the cost of the item for which you are saving to determine the best place to purchase it. After completing Second Class requirement 8c, decide if you will use the amount that you earned as originally intended, save all or part of it, or use it for another purpose. Or for first class: Help plan a menu for one of the above campouts that includes at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner and that requires cooking at least two of the meals. Tell how the menu includes the foods from MyPlate or the current USDA nutrition model and how it meets nutritional needs for the planned activity or campout. Really? Does anyone ... anywhere think about the MyPlate guidelines when they are planning a meal. I think one of the best things that happened in our Troop last year was when one Patrol decided to bring Hot Pockets to a camping trip and cook them over an open fire for dinner. MANY other adults told me (the SM) that I should tell them that such a meal is not nutritious and that they had to choose something else. I said that we were using the Patrol Method (ahem ... for real now) and that I had told the Scouts that it was completely on them to choose their meals. I reminded the adults that even an entire weekend of only Pop Tarts (which the Scouts were actually not planning by the way) would not kill anyone. After the weekend was over, the Scouts were wholly disappointed by the Hot-Pockets-Over-Open-Flame experiment and, without any intervention from adults, decided to menu plan very differently for the next camping trip. Problem solved (because it was never a problem). The chili they made the next time was excellent. But ALL of the above had absolutely nothing to do with the flibberty MyPlate guidelines. And I think it is a waste of time to go into all that. It is schoolifying the scouting experience. But I am just making it worse for myself now. I don't want to be all grrrrr-ified by all this. I just want to let these boys ... uh ... youths do their thing, and have Scoutmaster Conferences (my favorite part of being a SM) chatting with scouts who are proud of their accomplishments. SIGH.
  9. After having lived with the "new" BSA Rank Requirements for 2016 and now into 2017, I do not see that they have contributed in any positive way to the Scouts' scouting experience. For example, last year's crossovers blundered through the cyberchip (and/or giggled through the insipid videos). If they missed the meeting where the Scouts did a skit for internet awareness, it added extra confusion for the patrol leaders. I don't see how the additional requirements helped in any manner. Soooo.... how can I change my thinking about these Rank Requirements to make me less frustrated? Whether or not you agree with my assessment of the changes, I actually WANT to change how I am thinking about these additions so that I have something that can help me be less frustrated. Any ideas? Thanks.
  10. Wow. I always thought that our merit badge counselor issues were just due to our own Troop limitations and weaknesses. It is amazing to hear how many others have similar experiences. Frankly, I am having a hard time understanding how something so central to Scouting could be such a mess. Well, I guess not THAT much of hard time ..... But still
  11. I really like this idea. It worked super well when I was a Den Leader. Back in Aught-Nine.
  12. Interesting, Stosh. The way it was always said to me was that the pathway went like this: "Ok, Scout. If you want to do a merit badge, first go to your SM and ask the SM for a blue card. The SM will then connect you to a Merit Badge Counselor (which means give the name of the Counselor and the phone number). Then, Scout, you call the Merit Badge Counselor and ask them if they will be able to serve as the Merit Badge Counselor for your Merit Badge." Is that different from your experience?
  13. I love that you capitalize The List. It does feel like it is held in such mystery as to deserve such status!
  14. If it were me (and I did have my own sensitive son in my Tiger Den back in the day), I would tell him that if he did not stop the behaviors you mentioned, E.g., Interrupting, not listening, telling the den what to do, not letting me try to give the other Tiger Cubs equal chance to answer, etc., I would not take him to the next Den Meeting. He may not actually believe you, and you may indeed need to leave him home once or twice to make the point, but unless he has other behavioral issues, I would hope that would work. And he has A LOT of potential Scouting ahead of him. Missing a few Tiger meetings and getting him on track is well worth it, if it turns into 12 years of successful scouting. As an aside, when I was a Tiger Den leader, I had come across the idea of a Conduct Candle. This idea was for the whole Den. The concept went like this: I lit the candle at the start of the meeting. As long as the Scouts stayed in good behavioral control, the candle kept burning. If they did not, I blew out the candle until they started to behave. I told them that at the end of the year, if the candle was burned all the way down, I would get them a prize. (You can't pick a honking candle jar, something pretty small will do.) It worked pretty well.
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