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About AltadenaCraig

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday May 13

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  • Gender
  • Location
    San Gabriel Valley, CA
  • Occupation
  • Interests
    Continuing to learn about Scouting in general and the Patrol Method in particular.
  • Biography
    - Feb '19, Recipient, District Award of Merit and Unit Leader Award of Merit
    - Aug '18, & Jul '13 Adult Advisor, 6-1/2 day, 72mi trek along so. 1/3 of JMT/PCT incl. 14,505ft summit of Mt. Whitney
    - Feb '15-present, Scoutmaster, Troop 1, Altadena, CA
    - Feb '15, Vigil Honor, Order of the Arrow, Lodge 33
    - Feb '08-'15, ASM, Troop 1, Altadena, CA
    - Feb '06-'08, Cubmaster, Pack 1, Altadena, CA
    - Feb '04-'06, Den Leader, Pack 1, Altadena, CA
    - Life Scout, Troop 401, Claremont, CA
    - Arrow of Light, Pack 434, Claremont, CA

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  1. The story broke yesterday: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/n-j-judge-spared-teen-rape-suspect-because-he-came-n1026111 NBC doesn't mention "Eagle Scout" until the end of the article. Other news outlets aren't being so charitable (with headlines screaming "Eagle Scout Rape Suspect!") Bad situation all around.
  2. I'll mention I don't think the two traits are mutually exclusive. To be sure, the Lao Tzu quote isn't a license for Scoutmasters to abdicate their responsibilities to guide & mentor ... for me the quote is a reminder to work with the SPL in the background and not hog her spotlight (I'm now the Scoutmaster of our girls' troop). If there's an issue with a scout beyond the scope of the PL/SPL I'll try to work with that scout more directly, but even less obtrusively. Safety issues aside, of course, which require immediate intervention. YIS - - Craig
  3. I'm inclined toward Lao Tzu's quote in the Troop Leader Guidebook: A leader is most effective when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: "we did it ourselves"
  4. Highly astute observation, @fred8033. As BSA uniforms through the years have mirrored service fatigues, headgear, etc., I'm surprised BSA has allowed the uniform to drift toward "dress" and away from "functional" (shoulder loops?). All the more surprising what with the availability of technical fabrics. And the Army's recent field uniforms (BDU/ACU) have been designed toward functional, with liberal use of Velcro. Highly agree @Jameson76. Here're my suggestions for getting back to functional: Cut should be straight (without tail), and insist it NOT be tucked-in (imitating recent Army field uniform - ACU - which isn't tucked). To be sure, best practice for hiking layers is they should be "worn loosely". Long-sleeve only. Design should allow sleeves either be down or rolled-up & tabbed (a la the ACU). Velcro position patches - again, akin to the ACU - Absolutely! Fabric: technical “hiking” fabric. Columbia PFG is a good model. Bring back the neckerchiefs. Make them out of kerchief fabric that would actually promote their wear on a hike. For particularly messy or rambunctious activity, a troop-specific A-4 worn underneath would provide the best of both worlds. Oh, and one more thing: ditch the shoulder loops.
  5. Fellow Scouters: As it's been ~ 3-1/2 years since the last reply to this excellent question and thread, I thought I'd resurrect it in case some blessed Scouter has found the right recipe for intra-patrol, SPL, & intra-PLC, and intra-troop communications. INTRA-TROOP: For me, intra-troop communications is synonymous with "parental" communications, and eMail is satisfactory. We have five patrols; accordingly I've established five patrol aliases with as many parent & scout eMail accounts as possible. Proven advantages & disadvantages include: Advantages: Patrol-specific eMails not only reinforce patrol-method, but the smaller distributions mitigate the eMails from being tagged as "spam" risk and thus improve sending & receiving "Aliases" prevent my (thankfully few) "sky is falling" parents from spinning up the others with their "reply-all" nonsense. Disadvantages: The aliases are mine alone; I haven't figured a way to share them with my SPL and responsible ASM's Attempting to individualize five patrol eMails takes time & effort, both in the body text (I try to draft the eMails in Word to "XYZ Patrol", changing the name before pasting into each eMail) as well as a fresh Subject line (if I want to avoid "RE:" or "FW:"). eMails appear best suited to Parents ... to me it hasn't proven reliable at the Scout-level SM-SPL: Text is winning the day. I have a text-group established with the SPL and her parents. Same with the SPL when I was Scoutmaster of the boys-troop. That worked quite well, even on the occasion when the SPL didn't have a phone. His parents always did and I was pleased with SPL responsiveness on the occasion I asked his parents to have him call me. INTRA-PLC & INTRA-PATROL: This is where things get messy and I remain flummoxed. After several SPL's (boys & girls) I'm about to insist the first thing I do with a new SPL is sit with her (or her parent if she doesn't yet own a phone) and perform a text-group commo-check with the rest of her/his PLC. Barring that I'm stumped. I'm also stumped on how our SPL's should advise their PL's on intra-patrol communications. The good ol' phone tree just doesn't seem to fit the 21st century. Other best-practices?
  6. I remember when Tiger Cubs was initiated. I saw it as a response to Y-Guides (then “Indian Guides”) which began in 1st grade and threatened to capture dads & their boys before they became eligible for cubs. I see Lions as a similar response to youth soccer, which a few years ago began capturing families at Kindergarten. My son & I enjoyed Tigers - and I’ve been involved ever since even though my son is now 23 - but I can see Barry’s point that for most parents, this race-to-the-bottom just invites early burnout.
  7. By my reading of https://troopleader.scouting.org/scoutings-aims-and-methods/ it's now BOTH an aim and a method (?!?). If anyone on this channel can point to who within the BSA is responsible for integrity among its publications (including websites), please let me know as I'd be happy to volunteer to help where I can. My experience was with TRADOC (Training & Doctrine Command) which performs this function for the US Army. I don't know that BSA needs an entire bureaucracy (none of the other uniformed services has a TRADOC), but BSA obviously need some help. Nowadays such a function could easily be organized online and performed remotely by a cadre of professionals teamed with capable volunteers.
  8. At first blush I agree. When I followed my son into our troop a dozen years ago I was mentored by our SM and ASM's and allowed to grow into an ASM role at my own pace. These GSUSA mothers, on the other hand, are sensing they'll be thrown right into the deep-end (to mix metaphors) if they're to provide a meaningful experience to their girls as Cadettes. Nevertheless, back in the day, before the GSUSA allowed their program to ignore the outdoor component, somehow their structural model DID work. I'd be curious to your thoughts about what might have made up for the lack of institutional knowledge among successful GSUSA troops in the past? Meantime I'm more inclined to point the finger at their lack of mandatory outdoor training than their structural model.
  9. Tonight my small linked-troop of five registered scouts will be visited-upon by a GSUSA troop of TEN junior girl-scouts. Why the interest? Among the several BSA advantages discussed elsewhere in Scouter.com (greater outdoor challenges, perceived prestige of Eagle vs. Gold Award, etc.), two stand out as fatal impediments to this troop of Juniors moving on to Cadettes: Their leadership, primarily mothers, are resistant to the perceived expenditures in tents, stoves, cook-sets, etc. required to support outdoor overnighters; and These same leaders are at best reluctant and at worst fearful of employing the equipment, even if they possessed it, because they have no experience or training in how to use it. As 5th-grade Juniors, these girls will be moving on to middle-school soon, so its a natural time for their leadership to begin evaluating the next step in their program. Unfortunately for the GSUSA but fortunately for my BSA linked-troop, these leaders are highly supportive of their girls' ambitions but have no appetite for the investment in time and treasure that it will take to fulfill them. My female ASM heard about the murmurs and approached the leaders about our program: "THAT sounds like the answer!" was the reply and tonight we'll gauge how ambitious their girls are for a meaningful outdoor experience. Opportunity knocks. Although I'm heartened as Scoutmaster of this linked-troop, I'm also a bit dismayed as I'm also the father of a GSUSA Gold-Award recipient. As I've said many times, if the GSUSA had marketed an outdoor program in general and their Gold Award in particular as effectively as they've promoted Thin Mints and Do-Si-Doe's we wouldn't be having this discussion.
  10. Caltopo.com is fabulous. And for way more than an orienteering course: How many times have we scouters emphasized "a compass isn't much good without a map - and vice versa" when referencing the 10 essentials, only to accompany scouts on a campout or hike where at best only a few carry both? Good topographic maps are expensive, not to mention bulky & unwieldy for younger scouts, so until now it's been easy to justify slighting this "essential". But with caltopo.com no more excuses! We've saved .pdf's of caltopo.com maps we've created of our usual hangouts and distributed links as @qwazse suggests. Now we regularly see scouts referencing their own simple 8-1/2 x 11" maps. Our troop's overall map & compass skills have markedly improved since we discovered caltopo.com
  11. This. Heaven help me I wish I had the gaming talent. Some kind of small-group competition combining geocaching, Fortnite, and Pokemon-go would be a winner and right up our alley. Alas, my crystal ball goes dark beyond that.
  12. Well, I'm happy to strongly agree with you on that. I've been thinking hard about why I'm so worked-up about this. @qwazse pointed out the Mission of the BSA hasn't changed, so what's the big deal? That reminded me of what set me off in the first place: The 2019 Guide to Advancement. On the facing page to page one, in large bold print, are two statements: the Mission and the (now four) Aims. Both printed in the same large-bold font, and only these two statements so featured, tells me the BSA places the same value on both. Well then, either the Aims should't be proclaimed so prominently or they shouldn't be trifled-with. And with "Leadership" so close to the "Leadership Development", and by burying the Methods among several paragraphs on GTA p. 11, it raised my doubts about National's commitment to Methods as well. @Eagledad's tale of two Scoutmaster's is cautionary. Our Aims & Methods are what help us identify true-north Scouters from charismatic posers who are simply winging-it.
  13. @qwazse: I'm in agreement with many of your positions on scouter.com, but on this I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree. I'm encouraged that several others apparently agree with me that National's words are important, that we're attentive, and most of all that we're disappointed when guiding principles are capriciously and deceptively changed.
  14. @qwazse: I'm not trying to be quixotic about this. Like you I'm trying to be realistic. Perhaps some, including National, see Aims & Methods only as a marketing pitch, but in all of my professional training when the vision, mission, and values of an organization are firm and resolute, the better the organization. I'd even go farther to say that if BSA reconciled the principles embodied in the Aims and Methods (Leadership, Leadership Development? Aim? Method? huh?), we could resolve many of the quality issues we debate in this forum. I don't disagree with your observation that "We have scouters who say, "All I do is teach boys how to stack sticks and keep a fire going" ... from their perspective, everything else flows from that", but what about those of us who hold the BSA in higher esteem? Shouldn't the organization's executives be asked to answer when the principles of that organization are apparently so pliable? ... and I did smell the coffee and am already on my second cup, thank you.
  15. Amen @ParkMan. The Scout Oath & Law are the only policies & procedures we need. Clarke Green, nailed it for me on a ScoutmasterCG post from 10 years ago: https://scoutmastercg.com/troop-rules-or-resolutions/
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