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About AltadenaCraig

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  • 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
    - Feb '19, Recipient, Unit Leader Award of Merit
    - Aug '18, & Jul '13 Adult Advisor, 6-1/2 day, 72mi trek along so. 1/3 of JMT 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. AltadenaCraig

    Unapologetically Exploiting GSUSA's Achilles' Heels

    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.
  2. 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.
  3. AltadenaCraig

    Orieneering Course 4a First Class

    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
  4. 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.
  5. AltadenaCraig

    When was 4th Aim added?

    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.
  6. AltadenaCraig

    When was 4th Aim added?

    @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.
  7. AltadenaCraig

    When was 4th Aim added?

    @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.
  8. AltadenaCraig

    Unit Bylaws

    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/
  9. AltadenaCraig

    When was 4th Aim added?

    @RichardB - Thank you for taking time to respond. I've seen other posts of yours and I gather you're either a professional scouter or closely-tied, so I want to also thank you for standing-up to my plaintive request for someone accountable to reply. Nevertheless, your reply really frosts me, it is so condescending. I've been a subscriber of Scouting Wire since its inception on March 5, 2015. I'm also a lazy manager of my gmail account and am in possession of all 215 eMails I've received from "ScoutingWire" since. I was able to perform a simple search and I'm sorry to say NONE of them makes any announcement of the change to the Aims of Scouting. I agree that Scouting Wire would have been a great vehicle with which to announce the change, so its absence only frustrates me more. If the change occurred in 2014, before Scouting Wire, then I concur with the others on this thread that several resources up through 2017, including the 2015 Guide to Advancement, reference only the original three Aims. So I'll challenge any other BSA authority -- Do the Aims and Methods of Scouting really mean something or don't they?
  10. AltadenaCraig

    When was 4th Aim added?

    Just to put my money where my mouth is, here are three actions which I hope National would take regarding any changes to Aims & Methods: Immediate notification to all scouters of the added Aim upon adoption of the bylaws by the Executive Committee (while I wouldn't expect everything the ExComm does to be so advertised, the Aims & Methods are foundational lists which are emphasized during initial training across the org - Scoutmaster Corps, Troop Committee, and Charter Org.). Commented by Michael Surbaugh in an end-of-year video or memo to all Scouters Two or three PowerPoint Slides released to every Roundtable Commissioner to be shared at Roundtable. The slides would specify the change, the rationale behind the change, and place the change in context of Methods (which retains Leadership Development as a Method), answering "is it an Aim or a Method?"
  11. AltadenaCraig

    When was 4th Aim added?

    Thank you, @RememberSchiff. Both of the references you cite clearly identify four, not three, Aims. But am I off the mark in feeling that these references only underscore my point? These references make it absolutely clear the change was intentional, and identifies it as "significant"! So why make such a significant and intentional change without championing it across the organization? Again, either they mean something or they don't.
  12. AltadenaCraig

    When was 4th Aim added?

    "Leadership" is now included among four Aims of Scouting (up from the previously clearly understood three), which are prominently displayed in boldface on the face-page, along with the BSA Mission Statement, in the 2019 Guide to Advancement. The eight Methods of Scouting, though they remain unchanged, are not so highlighted and practically buried on page 11 of the GTA. Perhaps someone on the blog, preferably a professional Scouter can speak to this? I saw where some of this was discussed elsewhere in the topic "Whats in a Name"; however, the root of this change was never discussed nor was any official BSA policy change ever highlighted. I have to say I'm stunned at the lack of communication regarding an addition to the Aims (as well as the apparent subordination of the Methods). I've been championing three Aims and eight Methods over my 15 years of scouter-ship and I actually feel foolish that I wasn't aware of this change. If Leadership is truly now one of our Aims, I think National could start by demonstrating better care and concern over our cherished values ... either they mean something, ladies & gentlemen, or they don't. I remember when AYSO - recreational youth soccer - added a sixth philosophy "player development" several years ago. That change was communicated far and wide, up and down the structure, because everybody in that organization respected and cherished the core principles. Far from being nit-picky, or trifling, everything in my professional and volunteer leadership training - which is considerable - says that capricious or slight-of-hand changes to core principles are significant red-flags in an organization. I hold the BSA so very dear, I hope someone accountable can stand up and explain the change to our Aims and its unacceptably poor communication. - - Craig
  13. @qwazse & @Cburkhardt : regarding the GS Troop's decision to enter Scouts BSA rather than Venturing, I expect it's because BSA policy requires them to do so (at least until they achieve First Class) in order to eventually attain Eagle: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/Implementation-Details-for-Scouts-BSA-Final.pdf It will be interesting whether they eventually become Venturers after they earn First Class.
  14. AltadenaCraig


    I'm now the girl's Scoutmaster of a linked-troop. With the boy's troop (for which I was Scoutmaster the past 4 years) we share resources as well as the Troop Committee and meet on the same night. The SPL's of both troops have agreed to hold combined opening and closing ceremonies while the program and game are regularly separated. All this to say we (the Scouters) are making a good faith effort to abide by both 1) the letter of the BSA policy as well as 2) the implied spirit of guaranteeing the boys their scouting journey and the girls theirs. Our arrangement frequently requires identifying boy's troop and the girl's troop separately - and occasionally with a handful of scouts on hand it's easy to slip into "Boy Scouts" and "Girl ..." well, you get the idea. For us it requires constant vigilence over our language.
  15. Very impressive, @MikeS72; thanks! I've googled dozens of Camporee Guides, but they've all been District- or Council-produced documents and only underscore the disparity among programs. Your link is to an apparently official BSA guide - dated 2009 so relatively recent. For me the most valuable blurb is "The camporee involves the type of equipment that can be carried in a pack by [scouts] and can be set up entirely by [scouts], allowing them to be completely self-sufficient for a self-reliant experience over a period of two or three days." Our district's Camporees have featured nothing like that, so this guide is valuable on that basis, alone. I'm less affected, however, with the document's program details - particularly types of competition and methods of scoring - on which the document only says "Camporee programs may include contests and demonstrations of outdoor Scouting skills as well as campfires, games, and field events." For that I'll keep trying, but this is very helpful. Thanks again.