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bsaggcmom

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Everything posted by bsaggcmom

  1. Run Forest Run!! Get to a new troop if you can. This SM is out of control and will continue to be an obstacle to your son's advancement just because he can be. We had the same issue with my son's SM in troop #2. He was not pleased the son was 13 and starting an Eagle project. No scout in his troop deserved Eagle before their 18th birthday. In troop 2 no scout had a an EBOR until after they turned 18. And he wasn't going to change his stance. My son did everything this man demanded and the SM just kept adding to the demands because he could. He delayed my son for 6 months, when I threatened an intervention with the district advancement chair he relented and signed the proposal. The SM interference didn't stop with the proposal. He tried to shut down both of my son's work days on the project itself. First shutdown was because most of the scouts couldn't help on first work day, MLK Day, cuz their school was in session and my son's school was off. The school wanted the work done that day for obvious reasons. Son had several friends from school to help him all were Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Then he said it couldn't go cuz he couldn't be there, and on and on. It wasn't until the school principal called him and said she'd turn him into council for abuse of power that he relented this time. Second work day SM tired to shut it down cuz it was rainy and cold. Then he tried that son and school hadn't cleared the site with MissDig for buried wires, there was already a playscape in place there with deep footings. Then he tried to argue about cement mixing procedures. This time we had a friend that was on the district advancement team for the neighboring district working with the group. He pulled the SM aside and put him in his place. Project complete. SM threatened that he'd never give a now 14 year old an SMC for Eagle, especially after how he was treated during the project. So troop #3 here we were. This man will never change. So as stated earlier. RUN, RUN FAST. Side note - Just saw on Facebook that 2 boys from troop 2 just made Eagle, they turned 18 in mid fall. They were college freshmen when their projects and completed EBORs 60 days after 18th b-days. Somethings never change. The scouts are the same age as my son.
  2. As a Camping MBC I feel if a scout and his troop can't find 2 of the 6 options to do then they aren't trying very hard. A 4 mile backpack can happen just about anywhere all it takes is a little planning. My troop did an urban backpack around a small city then spent the night in a local metro park that let us camp the night. The same can be said for the 15 mile bike ride, a neighboring troop bikes along a foot/bike path beside a major interstate, no lunches or bathroom worries they hit a fast food place at an exit when needed. Whether the scout is a good rider or not isn't the issue - he can improve if he TRIES. As others have mentioned the requirement is about adding value/excitement to a campout and possibly introducing a new horizon stretching skill to a scout. Every scout camp I've been in over the last 12 years has a climbing/repelling wall and at most you don't have to climb to repel. The area my son currently lives in for college is on the southern shore of Lake Superior. They started getting snow in late September and will continue getting snow until late April. They average some 20 feet a year with an average of 6-10 feet on ground at any one time from January to March. Snow is easy for them, but even with the Porcupine Mountains nearby a 1000 foot ascent isn't something they can do locally. Nor is a river float, it is only safe to be on the water for a few weeks in the middle of the summer due to the frigid water temps. Scouts in his area take advantage of the snow, repel at camps and ride bikes and backpack all over the UP paradise. If the scout wants the badge he'll find a way to get 2 out of 6 options done. I spend some time each year in Kentucky visiting family. Each time I'm there I wish I could get my scouts to come with us. In Kentucky you have mountains that could give you the 1000 foot elevation change hike. There is Lake Cumberland and other TVA dam lakes for paddling around and many have boat/canoe rentals. There are 100's of miles of backpacking/hiking trails with not terribly for from the road campsites (Cumberland Gap National Monument comes to mind). Snow camping is just an option, it isn't a requirement. It's a viable option for some but not all. It needs to be left as an option IMHO. This requirement isn't overly tough. Where there's a will there's a way.
  3. bsaggcmom

    Eagle Project question... help

    As the Eagle Coach for my troop I'd encourage him to round out his ideas more. I think it is a wonderful idea and it would be approved in my district provided the scout could articulate how it meets the goals of an Eagle project. ASMmom1976 has your son started filling out his Eagle Project Workbook yet? Or did he just try winging it in his discussion the the advancement person? I have found that when a scout uses the workbook with lots of pictures added to the text that they become more focused and the project starts to fall into place better. If he can't answer a particular question in the pre-plan section help him to find an answer. Sometimes it is as simple as making him think about where his helpers will go to the bathroom during a work day (a key topic in my district for some reason) or where will a work day be held. Once he starts laying out the steps involved and how those steps show leadership things will click better for him and the project reviewers. As others have said he doesn't have to build anything or fundraise for a project to approved. But he does need to think through his steps. The guideline my district folks use for the pre-plan is could another scout pick up the workbook and run the project if your scout became ill on a work day and couldn't come. Are the steps clearly laid out? Finally, if it was a troop level person he presented to and was turned down a trip to the district committee might be of benefit. Have him fill out his workbook as completely as he can for the pre-plan with lots of pictures to show what is going to be done. Sometimes the district folks are a lot easier than the troop level people who can be power tripping. Good luck. I'd be happy to long distance coach a bit if he would like a bit of outside help. Sometimes a new set of eyes on the workbook can find things that the scout and his proofreader don't see. Just send me a message.
  4. bsaggcmom

    Who Works on an Eagle Service Project in Your Troop?

    We were in 3 different troops while my son was scout age. Troop 1 encouraged the Eagle project leader to ask all the scouts to help in some way. Younger scouts were paired with older scouts or adults to learn a new skill if the need arose. or the younger guys were the go-fors. Everyone was encouraged to help if they could and the project allowed that much help. Troop 2 the SM refused to sign off the pre-approval unless the troop was included as the main work group. His thoughts were an Eagle project belonged to the troop and this was one of the few ways boys could get service hours signed off. If the Eagle candidate didn't use the troop members to the satisfaction of the SM he'd give the project leader a hard time when it came time to sign off. His other rule was that he had to be at every work session, since he was signing the the candidate showed leadership he had to see it in every session for himself. This caused lots of conflicts with when and how a project could get done. Unfortunately, this is where son did his project. At final sign off the SM wouldn't sign the project as complete as my son used schoolmates and Girl Scouts as part of his crew. Instead he attached a 1 page legal brief type document stating that in his opinion my son hadn't completed the project because he had used non BSA workers. This lead us to move to troop 3. Troop 3 is utterly laid back. SM doesn't care who, how or where the project gets done. Use scouts or not he doesn't care. He tells the project leader it's his problem solve it. If the SM is available to come help he will. With the new YPT rules he may not get to stay as laid back as he has been. Luckily the district advancement people listened to my son at his EBoR and determined that he in fact had completed the project and the SM of Troop 2 was a pompous wind bag. Eagle granted.
  5. Glad I could help. Most people don't understand the difference between reverence and religion. They aren't the same but are similar.
  6. I have never really considered myself overly religious, but do consider myself to be quite reverent. I rarely attend church now, I have attended regularly in spurts over the years, but not now. I work with people of several faiths and beliefs and respect their customs. I am not closed to their thoughts or actions. I respect their needs to pray, say grace before meals, attend services,etc. I participate in such activities when I am with them but not usually at home with family. It was not the way I was raised or my husband. The Scout Law says be reverent not be religious. There really is a difference. I know several religious folks, very religious folks that aren't the least bit reverent. They have no use for anyone that isn't their religion, and they mock others for their beliefs. I'd rather be reverent than religious any day. The world needs way more reverence and maybe a little less religion. Or at least we need religions to teach its okay to be reverent.
  7. bsaggcmom

    I HATE the new YPT rules

    There are no female adults camping at this event at all? Not just the pack and host troop, but the whole event doesn't have a female attending and camping? If there is 1 female somewhere on the grounds during the event then the requirement should be met. The requirement in my interpretation says a female scouter must be there, not that the unit must provide 1. My way fulfills the letter of the requirement but not the spirit. But if YPT guidelines are going to stupid (I totally agree this is a ridiculous rule in Cubs) then fulfilling the letter of the requirement is all that is needed. Dad can make sure she is truly safe and cared for. Have this young lady and her dad co-op with a unit that has a female scouter. Scout will get her camping experience, letter of the requirement met, and all should be well.
  8. I have mentioned our experience with GSUSA several times when my daughter was young. No one would accept her into a Daisy or Brownie troop in our area. Wrong school, wrong grade, not in the right clique of girls, wrong hair (not really but you get the idea). I was willing to be an adult leader and help so ratios weren't an issue. No go, no troop, but a heart broken 6 year old. One year the local council even took my membership fees for the girl and myself and kept it until the next fall then finally refunded it because we hadn't been able to join a troop. I had a kid that wanted to be a scout so bad she could taste it. Luckily we live on the border with Canada. A short 20 mile drive and a border crossing, let her be a Canadian Girl Guide. She went through their Brownie, Guide and Pathfinder programs. Some years she was a Lone Guide (a Juliette) other years we made the cross border trek every week. When she was in 6th grade and BSA friend of mine got us into a GSUSA troop for Cadettes/Seniors/Ambassadors. The troop was fantastic. The head leader never turned girls away, girls came from all around to be part of the troop. We drove 30 miles 1 way every other week to attend. The leadership asked each family to help in some way to help the troop go - front line leader, treasurer, cookie mom, drivers, snack parent, etc. The troop is on its 20th year of existence this year. The head leader hasn't had a girl in the troop in over 10 years (she had 3 daughters), but she believes in the movement and wants as many girls as possible to experience the program. The troop is very outdoor oriented, they go to England for a jamboree every 4 years, backpack every spring break, etc. These girls are more active than any BSA troop that my son was ever involved with. Some years there are 20 girls other years there are upwards of 50 girls. My experience with GSUSA for the most part, is it is a clique of girls that have a couple of moms that feed and support the clique. It is very rare to find a troop like my daughter's. Once the clique of girls break up, change members, change tastes the GSUSA troop falls apart. Not a good service delivery model.
  9. bsaggcmom

    Business Insider interview - Sylvia Acevedo, CEO GUSA

    I just got home from my local Joann Fabrics (a major national chain). While there I noticed on the front door and then repeatedly around the store, flyers and posters saying Joann's supports Girl Scouts USA. There were recruiting flyers and info up around the store as well. Then at the cashier I was asked if I'd like to donate to the GSUSA so that all girls could have a scouting experience. Then a flyer was placed in my bag to allow me to direct possible girls to the program or even more importantly telling me I could volunteer with the program. It says there are girls desperately wanting to be scouts in our area an no adults to lead them. We don't have many girl cub scouts in the area yet but school just started 2 days ago. Time will tell. But if the Joann's campaign is a nation wide one, not a regional one then GSUSA has found a new funding source and a great recruiting technique. Not sure where it will lead the local GSUSA membership but what a marketing partnership. The campaign with Joann's in my area will introduce the concept of the GSUSA to a lot of families that might not have sought it out. I'm in a very heavily ethnic area (Muslim and Hispanic are the main groups) and the thought of boys and girls together won't get traction. But a program for girls by women might get some notice. Not seeing any advertising by the local BSA council for round-ups or even popcorn. So the local council might not get the girls it thought it was going to get with this campaign going.
  10. bsaggcmom

    Summer camp hacks/gear suggestions

    You each need a good pair of hiking boots or trail shoes for summer camp and other scout activities. Be sure to wear proper socks, a pair of thin, lightweight, wicking liners and a heavier pair of outer socks. The 2 layer system helps lessen the chance of blisters. The friction that causes them is reduced by the 2 layers of socks, they slide over each other rather than your skin sliding in the boots. You can wear the outer socks a couple of days in a row, but you should wear clean liners each day (liners can be washed in a ink at camp and hung to dry). Fit your boots/shoes using the 2 sock system, this makes sure that there is enough room in them for comfort. Also, make sure the boots/shoes fit you well. Even when brand new they should feel comfortable and tell you 'take me home'. Don't settle because of cheap price, especially for you. I have pair that's 12 years old and I still wear them occasionally, when things get really muddy/nasty out. They have hundreds of miles on them, not my first choice for a long hike but good for a gross day in camp. Break your boots in well before going to camp. My family wears them grocery shopping, to school/work, cutting grass, anything that requires lots of walking but let's you change quickly if needed. My family likes Merrill, Vaasque and Cabela's house brand of boots. Each of us has a different foot type, weight, height and footwear need.Fitting hiking boots/shoes isn't a 5 minute job. Plan on spending an hour or so to do it. Try on several styles/brands and vary the sizes a bit. Walk around the store, climb stairs if possible/available at the store. When you find 1-2 pairs that feel really good fits, try them again. It isn't a fast process, but your time will be rewarded. Hope this helps. Happy trails.
  11. bsaggcmom

    Son is at YMCA camp this week.

    My kids did YMCA camp for a couple of years when they were younger. The major benefit to the Y camps, or the church based camps that followed, was the fact that an adult from the family didn't need to go with them to camp. They were much more expensive than BSA camps but Dad and I stayed home, worked and didn't have to worry about childcare, food, or anything regarding the kids for a week. Girl Scout camp was the same way for our daughter, drop her off and come back a week later. When you figure in the cost for a parent to attend Cub summer camp with their scout into to the overall price the BSA is pretty pricey. A week of vacation used or a week of no pay, adult camper fees, and maybe extra childcare for other non scout siblings, etc. It doesn't get better at the troop level if you are a leader. My kids have said several times over the years that they wished we had sent them to Y camp instead of scout camps. Y camp was more fun - more activities at a younger age, no advancement push, and way better accommodations and no adults they knew telling them not to do something fun cuz it was against a dumb safety rule. I hope your son has a blast. I wish I'd had a chance to go as a kid. I found a Y camp in Canada that offers summer camp for adults for a couple of weeks each summer at the end of their regular camp season. Maybe now that my kids are too old for scout camp I can go to camp and not have to worry about other people's kids, dumb rules and advancement issues. .
  12. Ontario also has the Bruce Trail. It runs from the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to Niagara Falls. The first 100 miles or so is very wooded, and rugged when starting at the Bruce Peninsula end. Much of the beginning mileage is in National parks land. There are beautiful waterfront campsites, boulder beaches and many inland 'puddle' lakes that can get downright bathtub warm. There are also campsites on a great little island called Flowerpot Island. You take a ferry over and can camp (pack it in/pack it out style) for a few days at a time. I grew up spending my summers in that neck of the woods. It's a great region. And you'll get more bang for your buck in most cases since the exchange rate is very favorable for US travelers. Some things will be more expensive - gas namely, but for the most part the exchange outweighs the price differences. There's lots of things to in the area. Lots of Provincial parks along the way too. It might not be a Philmont trek but it can still be an adventure of a lifetime.
  13. I can't wait for them to make their way to the Cub Scout camp my own kids are staff at later this summer. They will be arriving just in time to interact with a Webelos summer resident camp group. Should be a great opportunity for the Webelos and their parents. My kids think it is awesome.
  14. bsaggcmom

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    We are already seeing the whole family joining scouts. The new rules about parents attending summer camps with their scouts having to have a membership in order to go. In order to go to summer camp or camp more than 72 total hours in a year's time adults must now be registered adult members in the unit. So we will have even more adults registered than we used. IMHO, this is going to put a real hurt on summer camps especially at the cub resident level. The cub resident camp my kids work at is running less than 50% of the registrations it had at this time last year. My college aged kids are fearing they may not have jobs as a result of this decision. It isn't profitable to run a camp session for 20 kids and adults with a staff of 20. Hopefully, it is just parents being slow to register. At the troop level, this decision has caused 2 of my very small troop of boys not to go to camp. The parents don't want to/won't pay the membership fees, might not meet the background check requirements, I don't know why, but their kids aren't going to camp without them. So Junior isn't going to summer camp and parents are blaming the new rules as the reason. At any rate we have 3 boys going to camp and 5 adults traveling with them. 2 won't be staying in camp because they have younger siblings travelling too. We are going 3/4 of the way across country but still 5 adults to 3 kids. Glad I'm not going this year.
  15. I used to work for National Supply for years. The patches for Committee Chair changed to that from Committee Chairman several years ago.
  16. I have just the opposite in my little troop. I have 2 Eagle Scouts that enjoy teaching but I have new cross-overs and slightly older scouts that don't care and don't try. The older boys want to mentor but the little guys could care less. Unfortunately, the Eagles both age out in 2 months. Then the troop will be left with 3 new cross-overs, 1 third year that has no drive or ambition and a Life scout that is starting his project. We also have 1 Life scout that is currently living on the other side of the state, he comes when he can about every 4-6 weeks, he's pretty much done except for a project too. It is disheartening for older boys to try to mentor, only to have little ones show no desire or interest. My third year has 6 things left for 1st Class and has had the same 6 things left for over a year. We finally dragged him across the second class line last week. He had been done his requirements for 6 weeks and didn't want to bother with the SMC or BoR. The older boys have done all they can to get him thru 1st but the last few things are on him and only him to do. The SM tells the older boys to get the third year done, but they can't, short of going his house and helping him sort his garbage, and things like that. This batch of cross-overs and the ones that quit from last year have no clue what BS is about. They aren't ready to be in the troop with or without a parent in tow. The Cub parents are equally clueless. I think the new Cub requirements have really hurt the troop level. I really fear for the troop in a couple of months. When the Eagles leave and head to college out of town the troop won't need to worry about advancement or merit badges. Because if left to their own devices the little ones will do nothing and pursue nothing.
  17. Brian depending on where you live there are some great older boy camps around. My son and a friend went to Camp Rainey Mountain in Georgia last year and did a week of whitewater rafting camp. CMR shares the program with Camp Woodruff. Both are in northern Georgia not far from the Smokey Mountains. It was a 10 hour trip each way and they weren't the scouts from the furthest away. There are aquatic bases in a couple of the northeast states too. Just about every camp with older scout programs allow scouts to come as provisional campers (you don't have to go with your troop or own adult). Here in the Great Lakes State, there are backpacking camps offered at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior, ATV camps, horse trek camps, canoeing and kayaking camps along the many rivers in the state. And sailing adventures in Straits of Mackinac area. Philmont has individual treks available for interested scouts. Sea Base has a match board for scouts that want to go but have no troop to go with. Not sure if Northern Tier has a similar thing. What I'm telling you is you don't have to be stuck with your troop at the local minimalist summer camp. Read the ads in the back of Boys Life and research a place to go. That's how my boy found CMR. The sky's the limit.
  18. As a SCUBA instructor I agree with @perdidochas. I recommend a watch with no less than 100m waterproof rating, 200m is better. I had a Casio as a backup to my dive computer for over 20 years. I now have Timex. A couple of things to keep in mind when shopping. 1) Can the buttons be pushed underwater? Some styles will flood if the buttons are used underwater. 2) Can the battery be changed by the local watch store/repair person or jeweler ? If the battery can't be replaced locally it can get expensive. Waterproofness (if that's a word) can be compromised when the battery is changed. Not an issue now but could be in the future. 3) Is the wristband long enough to go over a wetsuit top? Is it short enough to wear as an everyday watch? Band length can be an issue if it fits on land it may not fit over a wetsuit top. I have very slim wrists, to get something for daily wear I can wear it over my wetsuit. So I get around this by attaching it to my BCD on a chest strap. It's secure and easy to see there. For safe measure I work a tie wrap into the buckle so I don't lose my watch. 4) Can the face of the watch be read underwater and in love visibility? It does you no good if you can't read it. Is it big enough to see, but as above not so big that it looks/feels awful on land? 5) If it has a bezel (the rotating ring around the face) it should only rotate in one direction, counter clockwise. This is a safety feature. Counter clockwise will rotation will decrease dive time not extend it if accidentally bumped/twisted not increase it. This make your bottom time less in reality and less chance of decompression illness. Unless you are going to become or are an avid diver less is more here. Get what you can afford that does the job you need it to do. As beginning or occasional divers you probably don't need one of the $$$$ watches. $50-$60 should get you a really good beginning watch for your purposes and maybe a milkshake for after shopping. Happy Diving!! A little jealous as I sit here in the sub-freezing weather getting ready to shovel the driveway yet again.
  19. Bear with the following, it'll come together in the end. My son is the oldest in the troop now. We have been in 3 different troops over the years (various reasons for switching, not pertinent here). When we were in our first troop he was one of the youngest scouts in a mixed age patrol troop. He tried several times to make friends with the older boys but they had no interest. The 'fumes' thing really make a difference between 11 year olds and 16/17 year olds. The young ones stuck together regardless of patrol. It was just the way it was. On occasion at the urging of the SM both groups and the one in the middle, 13-15 year olds, would do things together. Every now and again a young one would strike up a relationship with an older one. It was rare. In the second troop everyone was pretty much the same age. The issue here and what ultimately drove us away from it was groupings of scouts by schools. Since my son went to a different school than the rest he was constantly left out of things. Trips were planned based on 1 school schedule not that of the group. The guys hung out with each other, went to school together, played sports together, they were a patrol in the true sense. They weren't interested in adding a new guy, no matter how hard he tried. Facebook just made the 'being left out' even worse. We finally found a home in troop 3. He was an older boy and Eagle in a troop that was rebuilding. He's a good teacher and the younger guys flocked to him. He also had friends that moved troops with us so he had peers to hang with as well. Unfortunately, some of the parents of the less popular middle and older boys decided that it was inappropriate for older boys to be friends with younger boys. They caused crap and actually broke up the troop. So, in my experience, no matter what type of troop you're in there is always going to be issues with boys getting along with each other. It is a good lesson for life. Learn to deal with interpersonal relationships in a safe monitored space. If parents step in to solve/fix their child's issues they rob their child of a lesson to learn, IMHO. At the extreme of parental stepping in a troop can be destroyed. My advice, do nothing as far as the troop goes. Teach your son about rejection and arm him with tools to help himself. I like the advice above - take a ball, book, your own deck of cards, etc.
  20. bsaggcmom

    Let's talk about the Eagle Scout journey

    My troop has had 4 Eagles in less than a year. We had a total of 5. 2 earned it young, 2 at the last minute (BoR after 18th birthdays), and 1 at 16. My son earned Eagle at 14, almost 4 years ago. He was done his badges by 13, but wasn't ready to head up a project. A project fell into his lap and he pulled it off by 14. We were in an 'Eagle mill' troop for his first 2.5 yrs of Boy Scouts. They did Eagle badges each month in troop meetings, pushed the boys to go to MB fairs and to max out their summer camp schedules with badge classes. His first CoH he got 4 Eagle Required badges and 4 more. 8 badges in 5 months, a little nuts looking back on it. Then another 7 at his first summer camp. We transferred troops and things slowed down, the SM there refused to allow a 14 year to become and Eagle so we transferred again. Third troop was laid back, but no issues going for Eagle. Other young Eagle from the troop earned his at 13 and change. Mom made him do badge work every Sunday as part of his chores. He would 'earn' 6-8 badges every CoH and more if a MB fair or summer camp fell during the timeframe. Scout wasn't really wanting to be there, but was well behaved. Mom was the ultimate helicopter, kid and his younger brother never did anything without mom in tow. Imagine an Eagle scout that's never been anywhere without mom to remind to put his sunscreen on. They left the troop in the spring over a leader dispute. He didn't even have a ECoH with us. One of the just in time guys, #1 had been putzing along on Eagle for the last 1.5 years, his project gave him fits. He'd left scouting for a few years after reaching Life young and came back to fulfill a promise to his late mother. The other just in time guy, #2 finished 6 Eagle required MBs the day before his 18th birthday. Mom of the young one above arranged a MB fair of sorts at her house that night. His project was done the weekend before his birthday and signed off the night before becoming 18. SM did his SMC at 11:30 PM that night. Took the paperwork to council on the kid's 18th b-day. Kid hadn't shown up all school year for meetings, no real PoR work, not a scout in any way shape or form. But all the adults thought he should be an Eagle cuz mom wanted it. I don't think the kid cared one way or the other. There was a family history of last second Eagles. He couldn't even make time to come to to his own EBoR. It was done on day 45 after his 18th B-day, too busy to schedule it, after threats from the district Eagle coordinator. He didn't care. So where am I going with all of this? Each boy's journey is individual and he makes it happen or not happen in his own way. There is no shame in not finishing Eagle. Scouting is about having fun, learning and growing. My son has grown in numerous ways as a scout - NYLT, Jambo 2013, 2 summers of camp staff, 4 years of summer camp without mommy in tow (not counting work). It was rather emotional for me to watching him at work one day, it was 10 years to the date that he and I had gone to his first Cub Resident camp as a Tiger graduate, and there he was the Eagle scout that the little Cubs were looking up to. I can't say just in time guy #2 got anything out of Scouts, he was never there. As for the other young Eagle scout, I don't think he's gotten much out of scouts either. Hard to grow when mom is on your shoulder every inch of the way. So, IMHO it doesn't matter what rank a scout leaves off at as long as they learn, grow and become good young adults.
  21. bsaggcmom

    Scout Related Secret Santa Gifts

    Check out your local chain sporting goods store or general retail store that sells camping/outdoor/hunting gear. I've picked up first aid kits in a lexan box listed originally for $15 for $5, water bottles filled with survival kits for about $8 (originally $20), and pellet fuel stoves and a refill for about $8 (originally $8 each). The items were in the sporting goods sections of the general retailer (think Target like places) or the camping section of the sporting goods stores. The stuff is too small to pack up and ship back to the corporate warehouse, but not in demand over the winters, so the retailers mark it down big time. Another great place to shop for Secret Santa gifts is your local dollar stores. Some have great mittens or gloves for a buck or two. I've picked up gloves, mitts, stocking hats, and scarves. What person doesn't need a spare set of warm items in the winter (I guess if you live in the south this one won't work so well). My son created a survival kit in a bottle at the local dollar store one year. If the guys in the troop are of less means something as simple as a few pairs of extra socks might be well received. In our troop we used to draw names for the SS gifts. One guy always ran out of socks, or never packed more than what he wore to campouts. His SS got him socks one year for his gift, turned out he only had 7 pairs at home. If he brought extras camping he had to wear dirty ones to school the following week. He cherished his 3 pairs of dollar store socks and mitts he got that year. Wore the socks to campouts till they were full of holes. One item I got one year was a small flashlight and a pack of batteries to feed it for a year. I love that thing, fits perfectly into my cargo pants pocket. I put it in my pocket in the morning when I get up at camp and then I don't have to worry about having a light if I don't come back to my tent all day. Your imagination is your only limitation. Gook Luck and happy shopping.
  22. Not really sure how the decision was made. I have a hunch it was by the camp director/camp ranger in response to requests to bring sisters to Cub camps in the past years. Having volunteered quite a bit there over the last few summers, I know that parents having to balance a daughter's need for care and taking a son to Cub camp for 3 days can be difficult. I lived the problem for 5 years myself. I think the session for sisters to come was to help with accessibility. The session isn't listed in the regular Cub camp flier. It may be listed as a council family opportunity. I haven't gone surfing to find it. But it was confirmed when we worked a Halloween event about a month ago.
  23. The Cub Scout Summer Camp my kids work at will be having a session that girls will be able to attend this summer. It was announced last summer at their staff week when the rumors were flying that girls would soon be allowed into Cubs and Scouts. The session is titled 'Cubs and Sisters' or something similar. It was scheduled in part due to the expected announcement but also in response to the requests to bring sisters to camp. It turns out that many Cubs aren't able to attend summer camp because the parent that would bring them also has a female sibling at home to tend to. So by allowing sisters to come to camp, its a win for all involved. More Cubs in camp, extra sisters in camp and more adults at camp. A great way to max out the session. Also a great way to hook the girls on Scouting. Maybe new BSA members come fall. Camp will only be open to Cub age sisters is my understanding. No really little folks at camp. Nor any teens in Cub camp. My daughter is looking forward to having girls in camp. It'll be a treat to have other young ladies in camp than her and her tentmate. The program is supposed to be the same as any other session of Cub camp, but nothing has been finalized that I know of. Different note - spring recruiting around here for Cubs is in May/June. Thought is get them signed up before school starts, get them involved over the summer and get them hooked. I foresee a lot of girls joining in the spring at round ups. Our district even runs a Bobcat Boot Camp twice a year. One of them is June, just before Day Camp and just after school lets out. It'll be interesting to see if this happens.
  24. We have a cemetery in our district that has a Scout campground in it. The campground is in a section of the cemetery property that is close to a river with a water table that is too high for grave use. The area frequently floods, but it has a beautiful pavilion with a dozen or so picnic tables in it and BBQ barrels mounted on the side. The pavilion also has a cement floor which is nice after wet weather. A scout even created an orienteering course on the site for rank advancement. The only down side is there is no potable water and only 1 porta potty that isn't cleaned/emptied often. The cemetery doesn't charge for the campground use only a refundable key deposit to the site's gate. It is down right creepy at night as you are locked into the cemetery at dark till dawn. We have used the site for adult trainings, day camp, and camporees. There's often a waitlist for a chance to use it. It's a little piece of wilderness 10 minutes from the suburbs of a big city.
  25. @NJScouter I think you have hit the nail on the head. I have lots of experience with the BSA, GSUSA, Girl Guides of Canada and a little less experience with Scouts Canada. The BSA is the only program that I've been involved in for over 12 years that is 'family friendly/heavy family involvement'. Before everyone flips out let me explain. GSUSA, GGC and SC all encourage families to be active in the programs but they want the scouts to grow and develop without the parents present every moment of the time. All 3 organizations encourage the parent to drop off the scout at the meeting room, leave while the meeting is going on and come back at the designated time to pick their scout up. Parents aren't normally in attendance for unit meetings and on site activities. When it comes to camping and field trips the same method applies. Parents may be invited to camp or go on a field trip with the group if extra adults are needed for ratios or transportation, but the scout doesn't go to camp/field trip with a parent in tow. Scouts learn independence from a very early age (first grade). Scouts in these programs even go to summer residence camps of 3-7+ days in length without parents and depending on the association without unit leaders too. Leadership in these programs (especially GGC and SC) also tend not to be parents of current scouts either. Parents are free to observe anytime they want but it is highly discouraged. Drop and go. BSA wants Mommy/Daddy/other adult with each scout for Lions and Tigers. Most packs want the parent around through Webelos. Then it is culture shock when the scout reaches the troop level that parents aren't truly 'welcome' anymore. On top of the burn out we all talk about on these forums this culture shock IMHO is a main driver in the drop out rate between AoL and first year troop. I had 12 scouts from Tiger to AoL. Only 3 stuck with the program after AoL. 4 scouts were only children and their parents weren't keen on letting their darlings out of their sight. One actually told another parent and myself that since we had more than 1 child that we had a spare kid if something happened to our boys. They didn't have a spare so they were going to protect him at all costs and not let him out of their sight for a few more years. Lost touch with those families after that. The scouting program doesn't function well with adults present in too large a number. Kids can't grow and become confident in their abilities when adults hover. The BSA for all its fussing that helicopter parents aren't what is appropriate sure does push that to happen when they insist on parental attendance at meetings/events/camps. Girls in the BSA isn't what we all need to be afraid of. Too many parents that don't understand the program and don't know how to let go is our real issue. The BSA has made a leap to be like the rest of the WOSM, but how long till they adopt policies that will actually help scouting improve? It sounds harsh but we need to ditch more of the adult attendance/interaction at activities. Let the scouts work the program with just enough adults to meet ratios, get the rest out. No unit should be registering more adults than kids. Adults need to be trained and parents need to keep their distance. My only fear with girls coming into the program is more parents that want to meddle with scouting.
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