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bsaggcmom

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Everything posted by bsaggcmom

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. @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.
  9. When To Not Be Calm?

    Brian, you have complained about the younger scouts in a few threads now. One thing you must realize is that there is a HUGE maturity difference between you being 16 years old and the rest of the scouts being 11-14 years old. I work in a high school environment most of the time. This year's crop of freshman (and I've talked to colleagues across the country) is particularly immature compared to previous years. It may not be that your scouts don't care about representing your troop in a good fashion, they may just not have the skills to attend to a task for more than a very short time. One friend of mine said she can't get through a 30 minute freshman science lecture without having to redirect the class. This is a first for her in 30 years of teaching. In my troop we had several scouts that didn't want any part of scouting, let alone camping. They were there and kept there by parents that wanted fast-track Eagle scouts. The parents were the helicopter crossed with lawnmower type parents. We had a hostile split in the early summer and all the uninterested scouts went to the newly formed troop. We were left with only 6 boys, but they were the ones that want to be scouts. 3 of them are younger scouts that used to be pulled into mischief by the uninterested group. Since the split we have had nothing but good productive meetings and outings. IF your scouts are there because THEY WANT to be there you can and will get through to them with time. IF they want no part of scouting but are being forced there for whatever reason they will most likely never come around. Understanding why your scouts are there is a key to handling them. Some boys will never behave no matter what you try. Have you tried giving the inattentive ones a specific job to do as part of a project? Giving them ownership of a small part may make them step up as you wish. You stated they they were supposed to watching and learning to tie the lashings. Were they getting a chance to do it, think EDGE method, or just watching? If they were actually doing then maybe they weren't being instructed well or shown what shoddy workmanship could cause. IF they were just watching then boredom probably set in, it only takes about 5-15 minutes for that to happen. Keep up your good work. You are in a tough spot. In the future, I'd probably layout a detailed plan of attack for a project like a catapult build. I'd make sure everyone involved understands the expectations of the project well before the event. I've been in scouting of all sorts for many years, frequently SPLs will tell the troop that they will build an 'x' at a camporee for points. But they don't tell the scouts what's involved in that build. Sometimes it's because they themselves don't know, or they assume (you know what they say about assuming) the troop knows what's involved. most times what is involved isn't what the scouts think it will be, they usually vastly under estimate the project. Listing full expectations before the event will make sure everyone know what will go on and they can make an educated decision about attending the event. Just a few thoughts. Good Luck.
  10. Where to start with a sewing machine for badges

    I have a simple, basic Singer machine. I have sewn on over 150 Girl Scout patches (2 active high seniors vests needed to be updated for an international jamboree) and 2 full new BSA shirts with in the last couple of months. Some tricks I have found. 1. Use a needle designed for denim/jeans/heavy duty. These needles tend to be stouter than a normal needle and stand up well to the demand of patches and badges. I broke 4 needles before my quilter Mom told me about jean needles. 2. I found that I wasn't very good at all the crazy angles of fun patches so I use the clear/invisible thread on the top side of badge/patch. That way if I miss a turn or veer off course a bit it doesn't show or shows very little than with colored threads. Also, this technique saves you having to match a zillion thread colors. Use a colored or white thread in the bobbin so that you can see to remove a patch if it doesn't turn out the way you want it to. 3. Get a machine that has a 'free arm'. That means part of the base of the machine comes off, makes it easier to maneuver the garment or material in all the weird ways needed to sew on patches/badges. 4. Set your machine up where you have lots of table clearance around it. By this I mean, a table like an empty dining room table. Shirts take lots of spinning around to sew on insignia. Working in tight spaces equals frustration. 5. Take your time. Expect to rip things off a few times when you start. I also found it easier to sew individual number together than to sew them one after the other. 6. Finally, pin everything in place, don't try to free sew a project. For somethings like the bling ring around the world crest I found it easier to sew the crest then the ring. I also found it was easier to use scotch tape to hold some things in place then peel the tape away when done. I did this when sewing numbers together and sewing the bling ring around the world crest. Pins can sometimes distort the shape of the patch. Good luck, happy sewing.
  11. Alps Mountaineering Scout Direct program gone?

    I love my Taurus 4 tent. 2 vestibules, 2 doors, I can kneel but not stand in it. It has stayed bone dry in monsoon rains and stood up to sustained winds of 30 mph and gusts of 45 mph. Only complaint, I need a floor saver under it in the areas I camp in (rocky ground). I never worried about that with my old tent that had a tarp type material floor .
  12. Inquiries for Girls

    Why would the program have to be watered down for girls to take part? What would you water down? I wouldn't water down anything. 20 nights of camping for camping merit badge, same swim requirements, same hiking requirements. Personal fitness requirements are individually based, do your pre-test, do your interim tests, do a post test, improve from where you started. What do you fear will be watered down? The girls that want in don't want watered down scouts they want scouts as it is now. Almost nothing needs to change for girls to come aboard. Most units in my area have coed adult leadership anyway. Are you afraid a girl or woman will out camp/out knot/out scout a boy or man and make them feel inadequate? I've said several times on different threads here that my girls out do any of the 3 troop of boys that I've been in the outdoors. The girls backpack, camp more as a troop, hike more and generally recreate more outdoors than the boys troops I've been involved in. Oh, and they are more girl run too. Just like Hawkwin's daughter's troop.
  13. Inquiries for Girls

    The niches I eluded to are girls only/boys only. Inside and crafty/outside and camping, cookies/popcorn, etc. As far as a 100+ year old group changing their programs to meet the wants of others, many groups have done so already. Prime example is Campfire, they went coed to meet the needs/desires of their members. It is actually very easy to change. The hard part is getting buy in from the people already involved. Adapting to change is the hard part. As far as Explorers and Venturing they start at 14 years old. By that point in their lives girls have already latched on tho the activities they are more than likely going to pursue through high school. And on top of that, they have probably tried a GSUSA program, not liked it and tossed it aside. Depending on their experience they may never give any scouting program a second chance. And what's worse, when they're parents they may not consider a scouting program for their children. If it wasn't something Mom or Dad did as a kid its likely it won't be something their kids do. I have dozens of extended family in laws, none of them scouted, so they never thought of it for their kids. Easily in my family alone, there are 60 boys and 20 girls that will never be scouts in either program because their parents didn't scout. If a girl had a bad experience she is less likely to suggest/let her daughter be a girl scout. It works the same way for boy scouts too. If we (collective we, as in any youth program) want to maintain and grow programs in the future we need to service what we have now and encourage growth now. Growth may mean going to non traditional members - girls in a boy's program, luring in ethnic groups that normally part of the program, etc. Birth rates are falling, couples are waiting longer to have children, 2 working parents in a family, more single parent families are all working against youth programs. If a family can't drop and go (sports teams with coaches as babysitters) or have all family needs met in 1 meeting then we will lose more youth. My family has been blessed that we could afford for me to work part time and shuttle the kids to their separate activities. Some times the daughter's activity won out over the son's one on the same night and time. Other times he won out. It was a massive balancing act. My husband worked overtime or off shifts to facilitate the family activities financially. This meant he wasn't available to shuttle or participate. I know many families where the kids can't do an activity because the family can't arrange transportation. The funds may be there but travel isn't. Don't underestimate the 1 stop shopping concept that is being proposed by the BSA. My GSUSA troop lost a pair of sisters that rode with us when my daughter aged out and I retired from leadership. I found other opportunities closer to home to volunteer in and have now been able to pick up a third part time job to help pay for her college now that I'm not running her around. Son now has a license and car and drives himself to most of his activities so even more time for me to pursue my volunteer interests and work opportunities. Next year its 2 in college. As I said above, adapt and change or die off.
  14. Inquiries for Girls

    @@SSF Not all girls want to have tea parties and play with dolls. Some want to be outside to camp, cook and get muddy. There's nothing wrong with that. I wanted to be an astronaut as a young girl, I grew up watching moon landing and then the space shuttle missions. Watched the first moon landing live as a very small girl, watched Columbia blow up live as a freshman college student. My favorite outfit as a 7-9 year old was my NASA flight suit I got as a gift while visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I had Barbies, a sewing machine of my own and dresses too. Used all of them. But I liked to be outside searching for wild flowers and bugs. So your comments sting a bit. My daughter (just aged out of scouting) played with dolls, had tea parties, did lots of arts and crafts, danced and figure skated growing up. She loves to be outside and play in the mud, shoot things and play with fire and knives too. Girl scouts in our immediate area didn't fulfill her needs or wants. We drove 25 miles 1 way every week for 7 years to find a GS troop that meet her needs. The troop has been around for 15 years providing the outdoor side of scouting that so many girls want. At times we had 50 girls in the troop. Many driving from quite a distance. So yes GSUSA can fulfill a girl's wants and needs if the parents can support the travel. The problem with GSUSA is how it is organized, and the local leadership. Many threads on this site discuss closed GSUSA troops where a leader won't take a girl if she doesn't have the right color hair, go to the right school/church, isn't BBFs with leader's daughter, etc, etc, etc. Also,if the individual troop leadership doesn't do mud, bugs, tent camping neither do the girls in the troop. If you have a arts and crafts leader your troop is arts and crafts. GSUSA also makes it very hard for a leader to take her girls camping, they must take several "classes" to be certified to do it. Heck, you can't start a fire without having taken a class. BSA provides a program that many girls want to be a part of. They aren't weirdos, they aren't tomboys, they are regular girls that want to be involved in the outdoors and want to grow their skills. They want opportunities like the boys. We tell our daughters that they can be anything they want to be - president, doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, etc. But then some stubborn old school folks stand up and say you can't be this or that cuz you're a girl. That just makes them and their parents push even harder. Everyone says demand change from the GSUSA. Yah, okay. If it was that easy we wouldn't have girls trying to join Boy Scouts. GSUSA only cares about it's appearance in the public eye of giving girls "empowerment" and their cookie empire. Girls,parents and some leaders have pushed for years for more outdoor opportunities. The response has been incredibly slow and anemic. One other issue with GSUSA is there is really no program at all. There are badges to earn, Bronze/Silver and Gold Awards, but no program. You don't have to do follow a regimented list of requirements to get Gold. Just do some wishy-washy, touchy-feely, useless Journeys and a project(if you can get through the top secret paperwork) and boom you have Gold. There is no way a Gold award GS is on the same level as an Eagle Scout. I have both a boy and a girl. GSUSA requires no skill development to advance, no leadership development in at the troop level (heck they gasp if you have a PLC type structure), there is no program to deliver. Some people just want a little structure in their lives. Some need it, some thrive on it, doesn't matter what gender you are. The BSA has a niche in the world that should be available to all that wish to utilize it. The GSUSA has a different niche, as do 4-H, AHG, and Campfire, Y Adventure Guides and the multitude of other youth programs. In this day and age gender shouldn't be an issue. We aren't living in Victorian England or the Puritan USA of the past. It's time to take a twist on Charles Darwin, change and adapt or die off. I'd much rather see the BSA adapt and change than die off.
  15. We lived the same hassle with GS until we found a multi age troop 30 miles from our house when my daughter entered 6th grade (Cadettes). Things were so bad around our area we went to Canada and joined Girl Guides for 10 years. We are blessed to be in border city and the Canadian units were a mere 10 miles away (plus border crossing time). My daughter liked the GGC program so much that we would go there even after she joined the GSUSA troop that she just aged out of. In a lot of ways she had the best of 2 programs. Down side was double the cookies to sell, Canada sets the number you have to sell or give them money equal to that amount. I don't know what I'd have done with her if we couldn't have gone to Canada. We were the wrong school, wrong address, wrong everything in our area. The adults in charge, troop/district/council levels, made no bones about it, we were the wrong everything. We found the GS troop we finally got into through a BS friend whose daughter was in it. This GS troop has been going for over 20 years and never refused a girl that I know of. Head leader's oldest daughter just had her first child and is 31. Youngest daughter is now 25. And the leader is showing no signs of closing the troop or retiring. But she has a strong support system of other adults. The troop runs more like a BSA troop than a GSUSA troop. We have a treasurer, advancement chair, membership/communications chair, and we all work with the girls in different capacities. I agree GSUSA numbers would skyrocket if they followed a BSA model of membership for troops. But then the Moms would be able to exclude the kid from the wrong school, wrong street, wrong color, wrong whatever. Heaven forbid they let their daughters experience the real world. BSA doesn't have the concession on helicopter moms.
  16. Part C medical form and genitalia

    Sadly many youth don't see a doctor on a regular basis. I've been an allied health care provider for 25 years, not a doctor. I work with young adults on a daily basis. I find it scary, sad, and in some ways disgraceful that some of my college freshmen have no regular doctor or dentist and have never had a proper physical or dental exam. I had one incoming college freshman this school year that had NEVER been to a dentist, 18 years old and no dental visits ever!! Others have only ever seen the walk in clinic for pre sports physicals for $25 and the emergency room for illnesses and injuries. Doc in the box physicals miss so much its scary. They don't screen for hernias, scoliosis, testicular masses (young men in the boy scout age range to college age have one of the highest rates of testicular cancer), muscle imbalances, urine samples for diabetes and neuro problems. Basically, if you walk in under your own power and have a pulse and are breathing you get the sign off you wish. That's exactly what they are designed for but it doesn't make them right. While health insurance is expensive there are many programs that insure youth get coverage and services they need. The health forms from the BSA, high school sports, other camps are written to help health care providers by giving them guidance as to areas to check. When an OB/Gyn does a troop of boy scouts physicals because he/she has a kid in the troop they're really not helping out that much, IMHO. They are extending the problem. Just because someone has a DO, MD, PA, or RN after their name it doesn't make them the right person to provide the service. I'd be concerned if a psychiatrist offered to sign off my troops' physicals. Sure he/she is a an MD or DO but when was the last time they listened to a heartbeat, felt an abdomen, med school maybe? Scout son was found to have a heart murmur at his camp physical a couple of years ago, luckily it turned out to be nothing major. It was found by his regular doctor and hadn't been there in the past. Who would a doc in the box or someone else that he'd never seen before know if it was a new thing or not. Having had a couple of athletes over the last 25 nearly die of heart problems on the field I am a little sensitive to this subject. To sum it up, the forms ask for checks that should be done not ignored, to make sure the scout is healthy enough to partake and no new underlying conditions have occurred since their full physical. Pre-camp/sports physicals can and do play a vital role in the health care of young people. They shouldn't be brushed off as an pain in the butt that most parents, leaders/coaches, and providers consider them to be.
  17. In my council most of the camps are 2-5 hours away from the main population centers. Local metroparks, state parks and private campgrounds that are scout friendly are closer. Would love to use the council camps more but who wants to arrive at camp at midnight or later on Friday night and have to leave by 9 on Sunday morning to make it home at a decent time. They're nice properties for the most part just too far away for a weekend camp.
  18. Family Camping vs Parent/Son

    In my council parent & son activities are district/council run. No siblings, no tag a longs, only one adult per child. Limits are due to space and to allow the greatest number of scouts to participate. Family camp can be unit/district/council run. Usually unit run. The entire family can come, mom, the sisters, big/little brothers, etc. Once even had a set of grandparents come out. Depending on location activities at both can be very similar - shooting sports, fishing, hiking, games.
  19. Catholic Diocese boots out GS

    As GSMOM73 said, GSUSA doesn't have CO's like BSA. Leaders sign the agreement with the GS council and the troop is off and running. If the Catholic Church doesn't want to endorse GSUSA anymore the GS troops there just have a harder time recruiting and have lost a meeting space. GS troops aren't dependent on CO's to give them meeting space they have to find their own place to meet. My GS troop meets at a church, we pay a weekly rental fees that the girls fund through yearly dues to the unit. Some units meet in leaders homes, public meeting rooms in local libraries or if they are lucky they are allowed to use a room at a school. If Catholic parents in KC want their daughters to be a GS then they can do so. It just won't be at their local Catholic school/church anymore. Maybe not as convenient as it used to be, but still available. I see it as a loss for the church as a whole. No more little service projects to help the parish, no more Scout Sunday masses that include all scouts, and less exposure for the church in the general population's eyes. Not every girl in a troop at a Catholic facility is Catholic. Those girls and their families are lost as potential converts to the Catholic church. Gone are the little donations from such families because they aren't there anymore. My family routinely donates a few dollars, a few cans of foods or a little bit of time to the church that our GS troop meets at. It isn't our church, isn't in our town. no connections except the GS troop meets there. We do it because it benefits the facility that is kind enough to rent us some space. It a round about way we see it as benefiting our GS troop. Nice to them, nice to us thing. The Catholic church in KC is about to ruin this type of relationship. So sad.
  20. Lack of MB opportunities

    Jeanvaljean welcome. I'm going to guess that you are in Michigan somewhere due your comment about going to Cranbrook. If you are part of the GLFSC section of Michigan Crossroads Council then your Scoutmaster should have a merit badge counselor list for your district. Lists were sent by the district advancement chairs to the unit leaders (Scoutmasters, Coach for Varsity Scouts, Crew Advisors and Sea Scout Skippers) at the beginning of this school year. Data was encrypted to ensure that only the unit leaders with the correct code could access the list, some crap about MBC privacy was given as the reason. It has made accessing the list a pain in the butt. Unit leaders were told that couldn't print the list and were to keep it stored as a file on their computers. In my unit one must ask the unit leader for a list of counselor names and hope he remembers to email you that list when he gets home from a unit meeting. It reality it usually takes and email or text or 2 to get the names you want. And even the most recent, secure list is not fully updated and accurate. I know there are people listed on it the quit scouting 3 years ago. They are polite when called by a misdirected Scout, but they are finding it annoying at the same time. Others have given you the general process of how your sons are to go about getting blue cards and continue on the path to earning a badge. So I won't belabor that point. The one thing I have found is that many of the listed counselors only work with their own troop, and the variety of MBCs available to Scouts has dropped greatly in this area over the last few years. If your boys are looking for some of the less commonly earned badges they may not be able to find a MBC at all. Good Luck!
  21. As others have said your son has plenty of time. Let's do a little number crunching to put things in perspective. Based on your son being 11 years old now he has about 7 years to complete his Eagle journey. He needs (currently) 21 merit badges, that's only 3 a year for the minimum. There are 7 ranks from start to end: Scout; Tenderfoot; Second Class; First Class; Star; Life; Eagle. Again that'd be 1 rank a year. But he can work on items in Scout, TF, SC, and FC all at the same time, so very possible to get more than 1 rank a year some years, it just happens. Some of the required badges have time requirements, usually 90 days of doing something. That's a 3 month commitment to working out daily, tracking your income/expenses or doing chores around the house. If he continues as an athlete then his fitness tracking is a breeze. Household chores probably are too. That leaves financial tracking not too hard either. Camping merit badge requires 20 nights of tent camping. If he fulfills his FC rank requirement of 5 campouts, he'll more than likely already have 10 nights, 5 two night trips. Add in the 6 nights allowable from 1 summer camp, boom at 16. He'd only NEED to camp 2 more weekends to have enough nights. Exceptionally doable in 1-2 years, in some troops if the dates work out it can be done in 1 year. Cooking merit badge has a few requirements that can pose a problem or 2 if not active outdoors or the troop doesn't camp a lot. But nothing that can't be overcome. Only other time requirements have been mentioned already, time in position. About 17 months, but they don't have to fall consecutively, 1 month for TF, 4 for Star, 6 each for Life and Eagle. So when you look a Eagle by the numbers achieving it is extremely possible. In fact, I can't understand why every scout doesn't achieve it other than a desire not to. And I really don't understand the 17 year old, 11 month and 23 day old Life scout that still needs 4 Eagle required badges and project taking a week off of school to finish it all in his last week. We have one in our troop doing that right now. Just tell your son that slow and steady wins the race. Work a little extra in an off season or school break time, don't stress in the middle of a season. Use his time wisely, read a merit badge book instead of playing video games or watching TV for 30 minutes a week and badges can be had in a short period of time. The journey is his to pick. GOOD LUCK!!
  22. Boys have more fun.

    Spring break is just finishing up in my neck of the woods. My GS troop spent it backpacking a section of the AT trail in North Carolina/Tennessee. The BSA troop did nothing. Couldn't even get a few boys out to help on a couple of Eagle Projects during the week. Girls trekked through rain, sleet, snow, then high temps and lots of mud. Boys didn't do much that I know of. A couple went on family vacations, rest were on their rumps. So I'd say my girls had more fun and bragging rights too. BTW - 2 out of 3 of the adults on the AT were Dads hiking with their daughters. For one Dad this was his second doing an AT section with the same troop. My troop has no issue with Dads helping out. EMT hubby and lifeguard son have taught first aid and water safety to the girls. Hubby of head leader (a card carrying lifetime GS member) has taught woodworking, knots and fire building among other things to the girls. IMHO, GSUSA doesn't have issues with men, but they'd rather women be the lead. My council even has a guy as one of its employees, in a position similar to a DE in the BSA system. But it has been noted that I don't have a 'normal' GSUSA troop either.
  23. Canada Girl Guides restricting scout unit travel to USA

    @@RememberSchiff As a very frequent border crosser and having family members that cross daily here are a few tips/guidelines for your trip. 1. Make sure you have notarized travel documents for each Scout you are bringing with you across the border. These include a permission to travel abroad with a list of specific adults on specific dates. Permission to obtain emergency medical care for each member (youth and adult) while in Canada if needed. Create a travel packet for each member. A gallon Ziploc bag that contains notarized forms, passport/border cards/enhanced state ID/original raised seal birth certificate, troop permission slip, and a copy of the member's health form. 2. Packets accompany the members and are held by the driver of each vehicle. Driver hands the packets to Canadian/US customs agent at the border. Identification document on top, notarized permission to travel abroad form next, then notarized emergency health and regular health forms round out the bundle. Driver's packet is first. Organize packets by front seat, middle row and back row of the vehicle, driver to passenger sides. This is how we have done it for 25 years with our Girl Scout troop when we travel to Canada each Mother's Day weekend for a big camporee near London Ontario. Never had a problem crossing either way. 3. All phones/electronics turned off and stowed at the time of crossing. No sunglasses or hats on. If your driver wears prescription glasses have them switch temporarily to indoor glasses from their sunglasses. Border agents don't like sunglasses. Or they can take the glasses off for discussion with the agent. 4. No cameras at either border or near the border area. NO PICTURES OF BORDER AGENTS OR SURROUNDINGS. 5. Keep all vehicles in the same lane and together so that everyone deals with the same agent. Trailer comes through last. Designate a meeting spot after clearing customs. DO NOT gather the convoy on border crossing property. That way you will be close if there is a problem but not interfering with traffic flow. Everyone should be organized the same way going on to the border zone property too. 6. Parents and their kids should be in the same vehicles at the time of border crossings. As should siblings. You can regroup before entering or after exiting the border zone if siblings don't want to travel together. NEVER, EVER REGROUP IN THE BORDER ZONE. 7. NO WEAPONS, MACE, PEPPER SPRAY, NOTHING BIGGER THAN A POCKET KNIFE in vehicles or on person. CANADA DOESN'T DO GUNS!!!!!! Make sure all guns and ammunition are left at home. You will go to jail and they will seize your vehicle forever if you bring a gun in. Larger cooking knives need to be secured in a patrol box in a trailer or trunk. Pocket knives put away pockets or backpacks. 8. Proper current identification for everyone. Passports, passport cards (obtained just like a regular passport with the same forms and processes, only good for land crossing to US/Canada/Mexico), enhanced state ID (similar process to getting passport but done at your state DMV office, not available in all states). Our group and several school groups here also use raised seal/original birth certificates for youth under 18. There has always been an exemption for organized youth groups traveling between Canada/US to travel on birth certificates. Anyone over 18 has to have a passport/passport card/enhanced state ID. Check guidelines before travel. 9. Turn off data usage and roaming services for mobile devices unless the device has an international usage plan. It isn't uncommon for people to rack up hundreds if not thousands of dollars of roaming/international usage charges. A quick text can cost $5 or an email check can cost $25 or more if you don't have an international plan. My daughter tallied up $550 in 2 days because her phone didn't connect properly to the hotel wifi. Phone company was good about it, but they didn't have to be. Just turn the devices off. One leader can get a temporary international plan for a month and roll the cost of that into trip costs. We are doing that when the girls go to England in August. Hope this helps. I have been crossing the border for over 50 years, and 7 years with Girl Scouts and never had a major problem. A few crabby agents here and there, only 2-3 vehicle searches. Searches were because my vehicle matched a vehicle of interest (Amber alert type things). Follow the Scout law and you shouldn't have a problem. Courteous, kind, obedient, friendly, cheerful and most of all Be Preapred. Nothing worse than rifling for documents at the agents shack. Have a great trip.
  24. Boys "Eagle Out" of troop

    Yup I've heard of Eagling out. Trying to keep son from doing it. Darling son will be 17 in a couple of months, he got his Eagle just before his 15th birthday as a high school freshman. He is the troop's only Eagle. He has stuck around his troop and earned 6 palms with enough badges for 1 more. It has been a struggle to keep him and 2 other HS juniors and 2 HS seniors engaged in the program we have or should I say don't have at this time. The seniors and 1 of the juniors are Eagle bound, 2 should make it one probably not. When son joined his current troop as an incoming freshman it was about to fold with only 3 paper scouts on the rolls. We joined and so did 20 others, we're down to about 13 active scouts and a couple more on paper only. We've lost 6 scouts in the past year due to our lack of program. We are boy led and the PLC has not planned anything that the older boys are interested in. When the PLC actually plans a meeting it is based on the advancement of the younger scouts or a merit badge the younger guys want to do. In most cases the badges are ones the older guys have and the teaching that needs to be done is by one of the middle guys needing to teach for rank advancement. The older guys have no real place in the troop, not PLC presence, and no need to be there. No older boys are not allowed to be on the PLC because they have their time in for rank and others need it. Currently we have 11 boys between FC and Life. All need PoRs, so if you are Life and have your 6 months in your out of a PoR. Weekend camps are based on the middle school calendar no consideration for the high schooolers. Last camp was weekend before finals at the HS. So keeping older boys especially Eagles engaged here is tough, really tough. Son loves scouts, but his main reason for hanging around is to be on camp staff at a local cub resident camp. The troop goes to a merit badge mill summer camp (kids get 6-9 badges in a week), so no desire to go there again. Did it once, and that was enough. He went to NYLT but isn't allowed to demonstrate the skills he learned since he isn't on the PLC. The age gap is starting to effect our troop. 5 juniors/seniors (seniors age out in 6 weeks) and 10-12 middle schoolers or lower. No common ground, no common focus. Don't now how much longer son will stay around. He hasn't Eagled and run, but he's lacing up the sneakers. I really feel we need to make scouts from grades 5-8 and Venturing from grades 9-12. 17 year olds have nothing in common with a not yet 11 year old. With limited leadership opportunities and program options, like our troop, it is no wonder boys Eagle and run.
  25. The big question

    EBoRs aren't about telling a bunch of old guys what they want to hear. Its about answering their questions honestly and articulately. Being able to stand up for your point of view and respecting theirs. If you can't say for certain that you'd get back involved when you have kids of your own or when you are done with college and have a stable life then you should be able to back up your point of view with reasons. I'd rather hear that a young man wants to include his wife in the choice, or that he was forced into scouts by his parents and really didn't enjoy it. I'd accept that career and family needs will play a role in the decision as to whether he returns/stays with scouts. What I don't want to hear a line of horse hockey to 'please' me. We are supposed to be fostering the ability to think for one's self and support your thoughts in the program. Not teaching them to BS (and I don't mean boy scouts) their way through things. If that's the skills they've received in the program shame on the leadership of their units. My son learned how to talk to and with adults from scouting. He learned to justify his opinions and how to ask questions. To the point that as a beginning high school junior, he wowed 2 college admissions advisors with his maturity and composure. Part way through their chat one of them asked if he was an Eagle Scout, she said she could tell by the way he handled himself. If EBoR members want to be 'pleased' by answers then they need seriously reconsider why they are willing to sit on an Ebor. I sit there to find out how the program is going in my area. To find out what makes a good program and maybe swipe and idea or two. I'm there to make the boys think about what they've done to date and what they are going to do with their lives to come.
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