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Posts posted by bsaggcmom

  1. 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.


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  2. 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.





  3. 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.



  4. 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.



  5. 3 hours ago, gblotter said:

    I see this too, but mainly in our older Scouts. I'd love to use them as mentors for the younger Scouts, but they never show up for anything. These older boys are distracted with sports/girls/cars/homework and rarely participate in campouts or other Scouting activities. And when they do show up, it is under pressure from parents. They give minimal effort to troop leadership assignments - just lip service, really. In our troop, that is where I see the quality problems surfacing.

    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. 


  6. 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.



  7. 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.



    • Upvote 1

  8. 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.



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  9. 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. 

    • Like 2

  10. 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.




  11. 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.

  12. 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.


  13. 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.

  14. @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. 

    • Upvote 1

  15. 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.

  16. 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. 

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 2

  17. 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.    

    • Upvote 1

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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  20. 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.

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  21. 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.

    • Upvote 1
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