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Everything posted by Zaphod

  1. If you are already charging as low of a price as possible fur dues then just be transparent. Show them the break-down -- how much the Pack must pay per scout for the items you listed and explain you really can't reduce fees any lower. However..... What we did instead is allow families to pay a reduced membership fee the following year if they sold X amount of popcorn. So if your normal popcorn goal is $200 per scout, then take your desired discount, multiply it by 3 (to cover the amount council/Trail's End take when selling popcorn) and increase the goal by that much and offer it as a "str
  2. Seriously?! As former Popcorn Kernel, Treasurer, and veteran, I think that's a terrible idea! For one, some people do not wish to support the military and that is their right. When they are giving your Pack cash they wish your Pack to benefit from it. Also, some of us who give cash don't want Packs to lose 2/3 of the money to overhead. I know exactly what I am doing when I give cash and when I give $10 it is because I want the Pack to have $10 NOT $3 with Trail's End and the Council each taking their cut. We NEVER solicited donations, but when we got them they went right into the bank bec
  3. The WORST thing about the scoutbook calendar is that it does not automatically add new families to event notifications (even scoutbook does that). That was almost a deal break for us.
  4. Thanks for the info! Yes, she is in the Northern Star Council. That's interesting.... glad they did that though before rolling it out nationwide. As a former Cub Scout family that dropped out because of burn-out I too am very skeptical about the Lion program.
  5. My sister just told me that she is going to join a Lions den that piloted last year. I thought this year was the first time it was being piloted. Does anyone know of any pilot programs anywhere else? Specifically the Twin Cities?
  6. Who's going to perform an audit? If your CO is a church, school, or community group chances are your liaison is another volunteer. If they don't suspect mis-conduct already, I find it hard to believe they are going to make it a priority to find the time (or someone else who is willing) to conduct an audit. This reminds me of when I joined scouts 5 years ago.... I thought BSA was ultimately in charge and took an interest in each group's well-being. I used to say things like "They ought to make sure den leaders receive better training" or "They really should.... [insert Pack failing here]."
  7. I just stepped down as Treasurer for our Pack and am currently Treasurer in two other organizations. I honestly believe it's probably nothing malicious just incompetence. Everyone in Scouts at the Pack level are volunteers. As such, they are not always meticulous unless they just happen to have a math bent or OCD. Also, unless your Pack is huge with wildly successful fundraisers or your CO is really generous, there is probably not enough money flowing through to cover several people's mortgage payments. But you are right to want to turn things around and I commend you for stepping up! If
  8. Don't feel too bad that your boy did not attend summer camp. Mine did and we are still in the same boat as you. He enjoyed camp but here we are just a few short weeks later and already he wants to drop out of scouting. He just wasn't pulled into the troop like I was hoping. The older boys just don't care about him and have no reason to pull him in. They go through the motions... take him aside at meetings and ask if he needs anything signed, etc. I don't blame them.... It's just not working for my 11 year old. But honestly Cubs wasn't working anymore either. Those who are saying that 4th
  9. Some CA school districts have year round schooling. What makes it really hard to adjust is that they are not all on the same schedule. They have 2 months on and one off but not all at the same time (this allows them to save money by having teachers teach year round). My stepson lives in that area so I researched it to figure out how it would impact his visitation schedule. It was almost impossible to predict what schedule he would be on from one year to the next. So I think Scout Troops would have to make plans to accommodate all the different schedules and say goodbye to entire Troop outings
  10. That is a good one. My son crossed over in May, went to camp in June and is faltering now because there is nobody else his age and no crossovers in the pipeline. I feel like we did what we were supposed to do (visited several Troops, attended a camp-out with the one he liked best, etc.) but still got it wrong. I love boy-led in theory but it is chaotic and a lot gets over-looked. My son has made very little progress towards Scout and I think that contributed to him losing interest. From my side of things -- I have 4 boys. We can't afford to invest $800/yr (the amount each scout will spend out
  11. We use Benefit mobile to allow families to raise money. You get cash back on gift cards that you buy through an app -- usually around 3-5% (for a bigger variety of stores Benefit also sells physical gift cards). Families can use the proceeds however they wish. We made about $75 around tax time buying a month's worth of gift cards for Meijer, movies, and eating out. Some families make up to $500/yr who are disciplined and use it regularly. You can even buy Amazon gift cards! Check it out.... it's a pretty good return and easy to use. https://www.benefit-mobile.com/
  12. No offense here.... I don't actually think there is any set formula to prayer. I don't think you need to actually say "In Jesus' name" or anything like that. But other faiths/denominations teach certain prayers (and the boy from the OP's post seems to have been taught something specific) and I don't see anything wrong with that. But even if you omit saying Jesus, God, Yahweh, or Allah, it doesn't change who you are actually addressing. It just seems so disingenuous to be talking to one person but never use His name so others can pretend you are talking to someone else. It's like we are all agr
  13. This topic is a bit troubling to me. In my faith, prayer is not a speech for the benefit of its listeners. Prayer is a conversation. When I pray, I know exactly who I am addressing and I have a name for this being. So why then must I pretend that all of a sudden I don't know His name just because others will be listening? That indicates that I am slightly embarrassed or ashamed to be speaking to my God. Being purposefully vague is something many Christians (and I imagine Muslims) would be very much against. It says something about BSA that someone who has very strong convictions is actually le
  14. Reading these posts makes me think scouting in my area is really dysfunctional. Every boy in our Pack went into the same Troop for 5 years (maybe longer... before our time though) and they never once offered us a den chief or invited us to an event. Pin workshops sound like a great idea! And you are right, my son joined the Troop that asked him to come along on a camp-out (after we reached out to a bunch of Troops trying to schedule visits). Most other troops acted like they were doing us a favor by allowing a Web to tag along. It's so weird to see what scouting is meant to be and compari
  15. Our Troop offers a lot of fundraisers but so far none of them have resulted in a deposit to my son's scout account. I know a lot of you don't do them, but this Troop does so we are stuck with what we have. Because we have already shelled out about $600 in 2 months I have recently told my son that we just can't afford this anymore and everything he does from now on is on him. We have 3 other kids who are doing nothing special this summer because every extra penny has gone to scouting so our new scout could get off to a good start. (Luckily they are pretty happy to just play Pokemon Go, lol).
  16. Hmmm that's interesting, we'll have to work on figuring that out. We've have tried really hard to avoid putting our kids in a position where they measure success externally. For example, take reading programs. After a little research, I came to believe that it's not healthy in the long run to have kids perform for prizes*. I will have to start working on your suggestions with him. Figuring out how to define success so he does feel a sense of accomplishment on his own terms and not based on a prize. Thanks for that perspective. *An interesting read on this topic: http://www.alfiekohn.o
  17. Oh boy... he has so many strengths but not a lick of self-confidence. I don't need to encourage him to improve when he makes a mistake, he'll beat himself up for it enough. After reading this, I asked him what he thought his strengths were, and he wouldn't say anything at all! I think his biggest strengths are along academic lines (reading, math, computers). He is also very responsible and mature (for an 11 year old).* He was reading chapter books at 5 years old and wrote is first computer program around that time as well. He remembers everything he reads and will quote back odd little fac
  18. That's good advice. I'll give it some more time and then try that. Thanks!
  19. I am not 100% sure but I don't think he is having fun. He is a people-pleaser though so he says he likes it when anyone asks but he is very unenthusiastic about going to events (he likes Troop meetings though). He asked today if he could skip the campout this weekend because he went to summer camp already this month. I said okay because it is a big change for him and am fine if he wants to take it slow. I don't want to push him any harder yet one way or the other because I am hoping the more he goes, the more he will like it. I have to say I have been more hands-off with Boy Scouts than I
  20. I am not seeing that getting the Scout rank is as simple as some are suggesting. My son did the new AoL program and the old Webelos program so that might be one problem. Here is where he is struggling: 3b. Become familiar with your patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell. Explain how these items create patrol spirit. (They formed a new patrol just before my son crossed over and they haven't picked these things yet... the patrol is even listed in Scoutbook as TBD) 4a. Show how to tie a square knot, two half-hitches, and a taut-line hitch. Explain how each knot is used. (My son learned these as
  21. They should include a warning about checking local ordinances too. I know... that line is usually just obligatory fine print but in my town drones are prohibited from flying above public parks which includes a couple forest preserves where scouts often camp. The ordinance was just passed this year so not commonly known but my company ran into some problems trying to take aerial footage for a promotional video.
  22. My son does not have his Scout rank yet. He earned his Arrow of Light, has been to a couple camp-outs, and went to summer camp a few week ago but his Troop is so active I don't think the older boys have much time to work with the younger boys. I overheard a boy last night working with him exclaim, "Man you have a lot more to do than we did.... This is going to take a long time." And Cyberchip is hard to finish if none of the other boys need it. It has these group exercises but my son is the only one who crossed over so no one else needs to do them. Maybe I am misunderstanding... but that i
  23. I think we found a workaround for the security issues.... My son just now downloaded the app onto his Kindle Fire because I didn't want to give him access to my phone. He used a Pokemon Trainer account to set it up (instead of gmail). He does have a gmail account that he uses for nothing important (whereas I use my google account and google drive for everything). Of course he is just catching Pokemons in range of our WiFi (he's got 3 already). But if we go out and about I will let him tether to my phone so he can still access the network. We'll see how that does.
  24. I guess it never occurred to me to separate long-term and impact planning from leadership. To me, leadership is more than just organizing a group of people to accomplish a task.... Although it is the most visible part. And if that's all we want to require from our kids at this stage of the game, I see nothing wrong with that. After all, I know nothing about scouting beyond Cub Scouts so I am still learning what it takes to be an Eagle or what should be required of one! I wasn't trying to imply that Eagles should be responsible long term; that's why I asked what Troops do (not individual Eagles
  25. I read this article in the Chicago Tribune the other day: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-adopt-park-south-elgin-st-0703-20160701-story.html It said there was a growing need for community volunteers to adopt and maintain public "spots" and they cited neglected Eagle projects as an example. These projects are commonly small public improvements to local parks such as a bench with landscaping but over time they start to look run-down. After the Eagle project is completed, it's on the city or town to maintain. I found that a little bothersome. Do an
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