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Everything posted by jwest09

  1. An approach I try to take - Its possible not to tolerate something, without kicking the boy out (and thus casting him outside your sphere of hopefully-positive influence.) Not sure why drug use is an unforgivable sin for so many among us, especially considering the harmful side effects of exiling an already at-risk youth on account of what may be a small transgression.
  2. Its worth asking the scout, in a non-judgmental way, why he has repeatedly chosen to use illegal drugs. Not because he may have a good excuse (I'd be hard pressed to come up with a reason that would excuse a youth making this choice) - but because it may reveal deeper, more important issues that might need to be addressed. A teenager using pot recreationally with friends is a different situation from crude attempts at self medication for depression or other mental illness. It's most likely to be the former - but as an advocate for these youth, its at least worth having the discussion. Appr
  3. In my large troop, the unofficial official rule has been: 1. Each adult gets 1/2 day during the week where they are allowed (and maybe even expected) to head off camp. 2. No more than 2 adults can be off camp at the same time. We obviously adjust the unofficial official rules as needed to ensure we have a proper ratio of adults to youth on camp at all times - but given a relatively large number of adult leaders, this is rarely an issue. I don't really buy the "well, what if there's a medical emergency, and you're off playing golf?" line of reasoning. The boys are trained in first
  4. It sounds like you are dealing with a behavioral problem. Trying to solve a behavioral problem by "banning" certain arbitrary objects which are by themselves benign (eg, phones, toys) does not get to the crux of the issue - and I believe that the youth pick up on this, and it ends up working against you. I agree with DuctTape - this is pretty much the exact same issue as the phone thread.
  5. There was a time when I didn't even have to imagine ;-) But I think you are right, there is a time and a place for adults to proactively educate youth leadership on issues such as these. There's also a time and a place for observing how youth leadership addresses these issues, and recognizing if they are doing an adequate job without our meddling. The youth are often more tuned in than adults are to these types of things. If the youth are correctly handling the situation, I see no need to guide the PLC in forming any sort of policy. its quite possible that they don't even see this as an is
  6. Sure, I can get behind that. We should be proactive in equipping our youth leadership to be successful. I think it comes down to gauging the overall maturity and experience of the particular youth you are working with.
  7. Not exactly. I'm suggesting that we give our youth leaders the opportunity to identify problems and bring them to our attention - not the other way around. Its general advice, and not specific to ADHD or these figit spinners. I'm suggesting that if the youth leadership isn't experiencing difficulty in achieving their goals and in leading their troop and patrols, then we shouldn't jump to solving a problem which we as adults perceive to exist, but the youth do not. Now, in the event that the youth leadership does express concern about these devices, and looks for guidance on what acti
  8. Better yet, let the PLC initiate the conversation. Are the scouts unable to direct their peers' behavior, or are they already handling it effectively on their own?
  9. That much I can agree with. The distinction that gets lost too easily in these discussions is the ownership of the decision. The PLC is empowered to make these decisions. While I personally remain skeptical that this is the sort of issue which a PLC should concern themselves with, I do need to acknowledge that its the things that are important to them that matter, and not the things which are important to me. My perception may be unfairly clouded based on my experience, which has been that whenever we talk of "banning" anything, the ownership has 100% been with the adult advisers, and no
  10. Back Pack, you seem to be jumping around between a variety of unrelated ideas, and I can't quite follow all of your logic. Your particular question here is basically the same as if the PLC considers creating any other rule or policy. They need to think through it, weigh the pros and cons, and commit to follow through on their decision. This specific issue (scouts wanting to ban their own cell phones) has never come up in my experience. I guess we're too busy doing more interesting things with our time?
  11. Well, regardless of whatever difficulties you may be experiencing with smart phone GPS, is that a reason to ban them outright? Nope.
  12. Level with me - you know as well as I do that there are other, far more common uses, for cell phones than as a compass or GPS unit. (And the GPS works just fine in the back country.)
  13. I agree with the stance that a cell phone is just a tool - we should correct bad behavior, not ban a tool. When I started as an ASM, the troop had a strict "no electronics" rule. It made enough sense at the time... but as I gained a little more experience, I realized... I don't like spending time enforcing this rule. I don't like spending time reviewing "policies" about this rule. I don't like spending time explaining this rule. I don't like spending time defending this rule. I can't justify or explain why it is important or necessary. In situations where it's "my call," I persona
  14. You might also take into account the facilities you have to work with. Do you have a severe weather shelter that will accommodate your group? Do you have an indoor meeting area where you can do indoor training or other activities? I do my best to avoid flat out cancelling events due to weather. But we do need to Be Prepared - if the facility doesn't have a suitable shelter, you should consider cancelling. If the facility does have a suitable shelter, then I'd usually be OK with holding the event, but ensuring that the leadership has someone dedicated to keeping an eye on the weather, an
  15. When having difficulty getting a point across, its always easier to blame your audience - maybe assuming they don't "want to" learn, or maybe assuming they are incapable of learning due to lacking your own first hand experience. Its much more difficult to look inward and evaluate both the legitimacy of your argument, and the effectiveness of your communication. There's also the clear logical fallacy in trying to diminish the relevancy of one issue (ie, cultural appropriation), because of an unrelated issue (ie, casinos). While I can appreciate the validity of concern surrounding cultu
  16. We charge a flat registration fee per year. The fee covers the dues and insurance paid to council/national, costs of advancement patches and paraphernalia, and an amount paid into the troop's general fund which we use for "routine maintenance," as best we can estimate it. For example, we'll budget to be able to replace a tent each year, replace some cook equipment, maintenance on the trailer, etc. All camp outs, including summer camp, we charge a flat fee which is our best estimate of the "real cost" of the event. So basically a fixed cost for food, and then we divide the costs of the c
  17. In my experience, when newer ASMs arrive on outings, they don't really know what their role should be. They tend to gravitate towards interfering with, I mean supervising, the boys, because that's a reasonable thing to expect to do. Even if they've had some training on how a boy-led troop should work, there's a bit of a mental leap involved to actually apply that philosophy when you're out in the field. I've found that having a rough schedule of things for the adults to do is a useful way to distract them from wanting to hover over the boys' shoulders. Even just forcing them to particip
  18. I think this mentality, and it is the one that our troop adheres to. Having a large troop, we do have some process around it, mainly as a courtesy to the advancement chair. The process is simply that the scout communicate with the AC to request the BOR - phone, email or in person. We run them the first meeting of the month by default, but the AC will adjust the schedule based on demand. The AC handles building the actual board from the committee (she likes to comprise the boards of a mix of newer and more experienced committee members), so the scout's only point of contact is with one poin
  19. Within the past 5 years. And its entirely possible that they or I are incorrectly describing the costume. I remember they were more hung up on being scantily clothed and barefoot on a cold night standing in a muddy field.
  20. I think qwaze hit on what seems to me to be the biggest challenge facing the OA today: competition. If you think about the demographic the OA targets (highly motivated Scouts passionate about service, leadership and outdoorsmanship) and then all of the other activities which target that same demographic (camp staff, NYLT staff, heavy involvement in troop leadership, district/council events and training, church youth groups, school clubs and societies, etc), you need to look at how the OA stacks up. I personally have no great love, nor any real problem with the OA, I think I'm pretty neutr
  21. Hello fellow scouters! I'm speaking here as a paramedic of 20+ years. I've worked in a variety of settings, mainly on an ambulance in urban environments. I love my job, and credit my involvement in Scouting as a youth with introducing me to this field. However, I'm continually amazed that the combination of first aid with the BSA always seems to produce armchair lawyers who waaaayyyyy overthink and overcomplicate matters when it comes to rendering the first aid skills which we teach our youngsters. I apologize for my bluntness, but as a long-time paramedic and educator, its become some
  22. Well, this might go against the conventional wisdom here - but I'll share what I think. And what I think is that we, collectively, can be just a little bit too paranoid when it comes to footwear around here. My troop has actually backed off on the blanket "no open toed shoes!" ultimatum. The reason being, we see just as much injury from the kids spending too much time walking around in wet hiking boots and socks than we see from the odd stubbed toe or scraped foot. Instead, we treat footwear just like any other kind of clothing - it needs to be appropriate for the weather, activity and
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