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The Latin Scot

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Everything posted by The Latin Scot

  1. The Latin Scot

    How Many ASMs per Troop

    That Scouter from another district means well I am sure, but that kind of micromanaging doesn't just seem excessive - it seems obsessive to me. And it's a legitimate threat to Scouting as a program. Your system - in other words, THE BOY SCOUT PATROL METHOD (ta dum!) - WORKS because leadership is being handled by the boys, not by the adults. To be blunt, you shouldn't worry two figs over adults who just want things to do - Scouting is not for them, it's for the Scouts themselves. When fathers want to be more involved in the Troop, you get them on the camp outs, you get them to help with fundraising, you get them to work on the committee - but you don't make them ASM's unless you can be SURE they won't get their grubby mitts all over the wonderful program you seem to have going already. People usually complain most when they see what they want most. In your case, it's fathers who want attention and outside Scouters who probably want a program like yours, but on their own terms - meaning under their control, and publicly credited to their efforts. Ignore them. Ignore them, ignore them! You are getting a real feel for how Scouting is supposed to be, with Patrols gaining more autonomy while adults fill supportive, supervisorial roles - not management ones. To have an ASM over every aspect of Scouting sounds lunatic to me - an ASM of woodtools?! Of Cooking?!? Is he mad? That kind of adult intervention is exactly the kind of usurpation which robs boys of the very maturing experiences Scouting is meant to foster, and it should be cut out of every unit as much as humanly possible. Luckily, you can point to the success of your unit when confronted by those who tell you how things "ought to be." And if they still balk, state kindly but firmly that Scouting requires as little adult intervention as possible to work, and that you would hate to be guilty of tainting their experience by ruining the momentum they have going already - and wouldn't they as well?
  2. The Hazardous Weather Training course is actually pretty good! I learned a lot. :happy:

  3. The Latin Scot


    So, I just took this module - only lasted about 20 minutes, and if you've been in Scouting for a while most of the material should be familiar. But it's a colorful, engaging course with a lot of useful information, so frankly I rather enjoyed it and I am glad it's something all leaders will be required to take. No complaints about it from me.
  4. The BSA didn't fight because there was nothing for them TO fight.The family interpreted the BSA's actions as revoking the boy's merit badges and demoting him in rank - neither of which happened. The ONLY legitimate, policy-related error on the BSA's part was at the Council level - they didn't follow the correct procedures for dealing with Scouts with disabilities, so when they had to take his advancement to the next step, at the National level, they found they had to go back and re-assess how they would proceed with his progress. The family, completely misunderstanding this (due to very poor communication) thought that all their efforts had been in vain, called in their lawyers, and made a huge fuss, which I am sure the lawyers were eager to capitalize on. But that was not what happened. Eventually (not soon enough), the legal team, who knew nothing about how the BSA functions and what its policies were, came to understand that nothing illegal had happened, that the BSA has a host of legal policies in place to help and protect Scouts with disabilities, and that they actually had no legal case - at the National level, the BSA had nothing to fight. But they were nice enough to apologize for the confusion anyway, even though it was a Council error. Naturally however, in today's climate that relected poorly on the organization as a whole, so in a way National had to step in and comment. But ultimately poor communication is not "discrimination," so right now I think the family is just grasping at straws trying to glean whatever gain they can from this whole fiasco before people finally lose interest in the whole debacle.
  5. Wait ... what exactly are people funding in this campaign? Lawyers' fees? Project costs? I am highly suspicious of this family's capitalizing off of their 15 minutes of fame. I need to contact my sources again and find out what is going on here.
  6. The Latin Scot

    Obsolete Parches/Belt Loops

    I concur with @Chadamus ; some of those could find surprising uses, or if not that, at least loving collectors. Heck, I admit I am curious myself about what you have stored there! If there's anything interesting I claim first dibs! I have only barely begun to dip my toes in the vast world of Scouting collections, but whatever you have I would be curious to know abou!
  7. The Latin Scot

    New Member

    Welcome to the forum! The boys in your watch will benefit HUGELY from all of your exciting Scouting experiences!
  8. The Latin Scot

    Looking for extra-TALL scout shirt

    OH good grief, lol
  9. The Latin Scot

    Looking for extra-TALL scout shirt

    Well good; I have nightmares of my Webelos Scouts coming to visit in a decade and finding that all of them are a foot taller than I am by then!
  10. The Latin Scot

    Looking for extra-TALL scout shirt

    Wait ... haven't you said earlier that you're 16?! Mercy, I used to think being 5'8 (5'9 with good shoes) was pretty average, but in the past few years I have come to feel downright SHORT at times, lol.
  11. Well, he wasn't all that clever - the legal team is back-tracking big time now since they have come to realize that, frankly, they don't have a case. They were pretty good at getting publicity, I'll give them that, but that only ended up working against them when they figured out they didn't have a legal leg to stand on.
  12. The Latin Scot

    10 advantages in being a Unit Commissioner?

    I admit I have been very tempted to look into a Commissioner position should I ever get replaced as a den leader. It seems like the kind of volunteer work would love doing.
  13. I have finally found a few friends in Utah who know this situation personally, both on the side of the family and a few people working in the council (it helps being part of the tight-knit LDS community sometimes ), and it seems clear that his merit badges were never revoked, nor was his membership in any kind of jeopardy - these were all fabrications of his lawyers who didn't understand how the BSA works and wanted to generate press to evoke public sympathy. In reality, what happened was that his project was initially approved, but then rejected the next day so that his standing could be reviewed and his past accomplishments verified. It was never a permanent censure of the boy's progress or rank - it was intended to be a period when his status could be reviewed, understandable when you are told that a boy with the cognative ability of a 4 year-old has met the same requirements many 17 year-olds fail to achieve. But his merit badges were not revoked, now was his rank repealed. There was a LOT of miscomminication between the council and national, but even if no lawyers had ever been brought in, the situation would have eventually resolved itself. The parents over-reacted, and didn't understand the actions the BSA took - they thought their kid was being kicked out of the program, called their lawyers, accused the BSA of discriminatory practices, et cetera. They had a very difficult time understanding what was actually happening, and that their child would be able to continue moving forward - naturally, angry people take longer to have things explained to them, and much of it was information they were either unwilling or too impatient to hear. They wanted their son to get his Eagle immediately, and there was admittedly a sense of entitlement to it, as though wanting to earn Eagle should be enough to be rewarded with it. And their lawyers made things worse; they made their frustration feel justified and legally empowering, but without any grasp of what was actually going on with the boy's application in relation to BSA policy. They were woefully ignorant of how advancement in the BSA works, and came out with guns blazing to protest the whole program. The council did a very poor job explaining what was going on to the family, but bringing in legal counsel just made it worse. In the end though, it was legitimately "one big misunderstanding," and now (after much explaining, counsel, and investigation), the family has finally been made to understand that the BSA does offer many alternative routes for boys with disabilities (not alternative MB requirements mind you, only alternative badges themselves, along with specialized rank requirement alternatives), and the child will be allowed to continue to progress at his own pace - which would have happened anyway, had the council taken the time to explain things clearly, and had the family been patient and sought for help rather than legal action. Now, sadly, the BSA has to deal with all the negative press which could have been avoided entirely in the first place.
  14. The Latin Scot

    How do you end your Troop meetings?

    Because I am working with a group of active 10 year-olds, three of whom have learning disabilities, I have to make my transitions clear and routine - consistency is one of the most important parts of my meetings (as much as a Cub Scout meeting can be consistent at least ). As we gather the boys up for closing (always with a 5 and 1 minute warning), the shout is used as a kind of "last chance" to vent their energy for the evening. It's a short, call and reply shout - I yell "Archers aim high!" to which they respond "Bull's eye!" (we are the Merry Archer den of course lol) - and it lets them feel, physically, like they are getting out that one last bit of enthusiasm. That is when we all make the sign as a clear indication that the time for activity is closed, and a time for listening has begun - the strong visual cue of the sign reminds them that we are making that transition to a different tone for the last few minutes, when I can share a thought with them and we can have a dignified closing flag ceremony and prayer without worrying about "the wiggles" making it difficult or inappropriately silly. That's what the two fingers of the Cub Scout sign represent - the ears of the wolf ready to listen to Akela (even if they are Webelos!). And when the boys are old enough to start preparing to enter the Troop, the three fingers of the Scout sign represent our three duties - which are manifest in respect during the final thought (duty to others), the flag ceremony and the prayer (duty to God and Country), and learning to control one's self (duty to self). I try not to use the signs without purpose - they are important physical gestures which help boys grasp ideological concepts, and I remind the group of their meaning often so they don't become casual or complacent. But I do use them frequently, so that the lessons they are meant to impart have opportunities to sink in. Transitions are always a challenge for younger boys, but when the sign is used properly, the benefits go both ways - the sign helps the boys prepare to make an appropriate change in behavior, while the change of behavior it signals helps them understand the value and significance of the sign itself. Mind you - these are 10 year-old boys. Rarely does it go as smoothly as I describe, and the enlightenment I dream they will achieve is slow and rowdy in coming. But it comes eventually, and we have fun working to help make it happen.
  15. The Latin Scot

    Girl Scout Survey - BSA Questions

    I am in my early 30's, and I find absolutely nothing wrong with asking girls if a program gives them more time to spend with their mothers. I don't find it bigoted at all; in fact I think it is imperative that any youth program, of any kind, work to ensure that, whatever their aims, youth are given time to grow closer to their parents. Of course, they should also ask if they get to spend more time with their fathers as well, or their guardians or whomever cares for them - that's to be expected, and it is unusual that they don't continue with that line of thinking. It's a glaring oversight. But the word for that oversight is not bigoted. You can call it naive, oblivious, ignorant even, but not bigoted. That word assumes a malice which is not necessarily present. I don't care for the GSUSA one bit, but it would indeed be ironic if I were to presume such ill intent on their part without subsequently admitting to a similar sentiment of my own. If we are to navigate the troubled waters today's youth programs are being forced to cross, we have to be careful in the way we express our positions, both personal and organizational.
  16. The Latin Scot

    How do you end your Troop meetings?

    In our Webelos den, we gather everybody up and quiet them with our den shout followed silently by the Scout Sign. Then, if there are any that week, we pass out fliers, hand-outs, newsletters, etc. while I or another leader shares a brief thought or saying. Following that we retrieve the colors and have a closing prayer. At this point the meeting is considered over. If there is a treat (which is only occassionally), these are distributed as they leave, and parents have time to come and ask me questions or bring up concerns while my assistant and I tidy up the room. Then I either check on the Troop in the adjacent room, or I walk the three blocks home. Den dismissed!
  17. This was all but inevitable. The BSA's policies regarding Scouts with disabilities have been clear for decades now; these lawyers obviously knew nothing about how the BSA actually works, and once they were given a solid understanding of it there was no way they would try to pursue such a flimsy case. But as has been mentioned, the cost of this whole debacle has been yet another opportunity to tarnish the reputation of the program.
  18. The Latin Scot

    End of Year w/out Rank complete

    This is one of the major benefits to having a year-round program that advances by age, not by school year. If a boy joins my group when he turns 10 in July, he has until the next July to earn his Webelos and/or his Arrow of Light. When he receives it, however, is entirely based on when he earns it. So, if he completes the requirements for his AofL in April, he earns it in April. I don't wait until there is a bigger group, nor do I put it off for some "special" event like the Blue and Gold - he earns it when he earns it. Not only does this prevent a boy from feeling left out if he does NOT earn an award (no groups to feel left out of!), but it also prevents the awards themselves from being inflated beyond their worth. The Arrow of Light is an honorable award, but it is NOT the Congressional Medal of Honor - they don't merit nor do they need fanfare nor press coverage nor speeches with balloons and cakes and gifts. That only teaches a boy that he is working for rewards which blind him to the actual meaning of the award. It's important to keep the awards dignified, but low-key. And if a boy doesn't meet the requirements during the time he is with me, I make sure the family is aware of it at least two months in advance - "Mrs. Smith, I just wanted to let you know that due to absenses/laziness/alien abductions/whatever, Filiberto hasn't met the requirements for his Arrow of Light yet. He still has a few months; here is the list of what you can do at home if you want him to earn this award. If not, it's nothing terrible, but he won't be able to finish it in time." If Filiberto still doesn't finish the requirements in time, he doesn't earn the award. Pure and simple. I have only had this happen once, when I was a new leader, but since then I have been blessed with pretty understanding parents who generally work hard to cooperate in getting the requirements passed off meaningfully. But my position on this is pretty absolute - I refuse to give any boy any award for which he has not completed every requirement as best he can. If you really care about what the boys are becoming rather than what they are merely feeling, you'll find it really strengthens your inner compass - as well as the characters of the boys themselves.
  19. The Latin Scot

    Our Council's New Gender Inclusive Branding

    So it wasn't just me then! LOL I was pretty sure I had lost it; I'm far too young to be going senile!
  20. The Latin Scot

    Family Scouting Update

    Aw, hey now, I LOVE our logo! Of course it may be due to my bizarre love for the letter "W" but I have always thought the imposition of the W on the flear-de-lis was always rather clever.
  21. The Latin Scot

    Our Council's New Gender Inclusive Branding

    I remember the time when I actually envied councils with cool names like "Baden-Powell Council" or "Trapper Trails Council" and other fancy stuff like that. This is one of those times I am grateful my council is simply called Orange County Council, with a CSP that shows the beach and says Orange County Council, California. Impossible to get wrong, lol.
  22. The Latin Scot

    Getting my daughter to wear her jacket whilst on camping trips.

    Why are you "leaving her to her own choice?" You are the parent! Children at this age are not yet old enough to make appropriate choices that will keep them safe and healthy; your job as her mother is to train her in how to make the right choices in the first place, and to help her know what the right choices are. Put her in her jacket and lovingly, but FIRMLY, explain to her WHY she is going to wear it, and that she IS GOING TO WEAR IT. Don't deny her the blessing of having parents who care enough about her to ensure her comfort and safety, whether she is willing to accept it yet or not.
  23. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Scout neckerchief - quick question

    I myself actually lay my necker flat and then fold the edges in small, 1" folds until I have about 8" of triangled fabric left. Next I carefully bring it around my neck and smoothly bring up the slide, watching that it goes up without pulling in any weird places; I then adjust until everything looks neat and tidy. It took me forever to customize the space in my favorite slide so that it was tight enough to stay in place, but large enough not to squeeze and wrinkle the fabric too much. Now, considering my near-lunatic obsession with getting my neckerchiefs to look just so, you can imagine my angst as I watched the parade of neckerchief ineptitude unravel in front of me at this Court of Honor. If I had worn pearls instead of my necker, I would have at least had something to clutch in horror at the sight of it.
  24. The Latin Scot

    Philmont Announcement - March 27

    Oh that's right, I totally forgot about that! That ABSOLUTELY explains this entire thing; the church had a great program going but as most of the leaders had to pay their own way, it was getting harder for some to cover the costs AND make the time for the training program. So yeah, it's totally reasonable for Philmont to try and find a way to make up the revenue they would have gained from those two weeks. I can't blame them for that!
  25. The Latin Scot

    Philmont Announcement - March 27

    I couldn't tell you for sure, but historically we're partial to handcarts, so that would be my first guess.