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The Latin Scot

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Everything posted by The Latin Scot

  1. I was recently told that many of the LDS Scouting leaders and families in my area will be gathering next week to discuss the start-up of a new, LDS-centric (but certainly not exclusive) unit to serve boys of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in our community who wish to continue Scouting after the end of this year when the church will cease its formal relationship with the BSA. It's likely that I will have the opportunity to serve as Unit Commissioner for this new unit, which I find to be an exciting prospect - but also one for which I want to be (if the phrase isn't a little too on-the-nose) prepared. I am acutely aware of the fine line a commissioner must walk between being a helpful resource and becoming a meddlesome busybody, and I want to make sure that I am a familiar presence without burdening the unit with constant or over-zealous intervention. But of course, I want them to succeed! And to run the Scouting program right. They have a wonderful gentleman stepping up as Scoutmaster, and he is committed to the Green Bar Bill school of thought - as in, letting the boys run their own program, and doing things by the book. So that's a comfort, but I know parents will get involved and there will be the usual factions and disputes as the unit gets off the ground and other adults try to get their grubby paws in the running of the program. With that in mind, would any of you please offer suggestions that might help me play a meaningful role in the formation and launch of this new unit, specifically as its Unit Commissioner? I'm already very comfortable letting the boys do their thing, so it's not as much the youth angle I'm concerned about as much as it is how I can appropriately, and helpfully, work with the adult leaders and parents to ensure the Patrol Method is being preached, protected and preserved for the boys in this new unit. I suppose I may not be articulating my concerns as well as I might hope, partly because I'm still digesting the ramifications of what my role will entail as this new unit develops. So any thoughts or guidance that might help me prepare for this coming year will be deeply appreciated. Thank you!
  2. The Latin Scot

    patrol and den flags

    The concept only dies if you let it! We have amazing flags from Wolves all the way up to the older boys' patrol. I'll try to take some good pics to share tomorrow during their meetings!
  3. If the boy is religious, the Religious Emblems program offers a number of awards that could be very meaningful depending on his faith tradition. Most have lovely medals and ceremonies as well.
  4. The Latin Scot

    Evolution of merit badge emblems

    I LOVE these types of posts and articles. Thank you for sharing!
  5. The Latin Scot

    Join Scouts, get a free uniform via Goodwill and Council

    I'm actually trying to keep two steps ahead of that by starting to address this NOW. I'm letting families and leaders know that I will be collecting any and all uniform items after December, and I'll collect and catalogue all of it for other units in the area to use as a resource until it's all be donated. I know it's only a small gesture, but I hope it will help alleviate some of the loss for our district going forward since we represented a significant portion of our area's population and funding. I estimate I'll be able to get enough uniforms to fully supply at least 40 - 50 Scouts.
  6. As a Scout I LOVED every single issue of Boy's Life I received. A caveat, I was even then a voracious reader - I practically inhaled anything with words on it that entered our home (and still do) - but Boy's Life was something special. During the late 80's and all through the 90's I read articles that I still remember vividly, covering everything from Legos to African wildlife to popular film effects to cave exploring in South America. It was, I daresay, a deep drink of fascinating information for a kid whose curiosity was insatiable. Now I read through the magazine and wonder if I've just grown beyond the kind of articles they print, or if the quality really has diminished. There just doesn't need to be the same amount of information as there was before. Fewer articles, and more gaudy imagery. I may start reading copies side-by-side just as a bit of research. So in January '20 I'll also read January '10, January '00, and January '90. Likewise for February, et cetera. I think a year of that should prove very interesting. I very well may turn this into something ...
  7. The Latin Scot

    Messenger of Peace

    A lady I know has a daughter who teaches at a small, indigent elementary school outside one the Navajo reservations in New Mexico. When I heard about the difficulties they have gathering resources and helping the children who attend that small facility, my heart went out to them. So when I heard they had almost no books in their school library, I put on a combined book drive with five other packs to collect gently used books they could enjoy and use for their education. I set a date for the book drive to coincide with our monthly pack meeting, and then sent information to everybody on every roster of every pack - every Scout was asked to gather and collect as many books as he could during the month leading up to the event. I also offered contest medals to the three Cub Scouts who collected the most books, and a pizza party to the den with the most (cost of the prizes = $25 total). At the combined pack meeting, the books were counted by helpful Boy Scouts as each boy brought in his box or bag or handful of books. The winning Scout brought in over 300 books, and in total we were able to donate more than 4,200 books to the school so that they could enjoy the benefits of a real, functional library. We took pictures of the Scouts and their collections, and then all the Scouts helped box the books and load them into the lady's truck. They were delivered the next week when she went to visit her daughter. In return, the teachers sent us wonderful letters from the school children thanking us for the books. All I did was then enter the appropriate information into the JTE website, and as a result, every participating Cub Scout, Scouter, and Boy Scout received a Messengers of Peace ring. It was simple, easy to organize, and had a powerful impact on both communities. I believe that's the spirit of the award.
  8. Check out Boys' Life and Scouting Magazine. Sometimes I feel like those publications are nothing but ads.
  9. My nephew completed his Eagle Scout service project today! Time for the write-up!

    1. RememberSchiff

      RememberSchiff

      Congratulations , another Eagle in your clan!  (Did I say that right?)

    2. The Latin Scot

      The Latin Scot

      LOL you certainly did, and thank you!

  10. The Latin Scot

    possible fee increase coming

    WHOO mercy! $100 per person?! I can't afford that ... if this really does take effect next year, I'm in hot water. I can't take a bite like this out of my budget. I hope this is only hearsay.
  11. The Latin Scot

    parent rank pins

    Putting words into somebody's mouth is rarely a good idea, and rest assured, I always read my own messages. I never once said "I disapprove." You might infer it, but you can't claim I said it, and just to reinforce my point - I express no disapproval of anybody's uniform, despite the fact that I do openly state my disagreement with the position of some regarding parent pins upon them. But they are two different things, and I'd appreciate if you wouldn't try to divine what I do or do not approve of when I am perfectly capable of doing so myself. I will define my own opinions - not you. Thank you. Official BSA policy states that parent pins are not for uniform wear. That isn't my disapproval. That's official regulation. How I opine on the matter is irrelevant. Also, if we are truly here for the youth first, then why are we trying to bend to rules with our own uniforms - isn't that putting ourselves first? If you want to encourage a Scout to continue, don't do it by evading basic policy. That's not helping the youth at all. Surely we don't have to resort to extra bling on our shirts to encourage our youth; if so, we are in a desperate state indeed.
  12. The Latin Scot

    parent rank pins

    This is simply not true, regardless of the fact that it may violate BSA policy. I would never be so callous as to voice 'disapproval' of somebody's uniform, however egregious its errors may or may not be. I don't know whence this suggestion comes. But this discussion is about the parent pins, not the knots; consequently, I think it's important to use better terms for this conversation. Approval has nothing to do with this. It's not my place to approve or disapprove of these things, nor anybody else's. Approval is not the point of this discussion. However, there are very clear, and I dare say very easy-to-follow policies outlined by the BSA in The Official Guide to Awards and Insignia regarding what is and is not appropriate for uniform wear according to national standards. Despite its title, it is more than merely a "guide" - it's a handbook of official policy. No, it's not "holy writ" (don't exaggerate now; nobody said that it was), but it's not mere suggestion either. It's the national standard. It outlines the specifics of what is permitted for uniform wear, and what is not. Follow it so that you can comply with our organization's expectations, and you'll be doing yourself a great favor. Ignore it, and, well, that's your choice - but you're setting an example to the youth you serve either way. My approval is irrelevant. Your example is everything. I know parents in particular get touchy when it comes to their parent pins, but really, it's such a small thing - are we really going to let a few pins keep us from truly embracing proper uniforming? My mother has a ribbon that looks like a long piece of chain mail garnered over the years from her three Eagle scout sons, but she isn't so attached to it that she ever feels the "need" to wear it, especially not with her uniform. She's learned to discern what really matters from what's just 'fluff.' She's been Scouting for over 30 years now, and she's discovered there are better ways to honor her kids than by skirting around the uniform policy just to show of her 'parental swag.' I'm grateful to her for her example in teaching us that she doesn't need to wear her pins to show us that she cares about Scouting - or about us. Parental pride is one thing, but parental example is infinitely more efficacious. Whether or not we may think or feel the pins look okay, the fact is they are very specifically stated as being for civilian use - not for uniform wear. That's the policy. It's so simple, I'm almost surprised there's discussion about it. Anybody can follow this rule. @rickmay, your profile image suggests that you are an army veteran. You then, of all people, should know and appreciate the importance of a uniform, and of wearing it properly. That applies to Scouting just as much as it does the armed forces, or to first responders. Our uniforms mean something. These small details reveal great things about our character.
  13. The Latin Scot

    parent rank pins

    Actually, parent pins shouldn't be worn on the uniform, and there's really nothing to be gained by doing so. Let your child represent him- or herself in the youth uniform. You best represent the Scouts by being properly uniformed yourself, and part of that means remembering that parents' pins are meant for non-uniform wear. Nowadays, there are nice parent ribbons available at the Scout Store on the which you may place your pins, but again, those are not to wear on the uniform. In our troop, when we present our parent pins we remind them that while they are lovely reminders of their child's accomplishments, there is a proper time and place to wear them - as with all things. As an Assistant Scoutmaster, you should be particularly conscious of the way you wear your uniform. You set the model for the rest of your troop, so be sure you read The Official Guide to Awards and Insignia carefully, and follow it to the letter. Believe me when I say that being perfectly uniformed will set you apart enough already, but beyond that, simply being a well-uniformed leader will represent your daughter far better than any extra pins ever will.
  14. The Latin Scot

    Old Guys on Forum?

    Goodness but don't I feel like a wee bairn all of a sudden!
  15. The Latin Scot

    Completed MB?

    @my_three_sons Might I ask what your position is? Are you by chance the Scoutmaster or an ASM? The reason I ask is that I don't really know if it's the job of a Scout's leaders to test a Scout and "prove" whether or not he has completed the requirements for a badge after he comes to you with a signed card. Of course he's going to forget parts of what he did when you start asking a bunch of questions. Kids have a natural aversion to being tested. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have spent an hour working with Scouts on a few simple activities, and then when I ask them "what did we JUST work on today?" I get stares and vapid, drooling faces without a clue in the world that they just spent an hour working hard and getting things done. It's in there, trust me, but at this age the adolescent mind takes a long time to incubate new information and experiences. But more to the point, the boy came to you with a completed, signed card, and he (and his father, though he's actually pretty irrelevant to this situation) says he has completed it. It's not really fair to him for a leader to grill him on what he did after it's supposedly complete, except for extenuating circumstances. We are trying to teach these boys that their word of honor means something. Part of that means trusting them now and then so they have the opportunity to prove what that's worth.
  16. The Latin Scot

    "Unofficial uniform"

    I ... I just don't believe this. I feel, very strongly, that ALL the methods are equally important, and I can't accept the idea that somehow a leader has to sacrifice one to focus on the other. I really don't think any leader's circumstances require them to walk into a room of Scouts and pick one method to teach at the cost of the others. The whole idea is that these concepts strengthen and support each other - if you find the methods are competing with each other, you're not using them correctly. For example (to the point of this topic), our troop had an outdoor Court of Honor last night. At the end, the SPL held a surprise uniform inspection. Each patrol was in competition with the other patrols, and the leaders were their own collective unit as well (the boys love competing against the grown ups). First, the SPL gave a brief overview of the importance of the uniform. He talked about unity and having a place in our group, and asked everybody to look around at all their fellow Scouts, all dressed alike and all feeling like one unified team. Then he asked each patrol leader (and the Committee Chair for the adults) to review a group that wasn't his own, and the resulting scores were written on a large whiteboard he had brought with him. He then brought out a large platter of cookies and said the winner was ... everybody. In effect, he told the audience that every Scout who works his hardest can still accomplish something, and that just by making the effort to be there, each boy deserved recognition. Everybody got a cookie. But, the extra effort of some boys deserved more. So every boy with a perfect score also received a cupcake. Then he pointed out that we work best when we work together, and the winning patrol ALSO received ice cream. So everybody won, but according to his efforts, there was the chance to get more out of it as well. It was a mighty fine lesson, and I notice the following methods of Scouting were all part of it: Ideals, group activities, adult association, uniforms, teaching others, and leadership. That's 6 out of 8 in one activity! This SPL understands the goal - to make Scouting a constant stream of learning, with the ebb and flow of the eight methods forming the momentum which carries these Scouts on towards a healthy maturity. And if done right, more than a few adults might find themselves moving forward with the tide themselves!
  17. The Latin Scot

    "Unofficial uniform"

    Oh, on the contrary @Mrjeff, this is a mighty relevant topic, and clearly one that still needs to be addressed. Thank you for bringing it up. But I suggest that it's really not your place to request that people not attempt to teach, educate, and counsel others to do better. I know that I will continue to do so - I think it would be unkind and unfair for me NOT to try and help the Scouts and Scouters I love to try and do better. Isn't that why we're here? To try and improve ourselves and encourage the best in others? I think you've added a lot of important information for us to consider, and I hope you don't disappear entirely. I've found much to contemplate in your remarks.
  18. The Latin Scot

    "Unofficial uniform"

    I'm just going to note one thing here. Part of the reason the uniform so often looks poorly is that, frankly, most boys and men don't understand how to dress themselves to their actual size, and so they'll just throw on whatever kind of fits them. If we wouldn't always reach for the most relaxed-fit pants and shirts a size too large with collars all askew, we'd look far better. Most men think "I'm a size large so I'll just buy any shirt sized 'large' and there we go." And most tend to go a size too large at that. They don't even try it on! Heaven forbid we should actually wash and iron our uniforms now and then too. And just what are all these "dangles, gimcracks, (and) geegaws" you speak of? All of my patches are nicely sewn on, and with the exception of my OA pocket dangle, nothing is complicated or 'dangling,' and I can hike and work comfortably in it without any trouble. So many of the complaints we hear about the uniform can be mended simply by how we wear it! If your uniform looks 'frumpy,' then do something about it. Source a gently-used shirt online for a bargain price! Find a better fit! Get it tailored even! I've found that over the years, the uniform shirt has gone back and forth with sizing, some years running large, some years running small; different fabrics have different fits, and even these change every few years. Don't just accept the first item in your size and buy it - try things on! Experiment and find one that fits nicely. Sometimes you might find the large shirts made for youth fit smaller adults better, and vice versa. Work with your Scouts even to talk about how to tuck in shirts nicely, sew patches securely, and care for their clothing. These are basic life skills after all. But do something besides complain so that you can look your best, and your kids will notice and follow suit. Don't find fault in a garment simply because most people don't know how to make it look good. But this goes back to one of my points - the uniform can be a great tool in teaching these youth to care about how they present themselves, and thus how they see themselves. It can inspire feelings of self-worth and confidence, or it can be relegated to yet another arena of apathy and carelessness. Needless to say, the attitude a leader takes towards the methods of Scouting (like the uniform) will unfailingly be reflected in the attitude of his Scouts towards the program in general. The character seeds we now sow will yield fruit more plenteous than we may yet realize - be it good or ill.
  19. The Latin Scot

    Back to school night recruitment

    I don't have children at all, and I was a Den Leader for three years. I loved it, but then I love children in general and work with them professionally as a teacher and child development specialist. And honestly, I don't really perceive any difference between being a Cub leader without a cub and a Troop leader without a boy.
  20. The Latin Scot

    "Unofficial uniform"

    @Mrjeff, I hope you don't feel that you are being personally attacked by this discussion; certainly that is not my intent and I apologize if you feel such. My confusion stems from the fact that you seem to opine that this is a binary, one-or-the other choice - that either you care about uniforms, or you care about people. In fact, you even state: But why do you imply that it must be one or the other? Do you truly think that we don't focus on the youth and having fun, and that we go to bed at night thinking about patches and pins? Heaven forbid; the very suggestion is silly. Rather, I believe in doing ALL of these things - and with a specific, meaningful goal: to help make these young people into better adults, better citizens, and better family members. I believe in making Scouting fun just as much as I do in getting these kids to look and feel their best, because these things help make them better people. But uniforms aren't the end goal. Fun is not the end goal. These are certainly tools that we use to engage young minds and hearts - but they aren't the end goal. You needn't worry about offense; I have learned not to be overly concerned with something a stranger on an internet forum posts about something I already understand, and I certainly wouldn't be so petty as to be offended by anything you say. Speak freely here! But do please note that here, you are suggesting that people who do focus on the uniform, somehow, DON'T focus on the person, and just because they pay attention to how they dress in the uniform. You even use large capital letters to make this point. Yet that's not quite reasonable, is it? Just because somebody really cares about the uniform, that does not make them any less interested in the person than you are. The emphasis on one is unrelated to the sentiments of the other. Yet in that same vein, the way a Scout (or leader) wears the uniform does tell us a bit about who he is, and what he believes, and what he thinks of himself. The clothes, in fact, help us focus on the person. That's why we do this. I would like to state, emphatically, that we are all on the same side. We all want to help these young people grow into responsible, mature adults, and we do it with all manner of methods - making the program fun is a huge part of it. So is the uniform. So are the outdoors, and the patrol method, and service. The whole POINT of these things is to focus on the person - just as you said. If we didn't care about each youth who walks into our meetings with all our hearts, we wouldn't care about any of these things. But we do, and so we do all we can to make sure every Scout has the best, richest experience possible. You say let's make it fun, and focus on the person. I agree 100%. But I also say let's do MORE. Let's get our uniforms right. Let's do the patrol method correctly. Let's do EVERYTHING we can, and let's do it RIGHT - BECAUSE THE SCOUTS DESERVE IT.
  21. The Latin Scot

    "Unofficial uniform"

    I'm touched that you would ascribe to me such credit; sometimes I read over my posts and wonder if anybody will ever take the time to actually read them (they are long after all). To know that something I wrote might have made a difference to somebody is heartening. Thank you. I am so grateful to you for wording this so well. I try to model this principle when I train new Cub Scout den leaders at University of Scouting. One thing I do at the start of every session is hold a surprise uniform inspection for the new leaders. They always come up looking rather nervous, and often terribly embarrassed. But before I start I always smile and tell them in reassuring tones "remember - if I correct something on your uniform, it isn't wrong - it's just not right yet!" Remind them that you're there to help them get it right, not to put them down when something is off. Done with a smile and a cheerful attitude, it helps them realize that reviewing the uniform is not about condemning flaws or putting people down; rather, it's about getting ourselves to look our best so that the Scouts we lead can get the solid, model examples that they deserve. And without fail, they always end up grateful for the discussion about what the uniform does, why it matters, and how we can use it to mould better youth and encourage better behavior. We should be thrilled at any opportunity to improve ourselves and refine our program! If not, what in the world are we teaching these kids?
  22. The Latin Scot

    Youth Protection - Parent Unwelcome

    If you're referring to circumcision, you're treading on three dangerous platforms of controversy - medical, political, and religious. Best that we keep our views on that particular issue to ourselves, otherwise we're just arousing controversy for controvery's sake - not very productive, nor wise, and not the topic of this discussion. So in the case of your example, correct: let's not raise an eyebrow to that topic and proceed with the conversation at hand.
  23. The Latin Scot

    Orange Boy Scouts Winning the Great War (1917-1918)

    My council (Orange County Council, CA) was formed in 1920, just after the war ended. But I'm sure there would have been local involvement in the war effort by individuals connected with Scouting. I need to do some digging at the local library!
  24. The Latin Scot

    "Unofficial uniform"

    Interesting how, once again, the implication is that those who care about the uniform apparently 'don't have any adventure in their lives,' are 'uptight,' and don't enjoy 'the fun of Scouting.' These are, of course, rather outlandish suggestions, and they really have nothing to do with the topic of uniforming, but instead are probably meant only to distract from the underlying desires of those who wish to "put on what (they) want how they want," and brazenly ignore the policies and regulations that are actually meant to teach, unite, and fellowship the Scouts we serve and supposedly teach, ideas which clearly these ardent individuals do not yet understand. More's the pity, because they are depriving their youth of a teaching method that would make their Scouting experience all the richer for it. Also, please note that nobody claimed that criticizing others is a responsibility of leadership, nobody ever suggested that decorating the personalized red jacket was unacceptable, and nobody ever insinuated that those who do care are not "glad to see" those who don't. And certainly nobody was ever as melodramatic as to claim that these things kept them up at night. Yet note how these hyperbolic accusations are thrown into the discussion to make the idea of good form look bad. It suggests that those who care about it are critical and unwelcoming. Does this mean then that all people who are careless about the uniform are good and inviting? That's a broad generalization too absurd to take seriously. Too often when we can't make a valid point against a principle, we attack the character of those who espouse it. Yet the validity of the principle remains unchanged. Might I ask where you came up with those suggestions? Certainly I never recommended nor condoned such inexcusable behaviors, nor would I ever; to whose comments in this discussion then are your thoughts directed? It is a logical fallacy to assume, suggest or imply that those who care about proper uniforming don't care about those people who do not. That is unfair, illogical, and unwise. Interestingly, however, it's just as unkind and mean-spirited to falsely accuse one of such an attitude, as it would be live up to the slander. Now, having read the official Guide to Awards and Insignia MANY times, which is in fact the one OFFICIAL bar by which we should measure our uniforms (not the lazy output of photographers or marketing teams who are too ignorant to notice that their images reflect poor uniforming more often than not), one realizes that there is powerful pedagogy behind getting it right, and it's far easier to get into the spirit of Scouting when one complies with its ideology than it is when one resists. But that requires humility, and those who are obstinate about getting what they want or doing things their own way make for poor pupils - and sadly, they often pass that trait on to the Scouts they teach. Perhaps, though, if you would try it, you might finally understand. The old line is indeed true; "if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." But you've got to do it first before you'll get why it matters. And that means doing something you don't want because it's the right thing to do. Sure, getting the uniform right seems petty. But teach a kid to fix a patch or remove a pin now, and it'll be infinitely easier to help him to kick a habit or remove a bad influence later. If we as leaders can't get it right ourselves, we have no right to expect it of our youth.
  25. The Latin Scot

    Back to school night recruitment

    I get the full range of variations on that question - I'm a single guy in my 30's who doesn't even have kids yet. So naturally I often get asked - "what are you doing here?" I generally bring up two points. First, I was asked to fill a need because I work with children professionally and my church leaders requested that I serve, and finding I enjoy the program, I have stuck with it. Secondly, I feel that everybody should play an active role in his or her community, and my service in Scouting is one way in which I can break away from the rather selfish lives most single millennials endure and instead play an active, meaningful role in my neighborhood and do something for the greater good. But it is a very delicate dance sometimes; I have to be triply vigilant over how I interact with the Scouts, and there are some boundaries I simply will not cross. For example, I don't feel comfortable working with the new influx of Scouts who are girls, and I defer to other leaders when they come to me for merit badges or what have you. It's not about sexism or favoritism - it's about my feeling safe, and making sure my position isn't jeopardized because I was careless in my interactions. It's unfortunate when people make assumptions about your motives when you are trying to do good. I simply offer my simple reasons, and then do my job the best I can. I've found that invariably, those who are watching closely come to appreciate the work I do despite whatever prejudices they may have at the start.
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