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The Latin Scot

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Everything posted by The Latin Scot

  1. The Latin Scot

    Arrow of Light Scouts Crossing Over

    I must confess, I find the comparing the job of a Webelos leader to a sales job equally unsettling. As a Webelos leader, I have NEVER looked at my boys in that light, nor my duties in that way. I am not a salesman. I am a teacher, a mentor, and a guardian to these boys. My job is to help them become better people, and I need to do it with my example, my encouragement, and my training. And I have to love them enough to accept the fact that not everything we do may be fun, but it all matters - and I have to let them know that. I have to be 100% transparent with them; my job is to prepare them for Scouting by teaching them how to develop essential skills and supplying them with the important knowledge they will need to succeed. Getting a boy to join a Troop right after Cub Scouts is no issue. But getting them to STAY, that's where many founder. Boys don't remain with anything they aren't succeeding in, and if a Webelos leader hasn't prepared his boys sufficiently, their first few weeks will not be worth their time. HOWEVER, if they have been well prepared, trained for what's coming, so that they know how to start earning merit badges, are prepared to recite the oath, law and outdoor code - if they know how patrols function, and are ready to follow their youth leaders because they were taught how by adult Cub leaders - those first few weeks will be a resounding success, and the boy will stay, not because he has been convinced to stay in Scouting, but because he has been PREPARED for it. And THAT is what gets boys excited! When they realize that they will soon be part of a new patrol, and that they will go in with a HUGE head start, knowing the program, the duties, the knots, the badges, the requirements - the more they know, the more excited they are to get started! A Webelos leader gives boys that first taste of what Scouting entails by teaching what Scouting is, showing them how it works (first by observation then by practice), and by simply talking with them about what is coming. My boys have heard all about my Scouting experiences - what I wish I had done better, what my patrols did well, what they didn't do well - everything. My Den Chief is always talking to them about how Boy Scouts is different than what they are currently doing, and what he is doing with his patrol and troop every month. And every half year, we switch from my leadership to that of the boys for a month as they practice the patrol method. I also prepare the parents, not by selling them on Boy Scouting, but by helping prepare them with what to expect. I invite and accompany them to their first committee meetings with the troop. I introduce them to the boys' future leaders and fellow Scouts. I guess I simply treat every family as though all of my boys will of course go straight from my den to a new patrol, and that their parents will be prepared to get involved. And of course, I expect them to walk into their first meeting ready to earn their Scout rank right then and there. If they can't do that, what have I been doing with my time? The first job of a Webelos leader is to prepare his boys for Scouting by inspiring them to want to learn more, do more, and be more. It's not about sales; it's about learning.
  2. The Latin Scot

    Linked troops won't work

    Yeesh. That's terrible to hear, especially from a CE.
  3. The Latin Scot

    OA sash lengths

    So, I was given a "long" sash when I received my Brotherhood honor last week. I am a smaller guy, and that thing went to my knees! Luckily the Scout Shop was understanding when I took it back and let me exchange it for the normal, smaller size, which fits perfectly.
  4. The Latin Scot

    Unit milestone anniversary - What to do?

    Well, is there any policy stating you have to use the Scout Shop-issued inspection sheets to conduct a "correct" inspection? If I have the Guide to Awards and Insignia on hand to check all the parts of a uniform during my inspection, do I need that paper at all, or do I not have all the material I need right there? Proper inspections are conducted based on following the established uniform guidelines and policies. You don't need the form to do that. Back to the topic, if your meeting location allows for it, you could perhaps look into getting a plaque or certificate made that commemorates your unit's achievement. They needn't be expensive either; if anybody has good wood-burning skills or access to a high-quality printer, you can have something lovely produced quite inexpensively.
  5. The Latin Scot

    New troop, big problems

    My apologies to all for getting so excited by this subject; I have let my zeal over-rule my discretion, and I am sorry for making a scene on this thread. I will do my best to exercise more restraint in the future, and will not badger this thread anymore with my crusade-parade. I apologize especially to @Scoutinglife - I hope this didn't scare you off the forum! This is NOT a normal incident, and the fault is mine. I hope you stay with us! EDIT: Also, thank you @MattR for the kind reminder to keep my thoughts in check. I am grateful to have moderators here who are so diligent in keeping this forum civil and on-topic.
  6. The Latin Scot

    New troop, big problems

    I note, @David CO, that you have chosen to express your opposition with a downvote. Honestly though, I am just glad to know you have read and considered my thoughts. I am sorry you seem to disagree so strongly with my feelings, but a Scout is brave, so I as a Scout have to stand up for what I believe is right even in the face of opposition - or downvotes. I hope this does not cause you to resent my presence here, and please know that I have nothing but respect for you and your opinions insofar as they protect the safety of others. But there exists the possibility that a child's well-being is at risk here - isn't that more important than the petty disagreements of two online forum members?
  7. The Latin Scot

    New troop, big problems

    I note as I reread this discussion that, in the entirety of this thread as of the moment I write this, you have not asked a single question until now (and these appear rhetorical), nor have you offered a single suggestion or word of "advice." You have only disclosed your allegations and suspicions. I would ask then, what would you like me to make of this? Should I then simply follow your counsel, counsel that you yourself have not adhered to nor demonstrated to any degree? Should I feel embarrassed by my comments? First you make strong suggestions insinuating that there must be ulterior motives behind what is going on, now you seem to backtrack and claim we "don't know who is at fault." You flip your position, or if you don't, you have not conveyed it well enough to represent your true feelings here. But I will not be vague with mine. If there is even a chance, even the most remote possibility in the world that a young person is being harmed, is it really over the top to try and do whatever it takes to see that it stops? And if so, does that matter in light of what could be at stake? This I DO know - it is worth it to me to take that chance and say what I can if it means it might somehow, some way help a child. You can claim I don't know what's best, but I already know I don't. I find that is unimportant. I do know that the emotional well-being of a child is more important than the semantics of a discussion like this, so if I risk coming off as extreme or reactionary or alarmist, I am okay with that. I don't lose sleep over what anonymous online forum members may think of me. But I will tell you this - I do lose sleep when I don't speak up for something that matters. So maybe we don't have all the facts. Maybe this whole thing was made up - maybe it's all one fabricated story. Does that matter? If there exists even the slimmest fraction of a possibility that that child may be in any kind of risk of being emotionally abused by an adult, I will take a stand. Make of it what you will, but please don't expect me to sit back and read about a child being mistreated and not say or suggest anything. That would be an affront to the very sanctity of youth that this entire organization exists to protect. And if it all turns out that this whole thing wasn't even a big deal, I will continue to stand by every comment I have made. Maybe this time it won't turn into something more serious. Can we be sure it won't be the next?
  8. The Latin Scot

    North Face to develop GS outdoor adventure program

    Oh, I know I know! Because they are urgently and increasingly desperate to portray their program as equal or superior to those coming from the BSA, and are grasping at whatever straws they can to preserve their membership?
  9. The Latin Scot

    New troop, big problems

    Thank you for the clarification. There are many aspects of this issue that we don't know, however, the simple fact that a child is being mistreated seems to me more than enough reason to cut all ties with that unit immediately. I cannot imagine any reason possibly justifying the choice to keep the boy in what seems to be a hostile, if not downright abusive, situation. You may "suspect" that the original poster is partially responsible, but you cannot presume to know that. Such allegations are meaningless when we remember that a child's emotional safety is currently in danger; the FIRST act in ANY situation like this is to remove the child from harm, and THEN worry ourselves with making sense of how it all came about - if ever, and only if appropriate. And who are we, as online readers, to try and determine who is at fault in a situation beyond our right or ability to fully comprehend, and which the OP has no obligation to disclose? If there are other issues to sort out, they are done AFTER THE CHILD'S WELL-BEING IS ENSURED. We have been given more than enough information anyway in regards to this issue; the child was demeaned, insulted, mocked and disrespected. Get him out, period. Then deal with the rest. But nothing justifies hesitation in a case like this. I apologize if I am coming across as forceful, self-righteous, patronizing or haughty, but after reading something like this, taking what little action I can over an online forum matters more to me than how my words may be taken by others or how others may perceive me. First protect the child. Everything else is secondary.
  10. The Latin Scot

    New troop, big problems

    So, you believe we should point some blame at the original poster. Might I ask what that will accomplish? I am sure they have enough problems to worry about at the moment without needing anybody to remind them of mistakes that may have been made in the past (the which we can only surmise based on suspicion). Right now, the focus is on how to help the child, not where to place the blame. That is what the OP both wants and needs. I think the most honorable thing to do would be to concentrate on suggestions that will help the family, not expose them. If it's counsel they want, compassion will serve far better than calumny. A scout is helpful, and courteous, and kind. I fail to see what your suggestions are meant to achieve, but I hope they are intended to provide resources for the family and not unearth anything untoward which we have no right to pursue.
  11. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Scout Rank Patch wear after age 18

    At least you people have adult-sized heads. I still have to wear youth-sized hats, and I'm in my 30's.
  12. The Latin Scot

    New troop, big problems

    Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out There is NOTHING to excuse the behavior of abusive leadership, and your FIRST priority is getting your child away from them. The fun activities he may miss, the cost of the trip for which you paid - none of that matters more than his security. Discontinue your relationship with that troop immediately upon his return. I am grateful you know of other troops nearby; many families don't have that easy an option. But that troop is a TRAINWRECK. Uniforms cannot be required at Boards of Review. No leader has a right to justify foul language to children. No adult has any right to degrade, insult, or demean a child, nor his parents for that matter. The catastrophe that is that troop needs to end immediately. Make the calls, take action, and get your son out. Learning from our trials is essential, but learning how to get out of them when we can is just as important.
  13. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Scout Rank Patch wear after age 18

    That inspection sheet is both cheaply and poorly made. The diagram is obviously copied-and-pasted right off the youth form; if you read the form on the left though, you get more correct information for a leader's inspection. I never use pre-made inspection sheets; the most important source is the Guide to Awards and Insignia. I make my own inspection sheets based off that; anything else, even if published by the BSA as with these forms, could be in error. As for incentives or disincentives - well, wearing the uniform correctly to the best of one's knowledge is ultimately a matter of personal honor. Much as may like to wear this badge or that emblem, I must personally remember that if it is not appropriate to the BSA's official rules and guidelines, it would be dishonorable of me to wear it. That applies to every member, whether others know or even care. Honor is a fading virtue in circles, but not my own, and that's what each boy and leader needs to consider first in a matter such as this
  14. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Scout Rank Patch wear after age 18

    That's odd ... there was another post just before mine that I was responding to ... now it's gone.
  15. The Latin Scot

    Unit milestone anniversary - What to do?

    Well, isn't the definition of integrity what you do when nobody is watching? And following that logic, when nobody else cares?
  16. The Latin Scot

    Lion Guide / Den Leader Recognition?

    Always glad to help; I know it can always be tricky to think of just the right way to recognize leadership. I am sure you will find the right balance. And ask parents for input! They may have some excellent ideas you may not have thought of. I had an assistant who needed to leave the pack to focus on other responsibilities, and I wanted to recognize the tremendous service he had rendered to myself and to our program. Well, I had a parent with superb woodburning skills who offered to craft a plaque dedicated to him, stating his name, tenure of service, and a brief message of gratitude, along with an image taken from a drawing of a Scout saluting out of the original handbook. On the back were the names of all the boys he had ever worked with. The final product was absolutely beautiful; it meant the world to him, and it only cost us the price of the wooden plaque (bought at Michael's for about $4). Definitely consider those kind of options for leaders who have gone above and beyond, and whom you want to thank in meaningful ways.
  17. The Latin Scot

    Neckers back in the "news"

    I personally try to wear my Cub/Webelos leader neckerchiefs to all Cub Scouting events just to make my role as visible as possible to parents and visitors, but you should DEFINITELY feel free to wear your beads and woggle as tokens of your Woodbadge experience. If however you are going to be promoting Woodbadge to other leaders at a particular event, then sure, throw on the whole kit! I wear my NESA neckerchief to Courts of Honor, my OA necker to OA events, a generic Scout necker to committee meetings - I like to match whatever event I attend, and whatever role I will be playing there. The nice thing about this program having so many accompanying personal effects is that you can often pick and choose what elements of your expertise you want to display at any given time.
  18. The Latin Scot

    Lion Guide / Den Leader Recognition?

    Recognition should not be measured by knots or awards; if they stay with the program for the next few years, they will have plenty of opportunities for that. But please do not feel that they "need" something to wear on their uniforms, especially if they are new leaders. Otherwise it sets a pattern of seeking recognition, which is not something you want to engender in any leader. I think a nice card with notes from other Scouts and leaders, or a gift such as a nice book or framed print, can be just as meaningful. And besides all that, the Den Leader Training Award has not been authorized for Lion leaders at this time, so don't try and bend the rules for these leaders when there will be plenty of opportunities for them in the future if they so desire - but again, think ofthe pattern you are setting for the future, and think of other, lovely options that can carry the same emotional significance. I can guarantee there are many!
  19. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Scout Rank Patch wear after age 18

    1. No, I am not in favor of adult leaders wearing the Eagle rank badge. As I have stated before, there are so many other options available to "advertise" one's Eagle achievement that insisting on wearing the rank badge as well seems ostentatious to me and, to be blunt, tacky as all get out. 2. I am indeed an Eagle Scout.
  20. The Latin Scot

    Unit milestone anniversary - What to do?

    I have seen variations of those on many sites - boyscoutstore.com, classb.com, et cetera. I know you can get custom numerals with the veteran unit bar incorporated into the patch itself. The one above is nice too, but are they technically acceptable since they aren't standard issue?
  21. The Latin Scot

    Unit milestone anniversary - What to do?

    My unit is 55 years old this year; we haven't done much to celebrate it yet (and we did nothing for our 50th anniversary), but I am pushing to commemorate the milestone at the next Court of Honor or something at least. I already have my 55-year veteran unit bar sewn on to my uniform; my hope is to procure a bunch of them so we can distribute them to all the boys and leaders before the end of the summer.
  22. The Latin Scot

    Welcome new moderators!

    New moderators! Welcome to your new roles; I am deeply grateful for all the time and effort it takes to ensure we have safe, successful discussions, so please know that I am always rooting for you and happy to oblige whenever you have a request. Thanks for all you do!
  23. The Latin Scot

    OA membership as a Cub Leader

    Ha! This is exactly what happened to me during my Brotherhood ordeal last weekend; I am a Webelos Den Leader, and as it turned out I was the only Cub leader at the entire event, so "Blue Loops" quickly became my common nickname for the duration. And you know what? I felt might happy that I was able to represent the Cub program there! I am the only leader promoting the OA to our CO's Troop, despite the fact that my time is spent with the Cubs as a Webelos Den Leader, so I have plenty of opportunities to support the lodge/chapter by encouraging unit elections, exciting the boys for the program, and attending OA events with them. As for incorporating the OA into my role as a den leader, well, since my Webelos are always asking (then forgetting, then asking again x 100) what all my patches are for, I have many chances to talk about my OA flap and what the organization both means and does. It's something I encourage them to look for and look forward to as I prepare them to become Boy Scouts and animate them towards increasing their "Scout Spirit." When they move up to Boy Scouts, it's something they already know about and are anxious to join. It's never too early; it's never too late! And mind you - I am still single, so I don't have children that I "follow" up through the programs. I am in Scouts because I love young people and will take any opportunity I have to advocate their safe and loving development. So as far as my OA membership goes, it's plainly something that can benefit the curious Scouts with whom I work, at all levels, so I think it's better to simply move forward with it rather than wait for the "right time." The right time is whenever you decide to be better today than you were yesterday!
  24. The Latin Scot

    Neckers back in the "news"

    So, you may be happy to know that ALL of the Boy Scout neckerchiefs are now made in the same larger size as the Cub Leader neckerchief you picked up, and there is a large variety of colors available too that have a nice trim along the edge, as well as a neatly embroidered BSA logo. They've been available to Boy Scouts and leaders for a while now, though I can't say when the size upgrade took place - before I started as a leader two years ago, that's all I can say for sure. The Cub Scouts themselves, however, still wear the really little ones which, I grant you, fit small guys better, but are little more than pocket handkerchiefs and have no practical use at that scale. It has been nice to see the patrols in our Troop all wearing neckers lately, and even using them extensively to practice first-aid skills and even in pioneering activities! The patrols even coordinated their neckerchief colors to go with their patrol emblems - the older boys, or "Knights of Light" patrol, wear black neckers with silver trim to go with their black and white, medieval-looking patrol flag, which again goes with their patrol emblem which features a knight in silver armor. The younger patrol are the "Savage Vikings;" their patrol patch features a flaxen-haired viking wearing a brown fur cloak, so their flag is a pale 'fur cloak' (cleverly crafted out of a shag bath rug) decorated in brown and gold, while their neckers are brown with gold trim. And I cannot convey how much Scout spirit and patrol pride this has generated in our Troop! The boys have taken their emblems and "patrol colors" and run with them far beyond what I ever could have forseen - they use their patrol colors on equipment, activity t-shirts, troop records, decorations - I would even say our supply closet is more organized than it's ever been thanks to our "color coding." And ALL OF IT started just by getting the boys to wear neckerchiefs, and to select colors that would be meaningful to them. I have made it a point to procure a neckerchief in each patrol's colors for myself as well, just so that I have something to remember them by when I'm old and gray. Neckers can tell great stories if you let them!
  25. The Latin Scot

    COs without meeting space

    I have talked to a number of troops with similar problems. Some have found success talking to local churches, country clubs, and recreational centers. You may want to canvas your neighborhood and look for places that have space, then approach them either in person or by letter and ask if they would be willing to donate their space for meetings now and then and perhaps a small area for storage. It never hurts to try! Many units have had good fortune doing just that here in Orange County.
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