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The Latin Scot

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Everything posted by The Latin Scot

  1. Inquiries for Girls

    I actually feel just as uncomfortable with the idea of Cub Scouts going co-ed as I do with the Boy Scouts considering the same. They are far younger and more impressionable at that age, and for them to be raised in a setting where we are basically telling them that there is no difference between the two sexes is, to me, highly objectionable. That said, I don't believe it is wise nor productive to waste time speculating on whether or not it is going to happen. As of right now, it has not, and any local units doing so, do so against official BSA policy. But I know that I would not allow any girls to join my group, and if a parent were to ask, I would politely inform them that the Cub Scouts is a program for boys, and that I cannot accept their daughter as a member. But I would also suggest to them one of the MANY alternative programs that are available for girls which wouldn't require a 100-year-old program to change the fundamental nature of its organization, one that isn't even designed to fully meet the needs of girls anyway.
  2. I notice that in ALL of the examples you provide, it either states simply that the unit leader gives information for a merit badge counselor or recommends the name of one to the Scouts. In NO instance does it say that the unit leader can deny a boy the right to work with a different counselor. Yet all of them mention the phrase "district/council approved merit badge counselor," which implies that the power to make that approval decision lies in their hands, not the unit leaders'. The Scoutmaster has the power to offer and recommend names, but ultimately he cannot approve or disapprove of a counselor - only the district or counsel wields that kind of authority, as made explicit in the very examples you give. If a boy wishes to use a counselor other that the one suggested by his unit leader, that is his right. Regardless of the unit leader's fears that a parent might be too easy or too hard, it is still outside of his power to prohibit his Scouts from working with them on merit badges. If he were to try to invoke such a privilege, the boy could easily dispute it at the district or council level, since they are the ones with the power to decide - and they are not likely to cede that power to the unit level except in rare and unusual cases.
  3. It bears repeating and should be noted that if you read the Advancement Guide at it states emphatically "Approved counselors may work with and pass any member, including their own son, ward, or relative. Nevertheless, we often teach young people the importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with counselors beyond their families and beyond even their own units are doing that. They will benefit from the perspectives of many “teachers†and will learn more as a result. They should be encouraged to reach out." So for unit leaders to impose limits on their Scouts, stating that they can't receive a merit badge from their parents when they are council-approved counselors, seems to go against what is stated in the official materials. They may "encourage them to reach out," and "teach the importance of broadening horizons" - but they can't compel them to do so. Regardless of the lessons we want to teach the boys (which are indeed good and important lessons), technically it's not in their power to insist such. And I am always wary of Scoutmasters or advancement chairs who power-play by placing limits like that on their Scouts. I don't feel it's their place to make such rules. The Advancement Guide is clear: "Approved counselors may work with and pass ANY member" (my emphasis). There is no caveat to that. In my humble opinion (others may disagree), leaders should abide by that counsel as much as is possible and reasonable, even while teaching and guiding their Scouts towards a broader point of view.
  4. My pleasure! That's what the boards are for.
  5. Weeknight Meetings

    Because of the schedules of my families, and the fact that my Ward (= local congregation) has a designated night of the week to use the local meeting house, I hold my Webelos meetings every Tuesday at 7, excepting weeks when we have Pack Meeting. This is later than I would like, but since it's the same time and place as all the Boy Scout, Young Women, and adult activities, it means that many families are already there anyway, so it's not much hassle to get the kids there. It's late, yeah, but there's nothing stopping us from having a Saturday event here or there as long as we communicate that to the families (more on that in a bit). A key factor to ensuring attendance, however, is consistency. We ALWAYS meet Tuesdays at 7 (except when we have Pack Meeting, which is ALWAYS the third Thursday of the month). I almost never change that, and so it has become an established routine that parents never have to ask about, never have to question, and never have to doubt. It's ALWAYS Tuesdays at 7. Because I have made it so dependable, my families feel more confident sending their kids in every week, because they know that unless something big happens, Webelos is Tuesdays at 7 (except when we have Pack Meeting, which is ALWAYS the third Thursday of the month). See how nice and dependable that is? Parents love that. And what about when something big DOES happen? Halloween is on a Tuesday this year. The eclipse was on a Monday. Sometimes our weekly activity is a Saturday hike. What then? COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!!! I have all my parents e-mails and phone numbers - for both parents where that is possible. Any time I know something is going to change, I let them know the week before with a note sent home with every boy, then again with an e-mail a few days before hand. I send another e-mail letting them know about the change the night before (and a text to those who don't have e-mail), then the morning of I call or leave a message to each family. In every case, I explain the reason for the scheduling change, and give the information for any alternative activity if applicable. During my first few months I worried that my parents would be sick of hearing from me (sometimes I still worry that!), but they have actually been overwhelmingly grateful for the near-torrent of updates I send every week - parents want to know what's going on with their kids! These people have lives, so the easier we make it for them to live them, the more willing they are to help out and get their kids to my activities. Mind you, I don't only communicate with them when there is a change coming - I send weekly e-mails discussing upcoming events and what we are working on each meeting, I have a hard-copy monthly newsletter that goes home with each boy at the start of every month, I talk with them personally whenever they drop off or pick up their kids - I try to make "Den Leader" a family role. And it works! Parents are more than willing to step in if needed because they can see, almost daily, how hard we are working to deliver a good program. They also have time to plan opportunities to get involved since our meeting times are so reliable, and changes are only made with plenty of notice. There's a sense of security that comes with being informed about what's going on by caring leaders. So whether your group chooses to meet on Saturdays at 10 am or Thursdays at 7:30 pm, the important thing is that you establish a routine, and keep your communication as open and frequent as possible - and that you take the time to get to know your families. If you can do those three simple things, you'll find attendance is relatively easy to manage. Hope this helps!
  6. Absolutely; it's not "recommended," per se, but its absolutely permissible. Here's the link: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/11/19/merit-badge-counselors/ Just as an added note, the blog at scoutingmagazine.org, "Ask Brian" is one of the best sources for information out there. Many of my questions have been answered after a quick sweep of his posts. Just like searching here! Hope this is helpful.
  7. Who Among Us Wears a Smokey Bear/Campaign hat?

    I wear mine whenever I am in uniform, excepting of course places where it would be deemed in appropriate or unsuited to the activity (places of worship, eating places, any place my grandmother is around, etc.). But I look for opportunities to have it on, not for the times when I have to take it off.
  8. End of Varsity Scouts

    Got it, sorry if it sounded like I was attacking your post - I was just surprised and eager to get more information. Might I ask please, from whom did the e-mail come? Was it an official BSA message? It's just such a big change that I would have thought they would make a bigger deal of it, lol.
  9. LDS leaving BSA?

    In answer to @@qwazse's question, the Church has historically had a very large presence at World Jamborees, although not as much has been made of them as in decades past - National, yes, World, not so much. Now, @@swcline is correct in that, where there are co-ed Scouting activities happening, the segregation between boys and girls has of course been respected. Yet while that may be true, such camping issues have not been program-wide, and are still relatively isolated situations (and don't get me started on the teen dating frenzy that is EFY, @@swcline. I only recently graduated from BYU and had to put up with those crazy crowds every summer ). But it is also true that those kinds of issues really are secondary to the real problem, and I should have been clearer on that point. The primary potential for concern is neither logistical nor practical at its core. The primary dilemma with co-ed Scouting would be the ideological conflict, the changing of a program that has been centered on the development of young men into some kind of gender-neutral activity club that would be forced to change its very nature towards an end that would neither serve boys nor girls effectively. Others may not find that to be a problem, and that is of course their privilege, but the Church would not countenance such a massive change lightly. It clashes with too many of our central beliefs, and the with way that we raise and instruct our growing young men and women. MIND YOU, I am not saying that the Church would automatically jump ship if such a change were to be made, and to assume that it would would be most unwise. But that kind of huge alteration to the program would certainly generate serious discussions which could very easily lead to such a move. But again, until or unless it happens, speculation is, as in most cases, unproductive. More often than not it leads to paranoia rather than preparedness. Better to focus on the Now than on the Could Be. The Church is at present deeply entrenched in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs. So let's focus more on cultivating the fruits of our cooperation, rather than sowing any distressing seeds of doubt.
  10. Uniform Exchange

    Being a Webelos leader gives me an advantage. I just ask parents for any old Cub Scout uniform items as the boys move up to the tan/olive uniform, and pass them down to any boys who need them. Living in an affluent area pocketed by a few low-income neighborhoods, the balance between needs and donations has maintained a remarkable equilibrium.
  11. End of Varsity Scouts

    Well! This will be a huge, but not entirely surprising, change to the organization then. I am sure they will announce it in the next few days if this is really direction they are taking.
  12. LDS leaving BSA?

    The problem is the MASSIVE list of ramifications that would come of making a program like the BSA into ... what? The BGSA? Just the "SA?" Even if the Church simply continued to charter all-boy units, there would be all kinds of issues with co-ed troops which the Church could not avoid. As a Church we prioritize the family, and we believe that gender is a divine and eternal part of our natures - as a result, we believe strongly that boys are different from girls. By making the BSA co-ed, it would be making a statement that boys and girls are to some extent the same, and that the needs of one are no different than the needs of the other, as though they were interchangeable. This would be a philosophy that we could not support - and that's only the fundamental, ideological issue. Mind you, we are deeply entrenched in every aspect of Scouting, from Camporees to Jamborees, from summer camps to local events. The complications at these kind of events would encompass everything from showering arrangements to inter-troop activities to tenting/campsite situations to patrol competitions, ALL of which would suddenly include girls. Which makes it difficult for those of a faith that believes in a sacred difference between the two sexes. Whether or not you agree with our doctrines, you can't deny that such a massive issue would pose huge logistical, ideological, and practical difficulties to a religion that believes so strongly in doing it Duty to God. Rather than try to navigate such potentially rough waters, it would be FAR easier for the Church at such a point to simply let Scouting be and initiate its own activities program. We have the tools and the organizational structure in place to do so with relative ease if absolutely needed - members in the 100+ other countries of the Church already have their own programs, so we would only need to adopt the same structure in place of Scouting. But the hope is the we don't ever have to. If Scouting will simply hold to the values it has always embraced, which align perfectly with the aims and desires of the Church and have for 100 years, then there is no problem. We love Scouting, we WANT Scouting - but we put the development and well-being of our young men even before loyalty to this program. As the Scout Oath itself makes clear, we put our Duty to God first. We can only hope that nothing happens within the BSA 's organization which would pit that Duty against our love for and loyalty to the Boy Scouts of America. As of now, thank goodness, no such thing has transpired, and we happily continue to ensconce our young men in the Scouting program for the time being. I hope this makes it somewhat clearer to understand; I know that we all see the religions of others "as through a glass, dimly," but I sincerely wish for you all to see where we are coming from with regards to this issue.
  13. End of Varsity Scouts

    I don't understand the nature of this post ... are you pointing out the decision of the LDS Church to pull out of the Varsity and Venturing programs? Because that happened all the way back in May, effective January 1st of next year, but still old news at this point (which has been discussed almost to wit's end). Or, is this news about the Varsity program itself coming to an end? If that is the case, can you please give us a source for this information? I have checked every official site I can find and there is no mention of this from what I can tell. Would you please share where you got this news?
  14. LDS leaving BSA?

    @@krikkitbot makes a good point. There are some LDS members (as with in all faiths) who are not fully supportive of the Scouting program (I pity their short-sightedness). So as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing, with first-hand communication from Church leadership, let me be EXPLICITLY CLEAR on one point. You guys ready? THE CHURCH IS NOT LEAVING SCOUTING. THOSE OF THE LDS FAITH ARE NOT DROPPING THE SCOUTING PROGRAM. THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS HAS NO PLANS TO SEVER ITS TIES WITH THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA. I could go on. But do you see my point? I say this after long conversations with many Church leaders at the highest levels (it's nice to have good connections). But more than that, why should the church leave? Let's clarify a few points for those stubborn people who like to stir things up with false rumors, and quash them before they continue to permeate these lovely forums. 1. GIrls in the BSA - as @@swcline pointed out, there are of course instances where groups of girls, who happen to be LDS, have started their own Venturing posts. But this is purely done as individual agents, not endorsed by the Church or incorporated into the official Young Women's programs. The Church has never chartered young women in any of Scouting's programs, and while some individuals or groups, who happen to be LDS, may do so on their on dime, they are NOT affiliated with the Church in any official way, and so they are irrelevant to this topic. The Church does not endorse Scouting for girls or young women, and never has. 2. The pull-out from Varsity and Venturing - this was NOT A POLITICAL MOVE - I don't know how much more I can stress this. The Church pulled out of these programs because, frankly, we weren't running them very well, and it was a drain of resources and leadership that wasn't meeting the objectives of either program. It had nothing to do with politics. Church leaders have explained this to us over and again in the past few weeks, but those outside the Church don't get to hear it as often, so as an LDS leader, let me make it clear the choice was based on operations, not politics. Our Varsity and Venturing programs were largely inert or ineffective. We are GREAT with the Boy Scout program, but once the boys turned 14 they entered a program that their leaders didn't understand and weren't using very well, right at the age when they are starting high school and have their attentions pulled in all different directions. So we cut those two programs because we didn't run them very well! The Church did not pull out of those programs for any reason other than our own inability to effectively use them! No politics were involved!!! As for the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs, why on Earth should we drop them when clearly we are still running them, and exceptionally well I might add? For proof, look at the 100+ years of close and deep partnership between the Church and the BSA (there's even a whole book about it at the Scout Store, "A Century of Honor"). Or look at the huge number of Eagle Scouts the Church produces, or the MASSIVE contingent of LDS Scouts just at this last Jamboree, where one of our Senior Apostles, Jeffrey R. Holland (an Eagle Scout), addressed more than 2,100 Boy Scouts to talk about how much the Church loves the Scouting program (this was only weeks ago, mind you). I mean, our Church President, Thomas S. Monson, has earned both the Silver Buffalo and the Bronze Wolf - we are dedicated to this program! Our ties to Scouting are full of history and brotherhood. Even with the changes the BSA has been making, we have stuck with them. Now, if the BSA were to do something INCREDIBLY foolish, like change to co-ed programming, then there might be cause to reconsider our close relationship. But for now, DO NOT SPREAD THE MYTH THAT THE LDS CHURCH IS LEAVING SCOUTING. It is exactly that - a myth. Anybody who claims otherwise is a trouble-making meddler looking to stir the pot - don't listen to them! We love Scouting, and will stick with it until they give us a solid reason not to.
  15. New Cubmaster

    Welcome to the boards, and commendations for accepting such a big job! You sound like you're prepared to do a great job with it; the boys will be lucky to have you! Good luck, and remember to ask any questions you may have here - I have received all kinds of help from the lovely folks here!
  16. Who Among Us Wears a Smokey Bear/Campaign hat?

    I got mine for my 33rd birthday last December. It was a gift from some of the boys in my den, and I LOVE it! And mind you I am young-looking - I still get mistaken for an older Scout or Venturer. OFTEN.
  17. LDS leaving BSA?

    @@qwazse I cannot speak much for how things are operated in Canada except that they do not register girls in their units, nor will they. Their program is under review, and more information about their program is likely to be forthcoming. @@HelpfulTracks Utah is actually home to no less than 4 councils, and they are among the largest and most active in the BSA. There are also huge councils in other areas with large LDS populations, such as California, Idaho, Arizona, and Wyoming. But it is a mistake to think that the Church only looks at what goes on in Utah. We are a global Church, with almost 16 million members in more than 160 countries, and every one of them matters. Thanks to meticulous organization of leadership, the young people in Canada receive as much attention as the members in Venezuela or Mongolia or Nigeria or the Ukraine. So you can be sure that the Scouts in Canada are getting all the attention they deserve in this regard. Your facts are mistaken about the Venturing program - the Church has never at any point chartered or endorsed Venturing units for girls. We have our own programs for girls and young women that we have run for more than 120 years, so we have never had any need to include them in any of Scouting's programs. If, however, Scouting were to cave to popular pressure and make their core programs (Cub and Boy Scouts) co-ed, it could be one of the last straws for the Church's involvement with Scouting. The Church has been remarkably patient with Scouting's changes up until now. The pull from Varsity and Venturing actually had nothing to do with any changes in Scouting, but rather happened because local leaders weren't implementing the programs correctly and so we were wasting resources on programs that weren't being properly used. But we have kept Boy Scout and Cub Scouts because they fit with our needs and ideals. If they were to collapse their values and ultimately make those programs co-ed, however, then it would be the time to wonder how long the Church would continue with the programs. @@RememberSchiff The Church will continue to run its Boy Scout troops as before, and boys over 14 who want to continue advancing will simply continue in their own troops. There will be no need for them to transfer to non-LDS troops. If they feel they have had enough Scouting, they they can continue in the Church's new activity programs for young men 14 and up, but to continue advancing, they need only remain in their own troop. No transferring to outside troops will be needed.
  18. LDS leaving BSA?

    It's always a mixed bag of feelings to see how others who are not of our faith choose to interpret what we do or do not believe as a religion, or in this case, as a Chartered Organization. The simple facts are these - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports the ideals, values, and heritage of the Boy Scouts of America. As long as the BSA continues to adhere to those ideals, there is no reason for our church to leave the organization. So, for the time being, there is absolutely no reason for the Church to reconsider its affiliation with the organization, and I will state right now, anybody who claims to have 'insider information' which suggests otherwise is either flat-out lying or looking to stir controversy. And mind you, THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS HAS NOT LEFT SCOUTING!!! We no longer patronize the Varsity or Venturing programs, but all of those boys are simply being filtered back into the Boy Scout troops to continue their advancement. The Church has not left Scouting. If you have been spreading this rumor until now, please stop, as it is simply not true. That said, if the BSA does ever shift its ideology to the extreme that girls are allowed into the Boy Scout or Cub Scout programs, then the Church would very likely, and for good cause, have occasion to reconsider its affiliation with the group. As a body we are more than capable of creating our own programs that meet the needs of young men and boys; in fact, the Church already has such programs in place in hundreds of other nations. The US and Canada are actually the only countries where the Church uses Scouting as its official activity arm for youth. So it's really up to the BSA, not the Church - if things are allowed to stay as they are, with no more crazy membership changes or alterations, then the Church will have no reason whatsoever to consider leaving the BSA. But if such changes do take place, then the Church will of course need to consider the moral welfare of its youth before it considers the repercussions to a program that no longer meets their needs. So it's up to you, Boy Scouts of America. The Church will only act if you make it necessary. And as we can all surmise, both parties are intensely aware of this. Much of the BSA National Board is comprised of LDS officials, so all of this is deeply felt and understood.
  19. Adult Uniform Checklist

    The poor writing is precisely the problem. It is attempting to state that you may wear either the uniform pants OR the uniform shorts, but whether you choose the pants or the shorts, neither may be worn with cuffs. It's not written well at all, of course, but it doesn't take great reading skills to be able to discern the intention from the quotation. I would be more troubled by anybody who tries to find loopholes in the writing as an excuse to be sloppy in one's own uniforming.
  20. Class B Guidelines

    Wait, is this discussion about the company, ClassB.com, or about activity uniforms in general?
  21. Just got word....

    Speaking for LDS units, we do have age-based patrols, but other than the fact that they are divided by age they are, for all intents and purposes, run just like other BSA units. I cannot speak on how that has influenced the NSP program direction. What I can say is this - while the Church does not have any current plans to leave the BSA (despite the many paranoid alarmists or reactionaries who would tell you otherwise), the decision to include girls in the program would be the final breaking point. In our religion, we believe strongly in the importance of both the male and female roles both in strengthening families and in building healthy societies. To change the very nature of a program that, for over 100 years, has met the needs of boys' growth and development by including girls, whose needs and natures are fundamentally different, would be in my eyes a tragedy of epic proportions. And not just for the boys mind you. The girls who are being raised like boys may be suffering an even greater loss than anybody, since they would be the ones being put into a program that was not designed to meet the needs of their sex. Their unique qualities and gifts are not treated nor nurtured by the Boy Scout program, and while the activities would be fun for some of them, the full power and potential of women is not something which the Boy Scout of America is equipped to develop. It's unfair to them, it's unfair to the boys. It's unfair to the nation.
  22. BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch

    I received my order in the mail Saturday morning; it's a nice patch that I'm sure the boys will love. I was told they haven't made very many compared to other event patches, so I am sure in a few years it will be very popular with collectors. A fun patch for an exciting event!
  23. Bryan On Scouting and Uniforms

    Yes, this is an older article that already generated a few threads on the very topic (long before I joined these forums). I personally feel that if they are going to receive help uniforming their Scouts, it would be far better spent on pants/shorts than on campaign hats, even if they're just plain olive pants or shorts from a generic brand. You can get almost the entire uniform for the price of just one of those hats, while you can often find nice olive-green shorts for youth at Walmart for under $10! As a whole they would look better as a unit, too. Don't get me wrong, I am glad they don't make it hard on the boys if they can't afford everything, but to choose campaign hats over pants and socks and belts ... that just seems strange to me. And mind you, I LOVE my ol' smokey. I think this kind of maneuver is just meant to keep people from feeling bad if they can't afford the full uniform (which is good), but they do it by splurging on a flashy, but unnecessary, item which garners attention but doesn't meet the need (which is bad). It becomes a smoke and mirrors act - "look! they might be poorly uniformed, but they have hats! FANCY HATS!" Even if they did get a good deal on their campaign hats, it still can't be less expensive than getting them other, more essential parts of the uniform that would make them look far more, well, uniformed. Giving them their iconic hats doesn't distract from the fact that they are, for all intents and purposes, in their street clothes. In my own opinion, of course.
  24. Election question

    I like the idea of expecting the potential leaders to present all relevant information/potential conflicts/whatever to the boys before they vote - but what I like shouldn't have any final bearing on the internal affairs of the Troop. The simple fact, as the others here have pointed out, is that the Troop committee has no say in the internal affairs of the Troop. Nor does the Scoutmaster, nor his assistants. The only people who have any voice in Troop elections are the boys of the Troop itself. Any meddling from adult leadership or the Troop committee robs the boys of their right to lead their group, run their program, and yes, even their right to make mistakes, learn from them, and improve their program. The whole point of the Scouting program is to teach boys the leadership skills and character virtues they will need to be successful, self-reliant adults, and a central part of that program is allowing them to run their own activities and choose their own leaders. That is what teaches boys why it is essential to choose good leaders through the democratic process, and how to become skilled leaders themselves - it generate both conscientious citizens and responsible authority. If you decide to take away the very processes by which those qualities are meant to be learned, bending them to your own ideas of how the program should be run (and therefore, unjustly manipulated), you might as well take their uniforms and badges away from them too, because at that point you aren't running a Scouting program any more.
  25. Wearing Jamboree patches?

    I like that idea a lot, and I have seen it nicely done before too. I have decided to wear the patches for a few months to complement his uniform, which already has the new patches on it. But after a few months, I will switch them out and frame them nicely, making sure to show him how much his gift means to me. I think this will be the best solution, and seeing as most of the leaders I work with don't even know what the trained patch is, I think I will be able to avoid any nit-picking patch police.