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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot


  1. Actually ... 

    The Arrow of Light IS a rank, the highest in Cub Scouting. What makes it different is that Cubs are not identified by this rank as they are at earlier levels, hence the confusion. So, a boy who has earned the rank of Arrow of Light is still called a Webelos Scout, and still belongs to a Webelos den.

    As for combining different ages, I have written much in other threads detailing the many reasons this is a bad idea. Far better to have two small dens of 2 or 3 boys working their own program together than to try and combine two very different programs with kids of dissimilar ages. It's better for their cognitive, social and behavioral development to keep them with other Scouts their own age and not mix them with older/younger Scouts working a different program.

    Ultimately, we must remember that choices which may appear convenient for adults are not as important as choices which will most benefit the youth we serve. It will require more work to make it happen, but if it helps these kids have a better experience, isn't that extra effort worth it?


  2. 11 hours ago, sierracharliescouter said:

    Our tradition is that the 5th graders (aka AOL-rank scouts, not Webelos anymore, thanks BSA for making this confusing)...

    Not to be that guy, but actually, there is no such thing as an "Arrow of Light Scout," nor even an Arrow of Light den according to official Cub Scout structuring. All boys above the rank of Bear are called Webelos Scouts, and belong to the Webelos den. Some packs choose to split these older kids into two groups by age (and use unofficial terms like AofL Scouts or Webelos II), but that is a customization not officially recognized by the Cub Scout program of the BSA. So make sure you call ALL of your older Cubs Webelos Scouts - that's their title, and they only get to use it for a year or two! :) 

    • Upvote 1

  3. At our district's Camporees/Camporalls, we have a wonderful elderly Scouter who sets up a booth with a MASSIVE collection of Scouting memorabilia that he sells at incredibly low prices. Last time he had a plaid jacket like the one above in perfect condition for only $20, but sadly the size was an adult's large and I am an adult small at best. Maybe at the next event he'll have one my size, but I never walk away from his stand empty handed - the good gentleman all but gives away treasure after treasure, charging little more than pocket change for it all because he wants the kids in our Scouting community to feel they have a chance at finding items they will prize and cherish forever. I make sure all my boys spend time there so that they can explore and appreciate Scouting's long and storied history, and now they look forward to scouring that booth more than almost any other activities offered at these events. They've become quite the little band of connoisseurs too! 

    • Like 1

  4. What's important to remember is that children and youth are not some separate species that need to be treated with kid gloves (sorry :rolleyes:). They're a little shorter than we are, sure, and they don't have as many life experiences, but otherwise they're just normal people who deserve personal and group respect. Don't feel the need to put on any artificial persona around them just to assert your position as a leader - the structure of the BSA and its leadership policies will do all that for you, so just be yourself and fill your role as best you can!

    I am pretty young myself, and I confess, I look even younger - so much so that I often get mistaken for a youth member at Camporees and other activities. Is it awkward sometimes, visiting units as a 30-something commissioner or den leader and trying to command their attention and respect? You bet, but I use it to my advantage when I can - the boys are much more open with me than with other, older leaders, and I am able to connect with their generation much more quickly and strongly than others a few decades older. In many ways I have more in common with them than I do with the married parents around me who are in a totally different place in life. And that can be an important tool for your unit's leadership team - use your youthful countenance to get in good with the kids and assure them that their leaders understand and care for them. However: you are still an adult - you don't treat the Scouts as peers, nor as buddies, but as children and youth over whom you have an important stewardship. I try to remember, always, that I have to keep them safe more than I have to keep them entertained, and sometimes I must remind them that, as an adult, there are things I cannot do with or for them. I don't get involved in their patrol activities or planning, I camp separately from them, I let them practice their leadership roles to the fullest if they are older Scouts, and if they are Cubs I make sure they know that I am in charge but that I also love and protect them. One special note from one young leader to another - be very careful about your boundaries. It's easy to feel a little too close and personal with the Scouts since the age difference isn't very noticeable, so as leaders of a newer generation we need to be triply observant of safe Scouting practices. NEVER let your guard down when it comes to youth protection procedures. 

    But enjoy yourself! I find being the young leader at Scouting events is one of the most fun activities in which I can be involved; I can give back to my community and connect with kids and parents in ways few people in our generation understand. I look at other people my age and I'm saddened that so many of them feel disconnected from their communities without a place to actively serve and participate. We have energy, excitement and a bright optimism that will be a huge benefit to those we lead, and hopefully those virtues will stay with us as we get older, as they have with so many of the good people here. This is an exciting opportunity for you to do some real good!


  5. 8 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

    We're talking about advancing rank within Cub Scouts, not moving from Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA .  The practice of advancing Cub Scouts to the next rank by age is/was exclusive to LDS units.

    Actually that's not the case; there are other, non-LDS CO's who use the same model. In my own district there are a few. Admittedly it's not as common outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints these days, but neither is it particularly rare. It's all at the discretion of the chartered organization head. 

    • Thanks 1

  6. 11 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

    Sorry for the slight derail.  With the Church no longer chartering packs will the LDS method of promoting to next rank upon birthday continue (or be allowed)? Or will all Scouts be required to follow the more traditional approach of promotion at end of school year?

    Well, all LDS units will effectively be cancelled after the end of the year, so if any units do continue to exist, it will be under new chartered organizations. Thus it will be up to them to determine how their Scouts will approach the issue, since the CO is ultimately the primary voice governing how each unit operates. 

    I will say that if I am asked to help out with any of these units, I will strongly encourage them to follow something like the LDS model. Having used it all that time I was a Webelos den leader, I can comfortably say that I avoided many of the planning and scheduling woes which afflicted my non-LDS friends in other units within the district. It gave me flexibility and the freedom to give every boy a greater deal of personal attention, and I found my relationships with their families were much closer and more meaningful because I was able to tailor the program to every family rather than to the school year. I love our approach.

    • Upvote 1

  7. We had a troop at Camporee the other week which constructed two platform towers about 12' high which were each sturdy enough to support a three-man tent on top. The district people seemed to approve of it, so I can't speak as to whether or not they complied with the G2SS, but they sure were impressive.


  8. 21 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    In general, I would rather a qualifying Webelo cross over when he wants to ...

    Webelos SCOUT! 

    I'm sorry, it's in my signature so I am obliged to be a pain about it. :laugh:

    25 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

    Just a couple more thoughts....

    • The group crossover ceremony is better from a "recognition" perspective. A boy is going to feel more special when there's 40 people witnessing his accomplishment than when there's 5.

    I don't entirely understand this logic. Does your pack meeting attendance vary that much from month to month? Ours is pretty consistent throughout the year, so a boy crossing over in October has as many "witnesses" as a boy who crosses over in May. And with fewer Scouts with to share the limelight, the focus on him is all the greater. Though, this reminds me that it's not about how many people are there as much as who those people are.

    Also, my point about "catching up" wasn't actually referring to the Scouts - it was more about their parents, who at this age are, unfortunately, the ones who seem overly concerned about getting their kids to the same "level" as their peers - a mindset which perpetually troubles me, deeply. In the end however I agree with @mrkstvns' main point: there are advantages to every crossover strategy which ultimately depend on the child for whom they are designed.


  9. As an LDS pack, we move our boys up to Scouts BSA based on age (on their 11th birthday), not the school year. As a result, we have boys crossing over throughout the year, making a group crossover illogical. As for the Arrow of Light, boys receive it when they earn it - for some that happens as soon as they meet the 6-month requirement, for others it takes the whole year they are in the Webelos den, but again, that means there are AofL ceremonies being conducted throughout the year. 

    The advantage to this is that each boy gets more individual attention, and there is no push to move boys along so that they can "catch up with the group" and not "fall behind." Each Scout moves along at his own pace if needed, with support from the den, and usually it makes for a pretty good system! I also like keeping the AofL ceremony separate from the crossover, as each event is distinct and represents its own accomplishments, and I like highlighting those specifically, just as I like giving each boy the individual recognition instead of herding the kids like cattle towards some mass awarding. But of course, to each his or her own. :rolleyes:

    • Like 1

  10. I started volunteering as a Scout leader only a few years ago, so I missed the olive green jac-shirts. :unsure: I also missed the blue version that they put out, though that was long before I was born.

    If I could get my hands on ANYTHING though, it would be the blue Den Mother's beret. They were only put out for a year or so, so they are nigh unto impossible to find, but I want to get one for my own mother and I have had zero luck. Maybe someday ...


  11. As a fun side note, I think I re-read the Guide to Awards and Insignia at least every other week. I LOVE when everything is in its proper place, and one of my favorite games for teaching Scouts (and leaders; I use it at Roundtable often) is "Pin the Patch on the Uniform." I have a picture of a Scout in uniform on the wall, sans insignia, and each Scout(er)s comes up with a small paper picture from an assortment of various patches and awards that they must put in the proper place. It's a fun, stress-free way to teach good uniforming, and the boys actually love to play it! Older boys like trying it blindfolded even. Uniforming doesn't have to be about OCD, nitpicky corrections by some 'uniform police' - it can be a fun and engaging way to teach values and principles to the kids if you just know how to use it!

    And honestly, I LOVE when boys try to correct me when they think they've found an error in my uniform! I gotta be willing to take if I'm aiming to give, as it were, and while they have yet to catch me in any egregious error, I will gladly accept a valid correction if ever I'm in the wrong. Wearing the uniform should be a delight, for pity's sake! :p

    • Upvote 1

  12. Actually, I started holding regular uniform inspections with my Webelos den during the last few years I was with them, and the results were dramatic and successful. I taught the boys why we wear uniforms over and over again, and I held myself to the same standards as they - we were all expected to look our best, as a team, and with a few very small incentives (a special ribbon for the den flag, or perhaps a treat after a few weeks of consistently good scores), we eventually had a den of boys whose uniforms we ALMOST ALWAYS perfect, from the socks to the necker to the hat. And this eventually affected the other dens and patrols that met in the same building - soon my Webelos Scouts challenged all the older patrols and the younger dens to a massive uniform challenge based on the average weekly score of each patrol/den over a period of three months, and after the first few weeks ALL the Scouts in the whole building were looking FANTASTIC!

    Naturally, my den crushed the competition. :rolleyes:

    I will say though, it really wasn't difficult to get the boys motivated. And my inspections are pretty strict too; I don't let misplaced patches fly, and every Scout was expected to be 100% current on his rank and position Nothing out of place, that's my motto. My assistant never even fully passed an inspection! But I made it fun, and I always reminded them that, in the end, I didn't actually care if they forgot their socks or lost their neckerchief, but that I was just happy to see the effort they put into it and ALWAYS thrilled when a boy did his best, whatever the results. And that, I know, changed the results over time. I think it helped them WANT to look their best, and all my boys that are now Star and Life Scouts still put a lot more thought into how they present themselves in uniform than most other Scouts in our district. I like to think they've learned something beyond just proper uniforming - hopefully they realize that they way they look affects the way they feel, which affects the way the act. It also has a great influence on the way others will interact with them. And in the end, it had a massive influence on the boys' behavior as well. The effect their appearance had on their maturity, cooperation, obedience, and Scout spirit was palpable - the uniforms, in their small but highly visible way, did indeed help make them better people! Our entire congregation noticed it; soon the boys were dressing better for church too, and for school, and for - well, life!

    Uniforms make more difference than we give them credit for sometimes.

    • Upvote 1

  13. If you eliminated all bright colors from nature, you would loose hummingbirds, wildflowers, butterflies ...

    The very idea that somehow it's "disrespectful" to wear bright colors in the outdoors is rather silly. REAL nature is full of color. A group of boys in bright colors is no more "disruptive" than a cardinal in a tree. The world is full of bright and beautiful shades and hues, and none of those the boys may wear is going to detract from that - unless you choose to be bothered by it, in which case the fault is yours, not the shirt's.

    • Upvote 3

  14. 7 hours ago, Saltface said:

    I really wish Alaska had been split into three states of equal size so that Texas could be the biggest one.

    Thank goodness for Alaska! :laugh:

    • Upvote 1

  15. Actually, I stand by my original wording. There is a uniform, and on that uniform only specified emblems and insignia are to be worn in the correct manner. But you can do what you want with BSA brand clothing as long as they aren't uniform items; if I wear a BSA polo I can wear a non-BSA pin on my collar if I want, and I can sew all the patches I wish on a BSA brand jacket. The official uniform however is limited to official, correct insignia.


  16. A Scout leader may wear whatever neckerchief he chooses if it follows the guidelines set out in the Guide to Awards and Insignia - or even none at all, if he so desires. If it's standard BSA issue though, there's nothing I can think of to stop you.


  17. But in general, except for some VERY rare cases, no - we are a national organization, not a state one, so you will almost definitely not get approval for such an emblem. 


  18. 1 hour ago, MikeS72 said:

    Sounds like fun.  I wonder if yours is the district I saw mentioned on an OA Facebook page, where they will be doing call out dressed as knights rather than in the usual NA regalia.

    Ha! I wish; sadly my chapter isn't nearly organized enough to put something like that together. But I LOVE the idea; had I read this a few months ago I would have eagerly suggested it to our leadership!

    52 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    We are using the same theme in DC this weekend.  Since the OA is running our event, they must have picked up the idea at a conclave.

    Well, it's always a great theme, and the boys love it - there's a lot to run with when you have a good over-arching theme like this, so I'm excited to see what the kids come up with this weekend!


  19. 2 hours ago, SSScout said:

    Popular weekend, I guess.  Look for me in the Vexilollogy   tent .  

    Everybody seems to be heading to Camporee this weekend! I wish our district had a whole tent devoted to vexilollogy.. We're going with a "Scouts of the Roundtable" theme this year, but the attempts of the powers-that-be to explain the terminology of medieval flags and heraldry has been ... poor at best. Luckily all of the patrols in our troop are already medieval-themed, so our patrol flags are already in line with heraldic tradition (they consulted with my father, a noted aficionado of heraldry and tapestry-making). I am however curious to see how other units attempt to represent themselves with their "medieval flags" this weekend! 

    Back to the topic however, I worry that with all the poor media coverage of the BSA record-keeping, the financial problems of the organization will only be exacerbated. I hope there are other options besides flat-out bankruptcy, but having absolutely no understanding about such economic concerns, I daren't make any predictions about what may occur, nor any suggestions as to what ought to happen. But I am certainly deeply concerned about what the future holds for the BSA.


  20. Realistically speaking, I have never seen uniforms being used a means of exclusion amongst Scouts - obviously, nobody is going to send a Scout home because he doesn't have a uniform. But as Baden-Powell put it in the 1908 edition of Scouting For Boys:   

    The Scout kit, through its uniformity, now constitutes a bond of brotherhood among boys across the world.  The correct wearing of the Uniform and smartness of turnout of the individual Scout makes him a credit to our Movement.  It shows his pride in himself and in his Troop.  One slovenly Scout, on the other hand, inaccurately dressed may let down the whole Movement in the eyes of the public. Show me such a fellow and I can show you one who has not grasped the true Scouting spirit and who takes no pride in his membership of our great Brotherhood.

    Also, from 1913:

    I HAVE said before now: “I don’t care a fig whether a Scout wears uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the Scout Law.” But the fact is that there is hardly a Scout who does not wear a uniform if he can afford to buy it. The spirit prompts him to it. The same rule applies naturally to those who carry on the Scout Movement — the Scoutmasters and Commissioners; there is no obligation on them to wear uniform if they don’t like it. At the same time, they have their positions to think of others rather than themselves. Personally, I put on uniform, even if I have only a Patrol to inspect, because I am certain that it raises the moral tone of the boys. It heightens their estimation of their uniform when they see it is not beneath a grown man to wear it; it heightens their estimation of themselves when they find themselves taken seriously by men who also count it of importance to be in the same brotherhood with them.

    Uniforms are not the point of Scouting, but they are certainly one of the symbols of this movement, and we want our young people to identify with that symbol. When youth look differently, they feel differently, and when they feel differently, they act differently. The more we can get them into their uniforms, the better. I feel that goes double for leaders.

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  21. I think it's entirely dependant on how each course is presented and how invested the boys are in the programming. 

    When I was young, our district would put on a few MB days a year as fundraisers. Seating was limited to 8 boys a course (effectively a MB 'patrol'), and course teachers were highly qualified in their fields. Courses were also taught on-site; for example, I earned the Atomic Energy MB at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and my MB Counsellor was an actual nuclear scientist who took us through the entire facility. It being an hour's drive away, we had to work out our own transportation, and we really needed to work closely with the counsellor to demonstrate that we understood the materials (which, being nuclear science, was NOT easy - it was one of the most difficult badges I ever earned). But WOW did we learn a lot that day! It opened my understanding to a whole world of science about which I had known precious little before, and I had a fantastic time. That day was a powerful argument in favor of the idea.

    Conversely, my first day as a Scout, the day after my 11th birthday, we went to a MB course nearby my home, where after 40 minutes I earned the Fingerprinting merit badge. Sure, I still remember everything I learned from the two requirements I passed off, but that isn't saying much. 40 minutes! It was a bit too easy perhaps ...

    So I don't think it's about the concept of MB universities itself, but how they are executed and how the boys interface with them that needs to be perpetually reviewed and assessed. 


  22. We always have: Fastest Car, Marathon Winner (the slowest car (which has to make it past the finish line to count)), Most Creative, Best Craftsmanship, and Scout's Choice. Every boy who enters a car receives a participation medal as well. 

    Of all the awards, the most coveted is easily the Marathon Winner, and we actually have two set of brackets to accommodate the competition for both the fastest and slowest cars. It's become easy to figure out how to make a car fast, but to make it slower than every other car while still making it all the way down the track? THAT can be just as tricky. And the nice thing is, there is no one "winner" of the evening. There are many, but of differing kinds, which I think makes the whole day much less stressful.

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