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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. Well ...

    over the holiday break I spent the better part of two weeks in the hospital's intensive care wing after a severe illness and other incidents left me unconscious for five days. I survived the ordeal, and I feel much better now thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, but it did leave me in a seriously weakened condition, and for a few months I will be dealing with a rather delicate constitution as I work towards restoring my health to what it was before the sickness. After much prayer and consideration, it was decided that I should let go of my duties as Webelos Den Leader for a time so that I can fully recover. I have been filling this role for three and a half years, so I've had a good long run of it, but still, it's a saddening change for me. I will be volunteering as Pack Trainer for a few months so that I can still play a role in pack activities, but I am basically taking a few months' hiatus to ensure a complete and proper recovery.

    I have been sorting all my materials to make the transition as smooth as possible. The new leader will get a progress record for every boy detailing every requirement for every adventure he has completed, clear and easy-to-read charts and records showing the progress of the den as a whole, family talent surveys with notes on each boy and his family circumstances, and copies of important documents, all sorted by colored tabs in a neat, organized binder. I have contact information for key leaders at the pack and district level, a calendar with all the important events for the year, and a list of activities we have traditionally enjoyed at various seasons. I have his new patches and loops (he was an Assistant Scoutmaster until now), his Den Leader Guide, some posters, and other useful items to ensure that nothing is lost through the cracks as the boys transition from one leader to another. I have sent letters to the families expressing my love and optimism for the new year's changes, and I have personally spoken to every boy to let them know that while I may not be their den leader, I will always be their friend, and they can always come to me with Scouting questions or stories of what they have accomplished. I want to make the transition quiet and unobtrusive so that I don't step on the new leader's toes as he assumes the mantle for this position; it's his show now, and I want to respect that by avoiding any undue attention directed towards me so that he can escape the annoyance of people saying "well, our last leader did things this way ..." I will announce the changes at Pack Meeting tonight, and it's a little heart-breaking just thinking about it already.

    So ... it's a hard change for me. I have always been 100% driven as a leader, and I had all kinds of plans for this year (the last year our Church will be involved in Scouting). I don't want to cling too hard to the past, but I also want to find ways to stay connected to the boys in the pack. Pack Trainer will be a good position for the time being, since I have been training for the district and council for the past few years already and it's not a taxing job for me, but how much distance should I keep so that the new leader can make his own mark while still finding ways to stay involved with the pack? And what else can I do to make sure the transition is successful? Obviously, I have a lot of emotions to deal with, and I feel deeply for the boys who have to deal with such a big change in their lives, but I appreciate any thoughts and comments that might help me as I make my first major transition as a Scout leader. My thanks to anybody who can share something that might help me deal with my very tender feelings.

  2. 3 hours ago, Thunderbird said:

    @The Latin Scot  There are different versions of it, but here is an example of what a face paint Bobcat rank ceremony might be like:



    Thanks for that! I feel, from a pedagogical and practical point of view, it would be better not to use a ceremony like this for a Cub Scout's Bobcat award. At this stage we are only just introducing the child to the idea of Scouting, and we want them to feel that the achievement in and of itself, with the associated badge and mother's pin to represent it, is something meaningful and significant. Adding facepaint and colors and bonus symbols and balloons and all that fluff is rather like gilding the lily if you ask me. Greater accomplishments more worthy of such "ceremonial adornment," such as the Arrow of Light and, further down the road, the Order of the Arrow, will come. But this is the Scout's first award. Let's start them off by letting this award be special on its own, without being tethered to other superfluous activities or rituals. And at all costs avoid feeding them a taste for over-wrought theatrics that will only end up with parents wanting something bigger and fancier with every level. Nip this one in the bud, my friend.

    Keep your pack grounded. That's one of the most important roles of a good leader. Make things exciting and fun, but make sure excitement and fun are tools and means to an end - not the goal of Scouting itself. Good luck!

    Post Script: please note that many boys this age are extremely averse to any kind of face-painting or other similar attention-drawing activities, especially in front of large crowds. Some parents may like it, but there are many Scouts who will not. Never do anything without FIRST consenting with the boys. Without their complete and total approval, I would withdraw any proposed activities such as this.

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  3. 4 hours ago, Cubmaster Pete said:

    What I don't want is one parent saying "Why didn't you do that for my kid" when unfortunately I don't have time to do it....

    You prevent this by first emphasizing at your pack meeting presentation just how special the Bobcat patch and mother's pin really are. This is the FIRST RANK* IN ALL OF SCOUTING. This is something huge! That patch represents something important! So make a real, meaningful presentation of the badge - what goes into earning it, what those requirements mean, where they lead, et cetera. Give it real dignity. And then, make that first mother's pin** really significant. Families make Scouting, so use Scouting's little awards to send a big message at that first pack meeting - we know you, and we recognize your efforts. If you make these two awards count, you won't need to add any other fluff to the ceremonies. And if parent here or there complains, just smile and say "we're working to make these meetings as meaningful to our Scouts as we can, and that means simplifying and even standardizing some of our ceremonies to put more focus on the families and less on the theatrics. Thank you for your patience and understanding!"

    * Lions not included
    ** Or father's pin, or whatever the case may be

    EDIT: By the way, I don't even know what "the face paint one" is, but I can tell you there doesn't need to be a "ceremony" for the Bobcat rank - the whole pack meeting is a ceremony, really. You present the patch with all due dignity and pomp, and then have the boy put the pin on his mother's hem with all manner of gracious words towards the family, and that's really it. I don't know what other "ceremonies" are going on as far as Bobcats are concerned, but they aren't necessary. Not harmful I'm sure, but not needed either. 

  4. Erasing our past only makes it easier for us to forget it. The Order of the Arrow has stood for service and brotherhood for over a hundred years, and by eliminating all the defining elements of its composition and character, we are also losing many of the morals and symbolism which the OA used to teach young men how to improve themselves and their communities. Many of these were powerfulful words and symbols and garments of Native American cultures. Adaptation and progress are inevitable; we can't fool ourselves into thinking that the Order of the Past is what the boys of today need. But we can still use that history, we can still teach from those same symbols and ceremonies and legends and costumes, finding new ways to honor their antiquity while respecting their people, to give boys that greater sense of purpose and selflessness which will strengthen them as citizens, husbands and fathers in the future. We have a duty to the rising generation of Scouts to offer them ALL the Order of the Arrow had, has, and will have to offer. Completely ignoring or eliminating the past will only wipe out possibilities for the future. So we do what we can now, where we are, to preserve those ideals and promises. 


    The past is behind us - learn from it. The future is ahead - prepare for it. The present is here - live it."

    - Thomas S. Monson, Silver Buffalo and Bronze Wolf recipient 


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  5. Well, the cold facts of this case are:

    1. No unit leader nor committee may add, nor take away from, the requirements, as written exactly in the Boy Scout Handbook and the Eagle Scout application.

    2. There are absolutely no prohibitions on multiple projects being conducted at the same place for the same beneficiary as long as each is managed entirely and only by each respective Scout (I know this for a fact because we just had two boys do their projects on opposite sides of the same street on the same day for our city, and I read through the requirements a dozen times to be sure it was permissible).

    3. If you would like to move forward as planned, which I suggest you do, simply move up to your District Advancement Chair for approval, and if not, your District Executive. Under no circumstances should you bend to any leader imposing false prohibitions on these boys' efforts.

    4. In all things, be respectful and courteous, and as has been noted, inform the Scoutmaster that the situation has already been taken care of. If he complains or makes demands, simply smile and say Thank you, the situation has been taken care of. Do not give him any room to argue, and if you must, just keep repeating it, but sincerely and kindly. If it's been taken care of under the proper authorities, it's been taken care of. There is nothing the Scoutmaster can do to impede you at this point in the game.

    All the best to you.

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  6. Put simply, a believer usually NOT a believer in a Church - he or she is a believer in God. God, at least in my book, does not change. How different denominations interpret divine will, however, depends on the people who belong to them, not on God Himself. I don't belong to a sect that has those issues, but I know that even among believers, many struggle to interpret consistent moral principles in religions of perpetually changing doctrines. What I would like to know is, how does an atheist determine right and wrong without an external barometer such as God or revelation? Please know I am not trying to be confrontational; I am hoping it will help me articulate my thoughts in this discussion better. If there is not some outside factor weighing in on morality, how does an atheist decide what morality even is? How does one learn without a teacher? How does one set a standard of right and wrong if everybody's personal scale is weighted by a lifetime of different experiences? Can there be moral absolutes if there is no Giver of moral law in the first place? I admit I have always been ignorant as to the reasoning of atheists. If you could enlighten me, I would appreciate it, and would be able to answer your questions better.

    Note: I am off to den meeting now, and I suspect that by the time I get back online this topic will be overwhelmed with responses. But I shall be eager to read how things develop when I return. 

  7. 1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

    Since you can't answer the 2 questions posed, I'll consider this discussion over.

    Due to lack of response, I submit that there is no difference in the views of Atheist and Theists in what is right and wrong. 

    I can answer that, though an internet forum with strangers over the web is a poor place for a meaningful discussion about matters as profound as this. But there is a difference.

    An atheist believes that right and wrong must be determined by mankind. As such, there can be no right and wrong until there are people to say they exist. The duty of man, therefore, is to determine what he believes to be morally acceptable or morally unacceptable, and to live his life according to what he perceives those ideals to be. What those standards are will vary from person to person according to their own experiences and judgements.

    A believer holds that right and wrong have always been and always will be, and that they are revealed to mankind by a Creator who sees more than we see and knows more than we know, and so is in a legitimate position to make judgements that will benefit humanity. Concepts of morality are not created by, but rather given to, man, and so there is an absolute standard to which he dedicates his life, living according to his faith in that Being or Power.

    There is a great difference. But the difference is not as important as that what we share is that we want to do what is right. How we define that, and just what "right" is, vary, but we can work together to ensure that we all do our best, and that we are forgiving when we fail. That's humanity at its best, whatever you believe. Scouting does it one way. Perhaps you want to do it in another. Let's try to help and uplift one another, rather than try to tear each other down. 

  8. I run a Webelos den for my local congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We pray in every den meeting, we meet in the Church, we work on religious projects as well as Scouting ones. It would be easy for somebody to make the claim that by maintaining such an emphasis on our religion, we leave out boys who aren't believers, or even boys of other faiths.

    Unless you come to my den meetings. 

    I LOVE when boys of other denominations come to our meetings. I ask them to pray according to their own customs so that my group of predominantly LDS boys can be exposed to other faith traditions. I ask them questions about what their services are like, and love to attend them (I even have my own beautiful yarmulke, a gift from a dear friend, to wear at the many bar/bat mitzvahs to which I am invited). I invite boys and their families to bring prayer rugs and/or shawls with them during long activities if that is a part of the way they pray. I make sure menus accomodate any visiting boys who may have dietary practices to follow, just as I do (I am one of the few Scouters in my area who doesn't start my mornings with a cup of coffee). My den and pack are extremely devout - but that doesn't keep others from participating in Scouting with us.

    NOW - what of the boy who visits my den (and this is not too uncommon) who isn't a believer at all? Well, first of all I explain to the parents that we are a Church-owned unit, and that religion will be explicitly taught at our meetings. They deserve to know that upfront. Second, I explain that Scouting is a religious organization but non-denominational, meaning I won't proselytize to their child, but he will be exposed to faith-building concepts. Then, I explain that to achieve ranks in Scouting, there will be religious requirements that will require their child to explore their spirituality, but always with a non-denominational, personal and private approach. If they are okay with all that, I welcome their child into the group. If the parents are not, I make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that their child will be LOVED and WELCOMED at our meetings, but that there will also be some parts of the advancement program that may prove challenging for the Scout if they are adamant in their unwillingness to at least investigate the idea of belief. That way, they can decide then and there is Scouting is right for them. If it is, great! If not, there are many other wonderful programs serving youth that might be a better fit for them.

    Most stick with it. Others do not. But it's always their choice; my job is to inform them and help them make the choice about what's best for them - not to try and BE what's best for every child under the sun. I can't do that. But I can help.

    In no way, nor at any point, are they being excluded. Rather I stand ready to welcome them into our group if they wish, but if we don't deliver what they want, we will gladly help them find a program that will. However, our program centers on belief, of whatever kind, and that does not change. And honestly, I have had many grateful families opt out of Scouting in an amicable, civil way, simply because we were honest with each other and helpful in making sure we help them get what they think will be best for their child. That's what we want for our children too. Maybe it's in Scouting. Maybe it isn't. Scouting is not the only program that builds character in young people. If you don't like that it requires faith of some kind, find a program you love that does.

    And if you can't find one, make one! I for one would be glad to support it.

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  9. 44 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

    I get that we're worried about Scouts and oaths things, but isn't it really about helping youth build character?  If we can keep our existing program and open the door so that more Scouts experience our program that's got to be a good thing.

    But doing one's duty to God IS the program, or at least it's certainly one of the most important parts of it. It's the first thing we commit to doing every time we recite the Scout oath, and if we, as Scouters, decide that we no longer wish to fulfil that obligation, an obligation we promised to do ON OUR HONOR, what good is our word in regards to anything any more? I made the oath as a brand new 11 year-old Scout, more than 20 years ago, that I would do my duty to God. Thus I am obliged, on my honor, to continue to do so for the rest of my life, and that includes defending it from those who would remove it from the very fabric of Scouting. And what's more, I want to do it. It shapes and molds my character daily, not just because it's nice, not just because it's respectable, but because it is my duty to God, and I am honored to serve Him. Millions of boys over the past century will gladly say the same.

    I am a little tired of hearing the word "exclusion," as though by requiring Scouts to acknowledge God we were the ones kicking them out. Not so. Our program is religious in composition if not in denomination, and if a young person wishes to exclude religious from his or her life, they should find a program that will serve them "according to the dictates of their own conscience." Scouting is not that program, and that's okay - let us serve the youth who want religion in their lives, and let other programs serve those who don't. That's not exclusion. That's being respectful of the feelings of others - both those who don't believe, and those who do.

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  10. Wow, right in my own backyard! This happened not 20 minutes from me over in the next-door Scouting district! I know a lot of the leaders there; I am going to see if I can find out more from my Scouting connections in that part of town. That pilot was smart to land on Doheny Beach; at this time of year at that time of day it's not too busy at all, and the open stretches of fine sand make it one of the safer choices for an emergency landing. But he's lucky he didn't end up in the water; we've been having crazy high-surf warnings today, with some areas getting MASSIVE waves. I have no idea what those Scouts were doing there with all the warnings we've been getting. 

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  11. 51 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    ... There is extremism everywhere. We had a troop that only recruited home schooled scouts. They didn't last very long, but it's an example of adults blinded by their passion  ...

    Wait, how is home-schooling "extremism" or being "blinded by their passion?" There are thousands of places where public schools are failing our nation's children, and home-schooling can be an extremely effective and positive alternative. I was home-schooled for many years as a kid, and I when I applied to college I was accepted at two Ivy League schools and most campuses of the University of California. Part of what made home-schooling work for my family was that I was involved in Scouting, which gave me strong connections to the community and invaluable social skills (just like I received from my religious community). So let's not knock on home-schooling as though it was some radical idea out of the fringes of society. ;)

    This does, however, illustrate the point. Extremism is not only defined by how people express their beliefs, but also by how others perceive them. You can be extreme in what you believe, and you can be extreme in how you treat or talk about the beliefs of others. There are extreme believers. There are those who are extremely opposed to religion. And there are those who are extreme in other facets of their worldview. It's everywhere, and in all cases, it harms us. So, we protect ourselves and our children from this by practicing tolerance and compassion, and finding others with similar desires to help us strengthen and unite our society. Empathy is our strongest shield. Understanding is our mightiest armor.

    When Baden-Powell created Scouting, he understood that those ideals can be taught in a more lasting and meaningful way through religion (just which religion was, and is, unimportant). So he crafted this program to work with, support, and encourage religious faith, in order to give his creation that foundation of belief that would in turn uphold and constitute the core ideals of Scouting. I believe that were he alive now, he would still feel that way.

    Somebody earlier suggested that he was a "man of his time," and that if he were living now he would feel differently. But let's look at that ideal realistically. I am a "man of my time" - that being the present. And being younger than many of you, I chronologically am more distant from B.P. than the majority of the voices in this conversation, yet my convictions about religion in Scouting are the same as Baden-Powell's were over 100 years ago. One might say "well then, you are an anomaly amongst your generation." But so was Baden-Powell, far more so than I! Surely the unimaginably wonderful results of his creation testify of this. So this wasn't a matter of antiquated ideals or out-dated ideologies. Centering Scouting on one's duty to God was a matter of personal conviction, and I think Baden-Powell's mature and broad-minded ability to work with various religious beliefs within one harmonious program was inspired and made possible by his profound desire to help young people around the world. And as he brought together the most potent tools he could think of to create his program, he wisely included faith as a central pillar of its composition. We would do well to look back at his words and his example, and come back to ourselves as a program, with our Duty to God being the first and foremost of our responsibilities.

    If you don't want your child to be religious, that is your right and privilege as a parent. So find a program that better fits your convictions. But it isn't Scouting. And in my opinion, if the Boy Scouts of America ever reached the point where it didn't require an acknowledgement of one's duty to God, it wouldn't be Scouting either. Mere sleeping in tents and pinewood derbies do not true Scouting make. 

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  12. 2 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

    So in your opinion, Scouts Canada, and Scouts UK isn't "real" Scouting?  Getting so tired of hearing that atheists don't have a moral compass or that religious people have some moral superiority. 

    It's possible to teach morals, values and duty to fellow man without believing in god.  I'd much rather teach my son to help others because it's the right thing to do instead of being good out of fear that an invisible sky man is going to smite him. 

    Never at any point have I disagreed with you, nor with anything you say. I never said atheists don't have a moral compass. I would never believe that being religious gives one moral superiority.

    You are confronting the wrong issue. 

    My point was not about morality. It was not about right and wrong. It is about Scouting, and religion being a part of it. Scouting is NOT morality. It is a program designed to help build character in young people. It is a program that uses many different methods to accomplish this. Outdoor programs. Uniforms. Patrols. And yes, doing one's religious duty - implying that one must have a religion to make it work. If you choose not to believe in God, that is your choice, and nobody is in any position to judge you for that. However, Scouting is a program that incorporates and supports religious beliefs in its methods. If you don't like that, then find a program that better fits your beliefs (or lack thereof). But Scouting DOES inherently promulgate the importance of faith, and that is a core tenet of its constitution.

    I don't know much about Scouts Canada, nor Scouts UK. But if they have rejected one's duty to God entirely, then no, I don't believe they are "real" Scouting, or certainly not the Scouting program that Baden-Powell was inspired to create anyway. One of the core, original purposes of Scouting was to support religious faith in young men. It gave the program power and meaning. Take it away and Scouting loses a part of its soul.

    NOTE: this does NOT imply that other programs which do NOT stress religion are bad. It does NOT mean that Scouting is 'better' because it is inherently religious. It does NOT mean we claim that morals cannot be taught without faith. It does NOT mean we feel God would "smite" those who think differently. Those are your conclusions, but not our beliefs. To slap religionists in the face because you feel their ideas are misguided is EXACTLY the thing you seem to despise, so be careful. Compassion and understanding are essential to true moral uprightness, and your son will learn from your example and treatment of others as much as from your teachings.

    Scouting teaches that in part through religion. You have other methods. That's wonderful, but just because you have chosen to do so without God does not give you the right to insist that Scouting do the same. It's in the program. If you don't like it, find another program and leave this one alone.

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  13. First of all, I think it strange and perhaps somewhat insensitive to group atheists and Jehovah's Witness together; they are as utterly different in their beliefs (or lack thereof) as any two groups can be. Secondly, Duty to God is an integral, inherent part of Scouting - if you remove that element of its composition, in my book, it will cease to be Scouting, regardless of what organization (even the BSA if it comes to that) may claim to be running it. The Scouting program and its methods, as created by Baden-Powell and build up by the likes of Seton, Beard and Hillcourt, is a religious program, yet at the same time absolutely non-denominational. That's one of the wonders of its foundation, and it has worked beautifully for generations. But remove that central core of duty to God, and ... well, in my book, it's no longer Scouting, and it's no longer going to work. That's not being judgemental - that's integrity. But upholding a standard of membership is not discourteous. If you are looking for a totally non-religious organization to take you camping and teach you life-skills, Scouting isn't for you - but there are many other good and supportive organizations who can help. Look for one that already suits you rather than change the one that suits somebody else.

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  14. I think it's PRECISELY when you are facilitating a group prayer that each boy's personal faith tradition should be acknowledged and encouraged. By exposing them to different forms of prayer when they are young, and in a safe setting like Den or Pack Meeting, you are helping to breed in them a positive outlook towards the beliefs of others, and helping nurture a tolerance that they won't always find in everywhere else in their futures. The most desirable thing you could do is encourage every Scout to pray in the very manner to which he is accustomed, as taught by his family and faith leaders. What a wonderful opportunity to share something so deeply intimate as faith and spirituality! If you do it when they are young and sincere, and protect them from "watered-down," generic orations that only shelter them from the diversity around them, you will find you have helped raise up a generation of respectful, compassionate citizens who are tolerant and supportive of others' faiths and beliefs.

    Norman Rockwell freedom of religion.jpg

  15. Certainly it would be preferred if another leader could be specifically assigned to sign off for a boy whose parent is a primary troop leader. One thing to remember however is that, with all Scouting advancement, that Scout is acting on his honor - as are his parents. And there is no specific policy which prohibits a  registered parent from signing off a requirement for their own child if that parent serves in a leadership position. If the Scout says that he completed a requirement, and his parent signs the book in his capacity as a troop leader, then we are obliged to accept it, unless there is some obviously egregious falsification taking place (in the which case we must still tread carefully). But if there isn't any particular reason to doubt the effort, we should make it very clear that we accept work and the signatures out of trust that their actions are, in fact, trustworthy. Then it's on their heads either to uphold their honest integrity or to live with their fraud and duplicity. 

    I do very much appreciate @RememberSchiff's ideas, which suggest easy means of preventing future issues in a civilized, relaxed, and perspicuous manner. I recommend following those suggestions so that nobody's honor will have to be called into question in the first place. :)

  16. Hey all! This month I started service as our OA Chapter Secretary Adviser. Well, at our Roundtable last night the previous adviser to the secretary handed me a badge of office that says "Order of the Arrow Chapter Adviser" on it, and told me I could put it on my uniform. However - isn't this patch for THE Chapter Adviser? He told me all the advisers, for all the positions, wear them, but I am pretty sure only the adviser to the Chapter Chief is supposed to wear it. Am I right? Or just hopelessly confused? Any and all information is helpful. Thanks all! 

  17. I believe (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, folks) that linked troops may share a unit number if they wish, but it isn't required. It seems girl units and boy units will be numbered separately, so hypothetically, if an all-boy Troop 555 doesn't have a linked girl's troop tethered to them, any random all-girl troop could also register as Troop 555, even if they aren't linked to that original boy's unit. I would imagine a council could simply reserve all existing boy's troop numbers in case they decide to add a linked girl's unit to their program, but I predict many of them will not consider this possibility until some mix-up has already happened.

    Oh, the tangled webs we weave ...

  18. So ...

    First of all, I assume you mean the Cubmaster, correct? If you are a Bear Den Leader, then I assume you are dealing with Pack leadership (Scoutmasters work with Troops).

    Secondly, if you're going to seek advice from strangers on the internet, it would help if you gave more information about the situation so that we can have some idea of what, exactly, is going on. Why were the leaders so upset? How did this all start? If they were to post here, what do you think they would say about the incident? There are always two sides to every story, and the more we know about what happened, the better we can help you. This is all information that you need to consider if you are to effect any meaningful change.

    Certainly, it is never appropriate for a Scout leader to verbally attack another person, let alone to gang up on that person with his/her spouse. And yes, "yelling and screaming" at somebody would be considered bullying. But why were they doing this? I assume that in their minds, right or wrong, there was some justification for their behavior. If you are going to attempt to "remove" them, you need to be prepared to confront their arguments and their perceptions of what transpired, and the fact that they will almost certainly defend their actions to the powers that be. Whether or not they ought to be removed ultimately depends on what actually happened, which is a very large part of this story that we here don't know, and about which we are in no position to opine with the little information given.

    In any case, the first person to talk to would be your Cub Committee Chair and your Chartered Organization Representative. Your unit belongs to the CO, so you need to speak with them before anybody else, explaining the incident AND any pertinent events that led up to it. I STRONGLY suggest doing this in person; e-mails and texts are so easily misunderstood that you will only be inviting further miscommunication if you contact them in this manner. Arrange a time to meet with them, and see where your discussion takes you. Should you find that they are unable to help in a satisfactory manner, you should then contact either your unit commissioner or, if you don't have one, your district commissioner. In all cases, be calm, polite, and clear about what happened, providing as many details as you can, with documentation of relevant incidents if necessary. Your goal should be resolution, not retaliation.

    Hopefully, you get the situation resolved in a positive, civil manner that will allow you and your fellow leaders to resolve your differences amicably. And above everything, don't let your situation affect the Scouts in your program. No child should ever suffer because of adult disagreements.

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  19. Don't get me wrong, I am all for preparation and any measures that will calm a boys nerves (though by the time I had my Eagle BofR, I was very acclimated to the process and wasn't really nervous at all, so it seems superfluous to me). However, the Troop Committee CANNOT require such a preliminary Board of Review. It's not in the official requirements, so while they may certainly suggest their own board, they are in no position to demand it.

  20. I notice that whenever somebody wants to wear an item that is disallowed by the most current Guide to Awards and Insignia, they bring up something along the lines of "Well, it's such a little thing that nobody should make a big deal out of it, and after all, isn't this about KIDS, and not about worrying about such a little thing?!"

    The problem with this approach is that it is ultimately a distraction from the real issue - adults who want to get away with improper uniforming, and throwing up the smokescreen of 'concern for the program' when actually they just don't want people to bother them about an error they are willfully perpetuating. When we say "lets focus on kids" and not "waste your time and energy on something that is not enforceable," we are very much saying "I want to ignore the idea of uniforms, and if you don't like it, then you are ignoring the CHILDREN - how could you?!" This, of course, is unfair and illogical. Pointing out errors in an attempt to preserve the power of the uniform, especially when done tactfully, respectfully, and kindly, does not in any way distract from the program. In fact, it is a move towards strengthening it. We are a uniformed body. When we try to make ourselves exceptions simply because we want things to be our way, or to highlight our own accomplishments and not those of the youth, we have lost our way. 

    We don't need uniform police, because every responsible adult should be policing himself - not against petty rules, but against setting an example of defiance and exception rather than obedience and unity. Be mindful of which you are putting before the youth you teach.

    • Upvote 1

  21. In our district, adults have almost nothing to do with the actual planning of Camporee. Scouts from all the participating units start gathering to plan events, patch designs, themes and what have you a few months in advance - for example, the first such meeting for our next Camporee in April will take place next week. There are adults involved who reserve the site, ensure safety procedures are being observed, et cetera, but the actual event is planned by Scouts and run by Scouts. There is a Camporee Senior Patrol Leader who chooses his own 'staff,' and he directs all the meetings. 

    What I did notice at our Fall Camporall in October was that the boy who were there really got involved, and all of the kids I talked to had a fantastic experience. They loved the games (which they helped plan and develop), they ate well, they were thrilled to see friends from school who are in other troops, they got a kick out of the collection brought by a 75-year veteran Scouter - it was simply wonderful. They LIKED being surrounded by all the other troops because the got a sense of just how big and impactful the Scouting movement is - most of my kids hadn't grasped how widespread Scouting is in our community. And out here, every patrol in every troop is responsible for its own meals - no food is provided (except for the secret ingredients in the cooking competitions). There was designated "Troop Time" when boys could do whatever they liked with their friends, and our district and council visitors didn't bother us once, though they did visit us just to get to know the boys a bit - it was quite pleasant actually.

    Our troop had such a good time that they are already preparing for next April; they are determined to win a number of events this time, and as a result, a lot of boys are passing off requirements and progressing in Scouting in ways that never would have happened were they not so motivated by their Camporee experience. So in my book, when done right, Camporee is one of the best experiences a Scout can have.