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The Latin Scot

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Everything posted by The Latin Scot

  1. Well, it looks like our time together is drawing to its close ... https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/new-program-children-youth?cid=HP_TU-8-5-2018_dPAD_fMNWS_xLIDyL1-B_ And the joint statement from the Church and BSA: https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/multimedia/file/bsa-joint-statement-may-8.pdf
  2. The Latin Scot

    patrol patches

    I notice that whenever the issue of uniforms is brought up, there is an immediate influx of opinions to the effect of putting down those who support proper uniforming. Sometimes those who support the uniform are belittled as being obsessive-compulsive about something these naysayers claim "doesn't really matter," or, there arises a rather condescending tone implying that these others have "more important things to worry about than patches or pants." I find such patronizing unfortunate, and disappointing. The implication is that if you take time to care about the uniform, you are ignoring other aspects of Scouting, that somehow, you must be ignoring some greater good if you choose to nitpick over something perceived as 'inconsequential.' I find this reflects a gross misunderstanding of both the uniform and the powerful pedagogy behind it. I can say honestly and simply that my efforts to promote better uniforming with our Scouts has led to better behavior, stronger relationships, and increased loyalty to principles in the hearts of our boys. But that is because the purpose of getting the uniform right isn't about looks or image - it's about integrity, personal accountability, and a willingness to strengthen our identity as a group rather than insisting on the stubborn jealousy over the privileges of the individual. Our numbers have increased because we emphasize the ideals espoused in the uniform, and as leaders we have tried to model that ourselves, as it is unfair and inappropriate for adults to expect youth to live up to standards they themselves are not willing to espouse. So, yeah, I will teach my boys to notice the small details, because our very lives are built on small choices. A big fancy camp-out is only as successful as the care and planning that goes into it. These little lessons build great character, and as a leader who loves the youth I serve with, I cannot believe that accepting mediocrity is morally acceptable. Others may disagree, but years of observing the fruits of this mindset have taught me far more than any stray thoughts on an internet idea forum could ever disprove to me. It seems a small thing, but then, as Gandalf put it, "I have found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love." Getting a patch right here or wearing the hat properly there seems so small - but they teach these youth to look, to pay attention, to notice the little things around them - and this gift, this skill of being able to examine their world and their lives carefully and intentionally, will carry them further than any casual, cavalier attitude could possibly accomplish. How are we looking at the idea of uniforming? What do you see when you look at a youth in uniform? And what are you teaching them to see?
  3. The Latin Scot

    Hello

    Just to clarify this point:
  4. The Latin Scot

    Let's talk about Unit Numbers

    Well well! Your troop and I were born in the same year.
  5. The Latin Scot

    Patrol Identity, Then and Now...

    I'm particularly proud of the names and emblems in our units. Our Webelos den is the "Merry Archers" den, the 11 year-old patrol is the "Savage Viking" patrol, and the older patrol is the "Knights of Light" patrol, all with attractive patches. What's fascinating about their titles is that, as a boy moves up through the different groups, he also moves through various phases of English history - first the Anglo-Saxons, then the invading Norse vikings, and finally the knights of the Norman conquest, each with successive advancements in warfare, technology and government - just as the boys themselves increase in skill and ability as they advance through Scouting. Oh, and their den/patrol flags are exceptionally handsome too, each one done in a style appropriate to its era.
  6. The Latin Scot

    Protect Yourself Rules - New Training

    Too late. It's already being previewed as an adventure at all levels, meaning there will be a belt loop AND a Webelos pin: https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/preview-adventures/
  7. The Latin Scot

    The "Right Way" to retire U.S. Flag...

    Well then, here for the edification of all are the lyrics to "Taps." Please note I TRIED to reduce the spacing between each line, but this infernal text module forces a massive space after each paragraph and I don't know how to change the setting: 1. Day is done, Gone the sun, From the hills, From the lake, From the skies. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 2. Go to sleep, Peaceful sleep, May the soldier Or sailor, God keep. On the land Or the deep, Safe in sleep. 3. Love, good night, Must thou go, When the day, And the night Need thee so? All is well. Speedeth all To their rest. 4. Fades the light; And afar Goeth day, And the stars Shineth bright, Fare thee well, Day has gone, Night is on. 5. Thanks and praise, For our days. 'Neath the sun, 'Neath the stars, 'Neath the sky, As we go, This we know, God is nigh.
  8. The Latin Scot

    The "Right Way" to retire U.S. Flag...

    Well, last night our troop held an outdoor Court of Honor since the weather has been lovely and the boy in charge wanted to do something different. Since I knew there would be two fire pits set up outside, I recommended to him the possibility of a flag retiring ceremony as something extra to add to the night's activities. He was clearly excited, and using a simple script I crafted from the U.S. flag code and some relevant points about the flag's symbolism, he and three other boys carried out an exceptionally dignified ceremony wherein an old, beaten-up flag (old enough that the natural fabric posed no environmental hazards) was retired with great reverence and respect. My father (a noted vocalist) even sang the words to "Taps" as the different sections of the cut-up flag were placed in the fire and soon burnt to ashes, which were then removed and buried. It was brief, simple, but powerful, and many members of the audience were visibly moved. Thanks to all whose suggestions and comments in this thread helped me formulate a ceremony that our boys will remember for a long time.
  9. There's a gentleman in our district who sets up a large booth at every major district event with a VAST collection of Scouting memorabilia for sale or trade, and he is profoundly knowledgeable about nearly every item he shares. At the last Camporee I told my boys to spend some time there talking with him, and invariably each boy returned with some special treasure he had "discovered" and a solid understanding of that item's history as shared by this good man. As a Scouting Heritage counselor, I couldn't imagine a better way for my boys to pass off this requirement.
  10. Just attended the first Eagle CofH in the 24-year history of our local Spanish-speaking troop. The kid was one of my best den chiefs - I couldn't be happier!

    1. RememberSchiff

      RememberSchiff

      Congratulations to your new Eagle and to you.  Well done.

    2. Oldscout448

      Oldscout448

      clap-clap-clap

  11. The Latin Scot

    Uniform for parade 90 degrees

    You mean you people actually use the zip-off parts?!? I have to chuckle a bit; around here in sunny SoCal I never see the full long uniform pants being worn. Even rarer are long sleeves. Out here it's all short sleeves, short pants, and low-cut socks. The nice thing about the BSA uniform is that, even with a group of Scouts wearing a different assortment of garment lengths, they still look uniform. Personally I'm grateful I can avoid wearing long pants or sleeves all together.
  12. The Latin Scot

    Webelos AOL & Crossover

    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?
  13. The Latin Scot

    Webelos AOL & Crossover

    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!
  14. The Latin Scot

    Post your great ebay/thrift/yardsale finds

    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!
  15. The Latin Scot

    Hello from Eastern Washington

    What's important to remember is that children and youth are not some separate species that need to be treated with kid gloves (sorry ). 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!
  16. The Latin Scot

    Webelos AOL & Crossover

    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.
  17. The Latin Scot

    Webelos AOL & Crossover

    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.
  18. The Latin Scot

    Pioneering Campout

    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.
  19. The Latin Scot

    Webelos AOL & Crossover

    Webelos SCOUT! I'm sorry, it's in my signature so I am obliged to be a pain about it. 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.
  20. The Latin Scot

    Webelos AOL & Crossover

    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.
  21. The Latin Scot

    discontinued items and outdoor info bandanas

    I started volunteering as a Scout leader only a few years ago, so I missed the olive green jac-shirts. 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 ...
  22. The Latin Scot

    Uniform Inspections

    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!
  23. The Latin Scot

    Uniform Inspections

    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. 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.
  24. The Latin Scot

    What color is your Class B ?

    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.
  25. The Latin Scot

    Snake bites victimize parents as much as campers

    We've always had to be cautious of rattlers here in Southern California. So far I've been blessed never to have run into one directly (though I've heard plenty from afar), but it's something about which you can never grow complacent. Always beware.
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