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The Latin Scot

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Everything posted by The Latin Scot

  1. The Latin Scot

    And so it begins

    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.
  2. The Latin Scot

    And so it begins

    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.
  3. The Latin Scot

    use of the word "Lord" in scouting?

    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.
  4. The Latin Scot

    Scout Leader signed for his son's rank requirement

    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.
  5. The Latin Scot

    OA Adviser Insignia?

    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!
  6. The Latin Scot

    Here's another mystery patch

    Here's another one; a parent gave me a patch like this today but I can't find anything else like it except on Etsy, which has precious little information about whence it actually comes. Was it a uniform item? Anybody know?
  7. The Latin Scot

    Linked Troops sharing a website, unit number

    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 ...
  8. The Latin Scot

    Out of control scout master

    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.
  9. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Board of Review (Appeal)

    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.
  10. The Latin Scot

    Unofficial Seabadge "Knots"

    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.
  11. The Latin Scot

    Camporee

    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.
  12. The Latin Scot

    Where did you go to summer camp?

    I went to Camp Chawanakee as a Scout in '97, and Camp Cherry Valley on Catalina Island in '98.
  13. The Latin Scot

    Bear Grylls is new World Scout Ambassador

    I don't know really who this person is outside of the brief (and surely cursory) sketch of his background in the announcement. What exactly has he done to merit this honor? Is this another instance of using a celebrity as a puppet leader to get attention, or does he actually have legitimate Scouting credentials to his name?
  14. The Latin Scot

    Why all the slap-stick in Cub Scouting?

    I'm afraid if you "dumped" religious, Scouting would have absolutely no foundation. Once religion is removed from Scouting, it will cease to have any power whatsoever to do good in the lives of young people. Baden-Powell himself said the following: Now let’s look at the BSA National Office for some additional clarification on this subject: I believe this 100%. And I think the "slap-stick" in Cub Scouting is often a distraction from this. I have a wonderful time as a Webelos Den Leader with my boys. But, while we are always engaged in meaningful activities, NOT EVERYTHING IS "FUN." Sometimes there are very sobering conversations, or discussions that require a bit of mature, thoughtful interaction. That's okay. Yes, Cub Scouts can be a barrel of monkeys, more often than not, we are having a wild time. But there are just as many times when we need to use this program to teach deeper values with far greater significance. Fun is a tool, and a marvelous one at that. But it must always remain just that - a tool, not an end. My goal is never "to have fun." I use fun as an effective and powerful way to reach my REAL goal - building solid moral character in the boys I teach. If it gets TOO ridiculous, well, in my book that's a distraction.
  15. The Latin Scot

    Each Patrol Member Needs a Job

    We have a young man who has done an excellent job teaching me how useful and important the role of Scribe can be. Mind you, I was Scribe for a while back when I was a youth member, and I never felt like I did anything important in that role. But this kid has really made the job his own. He keeps neat, organized minutes at every meeting, and he writes everything relevant in a tidy binder with dividers separating various types of "documents." He has a file for menus (including shopping lists, which Scouts will purchase what, who will cook the meals, et cetera), camp-outs (where they are camping, duty charts for the outing, requirements the boys want to pass off), troop minutes (with a better agenda than even our committee uses) -- this kid didn't ask whether the patrol needed a Scribe or not, rather, he made himself needed, and found ways to magnify his role so that it is now an invaluable part of patrol functions. I think that's what every boy should be aspiring to; it's not about the job you take, but rather it's the effort that you make.
  16. The Latin Scot

    How to deal with a difficult leader?

    Well, if you talk to your CO and explain the issue, they can simply GIVE him a new role. No questions, no discussion - simply tell him his services are appreciated but the nature of his role will be changing. Then change his role. If the CO approves the action, there is nothing he can do about it - besides whine and complain and all that, but he can't force himself into any position of leadership. It's a tough call but if he is truly sabotaging your boys' experience than just excuse him from the position in which he seems to be causing so much trouble, and find him something else to do where he won't cause so many problems. The CO is fully empowered to choose its own leaders, and to dismiss them as well (or at least give them new duties). Should he decline, he is welcome to look elsewhere for opportunities to serve.
  17. The Latin Scot

    Chartering a New Troop for Girls

    I think simply "Starting New Units" would be better; it could be Cub Scouts, Venturing, Sea Scouts, whatever. Seems like it could potentially get a lot of interest.
  18. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Board of Review (Appeal)

    Ah, that would be the difference between @SSScout's district and ours. Our district advancement chair just issued a VERY strongly worded mandate to our units specifying that "under no circumstances are units or committees to conduct preliminary or 'practice' Boards of Review. The final Board of Review is the ONLY Board of Review, as stated in the Boy Scout Handbook and in accordance with the Guide to Advancement, and this is to be conducted only after all other requirements have been met. This does NOT include a 'trial run.' with another group of leaders. There is no need nor authorization for units, chartered organizations, or unit committees to schedule or demand a precursory Board of Review with an Eagle Scout Candidate."
  19. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Board of Review (Appeal)

    Wow ... @SSScout, you just described in perfect detail the EXACT procedure we follow in our district. You sure you don't live in South OC, CA?
  20. The Latin Scot

    Woggle -> Slide -> Friendship Knot, What's your pleasure?

    I wear this collectible slide that the LDS-BSA Relations Committee produced some years back. It's a very well-made slide, and I like wearing the LDS-BSA emblem so prominently as a way of making my convictions and affiliations known:
  21. The Latin Scot

    Patrol Method/System Resources

    I love that. I have already printed off copies of it to give to all the leaders in our Troop.
  22. The Latin Scot

    "Classic" Scout Socks are now a thing?

    So, apparently the Scout Shop is really excited about these "Classic Scout" socks - they're also "Vintage," "Retro," and "Original." I don't know if they could fit any more adjectives on the packaging. Anyways, they're cute and all, sure, but with all the crazy stuff going on in Scouting these days ... was there really a demand for these things? Has anybody had Scouts coming to them saying "Gee wilikers, would that I could find myself a genuine pair of red over-the-calf socks like my Grandpa used to wear! That would be far out!" ??? Also, if you have had a Scout come to you saying that, are you from the past? Can I see your time machine? And can you bring me back a Cub Scout Blue jac-shirt in an adult Small? I have but simple demands. Thank you.
  23. The Latin Scot

    "Train Them, Trust Them, Let Them Lead"

    On the one hand, that was the campiest little number I've watched in months. Yet on the other hand ... It is charming (I vaguely remember slideshows from when I was only about knee-high to a grasshopper; they were already considered obsolete by the time I was in elementary school), but I gotta say - I agree wholeheartedly with most everything it teaches. As primitive as the presentation is, I find that it successfully conveys the entire point of the patrol method in a clear, easy-to-understand and mildly (MILDLY) amusing context. The quotes are right on, it addresses a scenario that is all but ubiquitous in the Scouting world, and it's simple. Honestly, I think it's wonderful. I would GLADLY show this to any Scouter, whether old and seasoned or fresh and new.
  24. The Latin Scot

    Winter Camping Plans?

    When I was 15 we drove 2 1/2 hours up to Big Bear up in the San Bernadino Mountains during the brief time of year when they have a modicum of snow so that we could experience the "thrills" of winter camping. There was almost no snow on the ground to speak of, but to a kid like me who had never seen snow before it might as well have been the North Pole. There was only enough in a few melted-out patches to make four or five muddy 'snowballs,' and by the time we woke up it was all gone. Of course, when I say "woke up," I wrongly suggest that I actually slept. Not a one of us had proper clothing, sleeping gear nor even the most basic preparation for the cold we struggled through that night. It was, without question, the second-worst camping experience I ever had to endure, and I would never dream of willingly camping outdoors in a place that had winter again! That said - I hope your boys have better experiences than I had camping in the winter time! Of course, I imagine you people have winter time in the first place, something that fortunately we lack entirely here.
  25. The Latin Scot

    Eagle Board of Review (Appeal)

    I was 14 when I earned the rank of Eagle, and now 20 years later I still get people asking if I "really appreciated it" when I got it, or if it was me or my parents who really did the work. Your son will learn much more from this experience that he realizes right now in the thick of things, and it will make him an even better Eagle Scout besides. At 14 he is learning more than many do even at 16 or 17. Just don't let him give up!
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