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The Latin Scot

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Everything posted by The Latin Scot

  1. The Latin Scot

    To star or not to star?

    I like service stars. They're small, they're shiny, they're utterly impractical and yet one of the oldest and most historical insignia still in use. So here's my question - I wear stars for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and adult leadership. But, TECHNICALLY I was also a Venturing Scout for two years (from 16 to 18 years old), so TECHNICALLY I suppose I am entitled to wear a red-backed 2-year star as well - but do I deserve to? Coming from a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unit, we never really implemented the Venturing program correctly. Sure, we still did some Scouting during my older years, and I earned some merit badges - and we were indeed a chartered Venturing Crew, and I was officially registered in the unit. We did LOTS of activities and outings, but never as a "Venturing" unit - at least not to my awareness. I never really got to know nor enjoy that program because my leaders were, for lack of a better term, clueless. I never got to wear the fabulous green shirts, never knew I could have earned special Venturing Awards (that Trust Award would have been right up my alley!), and I never even knew I was actually a Venturing Scout until long after the fact. So: a part of me wants to wear the star for those two years because, by jingo, I WAS a Venturing Scout, if only on paper, and I was still involved in Scouting to an extent. But it wasn't truly the Venturing program, so part of me feels like it's cheating. I bring this up because a fellow leader and friend was a very active Venturing Scout, and he encourages me to wear the star if only for the sake of being properly uniformed (as in, I was in the program, so I should wear the insignia). But I'm hesitant. I don't really think there is a right or wrong answer, and I am still quite undecided at the moment, so I would love to read your thoughts and opinions. Thanks all!
  2. The Latin Scot

    To star or not to star?

    Oh no, I'm sure all the information was available to my leaders - my local leaders were just incredibly dense. As in, pitifully so. I don't know if I've ever gone into much depth about my own experiences as a young Scout, but they were mostly negative ones, mostly due to the utter negligence and ignorance of my local Scout leaders. But that was a community problem, not a church-wide issue. The Church itself would never have adopted the Venturing program if it hadn't understood its program entirely. And in places like Utah and Idaho, as I've mentioned, with incredibly large LDS populations, the Venturing program was actually very strong in many areas, and enjoyed high levels of success. But my own local leaders barely understood the Cub Scout program, let alone more advanced operations like Varsity and Venturing, so that's why my Venturing 'experience' was all but non-existent. But your comments are enlightening; I am pretty much unfamiliar with every aspect of Venturing, so it's helpful to know that it has its own flaws which may have contributed to the ambivalence of my leaders, if only in part.
  3. The Latin Scot

    Suggest Councils that should be Combined

    My concern is that strong, healthy councils may eventually be forced into adopting weaker neighbors that could hinder their continuing success. For example, my council (Orange County Council in CA) is actually doing pretty well - we are financially stable, we have strong and healthy volunteer numbers, a good reputation in our community, and all of our districts earned gold or silver in their JTE scores (save for one bronze district). Last year we served more than 17,000 youth, and almost 43,000 Scouts attended the various camps in our council last year. We have more than 10,000 adult leaders in our area, which encompasses less than 600 square miles of populated suburbs. We get strong support from our council, and since our geographical area is very small despite being densely populated, we get a lot of meaningful council support. We are having a lot of success. So is it worth it to the powers that be for us to adopt a weak, struggling council next door if it means we lose these supporting advantages and sacrifice the close sense of fellowship we feel with fellow Scouters in our area, just to stretch ourselves out to fix problems not of our making? I do not know, and I am poorly qualified even to opine about such things. The combination of protectiveness for our special situation and compassion for those who aren't as fortunate causes a lot of mixed feelings, and I don't know how our neighboring district are doing. But that's the kind of question that comes to my mind when I hear talk about these kinds of things. I have been lucky to spend my entire Scouting career in a strong Council, and in its strongest district at that. But it makes me wary of outside problems coming in and negatively affecting the good thing we have going. If such a discussion is to be had, such things will need to be seriously considered.
  4. The Latin Scot

    To star or not to star?

    I appreciate your thoughts, though much of the idea is ... less than true of Scouting, at least in my area. First of all, it was standard Church-wide policy not to have our young women in Venturing - most wards and stakes wouldn't have minded I imagine, but the Church has long had its own Young Women's Program, which was both the spiritual and activities program for girls. As such, the official handbook of instructions for Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set the policy that we did not endorse female crews. Much of it is more to do with overnight camping together more than simply being together. And and mind you, we were constantly interacting with the sisters at all our other, non-overnight-activity-related events (which in our church are many and varied). Sunday School, seminary, youth conferences, dances, firesides - in fact, in our church we are more often together than apart, and the new program that's just rolled out has much more interaction with the boys and the girls than most people would believe. Let's not forget just how anxious LDS families are to get their kids married and sprouting grandkids as soon as they come back from their missions. 😅 No, I firmly believe that Venturing was never really adopted by LDS units because of ignorance. Most people still have no clue what Venturing Scouts are; the system rechartered all 16-year-old Scouts into crews automatically, but to the leaders it was only a change of name - they were, I'm sure, completely unaware that Venturing was a program and entity separate and distinct from Boy Scouting. Heck, most of my leaders couldn't even tell you the Scout ranks in order, or what district they were in. And Varsity was just as ambiguous and unknown to them. Really, we didn't do Venturing because our leaders didn't know what Venturing was. Sadly, most thought Scouting finished after a boy earned his Eagle. Caveat: this was primarily in my own area, that being South Orange County in CA. Most of my friends with whom I went to college in Utah had FABULOUS programs of Scouting, Varsity, and Venturing, with large healthy units and committed leadership. Scouting is actually much stronger in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, where there are higher concentrations of kids from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Where I'm at, I wasn't so lucky. So I will add two years after reading the commentary here, but how I will add them, I'm still not sure. I suppose adding them to my blue star would be the least offensive as it's somewhat all-inclusive ... but still uncertain. Thanks to all those who are sharing their thoughts with me. It helps me to sort out the emotions of the rather pitiful two years in question. 🤣
  5. The Latin Scot

    To star or not to star?

    Thanks to everybody who has commented so far; I value the questions asked and the insights given. It's fun being spoken of in the third person! In truth, I have never worn any service stars representing the two years between 16 and 18 because I haven't been sure which stars to wear, let alone if I deserved them. In a ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, boys were automatically raised from the troop to the Varsity team at 14, then again to the crew at 16. Not that they ever told us this was happening, mind you (even for an LDS unit my leaders were particularly inept). So, for those two years, I was ONLY in the Venturing crew. The leaders didn't know the difference, but at least one committee member of the era must have been aware of the divisions because somebody was at least entering the information for advancement correctly (I have spoken to our council registrar to confirm this), but we only worked on Boy Scout awards - probably because the boys of my group were a less-than-savory bunch who either didn't make it past Tenderfoot or earned their Eagles at 17 years 364 day old - but I digress. In any case, the topic of the thread is more about my situation: my PRIMARY, indeed ONLY, registration from 16 - 18 was with a Venturing crew. We did Scouting activities, but none related to the Venturing program - just vestiges of our old Boy Scout activities and basic-level advancement for some, primarily just earning extra merit-badges here or there (although we mostly just played basketball at the Church - I despise basketball now). I have never worn a star representing those two years out of respect for those who DID have a genuine Venturing experience, but my friend, a good young Scouter who had a REAL Venturing crew up in Utah, feels that I shouldn't ignore those two years just because I was unaware of what my program could have been - in his mind, I was still Scouting during that time (a vaguely true statement), so I should count it. In any case, this thread is already proving to be most enlightening. Thanks to all who are participating in this discussion!
  6. The Latin Scot

    The ascent of the handbook as part of the uniform

    I had my Webelos Scouts bring their books to all of the above - and more! I was, and am, constantly amazed by how many opportunities arise where we can suddenly pass off a requirement unexpectedly, so yes, even on hikes and special trips I made sure they brought their books! Of course, I also had a special cart for them to put the them in during our meetings (with wheels for outdoor adventures!), and using/collecting/signing/retrieving them was so ingrained into our regular routine that I rarely had issues with lost books or forgotten signatures or the like. I honestly valued the book more than the uniform - and if you know how I feel about uniforms, you know how significant that statement is. 😄
  7. The Latin Scot

    Does mb counselor status expire?

    As a fellow LDS Scouter, I empathize with your confusion and challenges, and have dealt with many similar issues myself over the past year. Some thoughts: - It's never too late to ask a MBC to sign a blue card unless the Scout is 18 and past age; if the counselor is willing, he or she may sign for any work that has been completed - the only 'expiration date' is the 18th birthday, not the end of the year. - In my council, LDS records are being maintained until early March, so you may want to check with your council to see if your troop is still on record so changes can be made if needed. Most important thing to remember: if it's in your book, it will be accepted - even if that means hunting down your Scoutmaster and getting him to sign for work you know has already been completed, regardless of whether he has a new calling or not. Talk with the brother who served as Scoutmaster and see if you can get him to retroactively sign for work you know your son has completed. This is sound counsel; it's going to be annoying going to so many people to get past work signed, but fortunately most people will be understanding of what you're going through - especially in your area, where most everybody is going through the exact same thing. - The transition from an LDS unit to a traditional unit is tough; I am the Unit Commissioner for a newly formed LDS troop and there is a LOT of confusion between the way Scouting is supposed to happen verses the "false traditions of our fathers." I recommend you study up on Scouting online (there are many wonderful resources, especially this website!), and ask as many questions as you can, not only here, but also to your district and professional leaders. And if you have other questions, feel free to send me a PM and I'll be happy to answer and point you towards any resources that might help you and your sons continue on your Scouting journey!
  8. The Latin Scot

    Ordering the preview adventure awards ...

    As many of you may (or may not) know, there are two new adventures being previewed nationally and under consideration for inclusion in all future Cub Scout materials. My problem is, I can't figure out how to order the awards once the boys have earned them - they aren't available in Scout Shops, and I can't get the internet order page to load properly. So what do I do? How do I get a hold of these award loops and pins? https://www.scoutshop.org/nsearch/?q=protect+yourself Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
  9. The Latin Scot

    The ascent of the handbook as part of the uniform

    Well, after a few years with Cub Scouts I've learned that uniforms inspections are as much a form of "daily checklist" as they are a method of Scouting. Boys have a hard time remembering to bring whatever they need to wherever they're going, so I think it's geared towards putting all the things they need to bring and wear into one simple list. My boys always know -they need their uniform, and they need their book. It's not part of the uniform per se, but it is an essential item that should be part of their Scout outfitting, if not the outfit itself
  10. The Latin Scot

    District JTE Data

    Well, I tried ordering it there but they said they couldn't process the order and ... that I had to go online. And our council office is a long drive from here; my local Scout Shop isn't attached to any official offices. I suppose I'll just have to bring it up at our district meeting tomorrow night, or see if they can at least call the office to verify the validity of my request. Oh, the bureaucracy! 😰
  11. The Latin Scot

    District JTE Data

    Here's my question - my district earned Gold for 2019, but the local Scout Shops don't carry the district Gold JTE patch (nor any district/council-level patches), and I can't order one online without 'requisite paperwork.' So how on Earth am I supposed to get a hold of one?
  12. The Latin Scot

    Sexual Abuse in LDS Scouting

    But again, they are alleged crimes. That means nobody has yet proven that such a cover-up transpired, and I frankly doubt anybody will. As for right now, however, this is all still hearsay and allegation.
  13. The Latin Scot

    Sexual Abuse in LDS Scouting

    (my emphasis) I am grateful for the wording of these posts; thank you gentlemen. Frankly, these are all accusations without any proof, and frankly, our faith has been attacked on far more serious and yet equally untrue allegations before. I am, to be frank, utterly unconcerned by these reports. For whatever reason, our faith has always been targeted by opposition, to the point that we as a people have generally learned to let such theories roll like water off a duck's back. So I am confident the truth will out on its own; these kind of wild accusations flare up now and then, but without a basis in fact, they blow over soon enough. Thank you for trying! It's very appreciated. But you left out the MOST IMPORTANT part of the name. It's The Church OF JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. If you leave that part out, it becomes easy to see why some misguided entities don't realize we are, above all things, a Christian religion.
  14. The Latin Scot

    Declining an offered position?

    Last week I was at a meeting with a few of my district's commissioner team, and I was surprised when our RT Commissioner asked me take his place as the District Roundtable Commissioner next year (2021). I have mixed feelings about it. I stepped in as the Cub Scout RT Commissioner a few months ago when my predecessor was poached by a neighboring district offering him a "better" position. I had been coming in as a guest instructor for the Cub Scout break-out sessions for a while, so it was a natural role for me to take on in a pinch. I am also the Unit Commissioner for a new, large and hectic new troop being formed from the vestiges of all the past LDS units in South Orange County, a troop that will have more than 60 boys right from the start (not to mention dozens of families that need to be re-trained as to how Scouting is supposed to work) It's not that I'm particularly pressed for time; after all I'm a single guy in my 30's with plenty of time to share - I would be sacrificing another activity I enjoy once a month however, which would be tricky at times. But this really isn't a position I was ever aiming toward, nor had I even considered it really. I actually joined the district commissioner team hoping to focus my service as a trainer for Cub Scout leaders, which is why I've stuck to helping run the Cub break-out sessions. With this new position, I wouldn't be doing that any more, about the which I have mixed feelings. Running the whole shebang sounds like it might have its perks, but it's quite my cup of tea if you know what I mean. We have a large, thriving district, and attendance at Roundtable is pretty good, but it's not a niche towards which I feel naturally inclined. Not only that, but the person they recommended to me as an assistant this year and a replacement the next has, frankly, not impressed me. He's too quick to tout his pack's 'lofty' popcorn sales numbers and his 'success' as a cubmaster (few things agitate me, but a show-off with little to show is sometimes one of them); he can be rather acerbic and impersonal; most concerning to me, he still doesn't seem to understand the program at a level that will make him a reliable resource for new or hesitant Cub leaders coming to Roundtable for support and encouragement. However, they asked me to take on the role, and I know they really do need somebody - that I understand. And I think I would do a fair job with it. Yet it's simply not a position I'm particularly eager to assume. I want to have a firm answer within a month or two so that they have as much time as possible to explore other options if needed, but ... how do I gracefully decline the request? Should I even do so, or should I just bite the bullet and take on the job that's asked of me? And what's the best way to explain my concerns about the individual they're eyeing? As always, comments and suggestions are most appreciated. Thanks all!
  15. Congrats to my mother! After 33 years of Scouting service she's finally received the District Award of Merit for Saddleback District. Way to go Mom!

  16. The Latin Scot

    Declining an offered position?

    I think this is probably the case; I'm usually eager to accept any opportunity that comes my way, but this position just doesn't interest me. And I usually have no qualms about saying no when the need arises ... I should talk to my mom about it. She's GREAT at saying NO.
  17. The Latin Scot

    No Respect?

  18. I hope and pray my thoughts here will be articulated in a way that will generate a positive response and greater unity of understanding and discourse by those who read it. I notice that the impending separation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America has garnered much discussion about the motivations, ideology and mechanics behind this process. However, as I member of that faith, I also see that there has been an unfortunate trend by some to use this as an opportunity to make sideway comments voicing their opinions about our beliefs, our organization, our doctrines, our history, et cetera. It is entirely appropriate and healthy to maintain an open dialogue about how these coming changes will affect Scouting, the youth, the programs, and all other such related issues. It is also good to ask questions about why our church is making these changes and where our thoughts and feelings come from. However, is it appropriate for these discussions to be used as a platform for members to express incorrect information or inflammatory opinions about our faith? Is that a Scout-like thing to do? Is it ever right to deride in any way a religion or its leadership, to make accusations or spread calumny about another's faith? I cannot believe that it is. I do not only express this concern as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I speak thus on behalf of any and all faiths - Judaism, Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, Protestant, Evangelical, even atheist - whatever it may be, it behooves us to speak with nothing but respect and kindness about the religions of others - especially those of a fellow American. I think we can do better in these forums in regards to preserving goodwill between all faiths. I will gladly strive to improve my discourse here in regards to the ideals and thoughts of others, but that means I hope for the same from all here. That concept, the concept of fighting to preserve the right of all people to live and express their faith, is central to Scouting. A Scout is brave; a Scout is reverent. Those go hand in hand. Joseph Smith Jr. himself one wrote: So as we discuss at length the tremendous wave of changes that both the Church and Scouting face with the coming of the new year, let's keep the discussions kind and civil, and not use them to put down ANY faith or religion, whether explicitly or subtly. This website, filled with the thoughts of Scouters, leaders, and good people, should be an example of goodwill, grace, and respect. Let's watch what we say, and how we say it. I hope I am not too forward in sharing my feelings about this here, but know that I commit myself to do better from here on out before asking it of any of you. I hope others might be willing to do the same.
  19. The Latin Scot

    Information about a slide!

    At our Camporall this past weekend, I found this delightful little neckerchief slide for $2 in a bin of predominantly commonplace or uninteresting slides. I fell in love with it at once, but it's history has eluded all my research and scouring of the internet. Can anybody offer any information about this little treasure? I would like to tell Scouts something about this whenever I wear it (which I am sure will be often), but at the moment I have absolutely nothing to go on. Any comments or help would be greatly appreciated; thank you!
  20. The Latin Scot

    Discussing LDS beliefs in relation to Scouting

    Yes. Even to those whose beliefs differ from our own, even to those who are unkind or even abrasive, even to those from whom we need to step away because of their choices, we should be kind and respectful. I have not seen anybody here deride Catholics, Baptists, Jews, Muslims ... the list goes on and on. So to see such antipathy towards this one particular faith is uncharacteristic of the general tone of these forums, and yes, I am surprised the moderators have allowed it to continue for so long. Isn't this a Scouting forum?
  21. The Latin Scot

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

  22. The Latin Scot

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    This I very much appreciate. Thank you for this comment.
  23. The Latin Scot

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    You make it sound like raising children is somehow a "lesser responsibility" than holding the priesthood, when the two are equally important and are, in fact, shared by both sexes. Also, this is a MASSIVE generalization of an era that my parents also grew up in, and their picture of the times is very different from yours. This kind of depiction is one-sided and derogatory towards the religion of a number of members here. If you have qualms about the faith that is your right and privilege, but it's un-Scoutlike to express such demeaning and biased portrayals here. This is a forum about Scouting, not the culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Let's stay on topic.
  24. The Latin Scot

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    I do not appreciate the suggestion that the BSA "got caught up in that new fangled idea of the worth of the individual," and that, by default, our church somehow doesn't believe in the same. This is, frankly, utterly false calumny that reflects a shocking and extremely unkind attitude towards our beliefs. It's both un-Scoutlike and uncharitible to make such a sideways accusation, especially towards a religion that embraces the supreme and eternal doctrine of divine worth and personal value. I hope these kind of comments cease, but I suppose this has become a time for anybody with misconceptions about our religion to take their shots while the climate is against us. No matter; I'll stand up for our beliefs as long as I have to because, frankly, I love all the people I've come to know here, and I would hate to see false information spread on these good forums. I will also defend ANY OTHER FAITH that comes under condemnation. To put down the faith of another is totally un-American, even if it's done in a subtle or indirect way. Aren't we better than this?
  25. The Latin Scot

    LDS Youth Program for 2020

    You seem to put this fact (not symbol) forward as though it was something wrong or evil that our church was doing. I assure you, this incomplete generalization glosses over many other doctrines to which we hold that explain this fact, and again, demonstrates a misunderstanding of our beliefs and doctrines.