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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. Wow, there are a lot of false claims in here by a lot of people with misperceptions! As a lifelong LDS Scouter (*since Wolves in 1993!) let me correct some of the mistaken ideas thrown out today. Mind you, what you may think is a loss for us will only be replaced by something better. It's the BSA that is losing by changing the very fabric of its nature, as time will eventually prove. 

    So! Some facts.

    - Yes, we limit camping for young Scouts. You list this as though it were a negative, but we do not believe that is so. When a child is "ready" or not for any given experience is not something you can state objectively; you may feel that younger children should be out camping earler, but that gives you no right to expect others to feel the same. We feel 6 - 10 years old is still to young. You can't fault us for that belief without allowing others to fault you for whatever yours are.

    - We believe in a Church led by inspiration, with leaders called by that same revelation given to ordained leaders. Scouting within the Church falls under that same system of inspiration; boys are chosen as leaders by the local Bishopric, with counsel taken from the Scout leaders and the Primary/Young Men's leaders (depending on the age of the boys). This is how the entire church operate, and we believe it allows many boys to serve and develop key virtues that popular election might not otherwise afford them. If others believe in choosing their leaders differently that is their priviledge that we will fight to protect, but we see no need to follow the same practice.

    - We are often known as "Eagle Mills" because we as a religion believe strongly in personal achievement, self-development, and community support. Any Scout in an LDS unit has an entire congregation of adults supporting him, encouraging him, and loving him into doing his best, so the high number of Eagle Scouts we produce is not a reflection of "getting lots of awards," but rather of "building lots of young souls." 

    As far as girls in Scouting goes, you all need to understand that we believe that boys and girls are fundamentally different, and that gender is an eternal part of identity - a girl always has, and always will be, female, and a boy always has, and always will be, male. This cannot be changed. As a result, boys and girls learn differently, and we do not believe the Scouting model works for girls as it works for boy, because girls are different. So of course you won't hear us talking about our daughters and granddaugthers becomgin Scouts, because most of us have no desire to see that happen. I have four nieces from three different sisters, all of whom grew up surrounded by the Scouting adventures of their three Eagle Scout brothers and a very involved Scouter Mom. NONE of them have any desire to put their girls in Scouting, and are more than content with the wonderful programs the church already has specifically designed for the needs and development of young women. They don't NEED Scouting for their girls because we already have programs for them. So the point is moot for most LDS families.

    This article may enlighten you as to how things are with the BSA and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/03/23/truth-lds-scouting/

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  2. I have actually been postponing Wood Badge for two years because of this issue. It seems that all the WB courses within reasonable distance from me go two sessions, Thursday through Sunday. But as one who strives to observe the Sabbath day and thus avoid a somewhat secular activity on Sundays, this makes it difficult for me to justify missing two Sundays in order to take the course. I get a lot of grief over it from other leaders, even some light taunting (never becoming of a grown Scout leader), but I feel it's not a sacrifice I am willing to make. I do wish they would offer a course that didn't run Sundays in my area; I would take it in a heartbeat then.

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  3. The program we now call Cub Scouts was originally called "Cubs, B.S.A." and was referred to as "Cubbing" in all materials. In 1945 "Cubbing" became "Cub Scouts." So the shirt above must have been made between 1930 and 1945. A wonderful and, if I may say so, very well-preserved piece of history!

  4. My Webelos Den is officially named "Ye Merry Archers" (although in the modern vernacular they are too often called The Merry Archers by other leaders, which is incorrect, but I digress). Our patches and flag have embroidered onto them an archer who is very obviously Robin Hood, but while I certainly do use his stories and legends often in our meetings, he is not our "official" mascot - we keep it just generic enough so that the boys can imagine themselves as being one of his Merry Men, making the stories and morals therein more generally applicable. 

    As they grow older, they will eventually join the Savage Viking Patrol as new Scouts, and then eventually the Knights of Light. Again, while these patrols do have characters on their materials, they don't have specific names or identities. I like for my boys to view themselves as mascots, representing all the best in Scouting to our community and to the world. The various emblems of Archer, Viking and Knight merely give them historical peoples to which they can relate their Scouting experiences.

  5. 10 hours ago, bearess said:

    The odd thing about the scripts, to me, is that they aren’t related.  At every AOL ceremony I’ve been to, boys have also crossed over.  The two scripts don’t seem designed for that.  

    Actually, my boys never earn their Arrow of Light and cross over on the same night. Since mine is a year-round program unrelated to the school year, boys enter my den on their 10th birthday, and move on to Boy Scouts on their 11th. The crossing over is thus always at the last pack meeting before their 11th birthday - but most of my boys have earned their Arrow of Light long before that, usually about 8 or 9 months after they join our group. So I've always needed separate ceremonies for the AofL and the crossing over into Boy Scouts, and they are going on all year instead of being all clumped together at once. 

    The sad thing is I appreciated being able to get the OA involved in some of the ceremonies to give us some variety now and then. Now with these imposed scripts I won't have a legitimate reason to invite them any more.

  6. As a Webelos leasder myself, I am sorry the opportunity to have the OA members come all decked out in their full regalia. That was always special. 

    As for the two scripts ...

    The Cubs Crossover Ceremony script is just ... it's just so bad! The lines are so poorly written, so stale and forced, that no boy - no matter how superb an actor - will be able to deliver them naturally. Either they'll ham it up to the point of mocking the whole thing in one extended joke or they will clam up to the extent of 10 - 15 mintues worth of excruciating monotone line reading.

    To make sure I wasn't just being overly cynical, I asked my dad, who is a rather venerable career stage actor, to read through the script and tell me what he thought. He read over it, and after a long pause only told me "please don't ever ask me to read this kind of inane drivel again." However, being the curious/obnoxious middle child, I pressed him for at least a little more critiquing. He then essentially told me that whatever backwards amateur thought that this script would make for a decent ceremony was either seriously delusional in regards to his work, or that he must be harboring an intense desire to make any boys forced to deliver it look like complete and total idiots. And mind you, at any other time my father is desperately trying to find opportunities to get boys to sing more, but in the context of this "ceremony," the musical number (ahem! yes, it has one) is just torturously over-reaching.

    Surprisingly, however, I think the Arrow of Light Ceremony is quite nice. It's concise, simply, and dignified in a manner appropriate to the age. It's a rathar marked contrast to the train-wreck that is the Crossover; it's simply a nice ceremony that presents the award itself and the values it represents. No stage-hams forcing some ridiculous dialogue, trying to convince us that the pretend adventures they are scripted to talk about really happened - and gee wililkers weren't they exciting? Mind you, it's not quite so nice that I would ever really use it, but I appreciate its sincere tone and simple brevity.

    In the end though, if these are indeed the only scripts OA presenters will be allowed to use in the future, then I'm afraid I will not be inviting them to join our services again. Not through any fault of the willing participants, but because I simply don't want these artificial, poorly conceived ceremony scripts to be a part of my Webelos ceremonies. My boys deserve better. The OA deserves better. But for now, this is what we've got, and so as a Webelos leader, I have choices to make.

  7. I have noticed a bit of reluctance on the part of the BSA to come forward with the fact that these changes are even happening. I even sent a few e-mails to Bryan Wendell (from the Bryan On Scouting blog) suggesting he publish a post discussing the new materials; I figured something about it would have been mentioned officially ages ago - and yet not a word of it has come out yet, and the thread I started on the forums there remains silent. 

    From the information I have been able to piece together, however, the changes to the program materials are going to be "rolling changes," meaning the new items will not become available until all the old stock is sold through. The books appear to be an exception, as naturally families and leaders need the published materials in order to comply with the latest advancement standards, but everything else will simply have to wait until all the previous stuff is gone. 

    How long that will take is anybody's guess. I suggest just going with what they have for now; it could be quite a long time before all the old stuff sells through.

  8. Go ahead and wear them! Venturing awards are ABSOLUTELY acceptable on the tan uniform, since Venturing is after all an official program of the BSA. And you worked hard for them, so you should talk to your boys about what you did to earn the awards and the wonderful experiences you had in Scouting! Wear them to honor your achievements.

    Square knots are only as pretentious as the person wearing them. Just keep to the officially recommended limit of 9 knots (three rows of three) and you'll never come off as pretentious. Go beyond that, and well, it's likely that you legitimately are already. :laugh:

  9. Covey's books are widely regarded as some of the best "self-help" literature in the market, and they continue to be something of a gold standard for the genre to this day. They are worth reading, though it is absolutely true that much of what he teaches comes from basic LDS beliefs on work and leadership. He has been a featured speaker at multiple BSA National Leadership Conferences,  so he knows the program well, whether or not he himself is an Eagle Scout.

  10. Wow. No Committee Chair should have so much power that he/she can shut down a meeting whenever they please. 

    My suggestion - ignore her, and have the meeting anyway. Tell her your sorry she won't be able to make it, but that the meeting needs to happen anyway, and we'll be sure to let you know what you missed. She has NO POWER TO STOP YOU - except for the power you give her by your consent, however reluctant.

    So now: you need to have a plan for the future to prevent this kind of high-handed power-grab from happening in the first place. In our committee, we hold our meetings at the same day, place and time every month. The second Tuesday of every month at 8:30 in the evening is Cub Committee Meeting. Period. If our Committee Chair can't make it (and mine often can't), then we just move along without him. In that case the Cubmaster may lead the meeting, or even one of us Den Leaders if both are absent (again, both often are). What's important is not who is at the meetings as much as what is done - as long as the program is being carried out well, activities are being planned and business is being taken care of responsibly, it really doesn't matter if everybody can make it to one month's meeting and some people can't make it to the next - it's just about keeping a steady momentum and being consistent in our progress. That's the best way to protect the boys' Cub Scouting experience, and it makes Scouting more important than its Scouters. It's about as egalitarian a pattern as you could find; every member has just as much say on any issue as another, be they a committee chair, a parent, den leader or cubmaster. In a committee culture where everybody feels free to voice their opinions with respect to and from the other members, and where no decisions are made until there is common consent, it's difficult if not impossible for any one leader to have too much control. And no leader should ever be allowed to have too much control.

  11. At the Scout Camp to which our Troop is going next week, all merit badge classes are in the morning until 12, followed by lunch, and then afternoons are strictly maintained as "free time." Troops can plan their own activities or adventures, or not plan anything at all. On Friday they have a bunch of troop competitions, but even those are optional. They have horse riding, a lake and pool, shooting ranges, multiple trails - it sounds fantastic (even if it is in the San Bernadino Mountains, which I personally have never found especially lovely). And every night after dinner is different - some nights they have Camp-wide campfires planned by staff, some nights the Troops all contribute to the program, and on others they are free to do whatever they wish.

    Anyway, it sounds like the way a Scout Camp should be - a mix of advancement opportunities, but in a very restricted format, followed by an almost mandated chunk of free time when the boys will be all but compelled to unwind and explore. If I were to organize the schedule at a Scout Camp, that's a model I would look into closely.

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  12. First of all, you look here - STOP THINKING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK. You are not there for yourself - you are there for your son. So you have a track record that embarasses you. Well, and I mean this lovingly - get over it! Your son wants you there - your son needs you there. So what if you haven't been able to give 100% in the past? There are many parents, MANY, who won't give 20 or even 10%! I have parents that I have to drag to Blue and Gold, for pete's sake! You want to be involved. That is worth gold as a parent. Even if it's only in the smallest capacity, you want to do the right thing, and that is praiseworthy. So do it! 

    I can't imagine who on Earth would be so petty, so infantile, as to label somebody a "quitter" simply because they need to lighten their load, but remember this - the people who mind don't matter, and the people who matter don't mind. Stop thinking about what others think. You have a job to do, the job of a parent. You don't have to add on extra positions and responsibilities to do that right. 

    So you can't go to camp! Big deal! As a Den Leader, I just finished our annual week of Summer Day Camp two weeks ago. And guess what? My assistant, who is a great guy and a fantastic help in our den, wasn't able to attend a single day of it because of work. And that was fine! Other people stepped in. That's what the team of committees and parents is for! And many other parents weren't able to attend either, for various reasons. As long as your child is in the care of people you trust, it's okay. You cannot beat yourself up over something like this when, put into perspective, there are far more important things to consider. And your well-being is one of them.

    By the way, there is NOTHING wrong with not liking camping! Open secret - I actually HATE camping! Always have, always will. The dirt, the allergens, the dust and pollen and lack of hot water and showers and clean facilities and soft clean places to sit and read, plus I just CANNOT ever sleep in the outdoors - far too quiet, no quiet hum of traffic to get me to sleep ... I am a city boy through and through. But an Eagle Scout, mind you! So who's to say it has to stop me from being a great leader? I can still navigate my path by sun or stars, identify fish, bird and berry by sight or sound, find and prepare food and shelter in emergencies, signal for help in the wilderness and live off the land in a pinch, all while leaving minimal impact on the environment - plus I can teach all those skills to my Scouts. I don't let my distaste for being outdoors impede what's most important, which is the cultivation of all those skills in the boys under my care. If every now and then I have to endure a weekend of discomfort to do that, it's well worth it to me. But I don't feel ashamed about hating it; in fact it's a running joke amongst the entire Pack that the Webelos Den Leader hates camping - yet is darn good at it. Like I tell my Webelos Scouts - we often have to do things we don't like, but what makes the difference is that we know what to do when we find ourselves in unlikeable circumstances. If it's within our power to change the circumstances, great, do that. But if not, do what you need to so that your emotional, physical, and spiritual health are protected as best as they can be. What other people may (or may not) think of you in so doing is utterly, totally irrelevant.


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  13. Does the back of the patch have any special markings? I would imagine it comes from Spain; the colors, symbols, and use of Cervantes' themes and imagery almost certainly indicate it originates from there. The World Scouting emblem is placed in a 50, so perhaps it is related to Spain's 50th anniversary of Scouting, or another 50th anniversary event in Spain's Scouting history. At least with those clues you have a start; you could start googling information of that kind and see what you can dig up. 

  14. Yes, I tried Goo Gone ... 3 times over. It got a lot of the gunk and residue out, but I notice it leaves its own stain that is just as hard to remove, without removing the dark marks which the Black Magic left in the first place. Sigh ..... thank you the suggestion though; it's much appreciated.

  15. 7 minutes ago, David CO said:

    I agree. There is a strong bias against both men and boys. 

    When this anti-man thing started, someone did a great take-off on the Phil Donahue Show. His make-believe guest was the author of a book titled "Women Good, Men Bad". It was hilarious.

    I think that guest gets around a lot these days. I feel I have been trained by just such a person many, many times. :laugh:

  16. Okay, it's a dramatic title, but I have to vent now or I am going to end up chucking some poor little Scout out the window during Den Meeting tonight.

    Last night I received a huge box FULL of uniforming items that my boys have needed desperately - shirts, hats, pants, belts, everything. It was an honest-to-goodness miracle - I had been praying for an economic way to get all my Webelos into the tan uniforms, and this came just at the right moment. Prayers ANSWERED!


    As I was combing through the shirts to clean and mend them, I found that most of them still had their old patches attached. Rank emblems, old CSP's, random awards, et cetera. So I took out my trust seam-ripper so I could get all these shirts ready for use by a fresh new Scout. Normal work, right? BUT ALAS! Many, SO MANY of these shirts were caked in that accursed BADGE WITCHCRAFT that some are all but unsalvageable! Some damage I have been able to conceal under new CSP's, troop numerals, what-have-you, but the ugly stains, the layers of residue - it makes the lovely gesture of passing down a Scout shirt into a parade of desperate attempts to make the gift wearable at all! I have spend hours - HOURS trying to use every trick in the book to get that stuff out. To no avail! And yes, I took them to the dry cleaner (and a darn good one too!) - even after all they could do, there are still dark ugly stains on a few of them. So now, many of my boys will indeed be getting tan shirts, but many will sadly bear the unfortunate scars of that wicked goo and the horrible, ugly marks of the shortcut used by people who wouldn't learn how to sew. 


    The moral of this story - The Latin Scot hates, loathes, despises and abominates "Black Magic" "Badge Magic." Use it if you dare, but heed my warning - that stuff is the devil! THE DEVIL I TELL YOU!

    That is all. :rolleyes:

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  17. 3 hours ago, NJCubScouter said:

    @The Latin Scot, please forgive me if this is an ignorant question, but it was my understanding (mostly from this forum) that in LDS-chartered units, leaders are "called" (which I assume means the same as "assigned") to specific roles in units.  That being the case, wouldn't there be a large number of leaders with no children in their unit, and also a large number of "younger adults" such as yourself, with no children at all?  Meaning that your role wouldn't be unusual and therefore not attract any undue "attention" from parents?

    You are correct in that we are called - we don't volunteer for assignments, we are given them, and expected to accept them based on faith. That said, while there are certainly many leaders who have no children in the unit, generally because they are not old enough or they are grown, calling young single adults to such positions is uncommon since, first of all, many attend congregations made up entirely of students or other young single adults, and second of all, the often transient lifestyles of young people often means that leaders are hesitant to put them in positions such as Scouting that require time, training, and tenure in order to be really effective in their callings.

    The fact that I attend a normal family congregation and am relatively settled depsite being pretty young and very unattached is not unusual per se, but neither is it common. In my Ward (which is what we call our local congregations), I am extremely well-known - I grew up here, in fact, so many people have known me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and think it's great that I am now working with the next generation. HOWEVER - at Camporee, Roundtable, Scout-O-Rama, Scouting For Food, and other broader Scouting events, even at Pack Meetings where we are combined with other dens outside my Ward - I am an unknown quantity, as it were. So when people ask the question "which kid is yours?" I have to be diplomatic in how I respond. I have have encountered some rather skeptical, even cynical, leaders and parents in the past, but over the past while I have made enough of a mark in the District and in the Council that most people either know me or recognize me, so that's been nice. But working with parents and children for a living, I can say the climate is often not agreeable these days towards men who want to work with children - married or not, as @David CO notes. One treads with caution sometimes.

  18. I actually got myself certified to conduct in-person trainings myself at the Cub Scout level, so now I am qualified to teach leader specific training for Den Leaders, Cubmasters, and all committee positions (Chair, Pack Trainer, et cetera). During each training pass around a roll of everybody who is there, and then I submit that list to my local District Executive and District Commissioner over Training. They enter it in and bam - the training is listed as complete. 

    Getting certified to do these wasn't hard either. I simply approached the DE and DC and explained that I am an educator who wanted to have a larger role in the Scouting community through training, and they got me cleared to conduct them whenever I wish. It makes things SO MUCH EASIER when I can invite new leaders to my home to get them trained instead of waiting/hoping they will eventually get it done on their own time online. In my experience, that rarely happens.

  19. I've always kind of wondered about these scenarios since, frankly, I am an odd duck in the Scouting community. I am not married and have no children, but I am a Den Leader over the Pack's largest Den, I am the most active member of our Cub Committee, and I am at all activities - Day Camp, Scout-O-Rama, et cetera, - as a youngish single guy with no actual relation to any of the boys I work with. It would be far too easy to assume that as a professional educator and child development specialist, I could go about my Scouting business without raising too many eyebrows, but I have to be careful since, in today's climate, every action I take and every comment I make could be taken the wrong way by some parent who doesn't know my background or training. I have to bear in mind that these parents are trusting their children with me, a single man, sometimes for hours at a time. So I am meticulous in ensuring that I ALWAYS have my assistant or another parent near me at all times, and I have trained my boys to know that I cannot be in a room alone with them EVER. So much so that they often use it to taunt me; I arrive early to Den Meetings to set up, and if a boy shows up and I am the only adult in the room, he WILL yell at me to get out until another grown up is present. They then have free access to whatever treats are in my bag, or they may play with my hat if I forget to grab it, or whatever mischief they feel like getting into at the time - but at least they know to protect themselves, and I know that I am protecting myself from any potentially awkward or untoward situations. Total transparency has long been one of my most valuable shields against misperceptions.

    Today's society makes it incredibly difficult for men to make a difference in the lives of young people. But as long as you take the right precautions, it can be done. 

  20. Ah, gotcha. Yeah, I am kind of surprised they got me back into the movement, seeing as I am still unmarried and have no children of my own. I suppose the fact that I am very involved in my Church's congregation, and the fact that I work with children professionally, meant that getting me would make some sense, but yeah, I can see how there would be some distance right after getting married AND going to school. He has some remarkable insights though, and the right perspective on what makes Scouting work. I hope he gets back into the program when the time is right for him and his family!