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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot


  1. A Scout leader may wear whatever neckerchief he chooses if it follows the guidelines set out in the Guide to Awards and Insignia - or even none at all, if he so desires. If it's standard BSA issue though, there's nothing I can think of to stop you.


  2. But in general, except for some VERY rare cases, no - we are a national organization, not a state one, so you will almost definitely not get approval for such an emblem. 


  3. 1 hour ago, MikeS72 said:

    Sounds like fun.  I wonder if yours is the district I saw mentioned on an OA Facebook page, where they will be doing call out dressed as knights rather than in the usual NA regalia.

    Ha! I wish; sadly my chapter isn't nearly organized enough to put something like that together. But I LOVE the idea; had I read this a few months ago I would have eagerly suggested it to our leadership!

    52 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    We are using the same theme in DC this weekend.  Since the OA is running our event, they must have picked up the idea at a conclave.

    Well, it's always a great theme, and the boys love it - there's a lot to run with when you have a good over-arching theme like this, so I'm excited to see what the kids come up with this weekend!


  4. 2 hours ago, SSScout said:

    Popular weekend, I guess.  Look for me in the Vexilollogy   tent .  

    Everybody seems to be heading to Camporee this weekend! I wish our district had a whole tent devoted to vexilollogy.. We're going with a "Scouts of the Roundtable" theme this year, but the attempts of the powers-that-be to explain the terminology of medieval flags and heraldry has been ... poor at best. Luckily all of the patrols in our troop are already medieval-themed, so our patrol flags are already in line with heraldic tradition (they consulted with my father, a noted aficionado of heraldry and tapestry-making). I am however curious to see how other units attempt to represent themselves with their "medieval flags" this weekend! 

    Back to the topic however, I worry that with all the poor media coverage of the BSA record-keeping, the financial problems of the organization will only be exacerbated. I hope there are other options besides flat-out bankruptcy, but having absolutely no understanding about such economic concerns, I daren't make any predictions about what may occur, nor any suggestions as to what ought to happen. But I am certainly deeply concerned about what the future holds for the BSA.


  5. Realistically speaking, I have never seen uniforms being used a means of exclusion amongst Scouts - obviously, nobody is going to send a Scout home because he doesn't have a uniform. But as Baden-Powell put it in the 1908 edition of Scouting For Boys:   

    The Scout kit, through its uniformity, now constitutes a bond of brotherhood among boys across the world.  The correct wearing of the Uniform and smartness of turnout of the individual Scout makes him a credit to our Movement.  It shows his pride in himself and in his Troop.  One slovenly Scout, on the other hand, inaccurately dressed may let down the whole Movement in the eyes of the public. Show me such a fellow and I can show you one who has not grasped the true Scouting spirit and who takes no pride in his membership of our great Brotherhood.

    Also, from 1913:

    I HAVE said before now: “I don’t care a fig whether a Scout wears uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the Scout Law.” But the fact is that there is hardly a Scout who does not wear a uniform if he can afford to buy it. The spirit prompts him to it. The same rule applies naturally to those who carry on the Scout Movement — the Scoutmasters and Commissioners; there is no obligation on them to wear uniform if they don’t like it. At the same time, they have their positions to think of others rather than themselves. Personally, I put on uniform, even if I have only a Patrol to inspect, because I am certain that it raises the moral tone of the boys. It heightens their estimation of their uniform when they see it is not beneath a grown man to wear it; it heightens their estimation of themselves when they find themselves taken seriously by men who also count it of importance to be in the same brotherhood with them.

    Uniforms are not the point of Scouting, but they are certainly one of the symbols of this movement, and we want our young people to identify with that symbol. When youth look differently, they feel differently, and when they feel differently, they act differently. The more we can get them into their uniforms, the better. I feel that goes double for leaders.

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  6. I think it's entirely dependant on how each course is presented and how invested the boys are in the programming. 

    When I was young, our district would put on a few MB days a year as fundraisers. Seating was limited to 8 boys a course (effectively a MB 'patrol'), and course teachers were highly qualified in their fields. Courses were also taught on-site; for example, I earned the Atomic Energy MB at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and my MB Counsellor was an actual nuclear scientist who took us through the entire facility. It being an hour's drive away, we had to work out our own transportation, and we really needed to work closely with the counsellor to demonstrate that we understood the materials (which, being nuclear science, was NOT easy - it was one of the most difficult badges I ever earned). But WOW did we learn a lot that day! It opened my understanding to a whole world of science about which I had known precious little before, and I had a fantastic time. That day was a powerful argument in favor of the idea.

    Conversely, my first day as a Scout, the day after my 11th birthday, we went to a MB course nearby my home, where after 40 minutes I earned the Fingerprinting merit badge. Sure, I still remember everything I learned from the two requirements I passed off, but that isn't saying much. 40 minutes! It was a bit too easy perhaps ...

    So I don't think it's about the concept of MB universities itself, but how they are executed and how the boys interface with them that needs to be perpetually reviewed and assessed. 


  7. We always have: Fastest Car, Marathon Winner (the slowest car (which has to make it past the finish line to count)), Most Creative, Best Craftsmanship, and Scout's Choice. Every boy who enters a car receives a participation medal as well. 

    Of all the awards, the most coveted is easily the Marathon Winner, and we actually have two set of brackets to accommodate the competition for both the fastest and slowest cars. It's become easy to figure out how to make a car fast, but to make it slower than every other car while still making it all the way down the track? THAT can be just as tricky. And the nice thing is, there is no one "winner" of the evening. There are many, but of differing kinds, which I think makes the whole day much less stressful.


  8. 11 hours ago, David CO said:

    I guess it would depend on the religion. I had an LDS student who always wore a shirt in the pool. He didn't think it was proper for boys to expose their upper torso in public. I don't know if that was just him, or if it was part of his religious training.

    I would guess it's something his parents or family must have taught him, or perhaps even just a personal conviction. But having lived my whole life deeply invested in LDS culture and religion, I would still find it unusual for a boy to think thusly - but I have tremendous respect for him if he does. 

    And that's the point. We have to consider the sensitivities of all who might be witnesses to such a (frankly) tasteless little number as the dreaded JCPenny Skit. I was a pretty tender little Scout, and I DESPISED the skit precisely because I found watching boys go around in their underwear to be immodest and unseemly. Making other Scouts feel uncomfortable for any reason is bad enough. Now factor in today's social climate, where supervising adults watching boys in underwear is a grave subject of controversy to be guarded against, and then add in the fact that young women will now be included in most of these events, and you are playing with fire in a vat of already-burning oil. 

    When in doubt, don't do it. Simple. There are a million other skits they can do; why not encourage them to explore other options so we can finally brush this long-standing, pitiful attempt at 'humor' under the rug.

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  9. I agree 100% with @fred8033. Start your program off on the right foot, and it will save you all kinds of headaches later. How you begin a unit will establish its culture, traditions, and values for years to come - and those need to solidly based on the patrol method. Yes, there will be mistakes and failures and setbacks. Those experiences should be treasured as essential learning opportunities. We are what we grow beyond, so give them as many opportunities to try and do and experience and learn as you possibly can.

    There are all kinds of great resources for new youth leaders. The new SPL and PL handbooks are great ways to start, as is the Handbook itself of course. There is troopleader.org, a wonderful website that helps guide new leaders, and scoutingrediscovered.com, which features a lot of well-written articles getting into the roots of what Scouting is and how it should look. And for those kids who really want to invest in their future leadership skills, there's always NYLT. 

    But don't wait. Elect your leaders, train your leaders, then trust your leaders. The whole point of Scouting, for adults, is discovering the huge potential of these kids and letting them blossom via safe but unhindered leadership opportunities. The first few months will be rough, and they're supposed to be - that's when the learning happens. You've got to trust your youth to figure it out and make things happen on their own. This is how we mould our leaders in Scouting.

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  10. It's lovely that this young man has worked so hard to achieve so much. However, I think it's important that we don't adopt a perspective which leads us to use phrases such as "mere" Eagle. The Eagle Scout Rank is still representative of extraordinary effort, service and leadership, and while this young man has certainly gone far beyond the usual expectations, it in no way lessens the full significance of "just" earning one's Eagle rank. Rarity and prestige are not, after all, the real reasons we earn these awards, though certainly we honor those who achieve them.

    Again however, it's great this young man has been so motivated, and his service sets a fine example for other youth to emulate.

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  11. Admittedly, if I find myself being pulled in too many directions next year, I will choose the Church's new program over Scouting. I think it will be important for families of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to manage their time wisely, and if my involvement in the Church's new program conflicts with my involvement in Scouting, Scouting will have to take a back seat. After all, it's in Scouting that I learned to prioritize my duty to God above all other things.

    The hope is that both will be manageable, and that neither will have to take a cut. But depending on how much time each consumes, that may someday need to be considered. 


  12. It's important to note that the definition of friendly in "your book" is entirely subjective, and there seems to be a strong suggestion from your comments that you feel that if our faith were truly "friendly," it would conform to your ideas of how a religious organization should interact with the BSA in the future - your ideas of what "friendly" means. But that would be an unfair conclusion, and it may be misleading to those who read these forums and don't understand much of the actual situation. 

    Our Church will not sponsor Scouting in the future. So to suggest that leaders should "organize LDS sponsored units if they so choose" reflects a very large misunderstanding of how our Church operates. Local organizations are not very far removed from the central, global leadership of the Church, and no local unit is authorized to allocate its budget towards things like Scouting without approval from the central Church organization. It's simply not an option, and frankly, that's a good thing. It allows our units to focus on making the new program a success, and it reflects the imperative need of the Church to be prudent with its funds. Spending it on multiple youth activities when there will already be a large new program to roll out would be financially unwise. Friendly would mean that others who are not of our faith understand these things, and not pass judgement on how our faith chooses to serve its youth. 

    The Church still does encourage its members to continue in Scouting if they so choose, as the latest roll-out of information makes clear. Just because they won't use our facilities or recruit in our halls does not mean we are in any way being unfriendly, unless other choose to interpret it as such. But that is the subjective view of those who are coloring these events according to their own prejudices, and I hope that as we continue to move forward with the changes in this relationship, we will be mindful of the need for courtesy, objectivity, and optimism in the face of a bold new future.

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  13. A CAUTIONARY TALE

    I remember when I was in Scouts, just after I became a Life Scout, we got a new Scoutmaster. And this new Scoutmaster came up with the idea of "Scout bucks," a system by which boys could earn little paper 'dollars' (somewhat akin to Monopoly money) by meeting various expectations or when caught acting "Scout-like." If your uniform was perfect, you got a buck. If you had your book, you got another book. A merit badge earned you another, and a rank advancement earned you bucks in increments of 5 (Tenderfoot = $5, 2nd Class = $10, et cetera, but Eagle earned you $50).

    At first the system worked well enough. My fellow Scouts started uniforming better, and there were some improvements in behavior here and there. But after a while, the system stagnated and its inherent flaws were made manifest. First of all, the same kids kept winning all the dollars because they were quiet goody-two-shoes(-es? -ers?) who didn't have to try particularly hard to behave in the first place and were already moving forward in their advancement. Then the ones who weren't earning much started giving up on the idea since they knew they would never have the dough to win the good prizes anyway. THEN after a year of this we found out that the prizes were extravagantly over the top - including a brand-new computer, a campaign hat, really high-value knives, et cetera. But since this was after a year of the system going, it was too late for the apathetic Scouts to change their act and have a go at the good prizes, which should have been the point of the whole idea in the first place. AND THEN the poor sweet sucker who actually had enough of this made-up moolah to get the computer (he, of course, being me) got picked on MORE THAN EVER because he/I basically got a new computer for college without even trying, which made things harder for him/me during my last year of Scouting and built up deep resentment among the other boys who never cared much for Scouting before, and now had a serious vendetta against it after they discovered they had been swindled by a poorly thought-out, poorly executed plan. So the good kids got bullied even more, and the troubled ones became more frustrated and angry with Scouting than ever.

    So be careful! The idea of recognition and advancement is already built in to the very fabric of Scouting, and there's no need to go beyond the system that is already in place. Do Scouting right, and it becomes its own reward. The tale of the Unknown Scout is perhaps the greatest example of how we should serve - quietly, helpfully, and without reward or recognition - because we are Scouts, and we don't need, accept nor expect rewards for doing what we already know is right. That kind of service is the most fulfilling of all.

    And if you simply MUST do something to unload your heart that's overflowing with pride and admiration for these Scouts, what's the best kind of recognition? Simple - GRATITUDE. A heartfelt compliment, meaningful expressions of thanks, a note or a message or just kind comments to the parents/guardians. Words that make him know beyond any doubt that he is LOVED and ESTEEMED by his leaders. Nothing fills a boy with greater self-worth than the kind and sincere praise of the adults he respects. That's greater than any prize or reward could ever be, and it will shape his character without stuffing his coffers. Be open and obvious with your praise. Heaven knows these Scouts deserve it.

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  14. That's very much the expectation of the idea. Our boys will be treated as kids from any other faith or organization after 2019, and we welcome council and district efforts to recruit from our families in the future. But the restored Church of Jesus Christ has been a global religion for many years now (as our new Temple complex in Rome demonstrates), so our leaders have to be mindful of its membership all over the world, and notices like the ones mentioned are necessary in order to keep policies and doctrine consistent. 

    But as mentioned, it has nothing to do with being "friendly" or not. It's simply about using the appropriate means and venues to promote Scouting in the future. It should regularly reiterated that the Church still supports Scouting, even if it will no longer sponsor it. Now we're just defining the terms, procedures and limitations for moving forward. :happy:

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  15. I think it needs to be made clear that our church simply doesn't have "community bulletin boards" where people can come and post whatever events or programs they wish. So if somebody wants to recruit LDS boys into Scouting, it has to come from people acting for themselves, and in venues apart from the Church's facilities. Those who wish to remain in Scouting are perfectly welcome to go and obtain the information they need, but that is outside the parameters of Church leadership and responsibility, and it to be done outside of our properties to ensure that the separation is both amicable and unmistakable. 

    As a new commissioner considering the idea of starting up a new unit specifically designed to continue LDS-minded Scouting (but obviously open to ANY boys who wish to participate), I understand that I need to be careful explaining that our unit will follow LDS values and ideals, but will NOT be an "LDS unit" in that it will neither be sponsored nor operated by the Church. If youth from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or from any other religious background, are interested in joining the unit, they will need to come to me or to other adults who are part of forming that unit. I cannot, nor would I wish to, use the Church or its leaders as ad-men to try and promote my unit. The Church will have its own, involving program to get off the ground, and Scouting would only be a distraction to that cause. And who knows? I may find I become so invested in the new program that I don't have time for Scouting. I can't say. But I must be guided by my duty to God first above anything, and right now there is no conflict between that duty and my duties to Scouting that I am aware of. ;)

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  16. When I was Webelos Den Leader, I might sometimes have sent the boys along to Boy Scouts with some trinket of affection by which they could remember their time in Cubs - a hand-crafted woggle, a wood-burned plaque, something simple. But the most important thing I could give to those boys was a deep and lasting understanding of the patrol method, along with solid preparation for their next adventure in Boy Scouts. When my boys were able to advance to the rank of Scout in their first or second meeting thanks to the learning they received in Webelos, I knew I had done my job right. That preparation was worth far more than any display, award, or gift could ever have been.


  17. Our pack was very small for a number of years, and we presented all the awards at our monthly pack meetings. Since our numbers have grown recently, we've transitioned to presenting rank advancements and special awards at the monthly pack meetings, and adventure pins and loops at den meetings as they are earned. Just make sure your boys never wait longer than the recommended 2 weeks before receiving recognition for their accomplishments.

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  18. I would rather my Scouts have few examples than poor ones. It's exactly because he captures their attention that this is such a problem. If we are raising our youth to merely look the other way with incidents like this, we must not be surprised when they grow older and make choices which hurt or confuse us, and we find that the moral compasses we thought we had instilled in them have been misaligned because of "missing the mark." As any orienteering instructor can tell you, your compass only needs to be off by a few degrees to get you miles off your charted course.

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  19. 27 minutes ago, malraux said:

    I don’t know if earns the patrol patch is the right way to put it. They have a patrol emblem once they vote on it. They just are the raccoons den, or the tacos or whatever. The den leader could buy the patchs, the youth could buy them, etc as per your pack tradition. If you’re crossing over shortly, I might not do that just because it’s not real thrifty. But a troop generally wouldn’t purchase the patch because the troop doesn’t buy stuff for youth who aren’t members. 

    Exactly; the boys choose a name as they practice the patrol method as per requirement C, and if they wish to wear a patch on their uniforms, it is purchased through the den or the pack committee. A Scout troop would NOT be involved in any part of the process, simply because a Scout troop is a separate unit and not responsible for the goings-on in a Cub Scout unit. When the Webelos scouts are completing this requirement, it is done on their own, with no adult intervention and certainly without involving any older scouts - the point is for them to do it on their own. And for that reason, the name they choose does not carry with them into Scouts BSA either.

    It is important to note that there is actually no such thing as "Webelos II" or "Arrow of Light" den. This is an invention of some packs that really isn't part of how Cub Scouts is supposed to be organized; all boys after Bears are considered Webelos Scouts in the Webelos den, and they can work on any requirements of any adventure in any order. Technically, a boy could even earn his Arrow of Light before earning his Webelos rank. So, a brand-new group of Webelos Scouts can work on this adventure as soon as they start in the Webelos den. I actually recommend doing the patrol activities early so that the boys can have more time with their patrol name, flag, identity, et cetera, giving them more time to adjust to the change that is imminent in Scouts BSA. 

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  20. This is troubling. Here we have our "chief ambassador" in the news again, but not for anything good:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/tv/news/bear-grylls-faces-fine-after-killing-and-cooking-frog-in-bulgarian-national-park/ar-BBTWcxv?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout

    He seems to me far too reckless and camera-hungry to serve as a deserving representative of Scouting ideals. I say get rid of him before any other scandals emerge.

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