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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. 2 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

    So in your opinion, Scouts Canada, and Scouts UK isn't "real" Scouting?  Getting so tired of hearing that atheists don't have a moral compass or that religious people have some moral superiority. 

    It's possible to teach morals, values and duty to fellow man without believing in god.  I'd much rather teach my son to help others because it's the right thing to do instead of being good out of fear that an invisible sky man is going to smite him. 

    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.

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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.

    Norman Rockwell freedom of religion.jpg

  4. 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. 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. 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 ...

  7. 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.

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  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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  10. 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.

  11. On 11/27/2018 at 9:18 AM, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

    I think Scouting as a whole is a great organization when it hearkens to its roots in scoutcraft and leadership.  There are many aspects I'd like it to dump, like religion ...

    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:


    “There is no religious side to the Movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.”  November 1920    In the Footsteps of the Founder


    “I have been asked to describe more fully what was in my mind as regards religion when I instituted Scouting and Guiding. I was asked, ‘Where does religion come in?’ Well my reply is: ‘It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is the fundamental factor underlying Scouting and Guiding.’”  B-P 2 July 1926


    “Religion seems a very simple thing –
    First: Love and serve God,

    Second: Love and serve your neighbour”
    B-P in his handbook “Scouting for Boys”

    Now let’s look at the BSA National Office for some additional clarification on this subject:


    BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle: “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. … The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.”

    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.

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  12. 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.

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  13. 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.

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  14. 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."

  15. On the one hand, that was the campiest little number I've watched in months. :laugh:

    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.

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  16. 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. :rolleyes:

  17. 3 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:

    ... there's going to be the peanut gallery that still ignorantly thinks that he is "too young to be an Eagle", so keep your chin held high as well and be his rock right now.  He WILL get to have that medal soon enough.      

    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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  18. Argh, I HATE hearing about ignorant EBOR board members who think they have the right to question a boy's work when his project has already been passed off!


    I note that your son just turned 14. As a 14 year-old Eagle candidate myself, I know I had a lot of condescending board members who seemed to doubt that a 14 year-old was capable of any "real" leadership, and they seemed to expect that I had allowed my parents or leaders to do most of the work. This attitude is absolutely inappropriate, and I hope that is not the kind of mindset your son was battling. I was fortunate in that I had two older brothers who had faced similar situations, and I was well prepared to present my case and state unequivocally "I led the project, I met the requirements, and I have earned this award." Those were the exact words my brothers had me memorize, which I still remember vividly to this day. 

    Since your son did not have that counsel on his first go, however, an appeal is ABSOLUTELY justified here. He has done the work. Everything is signed off. That board had NO RIGHT to withhold the honor unless your son has committed the most egregious of crimes (which, considering his age, I consider highly unlikely ;)). The first comment in this thread made by @69RoadRunner are absolutely correct, and I would even suggest printing off the article and taking it with you when you go to appeal. Also, while it is not recommended, you as the parent have every right to be in the room during the appeal if you insist upon it (which this time, I might consider if I were you). In fact, you had the right to the same at the first BofR as well, though many snooty pseudo-authority figures prefer not to acknowledge that privilege. There has been an over-stepping of bounds here, and while your son has every reason to feel hurt and confused, he is not wrong, and he can get it fixed. He has done a great service, he is obviously a dedicated and hard-working person, and he has already accomplished more than many young people his age. This will work out as long as you are willing to fight for it. Some battles aren't worth the effort, but if I may venture to opine so, I'd say absolutely that this one is.

    And do tell him there's a California Scouter who's rooting for him and praying for his success. :)

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  19. Bless you for your willingness to be involved! Here are a few guides that might help you get started:



    And here's the link to a whole page full of forms, applications, awards and resources: https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/resources-forms-applications/

    The Cub Scout Leader Book will be your best help; I would try to procure one as soon as possible. It has a very good, clear breakdown of the program: https://www.scoutshop.org/catalog/product/view/id/7906