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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. 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. 

  2. 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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    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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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.

  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. This is troubling. Here we have our "chief ambassador" in the news again, but not for anything good:


    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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  11. Charging people to attend B&G?!? :eek:

    We have always had very lovely B&G events, but they have never been so expensive as to require additional costs from the family. For example, in our pack, the committee buys a dozen big lasagnas from Costco, and the leaders and a few willing parents each take one or two to cook and bring to the venue just before the dinner. A few bags of rolls and some easily thrown-together salads complete a filling, pleasant, affordable meal that boys this age enjoy as much as their parents do. Decorations are simple - blue and yellow tablecloths and eating ware, boy-made centerpieces, some pictures on the walls, etc. The entire cost to feed about 130 people last night was under $200, well within our modest budget without needing to charge families. If you can find any way to cut costs and make it easier for all of your families to attend, I recommend it with all my heart. The point of the Blue and Gold is to celebrate the history and purpose of Scouting, not just to put on a show. Make your presentations meaningful and your program relevant, and even the humblest meal can be better than a feast for the families who enjoy it.

  12.  I think it would be imperative of National to make these changes in regards to proper pronoun gender. To ignore the differentiation between men and women as understood by these cultures would be disrespectful at the least, highly offensive at the worst. The language has to be changed if the OA's intention to respect and promote the traditions of native peoples is to be sincere.

  13. Hey all! With my time cleared up now and my health more or less restored, I have been asked to serve as a commissioner by my district committee leaders. They told me to register as a unit commissioner, but they specifically want me to help with training new Cub Scout leaders, facilitating Cub breakout sessions at Roundtable, and above all being on-hand to support Cub Scouting at the district level. I am taking every training course I can find online and doing everything possible to make sure I am as well-versed in Scout policies and procedures as possible (luckily my mom was a commissioner for a decade so I have ready access to most of the primary materials). However, I know there is a lot that I don't know, and so I come before the wisdom of those on these boards to ask:

    Does anybody have any advice, suggestions, or encouragement to help me get off on the right foot in this new position? I want my service as a commissioner to be meaningful to all those with whom I interact, so any help or counsel will be most appreciated. Thanks everybody!

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  14. So, first of all - I LOVE Laurel and Hardy, and reading your post @SSScout made me go back and watch a bunch of their old films again - thanks for the idea!

    Secondly, I have just been made a Unit Commissioner! Specifically, my District Commissioner wants me to help with training Cub Scout leaders in the area both at roundtable and at their committee meetings. My health is almost totally recovered, and I have gained back all the weight I lost, so I am ready to get back into things with a position that will let me stay involved without needing to over-strain myself with weekly den meetings and germ-ridden kiddos or anything like that. So I am super excited! My mom was a commissioner for over a decade, so I already have the uniform items I need, and there is a HUGE area-wide commissioner college for all of Southern California happening up north in LA next month, so I'll be able to start my Bachelor's in Commissioner Science work right away! 

    I am reading through all the training materials now, and I am excited for this new chapter in my Scouting career. Thanks all for your kind thoughts and generous wisdom; to those who sent me PM's, I am working on answering all those too. The doctors have given me a clean bill of health, so it's all systems go now!

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  15. Hey everybody, a question I would love some help answering:

    are all chapter advisers considered "associate chapter advisers," or is that a separate, specific position? For instance, is the adviser to the chapter vice-chief considered an "associate chapter adviser?" Any clarification would be much appreciated. Thanks all!

  16. Ah, it's finally been updated! Lots of interesting changes in this new edition too. Thank goodness the square knots have been officially limited to nine; the ambiguity of the previous guideline made rationalizing excessive patches too easy. Now it reads specifically "the number of knots is limited to three rows of three." 

    As for the rest of the Guide, it's very nice and much improved over the last edition. There are plenty of new images, and as a whole this new edition is far more detailed than the last. CSP's have a whole new detailed re-write with images. There is a whole new set of guidelines for custom patches and emblems, and Lion Scouts now have guidelines for their awards. There are changes to the Webelos insignia (the blue diamond rank patch is gone, as are specific Webelos Den and Assistant Den Leader patches), and Venturing uniform placement guidelines have been enhanced. The section on adult awards and recognition has been greatly improved and expanded as well. I recommend everybody check it out!

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  17. Merit badge requirements must only be signed off by approved merit badge counselors. The committee chair is not authorized to sign them off unless he or she is also an approved counselor for the badge cited on the application. 

    Finding the original counselor is not a problem; just make sure a new counselor is found ASAP, and that that individual is district-approved. 

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  18. 2 hours ago, Treflienne said:

    Class A's are a "field uniform".   Skirts and dresses are no good for such -- they would only be good as a dress uniform.     And yellow shows dirt stains a lot more than tan does.

    Actually I have been disappointed that scoutstuff.org is only showing the girls-fit shirt in the cotton blend.   How about a quick-dry Class A shirt for girls, so that it is actually suitable to wear on outings?  Has anyone heard if one will be forthcoming?      (We have told our girls to hold off on buying uniforms until it becomes clear what options will be available.)

    I believe it would be more correct to say that the Field Uniform is sometimes referred to as "Class A," though this is a misapplication of military terminology which we generally try to avoid. And I have to say, I know many women who hike and hunt and climb and camp in skirts, dresses, jumpers, et cetera. They would just need to use patterns that allow freedom of movement. 

    I do agree with the need for more fabric options for girls. I imagine that with time, National will start rolling out new options periodically just as they always have for the boys. But with the program being so new, one can only expect the options to be somewhat limited for a while. It goes with the territory.

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  19. On 1/23/2019 at 5:33 PM, shortridge said:

    If she decides that I suddenly have knowledge worth sharing and asks me, my recommendation to my daughter will be to take no merit badges at camp this summer.

    Go to the sessions; ask a lot of questions; follow up with open periods in areas you like; visit the areas during evening program; learn plenty of skills; get plenty of practice; try things that you wouldn’t get a chance to do outside of camp. But heavens to Betsy, don’t take any “merit badge classes”!

    If you really want to earn a badge that piques your interest, take what you’ve learned during this week and find a counselor back home that the SM recommends. There will always be plenty of time and opportunity for that.

    If you or any Scout wants to spend the week doing nothing but rifle shooting in pursuit of that perfect score, then spend your days doing that! Ditto for gritting out the mile swim, mastering the bow drill, climbing the wall, or catching that elusive giant catfish.

    But don’t waste camp taking a “class.” School is out. This is the summer. Enjoy it!

    I concur 100%. This is the Scout's chance to spend a week doing what he wants to do. Parents need to keep their loving, sticky paws off for the sake of their child's growth as an individual. In some ways, I feel like enjoying summer is becoming a dying art. 

    Completely off topic, it tickles me pink to see the expression "heavens to Betsy" still being used. That just put me in a great mood somehow. :happy:

  20. Thanks all for your kind words. I have been working with the new leader, and while there are a few pack issues that he will have to overcome, he has been well-prepared to keep the flame going. Meanwhile I need to keep my personal flame lit, and you have all been very kind with your thoughts. Thank you!

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  21. Well, I trained a bunch of Cub Scout leaders yesterday, and as always, I got a lot of initial frustration from the women leaders when I stressed the importance of wearing the full uniform (not just the shirt as is usual around these parts). They always express their (quite legitimate) complaints about the fit, or lack thereof, of the Scout uniform for ladies. But I showed them a few of these images and related to them the options coming out with the insertion of girls into the programs, and many of them were very encouraged to go check out the new selections. I hope they really do flatter the female figure better in the future, because I know many ladies who get frustrated trying to wear a uniform designed for gentlemen but in a feminine way. My mother actually had a pair of uniform slacks re-tailored into a skirt, and it's the envy of all the ladies in the pack who haven't the skill or means to do likewise.

    I know that in the 80's, de la Renta had designs for women's uniforms that, I opine, could actually have made for an infinitely better selection of options for girls. They should have put the girls in uniforms like these, with yellow blouses/shirts or olive dresses and all the other options shown here. That would have given their program its own distinctive yet historically rich look that would preserve tradition while simultaneously giving something new. These are clearly Scout uniforms, and on all of these options they could have followed the exact same rules for award and insignia placement, but they are also clearly designed for girls - and they work! If anything, de la Renta's designs for female leaders were far superior to his designs for the menfolk (outdoor-formal was a strange direction I admit), but the program didn't have enough women back then to make these designs relevant, and here the program isn't taking advantage of designs like these now that it has the chance. We should have looked more to the past to find better options for the future.

    Anyway, I have strong sartorial opinions if you couldn't tell, but man - I wish they would re-introduce designs like these instead of just changing buttons and rolling up pants. If you're going to run a program for girls, do it all the way! Sheesh. :rolleyes:

    Women Scout options.jpg

  22. Honestly, I think some packs allow their derbys to become excessively race-oriented rather than family-oriented. If at any point you allow regulations on the cars to become restrictions on involvement, you have a problem.

    Obviously, you need rules and guidelines to make an event like this manageable, but your goal should be getting the boys and their families to participate. Winning a race should be peripheral to spending time with the pack and providing an enjoyable time for all involved. Shaving fractions of a second (which sounds almost fanatically obsessive to me) off of a boy's time reiterates the idea that your event is about winning, when in fact, it's about building unity within families - and within your pack. 

    I suggest making moves to simplify your event. For example, our pack make a lot of "reformations" if you will while my older brother was Cubmaster. First we simplified the awards - every boy received a participation medal, but there were five "prize" medals - Fastest Car (no 2nd or 3rd place), slowest car (it has to make it all the way to the finish line to count though - we call it the "Marathon Winner"), Cub Scout's Choice (chosen by votes from all the boys), Most Creative and Best Craftsmanship (selected by the Key 3). This leveled the playing field a bit, giving boys a chance to win a prize for more than just a fast car. In fact, the Marathon Winner has become a highly coveted car lately, with some boys aiming specifically to get the slowest car they can make! 

    It also decreases negative parental involvement dramatically since the "esteem" of the fastest car is no longer the central focal point of the event. We trashed all the fancy-shmancy electrical timers and whatnot that just made things more complicated, and instead started bringing in three community and congregational leaders each year to act as judges. The car they say wins the round, wins the round. Simple. We have established that what they say goes, and as they are very respected, impartial guests, we haven't had any problems from parents taking umbrage with their decisions. 

    Now, you obviously have to find what works for your group, but making changes like these help reestablish the Pinewood Derby as an exciting, friendly night that celebrates the hard work and creativity of the boys and their families through the simple game of racing cars with friends. The simpler, the better. If a boy wants to refurbish an old car, what of it? If it still meets the prescribed dimensions of weight and size, there's no harm in that. The boy can do as he wishes if he follows the basic parameters. 

    I will however agree that if a boy isn't there, you have no need to race his car. At these ages, they won't care all that much about an event they didn't attend. But for those who are there - do what you can to include for the boy's sake, not exclude for the rule's sake.

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