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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. I can testify to the immeasurable value of a good den chief. I have had the most wonderful young man serving as mine for almost two years now - he is respectful, thoughtful, good with the boys, responsible, and mature. He comes in his uniform, he takes direction but also leads successfully, he participates in our activities and leads his own well - I can't imagine trying to run my den of boys without him. A good den leader can make a night and day difference in the success of any den. 

    • Upvote 4

  2. I believe rank patches are one of the few items that are normally NOT permitted on the back of the merit badge sash. If you must put anything besides merit badges on the back of it (a practice of which I have never been a fan), then keep it to temporary patches, not official badges of rank or office.

    And I will add my voice to all the others - teach them to sew and let them do it themselves. My dad does professional costuming and tailoring, but we always had to sew on our own badges - he was (and is) however kind enough to help now and then with particularly difficult patches, such as the Messengers of Peace emblem, which is a PAIN to sew on by hand. And since I do all my stitching by hand, I need professional, mechanical intervention now and then. :laugh:

    But again - don't be like me. Teach them to do it all themselves!

    • Upvote 1

  3. Yeah, they took out the geocaching requirement with last year's addendum and it isn't required in the new book. 

    I admit I always found separate Webelos 1 and 2 dens to be a very odd creation. Being an LDS Webelos Den Leader, I have one year to do all the requirements, but we don't take summers off and every boy has a straight 12 months to get it all done. Since we don't get slowed down for a season, my boys usually finish both the Webelos rank and the AofL within the required 3 and 6 month time frames, with plenty of time to work on outdoor activity awards, world conservation awards, and lots of elective adventures too. And sometimes they have to repeat stuff for boys who haven't gotten as far along - that's fine; I always tell them that it's a chance to help out newer boys with the things they've already learned. 

    However packs may decide to split the Webelos program, the fact remains that the minute a boy becomes a Webelos Scout, everything he does counts towards all requirements until he leaves the Cub Scout program - regardless of whether a local unit moves him into some artificial "older" den. Officially, there is no such thing as "Webelos 1 and 2" or "Arrow of Light dens" or whatever. There are Webelos Scouts and Webelos dens. It's all one program, using one book, wearing one uniform. 

  4. Hmm. I gotta admit I'm a stickler for proper uniforming, so either I wear the complete uniform or I don't wear it at all. Shirt, shorts, belt, socks, neckerchief, and hat. But I have plenty of options to mix up my look when I want to. I have three lengths of official socks - knee-high, crew length, and ankle socks (I almost ALWAYS wear the ankle socks here in sunny CA). I've got the official pants/zip-off shorts, which are not as bad as I thought they'd be, and I appreciate that they can function as pants AND shorts (again, I practically ALWAYS wear shorts since it's almost never under 75 degrees here). Then I can choose between an official tooled leather belt, or my standard green web-belt. On my shirt I wear pretty much all the bling; I work with Webelos and I consider it my job to get the boys excited for Boy Scouts, so while it isn't in my nature to do so, I make sure to wear all the patches and awards I have earned so that the boys will notice it - knots, service stars, OA flap, devices, et cetera. And then of course I NEVER leave home without my necker (I have a half-dozen to choose from, depending on the occasion) and a nice slide. That's always topped off with my campaign hat, or at times my Webelos den cap. 

  5. 11 hours ago, jsychk said:

     I think some boys gradually didn't see it fair and excluded the kid naturally. 

    This is the line that troubles me the most. Exclusion is never "natural," it's always a choice. They could have chosen to ignore their perception of what is fair or not, and included him anyway, but they didn't - they chose to treat the boy differently. As soon as that happens, you're starting on a path to trouble. And it would seem that pretty quickly, they reached their destination.

    • Upvote 3

  6. 26 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

    O Tannenbaum 

    Yep. The tune we know as "O Christmas Tree" was simply lifted and used for Vespers because it was a familiar melody that lots of people already knew. 

    In the 19th and early 20th centuries, most music was learned that way - people as a rule knew dozens of familiar melodies, and they would simply fit in different lyrics based on occasion, setting, or performance. In schools, it was absolutely essential for children to learn music and basic music theory, as much as it was for them to learn their letters and numbers. In early American churches, people already knew all the common melodies of the day, and hymnbooks would simply include the hymn lyrics, which would be sung to whichever familiar melody the music director indicated for that particular service 

    On the stage, any singer worth his salt would have had to know all the popular melodies AND lyrics of the day, as would any and all instrumentalists accompanying him. Audience members would shout out favorite lyrics and the name of the tune to which they wanted to hear it sung, and singers were expected to know them and sing them from heart. And they did - there were no TV's or radios or internet to amuse people, so singing songs in parlours, theaters, bars, homes, et cetera was the universal way of entertaining oneself, one's friends, and one's audience. EVERYBODY knew the same songs, the sames melodies, and there was a general culture of shared musical appreciation. Now, that culture is all but extinct, and would be completely foreign to the modern layman save for the vestiges of that tradition left in the now-trivial habit of singing familiar songs with personalized lyrics, usually in a light-minded manner to children. The richer vibrancy of the past cultural tradition has been lost.

    So when the Cub Scout Songbook and Boy Scout Songbook were compiled in the early half of the last century, they simply followed an age-old practice of using common, well-known tunes and fitting to them lyrics that would be relevant or instructive to their target audience. So basically, the tune named "O Tannenbaum" is known in the States as "Oh Christmas Tree," which is the same tune we use for "Scout Vespers," but which can be used for whatever special lyrics you see fit to teach them. 


  7. So, my parents are Wolf den leaders - they are also professional music teachers and performers. You wouldn't believe the music they have gotten out of those Wolves - I've already heard them singing Scout Vespers, along with every other song in my dad's personal vintage Cub Scout Songbook, old folk songs, church hymns, silly melodies - the most important thing to remember with kids is that they inherently LOVE to sing, and learn a LOT by doing it. 

    So you go and you sing Scout Vespers with them - I bet you'll be amazed at how quickly they learn it!

    • Upvote 1

  8. So, with Patriot Day coming next week, I thought it would be appropriate for me to wear the patch pictured below at my weekly den meeting. I found it in a bag of old patches our Scoutmaster gifted me a few months ago, and I think it's a lovely tribute to the events of that day.

    However, I have no idea what the history of this patch is, and I am certain my Webelos Scouts will want to know more about it. Obviously it was created to commemorate what happened on 9/11, but I don't know when it was issued nor by whom - was it a local, council offering, a nationally issued momento, or what? 

    I am always impressed by the sleuthing skills of our resident patch experts here, so I look forward to learning what you all can find out! Thank you!


  9. 2 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

    Uhh, can we the LDS Church’s help getting that adopted by BSA before y’all leave?!?

    Well, if the BSA hasn't wanted to emulate our "common sense" approach to safety by now, I doubt they'll suddenly want to do so by the end of next year. :rolleyes: I agree with @T2Eagle though:

    6 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

    "it matters a lot more what an adult does than whether an adult is there."

    The patrol method is not based on the idea of adult-less activity, but rather boy-led adventure. Nothing about an adult's presence has to interfere with that guiding principle -- if they are wise, sensible adults who understand this, they will simply be on-hand at activities to guide and support the Scouts, without any kind of disruption of the boys' learning process. But regardless of their wisdom (or lack thereof) the fact that they are there should technically have no bearing on the functionality of the patrol method.

    Now, if adults choose to disregard in practice those guidelines that should be followed in principle, that still does not alter the fact that the principle is fundamentally true: the patrol method works, with or without adults present. However, again, it's about using common sense. Not the common sense of whether or not they should even be there, but the common sense of what they do and say -- and of what they don't do, and don't say. So if the G2SS does eventually require adults at all activities, that won't be the factor that most affects the implementation and success of the patrol method. Ultimately, it will be, as it always has been, how those adults choose to deport themselves when in the company of the Scouts under their care.


    • Upvote 2

  10. Well I work with a Webelos group, so our adventures are a little different that the legit adventures you big boys go on. ;)

    At our weekly den meetings, we'll be working on the Duty to God, Art Explosion, Cast Iron Chef and Bigger, Faster Stronger adventures through Halloween

    Our pack's yearly Cub Scout Outdoor Saturday and Family Campfire Night is later this month

    In October, we'll be going to our district's Fall Camporall with the Troop. They'll be camping overnight, and we'll join them early Saturday morning to spend the rest of the day with them for all the activities and events

    Trips to the local art museum and to the city council chambers to meet our municipal leadership are planned

    Scouting for Food in November

  11. Our district is pretty good about keeping their calendar public and accessible. The June Roundtable is our yearly planning RT, and all district and major council events are posted on the district's website online. I'm lucky to be part of a well-run district. If you want to take a look at the website and maybe give your district commissioners some ideas, here's a link: 


  12. I would caution against it if it's been longer than 6 months. If you try to go back and start awarding all the awards boys have missed out on over too long a period, you risk devaluing them. 

    I suggest, if you must repair the damage done in this way, that you only award a few token awards from within the past few months - say, 2 or 3 adventure loops TOPS per boy - and instead focus either on earning new awards, or on repeating the requirements to re-earn awards they may indeed have earned long ago but never received - repetition is after all a valuable learning tool, and this time you can connect the effort of earning the award with the award itself, giving them value beyond simply being bling to show off. But if you jump on it too quickly and suddenly present a boy with 5, 6, 7 awards he earned half a year ago, all he sees is that you are suddenly presenting him with a lot of metal shiny things, and he may start to think that's what Scouting is about. It isn't.

    Unlike in Boy Scouts, Cub Scout awards are not essential to advancement, especially considering all the concern you mention is regarding purely elective awards. They are nice, but they don't matter if they aren't connected to the work and learning that went into their acquiring. After a few months, that window is gone, and your just giving them stuff. That's why official BSA policy is that no boy should have to wait longer than two weeks(!) to receive an award he has earned. 

    So don't worry as much about looking back as you should be with looking forward. Work with your leaders, set new goals with new plans to record and award advancement items, and you'll fix far more than giving the boys a few metal trinkets ever will. Good luck!


  13. 5 hours ago, pjhodager said:

    on your swim suit

    This sounds like the most rational answer to me. It's the "uniform" you wear when you're acting in either role, so it makes sense. Just don't try and stretch any rules so you can get it onto your field uniform - there's no place for them there, and everybody who knows it will only assume you're trying to garner attention or advertise your skills. And after all, it's not about what people see, but what you accomplish in those roles. 

  14. I took it a week after it came out. The whole thing took less than an hour to complete, it was pretty easy despite being somewhat heavy in tone. But I appreciate the seriousness with which it treats the subject matter, and it gives enough depth without becoming maudlin or over-wrought. I deal with these issue a lot as a teacher and child development specialist, and I think this is one of the better training modules I've seen in the past few years.

  15. On 7/11/2018 at 8:48 AM, AVTech said:

     RT needs to rotate days. Our District RT is the same night as our Troop meetings. That makes it hard, unless BSA has some new cloning technology that I don't know about.

    AMEN. Our district has had its Rountables, OA meetings, and all other key district meetings on Thursday nights exclusively since FOREVER, and they REFUSE to budge on it. For those of us with work or regular Thursday night events, this makes attending RT impossible for the entire school year. I wish we could get them to try something new. 

  16. 46 minutes ago, LVAllen said:

    What a load of horse dung.

    Apparently, girls you know don't like to do fun things with their friends, be that camping, hiking, running, exploring, or building things. Girls don't like to feel like they belong in a group, and apparently teamwork is anathema to the way they grow. Girls apparently can't learn through associating with adults. And girl leadership? Ha! Girls are biologically inferior to boys, am i right? No point in wasting valuable time teaching them to look out for their fellows.

    We'll just go ahead and ignore the historical fact that girls picked up BP's Scouting just as fast as boys did, when they were allowed to do so.

    Forgiving and editing first of all the crass nature of your response, might I ask what your sarcastic comments have to do with my thoughts? You did after all quote my comments before going off on this diatribe, but seeing as I have never made any claims such as the ones you mockingly seem to attribute to me, and seeing as I tried to express my thoughts diplomatically (though plainly), I don't see how this kind of post contributes to the conversation. Certainly I have never suggested any such vulgar nor bigoted remarks as these, yet you seem to imply that they are somehow the "next step" in my line of thinking. THIS IS NOT SO.

    I apologize if you chose to interpret my comments as such, but it does neither of us any good to talk like this, and it only damages both points of view. So I offer my apologies again if you wrongly interpreted my feelings, and hope we can return to a more civil discourse on this issue. For now, perhaps I had best retreat from this particular thread for a time.

  17. I will say outright that if I were to use my own experiences as a youth in Scouting as the basis for how I lead my den now, it would be a DISASTER. My experiences in Scouting as a kid varied from utterly forgettable to downright miserable, with only a few bright (or at least glow-in-the-dark) exceptions. One of the reasons I have become so invested in Scouting now is specifically to prevent this next generation of boys from going through the mire I trudged through growing up, and to ensure they get a TRUE, successful, positive Scouting experience. I believe in the program, but it can be damaged so easily for adding in the wrong influences. Poor leadership is one. Apathetic, or power-hungry, leaders can totally ruin what Scouting is meant to be. I believe that, in addition, trying to fit the Scouting program on a demographic other than growing boys is a recipe for failure. I think forcing Scouting on girls is like trying to fit the square peg through the round hole - you can take a million pictures of smiling faces, interview all the welcoming Scouts you want, talk to all the parents of that "one little girl who has waited her whole life for this moment" - it doesn't make a difference. Scouting was developed over a hundred years to fit the way boys learn and grow, from the deeply-invested group structure to the outdoor formula, even down the uniforms are something boys are naturally drawn to. But girls are different. And sooner or later, either girls will lose interest and leave because the novelty has worn off and they realize Scouting isn't quite the program they wanted, or girls will lose interest and will start to fundamentally change the program to make it suit them better. I predict the latter, to the great loss of all the boys who needed this program in the first place. 

    Not a thousand articles and photographs and studies and surveys could persuade me to believe that this is really what everybody "wants." Because it's all ignoring what both boys, and girls, really need. 

    • Like 1

  18. I concur; the simple fact is that boys and girls are supposed to meet in separate dens. That is one policy you cannot, nor should you even attempt to, get around. I would rather work with one stalwart kid alone in a den than try to bend the rules to facilitate what I think is best - or most convenient, as is more often the real case. Mind you, I have often had periods of time when I only had one kid in my Webelos den - other leaders tried to get me to combine with other groups for the duration, but I have learned something extremely valuable in my years working with children and specializing in child development:

    To a 9 year-old, a 10 year-old is a BIG kid and can be intimidating, and more often than not they retreat emotionally or physically to "make way" for the older child to run the show.

    To an 8 year-old, a 7 year-old can be an obstacle because they are "too little" to be any fun, slowing things down and frustrating their progress.

    To an elementary-aged boy, a girl can affect how comfortable he is investing himself entirely in certain activities, and she may be the source of some embarrassment during normal work or play.

    To an elementary-aged girl, a boy can ruin the fun of an activity or project by not being focused, slowing down instruction, and being a distraction to both peers and leaders.

    ALSO: The effects of mixing genders are more dramatic than the effects of mixing ages.

    Et cetera.

    It is far better for the child to get some personal attention as the only pioneer member in their den (and start RECRUITING for pete's sake!) than it is to try and force-combine dens across ages or genders simply because of how ADULTS perceive the degree of inconvenience. Stop thinking about what YOU think is best, and look at the situation through the eyes of the child. Don't think that what is easiest is best; what is best is what allows the child the broadest degree of developmental comfort, freedom, and attention. That will be found with other children who are the same age, and the same gender.

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