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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. 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.

  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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. 

  6. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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.

  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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.

  16.  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.

  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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!

  20. 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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