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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot


  1. Wow this thread is old! LOL.

    But I will take the time to note that few things irk me as much as the misnomer 'Webelo' used in reference to a single Scout who should, in fact, be called a 'Webelos Scout." There is no such thing as a 'Webelo!'

    Drives me bonkers every time I hear it. Enough to keep it in my signature, lol. 🤪


  2. I think it's irrational to believe that this pandemic spells the end of such basic parts of our culture as hand-shaking. For a season it may diminish in use, but only for a season - when we finally have this illness beaten, which we will, I believe the handshake will come back with a vengeance. Until that time, I am strongly encouraging all Scout leaders to salute each other - it's just as much a means of salutation as the handshake, and in many situations I even prefer it. Why don't we salute each other more? lol. 

    • Upvote 3

  3. On 2/26/2019 at 11:27 AM, MattR said:

    For those of us that live in the West and really don't want to fly to the Bechtel Thingy, it would be great to have two jamboree sites. 

    Amen to this! Especially with all the space now available at emptying BSA properties in Utah and Idaho; there must be a way to hold a large-scale event that doesn't require travel all the way back east. Distance wise, anything over the Rockies can be like travelling to another country for those of us on the west coast. 


  4. 20 minutes ago, elitts said:

    Now, let's add to those points the fact that the BSA Rules https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/Rules_and_Regulations_June_2018.pdf

    specify that the SPL must be elected by half of the members of their troop.(Section VII, page 14)  Therefore a "Joint SPL" is not possible because SPLs can not be elected by anyone outside of his/her troop.

    This was a point I brought up a few pages back. The girl's title of SPL over a male unit was never valid in the first place because she cannot be a member of that troop, regardless of how closely (too closely if you ask me) their two units work together. This is all over the BSA literature if you get into it enough.


  5. I certainly concur with all of your thoughts and ideas, @Protoclete. I live in a pretty densely populated area, yet for some reason there are only a few select opportunities to take the CC courses each year - and the primary event that was planned for tomorrow has now been cancelled. 

    In light of recent advances in technology, as well as the unfortunate spread of illness in the past few weeks, I think it would behoove the BSA to look into making as many of these courses available online as possible. They already have a great number of their position-specific courses available online; I can't imagine it would be any more complicated to do the same for all the CC courses as well - or at least a large percentage of them. I definitely agree that better tracking methods, broader availability of online courses, and new ways to certify the taking of said courses in absolutely in order. I will support any movement to help make it happen. 

    • Upvote 1

  6. From my council (Orange County Council, CA)

    Quote

    Update on the Coronavirus and Impact on Program Delivery

    March 12, 2020

    Officials at the California Department of Public Health announced new recommendations late Wednesday night to curtail the spread of COVID-19: large gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March.

    The Orange County Council, including all of our properties, continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation. Based on this new information, the Council will enforce the following guidelines effective immediately:
    • Council and District activities of 250 or more will be postponed and rescheduled for dates after March 31st. This includes District Camporees scheduled in March and programs at our four properties including Newport Sea Base and Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center.
    • Smaller events can proceed only if organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. If the social distance cannot be accommodated, meetings/activities must be postponed or cancelled. The use of conference calls is highly recommended. Advisers to District and Council meetings will contact their committees with instructions for meetings scheduled this month.
    • Roundtables will continue for March 12. Social Distancing will be enforced, and we strongly request any individual who feels sick to not attend.
    • Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people while also following social distancing guidelines.
    • Some charter partners and unit meeting locations have blocked access to their facilities for the time being. Please contact your location to verify access and timeline. The information from the State recommends limiting access until March 31st. Should your unit be blocked, we recommend that families continue to use their handbooks at home to continue the program and update their leaders on their progress.

    The Orange County Council is committed to providing a safe environment for our members and will continue to update you as information becomes available.

     


  7. 3 hours ago, yknot said:

    And as ParkMan said, why does this even matter?  

    To be honest, it matters because neither unit is getting the Scouting program the way it's meant to be delivered. They are being short-changed out of the full benefits and strengths the program can offer when the genders are respected and treated with singular, undivided attention. That's the way the program is meant to be. Changing it like this, however you may try to justify it, does a disservice to the very youth you are trying to serve.


  8. Not only the above as shared by @HashTagScouts, but also, Scouts cannot serve in positions of responsibility outside the units with which they are registered. The girls may share committees and unit numbers with the boys, but they are still registered as different units, and therefore cannot serve in positions outside their own troop. Technically, those poor boys have no SPL - certainly not according to the BSA. They have a Scout from an outside troop doing the job, but nobody from their own unit gets the experience. That's a real shame.

    Mind you, I doubt that this kind of controversy would arise if the reverse were true - if a BOY was usurping the role of SPL over a girl unit, there would be all kinds of hullabaloo over denying girls the right to run their own troop. Well, that's exactly what's happening to the boys in this unit, and it's both unfair and against BSA policy. Both the boys and the girls are hurt by the current violation. 

    • Like 1

  9. 2 hours ago, yknot said:

    I think the only sensible course is to leave the SPL position in place. You cannot remove a female SPL from a joint position that was previously given to a male SPL until the term runs out.

    Of course you can! One, policy dictates that the girl cannot be SPL of the male unit in the first place; ergo, her election was invalid before it even took place. Second, there are no such things as "terms" when it comes to BSA troop positions. Youth leaders serve until the unit realizes they need - or decides that they want - new leaderership. If you read the various handbooks, guides and publications regarding the BSA troop leadership positions, you will find that you can hold an election whenever you want, whenever it's needed. Here it is CLEARLY needed; the only problem is that the adults don't want it, and the youth haven't been taught well enough to know it. There's a lot of good happening, as we've established - but there's a whole lot that needs fixing too. 

    • Upvote 2

  10. You can hold elections whenever you want. Yes you just had one - but it wasn't done properly, and that negates much of the whole affair. Also, it's (frankly) irrelevant how recently your past election was held. There are no time limits, no term requirements, and no stipulations stating that you can't hold another election whenever it's necessary or desired. And right now, it is. You aren't taking ANYTHING from the youth by doing so - in fact, you are GIVING them back the proper program that you should have been giving them in the first place. You are in no way bound to your past election, and if you explain how their troops SHOULD be run, and give the boys and the girls a new opportunity to elect their own leaders as you should have done before, you will be empowering both the boys and the girls by granting them more ownership of their programs. So let the girl SPL keep her title and role for the girls, and let the boys elect their own SPL and start running their own activities. Both programs will expand and succeed far more if you will just bend to proper patrol method and give the power back to each unit.

    • Upvote 1

  11. Well, shucks!

    I was all excited to attend our annual, regional Commissioner College up in L.A. this Saturday - traditionally, all the commissioners from my district would carpool the 90-minute drive north to Sherman Oaks for a day of quality classes and mingling, followed by a nice meal on the way home. I went last year for the first time, and it was actually a lot of fun -  I even bought a new Scout shirt for the year (I have finally out-grown my youth-sized shirt)!

    But NO, I just got word that the SoCAL Commissioner College has been CANCELLED/POSTPONED (they aren't sure yet). Fie! A pox on this illness and the havoc it wreaks upon this world!


  12. 2 hours ago, atrox79 said:

    My frustration comes when you start treating Scouts differently.  I believe Scouting teaches life skills, not boy skills.  The introduction of females in Scouts was long overdue, but they shouldn't be treated any differently.  When I see FB ads for Scouts and it has all girls, or all boys, in the ad, I feel they are missing the point of what makes this program great.  People don't want to be treated differently or want to be categorized by their sex, skin color, religion, etc.  My goal with the linked troops was to give ALL of these kids a quality program like I had as a kid.  I feel like we were doing that, but now the Committee wants to step in and tell me how to run the program.

    Your heated responses, especially the remark about your committee "stepping in and telling (you) how to run the program," makes it clear to me that you KNOW you are violating BSA policy, and you are passionately trying to justify your actions - not to us, but to yourself. Broad aphorisms about inclusion and equality are only masking the real issue - you are not running your troops in accordance with BSA policy, but you worry changing your methods will harm the growth you have been enjoying. In the long run, it's just better to check yourself and where you are going against established policy, and make the necessary changes - before somebody higher up does it for you.

    And by the way, I don't regard any unit going against established procedure as successful - regardless of the numbers they have accrued. Success isn't the number of kids you have in your unit - it's the example and behaviors you are teaching them. I know this is a rather brash way of putting it, but I feel that both the boys AND the girls are being cheated out of the full benefits of this program when you mash their troops together as though they were one unit, and for the sakes of the Scouts in your care, I implore you to reconsider the way you run your program.


  13. Be aware that you are in violation of established BSA policy. While you may share committees, resources, and even adult leadership, you are still operating two separate troops. That means each unit, the male and the female unit, needs to operate apart from the other. That means they should not be sharing youth leadership, and your current organization of boy and girl patrols goes against the rules of the Boy Scouts of America. You need to divide your units into a boy troop (with its own SPL and patrols) and a girl troop (with its own SPL and patrols). The fact that your units are thriving should be an indicator that such a division will not be a problem, and that your troops will continue to grow. But there is a concerning line in your post:

    2 hours ago, atrox79 said:

    We follow all of the YPT standards and Barriers to Abuse.  Personally, I think National has bigger issues than a thriving troop 

    One of the bigger issues National has to deal with is maintaining YPT standards and barriers to abuse. By ignoring the policy regarding male and female units, you are in fact violating those standards. I think you have been successful enough with recruiting new members that you should have no problem making the adjustments needed to conform with proper standards, which will only strengthen your units for both the boys and the girls. But be aware that, as it currently stands, your attempts to merge the boy and girl units will only cause headaches and potential problems down the line. 

    • Thanks 1

  14. 3 hours ago, FireStone said:

    If that is the true intent, the slides aren't the problem, the neckerchief itself is. We need to go back to square neckers folded in half, and at a large enough size to actually be usable as a first-aid tool or other device. The knot really has very little to do with the utility of the neckerchief.

    Are the ones being sold really THAT small? Mine are pretty large, and I have used them to demonstrate slings, tourniquets, and bandages for every part of the body. As far as I can tell, they are plenty large enough to be useful (they did make them larger again a few years ago, mind you). I may not be the biggest guy around, but at almost 5'9 and 180 lbs I have no problems with the current size. I DO like the idea of going back to full squares though, more for the fullness than for the size itself. 

    • Upvote 1

  15. 4 hours ago, Double Eagle said:

    I hate to say this to those with a bad experience, but that monthly district committee meeting can be most useful and needed.  Our district commissioners have their meeting the hour prior to the committee meeting, so we knock out both meetings on the same day of the month.  It is not the place for roundtable or a council meeting, that is mentioned above.  The district committee meeting is for district business and not a whole lot of just talk.  Like any meeting in scouts, there should be a meeting plan and stick to it.  With over 15 people on our committee serving 40 units, our meeting stays on district business.  Whether a district with 40 units or 13, keep it on task and be done.  We manage to keep ours to one hour.  Most sidebars are held elsewhere and other times.  The district meeting is when individual program chairs can update on their piece.   

    This sounds almost identical to how my district operates. As far as what is discussed, well, everything from budget issues, upcoming events, scheduling & managing Eagle B'sofR, special unit needs, leadership roles, policy changes, et cetera. We often just manage to squeeze everything into the one hour we allot ourselves, thus it's all business and always relegated to relevant, important topics. We have to keep on task or we'd end up being there all night, and while our district team is very close and friendly one with another, we try to keep all our socializing for after, or simply wait for other events more conducive to fellowshipping. 

    • Thanks 1

  16. Just an aside, for anybody interested:

    I had an appointment with my doctor today, who works in a medical office with one of the most respected infectious-diseases doctors in Southern California. Said doctor has been on-call almost nonstop for the past few weeks, as a tremendous percentage of the population in our county comes from China or the surrounding nations. She has asked that all the doctors in the office pass along her "2 essential rules for living." I'll share them with you - 

    1. Don't panic!

    2. Wash your hands. Like, all the time.

    That's it! She stressed the fact that the corona virus is frightening because it is new, and it is virulent - but that it isn't cause for undue panic, stress, or anxiety. And yes, she stated emphatically that those two rules are in the right order - calm yourself, and keep clean. Once your emotions and hygiene are under control, you'll be in a far better place to deal with whatever ramifications may follow. Sounds like good advice to share with young people and older people alike.


  17. I'll admit I am ... not a fan. I love larger neckerchiefs, don't get me wrong (and being a slightly-built fellow, most neckers are large on me), but this trend towards the 'friendship knot' is honestly rather silly-looking if you ask me (not that anybody has, but I'm answering anyway).

    Part of the reason we use slides or slipknots is so that, in an emergency, the neckerchief can be whipped right off and used as needed. It's the very practicality of the neckerchief as an emergency tool and garment that makes it so important and and demonstrative of utilitarian Scouting values. Taking the time to undo a fancy knot like that seems like the very antithesis of that intent - a Scout should be able to snap off his neckerchief to use as a first aid or emergency item in half a second, and that kind of knot would take forever to undo (especially if wet). Slides are also long-used, venerated tokens of Scouting, and I cannot imagine them disappearing any time soon. I love my little collection of slides, gathered from every era of Scouting, each with a story to tell. Furthermore, from a purely aesthetic, sartorially subjective point of view, it's simply a less attractive way to wear the necker, so I'm simply going to respectfully ignore it and hope that it's merely a passing fad. I myself shall continue to encourage the wearing of the neckerchief as outlined in the current Guide to Awards and Insignia.

    Of course, I've only been at this for a few years as a leader - mayhaps some of the more experienced Scouters here would opine differently. But I am not pleased with this recent fad myself.

    • Upvote 1

  18. Well thank you all for your input and suggestions. I have decided that I will go ahead and add the red star, especially due to @ParkMan's insight:

    On 2/25/2020 at 8:28 PM, ParkMan said:

    I'm struck by the idea that experience is still experience - regardless of the quality of that experience.  Now, you as an adult better understand the impact of a poor program.  Today you clearly are an advocate for high quality programs.

    Myself, I still think you should wear the star - even if to be able to point to it on a occasion as a reminder of what bad Scouting really does to youth.

    I have ignored those two years because they were, frankly, poorly managed by my leaders - but they were still two years of Scouting, pitiful though they may have been. That star will represent to me two years of potential that were never realized, and remind me of the need to do better by and for the Scouts now in my own care.

    Thanks all for sharing. 

    • Upvote 3

  19. I have never trusted electronic record-keeping, despite all the 'convenience' it supposes to deliver. Too many units use too many different systems, and they are prone to error.

    The book, however, is ALWAYS accepted as proof of record, in every program, in every unit (or at least official policy mandates as such). Stick to using the book, and you can't go wrong. Unless you lose or destroy it of course, but then, you can always take pictures of it regularly if you just HAVE to have some kind of electronic record. 😉


  20. Shh! 🤫

    (I have never liked camping, and I imagine I never will. I avoid it at all possible costs, in fact. So, if you are one of those who, like myself, prefer a warm, dry bed to a cold, moist bag in the middle of nowhere, perhaps you can look at other options. Since you are in Cub Scouts, camping is never going to be a serious excursion, so maybe you can figure out a way to sleep comfortably in your car, or use a cot, or some other means of making the experience as enjoyable as possible. Or even look into cabins or some other stress-free option. The last thing you should do is kill yourself over an activity you may not enjoy)

    I mean, gee wilikers, I suppose that if you share the load, it might be more enjoyable! For sure, you should not be doing everything on top of an activity that's already hard enough on you. Talk to your fellow leaders and see what options they can propose for you. 


  21. The book is the proper documentation for rank advancement. Those cards are actually certificates - awards in and of themselves, and not meant to be official record-keeping. In many lower-income areas, the certificates are the only awards the boys receive, as the patches are too expensive for the units to afford. In other units, they only procure the patches, and never bother with the certificates. Either way, they are optional according to the traditions and preferences of the unit and have no bearing on the Scout's future advancement. In fact my brother, ever frugal, has a standing request in his sons' troop that they not purchase them for his boys as he considers them a waste of money. 

    So, no, there is absolutely no problem if the Scout has, does not have, keeps or tosses those cards. They are, for all intents and purposes, unnecessary. What matters is what's in his book. Hope that helps!

    • Thanks 1
    • Upvote 2

  22. 1 hour ago, qwazse said:

    Sorry for the confusion. By "communal development," I was specifically referring to overnight camping, of which council, area, and regional officers did a good bit. Leaders who firmly believed in sex segregation on overnights would not be pleased with council officers. I suspect, top LDS scouters made a point of keeping your leaders in the dark about what Venturing was simply because of the potential of overnight camping with the opposite sex.

    Oh no, I'm sure all the information was available to my leaders - my local leaders were just incredibly dense. As in, pitifully so. I don't know if I've ever gone into much depth about my own experiences as a young Scout, but they were mostly negative ones, mostly due to the utter negligence and ignorance of my local Scout leaders. But that was a community problem, not a church-wide issue. The Church itself would never have adopted the Venturing program if it hadn't understood its program entirely. And in places like Utah and Idaho, as I've mentioned, with incredibly large LDS populations, the Venturing program was actually very strong in many areas, and enjoyed high levels of success. But my own local leaders barely understood the Cub Scout program, let alone more advanced operations like Varsity and Venturing, so that's why my Venturing 'experience' was all but non-existent. But your comments are enlightening; I am pretty much unfamiliar with every aspect of Venturing, so it's helpful to know that it has its own flaws which may have contributed to the ambivalence of my leaders, if only in part.

    • Sad 1
    • Upvote 1

  23. My concern is that strong, healthy councils may eventually be forced into adopting weaker neighbors that could hinder their continuing success. For example, my council (Orange County Council in CA) is actually doing pretty well - we are financially stable, we have strong and healthy volunteer numbers, a good reputation in our community, and all of our districts earned gold or silver in their JTE scores (save for one bronze district). Last year we served more than 17,000 youth, and almost 43,000 Scouts attended the various camps in our council last year. We have more than 10,000 adult leaders in our area, which encompasses less than 600 square miles of populated suburbs. We get strong support from our council, and since our geographical area is very small despite being densely populated, we get a lot of meaningful council support. We are having a lot of success. So is it worth it to the powers that be for us to adopt a weak, struggling council next door if it means we lose these supporting advantages and sacrifice the close sense of fellowship we feel with fellow Scouters in our area, just to stretch ourselves out to fix problems not of our making?

    I do not know, and I am poorly qualified even to opine about such things. The combination of protectiveness for our special situation and compassion for those who aren't as fortunate causes a lot of mixed feelings, and I don't know how our neighboring district are doing. But that's the kind of question that comes to my mind when I hear talk about these kinds of things. I have been lucky to spend my entire Scouting career in a strong Council, and in its strongest district at that. But it makes me wary of outside problems coming in and negatively affecting the good thing we have going. If such a discussion is to be had, such things will need to be seriously considered.

    • Upvote 2

  24. 2 hours ago, qwazse said:

    As you may know, TLS, I became a crew advisor because someone had filled out an adult application for me to sign explaining that I didn't have to do anything else, they were setting this up just so some girl scouts could go to Seabase (which my son and his buddies had blabbed about at the lunch table one day). I told her, "You know I hate paperwork so much that I won't sign anything I don't mean. You and I are going to  learn what this program has to offer, present it to everyone, and give the youth right of first refusal."

    They didn't refuse. And I owe them a debt of gratitude for a wonderful, wild, ride.

    So, what someone put on paper -- if they didn't put any muscle behind it -- makes for great kindling. I suspect your ward did not fully deploy venturing because doing so would have required at least some communal development with girls. (At the very least, girls would be found in the venturing handbook.) They absolutley refused to deploy the program for Young Women in most stakes. Therefore, your crew's officers if they fulfilled their responsibilities according to the Venturing Leadership Guide would be spending quality time contributing to a council program with non-LDS women. Not a bad thing, really, but not something many bishops wanted to offer to their boys. Clearly, they didn't want to "drink the bug juice." I'm not judging them. There were plenty of folks in my troop who were bothered that I was letting scouts be venturers, not merely boy-scouts-plus.  Most of them apologized to me after the fact when they saw the good it was doing for their sons and their friends. But unlike my community, yours really only had interest in an older boys Troop/Team. So "if it walks like a duck ..."

    I wouldn't discount those two "ambiguous" years. I might color them varsity, not venturing. But, at your age, I'd probably just get blue backing and put together the stars that reflect your total years of service including those two.

    I appreciate your thoughts, though much of the idea is ... less than true of Scouting, at least in my area. First of all, it was standard Church-wide policy not to have our young women in Venturing - most wards and stakes wouldn't have minded I imagine, but the Church has long had its own Young Women's Program, which was both the spiritual and activities program for girls. As such, the official handbook of instructions for Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set the policy that we did not endorse female crews. Much of it is more to do with overnight camping together more than simply being together. And and mind you, we were constantly interacting with the sisters at all our other, non-overnight-activity-related events (which in our church are many and varied). Sunday School, seminary, youth conferences, dances, firesides - in fact, in our church we are more often together than apart, and the new program that's just rolled out has much more interaction with the boys and the girls than most people would believe. Let's not forget just how anxious LDS families are to get their kids married and sprouting grandkids as soon as they come back from their missions. 😅

    No, I firmly believe that Venturing was never really adopted by LDS units because of ignorance. Most people still have no clue what Venturing Scouts are; the system rechartered all 16-year-old Scouts into crews automatically, but to the leaders it was only a change of name - they were, I'm sure, completely unaware that Venturing was a program and entity separate and distinct from Boy Scouting. Heck, most of my leaders couldn't even tell you the Scout ranks in order, or what district they were in. And Varsity was just as ambiguous and unknown to them. Really, we didn't do Venturing because our leaders didn't know what Venturing was. Sadly, most thought Scouting finished after a boy earned his Eagle. Caveat: this was primarily in my own area, that being South Orange County in CA. Most of my friends with whom I went to college in Utah had FABULOUS programs of Scouting, Varsity, and Venturing, with large healthy units and committed leadership. Scouting is actually much stronger in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, where there are higher concentrations of kids from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Where I'm at, I wasn't so lucky.

    So I will add two years after reading the commentary here, but how I will add them, I'm still not sure. I suppose adding them to my blue star would be the least offensive as it's somewhat all-inclusive ... but still uncertain. Thanks to all those who are sharing their thoughts with me. It helps me to sort out the emotions of the rather pitiful two years in question. 🤣


  25. Thanks to everybody who has commented so far; I value the questions asked and the insights given. It's fun being spoken of in the third person!

    In truth, I have never worn any service stars representing the two years between 16 and 18 because I haven't been sure which stars to wear, let alone if I deserved them. In a ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, boys were automatically raised from the troop to the Varsity team at 14, then again to the crew at 16. Not that they ever told us this was happening, mind you (even for an LDS unit my leaders were particularly inept). So, for those two years, I was ONLY in the Venturing crew. The leaders didn't know the difference, but at least one committee member of the era must have been aware of the divisions because somebody was at least entering the information for advancement correctly (I have spoken to our council registrar to confirm this), but we only worked on Boy Scout awards - probably because the boys of my group were a less-than-savory bunch who either didn't make it past Tenderfoot or earned their Eagles at 17 years 364 day old - but I digress. 

    In any case, the topic of the thread is more about my situation: my PRIMARY, indeed ONLY, registration from 16 - 18 was with a Venturing crew. We did Scouting activities, but none related to the Venturing program - just vestiges of our old Boy Scout activities and basic-level advancement for some, primarily just earning extra merit-badges here or there (although we mostly just played basketball at the Church - I despise basketball now). I have never worn a star representing those two years out of respect for those who DID have a genuine Venturing experience, but my friend, a good young Scouter who had a REAL Venturing crew up in Utah, feels that I shouldn't ignore those two years just because I was unaware of what my program could have been - in his mind, I was still Scouting during that time (a vaguely true statement), so I should count it.

    In any case, this thread is already proving to be most enlightening. Thanks to all who are participating in this discussion!

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