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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. I must vehemently express my sincere and seasoned belief that there is NO SUCH THING as a "bad" kid. Badly behaved kids, sure, in spades. Bad behaviors - more than I can count. These are things children learn from the imperfect world around them. But there never has been a bad child - only children who have been fooled into believing they are such by foolish adults who have deceived themselves into thinking that the wrongs committed by children who haven't taught better must somehow be the fault of the children themselves - and surely, they claim, not of the grown-ups who misunderstand and thus mislabel them.

    I have been worked with children for far too long, and have been far too close to far too many children, to be fooled into believing the lie that a child can be bad. I often work with seriously troubled children, many with severe emotional problems, some of whom have even committed legitimate crimes - and without exception, not a one of them is "bad." But most of them are certainly sad, and many could also be said to be mad. But bad? No. Never. Not a one, and I openly defy anybody who might try and claim otherwise. 

    Now, bad adults? That might be another story, though it certainly isn't my prerogative to determine which ones are and which ones are not. So I simply assume that everybody I meet is one of the good ones; and it takes a lot of effort for anybody to convince me otherwise - even those who seem single-mindedly determined to try. 😇

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    As dreary or long as some event may be, I dare say few have ever been as bad as our COUNCIL awards nights have been these last two years, which have now, by mandate, superseded all district recognition events, meaning all Silver Beavers, District Awards of Merit, Heroism and Honor Award, Hornaday Awards (or upcoming Conservation Awards), James E. West Fellowship Awards, and Unit Exceptional Scouter Awards are done ON THE SAME NIGHT. One eternal, unending, interminable night where each grinding tick of the clock feels like a thousand years of woe.

    Last year, my poor mother, after 30 years of service and finally getting the District Award of Merit she had so long deserved, had to sit through 5 HOURS of awards (5 HOURS) at our Council Awards Night, held in some massive, loud, bonkers family resort hotel up by Disneyland, which has room for thousands of people, yet decided to fit the 500+ guests into a jam-packed, inexplicably tiny ballroom utterly unsuited for the numbers attending, and then- THEN I TELL YOU - they ran out of food halfway through the event, meaning hundreds of attendees had to wait an extra 2 hours while cheap sandwiches, party platters and sodas (which cost $5 per can?!?!?) were rushed in. You should have seen the rush of the crowd when, after hours of waiting for food in a hot, packed room, a shipment of cheap replacement snacks arrived and lines amassed within seconds, some guests even climbing over tables (I kid thee not) for a chance and getting something to eat. For a few feverish moments, I feared we had become hostages in some horrific Hotel Rwanda-like coup meant to eliminate all the Scouting leaders of Orange County in one stroke. Unanswered questions still haunt me at times when the night is dark and I am left alone with my fears. Was this intentional? Were the Girl Scouts behind it? Surely, they wouldn't, couldn't, actually have thought that combining all the council awards presentations into one eternal event of despair and hunger would be a good idea to begin with, did they? 

    It was an utter fiasco. Mom formally retired from Scouting a few months later, after her YPT expired. She doesn't specifically cite that event as the cause; after all she was planning on doing so anyway - but as she says, it certainly made the decision a whole lot easier.

    This year, I thought I would be spared the repeated trauma since I was getting the DAofM over a live virtual event. We had pictures taken a few weeks ago, which was nice. We drove up to our Council's Outdoor Education Center, stepped out of the car, picked up our awards from masked, gloved event committee members, while pictures were quickly taken, then left - an in-and-out prelude to the event that was smart, safe, and pleasant. I expected that they would use all the photos from that day and compile a nice, meaningful, tasteful tribute to all the award recipients that I would someday be able to show my grandchildren with pride.

    Well I should have known better, and while it was indeed only one hour long, we got no such nice, meaningful, tasteful tribute - no, instead, we got this digital monstrosity of mediocrity that I don't even have sufficient language to describe properly. Thus I present it here for all of you now, so that you also will watch and witness my Council's shame (or perhaps you won't, in the which case I don't blame you):

    To have these good, dedicated Scouters receive such prestigious, notable honors as the Silver Beaver and the Hornaday Award presented as though they were the cast members of some second-rate 80's sitcom would be downright offensive if it wasn't so clearly the result of simple incompetence and ineptitude, and of course, tastelessness of elephantine proportions -all of which are egregious flaws, true, but ultimately, easily forgiven. I am seriously considering the idea of lobbying my way into the awards night committee just so I can try to restore a modicum of dignity and formality to this event, lest this one COVID-induced anomaly set a standard for future events that will condemn future award recipients and their families to this same kind of humiliating childishness for years to come.

    I understand that with our Scouts, we should have fun, and we can even be silly. And I dare say, nobody out-sillies me when the time and place are appropriate, but come on - this is a community event that should be treated with gravitas and respect, hence why the best Courts of Honor are events at which Scouts witness and learn the purpose and power of ceremony, formality, and decorum. Our best Scouters deserve our most sincere respect and honor, and the events of their awarding should reflect that fact. I regret that seriousness is too often confused with severity these days, when there are in fact times and places when it is not only entirely appropriate, but even desirable and uplifting. 

    I should also recognize that the pandemic threw all the best plans for this year into the dust, causing a lot of desperate people to resort to desperate measures in an attempt to preserve some degree of normalcy in their lives. So I laud and applaud my council for going to such lengths to make this event happen - the photographers, event planners, council directors, leadership teams, et cetera. There was clearly a lot of time put into this event, and a lot of planning, and a lot of editing - tremendous amounts of commendable effort and money and time. We even have patches and programs for the event in the mail; we got boxes of cookies and treats when we picked up our awards at the photo op, and all the committee members running the program were absolutely lovely.

    Which makes the tone of this presentation even more baffling. So much effort went into putting this event together, and yet, this is what we got?! An adult hosting an event for adults, but still trying to come off as childish and obviously trying to be funny, is never funny. I watched the event with my neighbor family across the street whose many young sons have all been Scouts of mine at one time or another, and NOT ONCE DID ANY OF THEM LAUGH. Well, not true, they laughed AT the presentation, but not WITH it, if you get my meaning. And what, in the world, were they thinking with some of these music tracks? Who in their right minds forces good people to receive awards honoring their hard work and dedication while accompanied by clowns playing kazoos?! Is this how we feel about these award? Is this all some kind of game to them? DO THEY MOCK US? Oh, and worst of all, the inevitable, interminable slideshows. OH PLEASE WORLD, PUT AND END TO THIS PRACTICE OF PHOTO SLIDESHOWS MY GOOD GRAVY NOBODY LIKES STARING AT THIS MANY PHOTOS ALL AT ONCE WHILE TRAPPED LISTENING TO LOUD AND CHEAPLY-MADE AND EMPTY-HEADED 'MUSIC' PLEASE IN THE NAME OF ALL HUMANITY

    Sigh ... so as you can all see, The Latin Scot is still processing whatever just happened last night. Thank goodness my deep-seated aversion to bragging of any kind kept me from telling anybody about it until the last minute - only a few family members and friends were able to catch it, which in the end spared me a more legitimate embarrassment than the usual kind that comes from unsought attention. But I feel somebody could have done so much better, and where the ball was dropped in the process, I know not, but I intend to find out - and to do something about it, so that maybe next year, our council recognition event will be worthy of the magnitude of service the awards, their recipients and their guests represent.


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  3. Greetings from Mission Viejo, my new and fellow OC Council friend! Thank you for getting involved with Scouting in our community; we definitely need all the volunteers we can get! We are especially lucky to be part of a strong council with good leadership and a excellent community reputation. Do you have kids in the program too, or are you involved purely from the desire to make your community a better place? 😀

    Believe me when I say, this forum is one of the best places to go when you have questions or need guidance about ANYTHING related to Scouting. You are almost always going to get a few solid opinions that will help you steer your course and make your program the best it can be, so check on here often and don't be afraid to comment on whatever tickles your fancy. And since you are in my same council, you can count on me to be here with any questions you might have specific to our area, council, programs, leadership, or properties. Glad to have you on board, and be sure to look for me at the next council event once we finally start operating live activities again!

  4. My general instinct is to push back against overly-casual trends in language and manners. I cringe whenever I hear a young person address an adult leader or teacher by their first name, and especially at official Scout meetings and the like I try to impress upon the Scouts the need to address me by Mr. (or Brother in Church settings).

    However, I am much, much younger than most other leaders in similar positions in the troop and district, and I am neither married nor do I have children of my own. My own father is still a very active and widely-respected member of the community (we have lived here for almost 35 years), while I only moved back from college a few years ago. Most Scouts hear other parents and leaders address me by my first name, and are thus inclined to do likewise. And since I grew up here, many of the more seasoned Scouters in this area were my leaders years ago anyway, and seem averse to using any other moniker that that with which they knew me as a kid. 

    The long and short of this is that I am RARELY addressed as either Mr. or Brother, though I universally insist that the Scouts address all other leaders as such (unless of course they be Mrs./Miss or Sister). And besides, it IS strange to me when people use Mr. or Brother when addressing me since that is my father's name, and so to prevent any confusion, he (justifiably) takes precedent over me. And while I am generally a real stickler for propriety and formality (two of my favorite things 😇), I am usually okay with this. As I am still a single, admittedly child-like soul in many ways, I don't see myself as being particularly wiser nor more capable than most of the youth anyway, and so I feel justified by the singular breach in protocol regarding my own person being addressed by my given name.


    I do, however, happily and eagerly encourage the use of sobriquets when I must be referred to by Mr. or Brother, sobriquets such as the Younger, el Hijo, the Wise, et cetera. 😂

  5. What fun! I have taught at University of Scouting for the past few years, and it has been one of my favorite experiences in Scouting! Of course, that might be due to the fact that I get to teach all the leader-specific training courses for new Den Leaders and Cubmasters, which (as everybody knows) are the most delightful and exciting of all UofS classes! I LOVE training new leaders, especially new Den Leaders, who are usually the least-experienced and most-nervous Scouters there. Giving them the tools, resources, and confidence they need to get out there and make the most of their Scouting experience is one of the true joys of my little heart. 😄

    What I find amusing/obnoxious is that when I forget to give a thorough introduction, the inevitable question of my age comes up and I get Scouters asking me "so, are you a den chief? I didn't know youth members taught courses here!" 😣 🙄 I'm a GROWN UP people. At least, that's what my I.D. says. 😂 

  6. So this site has a rather convoluted explanation of the award's symbolism that I don't entirely understand, but among other things, it claims 


    The dark blue background represents the dark blue of the local Council’s flag and refers to the fact that it is awarded at the local Council — District — level.

    Not sure how accurate this is, and there is a notable lack of reference material and source information, but it's interesting nonetheless. I have never heard of dark blue council flags before. 

  7. Unfortunately our council is too large and too cheap to makes plaques viable I guess. I got the certificate and small medal in the shape of our council (they have been awarding these for a long time). Nothing too fancy, though I like being able to wear the medal with my uniform, something I couldn't do with the plaque. ☺️


  8. As part of my "thank you" to my district for awarding me the DofM this past weekend, I have been going through our district website and cleaning up a lot of old junk while refining much of the information put there a long time ago by Scouters who didn't seem to quite know what they were doing with the information they had. Part of this is adding new little blurbs about each of the awards adults can achieve on our awards page, but sadly I have yet found but very little history about the DofM itself.  So far all I have written is this: 


    The District Award of Merit is presented to registered Scouters who have rendered noteworthy service to youth either inside or outside of Scouting (or both). It recognizes outstanding contributions to youth in the community at the district level, and is awarded and presented in the same manner as the Silver Beaver Award. The overhand knot carries with it a symbology unique in Scouting - those familiar with how a square knot is made recognize that the overhand knot is only part of a complete square knot, just as a district is but a part of its local Council. Ergo, the emblem of the District Award of Merit is an overhand knot in acknowledgement of the fact that all districts are only parts of the whole that is their local council, and the District Award of Merit honors those whose contributions add to the success of that part of the whole. 

    Does anybody have any more information I can add to this? The year the award was created? The meaning behind the blue and the silver colors? The reason we don't have a cute little animal mascot? I do want to keep the description short and concise, so I don't want to add TOO much, but any particularly relevant history that anybody can add would be great. As always, any and all contributions are much appreciated; thank you for whatever help you can offer!

  9. 7 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    FWIW - It's not so much that it's anything goes.  There is one set of pants that goes with each uniform shirt.

    • Microfiber shirt - you purchase microfiber pants
    • Canvas shirt - you purchase canvas pants
    • Poly/wool shirt - you purchase poly/wool pants.

    Though I am sure that you technically can mix the materials, I almost never see that in reality.

    Perhaps it's merely another personal, sartorial idiosyncrasy, but I like contrasting textures and materials when I dress, and mixing the different fabric options available allows me to add a personal touch to my ensemble while still maintaining complete conformity to uniform policy and regulation. My shirts are long sleeved, but generally I have them rolled all the way up, and of course my bottoms are all switch-backs for the rare occasion on which I desire or need long pants (although the poor zip-away bottoms are a few shades darker than the shorts themselves since they only see a tithe of the use and thus only need a fraction of the washing). 

    So far I have never had any part of my Scout uniform wear out from use (though as we all know, I avoid real camping and outdoor action as much as I can). I opt for the durable canvas blend for my shirts, but will only wear shorts made of the lightest microfiber materials available (and with the closest fit; I hate baggy shorts). Both fabrics have proven durable and comfortable. And as we are located right on the coast, all one needs to warm up in chilly weather is the occasional good thick sweater, and even then only on the coldest nights- daytimes here are already up in the 80's. At least in our region, layering is far more important and effective in ensuring comfort than fabric selection alone.

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  10. On 12/31/2020 at 6:51 AM, ParkMan said:

    Pardon a very off topic post...

    And thank you for being such a tremendous member here as well.  Your posts are always well thought out and bring a lot to the discussion.  Thank you for all your contributions over those five years!

    And thank YOU for such kind words! I hardly feel deserving of them, but I pray I will continue to share as much with others as has been shared with me over the years, only tenfold so!

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  11. I have struggled all evening over whether or not to post this, but my heart tells me I must, and so, having learned never to doubt my heart when it speaks so clearly, here are my thoughts.

    I actually and truly believe this is one of the saddest changes and toughest blows yet to this generation of young boys who are struggling to grow up in today's increasingly identity-challenged society. The entire purpose of the magazine's creation was to give boys - future men - a monthly collection of stories, articles, selections and even advertisements tailored specifically to the interests of boys and young men, and built around forming a healthy, and (yes I shall dare use the terms) manly and masculine character. But now these values and interests and ideals are forcibly being taken from them in the increasingly fearsome war of absolute equality where nobody is allowed to be different, no, not even our boys from our girls. In this appallingly misguided worldview (which has the worst airs of totalitarian socialism written all over it), if boys like something, then girls must like it too, and so they naturally cannot be allowed something as exclusive and chauvinist as their own magazine - why, that would be an injustice to millions of girls all over America! Boys must have nothing of their own, or it promote inequality they say! And so, a paragon of wholesome literature geared towards nurturing the identities of our nation's boys is now diluted and cheapened as Boy's Life, once an American institution, becomes "Scout Life," another victim in an increasingly perilous trend towards imposing utter and senseless sameness on a generation of youth that will now have to struggle not only with the usual difficulties of their daily choices, but also with their very identities as now essential and integral elements of who they are - even the most absolute parts their being, like being a boy or a girl - are twisted by society to appear optional, or even, as some use the term now, fluid, a deadly term I have increasingly come to despise in this context. Boys and girls are, and have always been meant to be, different, biologically, cognitively, and spiritually; and by shoving them against each other in an attempt to make them appear either the same or interchangeable, we only end up wounding an entire generation of children now growing up without so much as the most basic understanding of what gender means - nor to which gender they belong.

    This change does not help our youth. It perpetuates a growing movement to harm and demoralize them, and I am sorry that of all institutions, The Boy Scouts of America has now become even more complicit with it. But then, I am sure those behind this agenda have long sought in desperation to win over the BSA. After all, if they can bring down even this once-venerable institution, who can't they win over to their cause? 

    Well, not me. I find this development to be one of the saddest examples of the BSA caving to shifting moral trends in the past few years, as it is also one of the most public, soon to be broadcast on social media and exhibited on magazine stands and in libraries all over the country. The pitiful tagline "From the publisher of Boy's Life Since 1911" rings especially hollow for me. Certainly, it's another indicator that my time with this organization will not be as long as I had wished even a few years ago. I haven't yet been pushed over the edge, but I suddenly feel like that may come soon. I have built my entire career around understanding, supporting, advocating for and standing by our nation's young people. In my eyes, this apparently simple change has just robbed millions of boys of something they desperately needed while offering girls nothing they didn't already have already. An organization that is willing to do this to the millions of young people it is supposed to serve and protect has a deep need of immediate self-reflection and re-assessment, and if I don't see a greater attempt by this organization to support the young men of this nation by preserving for them something that t hey can call their own to preserve and support their identities as the future men of this nation, I will not be able to support it with my time and services much longer.

    A pity, because there is nothing that can build up the character and abilities of a young man like Scouting. I hope to Heaven the BSA will perhaps make one more attempt to try using it again, before it is too late.

    And to those who will inevitably essay to pick apart my thoughts with the tired and typical counter-arguments, like trying to make me say which qualities boys have that girls can't have, or how boys are being harmed by this new equality, or what harm can possibly come by sharing all these wonderful things with all our youth, boys or girls, or the thousand et ceteras you have been trained to toss into the ring, know that I have no intention of turning this thread into a proving ground of opinions or theses, and that I am merely expressing my dismay at this latest development. I could answer every one of those questions in great detail (indeed, in my career, that's a large part of what I do to help our youth and their parents navigate these essential and important questions) - yet I hardly suppose I shall even read this thread again, now that I have made my thoughts known, and that's besides the point:

    This thread is a notice that Boy's Life is now Scout Life.

    And this post is my opinion on the matter.

    I would imagine that the Original Poster would prefer to know what you feel about the topic - not what you feel about my opinion of it. And knowing that our good moderators have a tough job ensuring that these threads remain civil and polite at all times, I will support them in recommending that we bear this in mind, and by keeping myself from the inevitable urge to get involved in what may surely be a heated topic and source of debate, important though it may be. My feeling are indeed strong, and I apologize in advance if they generate any uncomfortable to unpopular responses. But I feel it is both permissible and fair for me to at least express them here, where I find it important. There is at least one point of the Scout Law that has seared itself into my character over the years, it was remembering this simple truth that gave me the courage to post these thoughts here now:

    "A Scout is Brave. A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him."

    Or , in my case, even if they fiercely disagree with his opinions online.

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  12. I have seen them in person at our local Scout Shop. The material is a nice lightweight fabric (here in southern California, we invariably prefer the light-weight materials that wick away sweat and keep us cool during our perpetual summer (last week it hit 89 degrees outside!), and the design is simple, plain, and unobtrusive. Those with an eye towards simplicity will appreciate it. It's very straight-forward, and as has been mentioned here, it seems they have eliminated all the bells and whistles of some earlier designs.

    I myself like all the extra pockets and flaps and buttons on earlier versions, but I know many people didn't, and so this model should please them. However, I personally cannot STAND the placard installed in front of the buttons on this version. Why on earth did they add that? In my eyes, it makes the shirt too plain, even boring, and unless it's well-maintained it could eventually  wind up looking pretty ragged as it ages. 

    But then, that's the wonderful thing about our uniform policy. With each new version of the uniform there is simply another variation of fabrics, materials and patterns to choose from, so that every individual is bound to find a size and shape that suits them best if they put in the effort. My personal favorite so far is the thick canvas poplin blend that came out in 2010 with the long sleeves; it's a good, durable fabric that should last a good long time, and it fits be perfectly. Not only that, but I always wear my sleeves rolled all the way up, and this version has nice little tabs I can use to button them up and keep them in place during activities. 

    But back to this new model - nice, light-weight, very plain and unassuming. Not sure about its durability, but if you want a plain, unadorned shirt, this is a good fit.

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  13. I will admit, the only time I ever did any kind of face painting with my Webelos den was at my first AofL ceremony, and only because I was new, unsure of what I was doing, and cajoled into it begrudgingly by a domineering parent. After that, I asked the kids what they thought of the face-painting tradition. Most were apathetic, two were downright uncomfortable with it, and one was actually afraid and nervous about it, the poor little guy. So I just axed the whole thing! And I never missed it. I HATED face paint of ALL kinds as a kid - and still do (I don't know how the ladies do it every day), so had no qualms about retiring the entire tradition and finding better, more engaging options during my three years as Webelos Den Leader.

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  14. Correct. As long as the child is a registered Webelos Scout, they can work on their Webelos rank. That is why there is no actual difference between what some packs call "Webelos 1" and "Webelos 2" or "Arrow of Light" dens. In fact, Cubs do not even have to complete the Webelos rank before they earn the Arrow of Light - they can earn it after, if for whatever bizarre circumstances their situation demands it. \

    So you are absolutely correct - Webelos is a continuous program that encompasses both the 4th and 5th grades. Scouts may complete any Webelos-rank activities in any order during the entirety of that two-year period.

  15. From the great Baden-Powell himself:


    "No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should have a religion ... Religion seems a very simple thing: First: Love and Serve God. Second: Love and serve your neighbor." (Scouting For Boys, 1908)

    "The atheists ... maintain that a religion that has to be learnt from books written by men cannot be a true one. But they don't seem to see that besides printed books ... God has given us as one step the great Book of Nature to rea; and they cannot say that there is untruth there - the facts stand before them ... I do not suggest Nature Study as a form of worship or as a substitute for religion, but I advocate the understanding of Nature as a step, in certain cases, towards gaining religion." (Rovering To Success, 1930)

    "Development of outlook naturally begins with a respect for God, which we may best term Reverence. Reverence to God and reverence for one's neighbor and reverence for oneself as a servant of God, is the basis of every form of religion. The method of expression of reverence to God varies with every sect and denomination. What sect or denomination a boy belongs to depends, as a rule, on his parents' wishes. It is they who decides. It is our business to respect their wishes and to second their efforts to inculcate reverence, whatever form of religion the boy professes. There may be many difficulties relating to the definition of the religious training in our Movement where so many different denominations exist, and the details of the expression of duty to God have, therefore, to be left largely in the hands of the local authority. But there is no difficulty at all in suggesting the line to take on the human side, since direct duty to one's neighbor is implied in almost every form of belief." (Aids To Scoutmastership, 1919).

    When asked where religion came into Scouting and Guiding, Baden Powell replied, "It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting and Guiding." (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement - an address, 1926)

    If you ask me, mere numbers are no sign of success, or if they are, it is the wrong thing succeeding. I am by far more troubled and concerned by the growth of Scouts Canada since these changes than I am encouraged by it.

  16. Get rid of ALL the girl-centered products that have been sitting on our stores' shelves untouched for months! Bracelets, ribbons, leggings, hair accessories - I am sure BSA was banking on them being instant sellers once girls joined Scouting, but NONE of it gets bought here, they are expensive to produce, and they take up shelf space with product over half of the program's members will never touch. Such a waste.

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