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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. Shouldn't we be encouraging them to make their own decision about this optional part of the uniform? I'd love to see some thoughtful debate among the boys about the pros/cons, personal opinions, etc., leading up to a vote on the topic. 


    I don't perceive your thoughts and mine as being mutually exclusive.  ;)  We can certainly teach, inform, and encourage the boys in regards to the history and usefulness of the neckerchief, and then teach, inform, and encourage the boys to make their own decision as per the patrol method, which of course we should treat as all but sacrosanct. We aren't making the decision for them, but we are giving them a solid context for the issue which they can weigh and consider in discussion. 


    ALSO: I have a question; do your fellows' units choose their neckerchiefs by patrol or by troop? In our local unit each patrol uses a different neckerchief , usually in their patrol colors, so each patrol is distinguished by their necker, their flag, and their patrol medallion. 

  2. Not a fan of the somewhat vulgar title, but a great article otherwise. We should be encouraging both the history and the wearing of neckerchiefs in our Troops. They really are one of the most visible emblems of Scouting.

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  3. @@desertrat77 It's great that you had such a good Scouting experience! And I am sure there are plenty of others with experiences similar to yours; I know I got mine at barely 14, and here I am today as involved as anybody.


    So, looking at the math, it figures that of 55,000 new Eagles, if the median age is 17.32, that means more than half those 55,000 Scouts are over 17, and even if you divide up the rest of them evenly between the other ages (14, 15, 16, <17.32), that leaves only about 6,000 - 7,000 of them around the age of 14. Even as early as 1930, there were more Eagles in total than that! The number of 14 year-olds earning their Eagle is pretty small it seems. All the more reason for them to have my respect!

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  4. I am never without my neckerchief. Since I am a Cub Scout leader, I wear the Adult Webelos Den Leader neckerchief, which is the crazy plaid number with gold trim. It isn't the most attractive item in the BSA wardrobe, but I am never without it, and the boys know it. Especially since they are Cubs, where the neckerchief is still required, I make sure to talk to them early about the usefulness and history of the neckerchief so that they simply expect to be wearing them when the bridge over in to the Scouting program. And since one of our traditions is for the New-Scout patrol to hand them their New-Scout patrol neckerchief when they bridge over, it takes them a long while to discover that wearing the necker is optional as a Boy Scout, nor do they want to give them up when they find out that it is. 


    Starting them on the tradition while they are young Cubs is a huge part of getting it into their hearts and heads; luckily I am in a great position to do that as a Webelos leader.

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  5. Wow, I am surprised by some of the thoughts here, especially the "savvy" interviewer (hardly) who thought he knew what he was talking about what with his insulting and untrue comments to the college applicant. I was accepted into Stanford University and they didn't care two figs about my Eagle, while at BYU (where I decided to go and eventually worked with the admissions office for a time), they value the Eagle award highly but never look into the age of the Scout when he received it. 


    And according to the numbers, which are in fact published by the BSA every year, 7th and 8th grade Eagles are NOT becoming more common - they are in fact becoming rarer and rarer. In 1949 the average of a new Eagle Scout was 14.6, but by 2015 it had climbed to 17.34. That's a huge difference - and that's the average age!


    And I find it sad that we look at 14 year-old Scouts as though it was their parents "working the system." The program is designed to make it possible for boys that age to earn their Eagle. It's not working the system - it's meeting the requirements and earning the rank. Those boys have earned it just as much as those 17 year-olds; and I mean it when I say the boys - not their parents. We do them a great disservice when we demean them by assuming it was their parents employing some under-handed tactics to accomplish their own goals. These boys are hard-earned Eagles as much as any other boys who earn it.


    The whole point of the Varsity and Venturing programs is to provide age-appropriate activities to young men who have grown past the merit-badge earning stage and want adventures that are more tailored to their interests and lifestyles. If there are young Eagles who you want to keep involved in Scouting, offer them these older-Scout programs, which have in fact been created specifically for just such young achievers. The Scouting program has already come up with solutions for this issue; the problem is that not enough units take advantage of the structure already built into the program.

  6. We have a few young Eagles every year. Heck, I was barely 14 when I got my Eagle, same as both of my brothers (one was almost 15 and we teased him for taking so long!). I am grateful for your concern for the welfare of these young "eaglets" as you call them; lately people have almost thumbed their noses at these young achievers, as if somehow they were stealing prestige from the other Eagles whom they think are, somehow, "superior" to these hard-working 14 year-old leaders.


    I just read this article that I LOVE from Ask Andy which I think we should all heed (my emphasis added):


    "In 2015 we had 54,366 new Eagle Scouts, representing 6.57% of all eligible Scouts in that year. So the first thing we need to recognize is that in that year 827,489 Scouts of “Eagle age†stopped at Life or somewhere short of that rank. Further, when the average age of these Eagles is 17.34. This suggests that about 27 thousand Scouts were between 17.34 and 18 years old, while others were somewhere between 13 and 17.34. Of these, via crude extrapolation, some 6,000 or slightly more likely hadn’t reached their 14th birthdays before making it to Eagle.


    In the face of these results—and this is the point here—we had maybe as many as 6,000 Scouts called “Baby Eagles†and up to 27,000 Scouts called “Cardiac Eagles.†So this could mean that upwards of 30 thousand or possibly more new Eagle Scouts were either diminished or deflated by these or similar pejorative remarks about their age when they achieved this landmark rank.


    Really? Is this what we want to be doing? Especially when we look at some more numerical relationships… Do we realize that while Eagles in 2015 represented one out of every 15 Scouts, they represented one out of every 300 males between the ages of 11 and 18? That’s right: Only one young man out of every 300 in America between ages 11 and 18 becomes an Eagle Scout in any one year. So what happens when we count only those who fit into some people’s “acceptable†age range (somewhere between 14 and 17, or so it would seem)? Then we’re talking about one in 600. Let’s think about that. Is this really how we want to treat a boy—regardless of age—who’s just spent a lot of time and energy on the dozens and dozens of individual requirements for no less than 21 merit badges, plus all of the requirements for five (six, now) previous ranks? And he’s done this despite the challenges in every other part of his life, many of which are mandatory. Speaking of which, in Boy Scouting he’s a volunteer. That’s right, he can walk away from this anytime he wants, which as we’ve just learned, at least 299 out of 300 do, one way or the other.


    The really weird part is that in other arenas, we do the reverse. We heap praise on the youngest gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal. We applaud loudly the oldest to win the Wimbledon trophy. But make it to Eagle at all and, when done sooner than 96% of all other Scouts, getting labeled a “Baby†is about as cruel a destiny as one can get, except possibly for those who earned Eagle within the stated time limit and got labeled “Cardiac.†Worse than wrong, this is insensitive and outright cruel.


    In boards of review for this rank, I’ll often ask the Life Scout we’re chatting with why he believes he deserves to be an Eagle Scout. The very best answer possible—which, thankfully, we most frequently receive in response—is: “I’ve done the work and completed all the requirements.â€


    That’s it, folks. When we do the work and complete the task, we’ve earned it. The Eagle rank isn’t “bestowed;†it’s earned. Let’s make it our solemn promise to honor every Eagle. He’s done the work, he’s earned it. Congratulations!"


    - Andy McCommish, BSA National Advancement Advisory Panel

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  7. Hmm. My Scout Shop hasn't heard anything about inventory being limited. And as far as the online store goes, I find TONS of different neckerchiefs available!


    The online store says these are all "in stock." No indication whatsoever of limited supplies:




    Or you can get a customized neckerchief, again no indication of low quanitities:




    If you have an Eagle coming up soon, get him an Eagle necker:




    It even comes embroidered if you want to be extra-fancy:




    Cub Scouts have the full set of neckers for every rank:







    Of course Cub Scout leaders have their own set to choose from:






    And there is a huge variety for adult leaders of every position:







    There are neckers for Scout Sunday and Sea Scouts, even full square options for the upcoming Jamboree!







    If you ask me, they aren't getting rid of the neckerchief any time soon. And there is another possibility that hasn't been considered - if they are in fact phasing these out, it could just as easily be to make room for more, new neckerchiefs that could take their place. If we're lucky, full squares too! I hardly think these are signs of the BSA getting rid of such a crucial part of the organizations uniform and history.  :happy:

  8. Actually National supply has quit making them. They are now only selling what is left in their inventory.


    Where did you hear this? Source? I have been in communication with people from my local scout shop, scoutstuff.org, national supply, even scoutingmagazine.org; and so far nobody has heard anything about this. I would be extremely surprised to learn that the BSA isn't producing neckerchiefs as part of their uniform wear anymore. Are they not making socks, or hats, or Scout shirts either? This sounds mighty suspect if you ask me.

  9. But -- and I infer this from our handle -- are Scottish, so change is not in your nature. :) And, of course, if it's not Scottish, it's c**p! [We were all thinking it...I just said it]


    I say this as a proud member of the Lamont Clan!

    Ah, well then in that case @@Col. FlaggCeud mìle fàilte agus slàinte mhath from Clan Ross!


    And @@Cambridgeskip, that makes me happy to hear that the youth on Scouting's home turf are so fond of their neckerchiefs! I love seeing the different color neckers from Troop to Troop at large Scouting events. It really does promote patrol unity and team spirit when the neckerchief is given meaning in the patrol's mind! For example, one of our patrols is the "Knights of Light" patrol. Their patch is a smart-looking silver knight's helmet, their flag is in the shape of a large shield in black and white with the silver helmet emblazoned in the center, and they now wear their new black neckerchiefs with silver trim. The necker' reinforces their patrol colors (black and silver), and distinguishes them from other patrols at Scout Camp, Camporee, etc. And now that they have them (we only recently purchased them for the whole patrol), they wear them EVERYWHERE. And if I may say so, the black looks particularly smart against the olives and greens of the Centennial uniform.  ;) 


    When you give the uniform meaning in a Scout's mind, he comes to value it far more than than any sense of embarrassment could ever override. 

  10. I am 100% in favor of neckerchiefs, and 100% opposed to co-ed Scouting. In my chartered organization we don't even have girls in our Venturing program, which I am glad of.


    I am also barely into my thirties, which I know is unusual since many people my age are all about "changing things up," but I am a traditionalist and prefer to remain very conservative in my BSA views. It has worked for 107 years, so I think there are values and patterns inherent in the program that the world needs now more than ever.

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  11. Yeah, there is no way the BSA will be phasing out neckerchiefs any time soon, and thank goodness! The neckerchief is the most recognizable part of the Scouts uniform, not to mention the only really useful part of it!


    How the boys feel about the necker' is usually a reflection of how the leader feels about it. The boys in my congregation's troop were always ambivalent about wearing neckerchiefs, until I came in one day and talked about the history of why we wear them, the dozens of ways in which they can be useful, etc. I then showed them all the neckerchiefs I have saved up from the time I was a little Wolf Scout, and then revealed to them that they actually had the privilege of choosing to wear whatever neckerchief they wanted - they had never been told how many color choices there were, and they were EXCITED! Each patrol had voted on a differently-colored necker' within 10 minutes. Later the SPL attended the monthly Committee Meeting and formally requested new neckerchiefs for each patrol, and now they wear them all the time - and as per BSA policy, when their Field Uniforms aren't practical, they go out with at least their neckerchiefs to identify them as Scouts!


    In Cub Scouts, it's not even optional - my boys wear them, or they aren't counted as being in uniform. That's also BSA policy. And I have a few different ones, depending on what role I am filling at that particular event. The neckerchief is one of the best parts of the uniform! And luckily, the BSA seems to agree: 




    I think a recent move like this makes it pretty clear that the Boy Scouts of America won't be getting rid of this key uniform component any time soon, and hooray for that! I would hate to see such a wonderful tradition sacked just because a few self-conscious teenagers are too embarrassed to put a neckerchief around their neck, lol.  :cool:

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  12. I just want to note in addition to what @@Torchwood wrote, that not only is it entirely possible for a boy to earn his Eagle at 14, but also that we do a great disservice to young men of this age when we make sweeping generalizations that, at 14, they "cannot be learning leadership" or that boys of this age are "not worthy of the title." Frankly, I find such sentiments to be utterly untrue and unfair to the young men who achieve and accomplish in the face of such accusations. I have known boys of 14 who are far better leaders and citizens than even their own parents and Scoutmasters, and there are indeed many such youth who are sober-minded, quick to observe, and keenly aware of their responsibilities and potential. In fact, I find much more to admire in a pro-active young man who works hard to earn his Eagle at 14, than the multitudes of boys who procrastinate their efforts until they are 17 years and 360 days old and then expect adults to sweep in and get all the work done, for fear that if they don't intervene, the boy won't 'earn' his Eagle. Yet I think that such a boy deserves it far less than the boy who works hard when he is young and eager to achieve.


    Let us not think so little of our 14-year-old Eagles that we fail to recognize what they have achieved. Advancement is too often looked down upon as though it is a sign of something 'wrong;' how can this be? How quickly we forget or ignore the fact that if boys really are learning things like leadership, citizenship, and personal growth, then their advancement will be the evidence of it. Baden-Powell put it simply: "Advancement is like a sun-tan - something you get naturally whilst having fun in the outdoors." We should be glad to see advancement, not suspicious of it.


    If your boy does want to be a part of a Troop with his friends, then yes, he may advance quickly. But it is very possible (though to the shock of some perhaps) that such is the result of the boys enjoying rich participation, which will naturally foster rapid advancement and achievement. This is not necessarily the result of force-feeding by adults as often as some would like us to believe. It is just as possible, if not even more likely, that being with friends in an adventure such as Scouting will yield a rich harvest of accomplishment and advancement - because they are doing it together, as friends. The way Scouting should be. And if he can get his Eagle done before Scouting has to compete with High School, sports, girls, cars, etc., then all the better. 


    I am forever grateful that I earned my Eagle as a young 14 year-old, before I entered high school; otherwise I can't imagine ever having found time to complete it. It was a sobering honor, and while I was indeed young, I can assure you, I had had the principles and ideals of Scouting deeply ingrained into my character. Mind you, this was not that long ago for me, and I remember it well. If I didn't earn it then, I would never have had time to complete it later! And then I wouldn't have carried with me that special honor, which prompted me to make the choice last year that I would accept the call to serve as a Den Leader for our den of Webelos Scouts, and which has given me the drive to encourage a new generation of boys to work to respect, and earn, the rank of Eagle Scout. 


    So - let your son go with what his heart tells him! As Stosh points out, its hard for adults to understand the reasoning of boys so young, but if we listen to them and let them lead, we will give them a far greater advantage than any 'superior' Troop can give him - the advantage, and gift, of Trust. Trust your son, and he will yield a harvest of maturity and achievement that just might surprise you.  :happy:

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  13. Awesome, thanks for the extra information Stosh! Coming from a family of musicians, I have been bred to guard fine instruments with my life - I have already forbidden him from taking his nice trumpet on outdoor adventures; it's been regulated to indoor troop events until he can find a bugle that is durable enough to go along on his adventures. His dad works for a major computer technology company, so the kid won't have any problems getting a hold of a good bugle with enough hard work and begging, lol. I will forward the link you gave me to them right away.


    In addition to that, one of my older brothers is a symphony clarinetist and he is asking his associates in the brass section for the name of an affordable teacher who could give the boy some tips on the differences between trumpet playing to bugling (I wish you were here to show him the ropes @Stosh). Hopefully we can get whomever we find to register as a Bugling merit badge counselor so that this young man can get the Bugling merit badge! This Scout in particular is exceptionally driven and quick to learn; I am confident he will master the basics in no time. We are lucky indeed!

  14. I have (well, had, he just crossed over last month) an 11-year-old boy in my Webelos Den who takes trumpet at school, and is always anxious to play it. As it turns out he is also passionate about Scouting, and has always shown a keen interest in achievement and Scouting history. Well, I mentioned to him that the rarest merit badge of all is Bugling, and that Bugler counts as a position of responsibility towards Star and Life Scout - now he is trying to convince his parents to find him a bugling teacher! 


    My fingers are crossed that in a couple of years we might be one of the precious few troops with a real bugler on hand!

  15. Easy! By keeping up to date with the current standard, and then following it. At the present, we are told no more than three rows. So we keep no more than three rows until they say otherwise, then if they do alter their stance, we change accordingly. Simple!


    Honestly, they aren't changing this policy every other week; and these 'back and forth changes' people claim to have been so confused about have been over the course of many years. This isn't hard to keep up with! It really isn't a big deal if every few years we have to take a few off, or put a few on - is it? I just don't get the problem I guess. Whatever is current, well, do that. Then if they change, a few minutes of sewing or cutting is all it takes to keep up to standard. The whole point is that it shouldn't be a big deal to make a few minuscule alterations if it means being properly uniformed. 


    Cooking stoves get really hot, I recommend you not touch them.  :)


    This made my day Stosh; I nearly laughed myself out of my chair. But it is of course absolutely true; a recommendation is not a licence to do whatever you want; it's recommended because there is a legitimate reason for it. I would never be so flippant as to disregard counsel just because 'it's only a recommendation.'

  16. Indeed; this is a case of apples and oranges. On a military uniform, you wear whatever awards you have earned in keeping with military regulations and standards. But when you wear the Boy Scout uniform, again, you wear it in keeping with BSA regulations and standards. If the military allows him to wear all those ribbons on his jacket, that's fine - I have no knowledge of how their awards are to be worn, so I am in no position to say anything. But I do know that earning dozens of military honors has no bearing on how one wears the BSA uniform.


    Just because your branch of the U.S. Military allows you to wear ribbons up to your neck doesn't mean you can do the same on the Boy Scout uniform. We are not a military organization; we have our own policies on uniform wear, and they should be followed. You would hope an officer as decorated as he would understand the principles of obedience and decorum, which weigh heavily on wearing the uniform correctly. Clearly Mike Walton has earned many awards; all the more power to him. But just what exactly are we trying to communicate when we wear all of those awards at once? Even as "conversation starters," about what, pray-tell, is the conversation supposed to be? How many honors you've received? I would find such a conversation boring and self-serving in the extreme. Is there any reason to wear awards that exceed BSA policy that isn't in some way showing off?


    Again, I am speaking of BSA policy only. I have no opinions on military regulation since I am not a part of the armed forces and maintain nothing but a citizen's firm respect for their role and organization. It is not my place to scrutinize their uniform codes; I am speaking purely of the Boy Scouts of America and the official instruction we receive from National.

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