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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. Until I read this thread today I had never so much as heard of and "Eagle Pledge/Charge/Oath/Monologue" or whatever. Of the five Courts of Honor I have attended this year, none have had anything like this, nor did I at my own. Is this an official BSA element that I missed? I would have thought such a thing would be included in the Official BSA Handbook ...

  2. Well, we are way down in Southern California just a mile or so from the water, so ... yeah. Last year our Troop had to drive for 5 hours to get to a mountain far enough inland + tall enough to get snowfall so they could actually do a  "winter camp-out." And even then, there was only an inch or so of snow. The pitfalls of paradise I guess, lol. We get to do a lot of beach camping though!

  3. With my Den, I simply had them read the requirements from the book, then asked "what are some easy service projects you have been a part of that we could do together?" One of them had been part of a clothing drive recently, so I just asked leading questions to help them put it together. "When could we do this?" "How will we let families know?" "Where will we take the clothes?" After a few questions THEY were the ones figuring out the logistics and I could just sit back and catch up on signing their books. They had it all organized really quickly, and at the Pack Meeting where they ran the drive, we didn't get many donations, but the boys were proud that they had put together the whole activity themselves, and were thrilled by how grateful the people at Salvation Army were when we brought in the clothing. All I had to do was ask a few logistical questions to get it going, and the boys took care of the rest.

  4. I think I got it! Here is the Boy Scout Troop with the flag I designed, completed by my father. It's done with black and white denim, is machine-washable, and on the back it has one of the jumbo patches from the scout store sewn in (the Eagle scout rank patch). It also has their Patrol Call embroidered into the back - "Knights of Light - We Do What's Right!" The image of the knight on the front is an exact copy of the image on their patrol patch. Now all the boys have to do it create a flagpole for it and start winning award ribbons to attach to it! Forgive the blur; I figured I should avoid putting pictures of others without permission, and besides, it's the flag I want to show (though even that turned out blurry, haha). You can, however, see the state our uniforms are in right now. As in, not good. Much to do! 


    Sadly my young friend from the story I shared didn't use enough sunscreen at camp (I live in South Orange County, CA; they spent the week on Catalina Island) so the poor guy was in bed with heat exhaustion for a few days during camp, but he says he is still excited to display the flag and add awards to it from now on. Lucky for him I am the Merit Badge Counselor for a few of the badges he didn't finish, but still, you win some, you lose some!


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  5. I try to make sure my Denners actually have a share in the running of our meetings, so wearing the cords actually indicates a legitimate role in our group. We have a full flag ceremony and uniform inspection every week, both of which the chosen young Denner leads and conducts. He also chooses who will give our opening and closing prayers, administers the Scout Law and Oath, and makes any announcements. When I do have to make last minute changes to our plans, I clear it with both the Denner and the boys to make sure it meets their approval. The Denner also helps me decide what adventures to work on next.


    I figure it's a good way to teach them how to run a meeting so that someday, when they are in Boy Scouts, they will feel comfortable leading meetings and conducting business in their own patrols. Since they are still Cub Scouts, I will occasionally point out ways they can lead more effectively, but I NEVER usurp the role of the Denner in conducting the basic activities of our Den. That would be depriving them of their chance to lead and learn.

  6. I ended up just paying for the cords myself; they and the tabs are pretty inexpensive, and since they rotate them throughout the year, its easier for me to keep track of them if they are my own personal set than if I had to keep track of such a small piece of "den property."

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  7. First of all, a warning: This is a long story! It's important I think, but maybe take a nap and eat something before diving in, tee hee.


    I wanted to share an experience I have had over the past few months that has proven to me the tremendous power of Baden-Powell's vision when he formulated for boys what we now call the Patrol Method. It has helped me as a leader, and it has recently saved scouting for a young friend of mine in a way that has touched his family profoundly. I hope it helps somebody else to capture the spirit of what the Patrol Method can do for young men.


    As a Webelos leader, I worked with my boys on the Scouting Adventure adventure (haha) where it has them use the Patrol Method for a month to prepare them for being Boy Scouts themselves. So I set to work on it with gusto, beginning with the story of Baden-Powell on Brownsea Island. I told the boys how the first thing they did, before camping, starting a fire, learning lore, or whatever - was to be put into groups and given their names - the Curlews, the Bulls, the Ravens, and the Wolves. They each came up with a flag and a call, and that was their identity for the duration of the camp - the first patrol names.


    I read them the oart of the original handbook where he describes how important it is to find an animal or totem that represents their groups' character and identity, and then showed them every patrol patch available from Scoutstuff and ClassB. They picked a really sharp-looking archer patch, called themselves the Merry Archers, made up their call, and ran with it - everything we do now is archer themed, they have all bought books on Robin Hood that they read constantly, and the Arrow of Light has become the Holy Grail for them - all of them will receive it before they have been in the program more than 7 months. The success has been tremendous.


    But, that's not the end of this story. 


    We meet in the same building as the Boy Scouts, and at the same time. While our Webelos Den is having all kinds of success, the Scout Troop has been ... well, lacking. They camp pretty often, but don't DO anything, and advancement is not really emphasized, so we haven't turned out many eagles in the past few years. The boys haven't had much excitement, and they lose a lot of their members after a couple of years. One boy in particular has been struggling; he has a rough family life, is a relatively new scout, and has NOT enjoyed camping at all. He is a suburban kid who just hasn't be taught the skills needed to make camping fun, and as Scout Camp approached, he was starting to dread it. I am a friend of all the boys in the Troop, so I had a lot of them coming to me to tell me of their frustrations or what few successes they have had.


    Meanwhile, my struggling friend has seen my den, with our Flag and patrol emblems and den cheer, and has often asked me "why don't Boy Scouts get to have all that cool stuff?" See, their Scoutmaster has explained to me that those things "don't matter" and that they just "get in the way of getting out in the mud." Hmm, I thought, how can I help this Troop? I have a vested interest in it, since it happens to be the same troop I was in as a Boy Scout. SO. I told my young troubled friend, "you know, you CAN and SHOULD have all this stuff, and more! YOU BOYS lead the Patrol, not the Scoutmaster. If you want a Patrol Name, CHOOSE ONE! I will help." 


    I have never seen such magic in a boy before .He got so excited that he, on his own time, went online and went through all the different patches he could find. He asked me to send him pictures of patrol flags and samples of patrol yells, He asked me questions about the history of the Patrol Method and of Scouting in general. And he begged his Scoutmaster to let them spend time on their emblem For THREE MONTHS this kid begged and whined and cajoled, until two weeks ago, the Scoutmaster finally said "FINE! If you go to the Scout Store and buy them yourself,  you can pick the name and get some patches." While the boy's grandparents took him to buy the patches the next day, I went to the Scout Committee and explained how wonderful it would be if they could put some money towards reimbursing him and paying just a bit for materials for the flag. And then I found out that NONE OF THEM had so much as HEARD of patrol names or flags or anything, and they went WILD over the idea! (much to our good Scoutmaster's consternation) So the boy was repaid and came back with patches of a knight in shining armor, and then asked my father (a professional tailor) if he could possibly make them a Patrol Flag before Scout Camp - the next week. I was asked to design it, which I happily agreed to. This kid was THRILLED. Suddenly, Scouting was an adventure for him! He wasn't just a Scout, he was one of what he named the KNIGHTS OF LIGHT and came up with a cute (okay, not cute, COOL) patrol yell and everything. 


    Well, two days ago, the night before he left for Scout Camp out on Catalina Island, he came by to pick up with flag my Dad and I created after working on it night and day to finish it in time. A grand, black and white shield tapestry with the Knight emblem emblazoned on the front, with their motto and a giant Eagle Scout patch on the back. When he saw it, this kid was so excited for Scout Camp he couldn't contain himself. I made him Keeper and Herald of the Flag, and told him to guard it with honor during his week at camp. He was so proud. And his grandparents were thrilled. They told he how his whole attitude had changed, and how much he now looked forward to going to camp as part of the great Knights of Light patrol, and how excited he was to see other patrols too. And I was shown a picture of him, with his Patrol, holding up his patrol flag and smiling ear to ear. All of them were amazed at their new ensign fluttering in the wind, and they have eaten up their new identity with zeal and gusto.


    IF you have yet to witness the effect these little things can have on your Scouts, TRY IT. This friend of mine went from hating scouts to loving it, because the Patrol Method gave him IDENTITY, RESPONSABILITY, and MOTIVATION. It empowered him to take ownership of his scouting experience, and helped him find new meaning in the program. The Patrol Method WORKS. Let your boys use it!



    Post Script: Would it be inappropriate for him to wear the Honor Guard patch as the keeper of the sacred Patrol Flag? I guess it would be, but I wish there was an official position the specifically related to the keeping of the flag's honor. Quartermaster just doesn't fit, lol.

  8. If you have good enough den leaders, you could do what my pack does and divide the responsibilities. Every month we split the gathering, flag ceremony, activity, and refreshments amongst the various dens, and for special activities and Derbies the Cubmaster takes charge personally. It helps the dens feel involved in the larger meetings and gives the Cubmaster a chance to focus on more than just planning activities. With a pack as big as yours, that might be helpful!

  9. These are some great ideas! I think if we were to pit the kids against the leaders, the leaders would lose pretty badly, lol. I have been having uniform inspections with my Webelos for the past two months now; they all earned their Webelos rank at the same time, and they wanted to all rise together at Pack Meeting to receive their awards as one body. I thought that was very mature of them. So, I required them to have their uniforms all up to par, and inspected them for the few weeks before the Pack Meeting, and wow - they rose to the challenge! I have NEVER seen them look so good, and many parents confessed they were amazed at how sharp they looked - we are a very California area of sandals and basketball shorts with MAYBE a scout shirt if we are lucky. Now that my boys have their uniforms so finely put together, I make sure to keep it up at every den meeting with the promise that if they all come perfectly uniformed for 8 weeks straight, I will add a specially-made doodle to the den flag AND I will bring a healthy treat for them to that 9th den meeting.


    So maybe I should do the same for the leaders! haha. I do like the idea of having an inspection like that at a Pack Meeting: that way the leaders are put on the spot (a good thing at this age) AND the parents see some accountability on the leadership's part as well. I like transparency in an organization, and I think the boys would love the chance for an easy win against their leaders. It's high time WE learned something from THEM. If we as leaders can't even get the right shoulder loops, what exactly are we modelling to the boys in the first place?


  10. Thanks for the advice! I know already none of the other cub leaders serve in other positions; in fact the ADL for the Bears is the only one who has ever been in Scouting before, which I imagine is why he is the leader with red epaulets. He was actually the assistant Scoutmaster over my New Scout Patrol as a kid and hasn't done scouting since. The other leaders are nice guys but none of them have done much Scouting before, despite the fact that they are all at least 20 years older than I am. I just feel awkward offering advice at all to a bunch of gentlemen who are my senior.

  11. Question! The Bears Den Leader in my pack was just called recently and, bless his heart, has little idea what's going on. He got a uniform shirt and just happened to get the bright green Venturing epaulets, not knowing the colors had any significance. Should I take a moment to help point out to him the meanings of the colors, or do I risk being regarded as the Fashion Police? Should I just buy the blue ones and give them to him? Do I ignore it all together and mind my own business? I appreciate any thoughts on how to handle this; I notice other leaders in our cub pack, including his ADL, are wearing the wrong colors too, including orange and red. What would be a tactful way to address this matter, if at all?

  12. I discovered this site recently as I was learning all I could about the Scouting program. The person running it has WONDERFUL insights and resources, and I have referenced his site to many leaders who are trying to run the program in our area. I highly recommend it. 

  13. So, when I was first asked to be the Webelos leader, I had a fun contest of wits with my Webelos over our Den Flag as we worked on the Scouting Adventure adventure (I laugh every time I write or say that). It was a fun process though, and it taught me a lot about working with Webelos-aged boys AND about why this little item, the Den (or Patrol) Flag, is such a valuable resource in creating that elusive entity known as Patrol Spirit.


    We had just started the Scouting Adventure adventure (haha!). I told the boys that after they chose a patrol name and yell, they would need to create a Patrol Flag, and that THEY were in charge of making it. Knowing I have a passion for crafts and design, they retaliated by voting for me to come up with the design and general look of the flag for them. So I struck back by making them choose the design and colors based on a huge collection of drawings and photos I have accumulated of patrol flags through the decades of Scouting, and some books of heraldry I own. I thought my work was done, until they countered my little scheme by ELECTING (by unanimous vote!) that my father (a professional tailor and seamster) and I create the flag. Mind you, this was all in good spirits, and these little battles of wits define much of how we accomplish things in our Den. :rolleyes: SO as a final check to their sinister plot, I added an element to our final flag design - every boy has to create a streamer or pennant with their name on it that will hang off one side of the banner - this item MUST be completed by the boy alone, with minimal parental assistance. And as each boy earns his Webelos and Arrow of Light, I pin an embroidered Webelos/AofL pin to their streamer to symbolize their accomplishment, to which the boys now eagerly look forward. On the other side I add doodles they earned in day camp, or feathers/trinkets/small crafts that represent their accomplishments at the Den level, such as having perfect uniforms every meeting for two months, or all the boys completing a certain number of adventures at home by a certain date. The Webelos work really hard to earn them!


    Now that it is complete, our flag is something we are all really proud of. My dad was happy to be involved, the boys are proud to have an amazing looking flag, I am happy to add awards to their Den symbol, and the parents are grateful to see a visible sign of a good program. If you haven't gotten around to making a Den Flag, I HIGHLY recommend it! When used right, it unites and motivates the boys as few other tangible things can.


    When I figure out how to do so, I will post pictures of it!

  14. I am saving my nickles because I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to get myself the traditional campaign hat. It's such a wonderful article .... but also a pricey one. $99 on Scoutstuff! So I am just saving up slowly but surely. Hopefully someday I can have enough saved so that I can get what I feel is the most iconic piece of uniform wear money can buy :)

  15. It is important also not to confront the issue as though what the boy is asking to do it "wrong." If he feels that the way he has been taught is how prayer should be conducted, that is his right, and he should not be called on to question what he has been taught by undermining it with the fear of offending others, which at this age is surely not his intent. The issue here is not how he prays, but how the group feels about the way others express their beliefs, as manifested by their potential reactions to his mode of prayer.


    Rather than try to fix the way this boy prays, the Troop could be introduced to the various ways prayer is offered in different faiths, and then explicitly explain to the boys that, in your troop, they will possibly hear prayers offered in different ways by boys of different religions. This prepares them for what they will participate in, or not if they choose, and gives them the chance to broaden their own perspectives while learning more about how others believe. Use it as a learning experience for the troop by making exposure to specific ideals an opportunity, not a platform for offence.


    As for the boy in question, don't discourage him. Let him run for the position, and let him explain how he would pray and why. I personally pray with the same ending, and have a deep understanding of its significance, so I see why he feels it matters. BUT, I also understand that others are not beholden to my ideals, nor do I ever try to impose them on others. I pray how I pray, and others should do likewise. That openness can lead to a very healthy discussion among the boys. Ask them as a group how they feel about letting others worship as they please, and let the both the Constitution and that point of law which states "A Scout is Reverent" be the guiding influences as you discuss this situation as a united body.


    Boys at this age are more than willing to say what they feel. If this issue is discussed with them, you may be surprised at how thoughtful and productive their responses can be. 

  16. Hey everybody! So, I was called on to be the Webelos leader for my local Pack, and to be the best leader possible I have spent the past 6 months reading everything I can about Scouting, including every edition of the handbook, all the Cub Scout books, every online resource I can find, and whatever books they have at the Scout Shop. I am a fast reader and love to do it, so I have had a BLAST eating up every policy and fact and discourse on Scouting I could find, and I am ALWAYS looking to learn more and find new ideas. I found this forum and have loved reading other people's ideas, thoughts, and opinions, and seeing how the world of Scouting manifests itself in the lives of leaders and kids everywhere. So ... who am I?


    I am a 32 year old single guy living in South Orange County, CA, right in the place I grew up. I was a very active and proper boy scout as a kid, got my Eagle at 15, and now I am working with the same Pack/Troop that I was a part of, with is huge fun. (I found an old craft I made in our Scout closet! Which shows how rarely they clean that thing out) I am a teacher by profession, and I am as comfortable teaching preschool as I am high school, so I guess I was doomed to be thrust back into scouting from the start of college, ha ha. I ADORE working with kids and youth, and I am fortunate to have time enough in my life to devote a huge portion of my time and energy to them. I am a reader and a writer, am deeply invested in the arts, and I am the first to admit that I am not a major outdoorsman, but I have all the skills a Scout needs to survive in the wild. I am an avid birder and hobby naturalist, and I LOVE arts and crafts. I should show you all our Den Flag some time!


    As far as my scouting background goes, my mother is from South America (the Latin part, from Bolivia) and my father is of British descent (the Scot part - Clan Ross). Dad earned his Life, but could never finish the lifesaving merit badge (he was a frail kid), so he wanted to make sure his sons got their Eagles. Mother came to the US as a girl, but as soon as my older brother turned 8 she threw herself into the Cub Scouting program and has been with it ever since. She is basically the Queen of Scouting now. Not only did her three sons all receive their Eagles before high school, but as the Life to Eagle Coordinator for our district she helped more than 200 scouts get their Eagles over the years, and she now oversees all new scout patrols in our chartered organization. As a surprise for her, I am currently trying to see that she gets proper recognition for her life of service by applying for her to get either District recognition or, if possible, the Silver Beaver. This November will be 30 years since she first registered as a Scouter!


    I practically devour any new information I can find that will help make our program better. I am only the Webelos Den Leader for now, but I see the sorry state of our Wolf/Bear program, and look ahead to our weak Boy Scout troop, and I see I have a lot to do to help motivate our leaders to get the boys feeling ownership of a program they can be proud of. I will definitely be asking for help and ideas as I face up to the mountain of work that lies ahead of me! Thanks for being a great resource that I am eager to draw from!



  17. Thanks for the welcome! I have been asked to train the other Cub leaders in our pack and I LOVE the idea of specifying the names with Grizzly or Polar bears or whatever. Thanks for the great idea!

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  18. The first thing I did when I was brought in to work with our Webelos was to sit the boys down and show them all of the patch options available from scoutstuff and classB. Once they found one they all liked, I had them come up with a name and a yell, and I had them design a flag based on a number of pictures and ideas I pulled from online. Because I want my Webelos den to look forward to the Scouting program at all times, I made sure filling this requirement from the Scouting Adventure list was the first thing we did - and I understand why the Patrol Method in Scouting is so crucial to the program's success.


    The boys absolutely LOVE their patrol name. They fell in love with a patch that has a Robin Hood-type character on it, and named themselves "The Merry Archers" to go alone with their new mascot. They love their yell (Aim high .... BULL'S EYE!), they love their flag (which they have all helped create), and they love when I bring archery into our meetings, which I have tried to do ever since they chose they name. I talk to them about the Arrows of Scouting, including the Arrow of Light, the Order of the Arrow, etc., I talk to them about making their character like a well-fired arrow, straight and true, and when they went to Day Camp, they were THRILLED to go out and prove that the Merry Archers were the BEST archers in the camp - which by hard work and determination they were! Luckily I have a good eye on the range myself or they were prepared to be mighty disappointed with their Chief Archer, lol.


    I have found the use of our Den Name and emblems to be one of the key ingredients to my boys' success in the Webelos program. Because they share a strong sense of identity and unity, they all earned the rank of Webelos at the same time, and they are all earning the Arrow of Light together as well, a full 5 months before some of them even turn 11, when Scouts in our unit move on to the Scout program. So we have time to work on all the other fun Cub Scout programs too, which is a huge blessing. If you haven't given your Webelos a chance to come up with a Den Name and all its trimmings yet, DO IT - it has been a tremendous benefit to us, and I know my boys will always think happily of their days in "The Merry Archer Den."

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