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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. I don't know about my pack, but in my Webelos Den, I would always make personal visits with my assistant and Den Chief to new Scouts' homes when possible to welcome new boys into our Webelos group. I'd bring a Family Talent Survey for the parents to complete during our visit along with the standard official BSA Webelos welcome materials, and for the boy I would bring our den patch (as chosen during the Scouting Adventure adventure), Webelos neckerchief, and whatever other uniform items I had on hand from my uniform closet to help him transition as much as possible to the tan & olive uniform. Almost always I was at least able to get them a hat, shirt (with blue loops!), and bottoms of some kind, leaving only the smaller things like socks and slides to the family. Ideally they would already have the belt and handbook. 

    I also asked our new Webelos Scout which elective adventure appealed to him, and made sure to introduce activities from that award into our schedule within his first month or two. And I taught him our den yell and showed him our flag while I discussed upcoming volunteer opportunities with his parents. I made sure they understood our regular den meeting time and location, and when our pack meetings generally transpired and how our planning sessions operated. I also made sure they got the current Monthly Den Newsletter & Calendar so they had a head's up on upcoming activities, and invited them to our monthly committee meetings if they weren't attending already. When visiting the family at their home proved impossible, I invited them to my own, or met with them after the boy's first den meeting - but I never let more than two weeks pass from the boy's first day with us before making sure this meeting took place. Parents always seemed to be extremely appreciative of these visits, so I can only assume I was doing something right when I started doing them. :p

  2. At our Camporall this past weekend, I found this delightful little neckerchief slide for $2 in a bin of predominantly commonplace or uninteresting slides. I fell in love with it at once, but it's history has eluded all my research and scouring of the internet. 

    Can anybody offer any information about this little treasure? I would like to tell Scouts something about this whenever I wear it (which I am sure will be often), but at the moment I have absolutely nothing to go on. Any comments or help would be greatly appreciated; thank you!




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  3. I've noticed that earning the rank of Eagle doesn't have the same prestige it once did. Nowadays there are so many leaders who didn't earn Eagle that there's almost a greater effort to downplay the achievement in an effort to ameliorate the feelings of all the boys who fail to accomplish it. Which is a travesty in my eyes; when you lessen the value of something good in a vain effort to protect the feelings of those who won't work hard enough to obtain it, you only create a standard of mediocrity that does harm to ALL the youth by taking away the higher goals they could be striving towards. But in my area, there are far too many leaders who couldn't care less about earning Eagle and have passed that apathy on to the next generation, LDS or not. As committed Scouters, it's all we can do to counteract that attitude amongst the boys we serve.

  4. As an LDS commissioner, I think 1/4 is being optimistic. Honestly, I'll be floored if as many as one in ten LDS Scouts throughout the country stay in Scouting. Details about the church's new program are finally rolling in and it seems most boys won't look back as they develop and begin the new activities. Here in Southern Orange County, CA, there is only one LDS-focused unit being formed that will likely cover every town from San Clemente to Newport Beach and all the way north throughout Irvine - it's a huge area with LOTS of LDS youth, yet only about 30 families are showing any real interest in pursuing Scouting so far. I think with the new youth program beginning in earnest next year, the number of kids from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still involved in Scouting will dwindle more than some like to think. We have a new program now, and while Scouting was wonderful for the 100+ years we were together, it's the dawn of a new era for LDS kids and we have an entirely new, equally involving initiative that's going to consume as much attention and focus and dedication as Scouting ever did. Scouting needs to brace itself for a more total departure than they realize.

  5. On 10/4/2019 at 7:32 PM, thrifty said:

    Love this!  We have a few different thrift stores in the area that I enjoy going to and I've found over 40 uniforms in the past three years.   2 or 3 that still had tags on them.  takes time to get the badge magic off but not too important if someone is sewing new patches on top of it.  I wonder what will happen to the majority of the LDS uniforms of the scouts that quit?

    I'm actually trying to keep two steps ahead of that by starting to address this NOW. I'm letting families and leaders know that I will be collecting any and all uniform items after December, and I'll collect and catalogue all of it for other units in the area to use as a resource until it's all be donated. I know it's only a small gesture, but I hope it will help alleviate some of the loss for our district going forward since we represented a significant portion of our area's population and funding. I estimate I'll be able to get enough uniforms to fully supply at least 40 - 50 Scouts.

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  6. As a Scout I LOVED every single issue of Boy's Life I received. A caveat, I was even then a voracious reader - I practically inhaled anything with words on it that entered our home (and still do) - but Boy's Life was something special. During the late 80's and all through the 90's I read articles that I still remember vividly, covering everything from Legos to African wildlife to popular film effects to cave exploring in South America. It was, I daresay, a deep drink of fascinating information for a kid whose curiosity was insatiable. 

    Now I read through the magazine and wonder if I've just grown beyond the kind of articles they print, or if the quality really has diminished. There just doesn't need to be the same amount of information as there was before. Fewer articles, and more gaudy imagery. I may start reading copies side-by-side just as a bit of research. So in January '20 I'll also read January '10, January '00, and January '90. Likewise for February, et cetera. I think a year of that should prove very interesting. I very well may turn this into something ... 

  7. 1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

    If you read your initial email you are  disapproving of him wearing the pin on his uniform.   You say it isn't your place but then you go on to say that he shouldn't especially as an ASM.  He should follow the uniform code to the letter...."simply being a well-uniformed leader will represent your daughter far better than any extra pins ever will"  That may not seem like a disapproval by you but it is.

    If wearing the pin has anyway of encouraging a scout to continue on then go for it.  We are here for the youth first.

    Putting words into somebody's mouth is rarely a good idea, and rest assured, I always read my own messages. I never once said "I disapprove." You might infer it, but you can't claim I said it, and just to reinforce my point - I express no disapproval of anybody's uniform, despite the fact that I do openly state my disagreement with the position of some regarding parent pins upon them. But they are two different things, and I'd appreciate if you wouldn't try to divine what I do or do not approve of when I am perfectly capable of doing so myself. I will define my own opinions - not you. Thank you.

    Official BSA policy states that parent pins are not for uniform wear. That isn't my disapproval. That's official regulation. How I opine on the matter is irrelevant. 

    Also, if we are truly here for the youth first, then why are we trying to bend to rules with our own uniforms - isn't that putting ourselves first? If you want to encourage a Scout to continue, don't do it by evading basic policy. That's not helping the youth at all. Surely we don't have to resort to extra bling on our shirts to encourage our youth; if so, we are in a desperate state indeed.

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  8. 1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

    You clearly would not approve of my uniform that is adorned with knots.  

    This is simply not true, regardless of the fact that it may violate BSA policy. I would never be so callous as to voice 'disapproval' of somebody's uniform, however egregious its errors may or may not be. I don't know whence this suggestion comes. But this discussion is about the parent pins, not the knots; consequently, I think it's important to use better terms for this conversation.

    Approval has nothing to do with this. It's not my place to approve or disapprove of these things, nor anybody else's. Approval is not the point of this discussion. However, there are very clear, and I dare say very easy-to-follow policies outlined by the BSA in The Official Guide to Awards and Insignia regarding what is and is not appropriate for uniform wear according to national standards. Despite its title, it is more than merely a "guide" - it's a handbook of official policy. No, it's not "holy writ" (don't exaggerate now; nobody said that it was), but it's not mere suggestion either. It's the national standard. It outlines the specifics of what is permitted for uniform wear, and what is not. Follow it so that you can comply with our organization's expectations, and you'll be doing yourself a great favor. Ignore it, and, well, that's your choice - but you're setting an example to the youth you serve either way. My approval is irrelevant. Your example is everything.

    I know parents in particular get touchy when it comes to their parent pins, but really, it's such a small thing - are we really going to let a few pins keep us from truly embracing proper uniforming? My mother has a ribbon that looks like a long piece of chain mail garnered over the years from her three Eagle scout sons, but she isn't so attached to it that she ever feels the "need" to wear it, especially not with her uniform. She's learned to discern what really matters from what's just 'fluff.' She's been Scouting for over 30 years now, and she's discovered there are better ways to honor her kids than by skirting around the uniform policy just to show of her 'parental swag.' I'm grateful to her for her example in teaching us that she doesn't need to wear her pins to show us that she cares about Scouting - or about us. Parental pride is one thing, but parental example is infinitely more efficacious.

    Whether or not we may think or feel the pins look okay, the fact is they are very specifically stated as being for civilian use - not for uniform wear. That's the policy. It's so simple, I'm almost surprised there's discussion about it. Anybody can follow this rule. @rickmay, your profile image suggests that you are an army veteran. You then, of all people, should know and appreciate the importance of a uniform, and of wearing it properly. That applies to Scouting just as much as it does the armed forces, or to first responders. Our uniforms mean something. These small details reveal great things about our character.

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  9. @my_three_sons Might I ask what your position is? Are you by chance the Scoutmaster or an ASM? 

    The reason I ask is that I don't really know if it's the job of a Scout's leaders to test a Scout and "prove" whether or not he has completed the requirements for a badge after he comes to you with a signed card.

    Of course he's going to forget parts of what he did when you start asking a bunch of questions. Kids have a natural aversion to being tested. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have spent an hour working with Scouts on a few simple activities, and then when I ask them "what did we JUST work on today?" I get stares and vapid, drooling faces without a clue in the world that they just spent an hour working hard and getting things done. It's in there, trust me, but at this age the adolescent mind takes a long time to incubate new information and experiences. 

    But more to the point, the boy came to you with a completed, signed card, and he (and his father, though he's actually pretty irrelevant to this situation) says he has completed it. It's not really fair to him for a leader to grill him on what he did after it's supposedly complete, except for extenuating circumstances. We are trying to teach these boys that their word of honor means something. Part of that means trusting them now and then so they have the opportunity to prove what that's worth.

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  10. 1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

    A historical note, the Uniform Method (circa mid 80's) did not exist when I was a scout and nationally ,there were a LOT more scouts yet fewer Eagles. The uniform remains not mandatory.  My point, the other Methods are more important in delivering the Scouting Program. Focus on those.

    My $0.02,

    I ... I just don't believe this. I feel, very strongly, that ALL the methods are equally important, and I can't accept the idea that somehow a leader has to sacrifice one to focus on the other. 

    1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

    I agree that the real issue is how adults approach Scouting, and I applaud leaders who believe in the power of the correct complete uniform and act on that in a moderate and positive way.  But there are eight methods in Scouts BSA that call for our attention, so I don't think you can judge a leader's dedication to Scouting from how he or she handles just one of the Methods.  I suspect that very few troops have the skills and resources to "utilize [each Method] to its fullest."  Additionally, the circumstances, needs, strengths, and weaknesses of each troop and each leader are different.  So leaders have to make choices about where they are going to put their time and resources and what Methods they just aren't going to emphasize.  How to decide? 

    I really don't think any leader's circumstances require them to walk into a room of Scouts and pick one method to teach at the cost of the others. The whole idea is that these concepts strengthen and support each other - if you find the methods are competing with each other, you're not using them correctly. 

    For example (to the point of this topic), our troop had an outdoor Court of Honor last night. At the end, the SPL held a surprise uniform inspection. Each patrol was in competition with the other patrols, and the leaders were their own collective unit as well (the boys love competing against the grown ups). First, the SPL gave a brief overview of the importance of the uniform. He talked about unity and having a place in our group, and asked everybody to look around at all their fellow Scouts, all dressed alike and all feeling like one unified team. Then he asked each patrol leader (and the Committee Chair for the adults) to review a group that wasn't his own, and the resulting scores were written on a large whiteboard he had brought with him. He then brought out a large platter of cookies and said the winner was ... everybody. 

    In effect, he told the audience that every Scout who works his hardest can still accomplish something, and that just by making the effort to be there, each boy deserved recognition. Everybody got a cookie. But, the extra effort of some boys deserved more. So every boy with a perfect score also received a cupcake. Then he pointed out that we work best when we work together, and the winning patrol ALSO received ice cream. So everybody won, but according to his efforts, there was the chance to get more out of it as well. 

    It was a mighty fine lesson, and I notice the following methods of Scouting were all part of it: Ideals, group activities, adult association, uniforms, teaching others, and leadership. That's 6 out of 8 in one activity! This SPL understands the goal - to make Scouting a constant stream of learning, with the ebb and flow of the eight methods forming the momentum which carries these Scouts on towards a healthy maturity. And if done right, more than a few adults might find themselves moving forward with the tide themselves!

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  11. Oh, on the contrary @Mrjeff, this is a mighty relevant topic, and clearly one that still needs to be addressed. Thank you for bringing it up. But I suggest that it's really not your place to request that people not attempt to teach, educate, and counsel others to do better. I know that I will continue to do so - I think it would be unkind and unfair for me NOT to try and help the Scouts and Scouters I love to try and do better. Isn't that why we're here? To try and improve ourselves and encourage the best in others?

    I think you've added a lot of important information for us to consider, and I hope you don't disappear entirely. I've found much to contemplate in your remarks.

  12. 2 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

    The BSA uniform is an overpriced, frumpy, dumpy looking thing, designed by a committee of hand-selected gold loopers.  Needlessly complicated styling.   Too many dangles, gimcracks, geegaws.

    I'm just going to note one thing here. Part of the reason the uniform so often looks poorly is that, frankly, most boys and men don't understand how to dress themselves to their actual size, and so they'll just throw on whatever kind of fits them. If we wouldn't always reach for the most relaxed-fit pants and shirts a size too large with collars all askew, we'd look far better. Most men think "I'm a size large so I'll just buy any shirt sized 'large' and there we go." And most tend to go a size too large at that. They don't even try it on! Heaven forbid we should actually wash and iron our uniforms now and then too. :eek:

    And just what are all these "dangles, gimcracks, (and) geegaws" you speak of? All of my patches are nicely sewn on, and with the exception of my OA pocket dangle, nothing is complicated or 'dangling,' and I can hike and work comfortably in it without any trouble. So many of the complaints we hear about the uniform can be mended simply by how we wear it! If your uniform looks 'frumpy,' then do something about it. Source a gently-used shirt online for a bargain price! Find a better fit! Get it tailored even! I've found that over the years, the uniform shirt has gone back and forth with sizing, some years running large, some years running small; different fabrics have different fits, and even these change every few years. Don't just accept the first item in your size and buy it - try things on! Experiment and find one that fits nicely. Sometimes you might find the large shirts made for youth fit smaller adults better, and vice versa. Work with your Scouts even to talk about how to tuck in shirts nicely, sew patches securely, and care for their clothing. These are basic life skills after all. But do something besides complain so that you can look your best, and your kids will notice and follow suit. Don't find fault in a garment simply because most people don't know how to make it look good.

    But this goes back to one of my points - the uniform can be a great tool in teaching these youth to care about how they present themselves, and thus how they see themselves. It can inspire feelings of self-worth and confidence, or it can be relegated to yet another arena of apathy and carelessness. Needless to say, the attitude a leader takes towards the methods of Scouting (like the uniform) will unfailingly be reflected in the attitude of his Scouts towards the program in general. The character seeds we now sow will yield fruit more plenteous than we may yet realize - be it good or ill. 

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  13. I don't have children at all, and I was a Den Leader for three years. I loved it, but then I love children in general and work with them professionally as a teacher and child development specialist. And honestly, I don't really perceive any difference between being a Cub leader without a cub and a Troop leader without a boy.

  14. @Mrjeff,

    I hope you don't feel that you are being personally attacked by this discussion; certainly that is not my intent and I apologize if you feel such. My confusion stems from the fact that you seem to opine that this is a binary, one-or-the other choice - that either you care about uniforms, or you care about people. In fact, you even state:

    1 hour ago, Mrjeff said:

    So, continue to focuse (sic) on the clothes and lesson teaching if you want to; but I will continue to focus on the youth and their desire to have good clean fun.

    But why do you imply that it must be one or the other? Do you truly think that we don't focus on the youth and having fun, and that we go to bed at night thinking about patches and pins? Heaven forbid; the very suggestion is silly. Rather, I believe in doing ALL of these things - and with a specific, meaningful goal: to help make these young people into better adults, better citizens, and better family members. I believe in making Scouting fun just as much as I do in getting these kids to look and feel their best, because these things help make them better people. But uniforms aren't the end goal. Fun is not the end goal. These are certainly tools that we use to engage young minds and hearts - but they aren't the end goal

    1 hour ago, Mrjeff said:

    Like I clearly stated, I have my own opinion and if its offensive or off-putting to you, I dont care. I made no assumptions about issues like character or values. I did say THAT IF YOU ARE THAT FOCUSED ON THE UNIFORM perhaps you should focus on the person and not his CLOTHES.

    You needn't worry about offense; I have learned not to be overly concerned with something a stranger on an internet forum posts about something I already understand, and I certainly wouldn't be so petty as to be offended by anything you say. Speak freely here! But do please note that here, you are suggesting that people who do focus on the uniform, somehow, DON'T focus on the person, and just because they pay attention to how they dress in the uniform. You even use large capital letters to make this point. Yet that's not quite reasonable, is it? Just because somebody really cares about the uniform, that does not make them any less interested in the person than you are. The emphasis on one is unrelated to the sentiments of the other. Yet in that same vein, the way a Scout (or leader) wears the uniform does tell us a bit about who he is, and what he believes, and what he thinks of himself. The clothes, in fact, help us focus on the person. That's why we do this.

    I would like to state, emphatically, that we are all on the same side. We all want to help these young people grow into responsible, mature adults, and we do it with all manner of methods - making the program fun is a huge part of it. So is the uniform. So are the outdoors, and the patrol method, and service. The whole POINT of these things is to focus on the person - just as you said. If we didn't care about each youth who walks into our meetings with all our hearts, we wouldn't care about any of these things. But we do, and so we do all we can to make sure every Scout has the best, richest experience possible. You say let's make it fun, and focus on the person. I agree 100%. But I also say let's do MORE. Let's get our uniforms right. Let's do the patrol method correctly. Let's do EVERYTHING we can, and let's do it RIGHT - BECAUSE THE SCOUTS DESERVE IT.

  15. 10 hours ago, DuctTape said:

    So thank you to TLS for his years of posting in defense of the uniform as a method. It was not that long ago when I finally saw the light. 

    I'm touched that you would ascribe to me such credit; sometimes I read over my posts and wonder if anybody will ever take the time to actually read them (they are long after all). To know that something I wrote might have made a difference to somebody is heartening. Thank you. 

    3 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    How a Scout (or Scouter) encourages others to uniform well is a mark of who they are as well.  You want to teach Scouts to encourage others - but not come off as a know it all.  Since, we adults set the tone, it's important for us to correct uniform mistakes with some dignity.

    I am so grateful to you for wording this so well. I try to model this principle when I train new Cub Scout den leaders at University of Scouting. One thing I do at the start of every session is hold a surprise uniform inspection for the new leaders. They always come up looking rather nervous, and often terribly embarrassed. But before I start I always smile and tell them in reassuring tones "remember - if I correct something on your uniform, it isn't wrong - it's just not right yet!" Remind them that you're there to help them get it right, not to put them down when something is off. Done with a smile and a cheerful attitude, it helps them realize that reviewing the uniform is not about condemning flaws or putting people down; rather, it's about getting ourselves to look our best so that the Scouts we lead can get the solid, model examples that they deserve. And without fail, they always end up grateful for the discussion about what the uniform does, why it matters, and how we can use it to mould better youth and encourage better behavior. We should be thrilled at any opportunity to improve ourselves and refine our program! If not, what in the world are we teaching these kids?

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