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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. That's very much the expectation of the idea. Our boys will be treated as kids from any other faith or organization after 2019, and we welcome council and district efforts to recruit from our families in the future. But the restored Church of Jesus Christ has been a global religion for many years now (as our new Temple complex in Rome demonstrates), so our leaders have to be mindful of its membership all over the world, and notices like the ones mentioned are necessary in order to keep policies and doctrine consistent. 

    But as mentioned, it has nothing to do with being "friendly" or not. It's simply about using the appropriate means and venues to promote Scouting in the future. It should regularly reiterated that the Church still supports Scouting, even if it will no longer sponsor it. Now we're just defining the terms, procedures and limitations for moving forward. :happy:

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  2. I think it needs to be made clear that our church simply doesn't have "community bulletin boards" where people can come and post whatever events or programs they wish. So if somebody wants to recruit LDS boys into Scouting, it has to come from people acting for themselves, and in venues apart from the Church's facilities. Those who wish to remain in Scouting are perfectly welcome to go and obtain the information they need, but that is outside the parameters of Church leadership and responsibility, and it to be done outside of our properties to ensure that the separation is both amicable and unmistakable. 

    As a new commissioner considering the idea of starting up a new unit specifically designed to continue LDS-minded Scouting (but obviously open to ANY boys who wish to participate), I understand that I need to be careful explaining that our unit will follow LDS values and ideals, but will NOT be an "LDS unit" in that it will neither be sponsored nor operated by the Church. If youth from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or from any other religious background, are interested in joining the unit, they will need to come to me or to other adults who are part of forming that unit. I cannot, nor would I wish to, use the Church or its leaders as ad-men to try and promote my unit. The Church will have its own, involving program to get off the ground, and Scouting would only be a distraction to that cause. And who knows? I may find I become so invested in the new program that I don't have time for Scouting. I can't say. But I must be guided by my duty to God first above anything, and right now there is no conflict between that duty and my duties to Scouting that I am aware of. ;)

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  3. When I was Webelos Den Leader, I might sometimes have sent the boys along to Boy Scouts with some trinket of affection by which they could remember their time in Cubs - a hand-crafted woggle, a wood-burned plaque, something simple. But the most important thing I could give to those boys was a deep and lasting understanding of the patrol method, along with solid preparation for their next adventure in Boy Scouts. When my boys were able to advance to the rank of Scout in their first or second meeting thanks to the learning they received in Webelos, I knew I had done my job right. That preparation was worth far more than any display, award, or gift could ever have been.

  4. Our pack was very small for a number of years, and we presented all the awards at our monthly pack meetings. Since our numbers have grown recently, we've transitioned to presenting rank advancements and special awards at the monthly pack meetings, and adventure pins and loops at den meetings as they are earned. Just make sure your boys never wait longer than the recommended 2 weeks before receiving recognition for their accomplishments.

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  5. I would rather my Scouts have few examples than poor ones. It's exactly because he captures their attention that this is such a problem. If we are raising our youth to merely look the other way with incidents like this, we must not be surprised when they grow older and make choices which hurt or confuse us, and we find that the moral compasses we thought we had instilled in them have been misaligned because of "missing the mark." As any orienteering instructor can tell you, your compass only needs to be off by a few degrees to get you miles off your charted course.

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  6. 27 minutes ago, malraux said:

    I don’t know if earns the patrol patch is the right way to put it. They have a patrol emblem once they vote on it. They just are the raccoons den, or the tacos or whatever. The den leader could buy the patchs, the youth could buy them, etc as per your pack tradition. If you’re crossing over shortly, I might not do that just because it’s not real thrifty. But a troop generally wouldn’t purchase the patch because the troop doesn’t buy stuff for youth who aren’t members. 

    Exactly; the boys choose a name as they practice the patrol method as per requirement C, and if they wish to wear a patch on their uniforms, it is purchased through the den or the pack committee. A Scout troop would NOT be involved in any part of the process, simply because a Scout troop is a separate unit and not responsible for the goings-on in a Cub Scout unit. When the Webelos scouts are completing this requirement, it is done on their own, with no adult intervention and certainly without involving any older scouts - the point is for them to do it on their own. And for that reason, the name they choose does not carry with them into Scouts BSA either.

    It is important to note that there is actually no such thing as "Webelos II" or "Arrow of Light" den. This is an invention of some packs that really isn't part of how Cub Scouts is supposed to be organized; all boys after Bears are considered Webelos Scouts in the Webelos den, and they can work on any requirements of any adventure in any order. Technically, a boy could even earn his Arrow of Light before earning his Webelos rank. So, a brand-new group of Webelos Scouts can work on this adventure as soon as they start in the Webelos den. I actually recommend doing the patrol activities early so that the boys can have more time with their patrol name, flag, identity, et cetera, giving them more time to adjust to the change that is imminent in Scouts BSA. 

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  7. This is troubling. Here we have our "chief ambassador" in the news again, but not for anything good:


    He seems to me far too reckless and camera-hungry to serve as a deserving representative of Scouting ideals. I say get rid of him before any other scandals emerge.

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  8. Charging people to attend B&G?!? :eek:

    We have always had very lovely B&G events, but they have never been so expensive as to require additional costs from the family. For example, in our pack, the committee buys a dozen big lasagnas from Costco, and the leaders and a few willing parents each take one or two to cook and bring to the venue just before the dinner. A few bags of rolls and some easily thrown-together salads complete a filling, pleasant, affordable meal that boys this age enjoy as much as their parents do. Decorations are simple - blue and yellow tablecloths and eating ware, boy-made centerpieces, some pictures on the walls, etc. The entire cost to feed about 130 people last night was under $200, well within our modest budget without needing to charge families. If you can find any way to cut costs and make it easier for all of your families to attend, I recommend it with all my heart. The point of the Blue and Gold is to celebrate the history and purpose of Scouting, not just to put on a show. Make your presentations meaningful and your program relevant, and even the humblest meal can be better than a feast for the families who enjoy it.

  9.  I think it would be imperative of National to make these changes in regards to proper pronoun gender. To ignore the differentiation between men and women as understood by these cultures would be disrespectful at the least, highly offensive at the worst. The language has to be changed if the OA's intention to respect and promote the traditions of native peoples is to be sincere.

  10. Hey all! With my time cleared up now and my health more or less restored, I have been asked to serve as a commissioner by my district committee leaders. They told me to register as a unit commissioner, but they specifically want me to help with training new Cub Scout leaders, facilitating Cub breakout sessions at Roundtable, and above all being on-hand to support Cub Scouting at the district level. I am taking every training course I can find online and doing everything possible to make sure I am as well-versed in Scout policies and procedures as possible (luckily my mom was a commissioner for a decade so I have ready access to most of the primary materials). However, I know there is a lot that I don't know, and so I come before the wisdom of those on these boards to ask:

    Does anybody have any advice, suggestions, or encouragement to help me get off on the right foot in this new position? I want my service as a commissioner to be meaningful to all those with whom I interact, so any help or counsel will be most appreciated. Thanks everybody!

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  11. So, first of all - I LOVE Laurel and Hardy, and reading your post @SSScout made me go back and watch a bunch of their old films again - thanks for the idea!

    Secondly, I have just been made a Unit Commissioner! Specifically, my District Commissioner wants me to help with training Cub Scout leaders in the area both at roundtable and at their committee meetings. My health is almost totally recovered, and I have gained back all the weight I lost, so I am ready to get back into things with a position that will let me stay involved without needing to over-strain myself with weekly den meetings and germ-ridden kiddos or anything like that. So I am super excited! My mom was a commissioner for over a decade, so I already have the uniform items I need, and there is a HUGE area-wide commissioner college for all of Southern California happening up north in LA next month, so I'll be able to start my Bachelor's in Commissioner Science work right away! 

    I am reading through all the training materials now, and I am excited for this new chapter in my Scouting career. Thanks all for your kind thoughts and generous wisdom; to those who sent me PM's, I am working on answering all those too. The doctors have given me a clean bill of health, so it's all systems go now!

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  12. Hey everybody, a question I would love some help answering:

    are all chapter advisers considered "associate chapter advisers," or is that a separate, specific position? For instance, is the adviser to the chapter vice-chief considered an "associate chapter adviser?" Any clarification would be much appreciated. Thanks all!

  13. Ah, it's finally been updated! Lots of interesting changes in this new edition too. Thank goodness the square knots have been officially limited to nine; the ambiguity of the previous guideline made rationalizing excessive patches too easy. Now it reads specifically "the number of knots is limited to three rows of three." 

    As for the rest of the Guide, it's very nice and much improved over the last edition. There are plenty of new images, and as a whole this new edition is far more detailed than the last. CSP's have a whole new detailed re-write with images. There is a whole new set of guidelines for custom patches and emblems, and Lion Scouts now have guidelines for their awards. There are changes to the Webelos insignia (the blue diamond rank patch is gone, as are specific Webelos Den and Assistant Den Leader patches), and Venturing uniform placement guidelines have been enhanced. The section on adult awards and recognition has been greatly improved and expanded as well. I recommend everybody check it out!

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  14. Merit badge requirements must only be signed off by approved merit badge counselors. The committee chair is not authorized to sign them off unless he or she is also an approved counselor for the badge cited on the application. 

    Finding the original counselor is not a problem; just make sure a new counselor is found ASAP, and that that individual is district-approved. 

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  15. 2 hours ago, Treflienne said:

    Class A's are a "field uniform".   Skirts and dresses are no good for such -- they would only be good as a dress uniform.     And yellow shows dirt stains a lot more than tan does.

    Actually I have been disappointed that scoutstuff.org is only showing the girls-fit shirt in the cotton blend.   How about a quick-dry Class A shirt for girls, so that it is actually suitable to wear on outings?  Has anyone heard if one will be forthcoming?      (We have told our girls to hold off on buying uniforms until it becomes clear what options will be available.)

    I believe it would be more correct to say that the Field Uniform is sometimes referred to as "Class A," though this is a misapplication of military terminology which we generally try to avoid. And I have to say, I know many women who hike and hunt and climb and camp in skirts, dresses, jumpers, et cetera. They would just need to use patterns that allow freedom of movement. 

    I do agree with the need for more fabric options for girls. I imagine that with time, National will start rolling out new options periodically just as they always have for the boys. But with the program being so new, one can only expect the options to be somewhat limited for a while. It goes with the territory.

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  16. On 1/23/2019 at 5:33 PM, shortridge said:

    If she decides that I suddenly have knowledge worth sharing and asks me, my recommendation to my daughter will be to take no merit badges at camp this summer.

    Go to the sessions; ask a lot of questions; follow up with open periods in areas you like; visit the areas during evening program; learn plenty of skills; get plenty of practice; try things that you wouldn’t get a chance to do outside of camp. But heavens to Betsy, don’t take any “merit badge classes”!

    If you really want to earn a badge that piques your interest, take what you’ve learned during this week and find a counselor back home that the SM recommends. There will always be plenty of time and opportunity for that.

    If you or any Scout wants to spend the week doing nothing but rifle shooting in pursuit of that perfect score, then spend your days doing that! Ditto for gritting out the mile swim, mastering the bow drill, climbing the wall, or catching that elusive giant catfish.

    But don’t waste camp taking a “class.” School is out. This is the summer. Enjoy it!

    I concur 100%. This is the Scout's chance to spend a week doing what he wants to do. Parents need to keep their loving, sticky paws off for the sake of their child's growth as an individual. In some ways, I feel like enjoying summer is becoming a dying art. 

    Completely off topic, it tickles me pink to see the expression "heavens to Betsy" still being used. That just put me in a great mood somehow. :happy:

  17. Thanks all for your kind words. I have been working with the new leader, and while there are a few pack issues that he will have to overcome, he has been well-prepared to keep the flame going. Meanwhile I need to keep my personal flame lit, and you have all been very kind with your thoughts. Thank you!

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  18. Well, I trained a bunch of Cub Scout leaders yesterday, and as always, I got a lot of initial frustration from the women leaders when I stressed the importance of wearing the full uniform (not just the shirt as is usual around these parts). They always express their (quite legitimate) complaints about the fit, or lack thereof, of the Scout uniform for ladies. But I showed them a few of these images and related to them the options coming out with the insertion of girls into the programs, and many of them were very encouraged to go check out the new selections. I hope they really do flatter the female figure better in the future, because I know many ladies who get frustrated trying to wear a uniform designed for gentlemen but in a feminine way. My mother actually had a pair of uniform slacks re-tailored into a skirt, and it's the envy of all the ladies in the pack who haven't the skill or means to do likewise.

    I know that in the 80's, de la Renta had designs for women's uniforms that, I opine, could actually have made for an infinitely better selection of options for girls. They should have put the girls in uniforms like these, with yellow blouses/shirts or olive dresses and all the other options shown here. That would have given their program its own distinctive yet historically rich look that would preserve tradition while simultaneously giving something new. These are clearly Scout uniforms, and on all of these options they could have followed the exact same rules for award and insignia placement, but they are also clearly designed for girls - and they work! If anything, de la Renta's designs for female leaders were far superior to his designs for the menfolk (outdoor-formal was a strange direction I admit), but the program didn't have enough women back then to make these designs relevant, and here the program isn't taking advantage of designs like these now that it has the chance. We should have looked more to the past to find better options for the future.

    Anyway, I have strong sartorial opinions if you couldn't tell, but man - I wish they would re-introduce designs like these instead of just changing buttons and rolling up pants. If you're going to run a program for girls, do it all the way! Sheesh. :rolleyes:

    Women Scout options.jpg

  19. Honestly, I think some packs allow their derbys to become excessively race-oriented rather than family-oriented. If at any point you allow regulations on the cars to become restrictions on involvement, you have a problem.

    Obviously, you need rules and guidelines to make an event like this manageable, but your goal should be getting the boys and their families to participate. Winning a race should be peripheral to spending time with the pack and providing an enjoyable time for all involved. Shaving fractions of a second (which sounds almost fanatically obsessive to me) off of a boy's time reiterates the idea that your event is about winning, when in fact, it's about building unity within families - and within your pack. 

    I suggest making moves to simplify your event. For example, our pack make a lot of "reformations" if you will while my older brother was Cubmaster. First we simplified the awards - every boy received a participation medal, but there were five "prize" medals - Fastest Car (no 2nd or 3rd place), slowest car (it has to make it all the way to the finish line to count though - we call it the "Marathon Winner"), Cub Scout's Choice (chosen by votes from all the boys), Most Creative and Best Craftsmanship (selected by the Key 3). This leveled the playing field a bit, giving boys a chance to win a prize for more than just a fast car. In fact, the Marathon Winner has become a highly coveted car lately, with some boys aiming specifically to get the slowest car they can make! 

    It also decreases negative parental involvement dramatically since the "esteem" of the fastest car is no longer the central focal point of the event. We trashed all the fancy-shmancy electrical timers and whatnot that just made things more complicated, and instead started bringing in three community and congregational leaders each year to act as judges. The car they say wins the round, wins the round. Simple. We have established that what they say goes, and as they are very respected, impartial guests, we haven't had any problems from parents taking umbrage with their decisions. 

    Now, you obviously have to find what works for your group, but making changes like these help reestablish the Pinewood Derby as an exciting, friendly night that celebrates the hard work and creativity of the boys and their families through the simple game of racing cars with friends. The simpler, the better. If a boy wants to refurbish an old car, what of it? If it still meets the prescribed dimensions of weight and size, there's no harm in that. The boy can do as he wishes if he follows the basic parameters. 

    I will however agree that if a boy isn't there, you have no need to race his car. At these ages, they won't care all that much about an event they didn't attend. But for those who are there - do what you can to include for the boy's sake, not exclude for the rule's sake.

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  20. Which merit badge courses should he take?

    Easy - the ones he wants to take.

    This is how Scouting works. A boy looks for activities he finds interesting, and invests his time in making them happen. If he wants to work on advancement, he'll want to work on required merit badges. If he wants to focus on activities only offered at camp, he'll take those courses. But if he just wants to do merit badges that he finds fun or interesting, he doesn't need to do anything else. Too often we as adults want to steer a Scout's schedule towards what we think they need, and we don't really trust them to figure that out on their own. But boys of this age, even 11 year-olds, are more responsible and eager to progress than we may sometimes think, and we need to allow them the liberty to prove that on their own.

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  21. Well ...

    over the holiday break I spent the better part of two weeks in the hospital's intensive care wing after a severe illness and other incidents left me unconscious for five days. I survived the ordeal, and I feel much better now thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, but it did leave me in a seriously weakened condition, and for a few months I will be dealing with a rather delicate constitution as I work towards restoring my health to what it was before the sickness. After much prayer and consideration, it was decided that I should let go of my duties as Webelos Den Leader for a time so that I can fully recover. I have been filling this role for three and a half years, so I've had a good long run of it, but still, it's a saddening change for me. I will be volunteering as Pack Trainer for a few months so that I can still play a role in pack activities, but I am basically taking a few months' hiatus to ensure a complete and proper recovery.

    I have been sorting all my materials to make the transition as smooth as possible. The new leader will get a progress record for every boy detailing every requirement for every adventure he has completed, clear and easy-to-read charts and records showing the progress of the den as a whole, family talent surveys with notes on each boy and his family circumstances, and copies of important documents, all sorted by colored tabs in a neat, organized binder. I have contact information for key leaders at the pack and district level, a calendar with all the important events for the year, and a list of activities we have traditionally enjoyed at various seasons. I have his new patches and loops (he was an Assistant Scoutmaster until now), his Den Leader Guide, some posters, and other useful items to ensure that nothing is lost through the cracks as the boys transition from one leader to another. I have sent letters to the families expressing my love and optimism for the new year's changes, and I have personally spoken to every boy to let them know that while I may not be their den leader, I will always be their friend, and they can always come to me with Scouting questions or stories of what they have accomplished. I want to make the transition quiet and unobtrusive so that I don't step on the new leader's toes as he assumes the mantle for this position; it's his show now, and I want to respect that by avoiding any undue attention directed towards me so that he can escape the annoyance of people saying "well, our last leader did things this way ..." I will announce the changes at Pack Meeting tonight, and it's a little heart-breaking just thinking about it already.

    So ... it's a hard change for me. I have always been 100% driven as a leader, and I had all kinds of plans for this year (the last year our Church will be involved in Scouting). I don't want to cling too hard to the past, but I also want to find ways to stay connected to the boys in the pack. Pack Trainer will be a good position for the time being, since I have been training for the district and council for the past few years already and it's not a taxing job for me, but how much distance should I keep so that the new leader can make his own mark while still finding ways to stay involved with the pack? And what else can I do to make sure the transition is successful? Obviously, I have a lot of emotions to deal with, and I feel deeply for the boys who have to deal with such a big change in their lives, but I appreciate any thoughts and comments that might help me as I make my first major transition as a Scout leader. My thanks to anybody who can share something that might help me deal with my very tender feelings.

    • Like 3

  22. 3 hours ago, Thunderbird said:

    @The Latin Scot  There are different versions of it, but here is an example of what a face paint Bobcat rank ceremony might be like:



    Thanks for that! I feel, from a pedagogical and practical point of view, it would be better not to use a ceremony like this for a Cub Scout's Bobcat award. At this stage we are only just introducing the child to the idea of Scouting, and we want them to feel that the achievement in and of itself, with the associated badge and mother's pin to represent it, is something meaningful and significant. Adding facepaint and colors and bonus symbols and balloons and all that fluff is rather like gilding the lily if you ask me. Greater accomplishments more worthy of such "ceremonial adornment," such as the Arrow of Light and, further down the road, the Order of the Arrow, will come. But this is the Scout's first award. Let's start them off by letting this award be special on its own, without being tethered to other superfluous activities or rituals. And at all costs avoid feeding them a taste for over-wrought theatrics that will only end up with parents wanting something bigger and fancier with every level. Nip this one in the bud, my friend.

    Keep your pack grounded. That's one of the most important roles of a good leader. Make things exciting and fun, but make sure excitement and fun are tools and means to an end - not the goal of Scouting itself. Good luck!

    Post Script: please note that many boys this age are extremely averse to any kind of face-painting or other similar attention-drawing activities, especially in front of large crowds. Some parents may like it, but there are many Scouts who will not. Never do anything without FIRST consenting with the boys. Without their complete and total approval, I would withdraw any proposed activities such as this.

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