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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. If you're referring to circumcision, you're treading on three dangerous platforms of controversy - medical, political, and religious. Best that we keep our views on that particular issue to ourselves, otherwise we're just arousing controversy for controvery's sake - not very productive, nor wise, and not the topic of this discussion. So in the case of your example, correct: let's not raise an eyebrow to that topic and proceed with the conversation at hand.

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  2. I get the full range of variations on that question - I'm a single guy in my 30's who doesn't even have kids yet. So naturally I often get asked - "what are you doing here?" I generally bring up two points. First, I was asked to fill a need because I work with children professionally and my church leaders requested that I serve, and finding I enjoy the program, I have stuck with it. Secondly, I feel that everybody should play an active role in his or her community, and my service in Scouting is one way in which I can break away from the rather selfish lives most single millennials endure and instead play an active, meaningful role in my neighborhood and do something for the greater good. But it is a very delicate dance sometimes; I have to be triply vigilant over how I interact with the Scouts, and there are some boundaries I simply will not cross. For example, I don't feel comfortable working with the new influx of Scouts who are girls, and I defer to other leaders when they come to me for merit badges or what have you. It's not about sexism or favoritism - it's about my feeling safe, and making sure my position isn't jeopardized because I was careless in my interactions. 

    It's unfortunate when people make assumptions about your motives when you are trying to do good. I simply offer my simple reasons, and then do my job the best I can. I've found that invariably, those who are watching closely come to appreciate the work I do despite whatever prejudices they may have at the start.

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  3. On 8/27/2019 at 6:10 PM, Mrjeff said:

    This is awesome! I guess I'm one of the old farts now. Over the past 40+ years I've received 13 square knots, two Eagle Dad pins, and a partridge in a pear tree. Yes I wear all 13 knots because they outline my scouting adventure that I shared with two daughters and three sons. I proudly display that two of my sons are Eagle Scouts and I will be adding an Eagle Scout grandparent pin as soon as he completes his project.  I ain't gotten paid and I bought my own clothes and I really don't give one twitch about what somebody else thinks about how I decorate my clothes.  Very very very few wear a complete uniform with everything is perfectly placed.  Anyway, that's my view on things and if you agree that's fine and if you don't, you are the one stressing about it, not meeeeee!

    I find this attitude to be rather disappointing, and it's exactly the kind of nonchalant apathy that I hope I can encourage the Scouts under my care to overcome.

    When we look at the uniform as just clothing, with the idea that we can do whatever we want and guidelines be hanged, then we are breeding in our youth the idea that how we dress doesn't matter. This is patently false. How we dress and present ourselves, whether we like it or not, sends a message. It sends a message about who we are. It sends a message about what we believe, and what we do. It gives those with whom we interact as clue about how we will treat them, and how we wish to be treated. In some ways, while you can't judge a book by it's cover, you may certainly get a clue as to what the book is about.

    In that sense, the uniform is not merely clothing - it's a symbol. It represents the ideals of Scouting, our values and our principles. It reflects our commitment to the Oath and Law, and as it acquires the various emblems of rank or badges of recognition, it also sends a message about our skills or roles. Conversely, it can also reflect our motives and desires - especially for adults. The leader who wontanly smothers his uniform with every emblem he or she has ever earned with complete disregard for official regulations just to show off what they have earned sends a message of vanity and willfulness is just as unbecoming as the gaudy display of self-flattery they present on their over-decked shirts. And as always, they hope they can lessen the impact of their reckless example by making those who care about these things 'the bad guys.' The term 'uniform police' is only ever brought up by those who wish to defy the rules but make others feel bad about it. 

    The most unfortunate thing is that generally, those who parade themselves about as 'seasoned leaders,' those who flagrantly ignore standard protocols of uniform wear just so they can show off every last award they have ever earned, tend to be those who care the least about what we are trying to teach boys through the uniform method, which can be just as powerful as the patrol method or the outdoor method in teaching youth to be better, upright citizens and leaders. We teach them to stop and consider how they present themselves to the world. We teach them to think about how they dress, how they groom themselves, and what their role in society could be. We ask them to remember that paying attention to the little things such as buttons and patches will better prepare them for bigger things, like how they talk to others, and how they treat their families and friends. It's all connected, and how we, as leaders, present ourselves will surely find fruit in how these Scouts do so in the future - be it good or ill.

    To those who flaunt their disregard for this principle, I can only say that they have my pity, and I find such ostentatious displays of their awards self-serving and rather vain. 

    On 8/27/2019 at 6:10 PM, Mrjeff said:

    "Very very very few wear a complete uniform with everything is perfectly placed." (sic)

    And yet, these are the individuals I respect most of all. 

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  4. Well, like I said, I wouldn't dare opine as to what the best course of action should be. Address the matter with your local district and council leadership, and then be a good, vigilant parent and keep your eyes and ears open - but keep your heart open too. I have worked with many troubled families through government education programs (Head Start and others), and I am constantly surprised and often moved by the parents who slowly realize their past mistakes and slowly start to change their perspectives and their lives. It might not be immediate, and he might not seem to care about his actions now - he might even defend them. But for all the caution and boundaries you should of course implement to prevent him doing further harm, so too ought you ensure he at least has the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the community whose trust he has so soundly lost and begin to change if he so desires.

    My favorite line from my favorite play - "the quality of mercy is not strained." 

    Keep a close watch. Set firm boundaries. Make your feelings clear. Then offer a hand of welcome and see what happens.

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  5. Now now, let's not be melodramatic. The G2SS only refers to activities which are conducted under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America. If you are in your own home, conducting the private affairs of your own life, then logically it doesn't apply. But, if you call it a Scout activity and those participating are there AS SCOUTS, not merely as private domestic guests, and if their parents know that they are sending their child to attend a Scout activity, then yes, absolutely, you need to follow the protocols as outlined in the guide. 

    It's common sense, really, and it would be silly to follow and then derail that train of thought by imagining that somehow you have to follow the G2SS even in the privacy of your own home simply because you have a son or a spouse who is a Scout. The guide is for official activities only; it's not the mandate of your personal affairs. 

    It's only when you are indeed at an actual Scout activity and trying to follow the guide that the pitiable lunacy of some of the regulations are made evident. :rolleyes:

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  6. Thank you @qwazse for you measured and compassionate response. I think it encompasses the very tone we need to adopt when dealing with those who have made mistakes and are trying to assimilate themselves into better society. True repentance merits true forgiveness, which is often the harder of the two leaps of faith. 

    1 hour ago, qwazse said:

    Put simply, the most vulnerable of our citizens -- our nation's children -- do better on any metric when raised by both biological parents committed to serving each other and only each other sexually and materially in the same home. Everything else is a compromise because the world is a hard place where adults think of themselves first and bringing up children second. Given that so many have compromised the ideal child-rearing, we scouters have had to put up with some really abysmal adults for parents. That said ... we all have also seen some of these same adults manage to redeem themselves in one way or another.

    This I especially appreciate. So many, so very many of my generation, wish to redefine the concept of parenting to make their own short-sighted or mediocre attempts appear sufficient, and so I have friends and loved ones raising children in broken homes that are now being redefined as 'alternative' or 'diverse' environments, and their children are paying the price. But what happens when somebody who was doing it wrong decides they want to do it right? How do we respond when somebody who has failed chooses to succeed? Do we destroy their options in the name of justice and impede their every attempt to do better and be better, or do we carefully open one door at a time and see how they manage?

    It's a hard question. In this particular case, I don't know the man, and couldn't possibly determine the best course of action. But who DOES know this man? Who can truly say whether he means to improve himself or not? You say he wasn't charged because of technicalities in the system. What were those technicalities? If he truly was guilty, why wasn't he charged in the face of the evidence that leads you to be so utterly sure it happened? You seem to have no doubt of his guilt, yet the courts chose not to convince him, and these are crimes not easily ignored, especially in today's judicial climate.

    There are so many questions here, you will want to make sure you can answer them all as you proceed to investigate this issue. 

  7. 5 minutes ago, Scouter4Family said:

    "The troop is 40 scouts strong now, to much for 1 person to handle.  If I see a struggle in one section of the troop, I will do what I can to assist, to make it better. A solid relationship and effective communication is something that I will remain hopeful for but at the end of the day it’s all about the scouts."

    Well, if the troop is being run properly, there shouldn't be just one person handling it. The Patrol Leader Council, under the leadership of the Senior Patrol Leader, should be running things, and they in turn are supported and assisted by the Scoutmaster and at least one but ideally two or three ASMs. It sounds to me like your Scouts still operate under the firm thumb of the adults involved, and have not been given any remotely like the autonomy with which Scouting is supposed to empower them. As is almost ALWAYS the case, the adults need to back off and let the boys run their own program.

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  8. Thank you all for your thoughts! I can see why this might be a problem, and you've all basically confirmed my suspicions about the duality of roles and the perils of so doing. I'll pass on the committee position.

    What then do I do about finding a "home unit?" I don't mind passing on the committee role and sticking to the part of Unit Commissioner, but am I able to "free float" as a registered member of the BSA without having a unit to belong to? Or can I register as part of the unit without filling a specific role? I just want to have a troop or pack I can call my own after my current unit (which I joined as an 8-year-old Wolf way back in 1991) is (tragically) cancelled at the end of this year. 

  9. Thank you all for your kind words, counsel, and suggestions. I really appreciate it. It's nice to know that there are so many boys in our area who will continue Scouting after this year, and even nicer to know I will have a meaningful role to play in it! 

    Another question - I was asked to be on the committee, which I gladly accepted with the request to be put over leadership training (since, you know, training is kind of 'my thing' :rolleyes:). I figured that would be a role I can fill without it being too much of a conflict of interest, what with my being the Unit Commissioner and all, and since the UC basically checks up on training anyway I thought it would be a good way to be a registered part of the troop without being too meddlesome. Am I playing with fire here, or could I make it work? I won't have a "home unit" after the Church leaves Scouting next year, and I would like to have a troop I can call my own once my current pack and troop are canceled. Any thoughts, as always, are welcome!

  10. I really, REALLY like this idea! I've been given a lot more responsibility over the Cub Scout training in our district, and I think this is a superb way to address the various needs of a pack without putting too much pressure on the parents, most of whom already feel overwhelmed by the world of Scouting and find the idea of assuming a mantle of office within that organization far too much to digest. This approach is so simple, yet so wonderful. I love it; I'm going to use it. Thank you!

  11. I think it would be best if you spoke with your Chartered Organization Representative to ask what they feel would be appropriate or not. They're the ones whose symbology you are employing, so let them determine the protocols thereof for you.

  12. I wouldn't follow my reasoning to the conclusion that everybody who merely wants something should get it, and I do not believe that anyone who wants to be in the OA should be voted in. I merely state that those who try to do their best, and who work the hardest to be their best, are the kind of members the OA needs, and whom I opine deserve it most. But kids who don't try, who don't care, or who don't work for it, shouldn't be shoehorned in merely because they are popular, older, or worst of all, just because their parents insist upon it. Far from it; I agree that membership in the OA should mean something - but the nature of its exclusivity ought to be based on the better principle of self-determined effort, not because one Scout is perceived to be 'better' than others.

  13. This is correct; in fact when I was attending BYU only a few years ago I had a few friends who were Scouting majors. It was tied to the Recreational Management degree, which covered everything from business management to recreational facilities development. A pretty cool major actually; I considered it for a while before I decided I wanted to stick with education and avoid everything to do with business. :D

  14. I think it's always helpful to remember that in Scouting, there is no "top kid." Comparisons should have no meaning in Scouting; a Scout cannot be behind or ahead of others because the only person in the world who can decide where that Scout "should" be is the Scout himself. The very point of Scouting is to train these young people to compare who they are now to what they could become. As parents, leaders, and friends, we should work with our Scouts where they are, not where we think they 'should' be. The goal is not to climb higher than the other Scouts, but rather to reach further than we had before.

    The core of the Order of the Arrow is service, and the core of service is putting others before ourselves - it's the very antithesis of trying to be better than others, which is a lesson more and more people forget these days. The Scout who ought to be elected to the Order (whether such is the case in reality or not) is not he who tries to be THE best, but rather he who tries to be HIS best - and it sounds like that's what your oldest is trying to do. That's the kind of person the OA needs, because the only way to be our best self is learn to become selfless.

  15. I was recently told that many of the LDS Scouting leaders and families in my area will be gathering next week to discuss the start-up of a new, LDS-centric (but certainly not exclusive) unit to serve boys of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in our community who wish to continue Scouting after the end of this year when the church will cease its formal relationship with the BSA. It's likely that I will have the opportunity to serve as Unit Commissioner for this new unit, which I find to be an exciting prospect - but also one for which I want to be (if the phrase isn't a little too on-the-nose) prepared

    I am acutely aware of the fine line a commissioner must walk between being a helpful resource and becoming a meddlesome busybody, and I want to make sure that I am a familiar presence without burdening the unit with constant or over-zealous intervention. But of course, I want them to succeed! And to run the Scouting program right. They have a wonderful gentleman stepping up as Scoutmaster, and he is committed to the Green Bar Bill school of thought - as in, letting the boys run their own program, and doing things by the book. So that's a comfort, but I know parents will get involved and there will be the usual factions and disputes as the unit gets off the ground and other adults try to get their grubby paws in the running of the program. With that in mind, would any of you please offer suggestions that might help me play a meaningful role in the formation and launch of this new unit, specifically as its Unit Commissioner? I'm already very comfortable letting the boys do their thing, so it's not as much the youth angle I'm concerned about as much as it is how I can appropriately, and helpfully, work with the adult leaders and parents to ensure the Patrol Method is being preached, protected and preserved for the boys in this new unit. 

    I suppose I may not be articulating my concerns as well as I might hope, partly because I'm still digesting the ramifications of what my role will entail as this new unit develops. So any thoughts or guidance that might help me prepare for this coming year will be deeply appreciated. Thank you! 

  16. The best patrol names are those selected without any adult input whatsoever (and avoiding anything crude and inappropriate of course). But remember: if they choose a funny name that's a "joke", and love it, and use it, well, that IS the patrol method in action. That's not making a mockery of the patrol method - that's having the freedom to embrace it fully. That's EXACTLY what it means to have "pride in their patrols." That's what you want!

    A "good name" is a name the Scouts love and stick to. We have to let go of our adult points of view, and consider things from their perspective. Ofttimes the units with the silliest patrol names are those that are the most committed to the program; their patrol yells are loud and obnoxious, their dances are silly and long - and the Scouts LOVE SCOUTING. As committee chair, one of your primary duties is to protect the right of the Scouts to enjoy that freedom of how they identify themselves as patrols. 

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  17. As a pack we try to have our regular monthly pack meetings throughout the season, and by keeping our activities routine it makes it easier to keep them on people's dockets since they know about them more than half a year in advance:

    In July we have our Raingutter Regatta outdoors in the shade; after the racing the boys spend the rest of the evening enjoying a free-for-all with their boats on the waterways. 

    In August we have our Bear Carnival (regardless of its emeritus status as a required adventure).

    In September (mind you, school starts and ends much later here in SoCal due to our unique weather) we have an outdoor activity with cooking over fires, tent erecting, nature walks, et cetera


  18. 1 hour ago, vol_scouter said:

    It is your son's Eagle Court of Honor so let him decide. They usually want dad in uniform if he has been active in the troop with the soon to be Eagle but it is not always that way.

    I concur. This is his event, so let him decide. We can only offer suggestions and anecdotes, but the final choices should lie in his hands, just as they have for his entire Scouting career (or should have at any rate).

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