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Col. Flagg

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Everything posted by Col. Flagg

  1. Col. Flagg

    Girls still want to be girl scouts

    Could you imagine how much BSA membership would drop if they did? When they are losing so many people each year they can ill-afford to be picky about what other organizations their members belong to.
  2. Col. Flagg

    Troop launches 11 Eagle scouts in one year

    Glad they are engaged. When we first put this policy in to effect it took a while for the older guys to engage. In talking to them the overarching reason seemed to be former troop culture. Guys went gangbusters for Life by 14 then dropped off the map. When the new SM worked with the PLC to develop an older Scout program (fashioned on the old Leadership Corps) they older guys came back in droves. For example, the troop would go camping. The older Scouts were asked to run an event during that weekend of their choosing. After they had done that, they were free to essentially explore on their own. So they ran a first aid course at various points along a hiking trail in the state park. When they were done they packed up their packs and headed out as a patrol for the day. That became the template for all future camp outs. Really helped keep the older guys engaged.
  3. Col. Flagg

    OA and the aboriginal cultures

    Exactly!! Where is the indignation about the appropriation of these items. Why isn't BSA voluntarily giving up those things? I'd love to see the foks siding with the no-regalia for OA crowd speak on this issue a loudly as they have on the OA issue. If only to be consistent.
  4. Col. Flagg

    Scouts Deciding On Their ES Project

    My problem with collection drives is that Scouts rarely know what their goal is. "Collecting stuff" is not a goal. So we always challenge them to come up with a goal, just like any other project. If collecting food, they can use SFF donations by unit statistics from district to gauge how much might be realistic. Clothing drives can contact local shelters and missions to see what their efforts usually obtain. But just collecting stuff without a goal (and one that is hard to reach too) is usually frowned upon in my area too.
  5. Col. Flagg

    OA and the aboriginal cultures

    You mean actual events like a Scout helping a lost stranger in the London fog? I don't think the OA characters have to be based on real people or actual legends. Even if they borrow from or paraphrase real people or legends or stories, that should be fine as long as the proper respect is used. If we held movie and TV writers to the standard of portraying real people and events properly (and without embellishment) we'd all be watching PBS documentaries from the 1970s still.
  6. Col. Flagg

    Troop launches 11 Eagle scouts in one year

    There are two issues really. First is the one you mention for fulfilling the 6 months of "active participation". For that it an be ANY six month period while a Life Scout. That seems only fair. Our PLC did not like the idea of someone cobbling six months of activity over a 36 month period (e.g. Month1, then Month 8, then Month 10, etc.). It had to be six semi-continuous months, although we are usually very lenient. It is usually VERY obvious when someone is not active. If anyone is not seen for a month the PL and SPL start calling to see what's going on. Encourage better participation. Of course we *do* use the "alternate explanation" clause allowed in the GTA. We've only had to use that once. The second issue is keeping up participation to be considered active in the unit. We like to check in with guys to make sure they are okay, find out why they are not coming. Again, we rarely need to now since this is not really a problem. Guys may miss a month or two, but they notify their PL or SPL and they keep track. When that other activity is over we see them regularly again.
  7. Col. Flagg

    Family Scouting

    Mike, you seem to be arguing that your position is the right one and how dare anyone denigrate what you've worked for. All I a saying is that many here see what you supported as denigrating our work to keep things the way they were. So you can't call out someone for opposing what you worked for when you oppose what they were working for.
  8. Col. Flagg

    Troop launches 11 Eagle scouts in one year

    Oddly enough this worked fine and no one balked. Not one. Under our system that 14 year old Life Scout would have to find some way across meetings, service projects, camp outs or other events to maintain his active participation. You can't simply check out if you play football, are in band, choir, orchestra, debate, etc., so our PLC figured why should Scouting allow you to "stay dormant" and still reach the pinnacle. That's how this policy came about. 12 years on and it is a reason the troop continues to be strong and have VERY active participation from all Scouts.
  9. Col. Flagg

    OA to end AoL ceremonies?

    I think he said that all along. What he seemed to be asking was "Did national (adults) just make this decision about regalia? Or did they ADVISE the youth and the YOUTH made the decision." If the former, that's adult-led. If the latter, that's boy-led. I suspect it was the former.
  10. Col. Flagg

    Family Scouting

    They are not mutually exclusive either. This is already happening. Families have been trying to water down Scouting for years. This is just another avenue for them to use. And when you look at how BSA has been marketing family this and family that, can "compelling" troops and crews to be more "family-friendly" really be un-thinkable? I can tell you from personal experience it is already happening. And the majority of people in Scouting who didn't want the change are right here too. What makes your position any more correct than ours? We were working to keep BSA the way it was but you imply with your response that you hold the moral high ground. Really?
  11. Col. Flagg

    Troop Camping Locations

    State Parks: We use these mostly. They offer nice sites both for car camping and primitive camping. The fees differ by park but a youth pass helps us save on those costs. Texas has a GREAT state park system so in that we are lucky. We go to these parks about 70% of the time. Scout Camps: We use these a few times a year. Camporee is one of those times. Others are when we need ranges or special gear/events. If we go three times a year that would be much for us. National Parks: We are lucky to have a park just north of us. We use it for our annual new scout camp out. This is once a year. Private Land: We use this once or twice a year. Summer/HA Camps: We do these once a year. Summer camp obviously every year. HA camps also, but we rotate those every other year (Philmont one year, Seabase the other). We also to to out-of-council high adventure camps too if not doing national HA camps.
  12. Col. Flagg

    Troop launches 11 Eagle scouts in one year

    This may be heavy-handed, but our PLC put in place many years ago a definition of what constituted "active participation". Why? About 12 years ago our troop recirculated back to a younger-aged unit, but we had a large number of older Scouts (15+) too. Big age discrepancy. About a year later the younger Scouts became part of the PLC, saw the lack of participation from the older guys, read the GTA and, with advice from the SM, decided to define "active participation". The PLC set baseline minimums for service projects, camp outs and such. Rather than requiring attendance at 50% of all camp outs or 75% of service projects, they made participation a scale commensurate with how boys choose to engage in the troop. So, if someone was in band and could not camp very often, they were required to meet the threshold through troop meetings and service projects instead. If someone played football (making Monday nigh meetings impossible) they needed to make up their threshold in other activities. This helped TREMENDOUSLY!!! Over the next few years we saw participation grow exponentially. Also, if there were any boys on the verge of being considered in-active, the SM would send them a reminder of the policy. This kept those waffling Life Scouts on track...and participating more.
  13. Col. Flagg

    Buzzfeed - CSE Surbaugh - Girls - Scouter.com

    Isn't that way it is everywhere? [Hiding from Mrs. Col. Flagg]
  14. Col. Flagg

    OA to end AoL ceremonies?

    Well said.
  15. Col. Flagg

    Family Scouting

    You now have captured what I have been trying to convey (in red). But you are wrong in that the "Family Scouting" program is capped. Even now the idea of coed patrols is being discussed by national. We don't know yet if coed patrols or even single-sex troops will be the end result. But let's say that national allows all options (single-sex troops, separate gender patrols but coed troops, and coed patrols in coed troops), you don't think those wanting "Family Scouting" will use this program (and the idea of family camping) to crowbar open a single-sex troop? Or even a separate gender but coed troop to being fully coed? Just look at how many things BSA has caved in on in the last five years. Single-sex troops will be the targets of all those groups looking to take down the last bastion of this formerly boy-only program. And yes, I think they will use all the tools at their disposal to further water down the program to make it what THEY want.
  16. Col. Flagg

    Family Scouting

    Oh I agree. I don't think the documentation for ignoring BSA rules lies anywhere under the umbrella of family Scouting. In fact, I would argue that -- although not well stated -- that if family camping is used, the activities must follow the age guidelines, as well as all other BSA rules and policies adhered to. My point above is that the whole concept is not as tightly defined as some would like. I expect this is where those folks you mention try to find and use loopholes.
  17. I do too but in Texas that's not always possible. We try to be conservation-minded. We don't do Texas A&M-style bonfires. We tend toward lower impact fires...still good for staring at.
  18. Col. Flagg

    Eagle Scout Application Filing Fee

    ...and BSA would never charge a ridiculous and arbitrary price for anything? **cough** foreign-made uniforms **cough** **cough** Jambo volunteers paying reg fee **cough**
  19. Col. Flagg

    OA to end AoL ceremonies?

    As I see it, adults work WITH the boys to help them make decisions, not make the decisions FOR them. This is what appears is being done with the OA. The only time adults should be making decisions for the boys is in the event of health or safety issues. To do otherwise is pretty adult-led. As @LeCastor asking us to help Packs with the AOL issue, my answer is "How can we?" It's called the ARROW of light and it's image appropriates as much (or arguably even more) than the OA regalia does. If we what to hold true to our collective moral outrage over the OA and regalia, we have to eliminate the AOL use and symbolism. Until BSA calls it something else, ceremonies should eliminate any native references. The whole bridge thing is about as cool as you're gonna get.
  20. Col. Flagg

    Scouts Deciding On Their ES Project

    In our unit guys typically come up with their own projects. Some have known since they were Cubs what they wanted to do. Others got ideas later in their career. Some have zero clue what they want to do. We had one kid who knew what he wanted to do since Kindergarten. True story. Even made it on to the Boys' Life Eagle Project idea site. Locally, we have several resources the boys use to get ideas: Our CO. Sitting down and asking them what they need is a big help to both. Our local school district or the schools themselves. Local city departments (e.g., parks, community centers, etc.). Senior centers or homes. The boys' own religious institution. Neighborhood centers (private) or communities (e.g. community pools, playgrounds, sanctuaries, museums, etc.). Food banks or other non-profits. I am sure I am missing a bunch but this is where most of the end up benefiting.
  21. Sounds like our unit is like @ItsBrian: Mess kits (no paper or plastic) Nagelenes (not styrofoam or disposable cups) KP water is Steramine (not bleach) Use drying cloths (not paper towels) Food for camp outs is fully eaten (we have awards for the patrols that have the fewest leftovers) Fire are only used for cooking or warmth. Hold LNT classes several times a year (both ethics awareness and ethic action award classes). Fuel conservation methods are also taught.
  22. Col. Flagg

    Eagle Scout Application Filing Fee

    Exactly. FOS would be non-existent. I'd encourage everyone to take that money and donate it to the troop or our CO instead. $120 to process the Eagle application is ridiculous. Our unit has a series of checks with the applicant to confirm all the data on their application and associated paperwork is 100% correct. It takes council less than 5 mins to check this. If they are going to charge money, charge based on incompleteness or readability of the application.
  23. Col. Flagg

    OA and the aboriginal cultures

    Really? I think it's pretty clear when we are lampooning something and when we are not. Black face? Clearly lampooning. OA regalia? Given that native nations are not in agreement that this is bad or good, I think you have your answer. Is Halloween, or any costume party for that matter, could fall under "lampooning". Are we to end that tradition too? Santa Claus (the fat American one) is essentially a lampoon of the European-based St. Niklaus. Stop that too shall we? Sometimes we, as humans, are just too sensitive.
  24. Col. Flagg

    Family Scouting

    Again, read the GTSS. It allows family camping at all levels and does not put any constraints around what that (family camping) means; other than the age matrix. But as some have suggested, if a unit calls an event "family camping" allegedly the BSA rules don't apply...and I can't find any place where that's confirmed either way.
  25. So...it appears the nights camping for SC and FC will change...again...back to what it was. According to this article the change will take place on 8/1/17. Stay tuned. More changes sure to come tomorrow if the last two days are any indication.
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