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HelpfulTracks last won the day on March 22

HelpfulTracks had the most liked content!

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About HelpfulTracks

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday February 2

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  • Location
    Knoxville TN
  • Occupation
    Director of Project Management

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  1. HelpfulTracks

    Your biggest instructional or training problem

    That is why I like the term proficiency. Somewhat more than being able to do something one time to get sign-off and something less than mastery. Knots for example. A First Class scout (rank of concept) should be able to tie a taut-line hitch without having to think much about it or struggle. If the Scout has to look at a diagram or do it two or three times to tie it correctly, they are not proficient.
  2. To start fires: When I was young we would collect pine heart (aka fat wood) from fallen or standing dead pines. They were easy to find in Deep South where I grew up. Mostly Longleaf or Loblolly pine, but I’m sure most any evergreen would work. We would cut it down and keep it in small tins (sucrets, snuff, small band-aid boxes). We rarely used what we had in the tins because it was easy to find. We would cut them down to about the size of a strike anywhere match. They lit easily and burned for a while. Great fire starter. I’ve never run across anything that matches it. (No pun intended) An ASM brought some “fat wood” he purchased somewhere. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I grew up with. Much lighter in color to the deep Amber we used to collect. It was also much larger, 8 inches or so in length, 3/4 in thick, much harder to light and burned up much faster.
  3. HelpfulTracks

    Recruiter Strip

    The requirement says: "To recognize youth members who recruit a friend into Scouting." It does not specify that it must be his unit. (Though I think it once did). If he wants the award have your son talk to his Scoutmaster (with the requirement in hand) and see if he will award it. If not, you could talk to the other unit, but it could be a bit of a rub with his Scoutmaster.
  4. HelpfulTracks

    They are MY Scouts.

    I do consider them mine. Same for the athletes I have coached. With Scouts they may still refer to me by my last name even though they are older. But it really hits home with my former players that introduce me to their children as coach. That relationship, scouting or sports, never goes away entirely for either party. And I m glad.
  5. HelpfulTracks

    Most and Least Popular Merit Badges

    There may be something else at play here. Last year I was talking to another Scouter about my son wanting to mow grass to pay for high adventure trips. His son was doing yard work, to earn money and was thinking about working on the merit badge, when he was approached by a “police officer” asking if he had his license, insurance and other documents (including a license to use the Roundup in the bed of his truck). Turns out that it was a code enforcement officer, and he wrote a summons for the youth. Depending on the nature of your community, the old requirements could get cumbersome and expensive. His son went to work at a fast food restaurant and stopped pursuing the merit badge.
  6. HelpfulTracks

    Youth Protection Clarification Question

    Disturbed, frustrated, disappointed; however it should be categorized, it's present for a number of reasons. I appreciate that we some professional Scouters on this site, I wish more would come and participate. I have a number of professional Scouters I count as personal friends (i.e. being friends outside of Scouting as well as in). Unfortunately there are many volunteers that have a negative opinion of professional Scouters in general, mostly unwarranted. It is usually based on a single or few encounters, where professionals are doing their job correctly but it rubs the volunteer the wrong way. I spend a fair amount of time defending professionals from volunteers that really have no reason to be upset. RichardB frequently comes across as dismissive and condescending and that is bothersome and create a justification for those that dislike professionals out of hand. It is frustrating that it appears he and other professionals have not read the documents with a close eye and critical thought or he would see how they can be confusing. It is frustrating that those making national policy appear to have little to no unit level Scouting experience so they can understand volunteers issues. If he and others do have unit level experience and do read the documentation closely, but do not understand or acknowledge that BSA distributes contradictory and confusing information across various documents, sometimes within the same document, that is doubly frustrating. To quote: "Feedback is a gift." If it felt like it was received that way more often it would go a long ways towards better volunteer/professional relationships.
  7. HelpfulTracks

    Youth Protection Clarification Question

    I guess it depends on what you mean by "unsanctioned." If you mean using the schools equipment or facilities, you MAY be correct. But if a group wants to play soccer at the local park, or basketball at the YMCA or even 7-on-7 football in an open field, that doesn't fall under unsanctioned. Even the NCAA, which is notoriously over-reaching doesn't consider that an infraction. In fact, as long as it is not required, or coerced or attended by staff or their agents most athletes can get together for additional practice. You see D1 QB's get together with their WR's all the time, even using school facilities and balls. I have not done government work in Illinois for well over a decade, so things may have changed, but I used to do so on several states and no Opening meeting Laws were ever that broad. All of the open meeting laws I had to comply with had criteria like quorums, definitions of the mechanics of conducting business and ALL had exceptions for informal and social gatherings. Hey also included wording about (I forget the exact term) of trying to skirt the quorum and "conduct of business" rules. Why did I preface with all of the above? Because even governing bodies notorious for over reaching (NCAA, Federal and State governments) realize the existence of and make exceptions for personal and social engagement of their governed members. Even with your insider trading laws reference; those laws or very difficult to enforce and convict on because we have rights to assemble and discuss our lives outside the framework of the school and our profession. While I fully realize the drivers and reasoning y BSA's policies, they have extended them beyond the point that can one can reasonably be expected to control, or in some cases that are impossible to control, by extending the policies to "out side of scouting." Some of the policies have fundamentally changed the program. There are literally dozens of common scenarios where BSA policy is not feasible and/or over reaches. Parents are being told polices that cover the 5% of their lives that consist of Scouting that are now being extended to cover the 95% that isn't Scouting. For parents to question/disregard these polices during that 95% should not surprise anyone.
  8. HelpfulTracks

    Beacon of Freedom - BSA Inner City Youth (Boston)

    Many Councils do make long term commitments. But is is difficult. Trying to establish generational ties for example. Many of the inner city youth do not have parents/relatives that were Scouts, let alone generational Eagle Scouts. Finding direct contact volunteers is difficult as well. Many of the Scouts come from single parent homes, and that parent may work 2 or more jobs. Many volunteer come from other districts, others may actually be paid. Adding to that, units are often tied to schools or other after school community programs. That makes it difficult to get volunteers who work 9-5 jobs. On the other hand, in some ways it is easier to raise funds for inner city scholarships. People and businesses are willing to write a check to help these youth. That money can be used for scholarships for uniforms, camps, high adventure etc. Even though it is easier to raise money, there never seems to be enough. It is tough work and can grind on you at times because of the uphill battle. But it is very rewarding to see kids who have never been in the woods before Scouting, then watch them go to Summer camp for the first time, go Philmont or Jamboree and come back with their stories of adventure. Or to see get their Eagle pinned on their chest. Possibly the best part is when you see a youth that stuck with the program go off to college. Often times they are the first in the family to get a college degree. The percentage of long term Scouts that go to college is much higher than their inner city peers that don't do Scouting. Bottom line.......Scouting makes a difference.
  9. HelpfulTracks

    Neckerchief Slide

    My personal favorite is the turks head knot. Once a youth learns it, they can get creative, and make some really nice woggles. Venturers use the friendship knot frequently. There is also the 2 hole and 3 hole slides, which are nothing more than pieces of leather with holes big enough for the necker to slide through. The Scout can decorate them a number of ways; carve, etches, draw, paint etc. A leather magic braid which is a bracelet that is often made in craft classes by youth. A shorter version can be made as a woggle and they look similar to a turks head knot. A simple strip of leather with 3-4 lace holes on the back and tied with a leather cord. I can be decorated in ways similar as mentioned above in 2 and 3 hole slides. One of the most beautiful hand made woggles I have ever seen was made from an ivory nut. If you have the time and patience to carve one, they are awesome, even a simple rounded carving. They resemble elephant ivory but are made from a plant. Skilled carvers can make some incredible designs. You can buy the nuts online and I have seen them as big as 2.5 inches in diameter. When finished they are very hard and durable. You can get creative with what you find. I was given a woggle at Jamboree from a Unit from West Africa. It was the outer covering of some type of nut or fruit. The top and bottom were cut of leaving a perfect woggle. It is pretty hard and resembles reptile scales and is a beautiful wood. It was a gift not a trade, but I gave them a $100 patch set and felt guilty because their gift was so much cooler than the one I gave them.
  10. HelpfulTracks

    Beacon of Freedom - BSA Inner City Youth (Boston)

    @RememberSchiffNot sure that link goes to same article you are citing. Council assisted chartered units are not uncommon in urban and very rural areas that might otherwise not have Scouting. They are sometimes run by Council “resource” staff that are hired for that purpose and may “run” 2-4 units. Sometimes school staff is paid by Councils to add running a unit to their current job functions. It is not ideal but the youth would not have Scouting if not for these programs. As for coed, it may not be coed. I can’t tell you how many articles I have seen where facts were omitted or just flat wrong. I can’t blame the media entirely, even though it’s their job to get it right. The percentage of Scouters that explain the structure often state BSA policy in confusing ways, are confused themselves or just flat out have it wrong.
  11. HelpfulTracks

    Potential loss of COR

    Change is tough, regardless of if is welcomed or not. Just embrace it with a cheerful spirit and make it as positive as possible. Change in COR vs CC bring different challenges. But it sounds like this COR is basically doing the roll of CC and possibly some CM/SM duties as well. That will likely impose some greater challenges, but may also open some great opportunities as well.
  12. HelpfulTracks

    Rank Requirements Sign-Off

    Actually, for rank requirements it is whomever the Scoutmaster gives that authority. He can assign that to Scouts, other adults, both or no one else but the SM. It is at the Scoutmasters discretion. Obviously, for Start to Eagle, there are merit badges and Eagle project that require additional sign-off. Merit Badges on the other hand, must be signed off by a registered merit badge counselor.
  13. HelpfulTracks

    Privacy of Health Forms

    On its face it seems like a good idea and the right thing to do. But I wonder if you would be stepping into a legal mine field. If you say we are going to follow HIPAA and then do something incorrectly by mistake, where would that leave you from a legal jeopardy perspective? Not a lawyer, just pondering the possibilities....
  14. HelpfulTracks

    Privacy of Health Forms

    The Lodge only needs your health form if you are going to attend events. But in those cases they do need it, in fact it is policy. We usually have 3-4 youth doing check-in but adults are nearby and adults keep control over medical records. We are fortunate enough to have a few MD's in the Lodge and at events, so they are usually in charge of health forms, if not we keep them locked up in admin.