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HelpfulTracks

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Everything posted by HelpfulTracks

  1. HelpfulTracks

    Patrol Method - Best Practices

    Seeing how as the Patrol is the fundamental unit of Scouting, that the Patrol Method is the only method and that today in Scouting we do not see patrol method being used enough or very well, I thought I would start a thread on Best Practices. Not just how to define what patrol method is, but what adult leaders can do, and maybe more importantly what they should NOT do in order to create an environment where a true boy-led patrol method environment takes hold. I'll start with a few: A gang of boys, friends, with common goals and interest, that work together to have fun and accomplish their goals. To use current vernacular, I see patrols as self-organizing and self-directing. Self-organizing in the sense that I don't think adults should assign boys to patrols except in rare circumstances. They boys need to figure out their won patrols, who they want to hang out with. The boys pick their own leaders and for how long. Self-directed meaning they make their own plans about what they want to do, what is important to them. They decide how they are going to make their Scouting experience fun. They divvy up responsibilities how they see fit. They fix their own problems. They put their own plans into action and ask for adult help when needed to accomplish that. Adults step in when asked, when safety is an issue or when a youth cannot accomplish the task, (like driving them somewhere, or signing waivers, permission forms and contracts). Adults coach from the sidelines, one-on-one (staying with-in YP guidelines) and discretely. More importantly adults lead by example. I make it a point to ask PL if I can speak if I feel the need. When I am done, I thank the PL for allowing me to speak to HIS patrol. This way they boys know it is their patrol, not mine, and the the PL they selected in charge, not me. Please add you thoughts. The best way to help spread patrol method is to talk about it so others see the example.
  2. After a decade of being closed Treasure Island Scout Reservation may actually have a future for Scouts again. It is not exactly the same, as it has been sold to a private developer who plans to open it as a commercial campground, but the deal will allow Boy Scouts to camp there for free. For those that do not know, Treasure Island is where the Order of the Arrow was born. After a couple of floods, it fell into disrepair and was closed. It has been for sale for some time and most previous potential buyers were looking to develop it for something other than camping. The original OA circle has been moved in whole to the Summit, but it is nice to see a piece of Scouting history may still have some Scouting life left. https://patch.com/pennsylvania/newhope-lambertville/former-boy-scout-island-delaware-river-reopen-campground
  3. HelpfulTracks

    James E. West Fellowship

    And giving to Scouting is not tithing. I find a level irony in your views. On the one hand, you have consistently argued for the complete obedience of the unit (and Scouts and SM) to the CO, since the CO owns the unit (fiscal interest). On the other, you are jaded and cynical about others with fiscal interest being recognized.
  4. HelpfulTracks

    Sea Base - Solar on Sea Exploring Adventure

    I use a combination of battery packs and solar to recharge my packs. I like one large, multi-charge battery, and 2-3 batteries that I can get a few charges out of each. The large pack is my go to, and the smaller ones can get a complete charge faster.
  5. HelpfulTracks

    Eagle Scout neckerchief - quick question

    Definitely, take them out and show them off. I use mine and loads of other memorabilia to teach Scouting Heritage. It is electric to see the Scouts eyes light up and hear the ohs, ahh's and wow's (and a few snickers at things like the red beret and garters) when they see the piles of old stuff.
  6. HelpfulTracks

    Longest Family Line of Eagle Scouts

    This just made me think of Fredrick Russell Burnham. Besides inspiring and mentoring BP, he was later involved in Scouting. I believe his grandson was active as an adult volunteer in BSA and his great-grandson is an Eagle Scout. Not exactly a line of Eagles, but an interesting line to follow given FRB's place in the birth of Scouting.
  7. HelpfulTracks

    Minimal Effort Eagle

    I do believe quality is important, but it is also a slippery slope. How is it defined? Who defines it? Is it different for each Scout? I think it better to define the requirements in measurable terms. For example, "active in the troop" means X% meetings, y% of campouts, z% of service projects. To be credited with completing PoR X, the Scout is expected to do the following; A, B, C. In your example, I have no problem defining a proper painting job to include those elements IF they are needed. In fact, the Paining MB does a good job of making those part of the requirements and leaving some room for judgment. As for quality, I will go back to the Oath and Law. Did the Scout do his best? As a Scout, there were MB's I excelled at. If my work had been held as the standard of quality, it would have been unfair to others. There were MB's I struggled with. Had the quality of my work be judged on the standard of some of my peers I would not have received those MB's. Each Scout is different. The “quality” of their work will differ. Requirements should be standard and defined. They should mean something and not be arbitrary. Case in point. A real-life situation I have witnessed first-hand. Pioneering MB, two different ASM's as counselors. One was hung up on the "quality" of the fraps (among other things). The fraps had to lay just so or he would not let the Scout move on. Other than esthetics, his quality requirement added nothing to the lashing, no more strength, no better hold, it lasted no longer. The second ASM focused on the "quality" of the lashing. Did it hold? Did it last? Was it strong? The quality of the aesthetics was not a barrier for the Scout to fulfil the requirement. Most of the Scouts under the first ASM didn't finish the MB, at least not with him. They didn't have fun because they rarely were able to get past just doing lashings on two poles, they rarely built anything. With the second ASM, most Scouts finished the MB, most continued to build projects after they completed the MB. The quality of their lashings continued to improve, and they taught other Scouts. The first ASM truly believed he was teaching the MB the right way and that aesthetic quality of the frap counted. But it turned into a barrier for the Scouts to complete the work. Quality is important, but it is an arbitrary value that is in the eyes of the beholder. Requirements are far less arbitrary and give the Scout a defined goal to work towards.
  8. HelpfulTracks

    Longest Family Line of Eagle Scouts

    In theory, six generations would be possible, but extremely unlikely. Five would definitely be possible. I would imagine there are a number of 4th generations and plenty of 3rd gens.
  9. HelpfulTracks

    Camping Distance for Adults

    Who is the instigator? Is the boy afraid to be without the dad? Or is dad afraid to let the boy go? Frankly, our rule is we just don't allow it, it is not healthy for the boy (or the adult). However, now and then we have a youth that just cannot function, so we work with them. But it is really a very very rare REAL problem. It is mostly a discomfort that is quickly overcome by sticking to the "rules". A conversation (likely several) about where the fear comes from will often fix the issue. EDIT: Oh, 100 yards is a suggestion, but a great one. It is usually easy to do if you are backwoods camping or private land. Less so for locations like National parks that have defined "campsites" and impossible for Camporees etc.
  10. HelpfulTracks

    Back in scouting

    Welcome back!
  11. HelpfulTracks

    Eagle Scout neckerchief - quick question

    Glad I could be f assistance.
  12. HelpfulTracks

    Buzzfeed - CSE Surbaugh - Girls - Scouter.com

    Yes, the whole tucking the collar in is why I really miss the collarless shirts. I loved the old OD green uniforms with no collar. But I believe I was in the minority.
  13. HelpfulTracks

    Eagle Scout neckerchief - quick question

    If my brain had been working properly I would have added the link in my original post. http://nesastore.corecommerce.com/Neckerchiefs/2018-nesa-eagle-neckerchief-eagle-awarded-in-2018.html NESA is usually pretty good about getting things turned around in quick order.
  14. HelpfulTracks

    Minimal Effort Eagle

    I used to use the term "minimal requirements", but after some thought I put that term to rest. Requirements are requirements. There isn't a graduated level to them. I do, however, encourage my Scouts to always try to exceed the requirements, be it Scouting, grades, sports or whatever. It is themselves they shortchange if they never try to go above and beyond. But, a Scout that has 21 merit badge and 6 months of PoR is just as eligible as the Scout that has 60 merit badges 12 months of PoR is, assuming all other requirements are met. There is one specific requirement that I read differently than some, "As a Life Scout, demonstrate Scout Spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. It is the first part of requirement 2. An SM signature on an application is not a given, it is a recommendation. So I go back to the first sentence. His time at Scouts in part of his everyday life. Has he DEMONSTRATED living the OAth and Law as a Life Scout? I find in most things Scouting (and not Scouting) if you go back to the Oath and Law and apply them you will find your answer. Has the Scout been trustworthy in fulfilling the duties of his PoR or has he shirked them? Has he been Loyal to the unit or just shown up when he feels like it or gains something? Has he been helpful to the other Scouts or just show up as a warm body. Has he done his best? and so on........you get the point. The SM signature is an endorsement that a young man has met ALL of the requirements. The Eagle Scout Award is not a participation trophy. If I were you, I would sit him down and have that discussion. I would probably have the same with his father separately. He can still request a disputed BoR without the signature, but that is a red flag. If a person that has worked with the Scout for the better part of two years, or more, is unwilling to endorse the Scout, what does that say? It says something about the Scout and the SM. Then it is in the hands of the BoR to figure out what it says about whom.
  15. HelpfulTracks

    Buzzfeed - CSE Surbaugh - Girls - Scouter.com

    Would you mind providing a link to that?
  16. HelpfulTracks

    Buzzfeed - CSE Surbaugh - Girls - Scouter.com

    Per the 2015 Guide to Awards and Insignia The unit has a choice of wearing the neckerchief over the collar (with the collar tucked in) or under the collar.
  17. HelpfulTracks

    Eagle Scout neckerchief - quick question

    I collect neckers (I love them) and have several different Eagle versions (Blue, White NESA, Lifetime NESA, NESA Jambo, Staff etc). I usually wear my white NESA to Eagle CoH. But I have seen various versions worn by adults and think it is appropriate no matter which color, after all, Once an Eagle Always an Eagle. And I have never considered the blue one to signify anything other than Eagle Scout (no age qualifier I mean). BTW - if you are looking to return the favor, NESA makes a red "Eagle Awarded in 2018" necker that would be a nice gift
  18. HelpfulTracks

    Sad sign of the times

    I don't feel bullied. I just didn't want to continue trying to get my point across over the next 20 post and get wrapped on the knuckles by the mods for arguing like I did a few weeks ago. I have already decreased the amount of time I spend on these boards to stay clear of the mods. I guess it wasn't enough.
  19. HelpfulTracks

    Sad sign of the times

    Okay. cool. You are totally missing my point, so I will not waste any more of either of our time and move along.
  20. HelpfulTracks

    Sad sign of the times

    You are correct, there are restrictions on free speech, just as restrictions exist on weapons. And I am not opposed to well thought out and effective measures. My point is simply that saying we need change in laws because the framers could not have foreseen the future is a slippery slope and poor argument that starts us down the path of shredding the Constitution.
  21. HelpfulTracks

    District Assistant Position

    I think this does fall under the dia of organizational change. And the professional I have spoken with love the help they are getting.
  22. HelpfulTracks

    Sad sign of the times

    If we want to curtail the Second Amendment based on what the framers could not have envisioned, then what do we do about the First Amendment? Firearms of today would at least be recognizable. Many advances already existed, though not widespread, existed, like cartridges, multi-shot weapons, rifled barrels. Even telescopic sites were being experimented with at the time. Free speech and press, on the other hand, would look alien to them. Telephones, television, cell phones, internet for example. It took 6-8 weeks for a message to go from London to New York, we can fly in a few hours, and have a video conference that is instantaneous. I think it would have been far easier to envision where our firearms would be today than where our communication is now. And these guys were pretty visionary, to say the least. I am also not sure what you mean by firearms "like an AR-15 or sniper rifle." The media and politicians have adulterated terminology of weapons to suit political purposes. The AR-15 is not an assault rifle. The definitions being used to call it an assault weapon also cover entire sets of weapons that many people are in support of maintaining. When those terms become misused it muddies the debate and laws get passed that are too broad or ineffective.
  23. HelpfulTracks

    Sad sign of the times

    I am not sure what law you refer, but the Continental Congress absolutely issued Letters of Marque to attack British ships. In fact, they did so before they even wrote the Declaration of Independence. Which is why British Captains considered any ship under Continental Flag as a pirate and subject to the worst forms of treatment, including hanging, conscription or what amounted to a death sentence on British prison ships. The British did not treat POW's well in many cases, but sailors were often treated worse because of them being considered pirates due to their Letters of Marque.
  24. HelpfulTracks

    Sad sign of the times

    In addition, the initial field pieces used by Continental Army during the revolution were from the frontier militia. The militia was supplied from numerous sources, the British, companies vested in the business of the frontier, wealthy citizenry with a stake and even collective funds from the citizenry. The British eventually outlawed such guns, but not until there were significant tensions in the colonies. But before that, there was no law preventing their manufacture or purchase by militia or the civilians that made them up. Sabres were not uncommon among militia officers, who were often chosen as officers because of the financial standing in the community (and their ability to spend their own money on supplies for the militia). Bayonets were not common, but certainly not outlawed. Most weapons the militia had were the personal weapons of those that served, and not made to handle bayonets (those some had them modified later) nor were bayonet used much in the style of fighting my militia. Bayonet charges (along with canon and cavalry) were a major reason militia lines often broken in the face of British regulars. The militia was just not trained or equipped to deal with those tactics. That too changed to some degree as the war continued.
  25. HelpfulTracks

    Sad sign of the times

    It has been a very long time since I studied the documents debating the ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (Federalist Papers, Anti-Federalist Papers, Remarks on the Federal Constitution and others), but as I recall, the concept of the potential need for the people defending themselves from our own government was absolutely part of the discussion and absolutely not far-fetched in the minds of the framers. In the context of this discussion two things stand out about my own military training. We swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, not the government or any particular party or person. And we were drilled to question unlawful orders. If our own government were to become tyrannical, I have little doubt a significant portion of our military is both intelligent and patriotic enough to stand against such tyranny. I do believe that bar is extraordinarily high and would not be taken lightly, but there is a bar. With that in mind, the concept of a civilian army standing against our professional military is plausible. Also, there is a long history of civilian armies standing against professionals. Our own country (Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War), and others. The Soviet’s in Afghanistan, Britain in India, The French and U.S. In Viet Nam, and numerous South American conflicts come to mind.
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