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About swilliams

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  1. swilliams

    Sudden Push for Venturing

    We've only been part of our crew for three months now, but here's what I'd like to see, plus something you could suggest for your crews. Advertise, advertise, advertise. Very few families have ever heard of Venturing. When I talked to the mothers of my daughter's two best friends about signing their kids up, they had no idea what Venturing is, and were surprised to find out that the BSA has been running a co-ed program for years. With all the conversation about allowing girls into the Cub and Boy Scouts, this is a great opportunity to let folks know that this isn't the first time girls have had opportunities within the BSA. As to how to advertise... I'm no expert on communications or marketing, but something as simple as getting permission to set up recruiting before high school sports events would at least reach your target audience. Maybe find ways to help the Crew publicize what they've been doing; look into which local media sources would be willing to run stories. In addition to media, here's what our Crew did recently. We have green and yellow Class B's that are nice and bold, and when we're out sometimes people will ask about us based on how the girls are dressed (all girl crew). In addition, we were doing trail work and a trash clean up in an area where there is a lot of passing traffic. Our Crew advisor set up a sign saying something like 'Community Service Courtesy of Crew 28'. A LOT of people were asking what the Crew was. Maybe help your crews get some sort of weather-resistant, portable signage? Lastly, our Crew advisor is an old pro, with sons having gone through Cub and Boy Scouts, so he has a really good idea of how to structure the program in a way that will keep the girls engaged. If your advisors and parents are less experienced, make sure there are plenty of suggestions and examples for them to follow. Some of this material will be available already, but they may not know about it. Until recently, because I'm not our DL, I didn't know there was a Leader Guide available to help structure meetings. In leafing through it, I found one or two good ideas that I'm implementing for our den. I found a couple others online from random sites where DLs and parents have shared their ideas.
  2. swilliams

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    My brothers' experience was pretty good, from what they've expressed. Given that I'm 15 years older than the first of my brothers and we were in a different ward when I grew up, though, I remember friends of mine strongly disliking scouts and complaining about it. It was only when I met a boyfriend years later, who'd been involved in a different troop, that I got a good look for myself into what scouting could be when the troop is run well. I debated posting, because I don't want my comments to be taken as being a negative reflection on the church, but it's hard to ignore the fact that there can be some really major differences in experiences if you were in a small ward where the Scoutmaster didn't really like his calling vs. in a troop where all the volunteers (limited though they may be) are there and committed because they want to be. I hope whatever the LDS program becomes, that it will inspire those who lead it.
  3. swilliams

    Trouble With Den Meetings

    Thanks, all. This has been a tough year. Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what exactly it is we're teaching the scouts by example. Good responses here, that help me remember to try and make sure whatever gets done, is done in a way that you wouldn't be disappointed with, should it be a scout's actions, rather than my own.
  4. swilliams

    Trouble With Den Meetings

    Our den leader's son has been having health issues for quite a while now. I stepped up in January and started planning and hosting den meetings at our house. Note: I'm not formally an assistant den leader, but just wanted to try and help out during a tough time. After a bit, I was able to arrange for meetings at our elementary school, and our den leader said he was ready to take the reins again. During this same time period, we've added four new Webelos scouts, and one 5th grader who is hoping to get his Arrow of Light (our pack doesn't have an AOL den) before crossing over to the troop. In addition, none of our regular boys has earned their Webelos rank yet. The handful of den meetings the DL has arranged have been last-minute and completely ineffective. We needed to get Building a Better World done for the AOL, and the DL showed up with nothing prepared, then told the scouts to go outside and find a 3 foot stick. When we asked him what that was for, he said, "To give them something to do." We had a parent meeting at the pack level a couple weeks ago, and I was 'put in my place' when I told our Cubmaster (whose son is a Webelos scout) that we needed to have a couple more den meetings this year to get everyone where they needed to be. I was told that this was too busy a time of year to have meetings, and it wasn't my place to be running things. Now we have the school for only one more night, and the AOL scout turns 11 in another two weeks. Den leader won't commit to a meeting because his son now has to undergo a surgery, but won't give me the go ahead to hold it, and I don't have the Cubmaster's support. I'm wondering what the protocol is (other than pizzing people off) if I were to let families know that I'm going to be doing x,y.z at our house, and they're welcome to join us? I'm doing a handful of requirements with my son regardless because I won't wait any longer for the last three things he needs to earn his Webelos rank.
  5. swilliams

    Scout BSA Uniform Survey (Girls)

    Wonder what 'Expert Fitter' means. That wasn't a option for a degree in fashion, patternmaking OR merchandising when I was in school. Maybe it is now, and I'm just too damned old, lol. Not sure how I feel about the whole untucked thing. I have to admit, tucking in the shirt and wearing a belt is a pain, but at the same time, untucked just seems wrong - too undisciplined, maybe, as much as I'd rather not do it.
  6. swilliams

    Scout BSA Uniform Survey (Girls)

    I have a background in fashion design and patternmaking. Can I tell you.... there is nothing more aggravating than BSA uniforms - particularly the fit of the pants. Is this my opportunity to rant a little? First, though, I hate that new shirt. It's odd-looking and a side opening on a pocket is not a great idea. I don't like the placket over the buttons. It may look 'cleaner', but it makes fastening and unfastening the buttons harder. The pocket on the pants looks too high, and I'd miss having the depth that the current cargo pockets have. Unlike with other pants, I actually carry things in these pockets - cell phone, knife, wallet, sometimes a piece of trash picked up on the trail; all kind of things. Really not liking the roll-up part of the pants, either. All that does is create a handy spot for dirt and pine needles to collect, and add bulk that could start chafing if you're on a long hike. The Cub Scout pants are cut way too wide for any but the chubbiest of scouts, and at that young an age, most kids are not yet significantly overweight. I've been working in a scout shop for the last three months, and we've only sold two pair of those pants. It hardly seems worth the trouble to produce them. The micro-poly youth and adult pants aren't too terrible, but why is the fit and sizing between those and the canvas pants so far apart? The legs on the canvas pants are also a bit too wide, and look almost like culottes when you try to wear them as shorts. The elastic area of the canvas pants at the waist is a nice touch, though; forgiving without adding bulk. My biggest complaint is the Venturing uniforms. If Venturing is supposed to be for youth beginning at age 14, why, why, why do the uniforms only come in adult sizes?! And HUGE adult sizes at that. I'm 5'7" and weigh somewhere around 125 lbs. (I think, no scale). The XS ladies pants are too big. If I can't wear them, how on earth is my 14 year-old daughter supposed to wear them? My son is in Boy Scouts, not in Venturing, but the men's XS pants come nearly to his armpits, and he's very tall for his age. The shirts are also really big on him.
  7. Not quite sure how it happened, but we're missing one of our 2017 Scout Sunday patches. Anyone have an extra? I don't really have much to trade, but might be able to come up with something cool.
  8. Bugleson is a Tenderfoot, and has been an APL for a month now. He went to the training event, then attended the first PLC. Afterward, in the car going home, he told me he wasn't sure he was supposed to be there. I told him to ask his SPL at the next troop meeting, but for my own curiosity, is this something that varies according to the troop you're in? He wouldn't (or couldn't) tell me exactly what it was that made him think he wasn't supposed to be at the PLC. He did tell me that no one specifically told him he shouldn't be. Ah, eleven year-olds.
  9. Our pack still hasn't had more than one, or maybe two, inquiries from girls. This whole issue is, for now, a moot point for us. I'm following the issue through this forum, though, so that if/when it does come up I'll have seen what has been working for others.
  10. I have a number of issues with that article, lol. It pretty much sounds like Girl Scouts being bitter, more than the magazine not being in on the whole idea. Although, on reflection, maybe they're not, since they published this. This part is funny to me. "Even with Cub Scout dens remaining single-gender, Girl Scouts leaders are not confident the Boy Scouts will be able to offer adequate programming for girls. According to Archibald, BSA has made no public statement that indicates that they intend to alter their programming in any way to serve girls." The whole reason my daughter didn't want to be involved with Girl Scouts was because she didn't like the program. She just joined a Venturing Crew, and is looking forward to following the outdoor-based program offered - something we couldn't find through our local Girl Scouts. Interestingly, there are two crews near us; one co-ed and one all-girl and when she found out there was an all-girl option, she didn't want to even visit the co-ed group.
  11. I never realized how little my son knew about how to have a phone conversation until he was given his first blue card and had to call the MB counselor. We did exactly what you posted above, along with the scenario of what to do if he got voicemail. Now that all of my kids are old enough to be left at home alone, I recently went out and called home for something. My youngest (Bear/almost Webelos) answered the phone. No 'hello' or greeting. I got, "Who is this?" Haha. Hopefully we've fixed the phone manners now. (They're pros at texting, though.) For this reason, I'm happy that our boys have to request a blue card from the advancement chair, and have him fill out the card with the counselor's name and number. One more adult conversation/interaction under the belt.
  12. This is for our pack CC, but I agree anyway. My older boy crossed over last year, and I'm one of the more consistent drivers to get scouts to camp, so I think I have a pretty good idea of how the patrol method works. Because our pack only has one AOL/Webelos II scout, we folded him into the Webelos den. Recently, we had him take a look at the different methods of starting a fire, choose one, and use EDGE to teach the rest of the den. I'm very undecided as to whether I'd want this position, but I'm worried that if I don't, we risk getting another half-hearted person in the position and the pack continues to limp along, or lose even more boys. I care enough about offering the scouting experience to these boys that I don't want to see that happen. Another worry of mine is that despite how good my intentions might be, I'm not up to making the changes we need. Still trying to get everyone to agree to a committee leaders meeting. We (I) really need to know what they're thinking, and only our future CM (present one is stepping down next year as her son will cross over) has encouraged me to step up for this.
  13. The CC made an official statement today that she would be stepping down. Maybe I should start a new thread, and I'll definitely search through some older ones, but talk to me about what the best and worst parts of the CC job are, and why you would or wouldn't consider the position, along with what you think are important qualities or qualifications for someone in this position to have.
  14. swilliams

    Why Did You Leave Scouts ?

    I'm still new to this, but this seems pretty spot-on. As our den has grown more disorganized over the two years we've been here, one of the boys has dropped (others come sporadically). His family has said it's because he has swimming, but my daughter is in the same swimming program, so I know you can choose which days of the week you practice. If he were having fun in scouts (Cub), I think the family would be more willing to arrange his swim schedule to make time for the two-ish hours a month we have den meetings. At the Cub level, I agree that the adults are what can make or break the program. Right now, I think our den is too big for the boys to be getting all they could. We have eleven on paper (the swimming scout is still listed, and came to the Pinewood Derby.) We had ten boys at our house last night. We built cardboard box ovens last night - to be used once we get rid of some of this dang snow - and even with two separate groups building two separate ovens, I could see that a couple of the quieter boys sat back and didn't participate. I don't think it was because they didn't want to, there just wasn't enough space for five boys to work on an oven at one time and they got edged out. With ten boys and copious amounts of tinfoil flying around, I had my hands full keeping them working on the boxes instead of making balls and throwing them at each other. Which brings up the fun aspect again. If I had five or six boys instead, I could let them ball up the tinfoil and throw it around for a bit. This one is up to the adults to fix. I texted our regular den leader again this morning, asking him to reconsider his stance on not breaking up the den. Told him if he wanted to keep the original group together, that I'd take the boys who transferred to us from another pack that folded, and the one boy who recently moved in. They're a wild bunch, and my own son would be in the other den, but in the end I want my kid to be happy and not groan when I say it's time for the den meetings.
  15. Welp, the parent who has been helping me get Scoutbook rolling met up with our CC to show it to her. She told him she has no interest in continuing as CC. (As you can see from the original post, that's no surprise.) Might be time to put my money where my mouth is. We'll see if we can get another committee meeting scheduled before the end of the year and see what the other leaders' thoughts are. In the meantime, we're building cardboard box ovens, tying knots with rope (and licorice strings), and planning our three-mile hike. I found a packet of compass games to help teach compass skills, so maybe we'll try that as well.