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About swilliams

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    Troop Advancement , Troop Committee, Crew Associate Advisor

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    Central NJ

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  1. swilliams

    possible fee increase coming

    I'll have to ask our Committee Chair. A scout came to the last committee meeting to give us his Eagle proposal, and the CC brought it up then. It seemed to me like it was a new requirement, but I couldn't say for sure. We had always gone with two adults on Eagle projects, one with YPT, and one was always a parent.
  2. swilliams

    Where would you go?

    Gave this some thought last night after my last post. This fee increase has the potential to be an enormous hardship for my family. I guess we'll explore financial aid first, but from what I've seen from both BSA and other financial aid programs, it doesn't usually help quite as much as we've needed. Still, we won't go anywhere. My kids like scouting too much, and I like what they gain from it. We'll just have to find a way to work it out. At the same time, I'm worried about our Troop. For the last five-ish years, we've had scouts from two towns. The second town now has it's own Troop that has been doing well, so we don't have any incoming scouts from that town anymore, and our incoming group is already smaller than even before the towns combined. After this year, eleven of our 44 scouts are aging out - a full quarter. If the financial end of things further restricts the number of scouts coming in, my youngest isn't going to have anyone to be a leader to. Not sure he'll get as much out of scouting at that point, so I may revise the 'not going anywhere' in a couple years' time. We'll see. Daughter's Crew is doing well, and is based in an affluent town. Any fee increase might affect them less.
  3. swilliams

    possible fee increase coming

    Yeah, I don't know what we'll do if it's that high. We're a family of five, and all of us are in scouting. Hubby just agreed to be an ASM for the troop, as nearly a quarter of our scouts - and therefore their dads - will age out after this year. Our troop pays for adults, or at least they have. I don't think our troop can absorb that cost if it tops $50. Maybe our crew and our troop can split my registration cost, lol. Then you have the new cash-grab requirement that all Eagle projects must have two registered adults present. Prior this, we were debating having the Eagle candidate's parents register. Might have been a tough sell, even before the increase. What a mess.
  4. swilliams

    Help With Internet Advancement

    Ordinarily, we upload all the advancement after the COH, but that's next week. His appointment at council is today, I think. The good news is, it was working at 7:00 this morning when I logged in to try again. The bad news is, the scout starts school earlier than that, so I don't know that he'll get my email in time to print this before heading up to council for his appointment. I'll call them today and let them know what happened, and will attach his Advancement History now that it's complete. I would hope that they'll accept it from me, if he doesn't have a physical copy. The Eagle coordinator (not sure that's the exact title) at council is one of scouting's gems, so it will probably be okay. It will be a very sad day when that person retires.
  5. swilliams

    Help With Internet Advancement

    Yes. Not only that, but I'm trying to enter a handful of merit badges for a scout so he can finish his Eagle application, and can't enter any of them. I keep getting an error message, and the forum "help" has stopped replying to my request for help. In addition, NOTHING shows up when I try to view his current badges. Nothing under 'Started'. Nothing under 'Pending Approval' and nothing under 'Approved'. And that's after waiting 15 minutes for the page to load. I will be showing up at council tomorrow with a handful of blue cards and they're going to have to enter them. Edit: I get the list of merit badges, but when I click on any of them it says "Checking Advancement Status" underneath, nothing happens for a few minutes, then above the dialog box it says "Error".
  6. swilliams

    Help With Internet Advancement

    Thank you!! Part of the problem was the browser I was using. It didn't show the box next to the scout's name, so I had no idea what to do from there. It's done now!
  7. swilliams

    Help With Internet Advancement

    Well, someone from the Scoutbook forum answered my question, but I can't try to follow heir instructions. I'm at work now, and Scoutbook has decided the version of Safari on my 2 year old iPhone is too old to work with their software. Ugh. Whatever happened to backward compatibility? Two years isn't that ancient. (Sorry for all the complaining. I'm on my 19th consecutive day of work, averaging 10.5 hours a day, with over 12 hours yesterday. I'm tired and grumpy, and don't have time for software that is over-engineered without being helpful.)
  8. swilliams

    Help With Internet Advancement

    It only takes reports directly from Scoutbook, but all records have to be sent to council through the site. It's a PITA. The old site was fine. Bare bones, but really, do we need the ability to make sub-groups of leaders online, or have an activity calendar?
  9. Does anyone have experience with the new Internet Advancement 2.0? Our troop uses Troopmaster for record keeping. So far I've been able to upload our court of honor report into Internet advancement with no trouble, but now I want to manually enter to merit badges for a scout who's working toward eagle. In searching for help, I've found plenty of sources that state you can enter information manually but nothing that shows you how to do it. The user interface is so horrible. Nothing is remotely intuitive.
  10. swilliams

    Printing Those Scout Shop Blue Cards

    Given the amount of griping from him last year about having to hand write... Sounds like I have to find a scout who knows more about mail merge than I do, lol.
  11. I bought some of the perforated blue cards from the scout shop and figured I'd pre-print some with scouts' names for our Scoutmaster to take to camp. Well, the only template I can find anywhere is one that prints the entire text. The blue cards from the shop already have some of the text on them, so if I use the pdf I found online it will print over what's already there. Does anyone know whether a template exists that works with the cards from the scout shop? Why does BSA have to make everything so dang user UN-friendly?
  12. swilliams

    Bear encounters UT, AZ

    It's been years since we got rid of the dumpster. I have no idea if that same bear is still around, or not. We do have a color-phase bear that circles around from time to time. I came face-to-face with him; within about 20 feet. (That's the second time I've been so close to one.) Because it was twilight, and at that point I didn't know black bear didn't have to be black, I actually thought this cinnamon colored yearling was our distant neighbor's Rhodesian Ridgeback at first. NOT!! The other time, the bear was right in the woods outside the garage. Again, under 30 feet. Feet, not yards. That time our bigger dog was out with me, and he's the one that alerted me to the bear. He started to chase it, then the bear turned back toward him for a second or two. This is in the north-central part of PA. While I didn't see it, there was a black bear that came through our yard here in NJ. Our next-door neighbor let us know. Even in this suburban location, they've been sighted. Then there was that incident a few years back where the college kid was killed by a black bear in NJ. Near my parents' house in Utah, they had a deer attack and kill a small dog. Stomped him to death. Wildlife can be both fascinating and scary.
  13. swilliams

    Bear encounters UT, AZ

    Okay, I can't help myself. What a poorly written article in the first link. It says the boy was injured, but then says that the bear scratched the tent. Which is it? Both? How/where/to what extent was the boy injured? Ugh. Now that I got that out of my system... we have black bear all around our place in PA, as we're in the middle of the woods. It doesn't take much for a black bear to acclimate to humans. When we first built the house, we used to have a dumpster that was picked up every-other week. We couldn't keep the bear out of it. One of them even broke the top. One evening, we started down the driveway to go into town, and I found a bear on top of the dumpster. I was so angry/annoyed at the thought of having to pick two week old trash out of the woods again, that I got out of the car and screamed at him, waving my arms. I got the kind of look from that bear that I get from my teenage son sometimes. Honked the horn, nothing. Slammed the car door, nothing. It wasn't until I turned out of the driveway and headed for the dumpster in the car that he finally moved. Even then, he only wandered about 30 feet further into the trees. That was the end of the dumpster. I bought a rack that attached to the trailer hitch and we haul the trash to the transfer station. Even with the trash gone, we still get bear that wander around the house. They usually keep just far enough away that they don't set the dogs off (they're usually inside the house), but if you go more than a few yards into the woods you'll see the scat. I can't decide how worried to be. We've have a lot of single-track in the woods around the house, and the kids ride their mountain bikes through. Cutting a new track a couple weekends ago, I was in a thicket of hemlock, cutting away dead branches, and was seeing more droppings than usual in this area. We have a black lab, and he unexpectedly came up on me. He growled, probably because he's not used to seeing a human in that part of the woods, and I screamed because in my peripheral vision and with the growling, I thought it was a bear. I don't know which of us was more freaked out. The kids mostly ride during the day, but with the weather getting hotter the temptation to head out after dinner is hard to ignore.
  14. swilliams

    Let's talk about Unit Numbers

    Our Troop and Pack are both 368. I've never seen a leading number, but like others have said, you wouldn't necessarily see it anywhere. We also have a Troop 68 in town, and we used to have Packs 268 and 468. For the Venture Crew, which is in a different town (was the only active one in the area), we're Crew 28, and one of the two Troops in that town is also 28. The other is Troop 8. They use a single digit on their uniforms. It almost looks strange to me, lol. When the town started their girls' troop, they could've used 18 or 38, I suppose, but they chose to go with 280. Does your CO also charter other Troops/Packs/Crews? Maybe go with something similar if they do?
  15. swilliams

    First Class 1a - Troop Activities

    Looks like we record our attendance a lot differently. None of our scouts keeps a log, and as much as it drives me crazy, the troop doesn't record any advancement in the scout handbooks. The scribe takes attendance, then gives it to a committee member who enters it into Troopmaster. To mark progress, the ASPL of advancement has access to Troopmaster, so he prints out sheets that show which requirements scouts still need. He marks any completed requirements on the sheets, then I review it and enter the info. The one exception was for my younger son, who crossed over from a different pack over a month earlier than our pack in town. It took a while to get him entered, so most of his Scout requirements are recorded in his book. I'm not sure why we do it that way. When I was shown what my predecessor did, I never thought to question it, being somewhat new to Boy Scouts (vs. Cub Scouts). It sure makes a lot more sense to have a scout keep a log. We've had a few errors in attendance; my older son wasn't credited with summer camp last year, for example. It would be nice if the scout had his own record to check against that in the software.