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swilliams

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Everything posted by swilliams

  1. I very much dislike it when I feel the need to question a scout or parent, but sometimes it happens. This one is a biggie, and I've reached out to our CC, but wanted to get some other opinions - opinions and advice from those who don't know the scout. Last night at our troop meeting, a Life scout handed me a stack of completed blue cards. I sat down this morning to get them entered, and after recording two of them, realized that they all (9 of them) had been signed by someone with the same last name as the scout, on the same day. In one case, the original subject of the blue card had been crossed out and Cooking written in its place. Thoughts? If this is something that should be questioned (and in my mind it should), how do you approach the scout? Oh, one more part of this is that dad is an ASM, so maybe he knows something I don't, since I'm new-ish to troop-level scouting? Or maybe not.
  2. swilliams

    Completed Blue Cards? Maybe, maybe not.

    Of course he is. I do think this has shown that it would be a good idea to have the SPL go over blue card procedures at an upcoming meeting. In addition to this issue, I had a heck of a time trying to get one of the young scouts to understand it. I didn’t have a print-out of the most recent MB Counselor list with me (had come straight from work), and couldn’t get the document to load on my phone. He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t going to forward the list to him. He wondered aloud why, if scouts were supposed to be responsible, he couldn’t have the list for himself, lol.
  3. swilliams

    Completed Blue Cards? Maybe, maybe not.

    Couldn't decide between a 'like' or a 'laugh' here. There are a couple things going on here. On some, the previous person approved/wrote a counselor, on some it was me who gave the counselor name. On those cards, the new counselor was written over the top. On a few, they were issued for summer camp, so no counselor was written in when they were given.
  4. swilliams

    Completed Blue Cards? Maybe, maybe not.

    Your first bullet point - yes he handed me the unit copy and his copy. Our troop usually returns the scout portion along with the MB patch at a COH. Second - yes the counselor signed both portions. Third and fourth bullets - the blue cards that were issued by my predecessor are signed on the unit section, and on the applicant's record. The ones I issued to the scout are signed on the unit portion, but not the applicant part. No one ever told me how this was supposed to be done, so I've been signing the applicant's record part upon completion of the MB. In this case, the scout handed the blue cards to me at the end of a troop meeting, so we didn't discuss anything, and it wasn't until the following morning that I had a chance to look at them closely. This person hasn't been registered to the council associated with his address for the past three years, and even when he was, he wasn't a MB counselor for them. Unless he was registered somewhere else in November of last year, it sounds like he's not a MB counselor at all.
  5. swilliams

    Completed Blue Cards? Maybe, maybe not.

    To the point about the signatures, all the blue cards have a unit leader signature on the front, whether mine or my predecessor’s. The counselor signatures are done. The final unit leader signature would either be myself or our current SM, and neither of us has signed at this point, given the concerns we have. In our unit, since we have a fair number of scouts, the blue cards are issued by the SM’s appointee - me - and typically I’m the one who goes over the cards with the scout when they’re completed, though on occasion the SM goes over them and gives them to me to enter and purchase the corresponding badges. The troop, following guidelines, discourages having MB counselors who are family members, but I did hear back from our CC and he says he and the old advancement person had given approval to the scout to use family for “a couple” merit badges. CC and I agree that at a minimum, the scout needs to request a new blue card for cooking; the card where the original subject was crossed out and cooking written in. While waiting to hear from the CC, I called the council for the town listed on the counselor’s address line. They do not have this person listed as a MB counselor for any MB, and he’s not currently registered with that council. Spoke to the SM last night, and our first step will be to simply ask the scout which council the counselor is registered with. I’ll also let him know that he’ll need a new blue card for the cooking. There’s a counselor near him who is very responsive, so hopefully we can resolve that one quickly. So here’s one more question. In re-reading the guide to advancement, I was paying close attention to the part about not retesting the scout or having the scout prove that they did the work. I would think that questioning the counselor’s eligibility doesn’t fall into that category, but if it’s determined the signatory of the card is not a counselor, where does that leave the unit and the scout in terms of the retesting?
  6. swilliams

    Completed Blue Cards? Maybe, maybe not.

    As far as verifying some of the requirements, he is active in the troop and I'm sure has done a lot of the requirements through participation. I'll see what I can find out. Still troubles me that almost nothing was signed off prior to November.
  7. swilliams

    Completed Blue Cards? Maybe, maybe not.

    I don't know, as the town where this person lives is about an hour from us and is in a different council. To be clear, it wasn't his dad that signed them, but the someone with the same last name. The blue cards date back to 2016, but only two of them have any partials recorded on other dates. They're all marked the same day in November of last year for completion. Six of the nine are for Eagle required merit badges. I haven't heard back from our CC. I'm leaning toward just emailing the scout and his dad and asking them about it, but I don't even know what to say. "Excuse me, but are these fake news?" LOL. Seriously, though, this seems very shady. If the scout says (as I expect he might) that they're all legit, then what? Should I find out which council it is and call first? Ugh.
  8. My son is our Troop's bugler, and has been asked to play at the upcoming Court of Honor. Because our troop doesn't usually have a bugler, none of us is an expert on which calls are best played at which times. Although my son has memorized the description of when calls are used (in preparation for his merit badge) some aren't so obvious when placed in a scouting application, rather than military. Our thinking, from internet searches and the description of calls, is that perhaps To the Color would work well, played before the Color Guard posts the flags. If anyone could give additional insight or make other recommendations, it would be appreciated!
  9. What is "Tatoo"? Do you have sheet music? Bugleson (or maybe we should just refer to him as Scoutson, now that he's not really bugling anymore) felt that Taps was too melancholy. Maybe our new bugler could use it as a replacement.
  10. swilliams

    Award

    My recurring nightmare is that my husband will make me use the chainsaw. I can, but I hate it and it scares me.
  11. No, sadly. He stopped as soon as his six months was up - a year and a half ago. He played at one of the Camporees with much encouragement (force? lol) from me, but he never really got comfortable playing in front of people. He still loves band, where he's one of three dozen kids up there performing, and trombone is still his instrument of choice, but he will pick up the trumpet from time to time just to mess around. I don't think he could hit that high G now. Use it, or lose it.
  12. Just wanted to thank you all once again. Bugleson did get his merit badge (a long time ago now), but I came back to this thread for a reminder, as our Troop now has a second scout willing to take on the position of Bugler. I'll pass along suggestions for him when he meets with the SPL to determine what his role should entail.
  13. I have no experience with other Venture crews, but ours is probably not much like any other out there. It is all girls, for starters; mainly sisters of Boy Scouts. The crew advisor quickly realized that while the girls wanted outdoor adventure, they had little interest in Venture advancement. We meet once a month for an hour and a half, and have one outing a month during the school year. One of those is a day of outdoor service. That’s pretty much it, but it has done really well. The boys’ troop our CO charters is about 30 scouts, the girls’ is 15, and the crew is 22 strong.
  14. swilliams

    LDS loss, properties mortgaged

    I've been saying similar, but my (admittedly hopeful) estimated number of LDS scouts/families who go this route are higher than most folks here agree with.
  15. Found a few things while browsing old threads, but could use some specific tips for recruiting. I recently agreed to take on recruiting, as we haven’t had much luck in finding another adult to step into a formal recruiting position. Here’s a little info about what’s up in our troop. We had previously drawn from two towns, but the neighboring town has been able to get its own troop up and running, and they seem to be doing well. As a result, we won’t see any new scouts from that town. In addition, the packs in town have been going through some pretty major changes, and have seen their numbers drop to half of what they were when my family first moved here four years ago. This is also cutting down on the troop’s numbers, since we’ve had fewer cross over - three this year, and only one the previous year. One last drop in our numbers will happen in the next year, as 11 of our current 44 scouts age out. We held an open house last year, but despite advertising with flyers and on our town’s community forum, we only had two boys show up. We’ll have our invitational camping trip coming up, which is usually AOL scouts and maybe one other boy who is a friend of a scout in the troop. We’ll also be at out town’s Winter Walk a week from Saturday, making Smacos (s’mores in a flour tortilla) for attendees. We have signs showing some pictures of our high-adventure trips and other info that we’ll put up. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far for us to try. Ive gotten permission to put an electronic ‘flyer’ in the schools’ Friday Folder email that goes out to all parents. I’ve asked the SM, and he’s agreed, to request that our younger scouts try to get the ‘Invite a Friend’ requirement done sooner than later, so that if a boy does want to join he’s not too far behind what his friends are working on. I’m currently working with one of the Packs to either have them visit the troop as a group, or have a group of our scouts visit the troop. The scouts will come up with ideas as to what to do at their next PLC meeting. (The second pack only has scouts up to Wolf, so less of a priority right now.) Other ideas? Thoughts on what I’ve proposed so far? Any help is appreciated.
  16. swilliams

    Scouting in Blighted Communities

    There are a number of members here who have offered help and asked for clarification from you, despite what some of us saw as a rather offensive opening. There’s a lot to learn here - if you were really looking for help.
  17. swilliams

    Discussing LDS beliefs in relation to Scouting

    Half glad you opened this, and half not, because now there’s an opening to let others in on actual church teachings. And there’s the possibility that I’ll be admonished for this post, but I’ll put it here anyway. I’m also a Mormon, and there’s a very good reason - besides being married to a Catholic - that I choose to not be an active member. I appreciate your views, but you don’t get to dictate what Mormon doctrine means to anyone but yourself. Did you have to sit in seminary every year and watch that hideous movie about how many cows a woman is worth? Did you ever have leaders teach the lesson of how pre-marital sex makes women the equivalent of ABC gum, rather than just telling us it’s a sin? Don’t presume to tell me what the church thinks about women Does it honor them? Yes, but only in what the church believes is their role. Take a look at the new ‘oaths’ for young men and young women, and tell me with a straight face that females have the same encouragement as males outside of their familial roles. The boys statement starts “I am a beloved son of God, and he has a work for me to do.” For girls “I am a beloved daughter of heavenly parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny”. How can you look at that and not see that girls and women are pigeonholed. Their entire destiny is to marry and have kids; that is their “work”. As this relates to scouting, that the LDS Church wasn’t happy about the inclusion of gays, but that adding girls sent them over the edge... it has re-opened every insecurity and wound that I thought had long been scarred over. Yes, I’m angry, and yes, I’m riled up, and since you opened this can of worms I will absolutely speak up on the topic even if it’s critical of the church’s decisions. You don’t get to tell me that I’m misinformed when I lived it.
  18. swilliams

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    It's possible to respect what they're doing but still feel a bit hurt by their statement or diminished by how the program was presented. I've done my best to refrain from what would be considered attack, while still expressing what recent events have meant to me, personally, particularly given some of the teachings I was raised with - and which are not appropriate to go into here. In any case, it's less about how they are running their program, and more about the presentation. I wish they would have given different examples of what young women can accomplish. I am thrilled that the young women's camp will still be running. Absolutely the best part of the young women's program for me during the time I was growing up. I still have my YWMIA certificate somewhere.
  19. swilliams

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    I’ve been stewing on this statement about the BSA leaving the Church for a while now. Churches/religions exist to guide us in being closer to God. By extension, deserved or not, they have an inherent moral authority. Having a church leader say the BSA left them is essentially saying BSA stepped away from morality. With the high-profile acceptance of gay males and then females into the program, the implication becomes that allowing these youth to participate in scouting is immoral. Is it any wonder this subject gets heated? It was an unfortunate statement that I don’t think was really meant the way it sounded, but from a female perspective it was somewhat hurtful nonetheless. Add to that the examples of the new program shown in the video, and it has me struggling to stay positive. ‘Here, young women, we’ll show you a quorum (a word loaded with power and authority even outside the Church) of boys that are going out to do something new to most of them. You worship with your family and bake a cake.’ Good grief, it’s almost like saying ‘go make me a sammich’.
  20. swilliams

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    I added the non-practicing Mormon part to my post because I DO understand the doctrine. I love the LDS Church, and am very grateful I was raised the way I was. I fell in love with and married a Catholic though, and have taken a couple steps back, which gave me a slightly different perspective. I also understand the need to feel like one has to defend the Church - there is plenty of misunderstanding and hostility out there, but Mormons tend to see any criticism as hostility, when it just isn't there. As to the claim that the Boy Scout program was not a priesthood program, you're right, in that Baden Powell never set it up that way. I have four brothers, though, and can tell you from first hand experience that in our wards, scouting absolutely WAS being used that way. You may not see it, since your ward(s) may not have utilized the program that way, but it did happen. There is nothing in scouting that one can point to as not being a suitable method for learning for girls/young women. Yes, of course the sexes are different, but scouting principles are human principles. We're seeing the patrol method work beautifully in girl troops, and girls becoming good leaders. They're learning outdoor skills with no trouble at all. With girls having their own troops, your statement above doesn't really apply. Girls are learning together in a group just as they do at camp. In any case, this whole argument is because of the gentle disparaging from Church leaders. Making it mild doesn't excuse that it shouldn't have been said in the first place.
  21. swilliams

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    The LDS Church has revised it's stand on same sex couples being apostates. They've also said that they understand that being gay isn't a choice, and that if a member is gay, that as long as they are not sexually active (with someone of the same sex, of course), that they can be members of the church. So... I'm a bit puzzled as to why BSA's acceptance of gay leaders and youth was seen as 'not standing on principle', and why it was an issue for the Church. If it wasn't the acceptance of gays, then was it the acceptance of girls? We're to believe the Church doesn't see women as inferior. The Church also hosts several events where all youth are invited. So perhaps it wasn't the inclusion of girls after all. Or was it? The main issue, it seems to me, is that the Church was viewing the BSA as part of a priesthood program. Since women don't hold the priesthood, I can see why the addition of girls would cause a problem, but I also see it as problematic that the Church leaders are saying the BSA abandoned them. The BSA program was never set up to be the activities arm of the priesthood. Just my $.02 as a (non-practicing) Mormon.
  22. swilliams

    10 Interesting Factoids About Scouting History

    You've just found the solution to the BSA's woes, lol. In all seriousness, though, I've been pushing for our middle school to allow the troops in town to reach out to all potential scouts through either the 'Friday Folder' emails or the PTO. There's also something called 'Enrichment Day', and while it's technically for exploring types of jobs, if they'll let the color guard of the high school take a slot, I don't see why not scouts.
  23. Background... I was raised in a long-standing Mormon household. As in, I have a great grandfather's journal about living in Illinois during the Mormon persecution, another grandfather who was part of the Mormon Battalion, and other ancestors who travelled with the handcarts from NY to UT. I was talking to my mom recently. My parents live in a very tiny town smack in the middle of Utah, with a population that's 99.5% Mormon. (My guesstimate. Point is, very little religious diversity.) Mom is on the city council. She said they're looking into who could be a CO for a BSA troop because there are more than a few scouts who won't be able to make Eagle in time to beat the LDS withdrawal, and others who are going to be 'new' scouts who had brothers or cousins who earned Eagle and want the same thing. When the church first announced it was going to start its own program, I had thought this would be the case, but I just wasn't hearing anything from any of my relatives. Or anyone else for that matter. I decided I had it completely wrong, and LDS youth were going away for good. Now that things are wrapping up for the LDS scouts, I'm seeing what I thought I would be seeing last year. Families who value scouting and still want their sons involved. Of course, it still remains to be seen what percentage of LDS families end up sticking with scouting, but if that tiny, very Mormon, population in Utah is an indication of what other towns are thinking, my theory (guess, wild estimate?) would be that we'll see 1/4 to 1/3 of the LDS scouts return and/or join up.
  24. swilliams

    Scouting in Blighted Communities

    Okay, on reflection, my post about not willingly working with the OP wasn't very scout-like. Rural has it own set of strengths, you need to look for those. My neighbor showed me how to gut a deer (Wilderness Survival?). His nephew - yes, many of the people in the town are related - showed me how to make an excellent jerky and mix meats for hot dogs (Cooking?). This summer/fall, we joined a friend in harvesting her garden and canning (Gardening). How to develop leaders? The point here is that regardless of where in the world you are, there are going to be folks who can have a positive impact on a scout. It's up to you to find those strengths in people and outwardly recognize them. Catch more flies with honey, yes?
  25. swilliams

    Scouting in Blighted Communities

    A bit? Sorry, but as someone who lives part of the year in a very rural area which, if one were being nasty, could be described that way, I would not voluntarily choose to work with someone who had such disdain for those he/she was purportedly trying to help. Seriously, OP, you need to do a LOT of self-reflection before trying to lead anyone.
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