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ScouterNorth

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About ScouterNorth

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  1. ScouterNorth

    YP bungled, 60 year old troop disbands

    With Scouts Canada background checks are required every 3 years. Now that all registration etc. is online, an adult's status changes as soon as their record check expires and I think that generates a flurry of automated emails. Record checks are free for adults volunteering with any organization (eg. scouting, sports etc.). All that is required is a letter from said organization to accompany your background check request and the usual fee is waived. It is up to the individual leader to make sure their background check is current and to seek out a new one when required. Scouts Canada, other than generating the volunteer letter, is not involved with the background check. If you need your check RIGHT NOW, then you can pay $35 or something like that to get it done on the spot. Most organizations will not cover this additional fee. The only thing that's a drag is that you have to have a separate check for every organization you volunteer with, so it's not uncommon to submit multiple requests to the police at the same time. The system seems to work pretty well in terms of making sure background checks are current.
  2. ScouterNorth

    Why all the slap-stick in Cub Scouting?

    "The Announcement Song"...it was funny at first when I was a kid, but then it became way overused and now I can't stand it. The cross-over point for me was when an adult, in the interest of expediency, deliberately did not say the word. After which another ADULT said "Wait, don't you have any more ANNOUNCEMENTS?" Cue song, mostly sung by the other adults. When I became a leader, this was still happening on a regular basis to the point where the kids were getting sick of it. Timing is everything in comedy and most cornball hilarity is ill-timed and the kids cringe at it. Not all campfires are Campfires. We only usually did one or two formal Campfires per year - a scheduled event with an "agenda" (ie. group 1 shall sing a song, group 2 shall now do a skit, group 3 to provide a cheer for that skit etc.). All other fires at camp were completely informal, chatting it up, the occasional song for kicks, etc.
  3. ScouterNorth

    Tell me about backpacks.

    I've found that the modern internal frame packs work very well if you have exactly the correct type of gear that will fit inside it. The moment you have something that's an odd shape or is too big, you carrying options become quite limited. Back in the day, you could plop a 4 man tent on top of your external frame pack, secure it with bungee cords and you were off to the races. It's pretty difficult to do that with the current crop of packs. I also do not like top load packs at all. After my first external frame pack, I had an internal frame from Camp Trails that was panel load and had plenty of D-rings and compression straps that you could barnacle on just about anything. It finally fell apart after 20 years of service. My current pack is a gen 1, J51 Warhammer pack from Eberlestock (ALICE frame, not the new Intex-II frame) with a Superspike duffel. When fully loaded it looks a little weird as it is fairly wide, but the setup is so easy to configure for all kinds of stuff that I don't care about the width. Even when bushwhacking I've never had a problem getting snagged etc. It might be a little too on the tacti-cool side for some though.
  4. If there is one thing I'm a stickler for, it's standards and requirements. " I did all the things you're supposed to do to become an Eagle." No you didn't. Plain and simple. Perhaps someone should ask this scout which other requirements he feels are optional, or how comfortable he would feel if someone else was awarded the rank having not completed a requirement that he did. Eagle project? Number of merit badges?
  5. ScouterNorth

    Is this the new normal?

    Thanks for the information. It's always good to learn something new. I'm in Canada where pistols are considered a Restricted Firearm which means that a) they are very difficult to get and b) their legal usage is severely restricted. Hunting is not a legal usage for a Restricted Firearm. Hence my previous ignorance on the subject. Thanks again!
  6. ScouterNorth

    Is this the new normal?

    Fair warning - I am not a hunter but have friends who are. Correct me if I'm wrong but... Is a pistol even a viable hunting firearm? I'm pretty sure hunting does not involve running around shooting at things that pop-up. Speed is not an asset. From what my friends have told me hunting is essentially either sitting quietly in one spot waiting for the animals to come to you after which you get one shot, or walking around very slowly and quietly after which you get one shot. The only real exception is duck hunting, where you sit very quietly in one spot but you do get multiple shots as the ducks fly away. As Calico said, nothing in the video shows training that would necessarily apply to the above scenarios. If you want to inject a "cool" factor, then sniper type scenarios would be far more applicable. Or am I way out in left (ha!) field?
  7. ScouterNorth

    New and comprehensive Family scouting FAQs issued:

    Q: What research did the BSA conduct that informed this decision? To inform this decision, the Boy Scouts of America conducted extensive research. You hear that? Not just research, but Extensive Research. I bet they have Top Men working on this as we speak:
  8. This is the best summary I've seen so far. Yes the program will survive in some form, but it will not be the same and actually cannot possibly stay the same. When you change who you are marketing to then your membership will change and what they want in a program will change. I came up during the program of Boy Scouts Canada 30 years ago. I've since participated in the roll out of the new program of Scouts Canada. The two can't even be compared as they are so incredibly different. The BSA's program will change. Maybe not abruptly, but it will change and 10-15 years I'm guessing that kids who are near 14-15 now will scarcely recognize it. Whether that's or good or bad will be up to debate, but in the end only one metric will indicate success or failure from the Administration's point of view - Membership Numbers.
  9. You do not want to emulate Scouts Canada's new program. It's a couple of years in and there is still quite a bit of confusion as to how it is all supposed to work. For starters, imagine taking most of your merit badges and making them optional for the program. Then have each Scout come up with his/her own requirements to get the badge. http://www.scouts.ca/wp-content/uploads/s/s-pab-guide.pdf They have opted for a more "Choose your own Adventure" style of requirements for the top awards so now you can get every top section award (equivalent to Life, Eagle etc) without spending a single night camping.
  10. ScouterNorth

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    "If the Boy Scouts want to attract a new generation of members, they’ll need to stand for something more than inclusion. " Standing for something by definition means you are going to leave someone out. If you include everything, then you stand for nothing. Over the years I've noticed that standards of all kinds have slowly changed. Not so much the standards themselves, but what are actually considered to be standards. The Personal Fitness badge (Scouts Canada) is a great example. One requirement involved six events (pushups, shuttle run, situps, standing long jump, 50m sprint, 1600-2400m endurance run) and there were firm targets to meet. I'll call this an "group objective standard". Then it moved to "do your best" in the six events. This is a subjective standard, but everyone still had to complete the same events. I'll call this a "group subjective standard". Now with the revamped program, Scouts are permitted to formulate their own requirements for the Personal Fitness badge. This means that one Scout may do/perform/accomplish far less or far more than other Scouts yet still wear the same badge. I would call this an "individual subjective standard", but in reality it is "no standard at all". One can also note that the Personal Fitness badge has also steadily become more and more inclusive and now is so inclusive that anyone who bothers to scratch together a few requirements can have it even if their physical fitness is bordering on theoretical. In terms of safety, while I've definitely noticed thicker red tape on the admin side, I've also noticed that a big part of the "safety push" has come from the parents who, for the most part, have never spent any real time in the outdoors and put "slight discomfort from being wet and cold" on the same level as "bleeding out in the forest somewhere". It's now "don't do that because someone might get hurt" whereas it used to be "go ahead and do that until someone gets hurt". The latter always let me as a kid have more fun, do more things and learn a thing or two about evaluating risk.
  11. ScouterNorth

    Motivation Quote of the Day

    “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense." - Sir Winston Churchill I'm also partial to his "We shall fight on the beaches" speech although it's a bit long to be used as a quick quote.
  12. ScouterNorth

    Motivation Quote of the Day

    Along the lines of experience... "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgement."
  13. ScouterNorth

    Family Scouting Update

    Adding girls to Scouts Canada did nothing to stop the declining membership. I left Scouts as a youth before it went co-ed and came back as a leader afterwards. The difference is obvious and glaring. Add to that the brand new, severely watered down program and I don't see boys continuing to be attracted to the program. I will also add that the useless training burden and ever thickening red tape is causing Scouters drop out since it has become far easier to organize something among friends than it is to go as an organization. In Canada, for many activities, girls have the choice of co-ed or single sex. Boys have the choice of co-ed or....nothing. I have never had anyone give me a satisfactory answer as to why is inherently bad for boys to have single sex programs, yet good and definitely desirable for girls to have them.
  14. ScouterNorth

    Co-ed scouting overseas

    A Canadian perspective... Our Troop is roughly 1/3 girls and we don't have any female leaders. As far as I know there is no Scouts Canada policy requiring female leaders if girls are present, however, I have had the occasional parent say that although they trust us completely they would still like to see at least one female leader. We do have plenty of female leaders at the Cub and Beaver level, so I expect those ones will eventually percolate up to the Scout level. We enforce separate accommodations when possible but if we have to share a cabin, we make sure there are separate changing areas. The camps we typically use have single stall outhouses, so that is not a problem. Some general observations based on our Troop (your Troop is, of course, completely different so YMMV): In terms of day to day interactions among the kids, the girls are definitely more organized and will often get selected for leadership tasks because of that. However, they seem to often get into a "consensus trap" where they will spend way too much time trying to get unanimous approval for each decision. This can lead to things taking much longer than needed. In these situations the boys quickly become bored and will either just start with their first idea or be generally disruptive. With the boys decisions are often made quickly, usually by some kind of vote or "I've done this before, so we'll do it like this" and they will go charging off. If that idea doesn't work they quickly backtrack and try the next idea. The process often looks like complete chaos especially since they are often laughing, ribbing each other etc. but then all of a sudden, they've completed their task. Girls in this environment seem to get frustrated at the impulsiveness of decision making especially when a little analysis up front would prevent a few false starts. At camps, regardless of how patrols are organized, during free time the girls and boys drift apart and do their own things. When I was a Scout, it was still Boy Scouts in Canada and I have to admit that I liked having the time away from girls and we could all let loose without fear of embarrassment. I'm disappointed that my son is not able to have that same experience.
  15. ScouterNorth

    Just got word....

    With any change you are going to lose members plain and simple. The hope is the change brings in more than you lose but I would say it is very difficult to predict how many and who you're going to lose, especially when looking at men who have been in the program a long, long time. Actually, I would say those guys are the ones you are most likely to lose. Canadian Scouts just rolled out an overhauled program. My son looked at it on paper, looked at his experience with it (our Troop were early adopters), compared it to two previous versions of the program and found that with the changes Scouts was no longer a good fit for him. After talking to me about it, he discovered that I shared his concerns and it turned out to be an simple decision for both of us - we're out. Scouts is not the only game in town and with so many other things to choose from nobody has to stay in Scouts. You will be surprised at what people will not put up with when there are other options available.
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