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Posts posted by buckytom

  1. I wanted to add that I just watched a good program on PBS which documented the work of Marie Curie's daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie. It's called "Out from the Shadows: the story of Irene Joliot-Curie".


    She and her hubby were the creators of nuclear science, that of which we use today. Interestingly enough, some of her parent's work was in Polonium, of course named after her mom's homeland.


    It made me think that I'd wondered if her mom chose to use Polish to segregate her from other French people?


    Just a thought. Not a condemnation.(This message has been edited by buckytom)(This message has been edited by buckytom)(This message has been edited by buckytom)

  2. WOW, I need an eating popcorn smiley, lol.


    I don't mind if the way this turns out as me needing a "nudging" (I still would submit that those who were contrarian to my views have never been excluded from a discussion by the use of a foreign language from what are supposed to be compatriots while sharing a common space), but I would hope that we ALL learn some modicum of tolerance from it.


    I'm good with that.


    Wher'dya ya go Scoutfish and Lisabob?




    C'mon Clemlaw, you can admit there's a greater wisdom here.


    (This message has been edited by buckytom)

  3. You betcha, Scoutfish.


    Btw, for everyone's edification I looked into the term Pole.


    I asked some of my neighbors, my preist (a Polish immigrant himself who serves at St. Stanislaus Kostka church), and a friend who's a John Jay College professor, and they all said that Pole is not a derrogatory word. Technically Pollack isn't either- it literally translates to a Polish man. Only in America is the latter considered an insult.


    But a Pole is a proper name for a Polish person.


    Lol, is anyone still counting how many times I wrote Polish to try to prove a point??? He-hee

  4. Thanks very much, Joebob. You know, I realize that everyone is really trying to help, each in their own way. It's partly my fault for not describing this very well.


    Oaktree, LOL about the recordings. I would never secretly record anyone just to prove a point to already unhappy parents, but I'd love to.


    The video camera thing is interesting. I wonder if any of the parents involved would be so chatty when they knew it was being recorded. But nah, it's already all gone to far.


    The best advice I think is to ask the Polish moms to help the den to learn their language. That would get them involved and may help break the ice.


    In any case, I'm going to have to do a lot of hand-holding and peacemaking in the meantime. If this gets any worse, I'll just walk away and put my son in another pack if he wants to stay with it. Hopefully one where the parents try to get along.


    There's so many other problems that it might end up being my only option. Our Bear den pretty much just dissolved. We went from 6 or 7 Bears down to 2 since the beginning of the year, mostly due to problems between the CM and the Bear leader. I'd feel terrible quitting on the boys, but this is affecting my wife and son so I have to put them first.

  5. Ok, my last words on this.


    I never once said I wanted to squash, crush, or in any way prevent anyone from being happy in the pack. If you've actually read my responses and what I've done to try to make things better for everyone involved, not incorporating some of the replies into the reality of what's actually happening here, you might see that.


    I realize now I should have never mentioned the specific ethnicities involved because it doesn't matter.


    As far as mentioning experience goes, I meant that the few who've gone out of their way to try to make it seem like I was the problem, not the disagreeable parents, I would maintain that it appears they have never been in a situation very similar to my particular conundrum. I'm sure you have a wealth of experience in other ways.

  6. Oh, sorry if offended anyone with the rabbi reference, I work in TV and it's an old expression from the job that means having influential, powerful friends. I realize now that it was a bad word to choose looking back at how some of you are mistakenly judging me.


    I'm not upset with those who've attacked me here. I understand it's difficult for some people to find out they have an opinion that is based on little or no experience.

  7. There's no point in arguing this anymore since a few of you want to make me out to be the bad guy. I was in the middle of a difficult situation and came here for help. What I got was some really good advice, and some people who wanted to try to express interesting albeit inexperienced opinions, trying to make a soap opera here as well. Silly me, I first thought I was just not explaining myself well.


    The policy I was hoping for could have gone either way as far as I knew, so in that I was hoping to be able to tell either group of moms very plainly that this is THE scout rule and has to be abided.


    Just an fyi, my wife and all of my neighbors that I love like family are Polish, so there goes your theory that I'm prejudiced (it's not a race, so it wouldn't be racist).


    I have to say that I'm really surprised at the lack of good will here. Scoutfish and Lisabob, are you two really proud of how nasty you can be? That's un-scout like imo.



  8. Sorry Scoutnut, you're correct, I didn't answer that.


    Bear with me as I explain: when this all began, I had only been involved (back) in scouting as an adult leader for a few weeks. I signed on to just be an assistant or den leader to share this experience with my son, but was immediately asked to become the Assistant Cubmaster because the current Cubmaster wanted to step down at the end of the year and no one else wanted to step up. I did so reluctantly to say the least. I also took over the running of the Tiger den at the time because the chairperson, who was running the den before, just stopped showing up with no excuse a week or two before we joined in November.


    It wasn't very long before I tried to make a few suggestions for improvements (such as having the den leaders keep records and collect the weekly dues and turn them in to a treasurer instead of everything going directly to the CM and Chairperson who kept no records afaik) and was scolded several times by the Cubmaster - and over the phone by the absent chairperson - for trying to "run the pack before my time".


    Since I was new, all decisions and any actions that affected the membership had to be cleared with the CM first, right down to the weekly den meeting plans.


    So in this light, when the problem began with the Polish moms, I went to the Cubmaster for direction as ordered instead of nipping the problem in the bud like an adult would as you quite correctly recommend.


    At the time I was glad I did because I caught enough flak from them for even suggesting there was a problem, as heretofore described.


    Anyway, thanks for the info about the Unit Commissioner. I was thinking of finding out who to go to with this, but hoping I could just ride out the ridiculous garbage going on until the end of the year when the CM would hand the reins over to me.


    Now I find out he's not leaving as promised, but rather he would become the Assistant CM. I'm sure it's so he can still run things from the wings. He's been in scouting a long time and has a lot of "rabbis" high up in the district and council, so bringing in a commissioner might be a bad idea.


    That's why I was hoping for a simple policy answer from the scouts.


    My wife wants me to pull our son out and find another pack in a neighboring town. I'm sure there are well run packs around that would welcome a new boy and parents who are willing to be volunteers.(This message has been edited by buckytom)

  9. Thanks for your opinions, Scoutnut, Sasha, Scoutfish, and Lisabob, backhanded insults and all.


    My guess would be that most respondants here have not actually had any experience in this particular matter.


    Scoutnut, the CM runs everything. The Chairperson refuses to turn over the reigns to anyone else, not that there is anyone to replace her. I'm sure we could find someone, however. But then she disappears again for a few months, leaving everything up to the CM to run. If he says split the den, so let it be written, so let it be done (in my best Yul Brynner)


    Sasha, that's very good advice, thanks. All parents have been asked personally to contribute but have never done anything except show up. Really, in a struggling pack, that would otherwise be good enough.


    Lisabob, are you Polish? I find your mild criticism of me out of place. Not very courteous or friendly either. Funny how that works, huh? You missed the point entirely about why it's rude therefore disruptive.


    Yes, I speak enough Polish to understand bad words, and references to other women. Fortunately no one else in the den does. I wonder what their multilingual kids think of their catty mothers?


    A good example of how speaking foreign languages can be rude (as described by my wife) is how the foreign born men and women at the places she gets her hair and nails done switch into their native language when they want to talk about a customer in front of them. I asked how she was sure of this and my wife said that she joked around with some of these small business owners about it and they plainly admitted that it's exactly what they do. They know it's rude, but they also know there's enough of a grey area in any person's mind not to be able to question it rationally.


    One remarked that there's no reason to speak anything but english unless you want to communicate something privately. When done in someone "face" as it were, it's rude.


    It does sound a bit paranoid, but body language, facial and hand gestures, and laughing at odd times while looking at someone surely isn't innocent. Especially when the unspoken words are seen on more than one person at the same time. So when the non-Polish speaking moms complained and I listened in a bit, I realized they weren't being silly.


    Oh yeah, as far as glaring at the Tiger den goes, it's only been after I've asked them all to quiet down more than once during the Promise, Pledge, or during announcements. It had nothing to with any particular language.


    And yes, my wife and I have gone out of our way, both before and after this, to try to be open and welcoming to all of our families, especially those who feel unwelcome. I made it my personal duty to go over to greet these unhappy moms when they arrived, and helped their boys at every meeting so they got special attention. I did this at the expense of the time I could have been with my own son. My wife was there with him, though, so I did what I felt was right.


    But the two moms have continued to complain that they feel as outsiders all the while acting like it. Sheesh!


    On top of all of this, the CM - being personally close to one of the Polish moms - started asking her what was going on during the Tiger den meetings since he was in another part of the building with the Webelos den. All he got were biased reports of all the things that were wrong, not how well things went since the new den leader took over.


    He did this before he spoke with me or the den leaders, undermining the relationships between us. So when I'd call him the next day, he'd give me a tongue lashing about anything that he heard that he felt that was wrong. Now he's doing it to the new den leader who doesn't deserve a bit of it.


    It's getting uglier every week and I'm sure a few families are ready to bail out, myself included.


    I'm at my wit's end with all of this. Yes, it's a freakin' soap opera that needs to wrap it up.




    (This message has been edited by buckytom)(This message has been edited by buckytom)

  10. Thanks very much for all of the thoughtful replies, everyone.


    I'll cut to the chase: it's disruptive for both reasons. The chatting is disruptive no matter who is doing it. I've often had to walk over to or glare at the Tiger table to get many of the moms to be quiet when the sign goes up.


    But moreso, as both of the Polish moms speak english fluently, they use their native tongue in a way that excludes others. It's a little difficult to describe. One of those "you had to be there" situations.


    They speak english much of the time, but then break into Polish, and often it's a little too obvious that they are talking about someone directly, making the object of their chat feel uncomfortable. Of course they don't do that every time they speak Polish , but they do it often and obviously enough to have caused 6 other moms to complain about it. Again, it's difficult to describe the subtle nature of this. The language facilitates their ability to exclude others in their conversations, therefore it's disruptive. And then they say they don't feel welcomed by the other moms.


    In my experience, Poles are fiercely ethnocentric, so it was a big mistake for the Cubmaster to have told them who was complaining about them. It made the whole situation much worse.


    Darn, I was hoping that the scouts had a clear policy on this so I could just follow the rules and be done with it.

    I agree that our diversity could be a great benefit to our pack, but not when it's used to seperate rather than share.

  11. Does anyone know if the Scouts have any guidance on whether or not adult partners of Tiger Cubs should be allowed or discouraged from speaking foreign languages with each other at den meetings?


    Recently, it's become a problem in our Tiger den. Two of the moms are Polish and often chat with each other (and each others' kids) in Polish at the table during den meetings.


    Most of the other moms and the new Tiger den leader feels that it is disruptive and asked me, the Assistant Cubmaster, to talk to the Cubmaster and have us ask them to refrain from it while the boys are supposed to be working on that week's den subject and projects.


    I did so, and at first the Cubmaster agreed. But after speaking to the Polish moms (one of whom is a very close friend of his - maybe beyond friendship), he came back with a very stern warning that they are allowed to speak anything they want at any time, and anyone who complains is infringing on their civil rights, their right to free speech, and is basically being prejudiced.


    He also referred to the fact that we support foreign languages by offering the Language and Culture belt loop.


    The Polish moms threatened to leave, so the Cubmaster became angry at the moms that asked them to stop, plainly stating that if they want to continue to be prejudiced, the complaintants can leave the pack.


    I believe that it is rude to speak foreign languages when you are sharing a space with other people who don't speak the same, like at a table during a den meeting. While there are exceptions, parents should try to speak english. If they want to speak something else they should excuse themselves first and maybe step away if need be.

    Of course, they can speak anything they want when we are just standing around and not trying to work together.


    The funny part about all of this is the two Polish moms also complain that the other moms make them feel unwelcome, especially my wife and the den leader. The Poles keep to each other and make no effort to try to join in, so I don't know what they expect.


    Unfortunately, this is a difficult subject that is starting to tear apart the Tiger den. We are very ethnically diverse, with our ancestries hailing from Greece, Puerto Rico, Africa, Slovakia, Ireland, Norway, Italy, and of course, Poland. Most boys are first generation americans with their parents' as legal immigrants.


    Everyone got along this year until the second Polish mom joined in January, and they started chatting in their native tongue. Now, the Cubmaster is considering splitting the pack in two to seperate the combatants.


    I think that is a bad idea and will only allow bad blood to fester, besides it being like treating adults as children.


    Sorry about the rant, but I was hoping someone could point me to any possible ruling or guideline that the scouts may have about the subject.


    Opinions and suggestions are also welcome.

  12. Don't underestimate Pop Tarts as a viable food source.


    I remember thankfully eating Pop Tarts at both Philmont and Swinging Bridge Campsite (NY State) years ago, for completely different reasons.


    At Swinging Bridge, the rain didn't stop from a few days before we got there until the day we left. Nothing was dry, no fire wood to be found at all which our leaders had planned on for heat and cooking. This was before the days of small backpacking stoves. Only the big ol' green Coleman LP stoves were around, and who was going to carry that?


    After finally getting a few twigs to light, and then a bit of center split kindling, one of the best "hot" meals I've ever had were Pop Tarts slightly warmed over the meager flame.


    At Philmont, on the second morning of our 2 day dry camps, we were just happy to be able to eat anything besides jerky after we all ran out of water on the first day. Dehydrated food doesn't do much for you without H20. But Pop Tarts are just moist enough to choke down.


    Think of it, along with canned tuna and hard crackers as emergency food.

  13. Wow! Thanks for the replies, everyone. I had no idea that there was so much thought that goes into a subject like this.


    I had planned on wearing the medals and the Philmont arrowhead (hanging from the right shirt pocket button) patch as both a conversation starter with the boys, and a way to let the parents know that their new Cubmaster wasn't just some shlub that walked in off the street. Not to insult any shlubs that might be reading this, lol. I never thought of it being for self-aggrandizement, but I can see how it could become something of that nature, or at least be viewed as that.


    I've been to all of 1 den and 1 pack meeting, and I'm already expected to take over the pack next summer. I figured showing the boys and parents a few of my old accomplishments might break some ice and get a good Scouting rapport going. I'll be sure to only wear them to the Blue and Gold Dinner, and hopefully the folks who seem really tightly wound up about a subject like this won't notice. ?;>)


    Otherwise, I'll look into the square knots.


    Thanks again, everyone, for very interesting and informative replies.




  14. I recently signed my son up with the Cub Scouts, and after discussing my past in Scouting when I was a child, I was asked if I would like to become the Assistant Cubmaster for the pack. The current Cubmaster is leaving in a year and wanted to train someone to take over at that time, especially someone who will be with the program for the entire term and had fairly extensive scouting experience.


    My question is would it be within the guidelines to wear medals and/or a button patch that I had earned as a scout on my Assistant Cubmaster uniform? I have a Philmont button patch, a Palisades Historic Trails medal, and the Ad Altare Dei medal.


    From the training modules I've taken so far, and from what I've read here, a Cubmaster's uniform should be kept neat and free of so many patches, with no unofficial buttons or medals allowed at all.


    But are official patches and medals allowed, especially the ones that I was most proud to earn? If so, would they be more appropriate at the Blue and Gold dinner rather than the pack meetings?


    Thanks in advance for your help. I'm really looking forward to getting back into Scouting, and have the additional pleasure and honour of sharing it with my son.

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