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Everything posted by Eagle1993

  1. So it appears I will be taking over as SM of a fairly large Troop (70 - 80 scouts). The previous SM has been looking to step down the last few years and has not been present for most of this year. My son recently crossed over into this Troop and after a few adult leader meetings the CC asked me to take the role. After declining twice, I had further discussions and found that while the Troop is large they are becoming less active and there is concern they will collapse. Several Troops in my area have already died (over 4 packs feed this Troop) so I accepted. I have a general idea of this Troop’s culture and don’t want to rock the boat, but there are a few areas I think the scouts could change. My primary thought is that we can improve the use of the patrol method. Currently: patrols are set by the leaders PL and SPLs are set by leaders A scout told my son that Patrols only really matter at summer camp, Klondike and a few Troop meetings. This sounds like a lot of Troops where patrols are used, but not in the original concept. Given we have 70 - 80 scouts I think the Patrol method is critical. Any thoughts on a plan to increase usage of the patrol method?
  2. This is second hand but Many years ago our (20+) our Troop took a multi day horseback camping trip. The first night they forgot to hobble the horses. When they woke up, all the horses were gone and no where in sight. They ended up hiking (quickly) back 15 miles or so with the leaders worried how they were going to tell the owner they lost all of their horses. As the they approached closer to the ranch, they found the owner on the trail who yelled... you forgot to hobble the horses, didn’t you. The leaders admitted it and told the owner they lost all of the horses. After letting the scouts sweat a bit, the owner said the horses all walked back to the ranch in the middle of the night and they could restart the trip. I was told it was a great experience and they never forgot to hobble the horses again.
  3. I think I’ll have to go into hiding after sharing this link. I’ve tried a couple of these.... they are identical cookies to the point the space between chocolate drizzle lines are identical. I still recommend buying the cookies as at least part of the funds help local scouts. https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/girl-scout-cookie-equivalents-grocery-store-alternatives-to-thin-mints-samoas-tagalongs
  4. While I think it is foolish, the marketing argument doesn’t upset me. The underhanded comments that BSA is not safe seems to border on slander. It is definitely not scout like.
  5. We have a marathon winner with similar rules. It is great for scouts on their 4th or 5th PWD that are bored with the other awards. Also, it’s great for those that just have slower cars and keeps them interested. We give the slowest car the “Es-Car-Go” award...
  6. I think the reported possible bankruptcy got the trial lawyers kicked into high gear to find clients before the BSA files. I think it should be made clear that the BSA’s perversion files were intended to keep predators out of scouting. Recent testimony indicates the BSA has 17 employees checking annual adult registrations against this list to help ensure they didn’t register as leaders. This is a bit different than the Catholic Church who just moved priests around. The BSA was operating in a time of no national background checks and in many ways should be commended for some of this work. If there are specific cases where they ignored reports or violated standards at the time, they should be held responsible. However, it seems like much of this is now about trial lawyers trying to hit a payday before bankruptcy.
  7. https://www.apnews.com/e1ccae7cfce749169db80adf83a267cb Attorney Tim Kosnoff, a veteran of major sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church, said Tuesday that he and his team have signed up 186 clients from dozens of states in just the past few weeks who want to be part of litigation against the Boy Scouts. Kosnoff said 166 of them identified alleged abusers who have not been named in any of the Boy Scout files made public in past years. Both the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church say they now have policies in place to sharply curtail abuse that abounded in past decades. In the Boy Scouts ′ case, the steps included requiring criminal background checks for all staff and volunteers, and requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all times during scouting activities.
  8. So it appears that January 30 this year a researcher hired by the BSA to go through their files indicated some of her findings in an unrelated trial. The trial was against a children’s theater in Minnesota. The expert indicated that the BSA required no one on one contact since 1987... whereas the theater only started this in 2017. In any case, the researcher stated some of the BSA prior processes and numbers that are coming out from her research. This is what the law firm is jumping at. In addition the law firm has released a report on their website of NY and NJ accused and asking for the abused to come forward. So I agree, appears to be a fishing expedition.
  9. Just watched. This is in prep for the August 15 date where the statue of limitations is dropped in New York for child abuse. They indicate there are over 12,000 victims and 7,800 abusers...based on detailed analysis of the files...
  10. I’m not sure if we have seen 100+ names released publicly before. This law firm is also going after the Catholic Church for similar issues... naming large numbers of the accused. Edit... actually looks like previous reports dating back to 2010 indicated 1,200 volunteers are listed. This law firm is indicating 7,000...
  11. Our council numbers were steadily declining over last 7 years (~2% per year), but nothing like this. I was told there are a large number of units barely getting by and many are folding. Nearly 80% of our DEs have < 1 year in the job. Several were fired or resigned last year. My district was the only one that grew from 2017. Our council supports adding girls, but wasn’t aggressively helping. We only have a few Troops formed. I’ve talked to a few Troop SMs who are saying they are having trouble finding ASMs that want to take over. All of this is concerning...
  12. https://www.nj.com/news/2019/04/50-pedophile-boy-scout-leaders-from-nj-are-about-to-be-exposed-in-bombshell-reveal-law-firm-promises.html https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Sex-Abuse-Boy-Scouts-of-America-Lawsuits-BSA-508934291.html
  13. Forgot about that one... yep, that would be a nice add as well!
  14. To be clear, I agree this is not a major issue. However, IT infrastructure is the 21st century storefront of many businesses and organizations. I would expect the BSA to create the IT software for councils and units to run efficiently. If the fee is $5, it must be covered by $25 annual fee we pay GSUSA or the camp charge (which is competitive with BSA). That said, I understand financial priorities have to me made and agree health forms are not the top priority. BSA has made some good progress on their IT investments over the last few years. I never deal with paper youth applications anymore and the process has been great over the last 12 months. We’ve been using Scoutbook, and while it can improve, the advancement sync is working flawlessly (I was pleasantly surprised the sync with ScoutNet seemed to be almost immediate and it saved extra paperwork and a drive to the scout center). I would love to see future improvements in charter renewals, health forms and adult applications. They should continue to see why Troops or Packs are using other IT packages than Scoutbook and help address the perceived gaps. All are possible (and again, the BSA is making progress) and it would help improve the storefront while maximizing volunteer hours on activities instead of paper.
  15. “It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future” That said.... I predict a bankruptcy filing in 2020 to help spread the blame a bit to the loss of LDS scouts instead of primarily due to loss of total members and sex abuse court cases. I don’t know if larger membership numbers should be the ultimate goal, sustainable and stable numbers should be. I see paths to massive increases in total membership but some could sacrifice the program. Outside of a massive shift to a family recreation/day care program (we shouldn’t do this) or figuring out how to grow in urban/immigrant areas (we should do this) I see our numbers continuing to decline. Parents seem to have less time to volunteer, kids have more and more activities and entertainment options, and both see scouting as solving 20th century problems. Dean Kamen maybe the 21st century Baden-Powell. I do see BSA as a fun and important program for our youth... but I don’t see the majority of our society aligned with that mindset.
  16. Do kids today even know JC Penny is/was a dept store? They may need to change to A.M. Zon.... with the lead kid in the skit correcting them with oh, “Amazon”. Finally the last kid runs out and is asked... who are you, and he replies I Am Zon! I don’t know... JC Penny worked better but may be bankrupt by summer. 😥 Boys are in Speedo’s at swim meets which is appropriate for that event (but covers very little).. The clothing they wear is appropriate for the skit and they aren’t naked... let the kids have some fun.
  17. I’ll add a bit more info... we lost the majority of our DEs. So another thought is that this could simply be late recharters given the large number of Troops and Packs falling off the books. (Our LDS numbers are small).
  18. Advancement focus didn’t just occur in the last 12 months and the biggest drop was Cub Scouts where advancement isn’t really that much of a focus...
  19. I was reading through our annual report and found some interesting numbers... Cub Scout Membership dropped 25% (18% drop in number of packs) Boy Scout Membership dropped 12% (11% drop in number of Troops) Venturing Membership dropped 21% (26% loss of crews) Exploring and LFL also dropped over 30% each But on the advancement side... Cub Scout advancement went up 10% Boy Scout advancement was up 55% Merit Badges earned went up 14% So... is this a clear indication of clearing out ghost members? At first glance the numbers are concerning showing a large drop in members. But the raw numbers in advancement show increases... which doesn’t make sense unless the members dropped were not real members. The financials didn’t look great as well... showing falling numbers everywhere except Management & General.
  20. I only have x hours of volunteer’s time. Right now, too much of that is chasing paper between health forms, recharter paperwork, BSA annual dues. We have 150 kids between the pack and troop, at 5 mins a form to review for errors, call for updates, etc. that is 13 hours of volunteer time I could have spent on something more useful. Other organizations have figured out how to do this more efficiently.
  21. I wouldn’t consider it easy given the fact that both my Pack and Troop have to have an adult leader dedicated to chasing down these forms. This could be a lot easier and GSUSA found a better way (at least in my area). Parents who have kids in both organizations can quickly see one is superior in terms of renewing membership and collection of health forms. I know it’s minor in the grand scheme of things, but would be nice to have our adult leader focused on scheduling another outdoor outing instead of running around collecting paper. Again, the big benefit is that once you fill out the GSUSA online tool... you only need to make changes in future years... you don’t need to refill out the entire form. Easy on the parents and leaders.
  22. I work in medical devices, been part of threat models, responded to ICS-CERT advisory’s, worked with white hat hackers and other aspects of cyber security. I’m not an expert but know enough. Most of not all of the info being collected is already in BSA or healthcare providers databases. BSA already stores much info, including DOB and addresses electronically. Your medical history is stored in multiple databases already. Most people really interested in this data will be people who know you... paper will be easier for them to access than a BSA secure database. As far as the comment ... GSUSA doesn’t do the same level of camping as BSA. Ok, but these forms are required for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts who don’t do HA. Also, if you need paper, there should be an option for the leader to print out a report prior to leaving on a trip.
  23. There are third party suppliers who already do this. Vaccine records, medical history, your height and weight are already electronically stored in multiple areas... my state has an online vaccine record for all residents. Yes, I trust it (if they use an existing supplier) and the info anyone could hack would have fall less value than 99% of my data that exists elsewhere.
  24. Nearly every camp my son or daughter participate in have some sort of medical form. BSA is the only one that is on paper sitting in some leader’s office. They all have the same expectations of ensuring youth safety. BSA is the only one who has been too cheap or incompetent to move this into the digital world and take some burden off of their unit leaders. The GSUSA forms are all online. We filled them out last year, very easy and quick entry. This year we had to refresh our data and we didn’t have to start over. The online form was available then to any camp or leader who needed our information. BSA should have this info; however their collection, storage and distribution methods of the info are antiquated and result in additional burden on adult leaders. For an organization that supposedly supports LNT we kill a lot of trees.
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