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Everything posted by Hawkwin

  1. My son was told this tonight - that the unit only holds higher rank (Star and above) Conferences on camp outs. I can find no grounds or precedent in the GtoA that supports such a rule (please let me know if I missed it). To me, this seems like a general denial of the SM Conference. Requiring such be done at a campout effectively adds a requirement for the rank. ... If I am missing something or you think I am wrong in this conclusion, please let me know. Otherwise, I feel like to may need to call the SM and have a polite conversation. Note, the troop holds BORs at normal meetings weekly and since the SM Conference can be delegated to ASMs, the requirement that they only be done at campouts seems arbitrary and without merit.
  2. Hawkwin

    New girls in Scouting

    Perhaps a better solution would be to determine in advance what packs, if any, in the area will accept girls then work with that pack to accept them. I would even invite them to show up and be present at the round up. Explain to the parents and apologize for any confusion caused by the District Rep and enthusiastically welcome those girls into scouting in the other pack.
  3. Thanks. So in other words, we could simply state either that a scout may be removed per the GtoA, or not have a section on this at all since it is largely redundant.
  4. Camping and service requirements in the handbook state, "Scoutmaster or adult signature." Is Adult synonymous with troop leader or can really any adult sign off on camping or service?
  5. Removal from elected or appointed office: Is that supported somewhere? I can't find anything that supports that in the GtoA.
  6. Hawkwin

    New girls in Scouting

    As I have come to learn, "experienced" scouters can come with their own bad habits and baggage. While you can see it only going one way, I have the utmost hope, and even expectation, that this is a golden opportunity to train the biggest generation of new scouters we have ever seen. Even if there is some failure in that process, some of the greatest scouters we have ever had will be joining our ranks in the next 24 months. I can't see it going any other way.
  7. Would anyone be willing to share the text of their troop policy? Instead of spending time trying amend our bureaucracy, it would be easier to simply toss it and start over. Since the new SM is on my subcommittee, I see this as a good opportunity to guide them in a better direction.
  8. Correct. The existing document is not my creation. I was simply trying to get changes to the color-coded sections. I am open to any recommendations to simply or scrap the entire thing. Great stuff! Keep it coming!
  9. Great stuff! Thank you. We meet in a couple of weeks and I will paraphrase your points. I agree. As a parent I had not read this entire document prior to this event and I am sure none of the scouts are familiar with it.
  10. Thanks! Will add commentary to that point.
  11. Proposal ready! I would love some feedback before I send it to the subcommittee. Sections to be changed are one color, quoted GtoA is another, and my response is another. Policies of Troop XXX These polices have been developed and approved by the Troop Committee to insure fair and equal treatment of all Scouts. These policies are to inform parents and Scouts of the policies of the Troop. 1. Troop Policy and Organization 1.1 Attendance a. It is recommended that the Scout attends as many meetings as possible to gain the most benefit of the resources available to him. b. Advance notice of missing a meeting to his respective leader would be an appreciated courtesy. c. Continued absences will need to be discussed with the Scoutmaster since "active" participation in the Troop is a BSA requirement for Rank advancement. d. It is the Scouts responsibility to find out what he has missed during any absences. 1.2 Dues a. Yearly Troop dues are $135.00. We will collect $100 in November prior to rechartering and the remaining in Q1 of the following year. If you have multiple scouts in the Troop or new to the troop, the dues are just $100. b. The dues cover the following Troop expenses: patches, programs aids, adult and Scout training and some operating expenses. c. Dues also include annual registration ($24.00) and insurance $ 1.00), and Scout magazine. In cases of multiple boys from the same family, each boy will receive their own copy of the magazine. d. A scout will not be re-chartered if past year’s dues are unpaid. 1.3 All patrol names, flags, insignia, mascots, etc. must be approved by the Scoutmaster prior to use. 1.4 Uniform a. Proper uniform must be worn to all Scout Functions. b. Proper Class A uniform consists of: Approved BSA shirt, pants or shorts, socks or knee socks, belt, and sash. c. For Rank Board of Reviews, the Scout must be in the following minimum uniform: (a) -- Scout, Tenderfoot, 2nd Class BSA shirt with all badges and patches applied. (b) -- 1st Class BSA shirt with all badges and patches applied. (c) -- Star, Life and Eagle All items listed in 1.4.b above d. Alternate Troop tee shirt may be worn when approved by the Scoutmaster. e. There will be a uniform inspection at least once a month. 1.5 In case of serious discipline problems, parents must be willing to pick up their son from meetings, events/outings. 1.6 The Scoutmaster reserves the right to remove a Scout from elected or appointed office after two counseling sessions when said Scout is not performing the requirements of that position. 1.7 All parents or guardians may voice their opinion or concerns at a committee meeting. 1.8 All registered Scouts and adult leaders will be provided the required patches showing their: Troop position, Troop number, Quality unit, Crossroads of America Council, merit badge(s) and Rank. 1.9 The Troop will have a Court-of-Honor, at least semi-annually, if any Scout Rank advancement has been achieved. 1.10 No sheath knives or personal axes are allowed at a Scout function, unless being used by an adult for training. 1.11 All Scouts must have a Totem Chip in order to carry or use pocket knives or other wood tools. 1.12 Any purchase for the Troop's use may be reimbursed upon the approval of the Scoutmaster and the Troop committee. 1.13 Scout’s Troop Account a. Each Scout will have an account in the Troop. b. There will be no minimum required in the Scout's Troop account. c. The Scout's account balance may be used for anything Troop related, such as; dues, camp fees, registration, etc. d. A balance sheet showing all account activity for each Scout will be provided to Scout's Parent at each Parent's meeting. e. Any balance in a Scout's account will revert back to the Troop general account if he leaves the Troop. The only exception for this is when the Scout transfers to another Troop; we will transfer the money directly to the new Troop upon request of the Scout after 30 days of being active in the new Troop. 1.14 Fund Raisers a. Fund raising events will be held in order to purchase equipment for the Troop and offset the operating costs of the Troop. b. The Troop Committee will decide the allocation of Troop income and fund raiser moneys. c. All income and fund raiser moneys will be credited to the following Troop accounts: Troop general account, Troop designated account, or Scout’s account. d. The Scout will be told prior to the fund raiser, the percent or amount that will be credited to their Troop account if they participate in the fund raiser. 1.15 Eagle Projects a. When a scout is ready to start planning, he should obtain the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook from the scouting.org website. b. The scout should discuss the project with the Scoutmaster and the Troop Committee Chair before he begins the planning. c. Eagle Projects should avoid any date conflicts with major troop fundraisers. 2. Rank Advancement and Merit Badges 2.1 Board of Review for Rank Advancement a. A Scout must be in good standing with the Troop. b. The Scout must be active in the Troop, which means attending at least one Troop meeting a month and participate in some of the events/outings. Guide to Advancement (GtoA) Active Participation The purpose of Star, Life, and Eagle Scout requirements calling for Scouts to be active for a period of months involves impact. Since we prepare young people to go forth, and essentially, make a positive difference in our American society, we judge that a member is “active” when his level of activity in Scouting, whether high or minimal, has had a sufficiently positive influence toward this end. Use the following three sequential tests to determine whether the requirement has been met. The first and second are required, along with either the third or its alternative. 1. The Scout is registered. 2. The Scout is in good standing. 3. The Scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations; or, if not, a lesser level of activity is explained. Alternative to the third test if expectations are not met: If a young man has fallen below his unit’s activity oriented expectations, then it must be due to other positive endeavors—in or out of Scouting—or due to noteworthy circumstances that have prevented a higher level of participation. A Scout in this case is still considered “active” if a board of review can agree that Scouting values have already taken hold and have been exhibited. In light of the above, denial of a Scoutmaster conference due to the inability of a scout to attend a campout violates the Guide to Advancement as it pertains to active participation. In my scout’s case, his noteworthy circumstance was hiking 15 miles in the Smokies. The GtoA clearly suggests that scouters to take other commitments, other extra-curricular activities, into account if a scout misses a meeting or an event for worthy reason. I recommend item 2 be restated as: “A scout must be active as defined in the Guide to Advancement,” c. The Scout must have his dues current or a plan in place with the Troop Treasurer. Guide to Advancement (GtoA) Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met A Scout shall not be denied this opportunity. When he believes he has completed all the requirements for a rank, including a Scoutmaster conference, a board of review must be granted. Scoutmasters—or councils or districts in the case of the Eagle Scout rank—for example, do not have authority to expect a boy to request or organize one, or to “defer” him, or to ask him to perform beyond the requirements in order to be granted one. Neither can a board of review be denied or postponed due to issues such as uniforming, payment of dues, participation in fundraising activities, etc. Denial of advancement due to non-payment of dues violates the GtoA. I recommend removal of item c. d. The Scout must have fulfilled the requirements of the potential Rank. e. The Scout must have had a successful Scoutmaster's conference. Guide to Advancement (GtoA) Unit Leader (Scoutmaster) Conference The unit leader (Scoutmaster) conference, regardless of the rank or program, is conducted according to the guidelines in the Troop Leader Guidebook, No. 33009 (volume 1). Note that a Scout must participate or take part in one; it is not a “test.” Requirements do not say he must “pass” a conference. While it makes sense to hold one after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it be the last step before the board of review. As the SMC is not a test, the verbiage used above appears to be misleading. What would be an unsuccessful conference? Simply taking part in one defines success. I recommend the removal of Item e. A SMC is already required. No reason to list it here. Additionally, if a SMC is denied the scout, the scout may proceed to the BOR without it (as listed above). f. The Scout must be in proper uniform. g. The Scout must request a Scoutmaster Conference and when ready, a Board of Review. (see sections 2.5 and 2.6). 2.2 Rank Advancement a. A Scout will receive his new Rank patch as soon as possible. b. The Scout will receive his Rank Advancement card and mother's pin at a Court-of Honor. c. The Troop will hold a Court-of Honor at least semi-annually. d. The Scout's parent or guardian is encouraged to attend the Court-of Honor. 2.3 Merit Badge a. The Scout may work on any merit badge with the approval of the Scoutmaster. b. The Scoutmaster must sign the merit badge card before the Scout begins the merit Badge. c. The Scout will be responsible for having the merit badge requirement(s) signed off by an appropriate merit badge counselor. d. Parents or Guardians may not sign requirements for their sons, unless they are an approved merit badge counselor for that merit badge. e. A Scout must be in good standing with the Troop to receive his merit badge. f. The Scout must be active in the Troop, which means attending at least one Troop meeting a month and participate in some of the events/outings to receive his merit badge. There is no active requirement for Merit Badges in the GtoA. In general, the SM should not refuse to sign a card allowing the scout to start work. The GtoA states. “It is then the Scout’s decision whether or not to proceed with the merit badge.” I recommend removal of item f. g. The Scout must have fulfilled the merit badge requirements to receive his merit badge. h. The Scout must turn in blue Merit Badge card to the Troop Advancement Chair. 2.4 BSA Scout Book a. The Scout will be responsible for recording their advancements and seeking appropriate signatures for their BSA Scout Handbook. b. The Scout will be responsible for recording all appropriate service time and events/outings in their BSA Scout Handbook. c. Before a Scout can go to a Board-of-Review, all required blanks in the BSA Scout Handbook, must be completed, initialed and dated for that potential Rank. d. Only registered adult Troop leaders may sign the requirements in the BSA Scout Handbook. e. Parents or Guardians may not sign advancement requirements for their sons. 2.5 Requesting a Scoutmaster Conference a. For the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class: (1) The Scout requests a Scoutmaster Conference from the Scoutmaster or any Assistant Scoutmaster prior to the start of the meeting. b. For the ranks of Star, Life and Eagle Palms: (1) The Scout requests a Scoutmaster Conference by emailing the Scoutmaster at least one week in advance. When a scout requests such via the proper method what should be the scout’s expectation of a response? We should list a required time frame for a response from the SM or his delegate. As of this writing, my scout has still not received a response regarding his request for a SMC at a day and time outside of a campout. Additionally, what if the scout does not have access to email? What did the troop do before email was widely available? Requiring a scout to request such in this method feels like it takes away from a part of the spirit of what a SMC should be. More: Unit Leader (Scoutmaster) Conference The conference is not a retest of the requirements upon which a Scout has been signed off. It is a forum for discussing topics such as ambitions, life purpose, and goals for future achievement, for counseling, and also for obtaining feedback on the unit’s program. In some cases, work left to be completed—and perhaps why it has not been completed—may be discussed just as easily as that which is finished. Ultimately, conference timing is up to the unit. Some leaders hold more than one along the way, and the Scout must be allowed to count any of them toward the requirement. While it is intended that the conference be conducted between the unit leader and the Scout, it may sometimes be necessary for the unit leader to designate an assistant unit leader to conduct the conference. For example, if the Scoutmaster is unavailable for an extended period of time or in larger troops where a Scout’s advancement would be delayed unnecessarily, then it would be appropriate for an assistant Scoutmaster (21 years old or older) to be designated to conduct the conference. My son and I requested that the SMC be delegated and we were denied. Advancement is being delayed unnecessarily. I propose the following for this section: Scoutmaster will respond within one week to all requests for a SMC and schedule such to happen within the next two weeks of the initial reply. If the Scoutmaster or the scout is not available to meet at their preferred time and day due to active participation in other activities, then the Scoutmaster will delegate the conference to an assistant Scoutmaster who will coordinate with the scout to complete the conference within the next two weeks. As an aside, I recommend that Scoutmasters actively seek out scouts to conduct SMCs and not wait for them to approach the SM. In the best case scenario, SMCs are happening more frequently than just once and only before the BOR (which means a scout could go a year or more without a conference). My scout attended summer camp with the SM as well as the recent Ordeal. Either of those times might have been very appropriate situations for the SM to seek out the scout to hold a SMC. The larger question of the SM only offering conferences on campouts or lock-ins – nowhere in the above policy is that written. It is a rule fabricated by the SMs interpretation of what active means. If the SM wants to offer SMCs only on campouts, then the SM should be willing to delegate the SMC to an ASM if the scout is “active” but otherwise unavailable to attend that specific event.
  12. Thanks. I don't think my troop is very big on the GtoA. The fact that I, a lowly parent, had to quote it to the SM and CC illustrates that lack of clarity we have on this issue. Wish me luck! I'll likely post my proposal here over the weekend to gain feedback before I send it to the subcommittee. We might end up with a "crowd-sourced" solution.
  13. That's outstanding. I can't honestly say that the above is reflected in our troop's current SM conferences. I get the sense that they are more about preparation for the BOR than they are about the larger issue of the items you list (a committee member stated as much regarding his son passing his recent BOR). I will definitely inquire deeper on this issue when I have the discussion with the subcommittee. I get the distinct impression that the SMCs are currently used only as a "final check" on whether or not the scout is ready to pass the BOR and little else. I don't get the impression that these are being used to inform the scouters on the state and quality of the program, improve conversation skills, or increase participation as much as they are about whether or not the scout is following the program pushed down by the scouters. Consider my eyes open wider.
  14. Hawkwin

    Qualities of Your Best Troop Committee Chair

    I've not been a CC but I've been a member of the committee and whether it is a scout committee or any committee for that matter, being organized is, for me, the greatest indicator or future success. My #1 pet peeve as a committee member would be to go to a meeting with a clear agenda and the CC either allows for various unlimited tangential conversations or topics, or starts such on their own. I don't want to hang around for 30 extra minutes to get through the entire agenda because we spent 10 extra minutes on three different tangents.
  15. Can you elaborate on that? I don't think I understand what you are stating. Thank you.
  16. Yep. Glass half full; win but still lose result. Where do good ideas go to die? Subcommittee. Both sides shared their opinion and the SM eluded to being incorrect without admitting such and tried to tie being "active" to the SM conference and I replied that being active may be a requirement for advancement but it is not a requirement for the SMC. If there is an issue with activity, that is something for the BOR to resolve, not for the SM to require in advance of the SMC. I saw a lot of heads nod at that comment but the end result was it was referred to an adhoc subcommittee, for which I am now a member, to discuss and bring back to the committee at the next meeting.* It was also brought up by another committee member that if the SM is simply too busy to do them outside of campouts, that he should delegate. I grinned and nodded at that comment and saw others nod at that as well. Doesn't help my scout. His advancement is still delayed as the SM still has not replied but I am going to see this result as a glass half full result. I will now have direct input on not only this unwritten rule but also they vague and inaccurate rule the troop uses to define active participation (I learned a lot from the thread about what defines active). Even if the committee adopts my recommendation at the next meeting, it will still be late October or even November before a SMC is granted. Thankfully, the incoming SM will be on the adhoc committee so I will hopefully be able to influence him as well. I plan to draft a proposal over the weekend and proactively email it to the subcommittee members. The chair of the sub has not contacted us to schedule a meeting or discussion so perhaps I can expedite the process. *In hindsight, I think I should have been a bit more forceful on this point. We have expert opinion that the troop policy is both wrong and that it isn't even a written policy - it is one the SM made up based on his incorrect interpretation of what defines active. I should have driven that point home, delicately, and then again requested my scout be granted a conference while the subcommittee discusses what the correct policy should be going forward.
  17. sexual activity happened in tents between boys long before the acceptance of trans scouts.
  18. IIRC, when all this started to become news, there were stories about how BSA approached GSUSA but was rebuffed. One such snip: I think they would have made it work if they could.
  19. I've been gone this weekend and a lot has developed while I was gone. I am not going to comment further other than to state that the district is taking the issue seriously. I will not comment again until after the committee meeting tomorrow night. I appreciate all the comments and i have my own opinions that may or may not be directly in line what others posted above - but for the benefit of my scout, I must continue to assume best intent even when occums razor would suggest otherwise.
  20. CC emailed me back tonight. Apparently they heard from the district. CC indicated they had already made plans to discuss this at the next committee meeting. Was not happy that I did not give them enough time to respond to my emails or that I got the district involved. I apologized for not giving him enough time to respond. I assumed the best intentions for four days but on the fifth day, I gave up and got the district involved. My fault. I will own that. CC meeting is on Tuesday. Will see how that goes. I get the sense that this policy might actually change.
  21. Yuck! Food for thought - but since my son is not quite 13, I hope we have plenty of time to let this become water under the bridge for him. If not, then our choice at that time (or prior) will certainly be clear. The troop down the road would be glad to welcome another future Eagle to their ranks.
  22. Yes. He is currently an ASM in the troop. I will likely try to reach him by phone tomorrow. The current SM already announced he has plans to move away in a couple of years or so. I just didn't know he was stepping down prior to that departure (which is a really good idea for the new SM to take over while the previous SM is still available to assist). I guess I wonder just what the existing SM would think they accomplish by making things hard for my son - and I don't envision how that would even happen. My only current connection to the troop is as a MBC so I don't see how they could make life hard for me either but then I might just not have enough imagination on this issue. I have a lot of good connections with many of the other ASMs and committee members - many for which we were in the same pack together. I would hope that our existing relationship would counteract any undue influence he might try to exert.
  23. Yep. No. we will see what the committee says, as well as what the incoming SM thinks of this policy, and then if need be, let my son decide if he wants to wait until the November camp out for a SM conference and a BOR in December or if he has had enough and wants to switch troops. Very likely, he will chose to wait. Switching troops is very likely more disruptive to him than delayed advancement.
  24. Are you my DC? 😆 That is almost identical to what he stated too. He indicated that I could request a formal appeal to the district if I appeal the COR and they don't back down either, but, and I loved this response, he stated that option was "not overly palatable." 😁
  25. Got a response from the DC within a couple of hours. Very pleased with how he handled it. Not the result I necessarily wanted but I very much appreciate the time and consideration they provided. I learned for the first time that the SM is stepping down to ASM in January so while we may not get the result we wanted, we might avoid any complications in the future if we just be patient. Doesn't fix the lack of response from the CC but unless I take on an active role in the troop, I don't see the need to really interact with them again. I will likely seek out the future SM and ask him what his policy might be on this issue in the future. Since this seems to be solely at the discretion of SM (unless the COR decides to override them), I am hopeful that we can discuss it like two rational adults with an eye toward what is best for the scouts.