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Posts posted by cyphertext

  1. 7 hours ago, NJCubScouter said:

    Patches at least relate to Scouting.  If Scouters need to spend time making their Scouts understand the need to act Scoutlike in regard to something that is part of Scouting, that is time well spent.  The magic cards are a distraction that has nothing to do with Scouting.

    Shouldn't Scouts act Scoutlike and uphold the Scout Oath and Law in all aspects of their lives, not just things that have to do with Scouting?  My son and his group of friends play Magic on camp outs during down time...  They even took Magic cards to Philmont.  Not really much different than Scouts of yore playing Yahtzee or Hearts.

  2. 3 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

    I received an invitation to be mB counselor for a neighboring district's mB college. They specifically stated that the scouts were to be able to complete the badges in a 3-hour seminar. I politely declined and gave my reason as "Three hours is not nearly enough time to provide to the scouts to complete the requirements as written. Secondly, this format and time limit denies the scouts the opportunity to truly benefit from the adult association method and to really engage in the mB itself."

    What merit badge did they ask you to teach?  Just curious, as I can't think of any that could be completed in such a short time frame off the top of my head.

  3. I think this MB is great for a group.  My son's troop did it, and they participated in a 50 mile ride for Cancer at the end.  The group that participated met each week for rides and to train to build up for the Cancer ride.  It was an awesome experience for the boys.

  4. 19 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

    I remember taking rifle shooting a few summers ago but only got a partial. I did fantastic on all the shooting, and cleaning the rifle. The only problem is, we go out of state and I don’t know the PA gun laws and I didn’t know I had to know every single one in my brain at all times.

    Everything was looking good, small class, until the second to last day he told us we have a 5 page ish written test the next day. Guess what, I failed it since I didn’t know every single requirement.

    I don’t see where in the requirments you have to take a written test. Isn’t that adding requirements?

    I'm going to say "it depends"....  In the requirements, it states "Explain", and "Identify", so if the test is over those items, then I don't see an issue.  With that said though, I am more concerned about safe handling with my scouts.  I want them to come out of my class knowing and understanding the NRA four rules of gun safety... know what they are, and demonstrate while on the range.  Observing how you handle yourself and the firearm tells me more about your understanding of the requirements than the worksheet or a test.

  5. 9 minutes ago, Scoutmaster Teddy said:

    Whoa.... I was off-topic and made some generalities. Merit badges press my hot button. I was wrong to generalize all young instructors as bad. I failed to rationalize in a controlled manner.

    I have seen some outstanding young MB instructors in camps. What sets me off is instructing by reading thru the pamphlets an hour or two a day and calling it instruction. My problems lie mostly with the Citizenship badges. Sit, listen, fill in the blanks. For the most part I enjoy sitting in on the skills badges - aquatics, camping, pioneering, etc. It's the classroom badges that press my buttons.

    Apologies for any offense taken. I'll "do my best" to be more specific.

    I was hoping that just came out wrong! Thanks.

    I do get what you are saying about MB university and even summer camp.  I just think if you try to draw a line in the sand on the issue, someone will challenge you on it and you will lose that challenge at council.  If your council is completing Eagle required badges in a few hours though, I would take that up with council... there is no way that they can complete all the requirements in a single session.

    • Thanks 1

  6. 1 hour ago, qwazse said:

    @cyphertext, just to be clear on your position, should an SM have the right to recommend a suitable counselor for his/her scout?

    Most of the Eagle badges can't be completed at a MB college because they can't do all of the requirements in one day.  This is where the Scoutmaster should be recommending a "suitable" MB counselor for his scout to work with to finish the badge out.  The MB counselor can then "review" the other requirements to make sure the scout has a good understanding.

    I asked my son what his thought was on the MB college and Eagle MB...  His thought is that MB colleges are good for knocking out the classroom type of requirements.  Every Eagle MB has requirements that can be taught in a classroom setting.  And what is the difference between going to a MB college on a Saturday, or sitting in his room looking up things on the Internet to fill out a MB worksheet?  Fellowship with other scouts...


  7. 13 hours ago, Scoutmaster Teddy said:

    Perhaps. But I will "do my best" to talk them out of it. I've seen Eagle-required merit badges taught by kids at summer camp. Just because they are over 18 and in college doesn't mean much to me. Merit badge mills pound information for a few hours and cal it complete. It's el toro poo-poo. I should have the right to deny certain merit badges from being taken at these events.

    This is quite a bit of thread drift, but a couple of your statements concern me.

    First, why should you have the right to deny merit badges taken at these events?  I get it, you don't think the Scout has mastered the requirement, but again if the council is hosting the event or approves the event, and it is being led by council approved MB counselors, then no, you do not have the right to not accept them.  

    Second, just to be clear, that 18 yr old who has aged out of Scouts (and may well be an Eagle Scout), but is now giving back by teaching a merit badge class during Summer camp doesn't mean much to you?  

    • Upvote 1

  8. 2 hours ago, NJCubScouter said:

    Based on some of the stories I have heard (I've never been there myself), that goes too far as well.  But at least it is Scouting-related.  :)

    My son told me about a kid who wrapped his shoes in duct tape with the sticky side out and then ran across another scout's trading blanket, trying to pick up patches with the tape as he went through the trading area.  He learned not to put his patches on the ground from that one.

  9. Basically sounds like the SPL wants to have a Magic tournament as an activity on a camp out.  Many of the scouts in my son's troop played Magic, but I am not aware of them ever doing a draft game. 

    The way a draft game works is that each player gets X number of unopened packs at the beginning of the game.  They open the packs and they keep one card from each pack.  They then pass the rest of the pack to the left.  This continues as each player chooses a card from each pack as they go around the table... thus the "draft" concept.  So having a fee makes sense, as you have to cover the cost of the cards.  Each participant gets to keep the deck that they built, and usually the winners will get more unopened packs.  It really isn't gambling...  but the SPL should not be profiting from it either.

    Perhaps a better way to do this would be for each scout who would like to participate, they need to bring X number of unopened packs.  Just have them bring enough packs of cards to play the game itself, not to provide prizes to the winners.  This also alleviates the possibility of the SPL turning a profit.

    • Thanks 1

  10. 11 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Part of the reason for the AOL is to prepare them for Boy Scouts. Engaging with a troop has been one of the requirements since as long as I can remember, and if memory serves, one of the original requirements. Heck I remember when a man had to be the WDL to simulate Boy Scouts more closely.

    One of the challenges i've found is that Scouts do not stay around for long if they do NOT engage with a troop. Give you an example. For the past 2 years, the Webelos from our feeder troop have not camped with us. One den visited us at camp for a few hours and left,  the other den used the joint Scouting for Food activity for the outdoor requirement. 4/5s remain of the first den, and 1of 3 remain from the second den. Contrast that with camping and it is much higher. Out of oldest son's den 2 of the 4 camped with the troop, and hte other two transfered over because of them. Middle son's den had 4 camp with us, and all four are still here.

    When my son went through, there was no requirement to camp with a troop.  Wasn't even suggested by the handbook, nor did a troop invite us to.  We did a troop visit with a couple of the local troops and I honestly didn't care for those either because they were dog and pony shows for the Webelos, not typical troop meetings or activities.  

  11. 17 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    I think that is the major problem. Webelos IS suppose to be the transition period between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. They are suppose to be treated as Boy Scouts but still under the direction of an adult Den Leader,  and if lucky a Den Chief.

    It has been a few years since I was involved at the Cub Scout level, so things may have changed... but back then, the training for the Webelos den leader didn't exactly prepare them.  The problem I see is that unless the leader has been involved with Boy Scouts previously as a youth, or has had a child in Boy Scouts, they just don't know what Boy Scouts is.  Hard to transition boys to a program that you know nothing about!  

    The Webelos program itself was not geared towards transition either when my son went through.  The Outdoorsman Activity is the only one that I remember that encouraged a troop visit in the requirements.  If it is really a transition, then the Webelos den should be engaged with a Troop as well.  However, that puts an extra burden on the PLC of a troop to prepare more things for Webelos to come and do with the troop.

    Webelos is an awkward time in the program... too old for Cub Scouts, but too young for a troop.

    • Upvote 2

  12. 7 hours ago, Mattosaurus said:

    So when I complete this form and send it to the office, will it even get signed in the first place?

    Of course I’d attach a note explaining what had happened, but since I didn’t sign the form before I started fundraising, do we think that form will still go through? That is what the majority of my concern stems from. 

    Have you spoken with your Scout Master about this?  Is he advising you to do the form?

  13. 14 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

    Non-NSP units have these too.  They're called Patrol Leaders and Instructors. Adults drink coffee and train the Instructors when needed if a JASM is not around.

    We obviously have that as well.  My point is that even though it is a NSP, they have an older boy that joins their patrol to be their patrol leader and teach them their basic scouting skills.  Our Instructors lead demonstrations at the troop level, where our Troop Guides are directly tied to the first year patrols.

  14. 31 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    The entire First Class, First Year premise looks only at one factor and membership retention: advancement. And IMHO since it came out when NSPs came out, it is based upon how LDS units do things, i.e. 11 year olds are a separate group. Every unit that is “successful” with NSPs has to treat them like Cub Scouts, not Boy Scouts. Of course they will advance fast, but do they truly learn?


    With traditional patrols, advancement is slower, but they learn, truly learn.



    I like the idea of NSPs... and how it was implemented in our troop.  Although I can see where you might say it is Cub Scoutish... maybe what Webelos should be.  We do have an ASM that is assigned to work with the first year scouts specifically, and once a month they have a first year meeting or outing to work on requirements.  But we also have a Troop Guide that is assigned as their patrol leader to teach them scouting skills on campouts.  When a boy in the group reaches First Class, he is made the Patrol Leader and the Troop Guide takes a step back.  He still helps and guides, but now that NSP has an actual Patrol Leader participating in PLC.

    They do focus quite a bit on advancement, but the thought is that be getting them to First Class at around 1 yr, they have a bigger part in the troop and are more likely to stay with the troop.  So it is a retention based concept as well.  

  15. 50 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

    That's all very well and good but how would you do that during an EBOR?

    Very few Scouters know the rules and process well enough to help in such a manner. Couple that with some overzealous district person who is full of themselves and their own "power" and you have the making for a unnecessary paperwork showdown which takes both time and effort. 

    The silver bullet to all of this is simply filling out the form and getting the district rep to sign it at the same time he's singing off on the proposal. Done! 

    Needless? Perhaps. But 5 minutes at this phase can save a candidate a ton of headache down the road. And if they don't have an Eagle advisor then they're not at the mercy of some egotistical district rep full of self-importance.

    If we aren't going to follow the process, then why have the process at all?  The Eagle Scout Project should be complete and signed off before the EBOR...  It's a done deal at that point.

    Questions on fundraising should have been asked and answered during the proposal phase.

    This is why so many say that the paperwork is too complicated... because too many insist on taking extra steps just in case.  Read the doc, follow the instructions...

    • Upvote 1

  16. 8 minutes ago, Back Pack said:

    I don’t disagree but I was near 18 and I wasn’t taking and chances. If I didnt have that form I would have been held up in my bor. I might not have made Eagle or I would have had a ton of other paperwork to do to get past this guy. 

    I get what you are saying... but as the Eagle mentor, I would have gone over his head and removed that roadblock.  The Eagle candidate has enough on his plate without having someone add to the requirements.  

    • Upvote 1

  17. 50 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

    So...I reiterate the bigger threat to the program is the move away from the traditional program youth-led, mixed-age, patrol based outdoor program.

    I agree with this.  With my own son, he was on the fast track as well... He earned Life Scout in just over 2 years and 6 months.  There was not an intentional push by his mother or I, but he was afforded many opportunities to complete merit badges in the first troop he was in.  I told him that we were going to slow him down on advancement...  I didn't want to see Eagle until he was in high school.  I was afraid he might "Eagle Out" before he was even old enough to do high adventure!  I didn't want him to participate less, just get his focus off of advancement.

    So, the first Summer Camp after we made this decision, he is selecting what merit badges he wants to do.  He asked me if he could really sign up for whatever classes he wanted, because his prior troop required each boy to take an Eagle required merit badge class.  I told him to sign up for whatever he wanted.  He signed up for all of the water based activities and loved every minute of it.  Came home and said that was the most fun he has had at Summer Camp because he wasn't worried about rank requirements and finishing merit badges.  That's what camp should be... having fun!  And if you happen to sign off some requirements as well, that's gravy!


    • Upvote 3