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Posts posted by gblotter

  1. 4 minutes ago, MattR said:

    I see this as well. That's why I started working on teamwork and leadership with just the younger scouts. They are more willing to try something new.


    Our current SPL is just 13 years old and he is on fire with Scouting. The younger Scouts are following his gung-ho example and some really good things are happening from that. I have given him the challenge to break this cycle of malaise as he ages up in the program. If anyone can do it, he can. But we'll see - peer pressure to fit in is so strong with these older teens.


    10 minutes ago, MattR said:

    It has started to bubble up to a few of the older scouts

    Same here. Even though they are too cool to admit it, I sense some envy among these older boys as they see what they are missing out on. One of our 16 year-old Scouts is in fear of his younger 13 year-old brother beating him to Eagle (a likelihood which makes me very happy).


    10 minutes ago, MattR said:

    I know, it's completely backwards.

    Yes - completely backwards , but I see no other way to approach this problem.

  2. 12 hours ago, MattR said:

    There seems to be fewer scouts interested in a challenge, at least in my neck of the woods.


    I still see the sense of adventure and challenge in our younger Scouts. That is why I enjoy working with them so much.

    For our older Scouts (age 15+), I frequently encounter a "too cool for school" attitude that I find super annoying. They hold back and stand on the sidelines, even when they see fantastic adventures passing them by. This attitude problem gets really maddening when it poisons younger Scouts as they age up in the program. I'm trying to remedy this problem and break the cycle.

  3. 4 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

    We no longer have Troop tents...no one took good enough care of them.


    If the tent is not their own, our Scouts take no particular care in how it is used, maintained and stored. It is too frustrating to see troop funds abused in this way, so we eliminated troop tents. Most of our Scouting families are well-equipped with their own camping gear, so it really has not been a problem.

    • Upvote 1

  4. On 9/28/2016 at 10:23 PM, The Latin Scot said:

    - Invitation to the "Eagle's Nest" (where they invite anybody in the audience who has earned the rank of Eagle to sit in some chairs that have been put in a front corner of the hall (does anybody else do this?))

    We have an upcoming ECOH for two new Eagle Scouts. The boys have requested the format to include an Eagle's Nest.

    I have always *hated* being asked to sit separately from the rest of the audience like that. Isn't it enough to just acknowledge the other Eagle Scouts in the room by asking them to briefly stand?

  5. 4 hours ago, EmberMike said:

    But when we're at a point where membership is falling fast enough to see a very real possible end to BSA scouting within this current generation of scouts, I guess anything is worth a try.

    The end of BSA within the current generation of Scouts due to falling membership? I would be interested to see data to defend such a calamitous prediction. From what I have read, BSA has recently experienced a 2-4 percent drop in membership annually.

  6. 3 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    When membership drops, so do the donations. And both are key factors in an professional's performance.

    Using me as an example, I have to believe the unpopularity of this latest bungle has decimated donations. I have given my last dollar to FOS and I cannot in good conscience encourage others to donate.

    They obviously don’t care what I think, so I’ll let my checkbook speak for me.

  7. 20 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

    Photos and video show her in perfect Cub uniform including new skirt.


    After so many hatchet jobs on Scouting, now we are to view the media as friendly? The contrast is abundantly clear when they want to promote a cause. The collapse of traditional values to political correctness is a gleeful victory for them, and they portray it as such.

    @RememberSchiff At least I trust Surbaugh more than liberal media.

  8. 3 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

    Under our system that 14 year old Life Scout would have to find some way across meetings, service projects, camp outs or other events to maintain his active participation.

    Under your system, are you requiring that the boy actively participate throughout the entire period between Life and Eagle, or just a 6-month interval sometime between Life and Eagle?

    Our troop uses the latter definition for Eagle requirement #1.

    • Upvote 1

  9. 32 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

    This may be heavy-handed, but our PLC put in place many years ago a definition of what constituted "active participation".


    Yes - perhaps heavy-handed. In our troop, that would only alienate families and not fix anything in the end.

    A 14 year-old Life Scout easily finds the time for six-months of activity in the troop to satisfy Eagle requirement #1, and then slips into marginal participation until age 17-3/4. Sustained activity is the issue.

    To be honest, older boy participation is the single biggest problem facing our troop. Fixing it is like pushing on a string.

    • Upvote 1

  10. 1 hour ago, Back Pack said:

    I had many friends who got Eagle a few months before 18 but they were always active in the troop and OA. I got mine just before my 18th birthday but I had over 120 nights camping, 500+ service hours, was on an OA ceremony team, nylt and worked at camps and as a ranger. I can honestly say I spent 7 full years in scouting. I didn’t need much help when doing my project because I was old enough to read and understand the process. When asked why I waited so long I told my board that I was savoring my scouting experience. I let me record speak for itself. 

    @Back Pack I think everyone joins in their admiration for a Scout such as you.

    Perhaps our troop is an exception in this regard, but once our boys hit high school their participation slows to a trickle. We never see them at meetings or outings. Then in a desperate last-minute scramble, they inevitably resurface shortly before their 18th birthday - sometimes expecting that everyone else will also scramble on their behalf to help carry them across the finish line. That's not a formula I can get excited about.

    I am the father of three teenagers, so I get it. I witness their busy lives firsthand, and I understand their competing priorities. That is why I advocate striking while the iron is hot and while plenty of time is still available. Then they can enjoy high-adventure trips and other incredible Scouting adventures during their high school years without all the last-minute scrambling and pressure to finish off Eagle while applying to colleges or taking final exams. I know others here disagree with that advice - so be it.

    • Thanks 2

  11. 4 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    I'm always glad when we have about 5 times that number who will never get their bird. Those boys add a lot of flavor to the troop.

    I'll confess that the closer they get to 18, the less motivated I am to offer my encouragement and assistance. I am really not a fan of these deathbed Eagles (for reasons I've stated in other threads).

  12. 38 minutes ago, Back Pack said:

    Hard to have fire in some states. More often than not we can’t have them.

    Fires are allowed in about half the campsites we visit. Generally, they are allowed when we go car camping and disallowed when we go backpacking.

    37 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

    We do low impact fires and bring our own firewood.

    Same. We always bring our own supply of firewood. Gathering firewood from the surrounding forest is never allowed it seems.

    The only exception is at our BSA summer camp. At that location, there is an incredible amount of dead wood on the forest floor and it is a terrifying fire hazard. They encourage the Scouts to gather and burn the excess dead wood for small campfires to reduce the hazard.

    43 minutes ago, Back Pack said:

    Maybe fires are another tradition that needs to go away. 

    @Back Pack  I agree with almost everything you say on this forum, but not on this point.

    • Upvote 1

  13. We have tried camping with another nearby troop on a couple of occasions. I know the other Scoutmaster well, and the boys generally know each other through school, sports, and church associations.

    Never again.

    The other troop has greater numbers than ours, and "Lord of the Flies" is an apt description of how their campouts operate. After observing what was happening with them, I attempted to segregate our activities in a separate area of the very large group campsite. Unfortunately, things devolved into us versus them scenario between the boys - even including some trash talking and mean-spirited pranks. The other Scoutmaster eventually came over to apologize (but I wish it was his Scouts who were doing the apologizing).

    • Sad 1

  14. 25 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

    We give out the rank badges at the end of the meetings when the scouts complete the BOR.  Scout does BOR and bam...he is recognized and goes home with the new rank patch.  Neat thing is seeing them with the new rank on their uniform at the next meeting.  At the COH they are awarded the card and small pin.

    I love this idea and will suggest it to our troop committee. I guess it necessitates having a surplus of rank patches that can be drawn upon before advancement paperwork is actually submitted to the council, but that should be doable. How do you manage the quick award of merit badges? Having a surplus of merit badges is not so easy.

  15. I suggested a few projects to my son, but he settled on an idea of his own.

    He has a lot of school pride and wanted to do something for his school that would have visibility to his peers on campus. The school headmaster suggested they could use a new Lost and Found shed. The project was completed just last month. My son was excited that it was recognized during morning announcements and also featured in the school newspaper. A personal thank you letter also came from the school principal.

    A weakness of this project is that it required the use of many power tools to construct the shed. The BSA Tool Usage Guidelines necessitated more adult hours than was ideal. Take note of that when considering construction based Eagle projects.

    • Upvote 1

  16. On 1/22/2018 at 11:23 AM, The Latin Scot said:

    Technically, the Den Leader guides recommend that no Scout should ever wait more than TWO WEEKS to be recognized for an award he has earned.

    I know you are quoting a Den Leader Guide for Cub Scouting, but I am becoming a fan of quick recognition for Boy Scout Awards and merit badges as well. You are correct in stating that it keeps the motivation going. It is good to give the boy his badges ASAP in front of his peers and then make a second recognition in front of his parents during the next Court of Honor. Nothing wrong with being recognized twice.

    This strategy requires an advancement chair who is willing to continually process a fairly constant stream of awards rather than just batch things up a few times a year before a COH.

    Without parents in the loop, extra care must be taken to ensure the badges get safely home (not lost) when they are given directly to the boy. On more than one occasion, newly awarded badges have been misplaced during the first 30 minutes. *sigh*

    • Like 1

  17. I don’t trust Buzzfeed - period.

    Even if this article is fabricated, Surbaugh is still “deceptive and sleazy” (their words) for the manipulative survey deployed last summer to create a pretext of support for their predetermined outcome.

    Whether or not the article is factual, it is obvious that BSA execs are scrambling. I find it appalling for them to announce an older girl program when they have no idea what it will actually look like. Why the rush to ram through something that hasn’t even been defined yet? It all smacks of (financial) desperation.

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 3