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Everything posted by gblotter

  1. @Thunderbird After the LDS exit on 12/31/19, the biggest block of support for single-gender Scouting will be gone, so I agree with your predicted timing. @HelpfulTracks Whenever folks mention single-gender troops, I feel they've missed the point. I support a single-gender *program*. I do not oppose girls in Scouting. For 100+ years, there has been a wonderful Scouting program tailored to the unique needs of girls (it's called GSUSA, and all three of my daughters have participated in it). What I oppose is the loss of that wonderful Scouting program (formerly known as Boy Scouts) which for 100+ years was tailored to the unique needs of boys. That program will be gone in February 2019. For all troops (boy, girl, linked), the new Scouts BSA program will be gender-neutral. Ignoring and dismissing the reality that boys and girls behave differently, learn, differently, and develop differently (especially at these ages). Every BSA program will be co-ed. Every BSA event - at the district, council, and national level - will be co-ed. Tell me again how BSA is not going co-ed? Sadly, the battle to preserve a single-gender Scouting program tailored to the unique needs of boys is already lost. Stick around and fight? The dishonest and manipulative process used to justify the inclusion of girls proves that the motivations of BSA National are far more powerful than any resistance from local volunteers like me. I'm worn out from fighting to preserve a beloved Scouting program that BSA National leadership is determined to transform. That is why I will not be sticking around.
  2. The thing is, I'm not a purist at all. I am actually quite pragmatic and flexible and willing to customize for a given situation. There are some parents who take advantage of that fact and push things to absurdity.
  3. A dad of a 17 year-old Scout reached out to me for guidance about the Cooking merit badge (which meals count, which meals do not, etc). I'd prefer to deal with the boy - not the parent - for such questions. I'd also prefer the boy receive that guidance from the merit badge counselor - not me, the Scoutmaster. This is a lawnmower parent, so I don't respond to his initial email. Then the merit badge counselor chimes in and also asks for my guidance (he is trying to punt a difficult parent situation to me). I then respond and give my opinions, but I direct my response to the boy (who is copied on the email thread). The dad keeps sending me more emails trying to negotiate an easier outcome for his son. I finally told the dad that I'd prefer to talk to his son because that is a way to ensure the Scout is engaged in the process. Then the dad gets huffy and accuses me of being a Scouting purist who is concerned only with the program and not the boys. I don't understand the reality of busy teens (even though I have three teenage children myself). I apologized for offending him and I told him I was withdrawing from the conversation because the merit badge counselor should provide that guidance anyway. Finally an email response comes from the son's email address, but the writing style looked suspiciously like the dad was the actual author. There is no winning with some parents.
  4. What a tough situation. I'm just assuming (hoping) the suicide did not happen during an a Scout outing - correct? Our troop went through a suicide years ago (I was Scoutmaster back then, too - first time around). The troubled boy had been in/out of rehab and counseling. His parents had spent a fortune and tried everything they could think of. It was a very sad outcome. For the funeral, the troop prepared a photo collage of Scouting adventures where he was present and everyone signed their names to it. I was asked to give a prayer at the funeral service.
  5. It is not your fault. All the CC had to do was shoot you a quick response saying that it would be discussed at the next committee meeting. He is at fault for remaining silent.
  6. I'm sorry you've had to endure this. It really is appalling that the SM and CC would persist with this errant policy even after being called out in Scouting Magazine. You obviously know your situation best, so I'll respect your decision to stay with this troop. I applaud your positive attitude and wish you and your son better luck with the new SM.
  7. Even after the SM steps down, you will deal with the CC again as your son approaches Eagle. The CC must review, approve, and sign off (including his physical signature) on both the Eagle Scout Service Project and the Eagle Scout application. Just as now, he can be unresponsive and add more misery if he chooses. You won't be able to avoid interacting with him.
  8. Do you know who the new SM is already? If so, then perhaps you have an avenue to stay in this troop. But I'd definitely worry about the old SM's influence if he is sticking around as ASM.
  9. So is your son going to wait until January to advance in rank?
  10. Did the DC at least agree with you that the SM's policy is clearly wrong?
  11. Your SM and CC won't back down. Their errant policy will eventually get fixed, but only through a long and painful process - possibly involving their departure. None of this will happen in time to benefit your son, so it seems clear that he will end up in another troop. The main questions are: Do you want to switch now or later? And do you want to scorch the earth on your way out? If me in this situation, I'd get settled on a new troop immediately. Then after your son's BSA membership and Scoutbook record are transferred over, I'd send out an email to every family in the old troop bidding farewell with a brief and polite explanation (including a link to the Scouting Magazine blog). Every family in the troop will recognize your SM in that blog, and your SM will instantly drop down several notches in credibility and respect (but he deserves that). Otherwise, the troop leadership will surely portray your family badly as you depart (heck - they likely will, regardless). At least your viewpoint will be aired and perhaps other silent sufferers will gain courage from your ordeal. That's just me - others might choose to simply depart quietly and be done with it.
  12. I'm hoping there are other good troops in your area to choose from. With this SM and CC, your current troop is not one I would stay with. You can appeal to the district and win (but still lose), so just vote with your feet instead. They and you will be happier in the end.
  13. I'm ok with that, actually. Nobody will starve with hot dogs and lukewarm chili, and it will hopefully motivate greater effort from them next time. Boy will tolerate lots of things, but bad food is not generally one of them. It's not a question of gear. It not a question of too many miles. Even a short backpacking trip (2 miles in, 2 miles out) requires more effort than just driving up to a campsite and unloading your gear from the back of a Suburban.
  14. Our troop goes camping 10 months out of the year - that's not the issue. I'd just like to see more backpacking in the mix, but the boys seem to vote only for car camping destinations. It wouldn't seem right for me to override their choices with backpacking instead. And they are not keen on variety, either - voting to return to the same few popular camping destinations again and again.
  15. Even though it was a professional response, your Scoutmaster deserves to feel embarrassed for his policy being called out like that. Now will he backdown or persist in defiance?
  16. I've seen this happen in menu planning for campouts, for example. The boys will choose the simplest menu items imaginable (cook hotdogs on a stick over an open fire) to minimize effort on their part. I respond to that by organizing over-the-top meals for the Dad Patrol. The boys drool with envy because the Dad Patrol is greedy and we never share food. A playful competitive spirit makes it fun, and we sometimes even taunt the boys about their hotdogs to motivate greater effort next time. But what about the scenario where the boys only vote for car camping because backpacking requires too much effort on their part? That is a current concern of mine for our troop.
  17. Letting the boys (and the program and the troop) fail as a learning exercise is terribly hard for adults (especially me) to do. Ego and pride and frustration all motivate me to step in when things go wrong. I'm getting better, though. I've learned that if conditions get chaotic enough, the boys themselves will start enforcing their own discipline on each other. However, their chaos threshold is far different than mine. As Scoutmaster, I have to continually remind myself that it is their troop - not my troop.
  18. Vindication from Scouting Magazine. https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/09/12/scoutmasters-availability-conference/ One would hope that this blog entry definitively answers the question and settles any dispute, but your Scoutmaster seems rather inflexible. I wonder if he will persist with his errant policy. It seems like the folks at Scouting Magazine must have read this entire thread because they crafted their response to this exact scenario.
  19. I can't claim perfection, but our troop definitely attempts to use the Patrol Method. This weekend, our troop is doing beach camping at a location voted on by the boys during the annual planning meeting led by the SPL. Adults made the actual campsite reservation because that requires a credit card and coordination with a private business. We are taking three boy patrols on the campout with each patrol doing their own menu planning and cooking. Adults will be cooking/eating separately as the Dad Patrol. The organization of menus and camping equipment assignments has been led by either the Patrol Leader or an individual Scout working on Camping merit badge requirement #4b. During the planning meeting, notes were tracked by our Troop Scribe. We also have a boy organizing the campfire program to satisfy Communications merit badge requirement #8. Our Chaplain Aide (a boy) will lead us in grace for the campout meals. The beach activities will be low-key games chosen and organized by the boys. We aren't perfect, but I give our troop at least a B grade in Patrol Method. Adults do make our camping reservations after the boys vote on the destinations. As Scoutmaster, I send out communication emails to the parents - that doesn't come from the boys. But certainly we are attempting to use the Patrol Method - the adults do not organize everything.
  20. Lawnmower parents are nothing new, but I see this trend kicking into overdrive with our LDS troop. After the LDS-exit announcement, I sat down with each Scout to determine his goals before the 12/31/19 deadline. Then we wrote down a plan for him to achieve those goals (Eagle or otherwise). The plan is there, but each boy understands that it is his responsibility to execute on that plan. It is expected that some will make it and some won’t based on individual initiative. When the boys let their plan languish, I’m seeing lawnmower parents step in because they realize the consequences of missing a deadline. It’s a natural reaction, I suppose, and I know it will only get worse as we get closer to 12/31/19. The Eagle bulge of 1973/74 will be nothing compared to what happens in 2019, folks.
  21. I have a Scout in my troop who has mild autism. He is a great Scout but resisted the idea of attaining Eagle until I explained that he didn’t need to have an ECOH if he didn’t want one. I jokingly told him I could just send his badge in the mail. With the pressure removed of being in the public spotlight for an ECOH, he has now caught fire and is marching steadily forward in a very determined fashion. The whole troop loves this Scout with all his fun quirks.
  22. Yes. In any areas where guidelines differ between church and BSA, we will always go with the church rules. Regarding supervision of youth activities, the LDS Safety Recommendations say: Supervision • The size of the group, the skill level of the participants, and the degree of challenge should be considered when determining the total number of adults needed to supervise the activity. Provide a minimum of two adults for each activity. • Encourage use of the buddy system. Pair up youth to help them look out for each other. • An individual adult must never be alone with an individual youth or child during an activity or the associated travel. • Parents should be encouraged to help with supervision or transportation as needed. I will also note that the LDS Safety Recommendations are 4 pages long, and I consider the guidelines to be rather common sense in nature. LDS Safety Recommendations: https://www.lds.org/youth/activities/bc/pdfs/ym-activities/PD60004396-safety_eng.pdf?lang=eng By comparison, BSA's Guide to Safe Scouting is 116 pages long. Enough said. BSA's Guide to Safe Scouting: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34416.pdf
  23. Ah - gotcha. I took the new YPT training when it first came out, but I guess I didn't pay much attention to that point because LDS church rules already require adults at all church youth activities (including LDS Scouting activities). Given that Family Scouting is, by definition, all about including the entire family (parents, siblings) in Scouting activities, at least there is some consistency with that trend the new G2SS rules.
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