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Posts posted by Jameson76

  1. 9 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    On a side note, I feel like BSA has been spiraling downward since they implemented OPERATION FIRST CLASS back in 1989. They made it easier to advance, moving from a "Master the Skills" mentality of the 1979 and  earlier handbooks, and "The Badge represents what the Scout CAN DO (sic), not what he has done" of the current 'One and Done" mentality found in today's Guide to Advancement. And don't get me started on the changes to OA membership over the years.

    Agree that has been part of the issue.  I would also argue the big step off the cliff for the BSA was in 1973 - 74 as we implemented The Improved Scouting Program.  Literally one was able to attain Eagle Scout at that point without ever going outside.  This moved the program so far away from it's purpose it was ridiculous. 

    The 1974 Scoutbook actually advised that if you are on a hike and get lost the Scouts should ask a policeman for directions....oh how far we slid.

  2. 14 minutes ago, elitts said:

    The idea that YPT is a feature of the program seems to be a very unfortunate, yet common viewpoint today.  YPT is certainly a critical component of BSA activities, but a "feature"?  When you start getting to a point where limitations and risk mitigation requirements are viewed as features, it's a pretty sad state of affairs.  That's like choosing a school for your kids based upon the fact that they have metal detectors, bulletproof glass and regular armed patrols in the hallways.  .......................

    .................But the notion that anything put forward as "Being for Youth Protection" should be considered sacrosanct and incontestable is a dangerous idea.  There have been plenty of pretty silly and even destructive notions put forward over the years to "protect kids" that lead me to believe that saying something out loud in an appropriate forum is clearly what's called for when ruling bodies start going overboard.  BSA doesn't really accept much in the way of user feedback beyond their surveys, so I'm left with the option of forum posts and in-person discussions with interested parties hoping that maybe I'll strike a chord in someone who actually has an official ear listening to them.

    Agree - The reason for the BSA CANNOT be YPT, that is NOT our purpose.  It is part of the mechanics of program (like Guide to Advancement) and not the reason for the program.  

    We run the program to HAVE FUN, and engage the youth to be better leaders and citizens.  Anytime I hear that our NUMBER ONE PRIORITY is to protect youth (basically holding this up as a sacred talisman and selling point), I shudder and realize someone may not fully understand the real reason for the BSA

    • Upvote 2

  3. We are doing (or planning) or own summer camp for later in July.  Not sure of all the details and not 100% sure of the protocols, but we are stepping off the porch and working the plan.  Thinking we will have +/- 20 - 25 Scouts, plus leaders

    Some of our initial thoughts

    • No group transportation, parents drop off and pickup
    • Every Scout brings their own tent
    • You can hammock but no stacking hammocks
    • Still figuring out meals, cook some, disposable items, bring in other meals (Pizza night)
    • Instruction will be in smaller groups

    We are tapping into former leaders, troop alumni, and Eagle Scouts to help as possible with MB classes and skill instruction.  Lots to do but our feedback from families showed overwhelming support for a Troop Camp this summer.

    Will be somewhat old school

    • Upvote 1

  4. 12 hours ago, Jackdaws said:

    Our troop has made the decision to cancel for week 4  at Bert Adams.  We have a couple high risk scouts and couple adult's with travel bans.   Really hope they give us a full refund. 

    Indications are they will refund all fees.  Send a note to the council and they should process quickly

    • Like 1

  5. 8 hours ago, SteveMM said:

    • Pre-arrival screening

    • Extensive on-site screening

    • Increased cleaning and sanitization in shared spaces, buildings, vehicles, and program areas

    • Large gatherings, Merit Badges and programs that cannot accommodate social distancing, campfires and chapel services, will be limited or eliminated

    • Adjustments in our dining hall operations


    These are all great intent, but they will be executed by young staff, so it may or may not happen

    The biggest challenge will be dining halls, for the larger camps it's a non-starter.  If you have 800 in camp (staff / leaders / Scouts) that is 2400 meals a day.  Assuming you cut your dining hall capacity by 1/2, which is optimistic, the camp will need to be serving cleaning in a minimum of 6 cycles daily which will be 8 to 9 hours of time needed and varying dinner times.  Maybe go all meal pickup and eat in sire

    While needed, the elimination of campfires and and assemblies will really cut into the summer camp experience.  Also some merit badge classes will have to cut capacity significantly, adversely affecting program.  Not sure there is a good solution

  6. Atlanta Area Council has cancelled first two weeks of summer camp (Week 1 - 5/30 and Week 2 - 6/7).  This is for both Woodruff and Bert Adams.

    They will update 30 days out, so I guess 5/14 for week 3 which is scheduled to start 6/14.

  7. We are in the planning stages for a Troop summer camp at a State Park about 40 minutes from us.  We may get +/- 20 - 25 Scouts.  There is a large committee to support and the park has lake, swimming beach, trail, mt bike routes, etc.

    Should be fun and will likely be about 1/3 the cost

    Our council needs to to move beyond "planning" to have camp and give a firm YES or NO.  Though honestly a firm YES is unlikely, so we may go on our own.

    • Like 2
    • Upvote 2

  8. 4 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

    Atlanta area council sent out a survey earlier.   Its where we are supposed to go.  Not a good sign.  

    They (Atlanta area council) seem to be looking to modify the program, which is why one would go to camp, so agree not a good sign.  The ones the Scouts want are aquatics, COPE, shooting and field sports, and rafting trips.  Take away or limit those, it's a challenge

    First question was very revealing, what would you do if camp is cancelled or delayed.....

    • Like 1

  9. Saw that Arizona Closed, GA / Carolina council closed. Flint River Camp Thunder will announce at 3 today.  Cherokee Council - Skymont Scout Reservation they are meeting today and should update next week.  Atlanta Area is "planning" to go ahead but is also floating the late start possibility.  Due to earlier school calendars the first week would start in 30 days.

    Philmont will update today, but no information yet.

  10. 1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

    April 20, 2020: Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania has canceled all summer day and resident camps.

    “We look forward to summer at camp as much as our girls and volunteers, but our priority is protecting the health and safety of everyone in our Girl Scout family,” said Patricia A. Burkart, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania, in a press release.

    The closure covers Girl Scout properties at Camp Hawthorne Ridge, Camp Redwing, Camp Skymeadow, and Camp Conshatawba through August 31, 2020. It applies to summer resident camps, troop and service unit camping, events, volunteer-led day camps, and rentals.

    Those who have already registered for Girl Scout camps will receive a full refund, including deposits.

    The Girl Scouts are working on developing “safe outdoor opportunities,” including virtual programs and guidance for earning badges at home. They will unveil their schedule of “remote outdoor programming” on June 1.

    More at source:


    Not discounting legitimate concerns, but I wonder if there may be more to this than just the COVID19 concerns?  Possibly the camps have been a money loser and this is the opportunity to limit losses and further move away from the outdoor program.  Then they could possibly move to the sell of one or more of the 4 properties.

    • Upvote 1

  11. 1 hour ago, SSScout said:

    Pet Peeve . . . 

    Ya ever go for a hike in the park, see the sign at the parking lot that reads "All Dogs Must Be On Leash . . .Please Clean Up After Your Dog"   and along the trail you find that folks have cleaned up after their dogs, picked up the poop in the little plastic bag, AND THEN LEFT THE BAG ON THE TRAIL . . . .

    I see that all the time and wonder...why??  You did 90% of the work...FINISH THE JOB!!

  12. 1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Reviving this one.

    I found out the other day what my council plans on doing if summer camp cannot be live: going virtual. The powers that be figured out what MB instruction be done online, and will offer only those MBs. Max class size will be 30 Scouts, and the cost will be 1/3 of the normal cost of summer camp.

    " I got a bad feeling about this."

    My experiences with this camp have not been positive in the past few years. My sons were given merit badges they did not fully complete because they ran out of supplies. Oldest got  a kit from Hobby Lobby to actually earn it. Youngest is waiting to get a kit to finish it up. (mea culpa I kept putting it off until the store closed.)

    I over heard a MB counselor state his class had earned the MB in 2 days, and they could goof off. There is no way everyone can earn Canoeing in just two days, especially when only 1/2 the class is on the water at a time due to not enough canoes and aquatics staff. It showed when the troop did a canoe trip, and B at that camp could handle the trip on calm, easy water. I would hate to have seen what would happen if they encountered serious weather like I did on my 50 miler in Canada.

    This is also the camp that did not have enough shooting sports folks, and did not provide outsidentime for Archery folks to practice outside of class.

    So many camps fall into the trap of trying to maximize profit while ignoring program

    It is really simple math

    There are X instructors and the camp has Y canoes that can each hold 2 Scouts, that means my class size is Y*2, and it takes Z hours in total to get the needed instruction.  You cannot change Z, the only variables that can change are X and Y.  

    Same for rifles / archery / etc.  For handicraft you have tables that are X feet of seating, only so many butts can be in a class

    Do the math

    On another note ----- our troop has an outline for our own summer camp roughed in, we are playing wait and see with the council.  Plans would be for later July.  Site selected and basic timetable.  We have a pretty deep bench of leaders and can stand this up fairly quickly.  Needless to say we will definitely bail if they only can offer online for a "reduced" fee

  13. Assuming the shelter in place etc is lifted sometime in the summer, there will be pent up demand to go camping, etc.  Most units camp monthly AUG - MAY, with summer camps and HA in June and July (your results may vary with geography).  As some have noted, there will likely be chances to have multiple outings in a month.  For our unit we do 9 troop outings annually (not including 2 summer camps and HA) plus a new scout outing, plus likely 1 patrol outings, and then 2 or 3 bonus small group outings.  In 12 months, not counting HA, a scout could get 32+ nights camping and 15 events easily.

    Just need a couple of leaders and some Scouts and BAM...you've got yourself an outing


  14. Dates are coming on when payments need to be made, so not sure when all the worlds collide.  Also the troops getting the fees will be problematic as all units are not meeting.

    Lots of moving parts and as the current "social distancing" will not be lifted until maybe May 1 (+/- a few days) that only leaves 5 to 6 weeks to get everything in gear.  That means staff disengaged from Schools etc and on-hand for camp, maybe completion of hiring the staff, filling staff holes with folks that were going to but due to circumstances but will now not be able to be there, etc etc etc.  Also camp schools that certify staff have likely been delayed.  Many of the typical bureaucratic BS stuff will need to be cut back so camps can run.

    Tough calls that will have to be made.  Local troops can likely stand up a camp much quicker for a week on their own than a council can for multiple weeks if rules are not updated to conditions.

    • Upvote 2

  15. 23 hours ago, Dixit said:

    Anyone heard from any lodges about changing unit elections to allow virtual elections if units won't be meeting in person anytime soon?

    Why not?  I am not versed in the minutiae of elections but this may fall under the broad auspice of contracts that assumes "That which is not specifically EXCLUDED is assumed to be INCLUDED".  Meaning that unless they specifically note that you cannot, then you can.

    The verbiage is - 

    Before the election, the OA team must secure from the unit leader verification that at least 50 percent of the registered active unit membership is present. If at least 50 percent is not present, an election cannot be held.

    It only states PRESENT - this does not state PHYSICALLY present at a physical location.  I see no reason that a unit could not hold a ZOOM type meeting, count those in attendance, have the Scouts e-mail or text their votes.  Drive on

  16. So...assuming we (universal WE) do go to summer camps / day camps / Philmont / Seabase / Northern Tier I wonder about health forms and ability to actually get updated ones

    Many of our Scouts and Leaders get theirs updated in the Spring.  Obviously that is not happening now, and if the COVID19 abates and we return to a more normal state, what are the odds of getting in for routine annual physicals?  More of a question on next steps and looking for opinions.

    My input would be BSA just says for 2020 the forms are good for 2 years and give a date in 2021 that they move back to 1 year.

  17. 8 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    The BSA successfully lobbied to change the WV Constitution. In Nov, 2014, voters approved the amendment which allowed just one non-profit (BSA) to rent their facilities to for-profit groups.

    As far as I know, the Summit has not been financially self-sustaining as promised. 

    These are not exactly 5 star facilities.  At the surface, maybe, but it is NOT a conference center.  Actually what is expected in a "conference" center has changed substantially in the last 20 years.  Now you want to be able to fly in, easy access, good facilities, hotel rooms, great dining, maybe some offsite entertainment (Top Golf / Regular Golf / Entertainment complex) to add to the conference.

    Not sure the recovered strip mine has that

  18. 6 hours ago, SSScout said:

    And how were  the Bechtel folks included in all this?   When the Summit was being dreamed/designed/built, the story I heard (files somewhere)was that Bechtel gave (?) $25M to purchase the reclaimed strip-mine site from WbygodV and then another umpteen million for the construction, roads, infra structure etc.   How is this included, or were we misled?  

    I will not comment on the misled, in my opinion, mis-managed or mis-judged

    Yes the land maybe was provided, but costs spiraled up as the wish list was made.  Also two driving factors, and honestly cannot find the original documents, the Summit was to be paid in two main ways.  

    • Donations - which lag behind
    • Attendance in NON Jamboree years - which lag behind

    The attendance was supposed to be heavy as the typical marketing stuff, 65% of the BSA is within XX hours to drive there.  It will be the new Scouting mecca.  I know for a fact that Summit reached out to local council camps to try and get them to be a "portal" for Scouts to do High Adventure.  Scouts check in at council camps then they (and their camp fees) head up to Summit.  Obviously the councils likely have their own HA summer camp stuff and they also need the revenue, so that has not panned out.

    Combine all of that; No Control of Cost, Low Donations, unrealistic attendance...you end up $400MM in debt and no real way to right the ship.  Just kick the can and the bond debt down the road a might.

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  19. We actually discussed this at committee meeting.  Our troop is about 75 Scouts, suburban setting.  

    Decision was really no decision, just that we would keep on keeping on.  Our "do we cancel stuff" meter will be based on the local School system.  95% of our Scouts attend the public system locally.  If they were to shut down, we would follow along.  Not so different from weather stuff.  Also if the church (our CO) curtailed things, we would also pullback.

    But, as I noted to the committee, our meetings and campouts are run by the Scouts with a great amount of attention to cleanliness, hand washing, and the highest levels of sanitary conditions.  Why the CDC could take lessons from the patrols on meal prep, food storage, tent tidiness, and general cleanliness.  Our camping areas are so clean the Scouts can and in fact do eat things that fall of the dutifully scrubbed tables.  The dreaded COVID19 would not stand a chance among our urchins.

    • Upvote 2

  20. On 3/6/2020 at 12:55 PM, InquisitiveScouter said:

    Hello All!

    First post for me...☺️

    Wondering if you could help me understand something???...I see Arrow WV named in the Chap 11 filing.  When I went to Charity Navigator and pulled up their IRS 990 from 2017 (for example), it names Surbaugh as VP and Director, with reportable compensation of $624,714 (page 7 of 45).  When I check BSA National's for same year, it lists Surbaugh with exactly the same compensation (on page 26 of 111).   Any corporate finance gurus out there explain that?  Looks strange to me...

    So to build the Summit BSA formed a corp (Arrow WV).  That group sold bonds, etc to finance the endeavor.  The Arrow WV group "borrowed" funds from BSA to build the great and powerful Summit.  This amount more than doubled and donations dwindled, but we digress.  This is now listed as an asset (receivables) somewhere north of $400 million.  If Summit is worth that much, have I got a deal for you on some bundled mortgages.

    Here is an article from 2013 that highlights the impending challenger


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