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FireStone

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FireStone last won the day on February 18

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About FireStone

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    USA
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    Eagle Scout & Den Leader

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  1. FireStone

    NATIONAL POLICY: AOL and Crossover Ceremonies

    I'm convinced there is a way to maintain that same allure without the NA references. Plenty of groups already do this, although sometimes in ways that are far from scout-friendly (think secret societies). What is often so interesting about these kinds of things isn't their accurate depictions of cultural references. It's the ceremony itself, the unique presentation, the costumes/regalia, etc., which often times are unique to the group itself. Some were derived from rituals and/or regalia of other cultures, but they often bear little resemblance to them anymore after evolving over time. I know it's kind of a weird comparison, but I mention it here if only to suggest that if it has worked elsewhere, it might work here. I'm convinced that the OA could create symbolism, ceremony, and regalia unique to itself. It wouldn't be easy, and it would require some serious creativity on the part of many members to develop materials, but it's possible.
  2. FireStone

    NATIONAL POLICY: AOL and Crossover Ceremonies

    Definitely seems like the beginning of the end for NA ceremonies all around. A phased-out approach.
  3. FireStone

    NATIONAL POLICY: AOL and Crossover Ceremonies

    Throughout this whole thing I've kept thinking there's no reason we should have to drop ceremony from the OA entirely. It just needs to change, and maybe not all that much. To me, the mystique of the ceremonies was always the draw. We leaned heavily on the Native American themes, but you could create that same vibe with other themes. Not every club, organization, "secret society", etc that uses ceremonies uses cultural themes, and they still manage to create a similar vibe as OA without them. I don't know exactly what this would look like, what our new theme could be, but I feel like it's possible to keep the ceremonies and do it in a way that doesn't infringe on any particular culture. Just need to put some thought into it. One thing I hope folks keep in mind is that not everything is "cultural appropriation". I've heard comments about images of arrows and tomahawks being appropriated, but those tools were never exclusively Native American. Other cultures globally used similar tools historically, some probably before Native Americans. I think there are only a few key pieces of NA culture that we need to be respectful of and avoid using, but some of the OA program and symbolism is already well within the bounds of being culturally neutral.
  4. FireStone

    Blue & Gold cost

    Yes.
  5. FireStone

    #Trashtag Challenge cleanup

    I'm not sure what you mean by "leave the kids out of it". Leave them out of the social media aspect of it? Or leave them out of the photo?
  6. FireStone

    #Trashtag Challenge cleanup

    Who says that's not what is already happening here? A leader could post a photo with that hashtag and leave the scouts out of the discussion entirely.
  7. FireStone

    #Trashtag Challenge cleanup

    Part of our membership numbers struggle is public relations, and making people aware of what scouts do. Like it or not, informing the public about scout activities, accomplishments, and service to the community is important. If someone undertakes a service project entirely for social media posting, obviously that's the wrong motivation. But if it happens that there is an opportunity for some good PR while doing something positive, I see no issue with taking advantage of it. We often invite the press to scouting events, Pinewood Derby, etc. This is just the modern day version of that.
  8. FireStone

    Potential loss of COR

    Where does she currently manage things like advancement? Is she the only person with access? Kind of unusual that in a whole troop there would only be one person tracking advancement records in Scoutbook or something like that. If she hypothetically left and handed over nothing, you'd still be ok. It might take some digging but you'd be able to get access to your unit records with Council. Same for anything charter related, rostering, dues payments, etc. Keys can be replaced. This might be a headache in the shirt term but it will be a blessing in disguise long-term. Once you get access to what you need, whether from her or Council, I'm sure you won't make the mistake she did and keep it all in one place. Get a bunch of people signed up on Scoutbook to share the advancement tracking. Get any key logins/access shared among your core leadership to help manage everything. It will be fine.
  9. FireStone

    Irate potential cubmaster

    Thanks for the update. It's not surprising that the background check came back with problems. It was hard to imagine he wasn't avoiding it, with so much time having gone by and it was still not done. Hard to imagine someone isn't trying hard to avoid a background check when they act like that. This still seems like a massive failure at the district and council level to adequately support the Pack in this. You essentially had an unregistered, non-background-checked adult pretending to be a CM. And seemingly refusing to allow a background check. That should have been a huge red flag for everyone, all the way up the chain. And yet it took this long to finally resolve the matter, and only really because of what happened in the guy's personal life. While it is generally true that DEs tend to be slow to action with Pack affairs, preferring to let units and COs resolve these matters, in this case I would think that this would be the kind of thing that just had to be dealt with immediately. That a Pack was operating with a rogue CM, who clearly was causing chaos among the committee and Pack operations, with known past legal issues and refusing to take a background check, how they managed to let it go on this long is baffling. For all of the emphasis we get these days on YPT, that something like this was allowed to go on for so long just defies all logic. I still think someone (probably the DE in question) should be removed from their post for failing to adequately address this and protect the scouts in this Pack.
  10. FireStone

    How many freebie meeting visits?

    There's a story that floats around my Pack about a scout from years ago who made it all the way through Arrow of Light without officially registering with the Pack. Not sure how accurate the story is at this point, could be he was registered but didn't pay dues the next year or something. Who knows. The point is, it has become a sort of cautionary tale for leaders. Make sure your scouts are properly registered, everyone is up to date, rostered in Scoutbook, etc. As for the scout in question here, I would use the dangling carrot of advancement. We do all advancement tracking in my Pack through Scoutbook now, including reports for purchasing awards/badges/pins. If a scout isn't registered, they don't have a number and aren't fully entered into Scoutbook, nor can we generate the report needed to buy advancement awards at the Scout Shop. I would leverage that to persuade the parents to officially sign the kid up. Just say, "We'll be handing out awards/badges/belt loops/whatever next week and your son/daughter has been participating but can't receive their award because they're not in the system yet. Let's fix that."
  11. My daughter is 4, going on 5 this year, and she's skipping the Lion year. I don't see the point of it, and it will only contribute to burnout, possibly hers, more likely mine. Maybe this is a little selfish, but I don't want to learn the Lion program and end up running it, which I will since I'm already a DL and I'm sure I'll get pulled into that role in the Lion den too. So I'd rather just skip that whole year. And I doubt my daughter will miss much. I doubt my son would have missed much skipping Tiger, and half of his Wolf den was first-year scouts, many who had older siblings and knew Tiger year was a waste. I'd skip Tiger with my daughter too, but she's already too aware of Cub Scouts and I have a feeling just skipping Lion will be about as much of a delay as she will let me live with. I just watched a bunch of really anxious Webelos cross over to troops last week, and they could not have been more ready. They were tired of the Cub program, ready to move on. And they didn't do Lions, I don't know how many did Tiger. I'd be willing to bet a lot of those kids wouldn't have been crossing over if they had spent an extra year in Cubs earlier on. We had 3 Webelos not even show up to cross over, they already basically quit earlier in the year. Tiger burns kids out on Cubs but many still make it all the way through. Lions will kill enthusiasm for Cubs by the time these kids are in 3rd or 4th grade. Parents? They'll be done even earlier.
  12. FireStone

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    I discovered my career because of the BSA. And it has nothing to do with the outdoors. The BSA has been in the business of offering exposure to a wide variety of topics for a long time now. STEM is just the latest addition. It's certainly not "idiotic".
  13. FireStone

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    I still never thought there would be any "jump" involved, a jump in numbers or a jump-start of any kind. This is going to be a long process, rolling out the opportunities for girls and building a culture of girls in the Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA programs. That's ultimately what will drive membership increases, more girls seeing other girls doing things in Cubs, SBSA, etc. There are still a whole lot of those "Well how is this going to work?" questions on the minds of parents. I hear them often, from parents of girls who are interested but still unsure about participating. Because they haven't seen it in action yet, other than in the stock photos the BSA put out last year. Now when I do recruiting this year, I'll have girls in uniform at my open house, girls in school talking about Cub Scouts, and Pack girls in photos on my website, flyers, etc. I think that will start to resonate more with prospective new parents. We're definitely moving in a better direction. I'm better off this year than I was last year in terms of being able to speak to how this all works and potentially bring in more new girl members this year. I think if we look at a "jump start" in terms other than raw membership numbers, I'd say we're already experiencing that jump. And I still believe that the numbers jump will follow. It just needs more time.
  14. FireStone

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    National does some interesting math. Everyone knew there would be some fall-out from admitting girls, there was almost no way that we'd see any kind of increase in overall numbers. That's at least a few years out. I'd be surprised if we even see a leveling-off in a couple of years.
  15. FireStone

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    Did anyone really think we'd see that jump in less than a year? I certainly didn't. I always figured this was a 5-year minimum to get any real sense of how things would go. I never even looked at it as a "jump". It would always be a long, slow progression and a leveling-off after the early years of ups and downs.
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