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Everything posted by FireStone

  1. I've been asked to do a demo at a Pack meeting on how to stay comfortable overnight while camping. Tips and tricks for staying warm, being comfortable in the tent, etc. This is one of multiple "stations" at the Pack meeting, round-robin-style and I'll be working with small groups of 5-10 scouts at a time, mixed ranks/ I've done it before and gone through the usual basics, best-practices with a tent to stay dry, how to stay warm, and little tips like bring a pair of slip-on shoes/slippers for those middle-of-the-night bathroom trips so you don't have to lace up boots. My problem is that this is all very "Let me explain this to you" in format, and Scouts get antsy and lose interest. How can I make it more interactive or fun? Another Scouter suggested making it into a game somehow, but I'm at a loss for what kind of game you can make out of learning how to stay warm in your tent. Any ideas?
  2. On the back cover of the latest Boys' Life is an ad for Jack Links and their fundraising opportunities for BSA units. More info here: https://www.jacklinks.com/boy-scouts-fundraising/ Anyone tried this fundraiser yet? If so, how did it go? It seems much simpler than popcorn. One product, a $15 box that contains two beef sticks, one bag of beef jerky, one bag of original tender bites, one bag of teriyaki tender bites.
  3. Kind of a minor observation, but I sort of get a chuckle when I see US scouts and scouters so quickly switch from the tight neckerchief to the loose friendship knot style as soon as they get to jambo. And I wish they kept it that way when they got back home. I think we're a bit too tightened up when it comes to uniforms compared to many of our overseas friends in scouting.
  4. FireStone

    Bullying incident - need advice

    That's right. It's not just a scout not wanting to hang out with another scout. Bullying is intended to inflict emotional harm, or to make someone feel less-than or inadequate. So instead it would be something like a scout telling another scout that they don't belong in the troop, they should leave, "this troop is for xyz, not you," etc.
  5. FireStone

    Bullying incident - need advice

    We argued this over the recent bullying incident in our Pack, because the offending actions happened repeatedly throughout one Pack meeting, not over days/weeks/months. Some deemed it not "repeated" because it occurred during one day/event. I disagreed because the offending scout sought out the victim throughout the meeting, seeking to find her and harass her (on the basis of gender) repeatedly even when he had no reason to be around her (they were in separate groups for an activity). I guess "repetition" is certainly debatable, but context does indeed help to clarify it.
  6. FireStone

    Bullying incident - need advice

    YTP does give some helpful criteria for defining bullying. For good reason, deciding what bullying is should not be left up to unit leaders or parents. You would run into the exact problem I ran into, where some adults just chalk it up to "kids being kids". It's not as vague as would be expected from the BSA. Broadly, they define forms of bullying as: Verbal—name calling, teasing, threats Social—spreading rumors, leaving the target out of activities, breaking up or manipulating friendships Physical—hitting, pushing, shoving, physical coercion Group—intimidations, ostracizing Criminal—injury, assault, sexual aggression Cyberbullying—using digital technology such as social media, gaming, texting,etc.,for any of the above Within YPT, if I recall correctly they go into more detail.
  7. FireStone

    Bullying incident - need advice

    The BSA does provide some guidance, although some of the steps are kind of vague. They advise the following: Action Plan 1. Stop the abuse, bullying, or policy violation. 2. Protect the Scout/Youth 3. Summon assistance needed from other leaders, authorities etc 4. Take corrective action 5. Notify council Scout executive when warranted 6. Check back with the target youth to insure the problem behavior has stopped
  8. FireStone

    Bullying incident - need advice

    Bullying is a Youth Protection issue in the BSA and there are guidelines that leaders must follow when it is reported. As with all YP issues, leaders should take it extremely seriously. That said, it doesn't need to escalate to extreme discipline right away. Those guidelines start simple, with a talk. Sometimes that is all that is needed. The guidelines do suggest elevating the issue to a scouting professional at the district level if warranted. But before that, steps should be taken to stop the bullying and hopefully handle the matter within the troop to just put a stop to it. If those guidelines are not being followed, talk to someone else. But try to allow the process to play out in the troop first. I know this is a tough issue to deal with. Saying "bullying" throws up a lot of red flags and defenses as soon as it is said, especially since bullying falls under Youth Protection. I've flagged a bullying issue in my unit and it was met with a lot of resistance to even take any action. Many people don't even want to deal, they chalk it up to kids being kids and just goofing around. It's not. It's serious. And it should be pursued seriously by leadership.
  9. FireStone

    Jack Links Fundraiser Partnership with BSA

    My understanding is that we're not supposed to do this. We can't solicit donations, even when they come with a bag of popcorn. We accept donations when offered, but our Pack's resident legal/financial guru has really hammered us on never asking for money. We sell products to raise funds. I suspect that units doing meat sticks or other cheaper fundraisers see a lot more of the "keep the change" sales. I'd love to hear from anyone who has direct experience with this, how profitable cheaper items end up being in practice. The risk of cannibalizing higher-priced sales is for sure a risk. But I think an acceptable one. I really don't like the optics of our really expensive items. We're a community organization, and when we get repeated negative comments about the absurdly expensive popcorn we sell, I just wonder what the long-term effect is on how the community perceives us and if we're doing harm to the BSA brand. Popcorn doesn't raise all of the required funds for some units, additional fundraisers are sometimes needed. We do a spring fundraiser, selling yard flags. The appeal is that we can tow the line with our Council and do popcorn, but then really make a bunch of money to find Pack activities and expenses with our spring fundraiser, which is far more profitable per sale than popcorn, is easier to sell, and requires less time from scouts and families to participate in. Parents do hate fundraising, but we haven't found a way to get them all on board with hitting our financial goals so we have no choice but to ask them to do more.
  10. When they grant official licenses to companies like ClassB.com to make and sell BSA-branded goods, that message is getting a little muddy. They decide who to give a license to, and when they allow a company with a name that contradicts brand messaging to have a license, I'm thinking they're not really that serious about that policy.
  11. FireStone

    Council denies unit fundraiser

    We're supposed to get Council approval for fundraisers? 😁 We didn't get approval for our spring fundraiser, we just did it.
  12. FireStone

    Guidance on Discipline

    I'm a little confused on how the report of drug possession was basically blown off and ignored. Or was there more to it? unless I'm reading this wrong, he told other scouts he had weed, it was reported to the SM, and... nothing happened? He possibly had drugs at a scouting event, in camp, and was allowed to stay without consequence. What am I missing here?
  13. FireStone

    Eagle Scout Shown Leniency

    There's a weird thing going on in our justice system lately. This all reminds me of the case of that college kid who was given a 6-month sentence for rape because of his student athlete status and the judge's belief that he's not a danger to anyone. The idea that judges are now passing sentences based on some sort of personal belief of future life potential rather than the facts of the case is disturbing. Especially when the facts of the case, such as this Eagle Scout case, seem to suggest otherwise. The kid not only bragged about the assault but he seemed to be proud of it, based on the text messages he sent to friends afterwards. Scary behavior, certainly not anything that would make me think he'll live out the rest of his life crime-free. It says something very "Minority Report"-esque that our legal system takes into account the subjective views of judges who think they have some crystal ball to see the potential future of the accused and judge current cases based on those views.
  14. FireStone

    How realistic is it for a Cub Scout to earn everything?

    My Wolf den this past year completed 10 adventures, out of the 19 available. We met for den meetings once per month and asked scouts to complete some requirements at home in between meetings. Usually just one or two requirements, or one project for the relevant adventure. With a pretty light meeting schedule we knocked off half of the belt loops. I have no doubt that doing all 19 is entirely feasible, and honestly not all that difficult. I've heard leaders say that a den would have to meet weekly to do all of the adventures in the book, but I don't believe that to be true. On top of the 10 we completed as a den, some scouts did additional adventures on their own with parents, some as many as 3 additional adventures. So again, with a pretty light schedule, we have scouts who completed as many as 13 adventures out of 19.
  15. FireStone

    Pinewood Derby World Championship

    Anyone else at the Pinewood Derby World Championship in NYC today? My son qualified and we went for the first time. It was a fun but long day. Lots of waiting in long lines. No trophies for him or our other Pack scouts, but we celebrated with some really expensive ice cream cones in Times Square. I was honestly kind of surprised at how so many parents and scouts arrive with huge toolboxes of gear, extra parts, tools, etc. We had a backpack with a derby car wrapped in a rag. But then I felt like a real amateur when my son's car failed inspection (rule difference between pack/district and WCPWD that we overlooked) and we had to buy new wheels and borrow tools and glue from other scouts. Lessons learned: Pack more snacks and stuff to keep the kids busy, and read the rules line-by-line. At that level things get a lot more strict than at the local level, especially when it comes to wheels, if they all touch the track, etc.
  16. FireStone

    Pinewood Derby World Championship

    Yeah, but we're not going to change to a night event. Think I might test clipping a blacklight over the track. Or just put one over the "on deck" area where the cars are set up pre-race.
  17. FireStone

    Pinewood Derby World Championship

    Here's a shot of the tracks. One of the things I've been trying to figure out for our next Pack derby is how to get black lights set up along our track. We run our derby in a school gym with lots of windows, so I'm not sure it's possible at a day-time event. Been wondering if a couple of black light tubes on each side of the track would work. Now that my Pack is allowing those black-light-sensitive wheels, it would be fun to get them glowing for the races.
  18. FireStone

    Pinewood Derby World Championship

    One other quick note: The organizers of this event were great. Super helpful, generous, and ran the event very well. One thing that stood out to me, and this is purely based on my observation and not on anything I know to be factual, but I'll say it anyway. They gave awards for car designs, one category being "Most Patriotic". I remembered earlier in the day seeing a car that was just amazingly painted, stars-and-stripes done perfectly in what I can safely assume was not painted by a scout. And that car was not the winner. The winning car was a different car sporting a very well-done paint job by a scout. And one more thing... One of the staff took the mic to announce that a $50 bill had been found on the ground and was handed in to staff. Only at a Scouting event do you see that kind of thing happen.
  19. FireStone

    Pinewood Derby World Championship

    Hahah. yep, it's one of those. The majority of participants were from the local host council and surrounding areas within driving distance, but I'd call it a national event at least, though not a "world" event. On the race results screens I frequently saw competitors listed from greater distances than the NY area, including Ohio, California, Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, etc.
  20. FireStone

    Pinewood Derby World Championship

    Neither did I until my son qualified. After the district races our CM told us he could enter the World Championship and I said, "The what??" We also didn't have district races last year, so no scouts in our Pack could have even qualified. The World Championship has a rule that qualifying scouts must have placed top 3 in their rank at a district or council race. They used to actually run this event outside in Time Square, but it has since been moved into the Marriott Marquis. Which is still phenomenal, it's a huge venue, right in the heart of Times Square. I highly recommend going if any of your scouts qualify. The event this year was attended by scouts from all over the country. I heard something about over 100 councils and over 20 states represented.
  21. FireStone

    WTB Magic Tree House Reading Warrior

    Thanks for the tip. Mission accomplished, patch acquired.
  22. My son completed the recent Boys' Life Magic Treehouse Reading Warrior promotion and qualified for the patch. The email to order the patch sat in my Inbox for 3 days too long and I missed the deadline to get one for him. Anyone have any extras? I'd happily buy one, pay for shipping, etc. Or trade for some local CSPs. Here's the original promotion with a photo of the patch: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/01/31/magic-tree-house-reading-warrior/
  23. I've heard a local scouter refer to the uniform as a "field uniform", and say that it should be worn at all Scouting functions, by all scouts and scouters. "There is no Class B", he says, adding "You're either in uniform or you're not." I'm the recruitment coordinator for my Pack, and I frequently browse the BSA Brand Center for interesting photos to use in marketing materials. Not every parent wants photos of their kids used in promotional materials, fliers we distribute around town, etc., so I find the stock BSA photos to be useful for this. Browsing the latest batches of photos, I'm finding a very noticeable lack of uniform present. Under the "camping" image category for Scouts BSA, there are 52 photos, not one of them showing a Scout in uniform in the field. In fact, as best I can tell, in the entire Scouts BSA photo collection there are only 5 photos that show Scouts in uniform, and they are older images, likely to be phased out some time soon (as it seems to happen with the Brand Center, new images in, old stuff out). It's the same under Cub Scouts, most photos show scouts out of uniform, in Class B t-shirts. Under "Top Picks" for Cub Scout photos, 1 of the 19 photos shows a scout in uniform, in the background of the photo. I work in marketing, and one of the things we often say around the office is that marketing is aspirational. You don't show your potential customers what you do right now, you show them your higher view of what you do, your more aspirational ideas of where you'd like to be. One of my food science clients doesn't show photos of their actual dirty labs and equipment in their marketing materials, they show photos of super clean labs, stuff that was cleaned up just for that photo and that we then Photoshopped even further to look spectacular. Facilities are immaculate, workers are smiling, the grass outside the building is always bright green and the sun is always shining. It's a depiction of what the company wants to be, not what they actually are day-to-day. If I were to judge the aspirations of the BSA based on what they are putting out in their marketing resources, the photos they create and distribute, my conclusion would be that the scout uniform has been killed off. If these photos are any indication of what the BSA hopes we'll look like in the near future, it's a future without uniforms. Emphasis on the uniform in the BSA from the National perspective has seemed to ease up in recent years. I've even noticed the adoption of some more European trends in uniforming becoming popular at the National level in the BSA in their marketing and promotional efforts. Videos from events sometimes show scouts and scouters in casual clothing with a loosely fitted neckerchief on, tied in a friendship knot (picture how Bear Grylls typically looks in a hoodie and neckerchief). I wouldn't begrudge the BSA for killing off the uniform. I'd probably applaud the move, actually. Kids don't like the uniform (ask your kids if they'd be willing to wear their uniform to school before telling me I'm wrong about this and that they actually really love the uniform), Scouts tend to wear Class B every chance they get, sometimes even when we say Class A is required. I've actually had parents ask me, "Do they really need to wear the uniform? My son says he feels dorky in it." I love the uniform, personally, although I think it could do with a design update and modernization. But more than that, I love delivering an enjoyable program for scouts and if the uniform is something that makes them unhappy, I would be all for National doing what I think they are already doing and downplaying the importance of the uniform in most activities, or doing away with it completely. If this truly is the direction we're headed in, if BSA marketing photos are any kind of look inside the mind of National and their vision for the future, I think I'm ok with how it looks.
  24. That's a problem. Minimum 3 unrelated individuals should have admin rights to any unit social media accounts or unit website.
  25. FireStone

    When and how to ask a CM to step down

    If attendance at activities is an issue, that seems like a pretty easy jumping-off point of conversation with a CC. The CM should attend a minimum XX% of Pack events/activities (insert whatever number seems reasonable for your unit). If the CM can't fulfill that, they should step down.