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FireStone

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Everything posted by FireStone

  1. FireStone

    Blue & Gold cost

    What's a common/reasonable fee to charge parents, scouts, and siblings to attend the Blue & Gold dinner? I think my Pack is on the expensive end, but before I mention what we're charging I want to get some unbiased opinions. Let me know what your Pack charges/charged and what you think is reasonable.
  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. FireStone

    Jack Links Fundraiser Partnership with BSA

    To be fair, Trail's End isn't exactly top-shelf product either. 😂 I hadn't heard about Country Meats. Will have to look in to that one. One of my "beefs" with popcorn is the steep prices of some of the products. $25 for a bag turns a lot of heads when your scouts are trying to snag some sales outside of a supermarket where a bag of popcorn sells inside for $3. $1 product I think would sell really well. A lot of folks who pass by a popcorn table are quite happy to drop a few bucks, even without actually buying something. I think my scouts would do a lot better with a cheaper product. I could imagine a lot of people dropping a $5 bill on the table for a $1 meat stick and saying "keep the change".
  4. FireStone

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    It's sad that they're drawing these divisive lines in the sand. There are parents in my Pack with girls in both BSA and GSUSA. Are they going to make them choose? I've always been supportive of the girl in my Wolf den who is also a Girl Scout doing both activities. I ask her how things are going in GS and I'm nothing but positive about her experience and I genuinely think it's great that she gets to have 2 different scouting experiences. Now I wonder what the parents in her GS unit say, if they're as encouraging. I certainly hope so, but I have to wonder.
  5. FireStone

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    This guy is looking for you:
  6. FireStone

    "Pencil Whipping" Requirements

    The "girl scouts" thing is definitely justified in being picked apart. We all have a lot of adjusting to do to the new language of the BSA, so calling each other out on missteps I think is necessary and constructive. Not just because of the lawsuit. I cringe every time we're at a Pack meeting with girls in attendance and a leader addresses the Pack saying "boys". At the Cub level we've been at this since last summer and we're still not getting it right. This needs to be picked apart.
  7. I suspect therein lies the confusion. At a glance, buddy might sound like "2nd scout working on the same MB", but further review (like the above) clears it up. Hopefully it's just a case of discussing this with the SM to clear up the rule for all involved.
  8. I wore this patch on my uniform as a youth from probably 93-97, only taking it off to put on the JLT patch. Over those years I had pretty constant requests to trade it or sell it. To this day I think it's the coolest patch I've ever seen, although my opinion may be slightly biased. 😁 I check eBay for these periodically, and there are plenty of Allamuchy patches up for sale, but never this one. If anyone has one or ever sees one up for sale, I'd be interested in picking up an extra.
  9. FireStone

    "Pencil Whipping" Requirements

    I made the comment earlier that Scout rank is the troop equivalent of Bobcat at the Pack level. Going back to that comment, I'd add that since many Packs (mine included) bang out Bobcat in one meeting, I see no reason to be concerned about the rapid rank advancement at that level. If it continues in Tenderfoot, Second Class and beyond, sure I'd be concerned, just like I'd be concerned to see rapid completion of anything at the Cub level besides Bobcat. If it were me, I'd take a wait-and-see approach to this. Check out the next meeting, the 3rd meeting, see what's happening. Then decide if there's really cause for concern.
  10. FireStone

    First Year Scouts Should Parents Attend

    Why is it a "dumb idea"? You detailed why going to camp was good for you. But what's so "dumb" about a parent or adult leader wanting to keep their distance from their own scout, especially the first year at camp?
  11. FireStone

    Can a CO profit off a unit?

    I think that's entirely reasonable. What bothers me about Pete's arrangement is that he'd have to commit to it monthly, and assuming it takes place on a weekend that's 10-12 weekends each year that are now unavailable for other Pack activities. Even if you only needed a few scouts to work the burger stand, you can't schedule something else for the Pack that day (or weekend). Something about the money bothers me too. Can't quite put my finger on it but the idea of the CO profiting while the Pack can only ever hope to earn the flat $1,000 contribution seems off. Nothing wrong per se with a CO benefiting from being a CO. Ideally we all hope the relationship is mutually beneficial. But in this case it's just a little murky.
  12. FireStone

    Can a CO profit off a unit?

    It's weird in that this was a "gift" of $1,000 previously and now it's become a thing you have to do to get that same $1,000. It could still be perceived as completely generous and helpful to the pack/troop, but it just has a bit of a negative to it when it is presented in this way, demanding that you work for it or you won't get it anymore. If you're comfortable with it, go for it. I wouldn't do it if it were me, but only because I know it would be a challenge to organize enough scouts on a monthly basis to work the burger stand. The monthly commitment, the need to be there each and every month, that'a tough, and I'd be nervous about that commitment getting in the way of other activities.
  13. FireStone

    I Was Against Girls in Scouts.... But

    That's ridiculous. I run recruiting for my Pack and I'd quit the job in an instant if my district wanted that much control over how we recruit. Guess I'm lucky. My DE showed up at our last recruiting night and the only time he talked to me was to just say that he was impressed with what we were doing. Beyond that he watched from the sidelines and that's exactly where a district rep belongs at a recruitment event.
  14. FireStone

    PW Derby Car from past year

    That sounds like what the Pack in the original post did, essentially add time to the cars so that it becomes difficult for them to win. Cars still run, kids still get to see their car on the track and cheer on the races, and the only difference is that the end results will basically eliminate those cars either through disqualification or penalty time added. Interesting that it seems to have 2 entirely different effects between Packs. Yours seems fine with it, while for @karunamom3 it caused a lot of distress. What else I'd suggest beside what I already posted earlier here is just what I intend to do next year in my Den (and possibly Pack-wide): Make it abundantly clear that there are rules, they must be adhered to, and that there are some key things that could lead to absolute disqualification. I get feeling (from this forum and from what I observe in my own Pack) that far too many parents are aware of the rules but seem to think that they won't be enforced. This is something I want to make sure is clarified; there are rules, and ignoring them means your scout's car will be disqualified, without exception. In the case of karunamom3, I'd make it clear that a new car must be built every year. Not a disassembled car from last year. You have to open a new kit and use those new car parts to make the car. One of the things I'll say here that I definitely wouldn't say to the parents in my den or pack is that in reality, there's little chance we'll know if someone uses a pre-bought kit. If the parts are official BSA parts, how would we know that some guy on eBay made the car? But that doesn't mean I wouldn't still try to make people wonder if we can figure it out somehow. 😁 A parent's fear of getting their scout disqualified is often enough to keep them from doing something that is against the rules, even when they think they might be able to get away with it. As long as it is plain and clear that there are strict rules, and they will be enforced.
  15. FireStone

    Lot's of questions

    You're 100% right, and if I seem at all flippant in my attitude about "we'd be looking for a new troop", that's a fair assessment. But also, going back to my previous comments, I think being in an environment where advancement is blocked or delayed unnecessarily just because of some troop culture, that's just as damaging as uprooting a scout, maybe more so. My experience as a youth makes me think that's accurate. I knew a lot of guys that quit, my troop dwindled in size over the years to the point where while I was in college it folded entirely. Meanwhile other troops in town flourished, and (maybe coincidentally) those troops were the ones with no added restrictions on advancement, scouts went as fast or as slow as they wanted to. And again, talking to guys from my old troop, many of them have a negative view of their scouting experience and aren't active today with their kids. So absolutely, switching troops is tough on the scout involved. But is it worse than staying in a troop environment where they aren't having a good experience? And although in a perfect world we'd be able to change the troops and leaders who create these barriers, let's be honest, that rarely happens. Even in cases where we've seen councils intervene, often times leaders don't change and the old troop culture still remains. And in some cases the scout (and their family) who raise the issue are labeled as troublemakers and their experience gets even worse. I think you're right to suggest that I might be overlooking the impact on the scout when a change in unit is the chosen path. But I also think it's much harder than it might seem to change the culture in a unit where they have theses sometimes long-standing unofficial rules about advancement.
  16. FireStone

    First Year Scouts Should Parents Attend

    One of our local troops has a hard rule on this: No parents at summer camp for any first-year camper. Doesn't matter the age, if this is the scout's first time at summer camp, no parent of that scout can attend. Of course with exceptions only for any medically required or otherwise necessary situations. But generally, unless a parent can show a real definitive reason they must be at camp, they're not allowed.
  17. FireStone

    Lot's of questions

    I'm not sure that's the correct analogy for Scouting. At some point long ago the BSA made a conscious change from a "proficiency" system to a "merit" system. We no longer require a show of proficiency in a skill after the requirement is signed off. I get your point, that the unit should create opportunities to use the skill, hence reinforcing memory of said skill and retention of it. But I don't think it's a shortcut to quickly learn what is necessary to satisfy a requirement and get it signed off. Maybe it's not the ideal method for Scouts to learn and retain these skills, but by the book, it's what we've got, and we can't hold it against scouts that this is not a "proficiency" program.
  18. FireStone

    Supplies

    When I was a Tiger den leader we made Altoids tin first aid kits. Which was good for limiting what could go into them and also kind of fit the age of the group appropriately. Tigers really can't do much first aid beyond learning how to use a Band-Aid, so that's mostly what went into the kits. I got parents to chip in to buy supplies. $5 per scout covered more than enough stuff. I asked scouts to bring their own container/tin, but I bought a few extra just in case.
  19. FireStone

    New Troop Open House

    I run recruitment for my Pack and we did an open house with a camping setup back in September. We used the gym at our CO and set the room up with tables in a "U" shape. Scouts/families come in one door, proceed to table #1 (Pinewood Derby building demo), table #2 (fishing gear demo, with glass jar of worms in dirt, which was a huge hit), table #3, and so on, 7 themed tables in all and then a sign-up table at the end. In the center of the "U" of tables we had our indoor campsite. Tent, chairs, sleeping bags, fake campfire (foam logs and rocks made by a leader, fake flame on top with one of those light/fan fake fire things). We used an old tent because as expected, the kids wanted to climb into it and it took some abuse throughout the event. Overall it was a huge success. We doubled the size of our Pack that night. One of our district execs came out and he told me he's never seen a recruitment event like ours. The goal was to bring some of the "adventure" indoors, show families what we do, as best we can show it in a gym at night. I think it worked. I will plan a few things differently next time (I'd still like to figure out an easy way to serve smores without making a colossal mess), but we are already planning to repeat this event with the same format next fall.
  20. FireStone

    Lot's of questions

    I grew up in a unit that kind of shamed other units who allowed fast advancement. The unofficial troop talk was "Oh, yeah, so-and-so's troop is an Eagle factory, they let kids advance too fast." And my troop had a lot of older active scouts, which was nice, but I often wonder if we had it wrong, and should have been more open to allowing advancement at the pace that suited the scout. As an adult, I'm much more open to advancement being allowed at whatever pace suits the scout. What I learned after the fact about my unit as a youth and the other troops in town who had different advancement philosophies is that nothing really bad happened at the units that allowed more "free will" advancement. In fact, the scouts I knew who reached Eagle younger were a lot more likely to do additional things. Some took on other roles in the troop, one even went on to be a district exec. Of the guys from my troop who were doing advancement longer and later because of troop culture, not many are active as adults. In fact some I've spoken to have a sour view on Scouting today and won't put their kids in, in part because of their experience in our troop. I wonder if they had had more control over their scouting timeline and progress if the experience would have been different for them. I suspect a lot of scouts in units where they are hampered not by official requirements but more by troop culture requirements end up feeling frustrated with the experience, or with an overall negative view of their scouting days because of that. So as an adult and a dad of a scout, if my son were having these kinds of issues with troop culture dictating that he wait some additional time to get signed off on something, we'd go looking for a new troop. As a more general approach, I do wish the BSA would communicate more with units on the ground about this, as it does seem to be a common issue. Adding requirements or delaying sign-off is not approved BSA policy, and the only way it stops is if the BSA does something about it. We've seen too many cases where at the local level issues like this are brought up and nothing happens. The scout and/or parents just get labeled as "trouble" or "disruptive", and council rarely takes action. I think it's time for a more broad reinforcement of policy and encouragement of all BSA leaders to do the jobs we're tasked with doing. When a requirement is completed to the satisfaction of what is prescribed in the handbook, we should sign off on it. Period. No additional waiting, no delay. There is so much to do in Scouting, but the focus is so often on Eagle Scout, and it seems like the culture of some troops is to stretch the timeline in parallel to earning Eagle. The idea is something like "We want our Eagles to be 16 or 17." But then scouts just Eagle and age out. I'd really like to see more 14-15-year-old Eagles who then take a couple of years to do other things, earn other awards, take on other roles, etc. And by the way... the troop I was in as a youth, it's gone, closed up due to lack of interest/membership. The so-called "Eagle Factory" troop I mentioned, it's still around, vibrant and active in town. So on the longer timeline, in my personal opinion it seems to me like "free will" advancement is the better and healthier option overall in terms of maintaining an active unit and active scouting culture in town. Scouts are happier, have a better experience, and come back with their kids later in life.
  21. FireStone

    "Pencil Whipping" Requirements

    Correction: Scouts BSA unit. Heard about that lawsuit? 😄 As for the rest, as mentioned it's entirely possible that they met previously, discussed the requirements, maybe went over them and practiced. I see no cause for suspicion here. Scout rank is the Bobcat badge of the troop level. Definitely achievable after 1 meeting, especially if the scouts spent any time at all prior reading the materials and/or practicing.
  22. FireStone

    Cub Scout takes knee during pledge

    My struggle with a lot of protests is that they often leave me thinking, "What did this accomplish?" In the context of Scouting, I find myself asking that even more. Typically in Scouting we react to problems with action. That's kind of what we ask our scouts to do in all situations, take action, help out, do something. We don't protest hunger or homelessness by making a political statement or gesture, we volunteer at the soup kitchen, we make bag lunches for the homeless shelter, we collect blankets and socks, etc. Even the guy who started the whole "take a knee" movement put money into organizations dedicated to helping with racial injustice, he started a foundation to help minority youth, and he basically sacrificed his career for what he believes. I'd have to ask any scouts participating in the protest, "So what are you going to do now?" What's the next step? If it's just taking a knee to make a statement, in my opinion that's not enough to satisfy the need to do this in uniform. The standards of Scouting are higher than that. If you want to do this kind of protest in uniform, then I would expect to be able to hold you to the high standards of that uniform and ask you what action you're going to take to help.
  23. FireStone

    Cub Scout takes knee during pledge

    Fair point. I guess it also is worth considering the age of the scout, and the world view of a 10-year-old. They're still at an age where the very idea of someone being treated poorly makes them want to help and sometimes view the issue through youthfully optimistic eyes. Certainly a 10-year-old is able to understand politics, civics, social issues, etc., I'm just saying that sometimes those issues are viewed at that age in much the same way those issues are written about in school textbooks; in general terms and with very broad brush strokes, and sometimes with a sense of optimism that older kids or adults might not have. I wonder if the mood on this topic would be much different if this story was about a 17-year-old scout. Or a 20-year-old Venturer.
  24. FireStone

    Cub Scout takes knee during pledge

    Upvote for the sub-forum idea. 😅
  25. FireStone

    Cub Scout takes knee during pledge

    Not the time and place for this. We have specific requirements around flag ceremonies, tied directly to advancement in some cases. (Wolf Duty to Country #1, Bear Paws for Action #1, etc). Scouts are often known for their participation in flag ceremonies, color guard, etc. This doesn't sit right with me. And for the record, I'm politically liberal and generally ok with similar protests. This just doesn't seem like an appropriate venue and circumstance for this protest. We're not a "do whatever you want" organization. We have specific requirements to be a member, things you have to agree to and adhere to. Some of them are directly tied to flag ceremonies and procedures. We're also talking about a child here, not an adult. We can tell our scouts what to do, and if they don't want to do them they are free to leave.
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