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Everything posted by FireStone

  1. Scouts UK now has a Squirrels program starting at age 4. It's only a matter of time before the BSA acts on the realization that they are missing out on this additional year of collecting dues instead of waiting until they are 5-year-old Kindergarteners. i skipped the Lions year with my daughter. I still feel Tigers is even too young. 2nd grade is the ideal minimum age to start scouting. On the original subject of cost, my Pack does one unified neckerchief for all ranks. I don't require my dens have the handbooks, everything is available online. And we don't require the uniform pants.
  2. Kids will often say they'd rather stay home, relax, play video games, etc. My son is for sure one of those kids. But I also see my son absolutely love scout experiences and activities. He came home from summer camp just so happy with the experience, saying he loved camp, that it was awesome, etc. It's not a lack of enjoyment or a preference to do other things, I think kids still genuinely love outdoor adventure and the type of fun that scouting offers. The issue for me personally (and maybe for scouting more broadly) is convincing kids (and parents) to embrace this kind of adventure, to t
  3. That confused me as well. Seems kind of odd to test mid-week if you're not testing before camp, too. Only doing mid-week testing means you aren't paying much attention to how scouts and leaders are coming in to camp, if any are actually sick. Those pre-event checklists aren't exactly fail-safe, testing is more reliable than self-diagnosis checklist forms. Especially when kids are more often asymptomatic. I'm generally not a big cheerleader for my local council, but on this issue I'm glad they implemented a pre-camp testing requirement for all council summer camps. We knew going to camp th
  4. Cubs cannot advance in rank at their own pace like in a Troop. They can only reach the rank that their current grade level allows. So Awarding rank at the end of the year (or some other predetermined time) is the way to go. Adventure belt loops and pins are the method of awarding achievement in between ranks. Scouts should be recognized for what they have achieved in a timely manner, but ranks probably are best left to be awarded together at some pre-determined time or event.
  5. It can be done. The cub camp I went to with my son required testing within 72 hours of arrival for all unvaccinated attendees. Most scouts in our Pack went to a testing clinic the day before, we can get both rapid and PCR tests done around here in under 18 hours. If they tested on Friday and arrived at camp on Saturday, the likelihood of exposure in that small window of time is very low. It's not perfect, for sure, but it helps. And I have to imagine that in some of these cases where COVID made its way into camps, pre-camp testing might have prevented it.
  6. Anyone know what their testing protocol was? They mentioned a pre-event medical screening checklist, seems that COVID testing wasn't a part of it. Probably could have avoided this if they did have a pre-camp testing requirement. I know some parents aren't happy about putting kids through the testing. But it's a reality we're stuck with right now. Either we test everyone right before camp or we end up testing everyone anyway when a suspected outbreak occurs.
  7. The funny thing is we have pretty much the ideal opportunity to sell that kind of outdoor fun right now. Parents are favoring outdoor activities over indoor because of COVID, and the BSA still encouraging the same, if you can do something outside instead of inside do it outside. I haven't held a den meeting indoors since Feb 2020. We're pretty good at getting kids outside and having fun. If only we had a National marketing campaign available to us to reach local families with that kind of outdoors-heavy message. Instead, the latest marketing materials and stock photography we have from na
  8. You're not wrong, I get it, I'm breaking rules. I'm not telling scouts that this is how I get badges or t-shirts or whatever else made. There isn't a Pack or Troop what hasn't bent some rules. Does everyone here live 100% by the rules of the BSA, every document, every code, uniform code, etc? I know that doesn't excuse it either, but it's just sometimes how we keep things moving, locally, reducing the council or national interference. As long as it's not something that goes against YPT, I'm ok with bending a rule like this.
  9. The BSA was on a path to extinction a long time ago. That path has just branched off in some random directions over the years. The current branch (the abuse settlements) might be accelerating things, but we've been in this struggle in some form for way too long. Who are we, why are we relevant today, what do we offer kids that makes them want to be scouts, what should a modern sustainable scouting program look like? All questions we've all asked and no one, not even National, has answered. I'm all out of excuses to give parents. How many years in a row can I say "Well, we're still cheaper
  10. Council staff does seem excessive. The few interactions I've had at the Council office left me feeling like there is a lot of bloat. That and they seem to not mind the appearance of being a high-cost operation. The office dress code seems to be semi-formal, suit and tie. Which for a Scouting organization strikes me as very odd and out of place. I was there once when the entire staff was headed to the conference room for a big lunch, I'm sure on the Council's dime. No one was brown-nagging it, they had ordered a ton of food from somewhere. The building was recently renovated, fancy new lob
  11. A phone is a tool, like any other, and likewise should be taught to be used appropriately. It could have a lot of uses in a scouting setting, but unfortunately many units ban them. And in some cases, as evidenced by this thread, they even cite non-existent policies to enforce a ban. I think we're doing a disservice to scouts to just say "no phones" instead of recognizing that technology is here to stay and guiding them on how and when to use it in a scouting setting appropriately.
  12. Good to hear it went well. I'm definitely looking forward to Cub resident camp next month, it will be nice to be back. Interesting (although not surprising) to hear that so many units share the same struggles and lack of district/council leadership on keeping meetings going during the shutdown. I'm less than enthused lately about many council-related topics and lack of support, so I guess this shouldn't have been a surprise either. My council comes around when they want money. When we need them, forget it. Our local Packs and Troops have held meetings outdoors and done pretty well de
  13. I don't think that is entirely compatible with the modern BSA program. When BP said that, scouting had a handful of badges, all of which were hands-on-learning/doing based, most in the outdoors. Not a lot of organic opportunities in the outdoors to earn Citizenship badges and rank reqs, Family Life, Personal Management, service projects, etc. For better or worse, the program has evolved into something where advancement opportunities sometimes have to be created, either by the unit, patrol, or by the scouts individually.
  14. I think there is supposed to be a balance, to mix the fun/adventure with the advancement program. The kids show up for both. They want adventure but they also want that next rank badge, and recognizing achievement is one of the key ingredients of the scouting method. But how to strike that balance, what the right ratio is, I have no idea and I applaud anyone who can figure it out. Likewise with the AOL part of this discussion, striking a similar balance between getting AOLs prepared to join a troop, giving them enough knowledge and skill to confidently enter Troop life but not so muc
  15. Good to see another uniform with blue epaulets and a lodge flap. Not a common sight around here. 😄
  16. I think that might work but also agree that the SM response might be problematic. If the belief is that OA takes scouts away from the troop, then a scout being in OA, by whatever means they happen to be inducted, would still be a problem with the SM. It also won't help if the SM feels that a scout went around them to get what they wanted. That said, IF this happened in such a way, it could serve as an example of how scouts can serve in OA and also remain fully active in the troop. If the SM could be persuaded to see this as a bit of an experiment, maybe that could open the door for expand
  17. That's just lazy. Chimneys are easy to start with some newspaper, kindling, etc. They're basically designed for exactly that, starting a small fire underneath and letting that burn upwards until some coals are ignited. And it's way more in line with scout-style fire starting to build a small kindling fire under the chimney anyway. I don't know why anyone would use fluid in a scout setting.
  18. I didn't like it even as a kid. And it has never been all that practical for camping. Especially the Cub uniforms with the Webelos colors hanging off the sleeve, the pins, etc. I hear local leaders refer to it as a field uniform, but that's a hard argument to make anymore when there is much more practical field attire for camping, hiking, etc. More light-weight, breathable, comfortable stuff that anyone would prefer to wear. I think the BSA has tried to evolve the shirt into more of a field-style shirt. Maybe we're just a few more revisions away from something the kids will actually like.
  19. I agree with this. I struggle with this in a variety of ways in my Pack. I think leaders and parents have good intentions trying to create the most robust cub program possible, with tons of activities, meetings, trips, etc. But it's exhausting. Five years of that and I can see how some parents probably just don't care anymore if their scout crosses over to a troop. They might even secretly hope they will ask to quit. We butt head with parents who want the entire day in camp to be scheduled. I want time for the kids to go play and the adults to sit and drink coffee. Interestingly enough th
  20. This is way after the fact but for future reference: The easiest Pack meeting we do each year is a Paper Airplane Derby. Bring a stack of printer paper, have the dens make planes and compete for distance, style, highest flyer, stunt planes, etc.
  21. Normally I'm of the opinion that scouts could do summer camp but otherwise get a break from scouting in the summer. The scouting trail can be long, no need to burn everyone out early. Take a couple of months off. However I'm making an exception this year because I'm DL for a Webelos den and covid set us back a bit on advancement and getting ready to cross over to a troop next year, so we'll be keeping things going this summer. A more recent thought I've had, actually has been to ease off den meetings in May and June because my town is big on baseball and it's really difficult to get
  22. Although it's stated in the history of this thread, I think it is worth repeating: The BSA does not explicitly ban fixed-blade knives or set limitations on blade length. On the issue of carrying a knife, fixed-blade or otherwise, that can vary depending on local jurisdictions, COs, Troop rules, etc. With the one exception being that I believe Cub Scouts are limited to use and carry of pocket knives only, at least as it is implied in Whittling Chip.
  23. They make a fair point about the name, they could change the name but still reference BP in their history and founding principles, which I hope they will do much like the BSA does. Although i kind of doubt that will actually happen. Weird that they kept the fleur-de-lis logo, which BP was responsible for in scouting. If they are so anti-BP now, the logo should have changed, too. The organization kind of seems to always be in a bit of an identity crisis. They were a mostly adult organization for a while, then became a more inclusive youth alternative to the BSA, a feature that they st
  24. Love the new shirts. I kind need a new one, not urgent but with these new options available I'll definitely go for one of these. But I'll never do the official pants. Can't stand them. I get similar green-color 5.11 pants.
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