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Posts posted by Treflienne

  1. @prof,  the GTA does permit a troop to limit the number of badges a scout can earn from one counselor   (and also the council can limit the number of badges a single counseleor counsels. )

    From the Guide to Advancment   ( https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/the-merit-badge-program/ )



    It is permissible for councils to limit the number of badges that one person counsels.


    The National Council does not place a limit on the number of merit badges a youth may earn from one counselor. However, in situations where a Scout is earning a large number of badges from just one counselor, the unit leader is permitted to place a limit on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor, as long as the same limit applies to all Scouts in the unit.


    • Upvote 1

  2. 1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

    But, I'd rather see 1 troop of 25-30 girls than 5 troops of 5 girls.

    I agree.    Currently we have a little over  a dozen scouts,  drawn from three towns.  And we have reached out to the packs in three more adjacent towns, so that they know that their girl cubs have a troop waiting for them.      Is it great to need to drive 15 minutes to the neighboring town to go to scout meeting?  No, but it sure beats having to start of new troop and then only having 5 girls,   or not being in a troop because you cannot find 5 girls in your town.

    Eventually,  if we grow too big,  a group could split off to start a troop in one of these other towns,  but I think that will be a good while yet.    We are not in as densely populated an area as @Cburkhardt

    On the other hand,   if I lived way out in the country,  and if the local GS/USA troop was, unfortunately, not as terrific as the ones in @qwazse's town,  I would think that a five-scout troop for girls,   supported by the local boy's troop,  might be a lot better than no scout troop at all.

  3. 1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

    ya'll sound as if you've never been on a Boy Scout camp out

    I've heard some stories from the scouters of the boys' troop, about sanitation (or lack thereof) especially surrounding meals and food prep.   And the girls in the girls' troop have heard some of those same stories.  And some of the girls have been quite vocal about being glad they were doing things separately.

    There is really great quote:



    And what do you get when you take a group of girls and drop them into an institution that’s got a century of experience being the boys’ club of boys’ clubs?

    You get a group of girls.


    from this article: https://www.ncregister.com/blog/jenfitz/how-the-boy-scouts-are-teaching-girls-about-true-womanhood

  4. 1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    Hand sanitizer is a quick way around the problem, but it really isn't a substitute for actual washing with soap and water.

    I agree.   I meant have both available.

    1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    provide a way to dry hands, towels are environmentally friendly, but paper towels are more effective at reducing bacteria

    Ok,  I am not familiar with Cubs,  but from my experience with Brownie/Junior girl scouts:

    Paper towels are a problem.  The kids go through a lot rapidly.  And then you have the garbage piling up, and, worse, blowing away.

    Most of the time the kids are fine with waving their hands dry.   (And, in warmer weather, the kids are fine just drying their hands on their shirts, so there is no problem.)

    If you insist on towels  -- each kid can bring his own bandana to dry his hands on.   Another possibility (which I have never actually used with kids, but was promoted at a girl scout leader camp training I attended)  issue each kid a handiwipe at the beginning of the weekend, which they keep, carry with them, and dry their hands on like they would a bandana.


  5. 1)  Hand sanitizer pump bottle located right outside the latrine.

    2) For actualy hand washing, you could use something that will let water trickle out,  but not too fast lest you be needing to refil it too often.     You can improvise homemade stuff (milk jug, with hole poked in side near bottom, with golf-tee plugged into hole) but in my experience those tend to be finicky.     You can also use something like this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005S4LOYY - a beverage dispenser -- this one does not have an air intake, so the water tends to trickle out slowly, which is a plus for the handwahsing. 

    A quick web search turned up a picture of the classic improvised version:



    • Upvote 1

  6. Good.  So I am not crazy to want the scouts involved in the process, and not to want the committee to set a budget and decide spending with no scout input.   (I am still rather uncertain about how many non-BSA ideas I am bringing along from my girl scout background.)

    @qwazse, thanks.

    The rest of you:  any more suggestions for best practises as to how to involved scouts in the process?


  7. Time for a new topic:

    To what extent are scouts involved in making the troop's budget?  To what extent are scouts involved in spending decsions within (pre-made) budget categories?

    What have you seen (and how well has it worked)?
    What do you think is the ideal?
    What have been the major schools of thought on this subject?

    Obviously some expenses are mandatory if you want to be a scout troop (rechartering fees) and ought to be included in any sane budget.   Other expenses I cannot imagine dropping (patches for ranks, merit badges, etc).  

    But there is a lot of stuff that is rather discretionary:  buy cakes for COHs and pizza for PLC meetings (some troops do)?  how much to devote to buying equipment?  

    Do the scouts have a lot of say, or little say, in the budgetting/spending process?   And which scouts?

    Last year the troop had no money and no budget -- so we are starting from scratch here.  Both in terms of building a budget, and in expectations for how much the scouts are involved in the process.  It would be nice to have a broader perspective than simply that of the boys' troop of our same CO.




  8. Slightly different perspective here:  brand new unit,  brand new scouts,  brand new scouters.   The JTE came across as a helpful handy list of things troops should generally be doing.   Even to someone new like me, it was obvious that a high JTE score deesn't guarantee a terrific unit -- but rather that if there are areas in which a unit scores really poorly,  it is worth considering the reasons why.


    • Upvote 3

  9. 2 hours ago, Hystrung said:

    I am on the fence about the new choice of fabric for the ladies shirts.

    Don't forget ebay.  That gives more options of shirts available a few years ago -- such as nylon.  People in my troop tell me that the polyester-microfiber shirt snags too easily.  Of course these particular scouts, who are telling me this, would be capable of snagging almost anything.

    • Like 1

  10. 26 minutes ago, Saltface said:

    But even still, that doesn't make this program unequal. If anything it has done the opposite, the local budgets for boys have been decreased to parity with that of the girls.

    This is a complete aside.  But one of the things that really struck me, coming from GSUSA into BSA was how much more the boy scouts had in the way of resources that the girls scouts.  Money?  Local BSA troops seem to be sitting on back accounts with thousands of dollars in them.  The GSUSA troops start and end each year with no money.  Resources:  The BSA camp has motorboats, kayaks, canoes, new-looking life jackets, bicyles,  rifle range, a fancy archery range, etc, etc, etc.    The GSUSA camp has battered aluminum canoes,  faded old orange life jackets, and a small shed containing a few bows for archery -- and this is one of the premier camps in the council.   I have just been astonished at much money boy scouts appears to have. 

  11. 1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    Interesting ideas here.  I had to do a bit of research to figure out what the heck "Three Sisters" meant, then more research to figure out what the heck "pottage" was, since it's not exactly something that comes natural to my kitchen.

    "Three Sisters" refers to the Native American practice of growing corn, squash, and beans together in the same plot, or mound. "Pottage" was a thick stew made in medieval times, consisting of veggies and grains with little or no meat. 

    I guess that in your part of the country, the schoolkids don't all take field trips to Plimoth Plantation.  Around here its hard *not* to know what the "Three Sisters" and "pottage" are:

    Plimoth Plantation's explanation (for kids) of how the three sisters were grown:


    And see the sobaheg recipe:


  12. 6 minutes ago, Thunderbird said:

    Scouts who take longer than a month to earn Scout rank typically have difficulty with

    For us the sticking points were

    a) patrol identity stuff (name, yell, etc).   When a new patrol is formed it takes the patrol collectively a while to reach consensus on a good name.   So for a number of our scouts this was the sticking point.   (But scouts who joined later had this really easy -- the flag was already made,  the current scouts were really enthusiastic about their yell . . .)

    b) the cyber chip -- scheduling the opporunity to teach other scouts

    c) the cyber chip -- the contract with one's parents about electronics usage. 

    • Upvote 1

  13. 9 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

    Possibly consider limited sign-off authorization for specific types of requirements: for example, let a trained Outdoor Ethics Guide sign off on any of requirements identified as "Outdoor Ethics" (and perhaps those identified as "Nature"). Similarly, it might be that you want to let scouts who earned Lifesaving MB sign off on water rescue requirements, scouts who earned First Aid MB could sign off on first aid requirements, etc.)  Not sure if this is logistically wise or overly complex, but it's a thought I've tossed around. I guess it depends on size of troop, leadership skill level of scouts and adults, etc. 

    I'd like our troop to make the transition to youth doing the sign-offs.  The question is which scouts and how soon?

    None of our scouts are first class yet,  but different scouts have different skills.

    Could the scout who did the Pioneering Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the knots?
    Could the scout who did the Lifesaving Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the swimming?
    Could the scout who completed the LNT trainer course be approved to sign off the LNT-related requriments?
    Could scouts who have done the First Aid Merit Badge (or WRFA) be approved to sign off on the first aid requirements?
    Could the patrol leader sign off on Scout Rank steps 1-5?

    Or does this sound crazy, since none of these scouts are first class yet?

    • Thanks 1

  14. 3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    Back in the 60's, most troops required that scouts earn Tenderfoot as a prerequisite for  their first campout. 


    3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    IMHO, the whole "Scout" rank/non rank is unnecessary confusion for a non-existent problem.

    But the "Tenderfoot" rank of the 1960s is, in content, more similar to the "Scout" rank of today than it is to the "Tenderfoot" rank of today.  That is,  today significantly more is required for the Tenderfoot rank that in former years.  Actually, one can argue that today's "Scout" rank is a marginally more difficult rank than the 1960s "Tenderfoot" rank. The only things in the 1960s Tenderfoot rank that are not in today's Scout Rank are the requirments about the uniform, the flag, and the clove hitch.  And today's scout rank has a number of things not in the 1960s Tenderfoot rank. 

    From the history of rank requirments, http://www.troop97.net/pdfbin/bsa_ranks.pdf helpfully brought to our attentions by @HashTagScoutswe have the 1965-1970 Tenderfoot


    Very minor rearranging & slight adjustments (1965):
    1 Know Scout Oath, Law, Motto, Slogan.
    2 Give Scout sign, salute, & handclasp.
    3 Describe Scout uniform & when to wear it.
    4 Describe Scout Badge & explain its meaning.
    5 Describe US flag & flag history, when to fly it, how to hoist, lower, display,
    fold, salute it. [Pledge of allegiance now assumed as part of Tenderfoot
    6 Whip a rope. Tie square knot, sheet bend, clove hitch, two half hitches,
    bowline, taut-line hitch.
    7 Understand the Outdoor Code.
    8 Give your patrol name & yell; describe the importance of the patrol in your
    Scout activities.
    9 Explain what to do to earn Second Class.


    SCOUT Rank Requirements
        1a.    Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan. In your own words, explain their meaning.
        1b.     Explain what Scout spirit is. Describe some ways you have shown Scout spirit by practicing the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.
        1c.      Demonstrate the Scout sign, salute, and handshake. Explain when they should be used.
        1d.     Describe the First Class Scout badge and tell what each part stands for. Explain the significance of the First Class Scout badge.
        1e.      Repeat from memory the Outdoor Code. In your own words, explain what the Outdoor Code means to you.
        1f.     Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain its meaning.
           2.      After attending at least one Scout troop meeting,do the following:
        2a.      Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership.
        2b.     Describe the four steps of Scout advancement.
        2c.     Describe what the Scouts BSA ranks are and how they are earned.
        2d.     Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned.
        3a.      Explain the patrol method. Describe the types of patrols that are used in your troop.
        3b.     Become familiar with your patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell. Explain how these items create patrol spirit.
        4a.      Show how to tie a square knot, two half-hitches, and a taut-line hitch. Explain how each knot is used.
        4b.     Show the proper care of a rope by learning how to whip and fuse the ends of different kinds of rope.
         5.      Tell what you need to know about pocketknife safety.
         6.      With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide and earn the Cyber Chip Award for your grade.
         7.     Since joining the troop and while working on the Scout rank, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.


  15. 3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    IMHO, the whole "Scout" rank/non rank is unnecessary confusion for a non-existent problem. Every kid who joins is a scout. Skills mastery was demonstrated by doing and not assumed absorbed from x number of campouts/overnights.

    I don't know that the name "Scout" is the best choice.  But the content is a helpful preliminary orientation.  The focus is on understanding how being a scout works:  (scout oath, scout law, "four steps of Scout advancement", what ranks are, what merit badges are, how scouts provide leadership in the troop, the types of patrols in your troop, etc, etc.  And of course going throught the YPT pamphlet with ones parents.)   There is very little in the way of outdoor skills. (3 knots, whip and fuse rope, "tell" about pocketknife safety.)   

    So later on when the scout wants to be signed off the very first time they, with help, stumble through a skill activity,  one can ask them whether they remember the "four steps of Scout advancment" in which "You learn" and "You are tesed" are separate steps.

  16. So I have a scout who hates the name "Tenderfoot".  This scout had a lot of camping experience before joining BSA and does not feel like "Tenderfoot" is an appropriate term -- since using the broader meaning of the term, a "tenderfoot" is someone who is inexperienced in the out-of-doors.

    Thanks to @HashTagScouts for that ready reference to the history of rank requirements.  Back in BSA early days, 1910-1911, "Tenderfoot" was a very basic rank:  Scout Law, signs, salute; a little flag knowledge.; four knots.   If you go further back,  Baden-Powell in Scouting for Boys in 1908 said that “A Tenderfoot is a boy who is not yet a scout”.

    It seems odd, indeed,  that first one becomes a member of BSA, then one becomes a "Scout", and only after that does one become a "Tenderfoot". So I would propose (not that there is any chance in the world that BSA will change) the following:

    1.  Upon paying the registration fee and turning in the required paperwork, the kid becomes a "Tenderfoot", that is someone who has not yet learned those things that even the lowest ranked "Scout" should be expected to know.  No rank badge.
    2.  The first rank to be earned is, as now, "Scout".  All the same requirements and same rank badge as current "Scout" rank.
    3.  The next rank up, while retaining the its requirments and rank badge is renamed to be "3rd class scout", instead of "Tenderfoot"

    This would restore the sense of the tenderfoot being a kid who is not yet a scout, and the tenderfoot being the least knowledgeable kid in the troop.


    • Upvote 2

  17. 1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    Sure does beat the cost of an EZ-Up

    Spare tarp from someone's garage that they had used a few times for raking leaves.   Spare tent stakes from someone's basement.  Someone else donated some ropes.   All the troop needed to buy was four scout staves -- two lashed together for the front pole and two lashed together for the rear pole.

    And when you don't need the dining fly, the scout staves can be used for other purposes.


    2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

    So, if a group is "good" for helping youth develop their own leadership dynamics via "the patrol method", why are groups of friends viewed as a "bad thing" in other contexts?

    There was a story today on NPR about a school that is battling "cliques".  That made me wonder how those "groups of friends" differed from the "groups of friends" we promote in scouting...

    I think that one big difference is the attitude towards newcomers or outsiders.   The term "clique" is often used of groups that exclude or heap scorn on outsiders or on those who do not measure up to their standards.  (For girls it might be:  not stylish enough,  not thin enough, not rich enough, haven't lived in town long enough . . .)

    A group of close friends who is friendly and welcoming to newcomers would not merit the derrogatory term "clique".    For a patrols,  the practical question is how well do they treat new patrol members.  Are the scouts truly being "A friend to all, and a brother to every other scout"?   (Or "sibling", if the girls prefer that terminology.)


  19. 1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

    cutting raw chicken

    Yup.  It's that raw chicken that I am concerned about.   Even if you keep the raw chicken well isolated during food prep, you still have raw chicken on the cutting board and the knife.   That meal, when you wash dishes, you make sure you wash the chicken-contaminated stuff last,  so that no one's personal dishes are contaminated with raw chicken.   But by the end of the dishwashing, all the dishpans are contaminated with salmonella (if you ignore the sanitizing rinse.)  So after meal #2, when you wash dishes, all the scouts personal dishes become contaminated with salmonella.  So at meal #3, everyone has salmonella to eat.

    As much as I believe in letting the scouts figure things out, the point at which the raw chicken seemed to be on the verge of spreading was the point at which I stepped in to give some specific directions.

    1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

    No matter how well the cooking implements were cleaned, failure to follow safe serve food prep makes any cleaning regimen futile. 

    I agree.   But still, failure to properly wash dishes (and properly sanitize your dishpans) is also a source of trouble.

  20. 1 hour ago, TAHAWK said:

    I am reminded of the debate at a National Jamboree between the "professional" "supporting" health and safety about safe dish-washing, the head volunteer Gold Hat having run off.  The "professional" had a BA and, doubtless, Camp School training.  On the other side was a fellow with a  Phd in Microbiology.  In later years, he was a top executive at the  World Health Organization, specializing in E. coli.  While in Switzerland, he was selected as a lecturer in biotechnology at the Haute Ecole Specialier.  The Camp hospital was filling with E. coli dysentery cases.  The Virginia Department of Health would come to threaten pulling the permit for the Jamboree over illegal dish-washing practices.  But what did Doctor  Horsfall know compared to a "professional."?  We WOULD put the chlorine in the second, and final, hot rinse!

    In the end, B.S.A. capitulated to the Health Department's ultimatum and distributed third washtubs to all Jambo troops for the legally required final, tepid sanitizing rinse - although it took over fourteen years to change official B.S.A. practices.  (Our two troops already had and were using the third tub and had no dysentery cases, mere volunteers us.  Horsfall had presented at our Roundtables years before, being from our area, so we knew the proper practice and ignored the Handbook practice.)  (Some printings of the 12th Ed. relapsed into error a few years ago, but it was corrected - all with no announcement.  The 13th Ed. is incorrect.  Like the incorrect illustration of the tripod lashing that has come and gone in BSA publications for almost sixty years, error has a high survival quotient [13th Ed. illustration is correct. 12th Ed. illustration is incorrect.].)

    How I learned to wash dishes as a kid was camping with the Girl Scouts: the three dishpan method, third pot containing a bit of bleach.  GS reinforced this when I took their leader training earlier this decade.

    Then I joined BSA, and bought the latest fieldbook being sold at the scout shop, and saw that it had (5th edition, p92) the bleach (or other sanitizer) in the second pot, not the third pot.

    It seemed a little odd, but I thought that I had better do things the BSA way now . . .  So my troop did this on their first outing.

    Then I saw that the BSA handbook (14th edition p308) puts the sanitizer in the third pot.  Makes much more sense, and I'd much rather the scouts do this.  Trouble is, my scouts aren't convinced and having conflicting literature does not help.  See, for example, Bryan on Scouting in 2017 https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2017/03/30/how-to-wash-dishes-at-campsite/

    Do you a good reference to a public health department that mandates the sanitizer in the third and final pot?  Or to you have any BSA literature repudiating the former sanitzer-in-second-not-third-pot practise?  I'd like it to seem to my scouts more than just my arbitrary say-so in directing the scouts to follow one piece of scout literature versus another and put the sanitizer in the final rinse.