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Posts posted by Treflienne

  1. I just redid YPT, and noticed a detail I had missed before:  On YPT final quiz questions there are explanations about the correct answers.  The explanation to Q8 said (emphasis mine) "When sleeping in the same tent, youth must not be more than two years apart in age unless they are relatives."

    I'd been thinking that I'd rather see a new fifth grade scout share a tent with her eight grade sister, rather than needing to be in a tent by herself,  and now I see that that is allowed. 

    • Upvote 1
  2. Do I understand correctly that your CO is considering not rechartering your troop?


    If that happens, will your troop look for a different CO, or will they disband?  If your troop looks for (and finds) a new CO,  is your old CO happy for you to take your camping gear with you to the new CO?   (I've heard of troops around here switching CO's.)


  3. 15 minutes ago, yknot said:

    the Type A personalities constantly over  shout the Type B personalities until the Type B's eventually leave is maybe a lesson learned for the Type A's -- be overbearing enough and you'll eventually get your way -- but then we've lost some more reserved scouts who might have actually been the more scout like scouts and better leaders.

    I'm seeing a similar dynamic in our troop at present.   Any good advice?

  4. A rule of thumb for girls:  (I used this for Girl Scout badge sashes/vests).   The mom can estimate the daughter's eventual size based on the mom's size.  Girls will typically reach full height about the same age the mom did,  by about age 13 or 14, but will continue to fill out a little width-size.   So, as a mother,  if you wear the same size you did as a college student,  try on the sash, and pick the size that fits you for your daughter.  If you are a little larger than when you were a college student, then consider sizing down for your daughter.  If you are really petite and your husband is really tall, then consider sizing up for your daughter. 

    Or maybe there is a female scout in the troop who is the size you were when you were a senior in high school -- find out what size sash that scout is wearing.

    If unsure, err or the side of too long rather than too short.  You can always shorten it later.

  5. Some things we have done since our state and council permitted the troops to start camping again:

    1) Prior resuming in-person activities the troop had a mandatory scout-and-parent-must-participate zoom presentation about the covid precautions being implemented.  Not once per trip,  but once per scout.  I think it was helpful.  At least the scouts are doing a much better job of social-distancing at scout events that the church-youth-group kids are doing at church events.

    2) No carpooling to or from camping trips.  Parents must drive their own kids to the camp location.

    3) Every scout has her own tent - no scout shares a tent with anyone (unless she has a sister in the troop with whom to share).

    4) Every scout brings her own food and backpacking stove. (Again siblings can share.)

    And of course the scouts go through oodles of handsanitzer. . .

    While I am glad that the scouts are doing in-person activities together, and are able to interact with each other in-person, albeit at a 6-foot distance, it is simply not quite the same as normal:

    I keenly feel the lack of patrol team effort in (say) food prep -- it is more every-man-for-himself (or rather every-girl-for-herself).  

    My daughter, at least, misses being able to share a tent with a couple of buddies.  These are girls that I am talking about.

    Also this year is looking to be a very expensive year for a new scout to join scouting. Not only are there the increased dues and the BSA-new-scout-joining-fee on top of the needed hiking boots, raingear, sleeping bag, and backpack.  But now the new scouts also need to buy their own tent and stove right off the bat. (No, none of our scouts was ever registered as cub scouts.)

    But it is still  a LOT better than no camping.   And the scouts have been able to do biking,  backpacking,  orienteering, etc.   About 80% of our scouts have done at least one in-person meeting or activity with the troop since we resumed in-person activities.  More than half have gone on at least one camping trip.


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  6. On 9/18/2020 at 7:14 PM, 5thGenTexan said:

    Just a hypothetical question....

    Is the training itself worth the time if a person didn't complete the ticket part?


    18 hours ago, ParkMan said:
    • building a network among other like minded Scouters and staff
    • having fun & building additional enthusiasm for Scouting

    My take:

    Yes it is worthwhile, even if you don't fully complete your ticket.

    The "like minded Scouters" and "enthusiam for Scouting" part was very worthwhile to me.

    I found it very encouraging to be among other people who were enthusiastic about the program.  And who were aiming at the goals of scouting "Citizenship, Character, . . ." with confidence in the methods of scoutings ("Patrol Method,  Ideals, etc, etc") as a means to get there.   

    This was especially true for me, since it seemed that in my own unit (and in the boys' troop linked with my unit) the adults have been all pulling in different directions.  Some are interested in being an outing club in which kids get to do exciting things which someone else lines up for them to do.  Some are interested in low drag high speed advancement . . .

    I am no longer in the role I was in when I attended woodbadge.  And I only completed some but not all of my ticket items - which were chosen to be appropriate to that role.    So I don't know if I'll be able to complete a ticket.  But I am still very glad I attended woodbadge.

  7. 4 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

    The BSA just made a play to establish co-ed Scouting.  Imagine if the GSUSA could do the same by purchasing the core program IP of the BSA.  All it would take to trigger mergers at the council level would be for the GSUSA to buy ownership of the BSA core program.  The GSUSA wouldn't have to compete with the BSA in starting a co-ed program, they could simply become a co-ed program in a matter of months.

    GSUSA has shown no interest in co-ed.  At least they have been stressing the benefits of a girl-only environment.

    • Thanks 1
  8. 15 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    When I saw the post about the new GSUSA uniforms I was struck by how much they looked like BSA colors.

    GSUSA has used a lot of different greens.   Really bright greens since around 1980.   Prior to that forest green (1960's, 1970's) and a lighter grey green (back to at least the 1940's).   (This is by memory,  I'm not checking dates.)   Earlier on they had a very brownish/tannish/olivish color.  (See https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-1930s-Complete-Girl-Scout-Uniform-Dress-Hankie-Belt-Knife-Badges-Book/184410370576?hash=item2aefb6f210:g:YlwAAOSwAhtfPaAU) But I've never seen any girl scout uniforms that match the current BSA olive green.   And now GSUSA is making pants in a color that look very Boy Scout.   It was startling.  Especially if paired with a tan badge vest - which is not far from the color of a BSA shirt.  Very startling.  (Was it deliberate?  Or were they oblivious?)

    On the other hand, describng this as a "uniform" goes too far.  The GSUSA website calls the set of new items for sale "the new Cadette, Senior, Ambassador uniforms and official apparel collection"  and the olive stuff does not appear in the "uniform" section of the shop https://www.girlscoutshop.com/GIRLS/UNIFORMS  

  9. 11 hours ago, Snowball said:

    I know friends are best, but any ideas on reaching girls who are not connected to scouts in any way.

    All of our girls were either friends of girls already in the group, or else were "connected to scouts" in some way.  That "some way" might be that a relative in a different state was in scouting.  Or perhaps a mother had been a Girl Guide in a different country, or been in GSUSA.  Or perhaps the father had been a Boy Scout in a different country.   Or the grandfather had been a scout.  That is,  many of these families already had a positive impression of the scout movement.    Don't assume that families need a current connection to BSA, or even that the father needs to have been in BSA, for the family to think that scouting is generally a positive activity for children.

    What such families to need is to realize that your troop (or proto-troop) exists.   Once we got a web presence we ending up collecting several girls from an adjacent school district (not in our council's borders) because they were able to find us on the web.

  10. 5 hours ago, David CO said:

    That's my point.  You looked for the kids.  It appears to me like most of the girl units are being formed because, for one reason or another, adults want to have girl units.  They then go looking for the kids. 

    I should have been clearer.   The initial drivers of the process were two girls (from different families) who wanted to be scouts.  These two girls then recruited their parents.  Then these two families (the "we") looked for more interested girls/families.  

    We had a group of almost ten girls/families before we had a C.O. picked out. 

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  11. 1 hour ago, David CO said:

    When I started my troop 40 years ago, we already had the kids

    To get our troop for girls started,  first we looked for the kids.   If there weren't enough interested girls, then there would really not have been much point in pressing on.

    Actually,  first,  my family talked to the several Boy Scout troops in our town,  inquiring about whether a girls troop was forming up - and there was not at that point.  Another family talked to a Boy Scout troop in a neighboring town.  The Boy Scout troops put the two famiilies in contact, and both families started recruiting girls.   The want-to-be-scouts talked to their friends.  The parents talked to their friends who had girls in the 4th-8th grade age range. . . .  The boy scout troops helped (at our request) by letting all their families know that a few folk wanted to get a girls' troop started - in case any scouts' sisters wanted to joing scouting.

    Only once it looked like there was going to be critical mass of girls, did things really start moving forward . . .

    But @5thGenTexan,  we are in a school district about three times the size of your town, so that helped.

  12. 3 hours ago, MattR said:

    But that.doesn't answer the question of how to get them in the door.


    2 hours ago, Snowball said:

    why should a girl or boy for that matter join Scouts BSA.


    1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

    #1 recruitment tool is the existing scouts.


    1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

    Best way to market is through your existing scouts. 


    1 hour ago, Snowball said:

    I agree 100% that Scouts are the best recruiters

    A few statistics from our female troop:

    56% of the scouts came because a friend or a sister was already in the troop (or proto-troop) and the scout invited them (or the scout's parents invited the prospective scout's parents)

    11% came because a brother or cousin in a boy's troop was enthusiastic about scouting.

    18% found us through the web (beascout or the troop's own website)

    The remaining scouts were part of the initial organizing group that started talking up the idea of a girls troop in town.

    It wasn't specific recruting materials that brought in each new scout.  It was the enthusiasm of a current scout.

    • Upvote 1
  13. Thanks @SteveMM I appreciate hearing your experience with a leadership project related to a POR.

    And @Eagledad,  thank you for overview of the development of leadership skills through using the patrol heirarchy.

    And thanks @DuctTapefor your examples of good use of leadership projects.

    I really appreciate being able to ask questions here  and learn from y'all's experience.

    It's better to ask a crazy question here, first, and get reactions from experienced people,  than to bring up the question first in the troop.


  14. As you all know,  Assistant Patrol Leader is not one of the listed positions of responsibility for the Star or Life rank requirement.   Yet an assistant patrol leader done well is a valuable position of service in the troop -- especially for a troop striving to well-utilize the patrol method and develop strong patrols.  Do any of you have experience with a scout who desired to serve as an Assistant Patrol leader doing a "scoutmaster-approved leadership project" relevant to his role as APL?  (The motivation, as I see it,  would be so that prospective APL's feel that they can serve in that position.)   Was that a positive or a negative experience for the scout and troop?

  15. 1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Not all units and/or councils use Scoutbook. A person could be a fully registered and valid MBC and not in Scoutbook because a) they chose not to be or b) the unit they are associated with doesn't use Scoutbook or c) their Council does not use Scoutbook as its MBC list

    That's right.  But the flip is that a person could be listed in scoutbook and not actually be a fully registered and valid MBC.   How? 

    Some council upload the council's list of merit badge counselors.  These counselor then show up in scoutbook with a blue checkmark as "Approved by NNNNNNN Council".  If the MBC has opted to be visible as a "Counselor for any Scout in the BSA" then troops from other councils can see him in scoutbook.com.

    But some councils like mine that don't upload the council's list of merit badge counselors into scoutbook.com.   To be able to connect one of our troop's scouts to one of the local MBC's using scoutbook.com,   someone needs to list that scouter as a MBC in scoutbook and upload that MBC's list of badges into scoutbook.   The key3 of a troop can do this for scouters associated with that troop;  then the MBC shows up with a green check-mark in scoutbook,  and lacking the wording "Approved by NNNNNN Council". 

    The issue is that the Key 3 of a troop could list someone as a merit badge counselor who is not actually a merit badge counselor,  and give him that green checkmark!  (How do I know this?  Someone from my troop tried it out.)   

    For us,  we rely on the pdf list supplied by the council registrar of council-approved merit badge counselors.   But we haven't dealt the issue of checking up on  out-of-council merit badge counselors yet.

    • Like 1
  16. There is a new activity log system as of,  I think, today.

    We had been using the ability in the old system to make notes about trips.  (Who slept in the cabin versus who pitched tents outside in below-freezing whether?  Who arrived late and thus did not pitch her own tent but slept in a tent her friends pitched?  etc, etc, etc)    I cannot find these notes in the new system.  Are they gone?  Are am I simply not looking in the right place.

    Paper records are looking better and better.

  17. When my scouts were picking out neckerchief colors I told them they should not pick solid red (looks like communist young pioneers)  nor solid black (Hitler Youth).   I was not really concerned about people seeing black and making a Hilter Youth connection.  (I have a troop of girls, and there does not seem to be a lot of German influence in the area in which we live.)  I was genuniely concerned about how people locally would react to girls wearing red neckerchiefs.  We have many adults in our community (including the parents of some of our scouts) who grew up in the People's Republic of China.


  18. Thank you all for helping me think this through.

    @Eagledad, you articulated one of my underlying concerns that I had not actually identified yet – I don't want this enthusiastic scout to become discouraged by being “stuck” and to lose momentum. (Thanks for clearly articulating this issue.) And I realize, that even if I were to combine these two outings and call it close-enough, I would not solve the “stuck” problem – she would very quickly bump up against the need for another troop-or-patrol tent-camping trip for first class.

    Another layer under my concern, I realized, was whether this scout was starting to count up the months left till she turns eighteen. It is not too tight a time-table, but it could be worrying to blow all one's “buffer” of time near the beginning of the process.

    So I am attempting to redirect the scout's advancement enthusiasm towards the merit badge program. There are a bunch of merit badges (including eagle-required ones) that can be done very well at home, or for which large portions can be done at home (Family Life? Personal Fitness?) For an active scout who is active in a leadership position in the troop, completing Star in four months and Life in six months should be quite doable - if the scout has already worked hard at earning merit badges while waiting to being able to do those camping trips required to complete 2nd and 1st class.

    @DuctTape,  no the scout had not asked yet, nor was she being demanding, but it was obvious the topic would come up, and I wanted to have thought through my answer in advance. Y'all's advice was helpful in the thinking process.

    @TMSM I agree with you that sleeping in a tent is really a very small part of the scout camping experience. (There is a great description by Baden-Powell in the 1929 “Scouting for Girls” that articulates the character-building (and character-testing) aspects of camping with ones fellow scouts/guides ) A “virtual” backyard camping experience, though it can be a fun light-weight activity, is simply not patrol (or troop) camping, since it does not allow for growth in “citizenship” in the same way. I attempted to explain this to the scout so that she would understand that it was reasonable not to count “virtual” backyard camping as equivalent to in-person patrol or troop camping.

    So, in short, I decided that “fudging” this requirement would be a bad idea.

    By the way, I am interpreting BSA's covid-19 FAQ as allowing “virtual” backyard camping (if well done) to count for Tenderfoot but not for 2nd Class or 1st Class. The “virtual” camping for tenderfoot does not trouble me too much – since the scout will still need two in-person camping trips for 2nd class. In other words this allowance delays but does not, ultimately, lessen the required amount of camping along the way to 1st class. So far I have no scouts in the position of asking to do count a “virtual” camping trip for Tenderfoot – they are all either far from Tenderfoot, or else have done tent camping with the troop.

    Thanks again for the advice.

  19. 14 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    no more parents as a second adult

    You can still do a parent as the second adult -- you just need to prepare in advance by proactively registering them as "reserve scouter" (which entails having them do YPT and background check).   Once they've done this,  next step is to get them to sign up as a merit badge counselor for some area in which they have skills and interest -- promising them that you will never require them to teach a merit badge class, you are merely hoping that they will be available when an eager and enthusiatic scout comes along wanting to learn about their field.

    • Upvote 1
  20. On 4/14/2020 at 4:50 PM, TMSM said:

    In my opinion campouts are not reallly about sleeping a tent,

    Hello Strangers-On-The-Internet, I'd like your opinion.

    The covid-FAQ is permitting some temporary changes to allow Scouts to complete rank requirements, despite the need for social distancing. It discuss certain specific rank requirements. Specifically concerning camping it says “Tenderfoot rank requirements: 1b - Virtual patrol or troop campouts via video conferencing will be permitted.” and “Second Class rank requirements: 1a & 1c – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.”

    Note that virtual camping is not listed as permitted for Second Class, which make a lot of sense, since a “virtual” back-yard campout is very very different that troop or patrol camping.

    Here is my situation:

    Scout joined in the fall. Went on one tent-camping trip. Has been on various day activities, two cabin overnights and an adirondack overnight, but the troop did not do tent-camping mid-winter. In March/April three tent-camping opportunities have been canceled due to covid, and I suspect our May and June trips will be canceled also.

    This scout has been camping out in her back yard and decided that the other scouts should do so to, so she convinced the other scouts that our troop needed a “virtual” camping trip. She took the lead in the organization and got the other scouts excited about it. Some scouts (including this one) slept in tents in their back yards. (A few scouts, such as ones in apartments, slept in tents pitched indoors). While the scouts had fun, this was very very different from a real in-person camping trip.

    This energetic scout has been enthusiastically ploughing her way through the rank requirements and has very very little left for 2nd class, mostly just one more “troop/patrol activity” “including overnight camping” “spend[ing] the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect”

    Here is the question. Can I combine the aspects of two overnights into one and call it close enough? On the troop trip in which she slept in an adirondack the temperature was in the upper teens (Fahrenheit), all the cooking was done by patrols over campfires, and the facilities were boy-scout-camp pit privies, and (very cold) water could be fetched from a hand pump a short ways from the campsite. One scout slept in her hammock, a couple under the stars, and the rest in the open-air very cold adirondacks – simply because it was logistically simpler than borrowing enough tents for the troop. (The scouters brought personal tents.) After that trip I regretted not encouraging this scout to find a tent to use, because of the 2nd class requirement. Because apart from not pitching a tent, this trip had the other aspects of a basic troop camping trip.

    Now, on the virtual campout she has had more tent-pitching practice, and further experience of sleeping in a tent on a troop “virtual” activity. I feel that between the two overnights, she has gained the experience and shown the skills of a typical troop camping trip. Would it be reasonable to call it “good enough”? Or would that be bending the rules too much?


  21. By the way,  I found it odd that BSA (differing from Scouting for Boys) raises the hand well above shoulder high, rather than shoulder high, for the half salute.

    Also,  I found it odd that the BSA does not accompany the scout handshake with the half salute.  Scouting for Boys, page 42 says


    If a stranger makes the scout's sign to you, you should ackowledge it at once by making the sign back to him, and then shake hands with the LEFT HAND.

    These are two areas in which GSUSA is closer to Baden-Powell than is BSA.

  22. 42 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

    What method of greeting and respect, that would be unique to Scouting, could we adopt to take its place?

    No need to reinvent the wheel, here.

    Quoting Scouting for Boys, by Baden-Powell (page 41)


    When a scout meets another for the first time in the day, whether he is a comrade or a stranger, he salutes with the secret sign in the half salute.

    And what is this secret sign and half salute?  From page 40


    . . . the scout will stand, holding his right hand raised level with his shoulder, palm to the front, thumb resting on the nail of the little finger, and the other three fingers upright, pointing upwards: -- This is the scout's salute and secret sign.  When the hand is raised shoulder high is is called the "Half Salute."  When raised to the forehead it is the "Full Salute."


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