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About Jeff1974

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    camping, poker, jogging

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  1. In our spring recruiting drive, I had a number of conversations with prospective parents who wanted to understand why their son would be safe in our Troop. My response was strict adherence to our rules. Expectations of rigid adherence have to start at the top, with no exceptions allowed. There is simply no reason for an adult to ever be alone with a scout. Period. In 4 years, I have only experienced one instance in which was an issue, in which a mom/adult leader, in response a new scout asking to be shown to a water fountain on a floor above our meeting room, was going to escort him
  2. Scoutmaster here with a 14 year old Life Scout/SPL who is just starting to work on identifying a project. I am seeing motivated Scouts push towards completing their Eagle requirements prior to starting high school or in their freshman/sophomore year, largely due to the academic pressure of the school, and their desire to take on additional extra curricular activities. I have been pleased to see many of those scouts continue to be active after completing Eagle. The meeting attendance is down for this group, but they are attending campouts or weekend activities. Our Troop does not
  3. Afternoon Scouters. Our Troop of 35 Scouts is now looking at returning to actual camping, after our March/April/May regular camping trips and July Scout summer camp and high adventure trips were cancelled. Our council has issued recommendations that the maximum number of participants on a camping trip be limited ten persons, including adult leaders. We are also contemplating that Scouts will tent alone, or, in the event of campsite size limitations or # of available tents, with a parent who is on the trip. Driving to and from the location is also proving to be an issue, as social distancin
  4. My council, NEIC in the north shore of Illinois, will issue its decision by 5/15. Frankly, I see no means of safely running camp or high adventure. Our Parent Committee has already determined we are not sending kids. Cautiously optimistic for troop based trips in late summer.
  5. Our Troop Committee met this past weekend. While our council's camp, or Summit Bechtel Experience, have made any definitive announcement, as a Troop we will not be supporting summer camp or high adventure this summer. We have yet to contact parents who had, pre Covid-19, expressed interest. As an adult leader that was to attend both of these trips, I simply have no comfort level in being responsible for a group of scouts 500-800 miles away from their homes, to destinations with medical facilities that are subpar from those in our own community. We all assume a heavy responsibility on thes
  6. I agree online meetings and remote learning are no replacement, but I believe they are providing some semblance of normalcy, and as many troop parents have said, reducing mindless screen time. We ran a PLC meeting on a conference line two weeks ago. Small group and somewhat manageable, for kids who have never participated in a conference call! We are trying our first 30 minute zoom Troop meeting on Monday, to introduce elections, next year's calendar, and to give brief speaking roles to some Scouts who are: (i) working on Scout/Tenderfoot with parents (and videotaping the oath, the l
  7. I have had a few ask Scouts ask about service hours, and conservation projects. Every state has different shelter in place restrictions and each Troop operates in varying population densities. Here, people are out walking their dogs at distance and the forest preserves are open. Our Troop has done buckthorn clearing at a county forest preserve in our village with a cabin used by the cub scouts and girl scouts, and a subject of many recent eagle projects the past year. If you can take a walk in the woods alone, I was thinking a parent and scout, at an arranged time, so as not to overlap wit
  8. Our Troop camped this past weekend just north of the IL/WI border, with some snow/ice on the ground and low temperatures in the evening around 24 degrees. We had a great troop meeting in advance with the scouts leading a discussion on cold weather gear and camping tips. All had a good time and most were well prepared. You can discuss cold weather gear at a troop meeting multiples times, but for a few scouts it takes a trip in the 20s with snow and ice on the ground for the suggestion that they wear boots and not gym shoes to actually sink in. We will have a post-trip discussion/rose
  9. If my Troop is able to make it back to Summit and I can attend, frankly the last thing I would want to be doing is sitting in a classroom doing a wood badge program. I would prefer to be with my son and his troop taking advantage of their fantastic outdoor offerings. Just my $0.02.
  10. On late Friday evening, a severe storm hit Camp Makajawan in Pearson, Wisconsin. No serious injuries to the hundreds of scouts and staff present, who reached shelter before the storm hit. The physical damage, however, was significant. I am told the winds exceeded 100 mph. Hundreds, if not thousands of trees, are down or damaged, with buildings and roads impacted. Kudos to the North East Illinois Council and camp staff for implementing its severe weather plan and keeping scouts and staff safe. As a result of the storm, the camp is closed for the remainder of the summer. Our Troop was set
  11. Last year, as a new ASM, I inherited a prior Troop policy that allowed smart phones at camp. It was a real problem all week. Scouts watching movies of questionable content and language; Scouts huddled around the only available plug to charge their phones. It was equally disruptive for those scouts who didn't have or didn't bring their phones. After camp, and as the new SM, we instituted a new policy which banned phones in troop meetings and on campouts (except for drives of greater than 3 hours, after which they get locked away in the car). Our trips over the past year were much improved
  12. As a Scoutmaster and an attorney practicing commercial litigation, these are risks I have considered. I too confirmed my umbrella liability covered the activity. In most negligence cases, the biggest issue is determining whether a defendant violated the standard of care (driving too fast for the conditions, running a soccer practice in dangerous weather conditions, maintaining property, etc.) There can be a lot of gray area in defining the standard of care for those examples. The standard of care is the care and attention a reasonable person would exercise under similar circumstances
  13. Good afternoon, I am trying to help our Second Class scouts complete First Class 4a , a one mile orienteering course. I have identified a few clubs that put on such programs, but there are some distance from us. Myself and another leader are discussing whether such a course could be laid out using a gps and compass, which the Scouts could then recreate. If anyone could point me to any resources on this subject, it would be much appreciated. Thank you.
  14. Almost immediately after becoming a scoutmaster a year ago, I started getting suggestions to do wood badge training. This was even before I had taken the introduction to outdoor leadership skills program, which is an actual requirement, and which I found to be very valuable. I have respectfully declined WB training to date but have had a few discussions with Council reps about the nature and purpose of the training. The responses I have received have not caused me to elevate this program as a priority, particularly in light of the time commitment on top of actual scouting time spent at week
  15. We recently had 5 new scouts cross over. One included a single parent who asked if she could go on the first overnighter, and bring a younger sibling along. We welcomed her to join the trip, but explained the differences she should expect on the campout, in contrast to cub scouts. At the same time, we told her the younger sibling would not likely find the activities interesting, and that his presence might detract from the event, but would be more than welcome at our annual family campout. She agreed, and made other arrangements for the younger sibling. I see the bigger issue being new pa
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