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About yknot

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  1. I am often amazed at how oblivious scout leaders are to potential liability and risk, not just for safety but for membership and advancement issues as well. First, know the BSA guidelines and training for whatever you are doing with youth and follow them even if they seem like overkill. Second, be cautious, prudent, fair, and document. Third, make sure anyone else you are leading with is also following the first and second points. The best way to avoid liability and risk is to prevent problems by being knowledgeable and cautious. It can make you an unpopular Dudley Do Right. However, even if you have done nothing negligent and followed appropriate guidelines, everyone sues these days. Even if you don't wind up in court, you can be forced to spend hours navigating the legal process until things are dismissed or you are winnowed out. I speak from experience--not in scouts but something similar.
  2. yknot

    Handling THAT kid joining

    Sometimes you can help a kid. Sometimes you can't. I always cringe when I read or hear someone say just pair them with a good scout. As the parent of a couple of good scouts who always seem to be paired with a "that kid" who had severe issues, I can say over time this is exceedingly stressful and unfair. If adults can't handle the kid, we shouldn't expect another scout to be able to do so except in short doses. I would also point out that this is also a strategy that schools use, so a mature, capable kind kid like this is frequently stuck with a scout buddy or study buddy who is unpleasant and emotionally draining a lot of the time. Scouts of course should be kind and willing to help out, but we shouldn't turn any scout's experience into drudgery. Adults really need to carefully manage this situation and not abuse the good kids to help the problem kids. No kid's scout experience should be more important than another's. We as adults have to balance that and sometimes that means you may have to say goodbye.
  3. yknot

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    This has filled me with such a sense of sorrow. Scouts is such an iconic organization, but I do not feel that the organizational leadership has itself modeled the behaviors we try to instill in the boys and now girls at the unit level. I believe if the leadership had made decisions based more on how we expect our scouts to problem solve, prepare, plan ahead, and manage, this outcome would have been different.
  4. Coming late to this discussion, but I am surprised the NYT article did not mention one of the main reasons U.S. soccer lost so many kids in particular. In 2016, U.S. Youth Soccer changed the age determinations for play from school year to calendar year to bring U.S. clubs and players more in line with elite international clubs. So, kids who played together as a team suddenly couldn't play with half their friends. It broke up a lot of teams in our region and caused a lot of kids to drop out. It would be like scouts suddenly splitting cub dens up by calendar age on January 1.
  5. yknot

    Cost of Being a Scout

    That is interesting but the problem is everything has become expensive. When I was a kid, we toured the northeast and southeast on fantastic family summer vacations for free except for the cost of gas and a cheap hotel room. One year we went to FLA and had to pay to get into Disney world. To do the same thing now is thousands of dollars. It's not just scouts, it's everything. Because of insurance liability, informal arrangements that are free are almost nonexistent. Things you never had to account for in a cost calculator now have a price. Oh, we did have one expense when we drove to Florida in June. In our un-air conditioned car, my dad's beloved and (then) pricey wristwatch crystal cracked due to the heat and humidity, so we had to chalk up $40 to fix it to that vacation when we got home, lol.
  6. yknot

    Cost of Being a Scout

    Food has become very interesting as a group activity. Food allergies, food intolerances, vegan, kosher, organic ... we might be moving to a model where everyone just brings their own food. BSA should get with the times and change requirement from cook for your troop/patrol to cook for yourself. It's getting too expensive to accommodate all these needs even if you split them.
  7. yknot

    Cost of Being a Scout

    I love scouts but it's not cheap and people who try and say it's more economical than sports aren't being truthful. Yes, elite club sports can be pricey, but so can high adventure scouting trips that require airfare, etc. Like everything, the costs benefits analysis depends on where you are and what you want to get out of it. I think youth sports and scouting are wonderful, complementary activities and I do not like to see either group bash the other. Scouts teach teamwork, leadership, citizenship, and service, and so do many sports, especially if the same caliber of person is involved with the programs. My kid actually did more meaningful service projects in connection with his sports team than he did with his scout troop. Whether scouts or sports, you have to control the cost. Don't join a Troop that charges high dues, doesn't do a lot of fundraising, and engages in a lot of high ticket special activities. Or, if you do, ask about scholarships. Our unit offered that to a limited number of families on first come, first served basis. Look for cheaper summer camp options. I found an out of council day camp that was half the cost of our Troop's resident camp. Yes, my son did not get to camp out with his friends, but he still was able to get a lot of merit badges done, swim, and meet other scouts. A scout is intrepid! You've got to do what works for your family budget and not get stuck in a Troop or Council scouting "silo". Look around. Talk to other scout parents and Troops. Be innovative. Encourage your unit to "recycle" uniforms and equipment to cut down on the cost. I had a kid who grew like a weed and often had to buy new pants or a new shirt almost every three months. Hand me downs can help. Same deal with basic camping equipment. Ask for donations or share among scouts. Not everyone goes on every camp out, so borrow a tent or a pricey sub zero bag for a winter camp out. Finally, frankly, I cannot afford the $175 or more FOS contribution in my area, so I give what I can and try to volunteer whenever I have time. A scout is thrifty, and that means being willing to think outside the box in order to make sure they get the most bang for their buck and keep things affordable for their family! Good luck to you!