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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. Do any of you have experience with the Messenger of Peace award (which goes around the World Scouting crest)? I'm reading about the program on the BSA web site, and I'm not really sure what projects should and should not be regarded as meeting the criteria. In the requirements section (https://www.scouting.org/international/messengers-of-peace/) , it says... In terms of the MOP initiative, peace encompasses three dimensions: The personal dimension: harmony, justice, and equality The community dimension: peace as opposed to hostility or violent conflict Relationships between humankind and its environment: security, social and economic welfare, and relationship with the environment Any Scout or Scouter who participates in a project that has had a significant impact on the community in any one of the three dimensions above can qualify as a Messenger of Peace. The requirements seem pretty straightforward, and it seems like most troops would have plenty of Eagle projects or Hornaday projects that might qualify....and since the qualification is determined at the unit level, a scout shouldn't have to ask anyone other than his Scoutmaster. But I get confused when I read the FAQ: https://www.scouting.org/international/messengers-of-peace/faqs/ Especially that section about "examples"... Can you give me some examples of qualifying projects? Projects like these inspired the Messengers of Peace initiative: Scouts in El Salvador working to disband violent street gangs Scouts in New Orleans working on the ground to rebuild post-Katrina New Orleans Scouts in the Great Lakes region of Africa running an inter-ethnic peace education project Scouts in Sierra Leone rebuilding their communities following a decade of civil war Scouts in Ireland bringing young Catholics and Protestants together Scouts in Haiti doing work in rescue, relief, and rehabilitation after the deadly earthquake in 2010 Yikes!! Talk about BIG projects! And to think, here I've been encouraging scouts who just want to build another park bench to try thinking bigger. I'll have to point them to this FAQ. Soooo, what I want to know is, what do you think makes a service project qualify for this award? Would just about any Eagle or Hornaday award qualify? Only big ones? Only ones that confound presidents and popes?
  2. BSA is gearing up for the 2021 National Jamboree. The theme will be "Face the Challenge". Dates: July 21-30, 2021 Cost: $1,175 Info: https://jamboree.scouting.org/
  3. What?! Girl Scouts use same motto as Boy Scouts? Good thing their program's emphasis on being indoors prepared them for adventures in the urban jungle! https://abc13.com/society/girl-scouts-spend-3-hours-stuck-in-elevator/5582230/
  4. I can also see some who can't wait for the opportunity to brag (yet again) about the wonders of their program. I'm with RainShine though --- most scouters are just good people doing their best and they won't mind some ideas for improvement.
  5. As Webelos bridge into troops, they are expected to learn about the patrol method for requirement 3 for their Scout rank ---- 3b specifically includes a patrol "name, emblem, flag, and yell" and we have a patrol meeting with the new guys to work on these things. The boys are always expected to make their flags from scratch. No scout shop kits or pre-mades, no moms designing and sewing a beautiful embroidered flag, no anything you can buy at a store. Thankfully, most of the boys adopt silly mascots like "flaming nuclear mutant bacon ninja poodles", which don't exactly lend themselves to mass-market flags (but are still in stock and ready for immediate delivery through suppliers like ClassB.com). We tell the boys that their flag should be something they are proud of, and that it should be something they are happy to brag about when they go to Camporee, where the District always has a "best patrol flag" competition.
  6. I'm not seeing any mention of it, but I found another page that talks about the historic trail awards available to Boy Scouts, and further down the page, has a section for Girl Scouts which basically says they can feel free to do a walk (but no mention of whether they get anything out of it beyond a good cardio workout). https://www.gblth.com/group-scouting
  7. I particularly like this one... Anything that is new and different is a great opportunity to deliver on the promise of "adventure" (which is mighty hard to do if your troop just keeps going to the same local merit badge summer camp. I've heard that Indian Nations Council in Oklahoma has a camp that offers Jet Skis (Z-Base....aka, Zink Scout Ranch).
  8. But, but, but.... If your kids aren't reading Boys Life, how will they ever know important things like whether or not it really WAS Baden-Powell who first said, "Give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fail. But in time, they will join you in the sun." Boys Life readers know for sure who the role model was who uttered those motivational words of wisdom....
  9. A frugal scout should also be able to find a local pizzeria whose dumpster contains several perfectly edible burnt pies. Free
  10. I always try to remember, "never let an adult do what a scout can do." In our troop, the SCOUTS are the welcoming committee....and they are much more effective than anybody the committee might throw at the non-problem.
  11. Probably. BSA let its historic trails program get overgrown with weeds and most of the trails on the "officially approved" historic trails list are very OLD. (In some cases, calling the local council gets a response of "Never heard of it!") The Gettysburg Trail is different from most of those on the BSA list....it appears to be well documented and supported by the local council with good, useful info about their trail. Wish I were in the mid-Atlantic area --- I'd definitely want to hike that trail! See: https://newbirthoffreedom.org/programs/gettysburg-historic-trails/
  12. Hmmm. I see your point. Having such specialists is a GREAT idea! In fact, it is just the BEGINNING of what is possible... I just sent an email to National suggesting that the following positions be created to further "specialize" skills. We need... * New Member Welcoming Smile Chairman - studies and recommends the best strategies for smiling so that it is welcoming and not perceived as a smirk or worse, a gratuitous mask * New Member Welcoming Hearty Handshake Executive Chairman - evangelizes the hearty handshake --- not so tight as to squeeze, but not so weak as to appear timid or effeminate (except female scouters can be effeminate, if there are 2 or more present for each handshake) * New Member High Five Grand Poobah - goes around recommending that units welcome new families with a hand raised up high and a very loud, enthusiastic, "Up High! Down Low! Whoa! Too Slow!" * New Member Good Natured Laugh Executive - stands around to provide laughter and good natured merriment as the new family is welcomed to scouting. Preaches the important distinctions between a chortle, a chuckle, and a guffaw (and provides advice on when to use each) Naturally, these positions need to be duplicated at the District, Council, Regional, National, and International levels because you can never have too many layers of bureaucracy. If any of the volunteers in these positions feel under-utilized, they can follow scouts around town and practice their smiles, handshakes, and high fives whenever somebody buys an overpriced bag of Trails End popcorn.
  13. That is one of the best ideas I've seen on this forum in a long time! Make it a regular thing...and keep the focus on values. Excellent!
  14. That is a good problem to have. I would gather the parents for a "welcome meeting" or something of the sort and let them know, straight up, that the troop only works if everybody works. It is EXPECTED that every parent volunteer in some capacity. Those who like working with the boys and being outdoors should be ASMs. Those who aren't comfortable with that should be committee members. Every parent should sign up to be a merit badge counselor. Tell parents that you will help point them to training classes if they have no experience in these roles. Tell them that there is also online training for many of the positions. Tell them they will be supported in their roles, but the troop does need them to support the boys. Well, you're already thinking of ideas. I like outdoor meetings, and maybe a can of Yard Guard shortly before the meeting will help with those gnats. Otherwise, you might want to ask around and see if there is another building you could use that has more space --- outdoor meetings are great some of the time, but some of the time it's raining or too cold for that to be a viable option.
  15. I've been meaning to talk to you about your flair...
  16. Mmmm... Maybe just fun things like Motorboating, Shotgun Shooting, or White Water. If he's actually up for a challenge, a Hornaday might be a boast-worthy achievement, or maybe a Supernova...
  17. Got it! Great idea....especially for packs! Soooo....all the people at Council who were already promoting membership or handling training are getting replaced by someone with a new job title? If not, I still fail to see what value a "New Member Coordinator" brings TO DISTRICT OR COUNCIL. I still see no point in having this job title outside of a unit.
  18. Well, my friend, if you think the magazines have too many ads now, just wait until you get them online "for free"... Or haven't you noticed that the "free" apps and web services are the ones that bombard you CONSTANTLY with irrelevant ads and that require you to sign onerous terms of service and that collect your personal data (often illegally) in an effort to not only get you to buy stuff, but to sell your info to anybody in the world who wants it and can pay a price (any price). Haven't noticed that stuff, eh? Well, in the real world, quality of anything costs money. You may feel like only Economist readers deserve well written, factual, professionally edited and produced materials, but in my house, I'd like my kids to start seeing quality content as early in life as possible. Sorry to hear that you would happily settle for less.
  19. When I first heard about units appointing a "New Member Coordinator", I thought it would be a good idea for a lot of units --- especially packs. It would give units an opportunity to organize their thoughts and offerings and present a coherent message to families who were coming into scouting brand new. Obviously, this would be a job that would be most important in Cub Scout packs. Now I'm hearing that there is a District-level and a Council-level New Member Coordinator, and I just want to yell out, "WHY???" Does anybody REALLY think that District or Council staff should be the welcoming face to a new family? REALLY?!?! Cub Scouts join packs. It's the packs that are located in local schools in local neighborhoods. It's where kids go because their friends are in the pack. Having a welcoming committee in the local community (i.e., in the pack) makes sense. But having a stranger at Council HQ be your "friendly welcome to scouting" makes NO sense to me. Maybe some of y'all can explain to me why this is a good thing. There's already commissioners to help units. There's already membership committees at district and council... Is there REALLY any benefit to having a District-level or Council-level New Member Coordinator? Sign me, I just don't get it From Patriots Path Council (a useful job description): https://ppcbsa.org/wp-content/uploads/New-Member-Coordinator-Q-A.pdf From Scoutingwire (a confusing and useless job description): https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/councils/new-member-coordinator/ From Scouting magazine (yet more uselessness): https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/09/25/new-member-coordinator/
  20. It's sometimes easy to forget WHY scouts (and scouters) come to scouts....it's the promise of OUTDOOR ADVENTURE. When we lose sight of that, we lose sight of anything that makes scouting special and that differentiates it from ordinary youth activities. Here are 5 web sites that I think every scouter should visit periodically as they scout their way across the web... Outdoor Project: Excellent resource for ideas for places to explore, things to make the adrenaline rush, and ways to do it efficiently, safely, comfortably, and ethically. https://www.outdoorproject.com/ Outside Online: Outside magazine has been a go-to authority for dependable outdoor adventure information since 1977. Sometimes a bit too enamored of style and travel, its heart is in the right place and there are always solid viewpoints on outdoor adventure places, stuff, tips and more... https://www.outsideonline.com/ The Adventure Plan (BSA): When scouting is done right, everything happens outdoors and adventure is the name of the game that enables everything else to work. Help your troop plan a genuine adventure... https://tap.scouting.org/ National Geographic: I often find that the world becomes a much smaller place when people starting thinking only inside their own little box. If your troop's idea of "adventure" is going to the closest state park then maybe it's time to think about all the possible adventures that exist wayyy outside the box. I might never get to most of the places that National Geographic writers go to, and I might not do most of the things that they do, but I can always dream... https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/ National Park Service: Ever since Congress made Yellowstone the first park back in 1872, America's national park system has been a shining jewel to showcase and preserve America's natural wonders and our collective national heritage. Today's National Park System encompasses some 84 million acres of parkland that generates $35 million annually in direct revenue. Parks include wild rivers, majestic mountain ranges, dense forests, and deserted, uh, deserts... https://www.nps.gov/index.htm
  21. My son's patrol sometimes likes ramen --- especially on backpacking trips. At first glance, that might seem to be a cheaper lunch or dinner, but in practice, it's often not. The reason is because ramen by itself is not particularly satisfying. When the boys have ramen for a meal, they virtually always mix in something: occasionally dried peas, but more often, diced chicken (like Sweet Sue, which sells for about $1.50 per pouch). If you buy a pouch of chicken for every scout and 2 packs of ramen, you're up to about $10 for a patrol of 6 scouts (though the ramen itself is a small fraction of that total). The REAL ramen meal is thus more expensive than other cheap alternatives.
  22. Could it be time for the scouts in your unit to earn an International Spirit Award? Maybe....especially since one of the requirements is to participate in Jamboree on the Air or Jamboree on the Internet and both events are coming up in about 6 weeks time...if you want it, now is the time to plan how to make it happen. Requirements and application: https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/International-Spirit-Award-app.130-044.pdf Info about Jamboree on the Air (October 18-19, 2019): https://www.scouting.org/jota/
  23. Now hold on just one second there! I said I wanted QUALITY content, so any cash raised has to go to those who check their facts and write like professionals! The way I see it, y'all owe ME a whole heapin' pile of Benjamins... Please make the check payable to "mrkstvns".
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