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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. Boy Scouts do service projects. They put in time for most of their rank advancements, and when they get to Eagle, they are expected to come up with a good project on their own and lead other scouts in getting it done. Hornaday awards also require big projects --- most are even more involved than Eagle projects. The Hornaday projects focus on environmental problems. Many troops also do service projects simply because its part of the scouting DNA. I thought it might be nice to put together a few pointers to media articles that cover some of these service projects. They help put scouting in a positive light, and I think they could help younger scouts get a few ideas for what's possible and maybe help them think about what kinds of service projects they might come up with when it's their turn to lead a project. Do you know of good scout projects? Got comments about any of these?
  2. Well, the media reports what it thinks people will watch/read/listen to. Their "agenda" is to sell papers and sell ad space. So, if a writer thinks that the public perception of Scouts is that it's a safe, wholesome place for kids, then anything, no matter how minor that deviates from that, might be considered "newsworthy". In this case, I'd agree with you. The event happened long ago, and the judge dismissed the suit...(which in my opinion is newsworthy because the judge evidently had some common sense, and you don't always see that). To me, the story was a "who cares?" kind of shrug because it didn't even seem like the den leader was badly hurt. Bloody nose? Big freakin' deal. When I was a kid, one of my friends broke his leg sledding down an icy street when he ran into a tree. His mom came and took him to the ER, and that was the end of it....though everyone in the neighborhood talked about it for months. No news story though because, well, it's not exactly an earth shattering event. Winter happens. Sleds exist. Kids love 'em. Sometimes accidents happen....where's the news?
  3. Most of the BSA summer camps that I'm aware of seem to have taken girl troops in stride. No big deal. A girl troop can go to camp like any other troop, they just register and do whatever the boys do (but with female leadership requirements). A few camps seem to stress over it. I've heard of one large council-run scout reservation of several camp areas that isolates the girls in their own area. I've heard that the Heart of America council has a "Girls only week" at Bartle Scout Reservation. I wonder how that works .... are girl troops required to go during that one (and only that one) week? Or can they sign up for any week of the summer, but if they choose a "girls only" environment, it's provided? Does your council or camp do something to treat the girl troops differently than the boy troops?
  4. Hmmm. 2013 is pretty recent. What kind of standards were used prior to NCAP? Did BSA participate in wider, more nationally recognized camp accreditation (like those from the American Camp Association, ACA)? I wonder why BSA needs to have its own set of standards if they could simply leverage an existing, recognized set of camp standards...
  5. The rugs are also a good idea for practical reasons. Who hasn't had coins or a pocketknife drop between the slats on a tent platform? A rug can keep that from helping (plus elminate the old splinters in the foot issue). Not only should rugs not be banned, they should be recommended as one of those "comfort" items that a scout might want to bring (space allowing).
  6. I applaud those 2 scouts for being able to think for themselves! What a shame that some older scout feels a need to throw a wet blanket on their creativity just because he never thought of doing something that cool. Even when I was a scout, we had kids put rugs in their tents. Welcome mats would sometimes appear as would small folding tables, and more. As long as it wasn't offensive or dangerous, it was always allowed (and usually smiled at, approvingly). Sounds to me like the older scout needs a refresher course in how scouting is supposed to be fun and how leaders are supposed to be servants of the individual scouts, not taskmasters. Just because a scout is older doesn't mean he's necessarily learned to be wiser.
  7. mrkstvns


    Delivering fresh donuts is an easy and time-honored way for scout units to raise cash....but when I looked into it myself, I had to laugh at the irony of one of the "Customer Success Stories" in Krispy Kreme's fundraising brochure: a Police Explorer post with 15 active explorers sold 600 boxes of donuts....oh, the perpetuation of stereotypes! Krispy Kreme brochure: https://images.kktestkitchen.com/fundraising/FormsFAQGenericEnglishOrderForm.pdf
  8. I just noticed that the Scouter Forum passed the half million mark in terms of number of posts. Y'all RAWK! Time to catch up on my reading!!
  9. I would expect that as district training chair, you might have been involved with facilitating the Scoutmaster Position-Specific training. That is where I would expect you to touch on ILST, so that the new scoutmaster is aware that there is an expectation for him to make sure scouts are enabled to successfully fulfill their positions of responsibility. Now I understand why our district training chair is bald.
  10. Lest we criticize the ambitious scoutmaster too much, let's ponder an article in "Boys Life" that celebrated a troop for doing a 50-mile trip in homemade boats... https://boyslife.org/video-audio/153762/scouts-paddle-50-miles-in-homemade-kayaks/
  11. Yes it is. A 57-mile trips is a very significant undertaking. Lots of planning. Good equipment choices, etc. The scoutmaster's shortcomings aren't in letting the boys make boats, or even boating when the water level is a "little high"....it's in doing these things as a 57-mile trip. THAT combination is silly.
  12. Maybe not so odd. It's not the district training chair who should be organizing or facilitating the ILST. The "T" in ILST stands for "Troops" and it's at the troop-level that these are conducted. The scoutmaster should make sure they're happening and the instruction and activities that make up ILST should be led by the SPL and older scouts in the troop as much as possible (augmented by the scoutmaster and ASMs if the youth need help). I can't imagine wanting the district training chair to be involved in (or even aware of) our troop's ILST activity. You lock the scouts in a church.
  13. I'm always sad to hear of good people leaving our world. If there's a silver lining to today's vacuum of strong role models, it's that those individuals who truly do reflect positive values stand out even more than ever. When I heard about Perot's passing, I had to reflect for a moment on how he came across to others. I always admired his leadership style, and I think his strongest leadership skill was his ability to think outside the box and develop a strong vision. When I think about how his life reflected the points of the Scout Law, I think his strongest point was "Brave". He had the courage to pursue his goals and vision even against the odds and even against advisors who would have him play it safe. IMHO, Perot is a good example of the kind of man we want our scouts to become...
  14. Here in Texas, most of the immigrants come from Latin American countries, a fair number from Asia, and a good number from Africa. I see few coming here from European countries. My own observations jibe with some of the comments that others have posted here. I think Terasec is right when he talks about Asian families pushing their kids to more academic pursuits: I see that too, although I also see kids from Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indian families participating in the scouting program (in fact, some of the most high-achieving scouts I've dealt with have been the Asian scouts....they seem to push advancement harder and faster and I know of a couple who will be those 14-year old Eagles that some scouters seem to lament). But while the kids can succeed in scouting, I don't see very many of the Asian parents coming on campouts or going with the troop on 10-mile hikes. They support the troop, but they are more likely to do so by being committee members than by doing the hands-on outdoor activities. We do get a lot of hispanic families. The parents here seem to engage in outdoor activities at about the same rate as the regular ol' American parents. But while we get a lot of hispanic families, it's not at the rate that I might expect given that the Houston area is a hispanic majority population. We might have 20 to 25% hispanic kids while the community as a whole is more like 50% hispanic these days. I don't know why we aren't getting more, other than perhaps the tradition of outdoor recreation isn't as strong south of the border, or perhaps the scouting movement as a whole is nowhere near as strong as it is in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. I did a little poking around to see what the numbers are, and most of the scouting organizations I find in latin America are far smaller than in the U.S. (often orders of magnitude different, far eclipsing the differences in country size and population size). For example, Scouts of Mexico had about 33,000 scouts in 2011, compared to BSA in the United States, which had about 2.8 million scouts in that same year. Scouting has been around in Mexico since 1920, but it never penetrated as deeply into the fabric of society as it has in the U.S. or the U.K.
  15. If you've never been to Philmont and wonder what all the fuss is about, take a look at this article. It might give you a glimpse of the kind of magic that others see in the place... https://www.journalnow.com/entertainment/philmont-ranch-is-scouting-paradise/article_d660b318-46a2-52f2-8861-97802b28efa5.html I love seeing positive press about Scouting!!!
  16. A sure sign that girl troops are being increasingly accepted and commonplace is that we're seeing less and less attention being focused on them. It won't be long now until they are just plain old "troops" and their members are just scouts who do what's been expected of every scout since 1910. Not quite there yet, though. The "Houston Chronicle" still finds girl BSA troops to be newsworthy... https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/pearland/news/article/Pearland-all-girl-Scouts-BSA-troop-happy-to-14085655.php
  17. Yes. Confronting a problem head-on is often the best way to deal with it. Not every boy will have the personal courage to do that though. I'm surprised that RememberSchiff had camp staff deal with the problem. When I've been to camp, the camp staff have run activities, run the mess hall, run camp-wide activities, but never really involved themselves with the individual units and we rarely saw them around the troop sites. Units dealt with their own scouts. I also suspect that many scoutmasters might not run into the problem often because they haven't ever discussed it with parents and scouts, so the scout who does wet his bed at camp simply clams up and doesn't tell anyone. He'll just bite the bullet and sleep in a smelly, wet bed until it dries out (which may not be that long in 90 degree summer heat....) I think this solution might be as acceptable as David CO's example of the kid who just confronts it head on. Either way, the scout takes responsibility and deals with the problem his own way. He might not choose the path that I think is wisest, but it's his solution to his problem.
  18. Well, there you go. As long as it meets the needs of the scout and is fun for him, his choices were the right ones. There is never a "one size fits all" camp schedule that will work for every scout in the unit. BTW: Your son doesn't need to wait for "merit badge weekends that the troop" attends. The time-honored way for scouts to earn merit badges is to work on them independently based solely on their own initiative and interests and to find local counselors to work with on a 1-on-1 basis. Sadly, few scouts do it that way these days (and parents seem to expect the easy, instant check-off of merit badge class, even though these often offer inadequate time to do requirements, no options for independent exploration, and poor exposure to a subject).
  19. Planning for summer camp usually begins in the spring and often culminates in a troop parent meeting where the scoutmaster talks about how to prepare for camp, what to pack, how the logistics will work, etc. One of the details that I don't often hear scouters talk about is bed wetting. For most scouts, that will be a non-issue because the boys will have "outgrown" that common pitfall of youth. But all kids aren't created equal, and some kids will still be dealing with the occasional nighttime "accident". For first-year scouts, the stress of being away from home for the first time might trigger a recurrence. Scoutmasters can prepare themselves for camp by having a strategy in mind for dealing with this long before they ever get out to camp. That can help them to help their scouts (and parents) and can set some worries to rest. The key for scoutmasters is to handle this quietly, respecting the scout's dignity and privacy. Don't make it a joke and definitely do not leave it to the patrol leader or SPL to handle their own way. Kids can be cruel and there's no reason to open up a scout to ostracism by his peers. A strategy I'd use is.... During the summer camp prep meeting, casually mention to parents that bedwetting might be a problem for some kids. If it is, let's chat offline after the meeting. If any parents come forward, recommend: - pack a pair of "Good Nites" - have parents tell scout that if a bed wetting incident occurs, tell scoutmaster quietly If you have 2 or more scouts with the same problem, suggest they tent together. During camp, if a scout tells you privately that he had an "accident", then: - advise the scout that he can take a shower in the morning, he should feel free to tell other scouts that he was sweating at night and wants to cool off - tell the scout to just go about his business (go to breakfast, merit badge class, etc.) and offer to "take care of it" - while scouts are away from site, quietly go to scout's tent and hang his sleeping bag out to dry and air out (advise scout that if other kids ask why, that he can say he had bugs in the sleeping bag and sprayed them with Off and now his sleeping bag smells like chemicals) The key is just don't make a big deal of it and don't let the scout become a target for humiliation.
  20. I read a lot. Sometimes I come across things that make me pause. Such was the case today when I came across an article about a Parks Canada program to teach camping skills. The article made a couple assertions that give me food for thought: 1. Immigrants don't have a camping tradition, ergo they should be taught camping skills so they can enjoy the parks like everyone else. 2. Tent camping has been declining in popularity and teaching camping skills might push the trend line in the opposite direction. The point about immigrants might be true in a very broad sense, but my own experience is that it varies considerably by the individual family. I know many immigrant families who engage fully with scouting and who camp regularly, and I know others that aren't as comfortable in the outdoors. It depends...but that's true of families in the community as a whole, so I'm not convinced this is a significant differentiator. I do think that tent camping has been down, but I don't see that as a problem. It's probably elitist of me, but if fewer people pick up backpacks and tents, there will be greater solitude in the backcountry and better experiences despite the problem of disappearing wilderness. Why do we really want more people filling up the parks? Any thoughts? The article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/05/world/canada/opening-up-the-land-of-forests-lakes-and-campgrounds.html
  21. Well said, Sentinel. I apologize to Tahawk if my comments were perceived as any kind of personal statement. My intent is not to insult a fellow forum member. However, the crux of my post stands. Snide comments about the press are not useful and are not appreciated. Too many folks these days seem to think its cool to cast stones at hard-working people who do the heavy lifting of bringing us high quality information each and every day. Journalists, scientists, academics, etc....they are all generally much better equipped than the average internet user to get accurate, relevant details. In the realm of current events, journalists are the unsung heroes of quality information. They dig for facts and they present them responsibly: the writers don't put things in their articles that they can't corroborate. The organizations don't publish articles without having them reviewed for accuracy by fact checkers and reviewed for balance and relevance by editors. Of course, all these people are human, and the occasional error might slip by...in which case the professional news organization prints a retraction. As you point out, a look at the publication date shows that the Post really did not make any error...
  22. I'm one of the many, many scouters who really never think much about Sea Scouts. Out of sight, out of mind. Glad to hear they have such a long and colorful past... What's the significance of this particular date though?
  23. Hehehe....I wonder how I'd respond if a scout came in and told me how he did his "Duty to God" by praising the mighty Zeus who rules from the heights of Mt Olympus...
  24. Like much of the world, the answer to the question of when scouting began is "it depends". B-P's first Brownsea gathering was 1907. 1908 is typically identified as the first troops in Britain. The date most commonly used as the beginning of BSA is 1910. Picking out just one date from the entire podcast puts on blinders to the overall essay. Good to hear that you have personally done much more extensive original research and had your facts double-checked and edited much more thoroughly than the professional journalists at one of America's foremost news organizations. It's no wonder you have earned more Pulitzers than the Post...
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