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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. Most of the scouts who have disabilities who I've met have been members of typical community-based units.  I know of one troop in the Houston area that promotes itself as supporting kids with physical or developmental disabilities.  Now I see a troop in the Baltimore area with a similar membership base (https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/harford/aegis/cng-ag-xcomm-shucks-free-library-0717-20190717-vgrs34wclvav7o5tgxr7lcpn3y-story.html).

    Are such units common in scouting?

    What do you think is better for the individual scout?  A unit where the scouts and parents are most capable of understanding and handling issues that such scouts face?  Or is it better for the scout to be "mainstreamed" in a typical unit?  


  2. 16 hours ago, DuctTape said:

    To be fair to BP he did not say have a big brother relationship, but to guide "in the spirit of".

    A thought occurred to me (kind of an aside):  in this era of institutional abuse allegations and a pervasive breakdown in trust, I wonder how organizations like Big Brother/Big Sister can cope.  Seems to me their whole organization is built around the idea of fostering 1-on-1 relationships between adults and kids so that kids can grow up with mentors and positive role models.  That sure wouldn't work in BSA where YPT rules would completely nix such an approach.  Anybody know anything about Big Brothers / Big Sisters programs???

  3. Your troop plans a high adventure trek for months. Everything's set, fees are paid, scouts are transported....but then nature strikes!  A tropical storm closes down operations at the high adventure base.  What do you do?

    When Tropical Storm Barry  happened to scouts at Swamp Base last week, they did what scouts do best. They did community service!



  4. 3 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

    I wish I could edit more as I bet I could come up with many or refine my thoughts.  Here are a few that I like.

    • "Keep the outing in scouting" ...  My interpretation --> Focus on doing.   In doing, we create opportunities to teach and make a difference.
    • "Teach at all times.  Use words if necessary." ... My interpretation --> Our actions are our greatest teacher.  Flip side, too many "teaching" words kills the scout spirit.  ... Quote is often attributed to Francis of Assisi, but it may be a pairing down of their religious rules and not a real quote.  

    I like both of those!  

    I think that keeping "the outing in scouting" grows to mean different things depending on the age of the boys.  At the cub level, it's often about the "go see it" kind of activities. Take the den someplace interesting and help widen the world view: might be a local fire station, maybe letting the boys take a stab at tossing a crust at the local pizzeria....just let 'em see and touch.  At the boy scout (Scouts BSA) level, I think it means to put as much emphasis as possible on the outdoors and to help them experience outdoor adventures that can challenge them.  At the explorer/venturer/sea scout level, it's to really trust the scouts and to encourage and enable them to do bigger, better, bolder adventures. (Maybe not outdoor adventures).

  5. On 7/13/2019 at 7:05 AM, RememberSchiff said:

    Scout leader gives his side of story...

    Brandon Jones is one of the Boy Scout leaders and said they made this trip with Boy Scouts three years ago with no issues — this time they found themselves in a “tough" situation. 

    Once the canoes were flipped upright again, Jones said the boys continued on their way. The trip required canoeing and camping for a few days, and the boys made it all in their handmade canoes.

    “This is about turning young men into men and giving them life experiences,” Jones said. “I think they learned some valuable lessons that when life throws you some curveballs and you can get by.”

    More including video at source:


    Just goes to show you that there's always 2 sides to a story, and the hyped up emergencies you hear about in the media are often nothing of the sort. 

    No biggee, no harm, no foul.  Yeah, a couple canoes flipped and it sure was great that the sheriff deputies came to help get that done. In the end, a good trip was had by all.

    Happy ending. I LIKE it!!

    • Upvote 1

  6. Yep. It's easy to push a kid too far, too fast. In scouts, as in any other pursuit.

    In the case of girls joining scouts, I don't think it's really an issue because those girls who are on a tear to meet deadlines have a different kind of motivation. They're already older and wiser and they know the clock is ticking.  It's not a case of mom and dad pushing on a youngster.

  7. 6 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

    "Starting in 10 days, this will be the biggest city in West Virginia," said Kenn Miller, Summit Bechtel Reserve's director of programs and operations, as he drove from a staging area where 340 UTVs and an assortment of cars, vans and pickup trucks rented for the event were parked.

    Nice of Kenn to explain to everyone that UTV means "underwater television".

    • Confused 1

  8. 5 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    I guess logical and reasoning suggest matching maturity to the requirements gives the best chance for maximum growth from the activities. But, our scouts who take camping at summer camp have a lot of fun and look forward to each day's activities. If they have that much fun at summer camp, imagine the fun of finishing the requirements with the troop. 

    Quite right.

    Some kids grow up faster than others, and some are much more driven than others. What makes sense for one scout (or even a large group), might not always work best.

    Take Lifesaving.  I've always viewed this as a badge that is most appropriate for a scout who has already been active a couple years and who already has Swimming MB under his belt. But I know of a scout who was already a very strong swimmer who took Lifesaving his first year and excelled at it.  Good for him for making his own choice and not listening to old farts like me who say to just do Swimming the first year!

  9. 12 minutes ago, SteveMM said:

    I don't have anything against partials, but in this instance it just doesn't make sense to me.  I think if the Scout walks away with a partial and won't actually complete the merit badge for more than a year (which could easily happen with Camping) then they should just wait to take the merit badge.  In this example, they could take a more enjoyable merit badge in their first summer camp and then take camping later, when they at least have the camping nights.

    Edited to clarify: There are some badges where partials will just happen, and there's no pressure to even finish them if they're not Eagle-required.  My son has a couple of those, and may never finish them.  My issue is with this particular instance -- taking Camping Merit Badge in a Scout's first summer camp.  I think it would make a LOT more sense to wait on that one.

    Right you are, Steve.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with getting a partial, but the guts of Camping merit badge is experience camping. A scout who waits a couple (or more) years to tackle Camping is better off because he's prepared to meet requirements like the nights of camping and the "experiences" (like rappeling, backpacking, paddling, etc.)  He's also better equipped to discuss things like equipment choices because he'll actually have experience with making equipment choices. A first-year scout probably doesn't --- all he's likely to have under his belt are a couple of car-camping weekends.

    Most scouts will figure out on their own that Camping is better put off until a later date, but you never know when you'll bump into somebody who thinks, "Scouts camp, so Camping should be the first merit badge they do." The basics of camping are better taught by the troop as a scout pursues his trail to First Class. By then he'll have the basic skills down pat and will be more than prepared to delve in deeper via Camping merit badge.

  10. 11 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    What do you have against partials?

    Most of the time, partials are okay. It's a good way to "divide and conquer" the requirements list.

    There's a few though that are a pain for the scout, parents, and leaders --- sometimes because of lack of available local resources, or lack of local qualified counselors.  My son still has partials from 5 years ago. Maybe he'll finish 'em, maybe not. None are required  MBs (but some are kind of cool). He's still got a couple years until he ages out, but he doesn't need any more merit badges, so we'll see if he ever loops around to finish them.

  11. 19 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

    I am an advocate for letting them pick what they want.

    ... The Advancement chair also said that the first year boys need to take First Aid and Swimming.  ...

    Well needless to say just after summer camp I replaced her as the advancement chair.  She claimed she had been waiting 5 years since her son had aged out for someone to come along and replace her. I said I would take over for her and when I kept asking to help on advancement stuff all I got was attitude. :mad: So I finally told the Committee that she either lets me do it or she can wait another couple years for someone other sucker to come along, I have no problem just going over and sitting with the other parents after volunteering for the last several years in the pack.  She was very ugly about it.  She pretty much brought in all of the advancement stuff and threw it on the table and walked out.  It was all very odd...

    Congratulations on the new job, and it sounds to me like you will do a MUCH better job at serving your bosses (the boys) than the previous Advancement Chair did.

    I'm not even sure why an Advancement Chair is involved AT ALL in picking merit badges for a troop's summer camp.  It's just not part of the job...

    Your experience though does reflect one of the fundamental lessons of being a volunteer in any organization:  when you complain about somebody else's job performance, you should be prepared to be appointed their successor. 

  12. On 7/13/2019 at 7:12 AM, KYScouter said:

    Here's a news story about the first year of Scouts BSA Girls attending our local camp.



    I notice that the article cites a girl troop with 8 members.

    I know that girls in scouting is a new concept, but I wonder if, and when, girl troops will become as large as some of the boy troops. We have troops in our council of well over 100 boys. I wonder if girl troops will grow as large and as active.

  13. 7 minutes ago, Buggie said:

    Regarding spiders (and other bugs), I recommend Sansbug .  Won't stop them from being in the tent, but will stop pests from disturbing your sleep as long as you don't let them in. 

    They can be a pain to refold until you get the trick. And they are bulky (wider than a backpack), so not great for hiking in to a campsite. 

    Looks fancy....but I'm not sure it will be an improvement over the basic mosquito netting that scouts have used for countless summers in the past.

    The biggest advantage (to the manufacturers) looks like they charge about 5 times more for these things than the old-style mosquito nets...


  14. There's an interesting Bryan on Scouting post about a 16-year old girl who is ensuring she has enough merit badges to make Eagle...she's signed up for four weeks of standard merit badge summer camps this year!

    Let's see, the boys in our troop tend to earn about 4 to 5 merit badges each (or at least get substantial partials), so that girl could be coming home from her camp experience with more than 16 badges!  

    Kudos to her!   

    Blog Post:

  15. From the article, it appears that the scout built the walkways only 2 years ago.  That seems like a mighty short time for the walkways to have deteriorated to the point that they couldn't be maintained to a safe condition. Though yeah, in the woods, leaves drop, wetness happens, things get slick....maybe the state park guys were right in thinking there was a problem. Ya never know!

  16. 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?

  17. 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?

  18. 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?