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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. The New York Times ran an interesting in-depth article about how it's going with girls being welcomed into BSA. An interesting take-away that I saw was that BSA recruitment numbers have been down in recent years, and that the new opportunities for girls may represent a potential growth opportunity. That's really "potential" though so far, since the article pointed out that while 8,000 girls have joined scout troops, there are still more than 1.7 million girls who are involved with Girl Scouts USA. Perhaps the people who seem gloom and doom in girls saying "Scout Me In" will end up seeing that all their hype was much ado about nothing. We shall see. Any of y'all read the article??? https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/03/nyregion/girls-in-boy-scouts-bsa.html
  2. Just in case you are naive enough to think that the health care industry is okay and can regulate itself, take a look at what one kid's snake bite at summer camp ending up costing....YIKES! See story: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/04/29/717467217/summer-bummer-a-young-campers-142-938-snakebite
  3. The only rules that are absolutely inappropriate are the absolute rules. Every scout and scoutmaster is a bit different. There are unquestionably cases where the scoutmaster is BEST qualified to review requirements and do scoutmaster conferences, even if its for his own son. There are other cases where a troop might have really good bench strength and the scout would benefit from working with an ASM rather than with his own dad. Neither approach should be an absolute "must" or an absolute "never". With respect to merit badges, things are a little different because the Guide to Advancement specifically states that any MBC is allowed to sign off for any scout including his own son. In my opinion, any troop that establishes contrary policies is putting up roadblocks for scouts that are unfair and insupportable. There are some cases where an MBC absolutely should sign off for his own son --- like when the counselor is doing an activity or class for a group of scouts and his son is doing exactly the same thing at the same time as his peer (What possible benefit to anybody in scouting could be gleaned by telling the scout he is less deserving of the badge that he earned than his friends doing it with him?)
  4. I was a scout in the same time frame. Whether or not camping was required, our troop sure did a LOT of it (and much more adventurous trips than my son's troop sometimes embarks on). I don't recall our troop ever having a "high adventure" trip, but we did cool things like a 65-mile backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail (which was only a couple hours away by car, and free). Of course, we were also blessed by a G2SS that wasn't as restrictive and policies that didn't body block every fun activity under the sun.... Might not have been "required", but I can't imagine any but the lamest, most worthless troops doing a program that wasn't very active and completely outdoors. I'd have quit in a heartbeat!
  5. mrkstvns

    Baloo Training

    Baloo training varies from council to council and from district to district. Our council is weak on training, mistakenly assuming that districts "got it covered". Some do. Most don't. Looking around for options in neighboring districts or councils is a great idea. I've had to do much of my training at summer camps, or in other councils because our local council just plain fumbles the ball when it comes to providing adequate adult training options. I don't think you need Baloo in order to do a swimming event. "Safe Swim Defense" is your basic intro training for that, and if you want to delve deeper, then the two courses in Aquatics Supervision, "Swimming and Water Rescue" and "Paddle Craft Safety" might be right up your alley. Good luck!
  6. mrkstvns

    As an adult, what about my ideas?

    Interesting. In our troop, the SM and ASMs are not "on" the committee. We'll sometimes attend the meetings, but we don't vote on things or participate in boards of review, like committee members do. I can certainly understand why a small troop (or one without good parent involvement) might need to do things differently. I wonder what's "normal"...
  7. mrkstvns

    As an adult, what about my ideas?

    I often share my ideas with my son. If he's gung-ho about something, he'll tell his friends and they'll back him up when he brings it to the PLC or to the next troop planning meeting. I'll then be happy to "volunteer" to be part of the 2-deep leadership to make the activity happen.
  8. Over the years, I've heard many troops referred to (pejoratively) as "Eagle Factories". Is it necessarily a bad thing to have a troop consistently help its scouts reach Eagle? Is there a specific point at which a troop goes from one having a strong program to an "Eagle Factory"? Saw this article about a troop that seems to be shooting for 12+ eagles per year....not sure if that's a good thing to be cheered, or a cause for concern... https://www.mdjonline.com/neighbor_newspapers/northside_sandy_springs/community/buckhead-boy-scout-troop-has-eagle-scouts/article_ee744424-710a-11e9-826b-ff562ee630e9.html
  9. mrkstvns

    What constitutes an "Eagle Factory"?

    I really didn't mean to be controversial. I just meant that up until this year, there were girls who wanted an outdoors-oriented program like Boy Scouts but the reality was that the organization's rules didn't let them join. Not implying any kind of deliberate malice, just that it is what it was....
  10. mrkstvns

    Hornaday Award????

    As he should be. The bronze medal is a VERY significant award. It means he's essentially done 3 Eagle projects (probably more, since the Hornaday projects I've seen most scouts doing are harder and more time-intensive than your typical Eagle project).
  11. mrkstvns

    What constitutes an "Eagle Factory"?

    Perhaps....but perhaps not so strange. If we embrace the idea of "Servant leadership", then that experienced scouter is doing exactly what he should be doing --- enabling scouts to achieve their goals. While we might not normally encourage a youth to zip through the scouting program in a mere 2 years, I think we can understand why a girl who has been locked out of the program until now will want the chance to achieve the same goals as boys. If she has the ambition and motivation to do it for herself, then I will be happy to help her just as I'd be happy to help any boy who has a goal that might not mesh with everyone else's.
  12. mrkstvns

    Hornaday Award????

    The Blue Ridge Mountain Council has an amazing council guide to earning the Hornaday awards. In it, they say... "Scouts who do not meet the stringent requirements of the Silver Medal may be awarded the Bronze Medal. These Scouts may not re-apply for the Silver Medal using any of the same projects for which the Bronze Medal was granted." If they're right, then yes, your scout could re-apply with another project. Do you know which of the 4 initial projects was deemed not quite "up to snuff"??? See: https://www.glaacbsa.org/files/23421/BRMC-Hornaday-Guide-8-18-pdf
  13. mrkstvns

    Hornaday Award????

    My understanding is that no, once the bronze is awarded a scout cannot then reapply after doing another project....but I could very well be wrong about that (and I kind of hope I am, because it seems rather harsh.
  14. Interesting post. If the numbers are right, and 15,000 girls joined about 2,000 troops, and if it's still the case that troops aren't truly co-ed, then that works out to having an awful lot of very small troops with an average 7.5 scouts each...
  15. mrkstvns

    Under Staffed.....again

    What's the minimum age?
  16. mrkstvns

    Uniform Inspections

    As you may know from the multiple threads in this Forum, there are official guidelines for BSA uniforms, an official guide to placement and appropriateness of badges etc., and. there is even an official uniform inspection form, complete with scoring system and notes for feedback to individual scouts. The uniform is one of the "methods" of scouting and Scoutmaster position training these days includes a module about the uniform per BSA guidelines. It has me curious.....does anybody really USE the inspection form or demand adherence to the guidelines? I constantly see scouts wearing nylon basketball shorts with their class A, blue jeans, unofficial socks, no belt, etc. Sometimes, it seems more scouts are non-compliant with the guidelines than wear the uniform correctly. But it's never seemed like a particularly big deal to me, especially for routine meetings and troop activities (though I do encourage my own son to dress sharper for things like Court of Honor, Board of Review, etc.) But INSPECTIONS? Hmmm. Scouts isn't the military and I'm not sure that level of discipline is helpful. But maybe some others do uniform inspections....maybe... Do any of y'all EVER inspect uniforms? Know of any units in your district that do so?? BSA Guide to Awards and Insignia https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33066/33066_Section_1_WEB.pdf BSA Uniform Inspection Sheet: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34048.pdf
  17. Eagle may be scouting's highest rank, but there are awards that are FAR rarer and more prestigious. The oldest of these is the Silver Hornaday medal. In many years, the number of these awarded nation-wide is in the single digits. Many scouts find their Eagle project to be a daunting challenge. Imagine having to do at least FOUR projects of equal or greater complexity, all of them focused on different areas of conservation....and requiring approval by national. Well, that's the kind of effort a highly motivated scout must have to earn a Silver Hornaday. My heart soared today at the news that a scout in West Texas achieved this very difficult and prestigious award. (The first time in 108 years that anyone in his council has earned one.) I am so proud of him. https://www.conchovalleyhomepage.com/news/news-connection/texas-boy-scout-awarded-highest-conservation-medal/1911775258
  18. mrkstvns

    Which First Aid?

    The first few times I went through training in standard First Aid / CPR, the course was taught by the local Red Cross chapter and we got a card with the Red Cross logo. Last year I was looking to renew my certification and noticed that our local council had some courses that were identified as ESRI. (Same for Wilderness First Aid). Are the ESRI courses somehow different from Red Cross? Why would one be preferred over the other?
  19. mrkstvns

    Philmont Trail Camp Whistle Punk

    If you can't find the info on their web site, and you're not getting responses in Forums, you might want to contact Philmont directly: Phone: 575-376-2281 Email: camping@philmontscoutranch.org
  20. mrkstvns

    Pioneering Campout

    Looking for ideas for campout themes/activities? A pioneering campout might work for you....it doesn't need to be particularly expensive to carry out and it could be done on almost any property, so wouldn't require long Friday night drives. (But it does require planning, making sure you have the right type of logs and ropes, and making sure there are people who know how to tie and use knots and lashings to teach the other scouts.) Pioneering can help younger scouts finish their First Class requirements to demonstrate lashings and to build a useful camp gadget, and it can help older scouts earn Pioneering merit badge. If you do this as a troop, make it fun and exciting: build a big monkey bridge or really good signal towers. Otherwise, it's just a lame exercise in doing check-off requirements. Build the monkey bridge in the morning and let the scouts have fun with it in the afternoon. You don't want too many scouts working on one project because it's no fun to stand around and watch others work the ropes --- a single monkey bridge is fine if you have 10 scouts....maybe even 15....but if you have a larger troop, you'll want to do 2 or more monkey bridges in parallel, or a network of signal towers....just give every kid a chance to help build the trestles, platforms, ladders, etc. There is a whole website chock full of great info and ideas that can help scouts and scouters with ideas for pioneering projects (including building monkey bridges, camp gadgets etc.). See: https://scoutpioneering.com/
  21. mrkstvns

    What constitutes an "Eagle Factory"?

    I'm glad that most of y'all see it as a positive thing that a troop can consistently get their scouts to Eagle. I agree completely with Fred --- the Eagle rank really is not all that hard if you stick to it, apply yourself, and have the support of a good, active troop. I suspect that most troops that consistently have large numbers of scouts reaching Eagle are seeing that result because they have a solid program and active support of their adults.
  22. I don't think so. I just read the requirements out of the current merit badge pamphlet. It says.... 7. Outline a comprehensive 12-week physical fitness program using the results of your fitness tests. Be sure your program incorporates the endurance, intensity, and warm-up guidelines discussed in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor and parents. 8. Complete the physical fitness program you outlined in requirement 7. Keep a log of your fitness program activity (how long you exercised; how far you ran, swam, or biked; how many exercise repetitions you completed; your exercise heart rate; etc.). Repeat the aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility tests every two weeks and record your results. After the 12th week, repeat the three tests, record your results, and show improvement in each one. For the body composition test, compare and analyze your preprogram and postprogram body composition measurements. Discuss the meaning and benefit of your experience, and describe your long-term plans regarding your personal fitness. No mention here that a scout must do these independently of T-2-1 fitness requirements. Given that "no more, no less" is the golden rule for merit badge counselors, I would say that qwazse's suggestion is perfectly valid.
  23. I do agree that a bike trip or canoe trip might be just as applicable, but it's not something that is up to a troop. Scouts are tested and signed off by the Merit Badge Counselor. If the MBC does not approve of the trip, then the scout doesn't get signed off. Troops are not within their rights to set policies for merit badge requirements.
  24. mrkstvns

    Webelos AOL & Crossover

    We probably have different ideas about how the crossover is done. Most of the packs around here do not do crossover as part of a regular pack meeting, or even as an activity during Blue & Gold. Instead, the crossover (or bridging ceremony) is done as an independent event. The pack sets a time for their AoL Webelos SCOUTS to crossover and invites the local OA lodge ceremonial team to conduct the ceremony and welcoming teams from local troops to come. It's kind of a 2-part event: 1) the OA team recognizes the AoL recipients, 2) the scouts ceremonially cross a bridge at which time their Webelos colors are removed and boy scouts present them with new neckerchiefs etc. I imagine this kind of ceremony will be a thing of the past though now that BSA has decided to Lame-ify the OA ceremonial teams...
  25. mrkstvns

    Pioneering Campout

    I know. A challenge is exciting and represents an accomplishment. Making something too easy is just a worthless timewaster. That's why it bothers me so much when I hear about National simplifying merit badges and making them increasingly trivial --- they take the "merit" out of the badge creating yet another worthless "participation award". Merit badges should offer significant challenges that let scouts actually experience an activity/domain. For Pioneering, a really cool monkey bridge (or series of interlocked bridges) and towers that are high enough to actually be called "towers" are cool. Telling scouts they get to build a "tower" and then limiting that tower to the height of a kitchen table is not cool.