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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. I know everyone here knows that "a scout is reverent", but does your unit do anything special to show it?

    Like maybe doing something together for Scout Sunday?

    Well, that time of year is just around the corner, and many units WILL be doing some kind of special event to show reverence and Duty to God.

    Does your unit have something special planned?

  2. 23 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

    @Barkley421, I concur and would like to lend additional support to two of your thoughts.

    1.  The uniform should be functional and outdoor oriented.  The BSA has moved away from that concept over the decades, unfortunately.  The expense alone causes many folks to leave it at home when going anywhere other than a meeting.

    2.  Definitely bring back the plain council strips!  Or, the old community strips.  Simple and cheaper.  (Councils may not like it but so be it.)


    I definitely see the value in what you're saying, and agree with most of the points Barkley mentioned.

    A few other inconvenient bling items of dubious utility....

    * sashes (be it merit badge or OA)

    * epaulets (...esp. with all the stupid little color tabs...)

    * den chief cords

    * anything with beads (WB, Cub Scout progress beads)


  3. 3 hours ago, mashmaster said:

    There should be a knot that just says, yeah been there done that....

    Maybe we also need one that says, "Hey, brand new parent of a proud Lion cub, but I already know everything you could possible say, so don't bother trying to tell me anything"

  4. 56 minutes ago, John-in-KC said:

    Why aren’t adults trusting the Scouts to honor the Scout Law?

    youth bed down is youth leader business. 

    Yes, but responsibility for youth safety ultimately rests with the adults.  I presume that you're saying that since adults are there to help guide the youth leaders, the way we should respect the YPT guidelines is by educating the SPL and delegate implementation decisions to him.

    • Upvote 3
  5. 23 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    Yeah, when I think of "Top Scout" I don't think of extra bling. I do not consider earning 1st Class Rank and living up to everything that is implied in that oval as "just getting by." We scouters really need to have that mentality. Sure, obtaining Star, Life, Eagle, or more should be in the cards for some scouts. But, if we treat 1st Class seriously, then we are showing the world a "finished product." From there we get the helpers of old ladies across the street, the builders, the rescuers, the honor guards, the public speakers, the (borrowing from another thread) truly epic scouts ... some of whom obtain further awards and recognition.

    First Class as an end in itself is a worthy ideal...unfortunately, I think it's at odds with a modern scouting culture that has also stated that troops should help new scouts "get First Class within a year". 

    Makes me pause.

    Do we really want youth to exemplify the stated values of scouting and to reflect them throughout their development....or is the "faster is better" mentality where it's really at?

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 1

    46 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

    Politics is the issue.   You could have a scout who goes above and beyond and earns a lot of merit badges and goes on every campout but if the other youth don't like them they wont award it to them.   Troop elections are a popularity contest at times :(

    Quite right.  I'm always troubled when I see scouts elect a "popular" but incompetent scout over the kid who works hard, exemplifies scouting values, but is maybe not as loud, or rich, or well dressed, or gregarious...   Yep, it happens in troop elections pretty often....OA elections too.   

    BTW:  BSA already has plenty of awards for the true "Top Scouts".  Youth who go "above and beyond" can earn things like Eagle palms, Hornaday awards, and Supernova medals.  Those kinds of non-required efforts really separate the "top" scouts from the "just getting by" crowd. So too do things like serving on an OA trail crew, taking on troop or lodge leadership positions after earning Eagle, etc.

    I'm with you: a baubel for winning a popularity contest has dubious value.

    • Upvote 2
  7. 19 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

    I've definitely had 3rd and 4th grade girl scouts planning their own meals.  There is a really nice tool,  the myplate diagram,  and the scouts were reminded what made a balanced meal before they started their planning.   And after they came up with an initial plan they needed to discuss with an adult how it fit the myplate nutrituion guidelines.   (How can you make this a healthier lunch?   The scout decided that it was bye bye potato chips and hello apples as a lunch side.)


    If you can get young cubs interested in healthy eating, that's great.  It will prepare them for Scouts BSA when they will be expected to apply MyPlate guidelines to earn their Second Class and  First Class ranks, then again for Cooking merit badge.

    I think it's okay though for cub meal planning to be done mostly by adults.  (When my son was a cub, we'd usually have adults plan, buy and cook for the whole pack .... at some of the local state parks, we could rent out a dining hall that could accommodate everyone.)  Of course, pack cultures vary...

  8. 8 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

    Yes on planning meals.   We usually had something around if someone wanted something.  I know its sometimes frowned upon(for critter purposes) but most families bring their own snacks. 


    At the cub level, we never had the boys plan meals.  Might be a good idea to let them give it a try, but for my kid, he didn't really get pushed to do the meal planning until he was in the scout troop.

    In the troop, the adults always cook as their own patrol and the boys are off in their own area, cooking their own meals as individual patrols.  The adults tend to over-buy.  Always.  Unfortunately, the boys know it and will often come visit the adults when their patrol cooks:  1) burn the food, 2) serve the food raw, 3) get dirt/bugs/foreign objects in the food, 4) buy bread for sandwiches and forget the meat/cheese back home in the fridge, 5) ...

    I'm not a big fan of adults providing too many "safety nets" for the scouts.  For cubs, sure, maybe, but definitely not for scout troops.  Kids need to learn how to solve their own problems and overcome challenges.  The problems posed by cooking as a patrol on any weekend campout are never so severe that the scouts can't be allowed to learn from their experience so they do better next time. Wish I could convince some of my fellow adults to plan more carefully and to not babysit the kids on campouts.  It's an uphill battle though.

  9. I'm sure the helicopter moms would disagree, but I think the "backup meal" is an unnecessary complication and doesn't help a kid learn independence and personal responsibility. Someday he's gonna have to grow up, and part of being a scout is to get moving on learning to be a competent, independent human being.

    Just provide the meal you're planning to cook.

    If a kid doesn't like it, he can choose to be hungry until the next meal (or to "be prepared" with his own emergency snack). It's not a big deal and it just might help the kid learn a slight modicum of practical humility, not to mention learn to make better decisions next time.

    • Like 2
    • Upvote 1
  10. When scouts are out fund raising, isn't the money ALL turned in to the scout unit (or at least local council)?

    Does a scout have ANY say over how raised funds are used?   

    Is there any circumstance in which a scout could direct some of the money to an entity OTHER than his unit or council?

    I ask because, according to the article in the link below, a scout raised $15K by selling popcorn, and then used a portion of the money to help a senior center that assists dementia patients.

    That actually sounds to me like a worthwhile cause that a community would want to cheer for....BUT if a scout is out raising money for scouts, how on earth does ANYBODY defend channeling a portion to another charity (regardless of its mission)?



  11. Thanks for the heads-up!  

    Do you know if there is more in-depth info about the program someplace?  Maybe a syllabus or instructor guide?

    It sounds like an interesting opportunity, but if they're asking me to give up a week of my precious vacation time, then I want to be sure there's solid pay back for the investment...

  12. 49 minutes ago, SSScout said:

    *sigh*  The ultimate question is:   Was the person who signed the Blue Card, Approved The Merit Badge,  a bona fide registered in the Council Merit Badge Counselor when the card was signed?  Make the phone call(s).  If the answer to the question is "Yes", shake the Scout's hand and wish him well.   If "No", then smile,  hand him some more Blue Cards and give him a list of approved/registered Merit Badge Counselors for his desired subjects.   

    See you on the trail....

    Exactly right.

    If the person who signed is, indeed, a legitimate MBC, then the badge is presumed "earned", and the rule is "Once it's earned, it's earned."

    If there a suspiscions about the blue cards, the signing "counselor", the number of badges, etc., then the troop leaders should review rule in the "Guide to Advancement" to see whether or not they have legitimate reason to raise questions and what recourse they might legitimately have.  In any case, it should not be presumed that the scout did anything wrong.

    "The Guide to Advancement" will provide good guidance ... not well-meaning strangers on the internet (or gossip mongers in your troop) proposing bogus "policies" or other kinds of bad advice. Relying on bad advice that deviates from standard BSA policies will only open you to legitimate criticism.

  13. There's a new cookie flavor that Girl Scouts will be peddling this year:  Lemon-Ups

    According to GSUSA, the cookie is available in "select markets".  Turns out that means either you are or are not in the areas getting cookies from the one baker who provides the flavor.

    The question I want answered is, "Is the cookie any good?"  by which I mean, "Is it better than Thin Mints?"

    According to the Washington Post.....meeeeh....the flavor may leave something to be desired:

    Anybody tried the new cookie for themselves?

  14. It's never good news when a Scout camp closes, but if it must be, then let's at least hope for a positive outcome that benefits everyone....like the recent announcement that over 1,000 acres of Michigan forest will be repurposed from scout camp to nature preserve, creating sustainable habitat for generations to come.



    • Upvote 1
  15. 5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    'm a big fan of being firm, clear, fair, and compassionate.  

    • ...
    • If the Scouts follow the rules, then don't look for reasons to "fail" them.
    • ...

    Well, Park, I'm with you on the spirit of fairness, but I sure wouldn't support any "rules" that are not in crystal-clear black and white.  If it's in the merit badge requirements, great, then the "no more, no less" guideline applies.  If it's in the BSA's official "Guide to Advancement", great, that's the rule that should be followed.

    Beyond that, it's a slippery slope that really shouldn't be defended.  

    Scoutmaster (or committee) imposed "rules" or "policies" should be thrown out. In my years of scouting, I have yet to see ANY rule proposed or stated that has actually been a good idea. I'm not sure there exists a wise, fair "unit policy".

    There's a couple reasons I feel this way:

    * scouts and their families join scouting to get "the scouting program".  The scouting program is defined by the National Council.  Deviations from that of any kind dilute the scouting program and cheat the scout out of getting the same scouting program that thousands of other scouts around the country enjoy.

    * scouters should be there to help the scouts succeed. This is described in ILST, NYLT, Wood Badge, etc. as "servant leadership".  The idea is that a high quality leader will "open doors and remove obstacles".   ANY arbitrary rule is, by definition, an "obstacle", since no such impediment exists for most scouts in BSA...only to those unfortunate enough to have landed in the afflicted troop

    Unit policies are really contrary to the spirit of scouting. They're unfair, they're an unnecessary obstacle, and they sow confusion because they're inconsistent with national policies followed by better-run units.

    • Upvote 2
  16. 59 minutes ago, David CO said:

    My thoughts the other day (in another thread) about having unit-only merit badge counselors doesn't sound so bad now, does it? :rolleyes:

    It still sounds like a bad idea.

    One of the time-honored "methods" of scouting is adult association.  Staying within the same small circle of known adults severely limits a scout's opportunity to learn new ideas and experience different subjects with people who are true "experts" in their field.  I would not let my kid join a troop that insisted on using unit-only counselors.  Our troop does have a couple counselors who are real "experts" in badges they counsel....but we don't have 'em all, and I'm very grateful that there were fair-minded scouters in other units with the altruism to offer their expertise to all scouts.


    • Upvote 2
  17. This morning, I read an article about a New Jersey troop that's suffered dwindling numbers.  They blame their problem on "scouts getting Eagle".

    Hmmm.  Methinks they haven't done enough self-examination.

    Getting scouts to Eagle doesn't cause the implosion of a troop.  Poor recruiting does.

    The New Jersey troop's story should be a warning to scouters that they need to be aware that there are a lot of factors that can make scouts choose not to join a particular troop....and few prospective scouts would cite "successfully helping scouts earn Eagle" as one of the reasons.

    In my opinion, the troop needs to...

    * focus on building relationships with Cub Scout packs so Webelos will want to bridge into a troop
      - invite Webelos to meetings and activities
      - have leaders attend Roundtables to meet leaders from Cub Scout units
      - participate in events like Webelos Weekend
    * promote the unit within the charter organization
      - are parishioners/members invited to visit troop meetings?
      - does the unit participate in charter org events?  (church picnic, Sunday socials, etc.
    * raise visitibility of unit in the community
      - blurbs in community papers
      - offer service to community groups / HOAs, etc.
    * make sure leaders are not complacent about membership
       (sometimes, even if you build it, they will not come....if not invited, encouraged, welcomed)

    Here's the story about the NJ troop:

  18. 19 hours ago, David CO said:

    Looking down the road, I think it is almost inevitable that, sometime soon, merit badges will be entirely taught (not counseled) by council employees, in a classroom-like setting (just like school).  Safe and efficient, standards-based, and totally boring.  

    I wish I could call that a stupid statement. I wish I could jump up and down in rage. I wish there was no way that such a thing would be allowed to happen.

    Sadly though, I shake my head and worry that you just might be right... 

    • Upvote 1
  19. On 1/15/2020 at 4:49 PM, MikeS72 said:

    Should not make any difference, although it does come with poles.  The 2lb weight is if you use the included poles.  Using trek poles instead knocks the weight down to 1lb 15 oz.

    Hmm.  That doesn't sound like much of a weight saving.  Yeah, 2 pounds is pretty light, but what's the advantage of "trek poles" if I'm only going to save a measely 1 ounce? (Last I checked, the difference between 2lb and 1lb 15 oz was exactly 1 ounce...


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