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willray last won the day on May 11

willray had the most liked content!

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About willray

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    Columbus, Ohio
  • Occupation
    Your friendly neighborhood physics professor
  • Interests
    Never met much that didn't interest me, other than Accountants and Lawyers
  • Biography
    I've changed a few diapers, butchered chickens and the occasional squirrel, designed and built buildings, written some sonnets, balanced accounts, built short and tall walls, set a bone, did a poor job of comforting the dying, I take orders ok, give orders better, cooperate with cooperative people, go around the uncooperative when necessary, I've got a Math degree, several patents, a farm, and another degree in Computer Science, people seem to like my Chili, Im not much for fighting, but less for losing, and when I died they tell me I thought it was amusing. I'm still working on the invasion plan.

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  1. willray

    Adult led and youth led

    It's the ones that seem to be trying really hard not to lead, but that seem incapable of not attracting a following, that I find fascinating. It would absolutely be a real beast of an analysis to tease out the "learned from osmosis" stuff from innate ability, but that would be half the fun.
  2. willray

    Adult led and youth led

    I am curious, whether in your experience you feel that this leadership skill seems to "run in families". While I can't put a percentage on it, it occurs to me that I know a few kids whose fathers appear to be natural leaders, and even if the kids try rather hard not to be leaders, they still end up with a patrol/patrol-like group following them around. (kids here, because these aren't all scouts). On the other hand, I know a few kids whose parents are dreadful leaders, and it sure seems like no amount of coaching is ever going to raise them to anything better than mediocre at leadership. My day job, or at least a part of it, involves trying to tease the genetic "nature vs nurture" out of similar questions, and this one had never occurred to me to think about trying to analyze.
  3. willray

    Camping MB and long-term camp

    Ah, I guess I was thinking "high adventure" in terms of most of what our troop does, rather than "high adventure takeout"... We occasionally do Seabase, but do a lot more "Hit a National Park/some navigable waterway/etc with backpacks and head for the backcountry sites". In reality, of course, it's something that would almost never come up, but I'd think I'd feel a bit strange telling a scout "Sorry Tom, you and Tim went on all the same trips, but Tim bailed on each of them after the 2nd day, so he's going to earn this MB. If you wanted to earn it, you shouldn't have camped so much".
  4. willray

    Camping MB and long-term camp

    Ah, I'm not dismissive of the blog, and I've certainly found lots of wisdom there. It is, however, a "one person's (well reasoned) thoughts" presentation, rather than policy, and to quote it as such would be a mistake. This would also not be the first time when it was either slightly oversimplified, or not-quite-right regarding actual policy. One of the more problematic examples is Bryan's muddying-the-water "clarifications" on 2-deep vs no-1-on-1 in https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/01/19/whats-the-difference-between-two-deep-leadership-and-no-one-on-one-contact/ , where he implies that there need to be at least 2 adults present to avoid "one on one". Absolutely agree. I'm not a Camping MBC, but for those badges where I am, I think it's important to understand what experiences the requirements are attempting to elicit out of the scouts. Ambiguity should not be resolved in terms of enabling scouts to skirt intended experiences by virtue of clever word interpretation. At the same time, word interpretation should not be used to bar a scout from counting an experience that was clearly within the intent. If I was a Camping MBC, I don't think I'd be telling a scout who went on 20+ week-long high-adventure backpacking trips "sorry, you can only count one of those - if only you had climbed in a car a day earlier on the others, they'd have all counted".
  5. willray

    Camping MB and long-term camp

    Thread necromancy here, just to point something out should anyone be searching for clarity in the future: The guidance is in a magazine. It is one person's opinion, it is not policy. Policy is in the merit badge book and requirements, and satisfaction of them is to be negotiated by the scout and MBC to the best of their ability. Personally, I think the guidance in scoutingmagazine is wrong, or at least incomplete. I believe the intent of the requirement is to say "we want you to go camping a lot, not just a couple long camping trips". I believe it is also trying to capture "typical long trips like summer-camp are a different kind of camping, and we don't want more than one of those counted". I strongly suspect the intent of the "50 milers are long-term camping" guidance, is addressing the "we want you to go on many different camping adventures", NOT the "summer camp isn't like real camping" aspect of the requirement. The way the guidance is written, if a scout went on a week-long camping trip every other week, every week of the year, every year that they were in scouting (not completely impossible, for a home-schooled kid, and I actually know some semi-nomadic craftsperson families where they actually come close to this), the "guidance" would result in them only having credit for 6 nights of camping. I really don't think the requirements were intended to tell that scout "really, you should camp less". Don't use the vagueness of the requirement to let a scout do less than the requirement intended, but don't punish a scout for doing more than the requirements either.
  6. willray

    Adult led and youth led

    You pose such interesting questions. I'll be interested to see what others think, and to see whether my thinking changes as I puzzle about this more. I have the feeling that there's something here I can use to shine light on some problems I observed between my two troops this weekend. I'll make a first proposition that the cons are almost completely circumscribed by the observation that joining a troop creates more opportunities for damaging loss of autonomy and conflict. Even in a troop composed of similarly free-range patrols, the more cooks there are, the more chance for spoiling the soup. Yes, that can be a learning experience, but if one assumes that free-range patrols have more internally-consistent "personalities" across the patrol than patrols constructed by adult fiat, then it's possible for those personalities to come into conflict in such a way that it passes beyond a learning experience and enters the realm of destructive. I would assume that the natural tendency in a free-range troop would be for such mutually-incompatible patrols to simply dissociate themselves, but, human beings are not well-known for making the wisest decisions, and quite a lot of damage can be done before wisdom is earned. There would appear to be quite a range of pros, from mundane better access to resources or expertise, to improving patrol cohesiveness because human teams tend to function better when there is an "other" against which to compete or measure themselves.
  7. I don't mind that she has expressed interest, but I would like to think that if someone put her interest in a proper context, she would see that it's inappropriate to the entire ethos of attaining the rank of Eagle. And I agree, a bit of ambition is not a bad thing. Ambition big enough to prioritize yourself far above the needs of others, to the point of engaging in legal action to attempt to accomplish this, is the antithesis of servant leadership.
  8. Unfortunately, while this is true for the Boys, it is not true for the Girls. This is why National has decided that there will be no "first female Eagle", and instead has decided to have a uniform BOR date for the initial "class" of female Eagles. To make an exception for one scout who happens to have an exceptionally powerful PR apparatus, is an insult to all the other young women who have been excellent scouts in everything but registration status over the past 100 years. The fact that being "first" matters to Miss Ireland, is, unfortunately, probably one of the most sound reasons to believe that she doesn't actually deserve that honor...
  9. No, not at all. It's telling her that the experience of others is not less meaningful than hers. By pushing to be first she is attempting to declare that her experience is more valuable and worthy than theirs. I am wondering whether she knows this. The fact that she's probably better qualified than some of the boys receiving Eagle, says nothing about whether it's appropriate for her to jump to the head of the line. I see a whole lot of scouts who wear the patch, but never earned the rank.
  10. And I'll add, what about the key term "foreign Scout" in the following paragraph. This seems to additionally cement the intent of that section to scouts who are not US citizens. That being said, I am torn. If a male scout in the US had joined a troop in the US, in 2014, then his parents moved elsewhere and he participated in another country's scouting organization and then moved back here in 2019 and applied to have that experience transferred to back to his US unit, I don't think there'd be any question in my mind about whether that was appropriate. I know that's not exactly Miss Ireland's path, but it helps me to analyze the edge cases where "I know this is wrong", and "I know this is right", to help narrow down where the crossing point is. I find the social-engineering being undertaken by Miss Ireland and her parents to be somewhere between unfortunate and despicable, but if Miss Ireland truly loves scouting as much as she claims, I don't see that squashing her enthusiasm is in BSA's best interest either. I would very much like to know, how she'd answer if someone who wasn't a cheerleader for her, but also wasn't an enemy, sat down with her and had the discussion: "I know you really would love to be the 'first female Eagle', and you believe that you have performed all the tasks that would be required of any other Eagle candidate. Do you really think that you being the first, would be fair to all of the other girls who have, over the decades, also done all of this but couldn't be recognized? You love Scouting, and hold the Scout Oath and Law dear to your heart. In the context of all of those others, and all the other girls who have similar experiences as you, but don't have the privilege of your voice, do you think it's more Scout-like to try to be the first female Eagle, or, to join in inaugural class of first female Eagles that will be awarded in 2020?" The fact that she says "I love Scouting, it's my lifeblood, why should I be stuck doing all this Scouting stuff all over again? Ugh!" leaves me sadly suspicious that I know how that'd turn out, but at least at the moment I'll maintain my fantasies that she actually is what she claims to be.
  11. The guide to awards and insignia says only that "handicraft" slides made by youth, may be worn instead of official slides. The restriction on the woodbadge slide is a restriction on the woodbadge slide, and there nowhere appears any restriction on "things kinda like" woodbadge slides. So yes, a different turk's head would be find. Even a 3-lead 4-bight turks head, made by a scout out of similar-looking materials, would probably be fine. Wearing an official WB woggle would not be fine.
  12. willray

    Great Examples of Girl Troop Successes

    Coming to this late, but since I'm having this discussion with some people in my troops at the moment: Really, you can have them go back and read practically anything of early scouting by BP or Green Bar Bill, however, there's a lot to read, and it's the general gestalt that they're trying to get. More importantly, get them to read the Mission, Vision and Aims of Scouting ( https://troopleader.scouting.org/scoutings-aims-and-methods/ ) Nothing in the mission/etc is about learning to tie knots, set up tents, or identify plants. The reason that nothing in the mission/etc is about those things, is because "those things" are tools, as are the experiences necessary to learn those things, and later to teach "those things". The important thing about advancement isn't the specific scout skills embodied in the requirements, it is the experiences that a scout gets, working their way through learning those skills and accomplishing the requirements. An adult shortcutting that process, teaching those skills, prioritizing advancement, etc, takes away the opportunities from the scout, to get the very experiences that the scouting program is designed to create for them. For example, the cooking requirements really aren't about cooking. They are about learning to negotiate a meal, with a group of other scouts who probably don't all like the same food, getting them all on the same page, and then getting them to help out with the doing, even if they aren't completely happy with the meal or the tasks involved. If an adult steps in and says "This upcoming campout Timmy needs to plan the meals because he has a rank requirement", then that adult has just shortchanged Timmy on the entire point - they've put him in charge, told everyone else to shut up, and removed the negotiation and working together part that the requirement is supposed to force the scout into confronting. Timmy gets nothing other than making a grocery list and some cooking. Grocery lists and cooking are nowhere in the mission or vision of scouting. So -- ask your over-enthusiastic adult what they think the point of a given requirement is. What will the scout learn if they work through this, with other scouts? What difficulties will they encounter and need to overcome? What skills will they learn and improve upon if they do? If an adult pushes them through it/facilitates for them, what difficulties will they avoid? Will they learn more valuable life skills if they struggle through with other scouts, or if an adult greases the process and helps them slide through quickly?
  13. Thank you for the clarification - that's heartening to hear ( and everyone says National can't get anything right! 🙂 ) It gives me some hope that the girls in my council who magically were "First Class" in February, would also be asked to actually earn the ranks as written if someone pushed the issue. And it makes me a little more comfortable in my admonition to our girls that they should not be too envious of others who have deprived themselves of the real benefits and opportunities of the rank advancement system.
  14. ... Clarification please - Are you saying that short-cuts don't (legitimately) exist, or, that somehow the shortcut was not a shortcut?
  15. I will ask again - is there any legitimate mechanism that you can suggest, that is available to all scouts, that would enable a scout to legitimately wear the Life patch, within a month of their first enrollment as a Scout in BSA? I see nothing in the rank requirements that would allow a scout to apply experiences prior to their joining any troop, to advancement in Scouts BSA. Were it so, we would have numerous cubs joining at First Class rank or higher. I am 100% behind the idea that girls with the appropriate interests can benefit as much from the ideals of scouting, through the methods of the BSA, as can boys. There is nothing in the Scout Oath or Law that is in any way gender-specific, and there are certainly girls who are every bit as much into the outdoor program as the best of the boys. I am 100% opposed to rank inflation and the conversion of ranks and awards into a patch-race, rather than a system for recognizing a scout's achievements within scouting, and a large part of the reason that I am an ASM in a Girls' Troop, is because I believe they can accomplish traditional BSA program and advancement undiluted, and the best way that I can make sure that it is not diluted, and that scouts in both Boys' and Girls' Troops are given every opportunity to maximally benefit from program, is to be there holding the line. I am 100% convinced that the girls in my troop, who are working very hard and of whom I am quite proud, are severely demoralized when they see a girl wearing a rank patch that she could not have earned if she followed the same rules that BSA requires of every other scout.