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Everything posted by RainShine

  1. I become Scoutmaster very soon. The troop is a bit of a fixer-upper, more about that another time. Since my son and I crossed over I've been observing. We have very few older Scouts currently. Those older fellows, except one, have a slovenly appearance (the one, already Eagle, is a sharp, remarkable young man, and hopefully someday will be president of the United States.) They come slouching in, often late, never in uniform, and evidently with someplace better to be. Last night the one guy was wearing what I can only perceive as being pajama bottoms. Plaid pajama bottoms and a hoodie. If they are good w the skills I wouldn't know it because they don't go on outings except summer camp. I see no Scout spirit. And btw I never see their parents. Two are pursuing Eagle. I bet they think this is a troop that will accommodate them, because, well, we have in the past. The others, well I don't know why they are there. But all of them are a drag on the system. I'm in real good with all the younger Scouts. I've been to their houses and met their families. Most are enthusiastic and wish to do well. I see their parents at meetings and outings. But a couple have now started to "forget" to wear their uniform. Once installed as SM, I intend to go on a listening tour with the older Scouts, although I'm not sure if they will give me five minutes of their time. I've half a mind to tell them to shape up or ship out. Please advise.
  2. RainShine

    Wood splitting tips

    On our last campout one of the ASMs was teaching the Scouts how to split wood w an axe. I am ignorant of such so when I got home I went to learn more. This video is really good, learned a thing or two, thought I'd share. Also would like your tips on teaching Scouts.
  3. RainShine

    No hugs, Aunt Sarah, we're GIRL SCOUTS!

    Meanwhile 😏 huggers.mp4
  4. RainShine

    Cyber Chip Sign off

    Look I just go ahead and tell the Scouts and families, re cyberchip, in our Troop what we want is barely sufficient. Not one extra calorie shall be spent on cyberchip. I would waayyy prefer they spend brain cycles on planning outings, map reading, swimming skills, cooking, folding flags, lashings, service projects, presentations to the troop ... shall I go on? Barely sufficient to get it done and hopefully someday it will go away.
  5. RainShine

    Cyber Chip Sign off

    I'd upvote this three times if I could.
  6. RainShine

    Wood splitting tips

    Wow! that really helped a lot! And it occurs to me a metaphor. And a Scoutmaster Minute in there. Something like, don't aim at the beginning, aim at the ending. I gotta work on it but yeah its in there somewhere.
  7. Another thread prompted me to finally post this one. Perhaps also a hare-brained idea, but my brain just keeps coming back to the idea of marketing Scouting to non-ball players. My son was never interested in ball sports. It's not that he hates it, he just doesn't care. I tried. Same for watching sports, he does not care a whit. And you know, that's fine, people are different. We found Scouting a couple years ago. That patrol is his first opportunity to be on a team, plus all the other great things about Scouting. So, yeah, Scouting for the win. I think there's an opportunity here for Scouting. Non-sportsy types and otherwise introverts like my son. Surely there's piles of 'em out there. Bonus: zero soccer game conflicts. The trick, I suppose, would be targeting recruiting to these youth while not excluding ball players.
  8. Our troop has never maintained a contact list for Eagles. Anyone that went to college can attest the alumni receive communications about fundraisers, etc. It seems like basic marketing to me. Do other troops have a contact list for Eagles so they can stay in touch?
  9. RainShine

    keeping in touch w troop Eagles

    Well yeah you're right. My brain doesn't always work so great, need new synapses or something. Anyway our troop has nothing. We have no records that I can find.
  10. In our Troop it takes months for the guys to get to Scout rank. I observe that the meetings are busy (which sounds good, but I will complain about our meetings another time), and no time is carved out for rank advancement conferences. Same is true on outings, not always. So at meetings we have closing flags then a bunch of guys come up wanting rank advancement. We have a boy, earned his Arrow of Light, crossed over in April, still no Scout rank. He's a clever fellow too, and I perceive he wants to rank up, just doesnt get the opportunities. All our rank advancement seems slow, even for guys that care. You'll have to forgive me please. I'm fairly new, couple years in Scouting. When you have a keen boy with arrow of light, how long does it typically take for him to achieve the Scout rank in your troop? him/her, sorry
  11. RainShine

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    This is good input, thanks all. Fortunately we don't have any hot headed parents furiously coming at us to provide Eagle factory. The reason I brought this up was to measure against other troops what is normal. I think in our case the troop doesn't provide what is necessary. Our Scoutmaster Corps is great and all but I think this kind of slipped over the years. From what I've gathered, a normal AoL Webelo Scout could cross over and attain Scout rank perhaps in a few weeks, or in a month or two ...or three. That is not ever happening in our Troop, not even three months, never. As incoming SM, a priority for me is to break down any barrier to advancement, even for - perhaps especially for - the newest Scouts. So I could bust down the blockades by: having some youth able to sign off a deeper bench of ASMs to sign off carve out time in troop meetings and outings for the purpose of advancement conferences provide instruction for the AoLs that have forgotten stuff More advice on this would be quite welcome.
  12. I plan to institute this at our troop level where I can control the quality. We have several MB counselors in our Troop, including wood carving, pioneering, weather, cooking, communication... I'm thinking each MB class would run three saturdays in a row and cover the topics really well.
  13. RainShine

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Getting America's Kids Outdoors ...or Getting America's Youth Outdoors (thanks yknot)
  14. RainShine

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    Thanks for the feedback. Love this site, very helpful. In our troop only adults sign off on requirements. But I read in the troop leader guide that the Scoutmaster decides who can sign off. I haven't mentioned it here before but I become Scoutmaster at the end of the year. One of the first things I intend to do is have youth sign off on Scout rank. Should open the gates. I was thinking about setting it to First Class and above could sign off on Scout rank. I would leave the rest to adults to ensure quality control, and, well also so that I'm not making too many changes at once. But I'm very open to ideas so you can influence me on that.
  15. Last meeting included a part about cold weather first aid issues. The SPL did all the talking and he said some stuff that was wrong. I am loathe to take over the meeting but perhaps I should have in order to fix misunderstandings. Please advise.
  16. So perhaps I meet with members of PLC before their meeting to plant seeds of ideas for outings and activities? Our Scouts have no idea of some opportunities we have around here.
  17. RainShine

    Scouts BSA Troop Resources Website

    Its a great site, so many ideas for fun troop meetings. I'm enthusiastic about it but when I mentioned it to PLC they were not so much. I mean they were interested but I very much doubt any of them went home and explored the site. I brought it up at PLC months ago and it appears to be forgotten now. Lots of our troop meetings are boring, sit and listen type stuff, uhg. I'm convinced this site has programming gold, but the boys are in charge. Any suggestions on how to nudge the PLC on this?
  18. RainShine

    Patrol Method not so much

    My son crossed over a year ago. I’m on the Committee and attend meetings and outings. It’s a real nice troop, 80 years old, solid reputation in the district. The Scoutmaster is a fine fellow with deep experience. He has forgotten more than I will ever know. The ASM’s are great and I like them personally. 20-some Scouts, we have a meeting once a week and an outing every month. Good retention, advancement is slow perhaps. Everything is fine. But… I do not see Patrol method. Now, I have no prior Scouting experience so I wouldn’t know any different except I’ve been reading books and this forum. Apparently B-P said patrol method is not a thing, it’s the thing. I read Working the Patrol Method by Four Eagle Scouts, makes it sound like Patrol method is really significant. I’ve listened to podcasts and read the Troop Leader Guide and the Patrol Leader Guide. It’s one of the eight methods. So I think it’s supposed to be, you know, important. But I just don’t see it in action. When the troops goes camping the Scouts are all mixed together. Until recently they didn’t know the names of their own patrols. They have to refer to a list at the back of the room to see who is in what patrol. I see young guys pursuing Scout rank get stuck on the Patrol requirement because they don’t know a yell or flag or even the name of their patrol. My sons patrol leader rarely attends meetings, never outings. He is never at the PLC. The SPL is a really impressive kid and certainly the Scouts look up to him. But you could hardly call what he is doing leading in any substantive way. I brought up my concerns in winter and there was a little progress. At a couple campouts the guys cooked and ate and did KP by patrol. But there are no Patrol activities, no Patrol corner in troop meetings, no Patrol spirit. I’ve observed that they self-select effortlessly into informal groups. It’s not that I’m that an oracle or something, one merely has to look to see it. It’s easy. My son and his friends hang out together (inside Scouting and outside Scouting). The other fellows - older guys - hang out together. No problem. Like at a Court of Honor, my son and his gang all sat at one table, the other guys at another table. At a recent camping event, my son and his gang all camped together, the other guys all camped together. But those gangs are not our Patrols. I recently brought up concerns again and was told Yes it’s time for elections. The patrols will be reformed. The system is working. Oh. Okay. So at the most recent PLC, the Scoutmaster says We should talk about xxxx and so we all started talking about that. The ASM goes to the whiteboard and starts sketching out what needs to happen for the next outing. The SPL has barely said a word. As the meeting is winding down I realize nothing is going to happen. So I whisper to the SPL, “what about elections?” He sits up straight and says out loud, “Oh, what about elections?” The ASM, who is still standing at the whiteboard, looks at us, looks at his notes on the whiteboard, then turns back to us and says, “Well it’s not going to happen right now”. And that was that. I thought with summer camp coming up now is the time. Reformulate the patrols, have elections, create flags and yells and skits and songs, get patches. Start creating those patrol identities, all that forming and storming and norming stuff. Just in time for camp, yeah let’s do this. But apparently not. Shoot.
  19. RainShine

    Patrol Method not so much

    I don't think that would happen in our situation though. We have our problems, and our patrol method got off track, but the Scoutmaster and ASMs are terrific people and I think they would welcome a recurring review. It's a great idea. The quality of our people at the local level here is top notch.
  20. How do your patrols divvy up the cost of meals? Our Scouts parse the meal into ingredients and send Scouts to the store and hope it comes out about right. For instance, for dutch oven apple cobbler, one guy goes to buy cake mix. Another guy supplies butter. Another guy gets a can of pie filling. This cant be right. Come to think of it, this is probably done to distribute the responsibility, not the cost. In our adult patrol, if the duty roster has me making apple cobbler, I buy all that stuff in one go. And, in a collegial manner, I simply incur the cost knowing another adult will get it next time. Perhaps one Scout should buy the stuff and do the math, then get reimbursed later by the Scouts that participated. The cooking merit badge requires the Scout to create a shopping list and calculate the cost of the meal, but it doesn't appear to require or advise about getting reimbursed. What do others do? Please advise.
  21. RainShine

    Patrol Method not so much

    We do, and I can. I like very much the advice of committee regularly discussing state of troop. Its not happening now.
  22. RainShine

    Patrol Method not so much

    If you like good news, I have some to report. The patrols in our unit are much stronger now. I nudged a little, and the SM and ASMs were quite open to the changes. There was a reforming of the patrols along the lines of natural gangs I spoke of in my original post. The patrol with the older boys chose to keep their old patrol name. The patrol of younger guys created a new patrol with its own new identity. There is now no question who is in what patrol. No more going to the list at the back of the room to check. There is now a patrol meeting during each troop meeting. These are not very productive, perhaps, but the patrols meet separately during the troop meeting. We held a pioneering event with a competition, and the two patrols were 'against' each other. They used to create ad hoc teams for that. When planning for outings, each patrol does meal planning and tent arrangements separately. This used to be done as a troop. On Troop outings, the patrols are next to each other but separate. They used to be all mixed where-ever. The younger Scout patrol has met twice outside of troop events; once a service project, once to design a flag. Plus they have a patrol hike coming up. Its far from done. For instance, the other patrol has not yet had a patrol gathering outside a troop meeting or troop outing. Its too early to tell if this will help with the aims of Scouting, or if the boys are happier, or if its made anything easier. In fact it seems a little more work. But certainly the younger patrol fellows are more engaged in their own Scout destiny. As far as Scout-led, I don't know, there is still some adults taking over the meeting, and one of them was me. But there is less of adults planning for the Scouts outings. I think we're on the right path.
  23. The Scouts BSA literature says the annual planning conference is attended by the youth leadership (PLC). But we have elections twice a year. So the youth leaders that comprise the PLC when the conference occurs create the annual program, but then months later another election happens and now a new PLC executes the plan. Seems best that the PLC that creates the program execute the entire thing. Then if it stinks its their fault (eating their own dog food, as the saying goes). If the next PLC executes it, they may disagree w it and undermine the plan, or perhaps be overwhelmed by the plan and resent the prior PLC for putting them on the spot. Perhaps this is a good reason to have elections only once a year. But then we cut in half the opportunities for patrol leadership. Or we could have semi-annual planning conferences. What to do?
  24. RainShine

    divvying up costs for meals

    Well after I sent this I thought to do a search on this site on the topic. Found some advice. Some folks eat the costs, others have Scouts chip in $3 up front to cover meals. Chipping in up front seems like a good simple approach.
  25. Our patrols elect patrol leaders every six months. But we offer ILST only once a year, in winter. So the guys elected in summer get no training which seems like this is an unfair situation. I suppose we could get busy and offer ILST in summer. What do others do?