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Everything posted by SteveMM

  1. SteveMM

    Completed MB?

    I doubt many people will agree with me, but if this is an isolated incident I think you award the merit badge to the Scout. This sort of thing happened to my son with the cooking merit badge at summer camp. The counselor was very slack about requirements, and it was clear that he and another Scout from our troop only sort of completed some of the requirements. Our advancement chair considered it, and said that since he had a signed blue card (i.e. not a partial) there was no reason for my son to re-take the merit badge. Over time, he's completed the missing requirements over and over, so I'm okay with it I suppose. One thing I will say is that the troop pitched a fit about it to council, and that counselor never taught that merit badge again.
  2. I have a son who is about to have his Eagle CoH and a 17-year-old daughter who is trying to squeeze in her Gold Award before she ages out of GSA. I'm a committee member in my son's troop and my wife is a troop leader in the Girl Scouts troop. When the Boy Scouts announced they were letting girls join, my son and I kind of rolled our eyes a bit, but shrugged it off. My daughter and wife, meanwhile, were furious. I mentioned that some girls want to do "Boy Scouts stuff" like camping and backpacking. My wife said that Girl Scouts can do that too. While that's absolutely true, I think my daughter has camped out maybe three or four times in her entire scouting career, and all of them were closer to backyard campouts than high adventure. All of that aside, what it comes down to is that Girl Scouts and their troops have a LOT more leeway to do things "their own way" than Boy Scout Troops. What has happened, though, is that very few of them seem to do the kind of hiking and camping that is typical of Boy Scouting. While I'm not sure I 100% believe Scouts BSA when it said there was a groundswell of support for girls to join up, I do think there were a fairly decent number who wanted to, as we've seen from female Scouts BSA troops forming all over the country. I guess what I'm saying is that the Girl Scouts *could* have filled the needs of girls who want to do high adventure stuff ... it just appears they didn't.
  3. SteveMM

    Troop Pressure for OA

    How appropriate is it for the higher-ups in a troop (in our case, the SM) to pressure Scouts to get their Brotherhood? At our regular troop meetings, I've heard things like, "We don't want any sash and dash OA members, so if you don't plan be involved, don't do it." Now, I guess this doesn't sound all that bad, as he's looking for Scouts who will be active OA members. However, my son and others who are OA members but haven't yet gotten Brotherhood are regularly harassed as well. At the latest meeting, our troop's OA representative reminded OA members that there was a ordeal weekend coming up. The SM then jumped in and asked my son if he was going. My son (who is kind of done with the guy) shrugged, probably knowing that he wasn't. The SM then looked at his own son, who is our OA rep, and said, "take him out back and beat him until he says yes." This type of "joke" has led to the son applying his own pressure to my son (verbally, mind you) whenever he gets a chance. A little background: My son hasn't been the most active OA member, for sure. He did his ordeal in the fall of 2017. He balances Scouts with playing soccer, which sometimes doesn't leave time for much else. He's done his ordeal, one service outing, and attended conclave this year, but he doesn't regularly attend OA meetings. His soccer schedule is now loosening up a bit. He has his Eagle CoH coming up next month, and I think his plan is to focus on advancing and being more active in OA after that. I know the answer to this is to have a talk with the SM, but I'm wondering if this sort of thing is normal.
  4. SteveMM

    SM dividing the troop in need of opinion

    This is a very interesting topic, because I can see in the original post a little bit of what might be happening in our troop. It started this year. The older boys, the SM, and both ASMs went to Philmont, while the remaining Scouts went to a standard summer camp with a very dedicated committee member. I looked at it as a special circumstance because obviously Philmont is a fantastic experience for the boys who get to go. However, at the very next meeting after camp and the trek, a suggestion for doing a high adventure camp at Summit Bechtel next summer was brought up by the SM's son and an ASM's son. It was VERY clear that they'd been planning this for some time, and I wonder how much the SM and ASM were involved. I raised my hand and asked where the first and second year Scouts would be going, and was told, "oh, well there's a regular camp ... they can go to there." I don't love this idea of splintering a troop's summer camp every year, although I do understand the older boys (of which my son is one) wanting to do older boy stuff. I'd sooner it was maybe an every-other-year thing. I'm a huge supporter of the traditional Boy Scout summer camp experience, and I think that experience is better for the younger Scouts when they've got some older Scouts around.
  5. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    You're right. I'm actually remembering now that my son THOUGHT they'd split the tent parts up, but they actually did what you said -- one would carry the tent while the other carried the food.
  6. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    Ahhh ... I see. That makes sense, then. I know one of the things my son learned from his Philmont experience this summer was splitting one tent between two hikers is lighter than each carrying a one man tent. And, as you said, it reduces impact to the campsite.
  7. SteveMM

    Name on Eagle Project?

    I've seen that done on just about every "permanent" Eagle Project I've ever seen. It's not unusual. What it comes down to is whether YOU want it. You're still the leader of the project, and if you don't want it, then it shouldn't happen.
  8. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    Interesting. Is that for Youth Protection?
  9. SteveMM

    Troop Pressure for OA

    This would not shock me. My son has said several times to me that he's "done" with our SM for a number of reasons, including what I mentioned in the original post. He still enjoys Scouting, thankfully, or receiving his Eagle might seem like a convenient way out. Our ASMs are good and reasonable people, which helps.
  10. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    Our troop didn't run into that suggestion as far as I know. My son's trek had eight youth and four adults. The four adults each bunked with their sons. The four remaining youth split into pairs and bunked together.
  11. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    True ... yes. Also, if an adult is on the trek who doesn't have a child also on the trek, then the adult must tent alone, of course. My son's trek had an even number of boys, so he just left his one-man tent at home. He reported back that the Philmont tents were no problem at all.
  12. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    My son has a brand new (read: no food ever inside it) solo tent that the'd planned to take to Philmont, but he was told that they only want participants to use two-person ones because it reduces the amount of space in camps taken up by tents. Bears think hammocks are tacos.
  13. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    We picked up a pair of Oboz boots for my son. They were remarkably light, and he said he was very comfortable other than a couple of minor blisters while his feet got used to the trail. I think the boots vs trail runners debate is one of personal preference. I didn't make the trip with the troop, but if I did I probably would have worn trail runners. I use them for my everyday shoes anyhow.
  14. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    Yes. You can bring your own tent, but they insist that you certify that no food has ever been inside the tent. Because ... you know ... bears and mountain lions. They also discourage one-man tents. If you choose not to bring your own tent, they will provide them for you.
  15. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    There were patches of snow on Baldy this year while my son was there. I'm not sure what day they made the trip up the mountain, but their trek started on July 4. We had a couple of leaders on that trek go with trail running shoes. They said since the trails are all very well defined, they didn't feel the need to have boots. The trail runners aren't waterproof, but they dry quickly. They said it was a strategy that worked well for them. I suggested it to my son, but he's a traditionalist and wanted boots for the ankle support.
  16. SteveMM

    Philmont Gear Review

    My son went with his troop in early July. He had a sleeping bag that supposedly had a 20-degree rating, but in my research I saw several comments that it was really a 30-degree bag that would keep you alive at 20 degrees. It was perfect for him. He said he was never cold. Speaking of cold -- be sure to bring little things like a stocking cap and light gloves. My son moaned when I suggested he take them, but they don't weigh anything and he ended up wearing them a lot in the morning.
  17. SteveMM

    Compare Scouting vs Sports ?

    Our SM has tried to do this, even going so far as to have a sign-in sheet so he can tally how often Scouts come to meetings. Frankly, I bristle at this. Scouts who don't show up won't get elected to leadership positions, nor will they complete requirements for rank. That should be enough to encourage them to come to meetings.
  18. Let's get the bragging out of the way: My son completed his Eagle BoR last night! They talked with him for at least 45 minutes, which was longer than I expected. He said he had an answer for everything, including the standard, "Which of the points of the Scout Law would you eliminate?" question. He said he would eliminate "clean" because, really, have you seen Boy Scouts at summer camp? That got a round of laughter that I actually heard from across the hall. Needless to say, I couldn't be more proud of the boy if I tried. Now, the question: They kept his Eagle Project binder, and said it would be sent to the national office. I think I understood that he would NOT get that back. Is that correct? At our troop's Eagle Courts of Honor, it's traditional to lay out mementos from the Scout's "career" on a table, along with information about the project. It's usually in a binder. Am I to assume that they must have just printed out new copies of the proposal and application to make a new binder?
  19. Our troop has its Greenbar next week, so we'll have the troop schedule for the rest of the year. We plan to schedule about six weeks from that point, which will be about 7.5 weeks after the EBoR. That puts us into the first week of October. I hope that will be enough time.
  20. I actually got confirmation at our meeting last night. You're right. The binder does NOT go to national but rather stays with the council. Once national sends the credentials, Scouts get their binders back. The only issue right now is that it apparently is taking national forever to get credentials back to Scouts. Our Scoutmaster said he JUST heard back from national on a Scout who had his EBoR in late June! I'm hoping my son's doesn't take that long, but just to be sure, when we schedule his ECoH it will probably be in early October.
  21. SteveMM

    What to wear?

    This is one I'm somewhat wrestling with as well. My son's ECoH is coming up in six or seven weeks. I'm a committee member, and I come to nearly every meeting. Generally I wear a class B, but I do don the class A for Courts of Honor and when we go on outings and campouts. Because of that, I'll probably wear my class A at my son's ECoH, since that's what I normally wear to Courts of Honor.
  22. SteveMM

    Bragging time on the oldest.

    It's funny how some moms react to this stuff. My wife deals with our daughter's Girl Scouts career, and mostly leaves Boy Scouts to me. But, on the day of our son's project, she was very, very concerned. She pulled me aside and said, "I think you should have a talk with (our son) because he doesn't seem to be doing much work. He's just walking around." I observed him for a few minutes and reported back to the boss that he had workers spread out over 3-5 acres (no one really knows the size of the area) and was walking from spot to spot managing them, while also doing some of the work. She didn't really know his role in the whole thing, and she thought he was just being lazy.
  23. Completely unrelated side note: The one other Scout doing his EBoR last night is 13 years old, and is in a troop that meets at an LDS church. I really wondered if he rushed to Eagle a bit because of LDS severing their ties with Scouts BSA. No way of knowing, but it would make sense. With that said, they were VERY impressed with his project. He collected 2,000 donated books for an organization and built a bookshelf to house them.
  24. I think they said it would be sent to the national office in Texas for review, but not returned. It's entirely possible I misunderstood, though. My thought was that if they didn't return Scout binders, then they'd run out of room to store them eventually and would end up destroying them. This is why I wondered if I misunderstood.
  25. SteveMM

    Philmont's Allure...

    You were there at the same time as my son's group!