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About Owls_are_cool

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    Scouts BSA
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    Scoutmaster for one year

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  1. Owls_are_cool

    Scouter needs advise

    A short update: The Chartering Organization removed from the committee the two parents causing trouble in my troop. Ideally, intense conflict resolution with a professional would have been better, but my gut says they would not come to the table. The two parents convinced other parents to join their faction and will be starting a new troop. So half of the active scouts will be leaving my troop. It is a sad day for me given the year and a half I invested in these scouts. Looks like I will return as scoutmaster and will put the pieces back together for the second time. The committee will be decimated with the loss of a number of people willing to do some work, so we'll have to find and train replacements. So I find myself looking back to see if I should have done something different to avoid all of this, but at root I took a stand against adult bullying of scouts and parents. I started to give back the reins of the troop to the scouts as the scout program dictates. Not popular with the faction, but I think I did the right thing. I am looking forward to a new start and challenge, however.
  2. Owls_are_cool

    How to test scout on GPS usage?

    The nice thing about Waze is that one can map any park or campground beforehand and have scouts explore the site using the app. For example, search "Melita Island Campsite 10" in the app. It will plot the location of this campsite on the map. Then scouts can follow the roads in the app to get to that point. In another park, I put in a mix of hiking trails and roads plus various locations in the park. Scouts can use it to navigate to various locations in the park...mostly by watching the pointer on the map. If no cell service, utility of this app in the wilderness is limited...as a number of others have already mentioned.
  3. Owls_are_cool

    GPS usage may cause dementia

    @SSScout what GPS app was your wife using? I edit maps for Waze as a hobby and enjoy the challenge of getting the app to route better. Though i use the app more to determine my time of arrivals. I did map up a BSA camp we went to this year. They report some usefulness finding areas.
  4. Owls_are_cool

    Right way to initiate Troop/Patrol Service Projects

    Troop Leader Guide vol 1 ch 10 and vol 2 ch 12 and 13 has good stuff on service projects. Lots written on scouts leading this program with adults supporting.
  5. Owls_are_cool

    Right way to initiate Troop/Patrol Service Projects

    Guide to Advancement (2012, need to look at newer version) talks about a scout discussing with the scoutmaster if the service project proposal qualifies for advancement. From this discussion, the scoutmaster approves or disapproves the project. I am thinking that this is a topic I should bring up in scoutmaster conferences. "Says here that you need 6 service hours to earn your star rank. What do you have in mind? Should the scouts identify service projects or should the committee?" @Tatung42 Just wow.
  6. Owls_are_cool

    Right way to initiate Troop/Patrol Service Projects

    A few days after i posted this, a parent wanted two service opportunities added to the calendar if scoutmaster approved. Basically serving at her church carnival like events that is not our chartering church. No mention of getting PLC involved. Documentation talks about a service project coordinator as a committee position, which can be confusing. Set up service projects to do or support service projects that the PLC wants to do? I am leaning toward scout led in this area, but to counter those that want this aspect adult led, i need some BSA documentation to reference. Any good reading i can do?
  7. Owls_are_cool

    What's the value of Wood Badge???

    WB is lots to digest for a new scouter. Seeing model patrol method at work was really helpful...more than what was taught. Forming/Storming/Norming/Performing...certainly started to see this at work the next camping season, so this was useful. Struggling to remember the rest, so I may have to serve a course or two for a refresher. Tickets was most important part, which helped me grow as a scoutmaster. I had a district related ticket, that got me involved at the district level. If I didn't put anything I learned into practice via tickets, I would not have learned much. Go Owls.
  8. Owls_are_cool

    Scouter needs advise

    At this point, only the Chartering Organization can rescind their approval of these two parents to be on the committee. Could be as painless as leaving them off of the recharter in two months. Maybe the CO can make it effective immediately. For one parent (actually grandparent), their boy turns 18 in two months, so I suspect they are ending their involvement with the troop at that time. The other one has a first class scout and could be around for 1.3 years minimum, so will have to deal with the parents a bit, even if off the committee. Bad deal all around. I wonder if the BSA could come up with a training module "Advanced Troop Conflicts and Approaches For Unit Leaders for Dealing with them". Walk scouters through a series of nightmare scenarios and help them recognize that a serious conflict is developing, plus give them tools to mitigate the conflict. Also show how some actions can make the conflict worse. Wood badge touched this a bit, but scenario training would have been more effective for me as a new scoutmaster.
  9. Owls_are_cool

    Scouter needs advise

    The plot thickens. We had an SPL election, a patrol realignment, and PL elections two weeks ago. In judgement of two parents, the new SPL is not worthy of the position. These parents have been documenting every instance this scout has broken the scout oath and law and given past behavior, likely passed this information on to other parents. Some of this is being done to drive the scout and their mother out of the troop, because the mother is not in their faction to build the troop in their vision (adult led). No doubt they think I had a role in getting this scout elected as SPL. However, the scouts ran the election completely on their own and made a decision. I did not say a word during the process. I guess now a majority of parents think I manipulated the process to get this scout elected or I should have found a way to prevent this "unworthy" scout from being elected. This is adult bullying and against BSA policy. New COR is getting involved. Not sure what the plan is, but something will happen in the next few weeks.
  10. Owls_are_cool

    Compare Scouting vs Sports ?

    I managed a Little League baseball team for one year. A year later, I wonder at times what if I ran that team like I did as scoutmaster of my troop? Baseball players would pick a captain to make the final decisions, then the captain would figure out a process to determine which player would play which position, batting lineups, who would man the 1st and 3rd base coach spots, when to practice, etc. All I would have to do is make sure they follow the rules and secure practice fields and transportation. Scouts certainly benefit from running their own program, especially if it is messy.
  11. When I was scoutmaster, I got several requests a month from organizations needing service help from my troop. If I found it worthy, I put it on the scoutbook calendar, announce it for a few meetings, send a few emails, however, it got poor response from the troop. This got me thinking, however, that the process I used was adult led and not scout led. Anybody out there whose troop let scouts take service requests and decide if they will do them (with scoutmaster approval, of course)? Anyone have a troop, where scouts come up with service projects (outside of eagle projects) to do as opposed to having a Service Project Chair on the Troop Committee feeding the scouts service projects to do? I would be curious what process these troops use to make this work. Thanks in advance for any ideas provided.
  12. Owls_are_cool

    Scouter needs advise

    I had long conversations with the outgoing COR and the next Scoutmaster today. I feel comfortable that I can contribute as assistant scoutmaster and we are on the same page. I will be able to focus more on mentoring scouts and let the arrows be pointed at another person for a while. The COR was surprised (after I read the role of the Chartering Organization from the Troop Committee Challenge) that the CO selected the scoutmaster, appointed the committee members, etc. The new COR is a much more experienced scouter and has potential in being able to address some of the drama associated with the troop. Maybe leave some of the troublemakers off of the charter renewal and thank them for their service. Maybe have the CO leader make this so sooner. Not sure how many of the scouts will leave the troop if this is done or if a lawsuit will be filed. In end I see a positive outcome for the scouts in my troop. My son just earned his first class rank at the age of 12 last month. Younger scouts are taking over the leadership of the troop, so there is a new start. It is awesome to watch them figure out this leadership thing.
  13. Owls_are_cool

    Scouter needs advise

    Recently my Troop committee (in a divided vote) replaced me as scoutmaster. History... 1) My son joined the troop in Jan 2018 and I was asked to be an assistant scoutmaster not long after. I accepted the position. 2) July 2018, the scoutmaster abruptly resigned (not sure why) and I was asked to take over. I accepted the position and attended both 6 day summer camps that two groups in my troop signed up for. 3) Three older scouts were causing problems at one of the camps including skipping on merit badges one morning/not listening to SPL. One of the adult leaders dragged one of these scouts out of their tent one morning for refusing to get up. (YPT violation?) 4) Found out the scoutmaster previous to the one resigned slapped a scout at a camp and was forced out of the troop. That explains why many mothers came with the scouts the next year. 5) Upon returning from camp, two parents started a movement to remove one of the older scouts from the troop based on some tweets and retweets that they felt was inappropriate...plus behavior at camps. My view as scoutmaster was that I wanted to give him a second chance and a chance to mentor him. More tweets and retweets surfaced and a committee vote was scheduled to remove scout. I convinced the parents of the scout to find another troop, so the scout has a true fresh start. There was a meeting between the parents of the scout and committee soon afterwards and it was ugly. 6) September 2018 I took wood badge training. Most of my tickets were related to improving the program of my troop, like jump starting patrols. Having never been a scout myself, wood badge taught me how the patrol method works. 7) Sept-Dec 2018, I organized advancement Saturdays (2 hours at a McDonalds) where scouts can get signed off on advancement stuff. Popular, but not scout led. 8) Learned that my son was bullied at a court of honor several times for sitting in a seat that an older scout wanted. 9) January 2019, gave patrols goals to plan 3 outings for their patrol. It didn't have to be scouting related (like a movie), but I saw this as a baby step to planning scouting outings as a patrol. Next committee meeting started to get complaints from parents of scouts having too many activities to attend. 10) January 2019, started PLC meetings. Initially, held on Saturdays, but few months later, a few parents complained at a committee meeting about too many meetings. 11) January 2019, had to cancel a fundraiser because of the lack of participation from scouts. Hurt troop reputation. 12) April and May patrol activities canceled due to lack of support from some parents. 13) Planning for Spring Camporee went well as patrols. However, two parents (same as above) wanted one of their sons to finish their cooking merit badge. This son was a patrol leader. They insisted that he cook for the "adult patrol". I informed them that the merit badge requirement says that he must cook for his patrol (or another group of boys if that option is not available). Parent called the district and found a scouter to say that "adult patrol" will work for the merit badge. Not much I can do at that point without causing a huge conflict. Patrol was hurt by this, but they got through it. 14) Summer camp in 2019 when well. Accidentally left a medical binder with personal information on the wheel well of the trailer on the way home. When I realized what I have done, had to backtrack to find it given the sensitive information. I as able to recover all by two sheets of paper (it must have been an explosion, because there was paper everywhere.) Parents over-reacted and complained to committee chair. Sent out an email apologizing for my mistake. I also stated that it would have been better to talk to me to get the latest on the documents, instead of spreading misinformation between parents. 15) I gave the PLC an idea to do install ceremonies for our new SPL and PLs after getting a text from a scout wanting to MC the court of honor. Something a remembered from Wood Badge. Later that day, I got a text from parent complaining scouts will be left out of the ceremony. So in a nutshell, I certainly own some responsibility for all of this being unable to communicate my vision, making some mistakes along the way, not handling issues with parents well. Not doing annual planning last year (something I missed in my inexperience) caused a disaster in getting campouts done. But there is an underlying battle between a scout led troop and an committee led troop. Aim for some is getting a eagle badge for their son, instead of focusing on the scouts running their own troop. So here are my options... a) Accept my demotion from the committee to Assistant Scoutmaster and serve the new Scoutmaster to the best of my ability. I work well with him, but not sure how the program will change. He was shocked at this outcome as I was. He will need my help given that the other assistants are busy with work. b) Chartering Organization was not involved in this decision, so I can get my Scoutmaster job back with the help of them. The COR does not have to sign the application of the new Scoutmaster. Work to remove parents causing trouble from the committee. c) Committee Chair job is open and I can serve in that position. Though I would take the support role of the committee seriously and let the scoutmaster run the program. I will run into conflict with parents that want to run the program from the committee. Though Scoutmaster needs an assistant that can help him. d) Find another troop for my son and offer to serve that troop. Order of options right now is a, d, c, and b. Any thoughts on this?
  14. Owls_are_cool

    Can the Patrol Method Be Revived?

    @dkurtenbach I am currently experiencing the same struggles you are with the Patrol Method. If a patrol did plan an outing, half of the patrol members could not attend because of other commitments. Sometimes parents would complain that their scouts are doing too much and get the outing canceled. I could have written your initial post myself. When I was given the challenge of being scoutmaster of my troop one year ago (and only being associated with the troop for 6 months prior), I inherited a troop that was troop led. They had patrols, but did nothing as patrols. Wood Badge inspired me to revive the Patrol Method in my troop...in fact it was one of my tickets. So here is what I have learned so far... 1) I let the scouts group themselves into patrols. I think the second iteration of this will work the best, where after the SPL election, I asked the troop how patrol rosters should be determined? In some troops, they mixed the ages/ranks, whereas others group more by ages. It is your troop, how do you want divide into patrols? I discussion ensued and they proceed to divide themselves by age. They even assigned a troop guide to the patrol of scouts that have not been in the troop for a year yet. 2) Get them into a patrol meeting and get them to plan a patrol only outing for next month. The outing can be anything as long as it is allowed by BSA policy. Eventually, I want my SPL to be the one asking the PLs "What is your patrol doing next month?" and put pressure on them if they are doing nothing. 3) Attendance seems good for week-long scout camps, so scouting can take priority over sports for most of your troop. So when patrols do something, the outing has to be an awesome experience or challenging in some way. Letting the patrols decide where and what they are going to do seems to improve attendance. However, my road to patrol method utopia is full of potholes and a washed out bridge... 1) You are doubling and tripling the workload on adults needed to support outings. If two deep adult leadership cannot be met, then the outing has to be cancelled. I found that this had discouraged the patrol method in my troop since I have been SM. 2) Some scouts are only there to get their eagle badge and are usually there at the insistence of their parents. They'll attend an outing if it has some advancement benefit. I had a parent insist that their patrol leader son cook for the "adult patrol" at a camporee, so he can finish his Eagle Required Cooking Merit Badge. Others in the patrol had to pick up the pieces. These parents are also the last ones that will help support patrol activities and will actually work against them. 3) Requirements of two deep adult leadership at outings require good long term planning on the part of scouts in my troop. Unfortunately, we do not have any adults that love to drop everything and camp with scouts for a weekend. So last year, because of not enough long term planning for patrol outings, many outings are cancelled because of the lack of scouts and/or needed adults. I do have hope for the patrol method in my troop, because I think the scouts can solve these problems if given the task and some direction through questions. It will take time, however, and it will be work. I am not even close yet.