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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. 6 minutes ago, MattR said:

    Once they complete their BOR. It has nothing to do with "approval".

    A scout can be an eagle scout without ever having had a court of honor. Here, the approval date will be after the BOR but the only date of importance is the BOR date.

    Ahh... our procedure is to "Approve" as soon as the BoR is complete... same date.

    And OP did specifically ask about what happens in SB.

    BTW, @Alec27, you can go back in SB and manipulate an "Earned" date to match the BoR date, if that is an issue.

    • Upvote 1
  2. 1 hour ago, Alec27 said:

    As we all know, a Scout has to hold a rank in the program for a specific amount of time (4 months, 6 months, etc) before advancing to the next rank.  My question is...which notation in Scoutbook actually stops the clock of the previous rank and starts the clock on the new rank.  Marking the rank as "approved" or marking the rank as "awarded"?  The reason I ask is because we often do not have a Court of Honor for several months or more and I have boys that are nearing "age out" and need every month they can get working toward Eagle.  I know that the awards can be moved to a PO after being "approved" post-BOR, but have also heard that UAC's should not mark them as "awarded" until they are physically given to the Scout.  So again....what stops the clock?  Approved or Awarded.  

    Thank You All !!!


    You can accumulate several ranks in Scoutbook "to be awarded".

    But, you should not be waiting until a Court of Honor to award a rank or badge.  You should be doing this as soon as possible after the rank or badge is earned.

    Read your Scout Handbook, approx page 414. "As soon as possible, you are recognized for your achievement at a troop meeting where you recevie your badge. (You'll later be recognized again at a special ceremony call a court of honor.)"

    Once we "award" at a troop meeting, we mark it in Scoutbook.  Then for your future Court of Honor, you can run the "Scouts BSA Recognition Report" backdated to your last CoH, for a complete list of everything to be recognized at the upcoming CoH.

    Our Scouts rarely wait more than a week to get their badges... just enough time to get to the Scout store to purchase.  Fortunately, our Advancement person lives a few blocks from the store, and has a weekly routine of going the day of our Scout meeting to pick up items.  Your mileage will obviously vary...

  3. 24 minutes ago, curious_scouter said:

    Also an advocate for paper book.  In our unit that's the official record. 

    Today SB is updated by our adv chair after a successful BOR but does not include the individual requirement dates - only the BOR is updated.

    We have a handful of newer Scouts and families entering progress directly.  You need to set expectations with them.  As many are coming in from Cubs, their belief is they are "signing off" on the requirement by doing that.  They get frustrated to find out later it's really just a "heads up" the Scout is ready to test on those.  They still need to meet with someone in the unit authorized to sign off on requirements.  But.. if you can get ahead of expectations I think it's really handy to be able to see the actual progress of the troop online at a glance.

    I'm a data driven guy.  Someone has volunteered to start loading Scout-->First class status into SB for us time to time.  This will help us because we can then pull reports from SB and find out like "23 Scouts need this specific requirement".  The PLC can use that to plan meetings and outings that have more impact.

    Because MBs go straight into SB we have been able to do this kind of report for Eagle Required badges.  That's helped the PLC as well as the leadership.  It's been helping us to help scouts avoid panic later "Hey buddy, you have like 10 eagle required badges left to finish and you're getting older.  Might want to knock off 3 or 4 at summer camp this year and keep your eyes open for other chances to get them done."  It's been very beneficial, just that bit of "hey buddy" has been enough to encourage some good decisions and proactive action.

    Concur, to a point...

    We had a Scout who was working on Tenderfoot.  He did not take good care of his book, and his requirements page ripped out, and he lost the page with his progress.

    I sat with him, read through the requirements, and asked him if he could remember which requirements he had completed, and with whom.  I was going to help him verify, and was prepared to take him at his word for many.

    For some, he said he could not remember.  He asked me if he was going to have to re-do the requirements, and I told him yes, for the ones you cannot remember or that we cannot verify.  Later that week I got a message from his Mom that he was leaving Scouting.

    Now, there were many other factors at play with that young man, and I know he was having a rough go in other areas of his life.  This seemed to be one thing he simply was unwilling to stick with, given the speed bump he had hit.

    I do believe, had his items been backed up in Scoutbook, and allowed for an easy recovery from this, he'd still be in Scouting today.

    We tell our Scouts that the primary written record is their Scout Handbook.  But we warn them (this Scout included), that written records are fragile, especially in the hands of an active 12 year old.  We are happy to help them by recording things in Scoutbook, but the responsibility for seeing that is done is on their shoulders!

    About 80% of our Scouts are diligent in syncing the two systems of record.

    Very few do not have anything recorded in Scoutbook, and we do as @curious_scouter does above... when they meet their BoR with their Scout Handbook, the Advancement chair records the BoR in Scoutbook, and we award the rank.

    Without a backup record, it is only a matter of time until this happens again.

    We also tell Scouts to take a picture of their requirements page, as a sufficient record, especially if it becomes detached.  We have reconstructed a record in Scoutbook from a picture like that....


  4. 2 hours ago, RangerEagle said:

    Planning an AOL campout for March. The boys wanted to do another campout together before crossing over.

    Will be in the mountains of southern California, so a chance of being cool to cold.

    Planning on having the boys plan/cook the meals. We will do a hike, probably 5-6 miles, minimal elevation change with lunch on the trail. Flag retirement ceremony. Of course they will do fire building!


    Looking for additional items to add into the weekend. Want it to be fun, outdoor educational, but also be a capstone for AOL and Cub Scouts. Will use it to review outdoor skills we've learned over the years and ensure our scouts who joined late are caught up for crossing over.

    I like the color guard idea. We won't have a flag pole, but can certainly do a flag ceremony in the morning and night.

    Moon looks to be just past new, so maybe astronomy. I just don't own a telescope. Maybe having them use a star map and teach celestial navigation?

    During the hike, maybe have a nature scavenger hunt? I took my then 7 and 9 year old hiking on this same trail once and .5 miles into it they started complaining. Had them start counting the number of animals they saw and their complaints were non-existent. Figure it would be good to keep them mentally occupied while also engaged in the hike. Will probably need to add a prize in to get the boys to participate in it!

    Our last pack campout we did a faith service. Maybe 10 minutes, but had the boys lead most of it. Had a call to worship, sang God Bless America, a thanksgiving prayer, the "message" was a scout reciting the scout law with a three to five sentence explanation for each point, and a benediction. Anyone do a faith service?


    All great ideas...

    - You do not need a flag pole.  You can make own.  Pretty easy with some staves, rope and stakes.  Check out the Scout handbook Woods Tools Section for round lashings.  Lacking staves, you can throw a rope over a tree branch to raise a flag.  (My preferred method.)  Just need a long rope and a flag for that one...

    - For your astronomy, recommend you invest in a modest pair of binoculars (instead of a telescope) and/or a green laser.  I use the laser all the time with Scouts to point out stars.  Be careful not to use when aircraft are in the area you are pointing.  (Flashing aircraft with a laser is a felony!  https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/protecting-aircraft-from-lasers )  In March, you might be able to catch Orion.  Pretty cool and easily recognizable constellation and has the red giant Betelgeuse  (pronounced Beetlejuice).  The color of the star is very noticeable to young eyes.  Old farts might need the binoculars for better acuity.  You can project forward in time with Heavens Above interactive sky chart to get an idea of what you might see.  https://www.heavens-above.com/skychart2.aspx?lat=0&lng=0&loc=Unspecified&alt=0&tz=UCT

    Then, you can also download and use some good apps on your phone for real time sky chart.

    - Webelos are allowed to use bowsaws!  You could incorporate some sawing.  https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/HealthSafety/pdf/680-685.pdf

    - We always plan for a faith service on camping trips.  "Scout's Own"  The challenge to our PLC is that they have not met the Gold Standard unless they have a flag ceremony and a worship service.

    - How about some Leave No Trace principles??  Lots of stuff to do there...

  5. 5 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    For reasons other than what you’re thinking. We’re no longer allowed to award bobcat (or any other pin, I presume) while  the scout is upside down. Good luck trying to get junior to rotate head-up before his/her birthday! ;)

    Could Mom stand on her head??

  6. 4 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

    This is key. Keep this correct as you go along, and recharter should almost be a non-event. 

    If the registrar likes you, you will have no problems with recharter 😜

    Want to get the registrar to like you?  Complete your paperwork properly, file it in a timely manner, and have sufficient funds to cover registrations...

    Pretty simple recipe.

    • Upvote 1
  7. 15 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

    I'm a huge advocate of using the paper handbook.  Scouts should always have their paper handbook; campouts, meetings, etc. 

    The online scout book is a nice view, but I am always concerned that is the entry being made by the scout or an overly zealous parent.  I'm concerned about expecting to use expensive tech on camp outs.  I'm concerned about the handbook narratives being there when needed. 

    Also, scouts should focus on being active.  I really have a problem expecting scouts to double enter the data from the paper handbook into the online scout book.  

    Agreed.  That is the primary resource for the Scouts.  Scoutbook is the primary tracking tool we adults use, as it provides much more utility.

    • Upvote 1
  8. It is best if you can get Scouts to "take care of themselves" as @mrjohns2 indicates.

    However, this requires a few things:

    1.  The Scout must have an email address to have their own Scoutbook account.  (Many parents balk at this for 10.5 - 12 year olds... don't get me started there.)

    2.  A parent who is connected to Scoutbook and can reasonably navigate the application.

    3.  The parent must invite the Scout to connect to Scoutbook and finish creating their account.

    4.  The Scout has to find out how to enter logbook activities, which is not an intuitive process.

    5.  A Unit leader who monitors Scoutbook routinely and goes through the process of approving entries.

    Now, imagine if you will, 20 Scouts went on last week's camping trip.  Not all 20 are gonna make an entry.  Of the ones who do (say 10), they are gonna call that activity 10 different names and will put in 10 different accounting for days, nights, miles hiked, frost points, service hours, etc.

    Our solution:  for every event, we have a youth planner (who reports to the PLC), and an adult planner who mentors that youth through the process.  At the end of the event, there is an accounting (if you will) of everyone who went on the event, how much it cost, how many miles, nights, hours, etc.  This is done with a spreadsheet. The adult planner is responsible to work with someone with edit access to input all data in Scoutbook.

    Scouts should absolutely track all their data in their Scout Handbook, reconcile that with Scoutbook from time to time, and point out discrepancies to whomever is designated to handle that stuff (in our unit, that's their assigned ASM, and/or the Advancement Chair)

    One technique we use is that, any time a date or data is input into Scoutbook, we then highlight it in BLUE in the Scout's Handbook.  Makes it really easy to tell what is new stuff, and what has already been input.

    If you have a more elegant solution, I'd love to hear it and copy your success!


  9. Check your roster in my.scouting.org ---> MENU ---> Your Unit ID ---> Roster

    Once this is updated, your Scoutbook roster update should follow within 24 hours.  Any youth who aged out may linger on a bit longer.

    Our recharter went very cleanly with 52 Scouts / 28 Leaders.  The absolute key is to have all your roster updates / applications processed BEFORE you submit for recharter.

  10. 14 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:


    Sadly the folks running the Cub Scout Program nationally have little to no real life experience. I am told BSA use "experts" to write curriculums, programming etc.  And from reading training materials, I can believe it.

    And, if you are paying someone to create a good program, do you think they are going to come back to you and say, "The solution is less programming, and and more emphasis on unstructured fun in the outdoors!" ???


  11. On 1/27/2023 at 11:29 PM, awanatech said:

    The state giving a tax break to religious institutions is far from the state "establishing a religion". There are many different religions and even more denominations broken down within those religions. They can each have very different, sometimes opposing, views on matters of religion. How would be the state be establishing a religion by recognizing so many different ideologies? If the state were to establish a religion, it would give preferential treatment to that particular religion over the over non-established religions. It would not be treating them all the same, regardless of beliefs. Recognizing a religion is very different than establishing one.

    Define religion... you could make a statement that Boy Scouts is your religion, and that you worship Lord B-P.  If the state gives tax breaks to a "religion" but not to other non-profits, then that is a state "establishing a religion"...


    • Upvote 1
  12. 6 hours ago, Eagle1970 said:

    The longer this goes on, the more I wonder how many survivors will be gone by the time there is resolution. 

    Average life expectancy is in the mid-70's and many of us were abused 50-60 years ago.  Not getting any younger, I'm at the unfortunate point of having to document my "memories" so my wife can tell my story, should my ticket run out.  And that goes for my fellow scouts (as potential witnesses) who were present at camp but not abused.  In my case, several were specifically aware of my abuser's history before I was.  

    Does anyone have input into how to best document for this possibility?



    Could you enter this in a will?  Disposition of a settlement in your favor, that is?


  13. We offer an orientation to parents, and spend a great deal of time on "How do we keep your kids safe?"

    Removing adults without children in the program is a recipe for failure.  They're the ones with the "bandwidth" available to make such an admittedly complex program as Scouting work (well).

    We encourage our new parents to camp with us.  We require YPT, and background checks (usually free) per our state law in PA.

    We did have a parent wish to camp, without sufficient time to complete the above.  We allowed it, but said they must, at all times, be with one of our registered adults.  They were allowed NO supervisory role, including driving Scouts to the outing (other than their own), per our state law for volunteer clearance requirements.

    It is a mixed bag here.  Our experience is that there is safety in numbers... of adults that is.  It is unusual for us to have fewer than four adults on a trip.  We are often in the 8-10 range.  Makes for a nice adult Patrol;)



  14. 2 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

    Unpopular take: This is 2023. Grown men without children in the unit should not participate in overnight activities.

    I'm fully aware this would exclude many terrific volunteers from participating in a key aspect of the program. By all means, they are welcome to volunteer in other capacities (staffing a day camp or training parent volunteers, for example). As a 30-something parent, I'd be highly skeptical of a male volunteering at the unit level if that person wasn't also a parent and I'm certain my wife shares my skepticism. And we all know moms drive the big household decisions (like whether kids get to participate in Scouting).

    When we disguise our feelings as thought, we make all nonsense possible.

  15. 19 hours ago, curious_scouter said:

    What's your takes on MB counselors?  My understanding is G2SS does not say the registered adult leaders have to be leaders in your unit.  So for example, a Den Leader from the Pack or a MB Counselor are both registered leaders with BSA.  As long as they were YPT and did not present a concern to me about having enough qualified supervision - I would be able to leverage either should I ever need to fill 2-up for our Troop.

    FWIW, I am generally happy to allow any interested adult to come camping.  Camping is fun, they should get to enjoy it - with the adult Patrol.  My ask as SM is that any non-ASM who wishes to attend consult with me before committing.  It's important to me to set expectations on how to conduct oneself as an adult on a Scouts BSA outing.  I need them to understand "the way" and ensure they will let the Scouts do. 

    In the end, we are required to allow parents to observe any aspect of the program they wish.  Noone can really say a parent is not allowed to come camping as far as I understand.  They must be permitted if they insist.  "All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders."

    You are correct: the G2SS states "registered leaders" versus registered unit leaders.  I asked this same question regarding MB counselors to our council three years ago, and got conflicting answers through DE and FD, and was asked by our FD to ask the YP folks at national (which he later denied --- wished I'd had that one in writing, as in our conversations he relayed he had spoken to SE about it 😜 )  YP national folks generated a somewhat scathing response, delivered by Michael Johnson himself, that I should just listen to council and stop trying to circumvent their registration policies.  LOL.

    The letter of the law answer is ambiguous, at best.  From national, 'MB counselors do not qualify, but clarify with your council.'  From our local council, 'just don't get us in trouble, and have you made your FOS contribution yet?'

    The spirit of the law answer is: get approval from your COR to take them with your unit

    One final thought... G2SS now says "Adult program participants must register as adults and follow Youth Protection policies."  I interpret this to mean adults (parents) may observe our program just fine.  But if an adult wishes to participate in the program (like camping overnight), then they "must register as adults."  NOTE:  it does not delimit which positions qualify as a "registered adult"  So, MB counselors would fit into the criteria of that wording.

    Bottom Line:  If you really want an answer to your question, you must get your SE's read on it, if you can 😜  In general, any time there is ambiguity in policy (and it is written in there intentionally, I often think...) then National will defer to your Scout Executive's ruling.  

    As some here are fond of saying (paraphrasing)... Never ask for a rule: you won't like the answer you get.

  16. 1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

    @Alec27 ....  The related question is SHOULD they be camping with you AND what is their ROLE when camping?  

    IMHO, rules are to cover guide to safe scouting.  The "should" and "role" is always my main concern.  Committee members are administrative; not scout-facing.  Too often committee members work like ASMs.  That's not "preferred".   Sometimes it's necessary due to number of registered adults.    So on camp outs ... just like troop meetings, etc ... scouts work with scouts first; then with SM and the ASMs.  Ideally, scouts don't work with committee members.

    Committee Members ought to go camping (or visit an overnight camping trip) to observe the performance of the SM Corps.  It is not the ideal that MCs would be there as the required adult supervision.

    Totally concur with @fred8033... except one point...

    Scouts should ideally work with Committee Members for their Positions of Responsibility, where appropriate.

    e.g., Scribe, Webmaster, Librarian, Chaplains Aide, Historian, etc. etc., as these are administrative in nature.

    For other PORs, it is ONLY appropriate to be under the mentorship of someone in the SM Corps...

    e.g., SPL with SM, OA Rep with ASM OA Advisor, Troop Guide with ASMs, etc. etc.

    IMHO, and in a perfect world, each Scout in a POR would have an adult (or older Scout) mentor to help them develop and execute SMART goals for their POR.  We hit that mark about 25- 30% of the time. 

    • Upvote 1
  17. 1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Biggest complaint has been the council level pros for some time. . We are large geographically, but an economically poor region. BUT the folks with money usually were involved in Scouting as youth, knew the need, and gave of both their time for their children, and treasure to help others. Usually those folks would serve in district and/or council roles. Who knows the community better than the ones living in it?

    Well you got pros coming in, wanting things done their way. No amount of explaining that the things they want done were tried before and were failures will get through their heads. You keep questioning them, you get removed from the district/council level.

    Membership stats look off. You start questioning them, you get removed from the district/council level.

    You running an activity and councils starts interfering by adding additional activities at the same location the same weekend.  When you attempt to discsuss the matter, you are yelled at. You decide it's no longer worth volunteering at the district/council level.

    Or you run an event, and the pros do not order the supplies you need. So you get the supplies last minute, which costs more, and go into the "emergency " portion of your budget.

    Or they do not order the quantities you requested, causing you to make last minute purchases, going into the "emergency " portion of your budget. Or maybe they need to make a second order for patches, causing the event to go over budget

    Or when you ask for support for the event, you are completely left alone and left to your own devices. No support whatsoever. Now a district level event can be done like that. Heck my current district operate like that now. But a council level one?

    But that is better than being yelled and cursed out at. I cannot tell you how many volunteers that has happened too. Heck one pro cursed out a key district volunteer via text.

    Which is why my district is in the shape it is. And apparently it was not just my old district. These things were occuring in all the old districts that now comprise the current one. Very few folks want to get involved because of the way they and their friends have been treated.

    And  it still continues. Had a new pro plan an Cub Scout event with 3 weeks notice. Had to cancel one week out when no one  volunteered for the event, and no registration since the even was planned after 95% of the packs stopped meeting for the summer. The email blamed volunteers for the cancellation, and the tone of the email further alienated volunteers.

    And when you alienate volunteers, will they give donations?

    Recruiting has been another issue. We got kicked out of the schools a decade ago. since that time we lost 6 packs, 3 troops any 3 troops on the verge of dying. We have begged the pros to help us with getting back into the schools and with recruiting. No luck with them.

    There was talk at one meeting about starting new units. I stated that national does not predict any growth until 2025 according o court documents, so instead of trying to start new units, could they focus on existing, struggling units. Told no, we are on our own.

    If we are on our own, why should we donate to the council when the money would be better served helping struggling units survive?

    Sorry for the rant, But I needed to get this off the chest.

    Yeah I know. The few district level things I've done have been because my Scouts have asked me to do them. I try to stay out of the BS and focus on my troop. But it is hard. As I said, I spent a long time and treasure on Scouting, and this area in particular. It is both frustrating and depressing seeing what is happening. I had more active units and scouts in one county back in the day, than my multicounty districy has today.


    • Haha 2
  18. 24 minutes ago, Alec27 said:

    Wow...that's an awesome amount of info (in a good way) and Thank You so very much for the feedback.  It definitely clarified a lot for me, for sure, and I guess my only other question is.....per the GSS verbiage of "2 Adult Leaders" and in some cases in the GSS verbiage of "2 TRAINED Adult Leaders", does the word "Leader" mean to say a registered, YPT certified adult who currently holds a leadership position in the troop?  And can a "Leader" be one that is not IOLS "Trained" ?  

    Thank You Again.  You All Are Awesome !

    Yes.  You will not find specific direction to have IOLS to take youth camping.

    CAVEAT:  Your council may invoke stricter requirements that the G2SS!!!  Check your council's unit leader training policy.  If your Council says you have to have IOLS, then you must.

    Read through the entire G2SS.  Depending on the activity, different levels of training are required...

    For example, under the Camping section, ONE leader must have Hazardous Weather Training:

    Supervision of camping activities must include qualified, registered, adult leadership. [no specifications for "qualified" other than the verbiage that follows]

    • At a minimum, one leader present is current in Hazardous Weather
      Training for all unit types. It is recommended that all leaders complete
      this training every two years.



    And for Swimming:

    Adult leaders supervising a swimming activity must have completed Safe Swim Defense training within the previous two years.



    And for Snorkeling:

    In addition to Safe Swim Defense training and the 21-year-old minimum age, the supervisor must be an experienced snorkeler. At a minimum, the supervisor must possess skills and knowledge matching the Snorkeling BSA Award and have experience with environments similar to those of the planned activity.



    And for "boating" activities ( " All activity afloat..."):

    At least one leader must be trained in first aid including CPR.



    etc., etc., etc.

  19. 4 hours ago, nolesrule said:

    The point of being registered is that they have had the background check and they have done their YPT certification. 

    This, but the primary point is that those adults are approved by your CO to be registered in their Scout program.

    The CO approves and has authority over ALL adult leaders in their chartered Scouting program.  If the CO doesn't want someone involved in their Scouting program, they (through the COR) can direct them to leave. The only reason council would intervene is if the adult does not meet BSA Membership Standards (usually revealed in criminal background check).

    This is why two units are not to intermix activities without council approval...  Council would ask if the CO's approve the inter-unit activity and "accept" each others leaders.  If the two CO's approve of the inter-unit activity, council really doesn't have a dog in the fight.  If council pushed it, then the way around council?  Each units' leaders and youth would multiple-register in the other unit... (for free and can be done by the members/units themselves now on my.scouting.org  ... no need to involve the registrar) 😜

    And BTW, all that background info on the Adult Application ?  That is for the CO!!  Read the fine print on the CO approval:

    "APPROVALS FOR UNIT ADULTS: I have reviewed this application and the responses to any questions answered “Yes,” and have made any follow-up inquiries necessary to be satisfied that the applicant possesses the moral, educational, and emotional qualities to be an adult leader in the BSA"

    Notice the slightly different wording above the Council approval:

    "APPROVAL FOR COUNCIL AND DISTRICT ADULTS: I have reviewed this application and have made any follow-up inquiries necessary to be satisfied that the applicant possesses the moral, educational, and emotional qualities to be an adult leader in the BSA."

    Yes, Committee Members can serve as adult supervision on outings. 

    If BSA required them to be registered as SM or SA, then they would say that. 

    Now, two registered and fully trained SM / SA types are the best scenario...

  20. 22 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Funny thing one parent that visited us recently and told us how our troop is more active and scouts are better prepared, but the wife wants his son in the new troop because he is now advancing.

    That is so sad.  Form without substance...  The lesson for that son is that the outward man is more important than the inward.  We will all suffer from the fruits of that mentality.

    22 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Agree 110%. But as stated above, more and more parents want "high speed, low drag" advancement instead of the Scouts having fun and learning "...as naturally as a suntan...."

    See above...

  21. I'll channel Jefferson:

    Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens [Scouters] to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible.

    • Upvote 1
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