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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. 4 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

    !!!!   WHAT !!!!!    :( ....   Different topic.  ... Take the exclamation marks with a sense of humor.  

    We always got the rank recognized by BSA in their records before the COH.  Heck, it was part of purchasing the ranks and MBs.  We either needed the paper invoice or the ScoutBook pick-list.

    @fred8033 You and your council were following the rules.  Most do not.  Here, buy whatever you want in the store and hand it out like candy.  It's about the money  (you have any idea what the markup is on stuff in a Scout store?), not the program.

    Advancement report schmadvancement report....

    • Upvote 1
  2. Just now, fred8033 said:

    @InquisitiveScouter ... Good question.  ... sounds like a transition coordination issue now ... a software issue ... Legalistically, it's not an Eagle required until July 1, 2022.   So, do you apply the sentence to a current scout's advancement for something that is not yet required?   

    IMHO ... in all situations like this ... favor the scout ... let the scout know the issue ... find a way to recognize the scout for advancing.  the scout earned it.

    Dunno how to do the programming, but the Scoutbook folks cracked the code...


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  3. 1 minute ago, ramanous said:

    Now, I wonder if this is at least partially the result of unreasonable expectations. The idea that a scout should make First Class in a year?

    This is certainly one piece of the puzzle.  A Scout should make first class when it darn well pleases him, and he has the motivation to do the requirements.  In most Troop programs I see, everything is repeatedly spoonfed to them, or outright pencil-whipped.

    2 minutes ago, ramanous said:

    I think ILST and NYLT should be a requirement to get Eagle, along with a meaningful leadership role like Patrol Leader and probably some requirement to participating in creating a troop program.

    I love the idea of ILST and NYLT being required.  An implementation plan might need a bit of work, but I think this is doable.  Meaningful leadership roles?  Now there's a failure I've been trying to crack the code on for a while.  Librarian and Historian (and Bugler and Assistant Patrol Leader, for that matter) can be meaningful leadership positions.  This depends on the Scout having a session to set meaningful goals (SMART goals a la NYLT), and having to be accountable for them.  This leadership development takes a lot of time and follow up, but merit badges and rank accumulation tend to get in the way.  I say make the writing and accomplishment of SMART goals part of the requirement for these leadership positions.  

    BTW, "No" to requiring they must be a PL or SPL.  You can be a great leader as a Den Chief or a Chaplain Aide, or Chief-Cook-and-Bottle-Washer.

    3 minutes ago, ramanous said:

    From a scouter preservative, we take various standardized training. But when the Key3 vary from the standard, it makes our roles as adults confusing. I've been called out by the SM a few times for "doing things wrong" when in fact I was going by the book (which is consistent with my experience as a Scout also).

    Trained adults who follow the program are the most critical element of successful Scouting.  You are doing it well when you follow the standards set, and only deviate when good judgment dictates.  (And be ready to have your judgment questioned.)

    3 minutes ago, ramanous said:

    Hard to volunteer in this environment where isn't unclear the actual process being followed. Not following the plan (when there is one), also sets a bad example.


  4. 18 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

    I was complaining to one of my ASMs that I am seeing less and less engagement from scouts in our overnight activities but far more in day only merit badge sessions.  Another leader indicated he has heard similar feedback from Troops in our area (merit badge sessions "selling" out but camporees, overnights lacking attendance).  The ASM said ... well, perhaps the market has changed and you need to change with it.

    17 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

    How does this apply ... if you build a Troop program which results in no scouts wanting to be in the Troop ... well, then what's the point? 

    Thought a lot about this last night...

    The market has only changed in that it is now easier to "be awarded" a badge or rank, than to earn it.  This is the reason many pursue these "easier" opportunities.

    Waxing philosophical:

    I tend to frame a lot of things based on human nature.  Here, it's our tendency to choose the path of least resistance...the easy way, rather than the right way.

    As I have said before here, it is fairly simple to lie, cheat, and steal your way to Eagle Scout.

    Most (yes, I mean most) merit badge programs I have seen at summer camps and merit badge colleges are lacking in integrity.  Instructors, counselors, and leaders are all complicit in the scheme... pay your fee, get your degree.  Few Scouts complete the requirements as written.  First year camper programs across the board are egregious offenders.

    I was guilty of this myself as a youth.  When on staff at summer camp, the Program Director tasked me to teach merit badges I didn't have, and signed them off for me after I taught the class.  This still happens a lot these days.  In hindsight, I didn't really earn those badges until about the fourth or fifth time through teaching them, as I actually learned and completed the requirements.

    We also did a merit badge trading scheme.  In Scoutcraft, I'd put in a blue card for my buddy in aquatics for a merit badge, and he did the same for me.  Thankfully (again, in hindsight) we got caught.  Rather than firing us on the spot, the Camp Director used it as a discipline, teaching, and mentoring opportunity.  I had lots of other great life lessons from him over the years I worked for him on staff.  He helped put me on a good path.

    Matthew 7: 13-14

    I see lots of corruption (for lack of a better word) all around.  I see it in Scouts, schools, and everyday life.  People lying about what they have done, cutting corners, and cheating themselves and others for the easy way to get some prize (like a merit badge or a paycheck.)  Again, I have done the same on many occasions, so I'm not just casting aspersions on others.  Guilty as charged.  But I do not accept the behavior.  Over my years, the frequency became less and less... and still not perfect, but trying every day.

    When I have discussions with Scouts about being trustworthy, I share my failures, too, and what I have learned.  I often ask about some of the more difficult requirements for merit badges they have, to find that they did not complete them as written.  There is a sheepish grin, downcast eyes, and the "I've been found out!  look on their faces.)  And then I ask them what they think they should do about that.  Many have then gone back and completed the task as written. And we talk about how they felt after they did it the right way.  There is a sense of relief, from a burden of sorts.  There is a better lesson in integrity, confidence, self-esteem, and ethical and moral decision-making in that than any merit badge or rank itself can offer.

  5. 10 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

    I too have seen Eagle scouts in my troop that I thought would be a shoo-in, fail to be selected year after year. But as someone who has been the OA adult in many an election in other troops, I can see some potential problems with this.   

    I'll never forget the sight of a red faced SM shouting in the face of the OA youth who had conducted the election that he had to do it over again after the SM talked to the troop, because the SM's son, the "best scout in the troop"  hadn't been elected.  I had watched the votes being counted and his son was nowhere close to the 50%  mark needed.  Perhaps he was one way in front of dad and another when with his peers.  Maybe some scouts didn't like the SM and were using the election as a way of telling him so. Or just parental blindness.  It wasn't my troop of course so I had no way of knowing.  What I did know was that we were not going to hold another election after he told the scouts how to vote "right".

    Admittedly, this was an extreme case.  One out of a hundred. But I believe it showcases some of the potential  pitfalls.

    Agreed.  It's a shame that went the way it did...

    Another strange issue we just had...our lodge delayed our election due to team availability.  The only week they could come was the week following all of our crossovers.  So, we had 14 brand new Scouts there.

    I thought they should not vote, as they had no idea about anything...

    But, technically, they were on the roster, so were in the voting population.

    I talked with the SPL before the election and made sure he would clearly tell all of our Scouts, if you do not know any of the candidates, please consider not submitting a vote.

    We had an appropriate (in my eyes) outcome, but many of the new Scouts simply voted for everyone on the ballot because they wanted to be viewed as friendly, supportive, and "one of the team"

    It could have gone really badly, and I'm glad we didn't have to deal with that case...

  6. 4 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

    There are several "books" as well. 

    • YPT/barriers to abuse ... Enforce 100%. 
    • G2SS... Attempt to follow 100%; however, I'm sure there has been some violations.
    • Program books (various handbooks, etc.) ... each Troop has their own spin on the program.  Enforce the procedures/rules your Troop follow based on what the PLC/adults agree upon.

    In your case, the scout isn't following your Troop's very reasonable expectation, then they have the choice to leave.  

    Now, I was ranting a bit tas I was backpacking with my Troop this past weekend.  I was complaining to one of my ASMs that I am seeing less and less engagement from scouts in our overnight activities but far more in day only merit badge sessions.  Another leader indicated he has heard similar feedback from Troops in our area (merit badge sessions "selling" out but camporees, overnights lacking attendance).  The ASM said ... well, perhaps the market has changed and you need to change with it.  She said that perhaps scouting should just be merit badge clinics and summer camps going forward.  I didn't like that answer, but I don't know if I have a better one. 

    How does this apply ... if you build a Troop program which results in no scouts wanting to be in the Troop ... well, then what's the point?  The example you gave seems pretty clear.  However, if there are rules your Troop has that your PLC doesn't find valuable and just turns kids off of scouting ... then it is ok to reevaluate the rules.  The key is that the rules should be enforced uniformly across all scouts.  That should be clear to the SM, CO and all involved.

    I notice this as well...many Scouts camp just enough to fulfill requirements.

    It is about advancement and Eagle Scout.  It's about padding the college resume and applying for scholarships and service academy appointments.

    For most, parents included, it is not about character or any of the other seven methods of Scouting other than advancement... my opinion/observation

    • Sad 1
  7. 1 hour ago, OaklandAndy said:

    Hello all! I'm Andrew from Canton, NC. I used to be fairly active on the "official" Scoutbook discussion forums page, until they banned all content that wasn't related to "Scoutbook, Internet Advancement and all other BSA IT software and resources". I'm happy to find this website so I can learn from others and share my own experiences. You'll most likely find me in the Cub Scout forums as I am a AOL DL/CC for our Pack. 


  8. 1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:


    Permit me to add that not everyone elected even attempts to complete the ordeal.

      Last weekend we had 36 candidates at the ordeal,  out of 49 that were elected.  Which is the usual percentage.

    Always wondered why roughly a quarter of those selected never come.

    Around here, two reasons primarily:

    1) Our local lodge does little to nothing in the way of community service or service to units.  It is all about internal lodge or OA functions, and providing a labor pool for setting up/taking down tents for Summer Camp  (poorly at that, I might add)

    2) Another activity that they feel they have no time for.

    We have very good success with our youth, because I make it clear that there is NO EXPECTATION (from me) of service to the lodge upon becoming an Ordeal member, and to not listen to anyone who tells them differently 😜

    Ordeal membership is a part of our unit program to recognize honor campers and to promote camping.  If you choose to participate in lodge events, that is your call...

    There IS AN EXPECTATION that you will continue to serve the Troop, even if you choose to go "all in" for the OA .  An Arrowman's first duty is to his unit.  Those who chose you need you.

    • Upvote 2
  9. @SiouxRanger

    Our former Committee Chair is a law professor at a well-known university.  (He always gave the most excellent advice and counsel.)

    We would run across these vague and lacking (or sometimes contradictory, even) pieces of guidance throughout BSA literature.

    I opined once that the organization simply couldn't be so incompetent and incongruous (this was during a time when we were trying to parse out YPT and Merit Badge Counselor session rules that were literally at odds with one another).

    He remarked that much of this could very well be on purpose.  He told me that, sometimes, the absolute worst thing for an organization in a court case is to have a clearly written policy that they didn't follow.  They lose cases like than 9 times out of 10.

    So, it could be just part of the culture.

    I think it is incompetence.

    When I wrote policy and regulations in the military, I had to be concise, relevant, and clear.  Then, any draft had to be approved by every other directorate within that echelon of command.  I was amazed at how much I learned and didn't realize about who else might have a stake in what you were writing.

    There two major rules: 1) your policy or regulation could never be more lenient than one issued by a higher headquarters.  You could be more stringent, just never more permissive.  2) if there was a contradiction, the higher headquarters regulation overruled, or took precedence (seems obvious, but I did run across this situation a handful of times in 25+ years.)

    The process was laborious; I spent a lot of time on the phones communicating with people to find out where the draft was and what was the hold up on completion and comment.  From start to finish, it usually took about two months to get something coordinated through a major headquarters.

    And every rule or regulation has a designated office of primary responsibility and the name of the person in command who signed off on the regulation, for accountability and a source for whom to call if you had any questions on anything.  And, there is an internal requirement to review these every two years (although this was often not the case.) 

    I could list at least five current examples of vague safety rules BSA has.  And when I have reached out to folks on committees who write these policies, I usually just get shoulder shrugs and beating around the bush about why they won't pursue changing it because it takes so long and there is no organizational impetus to do these kinds of things...

    Finally, when was the last time you saw an organizational chart of the BSA "national command structure" like this??


  10. 5 hours ago, fred8033 said:

    What is BSA really trying to say?

    They are trying to say don't ask for money for units, because we want it at the local council level.  And, your requesting it from individuals or corporations gets in the way of them giving it to us.

    Note, it says you cannot solicit (ask for) donations, but you may accept them ;)

    We get donations all the time.  Every time we are doing a litter crew on the roads, someone stops and gives us a $10 or a $20.  We tell them we are not allowed to take tips or payment for community service.  When they insist, we ask if they'd like it to go to defer the cost of camp for Scouts who could use little extra help.  The answer has always been "Yes!"

    32 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

    If the grant your SPL has applied for is conservation projects than that's not really benefitting the troop so you're probably okay.  I would however make sure your CO is okay with it since they're actually the beneficiary.

    This one will be a bit of a sticky wicket...working thru it now...will let you know how it turns out.

    • Upvote 1
  11. Wow, gotta love him!!

    Our SPL saw a big corporation notice to apply for a small grant for funds for conservation.

    As our Troop heavily engages in habitat restoration and conservation projects, our SPL filled out and submitted the online application for a grant, without discussing with Troop adults or committee.  (Love the initiative!!!)

    As this is a grant, versus solicited a donation (prohibited) or unit fundraising (by selling a good or service, requiring the Unit Money Earning Application), do you believe we need LC permission to apply for the grant?

    I think yes...well, at least communicating to them that this is what we are doing...

    What say you experts out there??


  12. 2 minutes ago, yknot said:

    I think selection should be more in the form of nomination, like you get a minimum three votes recommending and nominating you for the honor. The 50% is kind of the problem. 

    As far as an SM having an ability after the fact to prevent a candidate, who has been elected by peers, to pursue OA, that is very problematic in certain places. You'd get threatened by a team of lawyers if you did that in any of the communities I'm in, and council would not back you. 

    Agreed, never after the fact...  in order to be on the ballot, the SM must approve each candidate...says so in the eligibility criteria, third bullet:


    At the time of their election, youth must be under the age of 21, and hold one of the following ranks corresponding to the type unit in which they are being considered for election: Scouts BSA First Class rank, the Venturing Discovery rank, or the Sea Scout Ordinary rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Sea Scout Skipper, be elected by the youth members of their unit.

    emphasis added

  13. 39 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

    Connecticut Yankee Council rejected Pathfinder's second offer on Friday (National Arbor Day?) which was supposedly a "superior offer" to the accepted  $4.6 million bid made by private developer Margaret Streicker, who is a member of the Council Executive Board.

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Connecticut

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  14. Having been a member of the OA for a long, long time, and having seen how sausage is made, I understand where @SiouxRanger and @yknot are coming from...

    I have, in the past, not approved some Scouts to stand for selection. (This is a SM prerogative.)   They took it pretty hard, but they were the ones with a trend of questionable behavior and sporadic (at best) participation.  They did not change behavior, but the message was clear.

    I also think we should change the verbiage from "election" to "selection."  It is not an election.  An "election" implies multiple candidates and only one wins.

    The OA selection ballot should list candidate names with YES or NOT YET boxes next to each one.  Check one. 

    To be selected, you have to get 50% of the votes cast.

  15. 2 hours ago, jscouter1 said:

    Thank you so much for your input, as of right now I couldnt leave my current troop it just means to much to me. Its not unheard of in my troop for scouts to switch troops because of disagreements with our SM. If I did dual membership and spent time getting to know the scouts, camp, going to meetings, and service projects I feel I might have a chance at election, but wouldnt it be odd if I had no rank advancment in my newer troop?

    It would not be odd at all.  In fact, if you dual register, one Troop should be designated as primary, and they would handle all of your advancement.  Both Troops putting in advancements for you would potentially cause problems.

    If you dual register, explain to the gaining new Scoutmaster the situation you are in with your other unit regarding OA.  Explain that you still feel loyalty to your old, and will support both Troops.  Don't say that you are there just to get in the OA.  If you told me that, I'd be inclined to turn you away.

    Just tell the new Scoutmaster that you are curious about the OA, and you wish to have the opportunity to see what it is all about.  You do not have that opportunity in your current Troop.

    Finally, you have to ask yourself, "What if I am not elected to OA by the members of the new Troop?"  You have to be OK with that eventuality, and continue serving.  It might take years before you are elected...


    • Like 1
  16. 13 minutes ago, PACAN said:

    Anyone seen a statistic on what percentage of AOL scouts crossover each year and how many are still in scouting a year later.

    Haven't seen any...anecdotally, ~80% cross over (primarily because their membership is already paid for the year, and there is a good deal of build up to the ceremony, so many go with the flow...)

    After a year, I see about 75% stay.  That's an overall 60% staying from AOL until after first year.

    Would love to see some stats with more granularity.

  17. 13 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Sadly the 18-20 YO crowd in my neck of the woods feel completely disrespected by not being counted as 2 deep for YP purposes within Scouting, BUT also have to follow YP rules outside of Scouting per National.  KNow several outstanding young men who are no longer involved because the 2018 rule would interfere with school, work, and friendships


  18. 7 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

    So... Is "In the Fifth" grade when the last day of 4th grade is held. Or is it after the summer for the first day they actually attend 5th grade classes.

    I have always interpreted that to occur when a Scout is promoted to the next grade.  That is, just finished fourth grade, and is a "rising" fifth grader.

    Our registrar was fine with that...

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  19. 19 minutes ago, swilliams said:

    From the article: [quote]The Patriots’ Path Council council did not disclose the purchase price for the Sabattis Adventure Camp. They also did not name the buyer, except to say the purchaser is a neighbor of the camp who has “agreed to permit the council to use the property for at least five more years,” according to the letter from council leaders.[/quote]

    One big problem - going back to 2020 - is that with the Covid restrictions placed on the camp by NY State, they are still not running a full program this summer.  We didn't go last year, and are not going this year, and are pretty broken up about it.  It's nice that the purchasers agreed to let council use the property for five years, but kind of pointless if council can't run a robust program.

    Are any other council properties being successfully leased back?

    We were going to Sabattis this summer... then they cancelled all regular program in our week...

    I think they are only running two weeks now...and it is really "bring your own merit badge counselors"...at least, that is what they told me last October/November.

    They are hosting mostly treks during those weeks.

    We are going to Onteora now...

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