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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. 3 minutes ago, Armymutt said:

    Why would they be learning the skills with younger Scouts?  That sounds like a new scout patrol.  My troop had two patrols, mostly because we had two lines of tables in the chapel hall.  As new Scouts came into the troop they could pick which side of the room to sit on, and that was their patrol.  We had everything from Life Scouts to new Scouts in the same patrol.  It was the job of the older Scouts to teach the younger ones in the patrol.  We operated similarly to the description in the 5th edition of the Scoutmasters Handbook, though with less formality, as it was the early 90s.  The PLs evaluated the skills of their patrol and focused on ensuring everyone was up-to-snuff.  

    The gold standard 😛

  2. 44 minutes ago, medic077 said:

    We have just joined a new Pack with my daughter at the Bear level.  She is the only female in her Den.  I know that the standard requirement is one YPT trained Adult Female over the age of 21 for any activity where a female scout is present.  Is that requirement waived if I am present as her father?  There are other Dens that have more female scouts where it is critical that they have a Female Adult since there are multiple girls in that Den and there are a limited number of willing female adults that the Pack has in a YPT trained role. 


    No, it is not. 

    But check with your local Scout Executive regarding a "waiver" to policy.  YMMV.

  3. 32 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    That said, there were some state parks with impertinent neighbors, and we hadn't gained the maturity to know that park rangers are there for those of us who like peace and quiet late in the evening.

    Yeah, we just were camping in a PA State park two weekends ago.  Some organization had a father-daughter thing going on about two campsites down.  (Another Troop in between us.)  Friday night, they were hooting and hollering after quiet hours, so I politely asked them to quiet down.  They did for about 5 minutes, and then continued.  (Dads had alcohol, btw...) I called the camp office and left a voicemail.  They had no contact number for Ranger.  I put in my ear plugs, but that wasn't enough.  They finally went to bed about 2 AM.

    Next morning, I went to camp office to inquire about a Ranger contact number.  The office said I should call 911 and ask dispatch to send a ranger out.  I questioned this, and they confirmed that is what they wanted done.  I smiled.

    When we went back by their campsite, noticed the ground was littered with trash, and coolers and totes overturned.  Apparently, they did not know to secure all foodstuffs.  Bears had ripped into everything.  Schadenfreude.

    After we finished our day's activities, we had a discussion with PLC about the situation with neighbors, and now bears who were most likely to come back that evening.  After a wonderful dinner, Dutch Oven dessert contest, and clean up, we packed up and went home.

    If they brought alcohol into a State Park (against the law), there's no telling what else might happen.  Best to walk away from that kind of situation.

    • Sad 1
  4. 43 minutes ago, Ojoman said:

    This is why a quality district staff including commissioners, trainers and program support volunteers is critical along with solid district/council staff support.

    NOOOOOO!!!! This is why a quality UNIT staff including TRAINED and KNOWLEDGABLE volunteers is critical along with solid so that, ultimately, you have no need of district/council staff support.

    This should be the gold standard!  Growing up unit volunteers so they do not need commissioners, district, council, national!!!!!

  5. Just now, cmd said:

    Troops aren't broken down by rank the way a pack is, so having the necker change wouldn't be as useful as it is for cubs.  It's nice to be able to find at a glance that one kid who has wandered off with his brother's den.

    Our pack solved the cost problem of the multiple neckerchiefs by asking parents to donate back any old neckerchiefs and slides they didn't want, then buying enough more to have a complete set.  Now all neckerchiefs are owned by the pack and loaned out for the year.   We always end up short a few slides at the end of the year, but that's a manageable expense for the pack to cover if it lets us shave $20 off the start up cost for new scouts.


    Hey, do  den activity to make your own slide!!! A few pieces of cut PVC, glue, paint, and googly eyes... whammy!!!  den creative activity and cost savings.  Find some belt loop that counts for!!  Ditch the BSA sliide!!!

    • Upvote 2
  6. 11 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

    The whole intent of the Scouts BSA program is kids teaching kids. If your 12 year old First Class Scout can't teach another 12 year old the Tenderfoot requirements, you may want to re-evaluate what your 12 year First Class Scout learned getting to that rank.   

    With a one-and-done scheme of advancement, this is, in fact, what you see now.  Scout skills are dying out.  

    Heck, most adults I meet don't know how to do requirements up to First Class.  Most don't even bother reading or learning from the Scout Handbook.  Anymore, few, and very few, are adept at Navigation, First Aid, Swimming and Water Rescue, Plant and Animal ID, basic Citizenship stuff, Wood Tools usage, Ropework & Pioneering, etc. etc. etc...  it is disheartening...


  7. 5 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

    I thought I just read about this. From the national “advancement news” newsletter. I knew there was a should in there. Check it out. It “should” clear this up for you that the signature isn’t a firm requirement, but is part of the process. 

    “GTA topic states in part that “before working with a coun- selor or attending a group or virtual merit badge opportunity, a Scout should meet with his or her unit leader.” While this does not mean the merit badge will be denied if they do not, it does mean that, if at all possible, the Scout and scoutmaster should discuss in advance the merit badge and the presentation envi- ronment (in-person/online, group/individual, etc.). ”


    And from the same newsletter...

    "Each interaction with a registered adult is an opportunity for personal growth and learning on the part of the Scout. It is through this interaction and association with adults—the conversations, the counseling, the instruction and learning experiences—that mission-oriented Scouting takes place. (GTA Shortcutting this process in the interest of efficiency robs the Scout of the opportunity to grow, which is the heart of the merit badge program."

    Emphasis added.

    Spirit of the law, rather than the letter...

  8. 1 hour ago, mrjohns2 said:

    Please cite the source. I believe it says “should” not “shall”. So, maybe the must is just in your mind, but not part of the program. 

    Guide to Advancement, Section 7 (emphasis added)

    "Since blue cards support the merit badge process as it is intended to function, the Guide to Advancement continues to reference and recommend them. It is expected that when blue cards are not used, advancement administrators at all levels will find ways to carry on the processes, interactions, documentation, and other nuances that make the process such a critical element in BSA mission achievement."

    "The blue card has three parts: the “Application for Merit Badge” portion, the “Applicant’s Record,” and the “Counselor’s Record.” It requires a total of four signatures—two each from the unit leader and a merit badge counselor. The unit leader signs first on the front of the Application for Merit Badge portion and gives the entire blue card to the Scout. Each signature represents interaction with a registered adult. It is through this interaction and association with adults— the conversations, the counseling, the instruction and learning experiences—that mission-oriented Scouting takes place. This association must occur even if blue cards are not used."


  9. 10 minutes ago, SiouxRanger said:

    My recollection is that the Scoutmaster's signature represents the SM's acknowledgment that the Scout is mature enough(and has the required rank)  to work the selected merit badge.

    Used to be that way.  Old blue cards said "approval" as well, iirc.  Nowadays, it is simply a discussion betwixt Scout and Unit Leader, with the signature acknowledging that the conversation occurred and an MBC contact was provided.  A Unit Leader cannot deny the opportunity to a Scout.

  10. 21 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

    Having the unit leader signature before starting isn't a must, it is a should. I guess it would be nice if it enforced it, but again, it isn't a showstopper. 

    Correction... not a must before starting!  A Scout can start working on any merit badge at any time.  However, he cannot meet with a counselor until after having the discussion with the unit leader.  That is the "must" and the "showstopper."

    If a Scout comes to me with no blue card, and says everything is being tracked in Scoutbook, I check the unit leader signature block in SB.  If it is not checked, then the merit badge session is on hold until I verify with the unit leader.  If the until leader gives me a verbal acknowledgement, then we continue, and I ask the unit leader to put the date in Scoutbook.

  11. On 9/16/2022 at 2:59 PM, ShadyRhoads said:

    Haven't never seen or heard of blue cards.

    Educate yourself, please.  Scout Handbook, page 418, outlines the merit badge process.  This is a BASIC Scout knowledge requirement.  Scout rank requirement 2d. 

    Now, for your situation, accepting previously completed requirements (even is the Scout has a blue card)  is entirely up to the Merit Badge Counselor.  As a Swimming Merit Badge Counselor myself, if I was working with the Scout in your situation, I'd have her show evidence she has completed the BSA Swimmer check (I hate to call it a "test", because it is still a subjective measurement), and briefly show me each swim stroke.  If the Scout could do that easily, I might not peel the onion back any further, and grant the Scout any requirements she says she completed.  (Maybe with a bit of discussion.)


    • Upvote 3
  12. 7 hours ago, Jmatt0613 said:

    is it ok if I use the Code of Conduct that you shared as a guideline for making one for my troop?

    Yes, of course.  But do not lose sight of the forest for the trees... the forest is the culture you (plural) need to create at your unit... one of the trees is that form. 

    The standards must always be the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.  Do not set any other.  (Like grades... that should be up to the parents, IMHO)

    And every Scout is unique (just like you, lol) and in unique circumstances.  So treat every situation like it is brand new.

    Good discipline is not a formula.  It's a relationship.

    And @SSScout is correct regarding hiring/firing.  Just look at the adult application.  Who signs it to approve?  COR or IH 

    Therefore they have to power to remove.


  13. 43 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    @InquisitiveScouter, scouts love paperwork! But I have a funny feeling this SM would see the need for such as an affront.

    @Jmatt0613, welcome to the forums! And thanks in advance for all you do for the youth.

    You gave us a lot to unpack. But, let me paint with a broad brush. A scout is kind. Boys or girls who are unkind are not scouts. Such a youth should be suspended from the troop until he/she decides to live up to his/her vows. No paperwork necessary.

    Now, it is tough when adults are at loggerheads about what should be straightforward. But, the important thing is to set your own compass so that you can courteously explain to others what you’re observing.

    LOL, it's not really for the Scouts... it's for the parents.  Ultimately, you are not recruiting Scouts; you are recruiting their parents.

    If you do not establish a safe environment for Scouts, you'll soon have none.  Their parents will have taken them away.

    • Upvote 3
  14. Bottom line:  If your adult leadership is not in harmony on how to deal with disciplinary issues, you will have problems.

    Does your Troop have a set of written expectations (Scout Oath and Law are all you need) and consequences?  A written policy on how you will deal with disciplinary issues?  (Bullying being just one of them.) 

    This is an issue for all adults... Committee, Scoutmaster Corps, and parents.

    Our standard is the Scout Oath and Scout Law.  Whenever a Scout (or adult) violates, we self-police.  It starts at the Patrol Leader level and works up. (Under adult supervision, of course.)  If the situation is not resolved and it gets elevated to an adult (an Assistant Scoutmaster usually) then the adult addresses the situation WITH ANOTHER ADULT OBSERVING (but not in the Scout's face... our object is not to intimidate.)

    It takes time to change the culture of a Troop.  And a strong leader(s) who is willing to stick around to see change implemented.

    Upon matriculation to the unit, each family receives a copy of our Troop policies (Our Troop Handbook, if you will.)  In it there is this section:


    Troop XX Code of Conduct

    Scouting activities are fun, memorable experiences.  Troop leaders want Scouts to enjoy themselves and grow individually and as a Troop.  During all activities, Scouts must behave appropriately, and in accordance with the Scout Oath and Scout Law.  Not only does inappropriate and disruptive behavior ruin Scouting for others, it can be dangerous.  Troop XX will not tolerate such behavior.

    The consequences of misbehavior will vary depending upon the severity of the action and the Scout’s circumstances.  The PLC may address behavior under the guidance and approval of the Scoutmaster. Consequences may include verbal or written warnings to the Scout, excluding a Scout from an activity, parent conferences, sending a Scout home from an activity with a parent, or exclusion from future activities until leaders regain trust in the Scout’s behavior.  The Scoutmaster or adult leader of each activity will be ultimately responsible for managing any breach of acceptable conduct.  Scoutmasters may refer conduct to the Troop Committee for advice and action.

    If a Scout’s behavior or negligence results in damage to Troop equipment or a person’s property, the Scout will pay for repairs or replacement.  The PLC may recommend, and the Troop Committee may direct using Scout Account monies to pay for damages.

    All Scouts and their parents will sign the current Troop XX Code of Conduct Agreement and Handbook Receipt before a Scout participates in Troop outings.


    Parents and Scouts must sign an agreement with the Scoutmaster governing behavior expectations and consequences.

    This establishes a culture, standards and consequences for Scout and parents.  It makes it a little more "real" when a Scout signs his name...

    When we encounter conflict, we work through it using the template above.  Each situation is different.

    In my seven years with this Troop, we have formally dismissed (in writing, that is) two Scouts from our Troop: one due to bullying, and one due to inability to control their physical outbursts with other Scouts.  Two others have left during the process of addressing similar issues.

    Each case is documented, with written communications with parents, and discussed first with Key 3, then with the Committee and Scoutmaster Corps.  Whenever we take the formal action of dismissing a Scout, we inform our IH, Commissioner (if we have one at the time), and DE (if we have one at the time) or Scout Executive. 

    Scouts know they can come to us with issues, and we will deal with it fairly and quickly.  Justice delayed is justice denied!

    Word has gotten around to parents that our Troop works diligently to keep a safe environment for Scouts.  In that seven years, our Troop has doubled in size (and I don't mean by height or weight 😜 )   (This being only one of the reasons for the growth, IMHO.)

    Here is the Agreement:


    Troop XX Code of Conduct Agreement and Troop Handbook Receipt




    Scout’s Name ____________________________________________________________________


    I will behave appropriately during all Scout activities, living the Oath and Law, and demonstrating Scout Spirit at all times. I understand that misbehavior and inappropriate activities will not be tolerated.


    I understand there will be consequences if my behavior is not acceptable.  I understand consequences can and will include warnings, sitting out during an activity, parent conferences, having a parent take me home from an activity, or exclusion from future activities until I earn trust in my behavior again, and demonstrate to my Scout youth and adult leadership that I can be trusted.




    ____________________________________________                                             _____________________

    Signature of Scout                                                                                                           Date




    I have reviewed the Troop Handbook, 2022 Revision, and discussed behavior expectations and consequences with my Scout.  Furthermore, I understand I must make arrangements to pick up my Scout from an activity if necessary, even if the activity is out of town.




    ____________________________________________                                                       _____________________

    Signature of Parent or Guardian                                                                                            Date




    ____________________________________________                                                     _____________________

    Signature of Scoutmaster                                                                                                        Date



    Scoutmaster will return signed agreement to the appropriate Committee Member for tracking.


  15. 4 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

    It does "require" the SM to go in and mark yes on this first item in a MB. If they don't, it is just like not having them sign a blue card before starting a MB.

    It fully supports a SM printing the cards, though, with the info filled in. For example, the unit leader.





    Agreed that SB shows this, and that that is the proper order of things... that was not my point.

    A Unit Leader can invite a counselor without having that block actually signed in Scoutbook.  Should it be that way? No, but the system allows it.

     A counselor can sign off requirements without actually having that block signed.  Should it be that way? No, but the system allows it.

    So, in essence, SB does not "require" the unit leader signature before engaging the counselor.  And it should!


  16. To note, the "blue card" is not required when using Scoutbook.  Scoutbook "automates" the process.

    However, I have had a few instances where a Scout contacts me for MB counseling, and the leader has not "signed" in Scoutbook.  That is, Scoutbook allows a unit leader to invite a counselor without signing the card electronically.  

    It seems to me this should be automatic, as well.  That is, the signature on a physical blue card indicates just that:  the unit leader has had a discussion with the Scout and recommended a counselor. 

    Although, a unit leader could invite a counselor in Scoutbook without having had the discussion with the Scout.  I would not do this, though...  Because sometimes the Scout already knows the counselor or wants to work with a specific counselor.

    After a Scout finishes a badge, I direct them to print a copy of the completed blue card from Scoutbook for their own records.


    "Since blue cards support the merit badge process as it is intended to function, the Guide to Advancement continues to reference and recommend them. It is expected that when blue cards are not used, advancement administrators at all levels will find ways to carry on the processes, interactions, documentation, and other nuances that make the process such a critical element in BSA mission achievement."

  17. 6 minutes ago, fred8033 said:


    I come from a different school of thought.  I'd prefer to not have that class and to not help the scout too much.  Don't be an obstacle, but let's not create an overly structured scout experience.  Rather, filling out blue cards is a great chance to have conversations with the scout and to give him things to look at and work on.  It's a chance for the scout to improve and solve things.  ... Another way to work it.  If the scout brings you a blue card that is not cleanly filled at the start, give them a new blue card and walk them thru filling it out neatly. 

    C'mon, man!

    How else are we going to mass produce Eagle Scouts?  We have to remove all barriers, obstacles, challenges, etc.

    In fact, we are working on a 40-hour video, to be viewed in segments.  When all are completed, poof!  You're an Eagle Scout 😜 

    Access to the video will be about $2500.  Pricing model still being worked out!

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