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InquisitiveScouter

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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. 1 hour ago, AScoutIsHonest said:

    This is the last episode in a series of exchanges I have witnessed that I find troubling.

    BIG NOTE before the discussion:  Your Scout may work on any merit badge he wants, at any time.  He does not need a blue card from a unit leader to work on a merit badge.  (However, some requirements may need counselor approval before starting.) He needs the blue card to help make the connection to a merit badge counselor in order to sign off on his work (or perhaps help him navigate his way through some particularly difficult requirement.)  So, tell your Scout to begin working on any and all merit badges he wants, RIGHT NOW!  It helps him to keep track of his work and progress...especially if you are going down the road of selecting a new Troop after all this.  (I neither encourage nor discourage the use of "workbooks" [see http://usscouts.org/mb/worksheets/list.asp ], but if your Scout uses one, he must make sure the requirements are current by comparing it to requirements listed at https://www.scouting.org/programs/scouts-bsa/advancement-and-awards/merit-badges/ )

    -----------------------------------------

    My first question would be, were you actually present and/or did you witness and hear these interactions between your Scout and the SM?  If not, then please feel free to call the Scoutmaster to clarify what happened, and when your Scout can meet with him to sign the blue cards.  Note, the SM does not "approve"  a Scout to take a MB.  The blue card exchange  1. gives the SM an opportunity to mentor your Scout, and 2.  creates a demand signal for the introduction of a MB Counselor.  If your Scout already has MB Counselors "selected" that is fine.  Also note the verbiage on the card where a Unit Leader signs " I have discussed this merit badge with this Scout and recommended at least one merit badge counselor."

    If yes (you witnessed/heard), then proceed to the next person, the Committee Chair.  You can do this in two ways.  1.  If you wish for your Scout to help navigate through the situation, he can request a Board of Review.  A BoR is not just for Scout advancement.  It also provides a feedback loop for Troop health and Scoutmaster Corps performance through the parents and Committee who sit on a BoR.   Or, 2.  if you believe the situation has already deteriorated to a point (and from your post, if all is true, it has...) where you do not wish your Scout to pursue this, then please call the Committee Chair directly to discuss the situation. 

    If the Committee Chair does not address this promptly, then it is time to seek another Troop.

    For clarity's sake, would you also please share the following?

    1.  How many Scouts are in the Troop?  (Helps provide insight into the "control freak" claim.  If your Troop has 10 Scouts, then SM signing all is no biggie.  If your Troop has 30, it is an indicator.)

    2.  How was this SM's decision exclusively to sign all blue cards put out.  Verbally?  Email or written anywhere?  If verbally, did you hear it?  Perhaps there was a miscommunication?  A decision like this should be put in writing to all the Troop, in case there were members not present...

    3.  How many blue cards are we talking about? If less than five or so, this should not be a big deal.  If your Scout brought me 20 blue cards, I'd ask him to work out a time when we could sit down together and go through these and have a discussion.  I would never say "No" to signing, but I'd like to prioritize, because the person signing must provide info on counselors, and this takes some time.  (I personally like to contact MB counselors first, as a courtesy,  to see if they have the availability.  Not required, but does help smooth the process.)  I'd like to ask your Scout about his priorities, and then help work through the prioritized list.  Also, if your Scout has a lot of "open" blue cards, I'd like to have a chat with him about setting priorities and finishing what he starts.  I might negotiate with him.  Which are the top five you want to work on? When do you want to finish them?  (I did have a Scout ask for 14 blue cards at once.  I did not say "No", but I did say "Not yet..."  We had a discussion about MB Counselors and respecting their time also.  The Scout chose five to work on now, and when completed, kept on working on his list.  He learned the process goes much faster when you complete as much work as you can before initiating the blue card process.  This also reduces the amount of "misfires" where a Scout starts but never finishes a badge with the counselor.)

    4.  Ask your Scout if any other Scouts are in a similar situation.  If yes, then maybe discuss with some other parents to find a way ahead.

    5.  Is the Troop going to Summer Camp?  If not, then do you know about "Provisional Troops"?

    That's enough "peeling back the onion" for now... 

     

     

  2. 6 minutes ago, Tron said:

    I don't see the connection. The third party releases Purdue Pharma are about protecting the doctors and administrators who were making money off of Purdue Pharma and are the literal perpetrators of the crime. The third party releases in the BSA lawsuit do not protect the literal perpetrators of the sexual assaults or the people who covered up those assaults; the BSA third party releases are to protect ancillary entities. There is also a huge contrast between coordinated bribing operations perpetrated by Purdue Pharma to get doctors and administrators pulling a paycheck to commit illegal acts. No such comparable act was perpetrated by BSA. 

    Chartering Organizations are implicated.  And they are purchasing a release from liability.  Therefore, connection.

    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/bankruptcy-law/purdue-pharma-tests-limits-of-liability-shields-in-bankruptcy

    • Upvote 2
  3. 2 minutes ago, Tron said:

    What does your post have to do with the BSA bankruptcy? Are you blaming BSA for the opioid epidemic?

    Welp, one of the key issues in the BSA bankruptcy is third party releases.  And the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy still has a lot of issues swirling around the same.  The events and outcomes of Purdue Pharma bankruptcy proceedings point to judicial outcomes possible for BSA's bankruptcy.  The two are, ostensibly, connected in that way.

  4. 1 hour ago, Tron said:

    I get an earnest "We'll discuss that later." that never leads to a discussion later. At this point my opinion of Scoutreach is that if you are poor and not in the inner city Scoutreach is not for you.

    They are hoping you will go away and quit asking questions.

    And it is difficult to find out who Scoutreach IS for... well, in theory, I get it, but in practice, I cannot find any solid numbers to show a real impact.  And most references are pretty old.

    You'd think, if this was a cornerstone program of BSA to reach a certain segment of the population, there'd be more horn-tooting about it.

  5. A Mountain Dream

    ENFORCED solitary leisure spent among mountain tops is so good for the soul that every man would be the better for such "retreat" if he forced himself to take it occasionally.

    The quiet meditation, remote from the rush and unrest of ordinary life, cleanses the mind, and gives it ease and inspiration.  Sitting here, unperturbed by Press headlines, and looking at Mount Kenya with his hoary old head standing four square as ever, one sees the clouds come and cover him for a time, and though they bring thunder and storm, they rift away again, leaving him standing there unmoved in the sunshine, as he has stood through thousands of years of similar passing showers.

    So too, on a larger scale, this world is, from time to time, disturbed by clouds of war and unrest; but these pass away and, together with them, thank goodness, the agitators who brought them about; and the old world wags on unmoved as it has done for thousands of years through similar nightmares.

    So you say to yourself, why get rattled about troubles that you can't prevent ? But can't you ? Browning says: "God's in His Heaven; all's right with the world."

    But a certain head-hunting tribe says that this is not so. Their belief is that the devil has for the present got possession of the world, and when that possession is over God's reign of peace will come.

    The devil's agents are, after all, merely men, and it is therefore possible for man also to counter his devilments, and to bring about that reign of Peace and Goodwill which is the reign of God.

    Here seems the opportunity-- indeed the Duty-- for every individual to take his share in preventing recurrence of those evils. It is in such crusade that I see a goal open to Scouters and Old Scouts.

    My mountain says "Look wider; look higher; look further ahead, and a way will be seen."

    Moral Rearmament, a vague term, though much used, is open to many interpretations, but among these few have so far supplied practical steps for making it a definite quality in our citizenship.

    Yet the spirit of it is essential. I ventured to write a letter to The Times last year, recommending the adoption of some simple form of self-dedication to the service of Goodwill and Peace, much on the lines of the Boy Scout Promise.

    This brought me numbers of letters of approval, but I don't hear whether anything definite has been done about it. Before the war a scheme for our national education was formulated "to build citizens rather than scholars"; but like many other good intentions it was dropped during the war, and has never been fully revived.

    Now, even more than in those days, is such training needed if we, as a nation, are to keep pace with the developments of the age and hold our own, in giving a moral lead to others. The character of a nation depends on the individual character of its members.

    Our falling birth-rate demands extra efficiency in every individual, to compensate for our lack of numbers. The steps taken by totalitarians abroad should be a spur to us where they are enforcing the universal training of their youth. This is done on lines based on Scouting methods, but confined to purely nationalist ideals of citizenship.

    Citizenship has been defined briefly as "active loyalty to the community"; but should aim at securing peaceful and friendly relations with other nations. In a free country like ours it is easy, and not unusual, to consider oneself a good citizen by being a law-abiding man, doing your work and expressing your choice in politics, sport, or activities, "leaving it to George" to worry about the nation's welfare. This is passive citizenship. But the times to-day demand more than passive citizenship if we are to be a sound and solid nation, able to stand up among the others, and able to uphold in the world the virtues of freedom, justice, and honour.

    Members of the church realise that it is not possible for them alone to accomplish this change of spirit. Indeed Totalitarian States look on the differing denominations rather as elements of discord in their peoples, where unity is essential for making a nation.

    If, however, the individual believes that peace and goodwill are needed it is a matter for that individual, however humble, to contribute to their promotion.

    It seems that each has to so discipline his conduct and, character that in his daily life he sees the other fellow's point of view as well as his own, whether it is in business dealings, or in politics, national and international, and that he is prepared to give Service wherever he can see it needed.

    To believe that Peace and Goodwill-- instead of war and ill-will-- constitute the reign of God in the world is in itself a "religion." It is a religion to which all can subscribe, and one which no denomination will deny.

    Its practice is citizenship of the highest type.

    After all, are not these the tenets which are, and always have been, the underlying aim of our training in the Scouts ?

    If you could get them more fully understood and more widely extended it would be a direct and practical, if minor, contribution towards eventually bringing about the Kingdom of God in the world. Can you see a higher, or more worthwhile. Life Crusade than this for a man ?

    As very many Scouters have already realised, it opens up a wonderful opportunity for each of us, according to our powers, whether we be Scouters, Rovers, or Old Scouts, to take a hand in spreading by personal example, by teaching and talks, this practical step in the so-called Moral Rearmament. One man cannot hope to do much, but tiny individual coelenterata have built coral islands by co-operation in an ideal. It needs a highly optimistic acorn to start hopefully on producing an oak tree.

    But here, in our Movement, we have all the encouragement of a pretty big plant already existing as a nucleus, in our four and a half million of boys and girls in British and other countries.

    Then besides them there are the many more millions of Old Scouts and ex-Guides who will rally to the call.

    To descend to details :

    Let us therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves become too absorbed in the steps.

    Don't let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good, turns. Jamboree comradeships are all means, not the end.

    The end is CHARACTER-- character with a purpose.

    And that purpose, that the next generation be sane in an insane world, and develop the higher realisation of Service, the active service of Love and Duty to God and neighbour.

     

    BP March, 1939.

    • Thanks 2
  6. 4 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    As a former BSA Lifeguard, I can tell you it is 99.98% ARC to the point that the books and videos used in the class was ARC. In fact if you were willing to pay an extra $20 and take the ARC exam, you would be dual certified. the .02% difference was BSA's Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat.

    So BSA Lifeguard is not a good example of BSA going their own way.

    It did not used to be this way.  IIRC, you had to demonstrate proficiency in Canoeing and Rowing, executing Safe Swim Defense, and conducting a Lost Bather Drill.  I just did the ARC Lifeguard Course in Dec 2021 with my 16 y.o.  There were some challenging parts, but nowhere near the effort I had to put in to earn BSA Lifeguard back in the day.

     

    P.S.  Yup, IRC...  http://dankohn.info/~scouts/resources/bsa_lifeguard.pdf  They did away with a lot of this in the 2013 Aquatics Revision

    • Upvote 1
  7. 9 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    I find that most Venturing Crews are less about challenging one self to make better decisions and more about the boring actions of planning the next adventure.

     

    10 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    Venturing is coming up short in scouting because it doesn't provide a community for scouts to be adults. It needs more than adventure. 

    Nor does it provide a community for adults (18-21) to be adults!!

    • Upvote 1
  8. 1 hour ago, Tron said:

    I think going to a Venture Patrol/combined with the Senior Patrol might be the most practical; however, what about the Order of the Arrow absorbing Venturing to some degree? 

    So hear me out, this is a longshot, OA is struggling to engage it's current membership, and to gain new membership. OA due to cultural appropriation etc ... is changing a lot and losing part of what makes it unique amongst Scouting. So what if OA absorbs venturing to become the new fellowship part of OA and makes people really look at wanting to become an OA member to get the benefit of having lodge based co-ed programing that exists past age 18?

    Love the idea...would you have to be elected to be a Venture Scout?

  9. 20 minutes ago, Spatulate said:

    Does that mean most units do not have SA and all fundraising simply goes into the unit's general fund? Or is divided evenly somehow amongst all of the unit Scouts? I am trying to figure out the relationship between fundraised income and scouts using funds (from where) for scout-related purchases. As in, how to other units manage the money side of things when it comes to designating money for individal scouts?

    Ask fifty different unit leaders this question, and you'll get fifty different opinions and ways of doing it 😜

    We do one big fundraiser a year.  The Troop splits the proceeds earned by each Scout 60-40.  60% goes to the Troop, 40% to the Scout.  This is an incentive for Scouts to get out and support the fundraiser.

    About 75% of our Scouts do this.

    About 25% of our families choose our "buyout" option.  That is, they can choose not to participate in the fundraising activity, and pay a set amount (I think last year's was $75) into the Troop general fund.

    A handful of our Scouts have entirely funded their years in Scouting this way...the parent's haven't had to pay a dime.  It is a great opportunity.

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
  10. 14 hours ago, DuctTape said:

    One reaon I am not a fan of parent's putting $ into a troop account ahead of time for campouts, etc... is this practice reduces (eliminates?) the opportunity for scouts to learn budgeting, responsibility, planning, value of $, etc... at the individual and patrol level. When scouts have to "touch the $" at all levels of the program they benefit greatly. Every step of the process that separates them from the $ is an opportunity lost. 

    Totally agree.  I fight against this with parents all the time.  Most of the time, they do not want to deal with the pain of teaching their Scouts how to earn and handle money.  They just want to write a check and move on to the next distraction.  SMH.

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  11. The best way to approach it is two view this as two different pots of money.  The fundraised pot, which is restricted in its use, and the parent-provided pot, which is unrestricted.  Money for Scout-related items always comes out of the fundraised pot first, until it is empty. 

    Anything left over in the fundraised pot at the end of a Scout's tenure stays with the Troop.  Parent-provided money goes back to the family, no questions asked.

    • Upvote 2
  12. If there are any monies left over when a Scout leaves the unit, we let the Scout determine the disposition.

    Most of the time, they ask to transfer it to another Scout in need, or make it a "donation" to the general Troop fund.

    BTW, these monies can be used to support funding for Eagle Projects!

    1 minute ago, Spatulate said:

    Got it, thanks! Wish the money issue was less complex! I also wonder if different units have varying policies on this topic (?) 

    Yes, different units will just blow this kind of nitnoid stuff off...

    Again, for me, it's an integrity issue.

    • Upvote 1
  13. 30 minutes ago, SiouxRanger said:

    So, I have this question:

    Parent of a Scout, in their first 2 years of scouting , pay $600 for camp fees-things which are permissible to be paid by scouting account funds.

    Year 3, scout gets up to speed and raises $250 through unit fundraising activities.

    Scout then uses $150 for more camp fees, then quits Scouting leaving a $100 balance in the Scout's scout account.

    Can the remaining balance of $100 in Scout's scout account be refunded to parents to partially reimburse them for the $600 in camping fees they paid during Scout's first two years of tenure, leaving them with only a $500 parental outlay?

    Note, had Scout earned $250 through fundraising activities right off the bat, those funds would have been used first before parents paid out of their pocket, and parents would have only spent $500.

    Mathematically, the result is the same.

    The only difference is the timing of the additions to the Scout's scout account.

    @SiouxRanger, yes, it's the timing that ties your hands here.

    We use a policy of all fundraising monies come out of the account first to pay for things.  Any parent--provided monies still in the account can be paid out back to the family.

    Again, no one is going to come looking.  It's an integrity issue for me.

    13 minutes ago, Spatulate said:

    My understanding is that one cannot cash out a scout account because that would be considered income by the IRS. IOW, no refunds.

     

    Not quite, @Spatulate, see above.  If it is the parents' money, then it is the parents' money...

    • Upvote 1
  14. 1 hour ago, Spatulate said:

    If a scout is dual-enrolled, what happens to funds in their individual Scout Account from the first troop they joined?

    We are phasing out individual Scout Accounts by the end of this year, but we have two scout unit members who have also just joined another unit in a different District and plan to hold simultaneous membership. They will be doing their meetings and advancement with the other troop.

    We are temporarily chartered with Council, having lost our Elks charter, but hope to charter elsewhere soon.

    Do we send checks to the new unit to transfer their money Do we keep funds in our unit accounts? Don’t funds belong to the CO?

    Help and info are much appreciated!

    p.s I had not heard of Scouts belonging to two units simultaneously…

    This is my first question for the forum and I’m sorry if I put it in the wrong place. Please advise if I need to move it

    Great question!

    Scouts can belong to as many units as they wish.  It is called "multiple membership", and they only have to pay one fee to National/Council.

    But, as you have discovered, one unit must be "primary."  This is the unit that must pay the membership fee, insurance, council service fee, etc, and must also be the primary for advancement reporting to eliminate confusion and redundant submissions.

    Now, to your money question...  The money does not technically belong to the Scout.  It is being held on behalf of the Scout by the Chartering Organization.  There are several IRS rules governing this. In a nutshell, two specifically apply:

    1.  Any funds raised for the purposes of Scouting must only be used for Scouting.  That is, your unit may not use the fundraised monies to buy things for Scouts that are not directly related to Scouting.  You can pay for Summer Camp, uniforms, camping fees, etc, buy you may not buy personal boots, backpacks, a birthday cake, etc...

    2.  Since the CO technically owns all fundraised monies, make sure they are OK with the transfer.  I know we talking minor amounts, but you do need to keep them in the loop.  I cannot imagine them saying 'No", but they could.

    Other issues...    A.  never write a check or give fundraised money directly to the Scout.  Although the IRS doesn't really care about you and your unit account, the principle is that when you give the Scout money directly for their efforts at fundraising, it counts as income.     

    B. never use monies fundraised by the Scout to pay for things for the Scout's parents; membership fees, camping fees, etc.  Parents can participate in fundraisers and establish a Scout account, and now you can track that in Scoutbook.

    If the monies were raised under your old CO, then just clear it with them.  Write a check to the new Troop, put the Scout's name in the Memo line, and Bob's your uncle...

    • Thanks 1
  15. 1 minute ago, Spatulate said:

    🤪 Is it that obvious? 🤣

    I’ve got questions and need answers which seem hard to come by elsewhere.. 👍🏻
     

     

    Well, you will find them here.  Much quicker, and more informed than from your local council, too, I'd bet 😛

     

  16. 32 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    Disconnect between local-national and volunteer-professional has been vanishing.  I am sure you have good reasons to say some of these things.  We all form views based on experience.  My experience is that there is not much disconnect across the movement, whether it is the local-national or volunteer-professional issue.  I am a dual unit leader (Troop and Ship) and yet have very productive conversations with volunteers and professionals across all levels of the movement.  Of course I restrict my communications to matters appropriate to the person I am conversing with and watch the frequency.  I am also broadly known as a person who performs.  I am known as a person who offers to “fix things” rather than complain.  Those are just my approaches, but my calls are always welcomed and returned.  They respect me as much as the mother I just Emailed to share I just arranged a scholarship for her son.

    Now is a great time for people to re-evaluate these issues and how they personally operate.  We are moving from survival mode to work-out mode, all on the way to normalcy in a couple of years.  The only logical way to behave during this is to be flexible, positive and helpful.  We can all do this and will be better for it.

    Great thoughts!  I should forward those to our local council.

    I, too, am a 

    33 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    a person who offers to “fix things” rather than complain.

    But, rather than helping me to fix things, our council SE asked me for money, without a thought or recognition for how valuable my time is.  And when I said no, and did not support FoS, he removed me (and others) from our District and Council positions.  There is more to the story, of course, but, I tell you, my behavior throughout the events, has been courteous and professional towards them, without reciprocity.

    I even asked him on the phone what it would take to restore the relationship.  His reply, "Support FoS."  Again, I refused.  So, I pour my efforts into supporting our unit and other units.  Because we have no DE, no functioning Commissioner Corps, and a camp in shambles....

    I literally spend 30-40 hours per week volunteering for Scouting.   Please spare me the off-handed indictment, brother.

     

  17. 27 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    had to teach herself

    These are the people worth holding on to!!!

     

    27 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    When I went thru PDL-1, everyone was suppose to go through either the Exploring Leader Basic Training or the Exploring Leader Basic Training Self Study. I think I was the only one who actually did the training because the instructor said "as long as you read the info, your good, we don't need to go over it." 

    SMH

     

    27 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    On the local level, I wore a Sea Scout uniform to an event, and the SE wanted to know what I was wearing.

    SMH x 2

     

    22 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

     They really thought the BSA could impact the outlook of young adults.

    They could, but there is an ENORMOUS disconnect between the local professional side of the house and the volunteer side of the house.  A connection from National to local volunteers is non-existent, but that is, I believe, as it should be.

    I know we volunteers are valued at the grass roots hometown level (the youth and parents we serve).  And I know that we are not valued by my current local council.  The ONLY impact you are going to have, on a large scale, with ANY youth, is THROUGH THE ADULT VOLUNTEERS.

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