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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. 1 hour ago, Gilwell_1919 said:

    I'll file 501(c)3 paperwork, start "Scouts USA" the next day, and then turn it over to the folks in Texas.

    Sure, continue the movement, but do not shuffle it into the hands of that organization.  Get a new team together, and do it much better than they...

    Heck, I'll sign on...full time...at $100K per year.  That's $900K less than Surbaugh got in 2018...


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  2. 9 minutes ago, skeptic said:

    To me, we are now in the position of the dog chasing its tail.🙄

    Never underestimate this as a legal strategy some might take in order to achieve their desired ends...

    Insurance companies, in order to pay the minimum they'll have to pay...

    BSA, to a much lesser extent, but, still, in order to pay the minimum they'll have to pay...

    Kosnoff-ites, in order to bleed BSA into a Chapter 7 situation...

    As @David CO points out, "Bankruptcies are about money.  Period."  No matter what else we want this one to be about...

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  3. You wanted some advice on being a Merit Badge Counselor (MBC)...

    1.  Read the current Guide to Advancement (G2A) https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf, particularly Section 7.  Read it again.

    2.  Get a current Merit Badge book for each Merit Badge you wish to counsel.  Read them.  Read them again.  Read them a third time. 

    3.  A Scout must complete the requirements, AND NOTHING MORE!.  A Scout must complete the requirements, AND NOTHING LESS!  (see above) Too many times I see MBCs cutting corners, skipping requirements, or adding stuff that is not in the badge.  (This happens particularly at Summer Camp.)

    4.  Requirements change from time to time.  Stay up on the current requirements for your badges.  Here is your best resource: https://www.scouting.org/programs/scouts-bsa/advancement-and-awards/merit-badges/  Know the rules for Scouts who start a MB, and then the requirements change while they are working on the badge.  (Basically, the Scout decides whether to continue under the old, or take on the new...with no mixing and matching)

    5.  You don't have to be an expert on every requirement, but you need to know where to find help to in mentoring a Scout to complete a requirement.  An example specific to you Medicine, "7a. Visit a physician's office*, preferably one who delivers "primary care." (This may be that of your counselor.) Discuss the components of a medical history and physical examination (an official BSA health form may be used to guide this discussion), and become familiar with the instruments used."  I see from your profile you are a Paramedic, so, do you have a primary care physician contact that you can call upon to help a Scout meet this requirement???  Go back to step 2, and make sure you have an avenue you can guide a Scout down to help them meet a requirement.

    6.  Get familiar with blue cards and the blue card process...both manually, and then through Scoutbook or other electronic means.  There are three people involved in the MB process...the Scout, a Unit Leader, and you.

    7.  Scouts sometimes stop working on MBs....if you have been "assigned" to a Scout, and there is a long break, touch base with the Scout, and then the unit leader.  Don't be surprised if some Scouts start and never complete a badge...it's OK ;)

    8.  Keep blue card records.  Sometimes a troop's record keeping system isn't agile, responsive, or comprehensive, and a unit never records a Scout's MB.  Subsequently, a Scout loses his Applicant's Record, or the Troop actually took this portion from them (a pet peeve of mine).  It rarely happens, but it has happened for me five or six times over 30+ years.  The only record of the Scout's accomplishment then lies with you....and when the call comes, it is usually because Jimmy is running up against a deadline to submit his Eagle Application.  You can be the hero and save the day ;)

    9.  It is not your job to teach the Scout requirements, or make arrangements for them to complete requirements.  Scouts should be figuring that out themselves, and then coming to you to "Show Their Stuff".  Obviously, they sometimes need to be shown the way, and you can help with that, but don't fall in to the trap of you having to gather all the materials to teach every requirement.  You are not a MB teacher, you are a counselor...the Scout is supposed to do the work ;)  From the G2A, "Earning merit badges should be Scout initiated, Scout researched, and Scout learned. It should be hands-on and interactive, and should not be modeled after a typical school classroom setting. Instead, it is meant to be an active program so enticing to Scouts that they will want to take responsibility for their own full participation."

    10.  Find a way to have fun!


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  4. @SiouxRanger, concur.

    For all...whenever they ask for your opinion on surveys, they don't really mean it...and never put your name in the "yes, you can contact me" portions if you have given input on anything that could be interpreted as criticizing the organization.  For the professionals, "feedback is not a gift".  And I have several personal experiences (scar tissue) in this, having questioned finances, program, YPT, condition of properties, etc. And your decades of volunteer service don't give your opinions (or facts) any weight 😵


  5. Just returned from Summer Camp.  33 of 38 Scouts attended. (86.8%!!!)  Would have been 34, but one pulled out last minute due to a broken foot. ($465 per head with $50 early bird discount...some came in later at $515.  Plus a $40 bus ride to/from camp...so minimum $505 per camper.)

    Last month, we offered a 35-mile hike over 5 days/4 nights on the Appalachian Trail.  We used this to conduct a Leave No Trace Trainer Course.  Only five Scouts took the opportunity.  ($110 per head.)

    We also do a Troop high adventure each summer.  In two weeks, we leave for a 50-mile canoe trek (no portaging ;) ) with 10 Scouts and 2 adults.  We limited this crew size to 12 due to Leave No Trace considerations, campsite availability, logistics, and price.  We do this trek at about $130 per person, including gas and tolls for the drivers.  Put in point is 110 miles north of us.

    Last summer, our camp cancelled, so we did our own Troop encampment.  Scouts loved it... no hustle and bustle pacing of a council-run camp...swimming, fishing, cooking, boating, exploring, and three merit badges offered: Mammal Study, Environmental Science, and Wilderness Survival (all with Troop leaders registered as counselors.)  ($230 per head, primarily for campsite rental.)  Our trek was a 60-mile cycling trek on a historic canal path, with ample time for camping, cooking, swimming, playing, etc. ($80 per head.)

    After camp this year, Scouts are already talking about doing our own thing again next year...


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  6. 15 hours ago, yknot said:

    Lyme disease

    We now have over 10 Scouts and adults who have contracted Lyme over the last five years...it is endemic in our area.  Cannot point to all cases being contracted while on Scouting events, but at least four were, since we began using a Sharpie to circle the bite area for monitoring, and are taking pictures (with permission) if not in a sensitive area.  Those who have contracted it are now absolutely religious about repellents and tick checks.  It's funny how most parents (and certainly not most Scouts) will take this seriously until after exposure...

    BTW, BSA insurance pays supplemental for health care needed to treat.  If you are on some federal form of health care (e.g., US military dependents) the BSA pays primary and full.

    And, I get a Lyme titer every year in my blood work for annual checkup... not everyone shows the bullseye...ask your doctor.

    • Thanks 1
  7. 12 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    And therefore won't be able to record it. 

    Not that SCOUTBOOK  / Internet advancement is accurste. Reviewing my records today, and of course 30+ years are missing. Heck it is still not showing i am an Eagle.

    SB does not reflect everything in ScoutNET that they have on you...call your registrar and ask for your record.  One problem also was, in the past, the lack of record transfers when moving from council to council.  Lots of stuff was lost.

  8. 1 minute ago, DuctTape said:

    I advocate for the Fieldbook as a primary resource too. Especially the first one. I often find copies of these at garage sales for $1. I have mentioned in the past a patrol could go page by page with the original fieldbook and lead a fantastic program.

    You just won't stop dropping fantastic knowledge on us, will you??


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  9. 3 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    Are you saying that EDGE is not enough to teach a scout skill? That a referencing is essential, and any method that omits it falls woefully short? Heretic!

    Almost ;)

    I would contend that referencing is a tool in the toolbox for the "E" in EDGE.  Don't always have to use it, but I do in most cases. 

    Also think the "E" should include explaining WHY we do things, versus just the HOW.  Why do we wash our dishes this way?  Why do we use a particular knot?  Why do we go 200 feet away to dig our cathole?  Why do we use the EDGE method???? 🤪😜🤪

    Most people respond better to learning when they know the "why."  Gives them a sense of purpose more than just "Because that is the requirement!" yuck...

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  10. 13 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

    I have been thinking about giving our SPL & PLs the handbooks when they are elected.

    Yes, do.

    But the same essential problems rear their head:

    1.  No one reads.  (This includes adults.)

    2.  Many do not learn from reading.  (This includes adults.)

    When I give rides to Scouting events, we always use the drive time productively.  Scouts who want to cover requirements, discuss merit badges, troop or patrol business, often jump in the car with me and the SPL/ASPL.   I point the way, and the SPL/ASPL or senior Scout does the instruction and sign off...it is a beautiful thing.

    The Scout/SPL/PL Handbooks (my personal copies) are staple items during the ride.  We often read aloud short sections and discuss the content, examples, and how to teach or apply.  We set goals. We evaluate outcomes. We review progress, on individual, patrol, or troop levels.

    However, and here is my challenge to all adult leaders...You have to know your stuff.  Read the dang things yourselves, so you know what the heck you are talking about.  You don't have to know the answers, but you do have to know WHERE to find the answers.  The literature becomes the authority rather than you becoming the authority.  In time, they can and do look for the answers themselves.  Then they don't need you anymore (for the most part ;) )

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  11. 1 minute ago, Eagledad said:

    I have said here many times that I believe that both the adults and scouts could run the correct troop patrol method program if they used just the PL Handbook, SPL Handbook and Scout Handbook as the program guideline.

    Preach it, brother!!

    2 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    And you know, once in a while the adult finds out that the scout didn't make a wrong choice, it just wasn't the choice the adult would have made.

    This is the same with parents ;)  For adult leaders, take a moment and ask yourself, "How would this decision violate the Scout Oath or Law?"  If you do not come up with an answer that you can reason through and articulate to another adult, give the Scout the leeway to pursue.

    And yes, you will often be tempted to say "I've seen this a hundred times, and it never works out, so do it the way I recommending to you."  Don't.  Pick your battles wisely. Bite your cheek, swallow the blood, and resist the "I told you so" when the time comes.  Your Scout will grow, and will grow to respect you and your advice even more ;)

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  12. 10 hours ago, SiouxRanger said:

    Where would I find the BSA review process rules or BSA patch design requirements?  I've designed about half a dozen patches over the years, all through my council, and professional staff never made mention of rules, other than the flour-de-lis had to appear on an official patch.


    Guide to Awards and Insignia, pages 15-17


    • Like 1
  13. 6 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    I'm wondering how your PLC does for leadership?

    We have Scouts plan outings...tooth to tail, using a one-page checklist from Troop Leader Guidebook, which is pretty good.  They have to report to PLC at each milestone...3 months, two months, one month at the formal PLCs, and then the two weeks, one week at short PLCs after meetings

    See page 20 in the pdf...


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