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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. We all failed.  We try to pre-package Scouting into discrete things like merit badges, Summer Camp, service projects, etc.

    Scouting is a game with a purpose!

    Did he have a good game? 

    Did we meet the purpose?

    What makes an Eagle Scout?

    As a Scoutmaster, I have written many letters of recommendation over the years.  Some are easy.  Some are not. 

    The easy ones are long letters regaling the BoR with how I have watched this young person grow and learn, and some of the experiences we have shared.  They usually end with this statement,

    "Jimmy is an Eagle Scout, and I am glad you have the chance to meet him and confirm what I have learned."

    For the ones that are not easy...

    "Jimmy has met the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout."





    • Upvote 1
  2. Jameson76,

    That would be the cat's meow!  A Troop having its own week long Summer Camp would be Scouting at its best:)  I encourage you to try it...

    One issue with "industrial" Summer Camps is that Scouts are too "busy", as almost every moment of their day is scheduled for them.  I encourage Scouts to keep one or two merit badge sessions free to do whatever they wish...nap, fish, hike, play basketball, swim, read, bird watch, contemplate the universe, etc.


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

    As the SM, I held a meeting with parents not going to camp (mostly first year parents) about how to prepare themselves and their scouts for camp and another meeting with the adults attending camp to set the guidelines for their behavior. These were relaxed meetings intended to get everyone excited for the trip. And they was laced with humorous stories of why we have guidelines.


    That's a good idea, Barry.

  4. 17 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    You already know how this worked in preventing "egregious offenders" before, so you know what to expect in the future (plus some other curve ball yet to be seen). Letters like these only get you so far. But  if you're asking for revisions, I suggest one:

    Write less. (And now I will proceed to waste your time by writing more :) )

    Look at every sentence. Scratch anything that excuses your behavior or tries to empathize with a parent's misbehavior. Don't waste time justifying your actions. This is your troop's culture, it needs no excuse. For example, your last point, I would rephrase: "Parents, new or  returning, are expected to attend any adult training that the camp makes available."

    you have about 50% deadwood or more in those instructions. Get rid of it, and you'll do just as well.

    Feedback is a gift :)

    Thanks, Qwazse.  Agree.  "If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter."  Who said that?

    Well, I have some corona-time now, so will revise accordingly...

    • Upvote 1
  5. 17 minutes ago, malraux said:

    I would swap out gendered words like manhood for adulthood, even though you are a boy only troop, but otherwise I agree with everything there. 

    specifically this paragraph: This is a very delicate time for these young men. They are closer and closer to bridging into manhood, and many of them are just beginning to face their fear of that unknown and level of responsibility.

    the rest is fine, but otherwise it makes it sound like bsa summer camp is only for boys, when it is no long the case. The later bits about stay out of his tent are not a problem as I assume you do not have a linked girls troop. 


    Thanks for the input.  I purposefully left those in.  As you surmise, we are boy only.  Will reconsider, though...

  6. 27 minutes ago, eagle90 said:

    Very well said.  Especially Point #1.  A few years ago we had some parents who were only there for their own children and it caused a large rift among both scouts and adults to the point of shouting matches.  Not a pleasant situation for anyone.  A well thought out message.



    Thanks, Dale.  Appreciate your taking the time to read...

  7. Scouters,

    We are still planning for Summer Camp.  Here is the info I send out to New Scout parents.  This has been well-received in the past, but it is an issue I still deal with every year.  Last year I had two egregious offenders.  I would appreciate your input on the message following...



    If I were the King, I would decree that no parents should go to Summer Camp the First Year :slight_smile:

    But every parent knows their new Scout much better than I do, at this point, so I defer to your right as parent to make the call. If the only way we can get a Scout to participate in Summer Camp is to have a parent attend, then the parent should go. If you and your Scout decide he can accept the challenge without you, then I would encourage and recommend you to give him that space and not go.

    This is a very delicate time for these young men. They are closer and closer to bridging into manhood, and many of them are just beginning to face their fear of that unknown and level of responsibility.

    Separation from parents and the comfort of home for a week is a test most have not yet gone through…

    In my experience, the first year of Summer Camp, after crossover, is a watershed event. When many new Scouts get that first “full taste” of what the Scouting program is for older Scouts, they choose to stop Scouting.

    It will be hot, sweaty, uncomfortable, and buggy, with new and unfamiliar foods, faces, and activities. Some things they will absolutely love, but they will not be good at some of the new experiences they are going to try, and many find they cannot deal with that level of physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual discomfort. For some, it is a breeze.

    The norm I have seen is that a few parents choose to go who are concerned for the health and well-being of their Scouts, and who have not yet established a level of trust in the way we do things. And that is just fine with me. Scout camp is a great place for you to either build that trust, or decide we are a bunch of incompetents who shouldn’t be allowed to take kids into the woods. Maybe one in a hundred comes to the latter conclusion. (Everyone experiences Scouting differently.)

    There will be some ground rules though…

    • You are there to provide the same level of attention and help to all Scouts. If your Scout is getting “special” treatment from you, it makes the others whose parents aren’t there feel pretty down. This can contribute to serious homesickness for those whose parents are unable to attend. It has been the most prevalent issue with parents attending. One of the best compliments your Scout could get at the end of the week from his buddies would be, “I didn’t know that was your Mom/Dad!”

    • You should not (actually, must not) pack your Scout’s gear. You can review the list of gear with him at home, and watch him pack it to make sure he has what he needs, but this should be on him.

    • You will not be allowed into your Scouts’ tent to help him unpack, find any items, or otherwise deal with minor issues. He needs to struggle on his own, and seek help from his buddies. Without challenges, there is no growth. He will also have a tent mate who will probably be uncomfortable with you being there. We respect their privacy, but do conduct health and safety checks of their quarters. If you notice any issue, it is best to bring it to the attention of the Scoutmasters, and we look into it.

    • Unless there is a serious or life threatening situation, you should be pretty much hands off…in observation mode…minor issues, injuries or illnesses should be dealt with by the youth leaders giving First Aid under the supervision of the Scoutmaster Corps. If a situation needs to be elevated, we let the camp health staff take care of it. My first response to most questions or issues is, “Did you ask your Patrol Leader?” If the Patrol Leader is baffled, I ask the PL, “Did you ask the Senior Patrol Leader?” And then I follow up to make sure the issue was addressed appropriately.

    • You should take some training as an adult while you are there. Summer Camp is a great learning environment for everyone.

    Hope this helps you understand our philosophy of parents at Scout Camp!

  8. I get the corporate structuring of Arrow and BSA.  What I was writing about earlier was that Surbaugh was an officer of the two separate 501c3s, but being paid the exact same salary from both.  Doesn't really pass the sniff test...


  9. 2 hours ago, swilliams said:

    We are one of the towns who have a case now. Our schools are closed today for cleaning, so that means our troop meeting is canceled. 

    I was thinking of starting a thread talking about suggestions for continuing the program while trying to deal with this. New topic, or post here?

    We had our Scout meeting entirely outdoors last night.  Except for getting flags and going to restrooms.  Our sponsor requested we station an adult at the door with hand sanitizer to give everyone a squirt, and also asked for handwashing immediately upon entry (yes, right after the sanitizer.)  We cheerfully complied.

    Our Scouts have never been cleaner! 

    • Upvote 1
  10. My military issue triangulars are 37x37x52 and some are 46x46x65 (I like these a lot)

    On line suppliers for commerical market are in the range of 40x40x56 (OSHA requirement to meet ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015



    http://dir.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dirnvgov/content/News/Useful Guidance for First Aid Kits.pdf

    Our Scout Supply Troop neckers measure 34x34x48.  Although another "researcher" has data saying otherwise https://observer.wunderwood.org/2010/11/09/how-big-is-a-scout-neckerchief/

    First Aid supply checklist in Scout Handbook calls for 40 inch (driven by OSHA/ANSI I suppose).

    I have a little experience teaching First Aid, and find the Scout neckers fine for youngers/smallers, not good for the heftier ;)

    IMO, Scout Supply neckers should, at a minimum, comply with the 40(x40x56) (isosceles right triangle implied?) called for in Scout Handbook for First Aid.

    G2A&I says "Special neckerchiefs, the same size as the official ones, may be authorized by local councils. Such neckerchiefs may include identification of the chartered organization. The standard designed neckerchief may be personalized with troop number, city, and state." (Who follows the G2A&I?? 😣)

    Any of you ever ask council approval for a custom Troop necker? Or would you?

    "No" on the squares....doubling the material seems hot to this southern boy...

    • Upvote 2
  11. @qwazse,

    I wish they roamed the streets of our city or village...;)

    In their free time (if they even have that), most Scout-aged youth around here now stay at home, play video games, and "socialize" through the Interwebthingy.

    Remember coming home from school, dumping your books and riding around on your bike or playing Nerf football/stickball/street hockey/hanging out at your fort until it got dark?  That's alien behavior these days.

    I'm for taking them camping...better health outcomes in the long run vs obesity, diabetes, mental health issues, etc...

  12. ParkMan,

    Would you elaborate, please? "...end all the confusion about professionals trying to do volunteer roles."  You mean confusion on the volunteers' parts, or on the professionals' parts, or both?

    And I am all for paying someone fairly.  But there aren't many Scouters in our council who see the value for those dollars...  This is what councils need to do...show the value they create, and then show appreciation for the value the volunteers create. When the Mom who makes $45K a year is asked for money, and her Cub Day camp has been cancelled two years in a row with no explanation, and the council camp has buildings which are unhealthy (mold) and should be condemned...it's a hard sell for her, too.

    When they can convince me, they'll get more of my money.

    And the DE's, IMO, are not being paid fairly...what's their turnover rate, again?  And our Registrar is a saint.  Without her, things would come to a grinding halt...  You can't pay a good council Registrar enough :)


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