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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. On 4/20/2020 at 10:47 AM, desertrat77 said:

    This is great news.  My longstanding beef with council fundraising is that as a unit and district level scouter, I have very little input in how my dollars are spent.   

    I've found from experience that any inquiry to council staff (above DE level) regarding projects or financial matters is not well received.  The boundaries are very clear:  I write checks, the council spends my money, period.


    I have gotten myself designated as PNG (persona non grata) in our council for asking too many questions, "disrupting" the money trail, and informing folks about how the money is spent from public documents like the IRS Form 990 (which may have put a dent in FOS).  Removed from District Committee, removed from Council committees, removed from council training team, ostracized by many...  And all without so much as a phone call from anyone at the council saying, "We'd like to discuss this with you before we take any adverse action."  Unethical, in my book.

    You do find out who your friends are when such things happen...

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  2. 1 minute ago, dkurtenbach said:

    I think if skill mastery was really important to the BSA, the rank requirements would be written to ensure mastery, and re-testing of any and every Scout through First Class skill would be part of advancement through Eagle Scout rank. 

    This is where I wish we would go...  not for MB's, but definitely for all skills up to and including First Class.  When a person says "I am a Scout", that conjures up a paragon or archetype in your head about what a Scout knows/does/is.  You have expectations of what their capabilities are.  We need to collectively define (or redefine) that paragon/archetype, describe those standards, and adhere to them.

    The current codification of what a Scout knows/does/is does not accurately measure or adhere to the standard of the archetype most of us conjure.

    Should it??

  3. 32 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Sadly, in my experience that is the exact opposite from what I am seeing. 

    Concur.  In my tenure, I can remember only one Scout who ever took a class a second time because it was something he really enjoyed (Small Boat Sailing).  He was surprised that this was actually "allowed."  I think part of this misperception is in our advertising.  Scouts do not understand that repeating a merit badge is just fine.

    Perhaps this discussion should be moved to a new/existing thread?

    I also, am a Merit Badge Counselor who demands the requirements, and nothing more...the requirements, and nothing less.  Scouts tell each other who the "easiest" counselors are.  Most choose the path of least resistance.  Usually, my repeat customers are the Scouts who are "switched on."

    Most first timers seem to expect a meeting or Merit Badge session with me where I talk a lot, and then they get the badge.  My first question to them is usually, "Have you read and understand the requirements for the merit badge?"  I would say, over 90% of the time, the answer is "No."  So that is where we start.  We review the requirements together and discuss how the Scout will complete those requirements.  This is where guiding and mentoring pays off most.  We also determine which requirements will require some teaching/learning/practice.

    Scouts also seem to get flustered when I don't give them the answer to a requirement, and then let them regurgitate information right back to me.  For example, with Canoeing MB, one requirement says "Name and point out the major parts of a canoe."  I usually start this one with "Show me what you know."  Which is usually followed by, please review your Scout Handbook on page 174, and let's go over this again so you can "Name and point out the major parts of a canoe."  I have had Scouts (and parents) ask me to tell them what the parts are then and there, and then they want to repeat that info then and there, only to RAM dump it and move on to the next requirement.  I do not see that as an acceptable way for a Scout to complete a requirement.

    I do not do the heavy lifting for the Scout...  (btw, on this specific requirement, I'll even let the Scout refer to his Scout Handbook, or the MB book, or other source while pointing out the parts.  I do not require them to memorize, nor repeat from memory, unless the requirement specifies that.

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  4. Permethrin is awesome.  Be careful!  It is a nerve agent.  Do not spray directly onto your skin or clothing you are wearing.  Apply to clothing hanging outdoors.  Stand upwind.  Do not get the stuff on you in liquid form.  Do not let your pets anywhere near the stuff until it dries.  It will harm your pets.  Bonds to clothing fibers while drying.  Once dry, very safe.  Persists through many washings, depending on whether manufacturer adds additional bonding agents.  Read and follow package directions!

    Picaridin is supposed to be great.  You can spray it directly on yourself.  Have some, but have never used it though.  I use permethrin, and have, as of yet, not needed the picaridin.  Anyone have experience with picaridin??


    Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and products with IR 3535 are also hawked out there...haven't tried them. though

    I still have some DEET stuff from my military days...on the warning label, I kid you not, it says "Avoid prolonged contact with skin."  LOL



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  5. On 4/7/2020 at 11:47 PM, BPPatrolonaRoll said:

    I apologize if I am posting in the wrong place or if this is poorly worded, this is my first post.


    I am the ASPL of a central New Jersey Troop with a majority of younger Scouts. We recently went up to Forestburg Scout Reservation and did their OA heritage trail. After we completed this trail, we were awarded medals (attached.) The younger Scouts went crazy for them, and begged me and my SPL for more. Majority of the Scouts have a very hard time finding interest in Scouting, and both me and my SPL hope that the little things could draw them more into it. I am pursuing the Supernova award, but I doubt most of the younger Scouts want to put much effort into anything.


    Again, I apologize, and I look forward to all your responses!


    HI there!

    Kudos to you as an ASPL for taking this on!  You are setting a great example as a leader.

    Our Scouts love the medal "bling", too.  There is a whole list of Historical Trails.  Almost all have a patch...most have an attractive medal like the one you earned.  You can find a lot of them here:


     From central NJ, here are some I would recommend:

    Battle of Monmouth (starts at Quail Hill Scout Reservation, you can camp there).  http://www.natsihi.org/camping-hiking/battle-of-monmouth-historic-trail/

    Here is the medal


    Another is the Washington Crossing Trail





    And the William Penn Trail





    Finally, if you camp on or near a trail, and do work to improve it, you can earn the BSA Historic Trails Award!!


    Happy Hunting!

  6. Thanks @qwazse !!!

     Scouters who intentionally disregard accepted and codified safety practices and common  sense!  A few specific examples:

    - The Scoutmaster who refused to get off the river when a thunderstorm blew in, becauseue  it was only two more miles to camp...

    - The adult leaders at an Eagle Scout project or Woodwork MB class who allow Scouts to use power saws, etc....even worse, those who do it without even basic PPE like hearing or eye protection

      (watch this video at about time stamp 1:30)




  7. @Eagle94-A1

    I echo your experiences, in general, with most Summer Camps over the past two decades (there have been few exceptions)...I have become more and more jaded.  And I feel as though I am titing at windmills...

    It's like a whole cheating scheme that everyone is in on...and no one likes it if you make waves to point it out.

    And it's all about the money...not about integrity or character building.

    Councils want money through increased camper numbers.  The way to get that seems to  be to have a high number of Merit Badges awarded.  (notice I did not say "earned")  The result is the Merit Badge Mill.  

    Parents want to see results for their money.  (awarded Merit Badges...notice I did not say "earned")  Most do not understand the Merit Badge program purpose or process.

    Adult leaders want to see some tangible result of their time invested. (awarded Merit Badges...notice I did not say "earned")  How many leaders have you seen giving grief to camp staffs when their Scouts get a partial at the end of the week?  It is extra oversight, pain and paperwork to correctly call out a lot of bad apples https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-800_WB.pdf  And most of the time, councils never follow up or take corrective action. 

    Scouts want Merit Badges to make rank because Eagle Scout is their (and their parents')  goal.  Guilt about awarded, but unearned, Merit Badges does not enter into the calculus of most 11-17 year olds.  "I need Eagle for my college application."  The result is the "Paper Eagle Scout"

    Their is too much focus on the piece-of-cloth badge and ranks (the outward symbols), rather than the skills, experiences, and growth of the person (the inward man).  Videre quam esse?  Or, as Daniel Webster said... "The world is governed more by appearance than realities so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it."

    The really sad part is, that the grand majority of MB's aren't really difficult to earn.  The bar  for most is extremely low, and easily achieved...

    What message are we giving youth who go through these camps, and do not earn the badge, but are awarded it anyway?  What kind of person are we growing? "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

    There are many who will take exception to what I have said...please don't shoot the messenger...I have been involved in Scouting over 35 years.  I have been on staff of 15 summer camps, have attended National Camping School four times, and have been a Scoutcraft Director, Aquatics Director, and Climbing Director.  I have taken troops to summer camp for ten years.  I have been a Merit Badge Counselor an untold number of times...  So, I am speaking from those  things I have seen over the years...

    I hope their is someone out there who has a vastly different experience...




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  8. @qwazse,

    We think a lot alike...it wasn't the Scouts' motives I would question, but the adult leaders who would organize such an event during a time like this.  Those same adults who make the announcement...  

    Totally agree with striking service hours as a requirement.  Also agree with allowing adults to earn ranks...(Rovers, anyone?)

    As for Bird Study...that is as it used to be, along with Pioneering.

    We should start a thread for Pet Peeves!



  9. The article above also explains; "The safety of these Scouts and all the volunteers are of the utmost importance to the United Way, especially during a time when social distancing is of high priority. Director Smith has put measures in place to make sure everyone is as safe as possible, “We are screening all of the volunteers when they come in, allowing only a group of 10 individuals to volunteer at a time, and are making sure we maintain the minimum six feet of distance between each other."

    Each situation will be different...but if an organization you wish to volunteer for does not support your adherence to, or the activity does not lend itself to the standing guidelines for social distancing and personal protection, then don't do it.

    Personally, I would caution any unit to limit this to activities of necessity...food distribution, pet care for health care workers, etc...  Litter pick up and invasive species removal should wait.

    Also ask, what is the motive?  If it is to make rank by fulfilling a requirement, then don't do it.  This is the wrong focus for community service.

    How long before we see some headline with a Scout unit in an activity where they are not adhering to safe practices?


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  10. Early on, but before the stay at home order, our local hospital asked for community volunteers to set up a large tent (an outdoor event-type tent like those used for weddings, about 72' long) outside the hospital so they could screen patients there before concentrating them in the building.  We put together two teams of ten, mixed Scouts and adults.  We told the hospital we would work shifts of four hours, and that we wanted to adhere to CDC guidelines of groups no larger than ten, we would stay outside the hospital the whole time, bring our own food/water,  use port-a-john, etc.  The hospital said they thought it would require more than ten at a time to set it up, and they could not support our stipulations.  So, we declined the opportunity.  A few days later, our governor issued the stay at home order.

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  11. This could mean the court will also deny Nationals move to have the court view the councils as separate entities for purposes of the overall litigation.   Better go take some nice pictures of the camp you grew up with...it could be gone in the near future...

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  12. 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."





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