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InquisitiveScouter

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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. 10 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

    I too have seen Eagle scouts in my troop that I thought would be a shoo-in, fail to be selected year after year. But as someone who has been the OA adult in many an election in other troops, I can see some potential problems with this.   

    I'll never forget the sight of a red faced SM shouting in the face of the OA youth who had conducted the election that he had to do it over again after the SM talked to the troop, because the SM's son, the "best scout in the troop"  hadn't been elected.  I had watched the votes being counted and his son was nowhere close to the 50%  mark needed.  Perhaps he was one way in front of dad and another when with his peers.  Maybe some scouts didn't like the SM and were using the election as a way of telling him so. Or just parental blindness.  It wasn't my troop of course so I had no way of knowing.  What I did know was that we were not going to hold another election after he told the scouts how to vote "right".

    Admittedly, this was an extreme case.  One out of a hundred. But I believe it showcases some of the potential  pitfalls.

    Agreed.  It's a shame that went the way it did...

    Another strange issue we just had...our lodge delayed our election due to team availability.  The only week they could come was the week following all of our crossovers.  So, we had 14 brand new Scouts there.

    I thought they should not vote, as they had no idea about anything...

    But, technically, they were on the roster, so were in the voting population.

    I talked with the SPL before the election and made sure he would clearly tell all of our Scouts, if you do not know any of the candidates, please consider not submitting a vote.

    We had an appropriate (in my eyes) outcome, but many of the new Scouts simply voted for everyone on the ballot because they wanted to be viewed as friendly, supportive, and "one of the team"

    It could have gone really badly, and I'm glad we didn't have to deal with that case...

  2. 4 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

    There are several "books" as well. 

    • YPT/barriers to abuse ... Enforce 100%. 
    • G2SS... Attempt to follow 100%; however, I'm sure there has been some violations.
    • Program books (various handbooks, etc.) ... each Troop has their own spin on the program.  Enforce the procedures/rules your Troop follow based on what the PLC/adults agree upon.

    In your case, the scout isn't following your Troop's very reasonable expectation, then they have the choice to leave.  

    Now, I was ranting a bit tas I was backpacking with my Troop this past weekend.  I was complaining to one of my ASMs that I am seeing less and less engagement from scouts in our overnight activities but far more in day only merit badge sessions.  Another leader indicated he has heard similar feedback from Troops in our area (merit badge sessions "selling" out but camporees, overnights lacking attendance).  The ASM said ... well, perhaps the market has changed and you need to change with it.  She said that perhaps scouting should just be merit badge clinics and summer camps going forward.  I didn't like that answer, but I don't know if I have a better one. 

    How does this apply ... if you build a Troop program which results in no scouts wanting to be in the Troop ... well, then what's the point?  The example you gave seems pretty clear.  However, if there are rules your Troop has that your PLC doesn't find valuable and just turns kids off of scouting ... then it is ok to reevaluate the rules.  The key is that the rules should be enforced uniformly across all scouts.  That should be clear to the SM, CO and all involved.

    I notice this as well...many Scouts camp just enough to fulfill requirements.

    It is about advancement and Eagle Scout.  It's about padding the college resume and applying for scholarships and service academy appointments.

    For most, parents included, it is not about character or any of the other seven methods of Scouting other than advancement... my opinion/observation

    • Sad 1
  3. 1 hour ago, OaklandAndy said:

    Hello all! I'm Andrew from Canton, NC. I used to be fairly active on the "official" Scoutbook discussion forums page, until they banned all content that wasn't related to "Scoutbook, Internet Advancement and all other BSA IT software and resources". I'm happy to find this website so I can learn from others and share my own experiences. You'll most likely find me in the Cub Scout forums as I am a AOL DL/CC for our Pack. 

    Welcome!

  4. 1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:

    Agreed.

    Permit me to add that not everyone elected even attempts to complete the ordeal.

      Last weekend we had 36 candidates at the ordeal,  out of 49 that were elected.  Which is the usual percentage.

    Always wondered why roughly a quarter of those selected never come.

    Around here, two reasons primarily:

    1) Our local lodge does little to nothing in the way of community service or service to units.  It is all about internal lodge or OA functions, and providing a labor pool for setting up/taking down tents for Summer Camp  (poorly at that, I might add)

    2) Another activity that they feel they have no time for.

    We have very good success with our youth, because I make it clear that there is NO EXPECTATION (from me) of service to the lodge upon becoming an Ordeal member, and to not listen to anyone who tells them differently 😜

    Ordeal membership is a part of our unit program to recognize honor campers and to promote camping.  If you choose to participate in lodge events, that is your call...

    There IS AN EXPECTATION that you will continue to serve the Troop, even if you choose to go "all in" for the OA .  An Arrowman's first duty is to his unit.  Those who chose you need you.

    • Upvote 1
  5. @SiouxRanger

    Our former Committee Chair is a law professor at a well-known university.  (He always gave the most excellent advice and counsel.)

    We would run across these vague and lacking (or sometimes contradictory, even) pieces of guidance throughout BSA literature.

    I opined once that the organization simply couldn't be so incompetent and incongruous (this was during a time when we were trying to parse out YPT and Merit Badge Counselor session rules that were literally at odds with one another).

    He remarked that much of this could very well be on purpose.  He told me that, sometimes, the absolute worst thing for an organization in a court case is to have a clearly written policy that they didn't follow.  They lose cases like than 9 times out of 10.

    So, it could be just part of the culture.

    I think it is incompetence.

    When I wrote policy and regulations in the military, I had to be concise, relevant, and clear.  Then, any draft had to be approved by every other directorate within that echelon of command.  I was amazed at how much I learned and didn't realize about who else might have a stake in what you were writing.

    There two major rules: 1) your policy or regulation could never be more lenient than one issued by a higher headquarters.  You could be more stringent, just never more permissive.  2) if there was a contradiction, the higher headquarters regulation overruled, or took precedence (seems obvious, but I did run across this situation a handful of times in 25+ years.)

    The process was laborious; I spent a lot of time on the phones communicating with people to find out where the draft was and what was the hold up on completion and comment.  From start to finish, it usually took about two months to get something coordinated through a major headquarters.

    And every rule or regulation has a designated office of primary responsibility and the name of the person in command who signed off on the regulation, for accountability and a source for whom to call if you had any questions on anything.  And, there is an internal requirement to review these every two years (although this was often not the case.) 

    I could list at least five current examples of vague safety rules BSA has.  And when I have reached out to folks on committees who write these policies, I usually just get shoulder shrugs and beating around the bush about why they won't pursue changing it because it takes so long and there is no organizational impetus to do these kinds of things...

    Finally, when was the last time you saw an organizational chart of the BSA "national command structure" like this??

    http://thescoutpatchauction.com/blogsite/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/new-bsa-org-chart-copy.jpg

  6. 5 hours ago, fred8033 said:

    What is BSA really trying to say?

    They are trying to say don't ask for money for units, because we want it at the local council level.  And, your requesting it from individuals or corporations gets in the way of them giving it to us.

    Note, it says you cannot solicit (ask for) donations, but you may accept them ;)

    We get donations all the time.  Every time we are doing a litter crew on the roads, someone stops and gives us a $10 or a $20.  We tell them we are not allowed to take tips or payment for community service.  When they insist, we ask if they'd like it to go to defer the cost of camp for Scouts who could use little extra help.  The answer has always been "Yes!"

    32 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

    If the grant your SPL has applied for is conservation projects than that's not really benefitting the troop so you're probably okay.  I would however make sure your CO is okay with it since they're actually the beneficiary.

    This one will be a bit of a sticky wicket...working thru it now...will let you know how it turns out.

    • Upvote 1
  7. Wow, gotta love him!!

    Our SPL saw a big corporation notice to apply for a small grant for funds for conservation.

    As our Troop heavily engages in habitat restoration and conservation projects, our SPL filled out and submitted the online application for a grant, without discussing with Troop adults or committee.  (Love the initiative!!!)

    As this is a grant, versus solicited a donation (prohibited) or unit fundraising (by selling a good or service, requiring the Unit Money Earning Application), do you believe we need LC permission to apply for the grant?

    I think yes...well, at least communicating to them that this is what we are doing...

    What say you experts out there??

    https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34427.pdf

  8. 2 minutes ago, yknot said:

    I think selection should be more in the form of nomination, like you get a minimum three votes recommending and nominating you for the honor. The 50% is kind of the problem. 

    As far as an SM having an ability after the fact to prevent a candidate, who has been elected by peers, to pursue OA, that is very problematic in certain places. You'd get threatened by a team of lawyers if you did that in any of the communities I'm in, and council would not back you. 

    Agreed, never after the fact...  in order to be on the ballot, the SM must approve each candidate...says so in the eligibility criteria, third bullet:

    https://oa-bsa.org/about/membership

    At the time of their election, youth must be under the age of 21, and hold one of the following ranks corresponding to the type unit in which they are being considered for election: Scouts BSA First Class rank, the Venturing Discovery rank, or the Sea Scout Ordinary rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Sea Scout Skipper, be elected by the youth members of their unit.

    emphasis added

  9. 39 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

    Connecticut Yankee Council rejected Pathfinder's second offer on Friday (National Arbor Day?) which was supposedly a "superior offer" to the accepted  $4.6 million bid made by private developer Margaret Streicker, who is a member of the Council Executive Board.

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Connecticut

    • Upvote 2
  10. Having been a member of the OA for a long, long time, and having seen how sausage is made, I understand where @SiouxRanger and @yknot are coming from...

    I have, in the past, not approved some Scouts to stand for selection. (This is a SM prerogative.)   They took it pretty hard, but they were the ones with a trend of questionable behavior and sporadic (at best) participation.  They did not change behavior, but the message was clear.

    I also think we should change the verbiage from "election" to "selection."  It is not an election.  An "election" implies multiple candidates and only one wins.

    The OA selection ballot should list candidate names with YES or NOT YET boxes next to each one.  Check one. 

    To be selected, you have to get 50% of the votes cast.

  11. 2 hours ago, jscouter1 said:

    Thank you so much for your input, as of right now I couldnt leave my current troop it just means to much to me. Its not unheard of in my troop for scouts to switch troops because of disagreements with our SM. If I did dual membership and spent time getting to know the scouts, camp, going to meetings, and service projects I feel I might have a chance at election, but wouldnt it be odd if I had no rank advancment in my newer troop?

    It would not be odd at all.  In fact, if you dual register, one Troop should be designated as primary, and they would handle all of your advancement.  Both Troops putting in advancements for you would potentially cause problems.

    If you dual register, explain to the gaining new Scoutmaster the situation you are in with your other unit regarding OA.  Explain that you still feel loyalty to your old, and will support both Troops.  Don't say that you are there just to get in the OA.  If you told me that, I'd be inclined to turn you away.

    Just tell the new Scoutmaster that you are curious about the OA, and you wish to have the opportunity to see what it is all about.  You do not have that opportunity in your current Troop.

    Finally, you have to ask yourself, "What if I am not elected to OA by the members of the new Troop?"  You have to be OK with that eventuality, and continue serving.  It might take years before you are elected...

     

    • Like 1
  12. 13 minutes ago, PACAN said:

    Anyone seen a statistic on what percentage of AOL scouts crossover each year and how many are still in scouting a year later.

    Haven't seen any...anecdotally, ~80% cross over (primarily because their membership is already paid for the year, and there is a good deal of build up to the ceremony, so many go with the flow...)

    After a year, I see about 75% stay.  That's an overall 60% staying from AOL until after first year.

    Would love to see some stats with more granularity.

  13. 13 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Sadly the 18-20 YO crowd in my neck of the woods feel completely disrespected by not being counted as 2 deep for YP purposes within Scouting, BUT also have to follow YP rules outside of Scouting per National.  KNow several outstanding young men who are no longer involved because the 2018 rule would interfere with school, work, and friendships

    +1

  14. 7 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

    So... Is "In the Fifth" grade when the last day of 4th grade is held. Or is it after the summer for the first day they actually attend 5th grade classes.

    I have always interpreted that to occur when a Scout is promoted to the next grade.  That is, just finished fourth grade, and is a "rising" fifth grader.

    Our registrar was fine with that...

    • Thanks 1
  15. 19 minutes ago, swilliams said:

    From the article: [quote]The Patriots’ Path Council council did not disclose the purchase price for the Sabattis Adventure Camp. They also did not name the buyer, except to say the purchaser is a neighbor of the camp who has “agreed to permit the council to use the property for at least five more years,” according to the letter from council leaders.[/quote]

    One big problem - going back to 2020 - is that with the Covid restrictions placed on the camp by NY State, they are still not running a full program this summer.  We didn't go last year, and are not going this year, and are pretty broken up about it.  It's nice that the purchasers agreed to let council use the property for five years, but kind of pointless if council can't run a robust program.

    Are any other council properties being successfully leased back?

    We were going to Sabattis this summer... then they cancelled all regular program in our week...

    I think they are only running two weeks now...and it is really "bring your own merit badge counselors"...at least, that is what they told me last October/November.

    They are hosting mostly treks during those weeks.

    We are going to Onteora now...

    • Thanks 1
    • Upvote 1
  16. 33 minutes ago, yknot said:

    The concept of Outdoor Ethics mean leaving wild lands wild.

    Yes, but part of that wildness was periodic, natural fires to burn away the accumulated fuel.  We have interfered with that, stopped those fires, and let the fuel pile up.

    Good stewardship includes prescribed burns.

  17. 19 hours ago, ThenNow said:

    5. If BSA is dismantled, will scouting cease to exist? By the words of many, many of you Scouters, it's a resounding no. In that case, are kids safer in thousands of independent groups without a high level of institutional oversight, including the rigorous input of BSA CSA survivors? I'm concerned that it would not be. 

     

    18 hours ago, vol_scouter said:

    Number 5 is a brilliant observation.  My feeling is that Scouting will continue in America.  If no BSA, another organization could emerge but likely there will be many separate scouting programs that will make youth protection less likely to be strictly followed. I would argue that a comprehensive single program is best able to enforce strict youth protection policies.

    I would contend that kids are less safe in either situation, without the constant vigilance of adults who are watching out for them.

    Policies do not equal vigilance...that is part of the thinking that got us here in the first place.

    As a kid who was groomed and abused, I know what the predator looks and acts like.  He is the nicest person in the world.  He cares for your kids.  He is friendly.  He goes out of his way to help them and you.  He is biding his time and waiting for the opportunity.  What I'd really like to know is, how long does he wait before he gives up and moves on to a new target?  And does he stalk several prey at once?

    Here's a good synopsis of the process...

    https://www.albertacacs.ca/blog/stages-of-grooming

    Look at the first three behaviors...these align somewhat with what a good Scout leader actually does as far as recruiting Scouts, gaining trust of Scouts and parents, and filling needs for adventure, organization, advancement, etc.

    It's where number four comes in that we need vigilance.  Vigilance by parents, leaders, and Scouts.  BSA National doesn't do squat in this area.  They really don't come into the picture until after an abuse has occurred and been reported.  BSA has NO insight into unit programs or what goes on at the unit level.  So, in essence, there are a multitude of separate programs underway right now.

    YPT begins at home.  It should be pervasive in schools.  It should be an attitude and mindset that we all have (all people...not just all Scouters).

    I never, ever, left one of my kids alone with anyone other than a family member.  In some families, even that is a risk...  And I told my kids when they were younger, that they were never to be alone with an adult unless Mom or Dad said it was OK.

    You would not believe how many parents now trust me implicitly with their Scouts.  Parents would be OK with having me pick up and drop off their kids for Scouting events.  They would be fine with dropping them off at my house for merit badges or Scout skills.  But I do not, under any circumstances, allow a situation where I am alone with someone else's kid.  I maintain the vigil on myself, and it surprises me how many parents would willingly put their kids into my hands, and who offer that as a matter of convenience on a routine basis.

    It's like the message just doesn't get through...  In spite of parents having to read and go through YPT stuff with their Scouts.  I sincerely doubt most read it.

    An abuser can easily mimic my behavior and concern for Scouts.

    Watch out for the ones who seek to be alone with a Scout!  To me, that is the key, critical behavior that is the red flag.

    When we go camping, I want as many adults around as possible.  The more eyes, the better.   The more collective training we have, the better.

    We had a saying in the military, when figuring out how to defeat our adversaries...

    You must learn to think like the wolf before you can kill the wolf. 

    Most people will not put themselves into the thought process of the predator.  I did, and I do.  How does someone want to get my Scouts?  Act like me, and then isolate them.

    That will not happen on my watch.

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 3
  18. No trailer works for patrol outings...  two adults, 5 to 8 Scouts...maybe one extra car (a parent) for transpo...

    For Troop outings...nope.

    We have 57 Scouts now (in 7 Patrols) Our average on outings is about 30-35 Scouts.  The average family's vehicle can hold about five passengers, so we need 6 or 7 vehicles just to get the bodies there.  The average family car cannot hold passengers and gear for six people (including the driver, when they are camping.)

    Most families do not own trucks or SUVs in our area...

    Our Troop owns two gear trailers: one large for Troop outings (and storage) (donated long ago), one small for medium sized outings (and storage) (purchased recently with Troop funds).

    We recently changed COs.  The CO does not have space for a shed for troop gear storage, so we purchased the smaller trailer to act as a "mobile shed" of sorts.  The used trailer costed us less than a shed would have.  And now we have the capability to send out medium sized trips of several patrols to different locations.

    Our practice is that all trailers must be single axle, under 3000 lbs, so as not to require brakes on the trailer, inspections (in our state), and vehicles with higher towing capacity and wiring for a trailer brake controller.  The trailers can be towed with most SUVs and just about any truck.  We have at least 10 families that can tow (about 20% of Troop).

    These solutions make sense for our unit, and the program that our Scouts have chosen.  These are the basics for us.

     

    • Upvote 3
  19. Neat!

    Yes, these tankers were made primarily to refuel our Cold War bomber fleet.

    At the end of the Cold War, we began using them for contingencies and conflicts like Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.  The tanker fleet is a crown jewel in our national ability to project power around the world.

    The saying is NKAWTG!!  Nobody kicks a## without tanker gas

    • Upvote 1
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