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Everything posted by CalicoPenn

  1. CalicoPenn

    Boy Scouts get blame for Wild Fire

    I've been spending some time searching for additional information, somewhat sparse but out there, on the fire. What I've found, though, fleshes out more of the story, and confirms my belief that the BSA should have settled. I found an article about the fire posted by the Deseret News that gave the name of the fire, and the time frame - the East Fork Fire, June 2002 (most large wildland fires are given operational names, though sometimes the names are duplicated - there are a few "East Fork Fires" out there, but knowing it was in Utah in June 2002 helped alot). From there, I was able to find the California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 site on the fire (http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/ciimt5/archives/eastfork/index.htm) that has links to some additional information. According to a news release posted on July 11, 2002 about the investigation into the fire, the fire started within the East Fork of the Bear(River)Boy Scout Reservation, located on Utah State property within the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in an undeveloped area of the reservation where a group of Scouts working on the Wilderness Merit Badge (likely meaning the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge, which has been reported in other sources) had camped overnight. The fire started on or around June 28, 2002. The cause of the fire was determined to be human caused, though at the time the exact cause was not yet known. Quite a few comments suggest the Troop or CO should shoulder the responsibility, yet a word in the first article I read caught my attention - Counselor. It was reported that the Scout's bribed their "Counselors" with candy to start a fire. My first thought was Summer Camp. Given the date -June 28 - and the location - Camp Tomahawk (as reported by Deseret News) in the Bear River Boy Scout Reservation, which is a summer camp facility of the Great Salt Lakes Council of the BSA, then the focus should shift back from an individual Troops/CO's to the Council as it's likely that the Scouts on this excursion were from differing Troops. The BSA lawyers are arguing a few things. One is that they weren't aware of a total burn ban. Since the ban was widely reported, and given that the Counselors were bribed with candy to start a fire, it's more than likely that the Counselors were aware of the total burn ban so this argument will probably not get very far in front of a judge or jury. The lawyers might be able to try to spin it that it was a temporary lapse of judgement but there are reports of interviews with the Scouts that they were lighting the spray of aerosol cans to create flamethrowers/torches which doesn't indicate that the Counselors had any judgement at all which could have lapsed temporarily. The lawyers are claiming that the Scouts put the fire out, slept near it, and didn't smell any smoke the next morning - but, the Scout interviews show that they put it out using a cup of water and urinating on the fire. The US prosecutor points out that BSA writings on the subject of putting out fires state that the proper way to put out a fire is by putting water and/or dirt on the fire and stirring it until the fire is cold out. One Scout said they didn't stir the fire because people had urinated in it. Since they didn't follow "proper procedure" they can't make a case that they know the fire was completely out. Anyone with any experience with wood fires knows that if the fire is left to "naturally" burn itself out, there could still be hot spots under the coals with the potential to start a new fire a couple of days later - you can walk through areas of forests that have been burned a week later and still see smoke rising from stumps. Another argument by the BSA lawyers is that the fire could have started in some other manner (the "give us unequivocal evidence" argument). The US Forest Service has determined that the cause of the fire was Human - and they are very good at investigating wildlands fires - they would not have ruled out non-human causes like lighting strikes, etc. without good reason to do so. Though at the time (2002) they didn't have an exact cause (human caused could be campfire, discarded cigarette, backfiring engine, etc.), they're now confident that the exact cause is that campfire. Though I haven't seen it, I'm sure that the forensic investigation is part of the Government's evidence case, and part of those forensics is finding the place where the fire started. They have more than likely identified the specific camping site as the location of the fire (just like fire investigators being able to determine the cause of a house fire as a specific electrical outlet, wildlands fire investigators have a set of tools, skills and experiences they can call upon to know without reasonable doubt where a fire starts). Since natural causes are already ruled out, what's left is trying to determine the human cause. It being in the Boy Scout Reservation, which is not open to the general public, another group of people, or some unknown individual, can be ruled out. Being in an undeveloped part of the camp, mechanical causes can be ruled out. Given that the youth were all between 12 and 15, we can reasonably rule out discarded cigarettes (especially if most of the youth are LDS). The BSA has not provided any kind of expert or otherwise testimony that there was any other cause of the fire, other than saying in essence "maybe it was something else", and without that expert testimony, the argument will not be allowed in front of a jury to give the jury a chance to try to determine on it's own a "phantom cause". Furthermore, there is more than enough precedent in other wildland fire cases (and building fire cases) that will allow this determined cause to hold up in court to a challenge that it is not unequivical enough. The issue before the judge right now is to determine if the government can pursue this action in court. If the BSA doesn't prevail, and I'd say there is a 90% chance they won't, they should immediately begin settlement discussions. CalicoPenn
  2. CalicoPenn

    Checking up on those requirements

    gwd - great idea! Even if the Guides do it, it's still not a bad idea for a different older Scout to do this pre-Scoutmaster Conference review. Fuzzy, I can relate to the whole clove hitch thing, though for me it's the square knot. I can tied a square knot in my sleep, yet lately, I'd say about 4 out of 10 square knots I tie end up being granny knots instead. (sigh). Calico
  3. CalicoPenn

    Backpacker Mag biased against BSA?

    This past summer, I set up my camp near a Boy Scout troop. Part of my routine after setting up camp is to "police the area", picking up leftover trash in my campsite (I rather dislike the idea of living among other people's trash, even if it is just for a night or two). Rangers and Campground Hosts invariably mention how much cleaner my site looks after I "move in". I use a trash-picker gadget someone gave to me that I always keep in my truck. My activities gained the interest of the Scouts and their leaders as they watched me pick up the trash and continue to pick up trash along the road as I walked to the dumpster to dispose of it. On the way back, a couple of young Scouts got up the nerve to ask me why I was picking up trash. I told them "because I was a Boy Scout and that's what Scouts do". They ran back to their dining fly and one yelled out "Mr. "Smith" - that guy said he was picking up trash because that's what Scouts are supposed to do". Later that night, Mr. "Smith" and his co-leader came by and introduced themselves. They admitted to being a little embarrased because they hadn't instilled in their Scouts that sense of respect and caring for the outdoors yet. We had a friendly chat and talked a little about LNT and where they could find resources for it. Sunday came, and both I and the Scout Troop happened to be breaking down camp at the same time. They all started piling into their vehicles to head out when they saw me "policing the area" one more time (always leave the campsite better than you find it, that's my motto). The SPL hopped out of the truck he was in and hollered "hey guys, we haven't finished breaking down camp yet - remember, we need to pick up the trash". The other boys piled out of the car and they went to work - even hitting a couple of nearby vacant sites. The smile on Mr. "Smith's" face was noticable a mile away. Sometimes it's all about quiet role-modeling - even from unexpected quarters. As for Backpacker Magazine - I'm not surprised that you couldn't find the "liberal bias" in it, because there isn't any. Backpacker's editorial stances are about getting people to go hiking, backpacking and camping, and about bringing the kids along too. There's been plenty of positive items about the Boy Scouts, and about people that learned their skills in the Scouts. Their most "radical" position is about people taking responsibility for their actions in the outdoors, and the October blurb certainly fits in with that position. I've always appreciated that Backpacker is one of the few magazines out there that showcases competing views on issues facing our wilderness without taking a stance either way - letting the reader decide which argument is stronger. Plus lets face it, starting a 14,000 acre wildlands fire by starting a campfire during a total burn ban, is a pretty bone-headed move. And while the BSA may certainly have a good case for not taking responsibility for the actions of this Troop, it would have been far better for public relations, and for practical considerations, for the BSA to have made some kind of financial settlement with the governments involved. On the PR front, it would have shown the BSA as living up to the principles of personal responsibility it espouses, and on the practical front, you want good relations with the governmental agencies that you want to spring in to action if there is ever a wildlands fire in Philmont, or another Scout camp. CalicoPenn
  4. CalicoPenn

    tweaks are good!

    Barry's advice on "boy-led", shared by Sr540Beaver, is an excellent example of a good program "tweak" that follows the spirit of the rules to benefit the lads. In this case, following the letter of the rules would have been a disservice to the lads. The only thing I might have added to Barry's advice (don't mean to be presumptuous) is that if the adults are doing planning/leading that should be done by the boys but they still aren't ready for it, they should still involve the boys - the adults shouldn't make the plans alone, they should work with the lads to make the plans - the first couple times serves as an example to the boys and as they gain the skills and confidence, they will start taking on more and more of the planning themselves. CalicoPenn
  5. CalicoPenn


    Is your mouse button set to "doubleclick" when you click once? In some of the "older" operating systems, there was an option under "Control Panel - Mouse" that allowed one to enable a function that would automatically change a single click of the mouse button to a double click. You might check to see if you have that option and if so, is it enabled. It was also sometimes found under "Control Panel - Accessibility". Most of the newer operating systems don't have this because double-clicking is no longer required most of the time (it used to be common that you had to double-click everything to perform a task like open a file, etc.). Calico
  6. CalicoPenn

    Program Adaptations

    Doesn't it all just boil down to one thing? Our judgement? The rules are the rules, the program is the program, but if insisting on following the letter of the rules is getting in the way of the lad's enjoying the program, shouldn't we be tilting more to the lad's favor? The thing we sometimes forget to take into consideration is that every person is different, and while the rules will apply in the vast majority of time to the vast majority of Scouts and Scouters, there will always be exceptions. A kid being held up for Tenderfoot for 2 years because he can't do a pullup? What the heck are the adults thinking? They certainly aren't thinking about the boy if all they are worried about is the letter of the rules. We follow those rules the best we can, but we have to be willing to use our own judgement to decide when we can follow the spirit of the rules, rather than the letter of the rules. Our judgement prevents us from desiging our own uniforms, re-naming ranks, etc. - and if our judgement isn't sound enough to prevent us from doing so, or if we're hiding behind the rules so as not to have to use our potentially faulty (and it always is) judgement, then we don't belong in Scouting. Personally, I'd consider it an improvement if the lad's attitude went from "I hate pull-ups and and am grudgingly going to try even though I know I won't be able to do one" to "I'm going to give it my all and try to do a pull-up" even if he never succeeds in doing the pull-up. There's working with the lad, and there is failing the lad. After TWO years, if the lad doesn't have Tenderfoot for any reason other than lack of interest on the Scout's part, then the adult leaders are failing the lad - and the program - even if they are following the letter of the rules. Shame on any Scouter who hides behind the rules as an excuse to cover for their failing the lads. Though we may be getting to it from different directions, I think I'm with Beavah here on this one. In my opinion, its the boys that is the most important element here, not the letter of the rules. As the adults in the room, we need to trust ourselves, and one another, that our judgement won't lead us into something completely untenable. I think we have an awfully broad path to wander before we even get near the so-called slippery slope, and the vast majority of us have enough judgement not to approach that edge. Bottom line, for me it comes down to this - any rule that favors the lads, I will insist that the adults follow (when the rules for BOR states No Retesting - that means No Retesting - and that means you, Mr. Scoutmaster from the 60's who is doing 2 hour BOR's for Life and testing on woodscraft skills in BOR's). If the rule is not stated in the BSA literature (made up by the adults) and doesn't favor the lad, then I will call you out on this so-called rule. If a stated BSA rule prevents an otherwise good kid from advancing, I will find the wiggle room to see that the lad gets a fair shake (remember the Eagle candidate that was prevented from having a BOR because the DAC gave the go ahead for a project via e-mail but didn't sign the paperwork as required? The DAC followed the letter of the rules. The Council Advancement Chair followed the spirit of the rules instead of the letter of the rules and the Scout got his Eagle). Calico
  7. CalicoPenn

    Hiking Boots

    For a good pair of boots on a budget, check out the Hi Tec line - available at Sports Mart/Sports Authority, and at many hiking stores. I've never had a problem breaking them in (they've worked well for me in less than 10 minutes of wear) if the fit is proper. Calico
  8. CalicoPenn

    Youth Led? A matter of trust?

    It seems there are a few ideas as to why Hoagies are called Hoagies but the most commonly accepted is that Italian immigrant ship builders who worked on Hog Island, an island on the Delaware River near Philadelphia often had large meat and cheese filled sandwiches made by their wives for lunch. When "someone" decided to make and sell sandwiches like this, the "someone" called them "Hoggies" after the island where they were first seen, and this eventually became "Hoagies" likely because of the regional dialectical pronunciation of the word "Hoggies". There are a few other theories as how the Hoagie got it's name but the commonality in these tales all seem to be Hog Island so I suspect that there is something to the idea that the sandwich was named after the island. CalicoPenn
  9. CalicoPenn

    An oddball question

    It all depends on what is meant by "take part". The Pack shouldn't expect the Den Chief to sell items like flower bulbs, popcorn, etc. - he's not one of the boys in the Pack and should be doing things like this for his own unit. The Den Chief is a leader in the Pack, and should be helping out with Pack/Den fundraising in a more administrative/training role - within the Den he serves (not the Pack as a whole) - similar to what a Pack would expect a Den Leader's role to be. This means helping the Cubs develop sales skills/techniques (perhaps with role playing exercises), helping them keep track of what they've sold, encuraging them to go for bigger/better prizes, etc. He should be willing to take a turn in a pie sales booth, or at a car wash - again as part of the leadership team of the Den (and if it doesn't conflict with a Troop activity). While the Pack should not expect the Den Chief to do any selling, if the Den Chief is enthused about it, and sees the fundraiser as helping his Den/Pack (many Den Chief's feel that the Pack they serve is their Unit too - in addition to their Troop), and if the fundraiser isn't in conflict with his own Troop's fundraiser (example - if the Pack and the Troop both sell popcorn, the Den Chief should never sell popcorn for the Pack - his sales should be for the benefit of his Troop), then I see no problem with a Den Chief taking his turn in "sales" - if the Den Chief volunteers to do so (in other words, you shouldn't be asking/expecting him to do so). It's always a good idea to make sure the Scoutmaster has no issues with it, and most won't because they know the value of the program too. In the Pie Sale booth, if the Den Leader and other adults are actively selling pies, then there certainly is room for the Den Chief to actively sell pies. If the Den Leader and other adults are mainly supervising the Cubs, then that is the Den Chief's role as well (think about how storefront sales of popcorn/GS cookies are done - the adults may be standing behind that card table ready to help give out change or put together the order, but it is the Scouts that are doing the actual asking for support). If the Pack has a unique sale (such as a flower bulb sale) that doesn't conflict with the Den Chief's Troop's fundraiser (the Troop doesn't also run a flower buld sale AND the Troop isn't running some other kind of fundraiser at the same time) and the Scoutmaster doesn't have any objections, AND the Den Chief volunteers to do so, there shouldn't be a problem with the Den Chief taking an order form to wherever he might take it (school, troop meeting) to take orders for the Pack (similar to how a Den Leader/Parent might take an order form for their child/Pack to work) but by the same token, he shouldn't expect any reward for it (such as earning some kind of prize) other than the feeling of doing something nice for the Den/Pack. In other words, he should be considered as having an "adult" role in fundraising for the Pack and not a youth role. Your nephew has made the choice not to sell flower bulbs, and this choice should be respected (he shouldn't be expected to sell flower bulbs). He should, though, be helping the Cubs in his Den succeed in their sales. He's also volunteered to work the pie sale booth and is looking forward to it (sounds like enthusiasm for me) - sounds appropriate to me. CalicoPenn
  10. First rule of fundraising: No means Maybe. Second rule of fundraising: Maybe means Yes. Third rule of fundraising: Yes means "There's more where that came from" Fourth rule of fundraising: There is no such word as No Substitute volunteer recruitment for fundraising - same rules apply. Eamonn, the problem is that British politeness - time to try some American Cowboy brusqueness - I always find the following works well if delivered with just the right tone of calm menace: "No - and if you ask me again, I'll tear out your spleen". They'll be so busy trying to figure out where their spleen is and if they really need it that they won't ask you again. Calico
  11. CalicoPenn

    Where does the dishwater go?

    The reason that digging a hole is no longer best practice is that it doesn't fit into the Leave No Trace philosophy. By the same token, simply slinging the water about doesn't fit into the Leave No Trace philosophy either, though it is much closer to good practice. Digging a hole was encouraged at one time so that food waste in the dishwater could be buried. Simply slinging the water around means whatever food waste is in the water will be spread out over a (relatively) wide area, and likely be caught up in the leaves and branches of plants that happen to get in the way of the water. Best practice is to strain the dishwater through cheesecloth to filter out food waste, then carefully pour the water out of the containers at ground level, at a tree line if possible, and disposing of your cheesecloth bundle with your trash. Calico
  12. CalicoPenn

    yes or no?

    I'm going to softly disagree with Beavah et al on this one. I say softly because I don't disagree with what they're saying, and I'm not disagreeing based on the idea that if he completed the requirements, he gets the rank - I'm disagreeing based on what is being stated in this particular case. I've read through Lisa's post a few times to make sure I didn't miss something, but it doesn't seem like I am - I'm not seeing anything here that states this Scout lacks Scout Spirit, or isn't following the Scout Law or Oath, or isn't performing his responsibilities. What I come away with after reading the post is that this lad isn't articulating his answers very well which is giving the BOR a poor impression of him. Is this lad a good Scout in practice but is just having a hard time explaining this in a BOR? If so, then denying rank isn't the answer (after all, there is no point of the Scout Law that reads "A Scout is Confident"). The answer is in coaching the lad to be able to face a BOR and be able to answer questions. The BOR can be seen as practice for those important job interviews in the future. I wouldn't expect a 13 or 14 year old boy to be an interview pro. Unless I'm way off base in my reading of the situation, what this boy may need is more "face time" with adults in the adult association roles so he becomes more comfortable talking to adults about what he's thinking, accomplishing, etc. These are the challenging lads for BOR's which is why BOR's should, in my opinion, try to have someone who's done a few and has become skilled at gently drawing answers out of the lads. It could very well be that this lad doesn't view advancement as a series of hoops to jump through but does view the BOR as the most unpleasant part of the process. If he is viewing the BOR with dread, then his performance at the BOR will match his personal expectations. If the lad does go for his Eagle, I'd suggest that the Scoutmaster work with him on his interviewing skills as part of the preparation for the BOR and for the Advancement Chairman to try to identify someone with the patience and skills needed to draw out articulate answers from teenagers to sit on the BOR. I see the objective for the adults to reach here as setting the boy up for success and not failure. CalicoPenn
  13. CalicoPenn

    Eagle Denial

    Fantastic news! Proof the system works the way it should. Congratulations to your son. And congratulations to you for not giving up when the instinct was to declare the situation hopeless. CalicoPenn
  14. Gonzo, I've been familiar with Phelps' brand of religious activism for a long time. Not many people are aware that Phelps celebrated the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the death of the astronauts aboard on his web site. I don't think I've ever seen the name Phelps and the word Decency used in the same sentence. I'm not sure he has the decency to be decent. Calico
  15. CalicoPenn

    Troop paying for partial camp outings?

    No one has yet commented on what I think the most important part of the post is.
  16. Don't forget that part of what needs to be done is to train the boys too - Questions get asked of the PL/SPL - the adults telling the boys to "go ask your PL/SPL" reinforces this idea. I've found that the most difficult obstacle to overcome is when a Scout's parent is one of the leaders - it's common for a Scout to go to mom/dad and ask a question. In my Troop, there was no Mom or Dad. During Scout-time, Bobby Smith's dad wasn't "Dad", it was "Mr. Smith". And unless it was an emergency situation where the natural instinct was to yell out Dad, every time "Dad" was addressed as "Dad" and not "Mr. Smith", Scout Bobby received a "demerit" and 4 demerits led to kybo or dish washing duty. It doesn't take long for the Scouts not to pester "Dad" with their questions. Calico
  17. What I'm about to post may not sit well with some people on the forum so let me start out by stating that Phelp's plans to picket the 9-year old cub scout's funeral is absolutely deplorable and repellent and shame on him. That being said, the ACLU's position on the laws banning protests at military funerals (passed specifically due to the actions of Phelps and his band of followers) is spot on and I suspect that the courts will eventually declare the bans to be unconstitutional prohibitions against free speech and expression. We may not like it some of the manifestations, but free speech and expression is not a right to loosely discard. The case of Phelps planning to protest the Cub Scout's funeral shows how these laws are particularly problematic - why is it ok for Phelps to protest a Cub Scout's funeral, or a gay man's funeral, but not ok to protest a soldier's funeral? The laws have elevated status of one group of people over others - and this shouldn't be the case. Private citizens have already come up with creative ways to counter Phelps. The motorcyle riders that show up to shield the funerals of military families from Phelps and gang is the latest successful effort. The first, and (in my opinion) one of the most moving was the Angel Action that occurred at Matthew Shepards funeral - a group of people dressed all in 7 foot tall white angel costumes with white "wings" with an 8 foot wingspan that silently took positions in front of Phelps, and with raised wings, shielded Phelps from view of the many mourners at the funeral. We've already begun to neutralize him, we don't need to pass laws that aren't likely to pass constitutional muster to deal with him. If there is an Angel Action chapter in New Hampshire, I hope they show up to counter Phelps. There is another aspect to this that, if changed, would stop Phelps from these acts - Phelps only protests when police protection is on the scene - and the police continue to provide preventative protection, at taxpayer expense. My suggestion is that the police just go about their regular, daily duties - if Phelps demands protection before his protest, estimate the cost and hand him a bill, that must be pre-paid for the protection. I see nothing in any laws that states the police must provide security at a protest upon demand. If he doesn't want to pay, tell him to go ahead with his protest and if he has any problems, call 911, like anyone else, and the police will respond as they do to any other call. The Chicago Police Department used this approach a few years ago when Phelps decided to protest a Methodist Church in the Boystown area of the city - the Police Department refused to provide prior protection and informed Phelps he could protest all he wanted but the Police wouldn't be on the scene in case of any problems - and that if there were any problems, they would respond as they would to any other crime in progress. Knowing that the police wouldn't be standing between him and a few thousand very angry neighborhood residents, Phelps never showed up. CalicoPenn
  18. CalicoPenn

    Removing an SPL?

    I've thought more about the veto power and I'll back off from the position that the Scoutmaster doesn't have verto power - but state that the Scoutmaster shouldn't have veto power except in the most egregrious cases - I'm of the mind that boy-led means boy-led, and part of this equation is the boys need to be allowed to live the consequences of their decisions. The Scoutmaster is there to counsel, guide, train, advise and coach. The boys choice might make the job more difficult at times, but that's the game we play. As for the SPL and PLC who isn't doing the job because they know the adults won't let the troop fold - call their bluff. If the SPL and PLC haven't planned the meeting don't do it for them. No plan? Take ten minutes to explain that the SPL and PLC have decided not to take their responsibilities seriously and have not made plans for the meeting and as a result, the meeting is being cancelled. Explain that the adults are not going to pick up the slack and plan the meetings, that it is the SPL's and his PLC's responsibility to do so. Tell the Scouts that they should take the next week to figure out in their patrols and with their buddies what they want to do to solve the problem - and offer possibilities - new elections, give the SPL/PLC another chance, or just give up and fold the troop (to me it's important to put that last in there to let them know you're serious - and that the fate of the Troop truly does lie with the boys, not the adults). You're volunteers - if the boys don't want to do the job/be there, why continue to waste your time with them - if they choose the last option, offer to help those who want to continue in Scouting to find new units. It's quite probable that those who are no longer taking it seriously will drop out and give you a chance to rebuild the troop. CalicoPenn
  19. CalicoPenn

    Removing an SPL?

    You're right to have bad feelings over this. Unless there was some serious violations of rules leading to health and safety issues, the SPL serves at the pleasure of the YOUTH members of the troop - NOT the Scoutmaster. The youth may nominate anyone they choose to be SPL - the Scoutmaster does not get veto power over nominations or the boy's choice for SPL - not before the election, not after the election. The only time the adults should be removing an SPL is if there are serious violations of rules - and then that lad should not only be removed as SPL but also from the troop - in other words, unless the boy is being removed from the troop, he remains as SPL until the next scheduled election. The Scoutmaster should be working with the SPL and the rest of the youth leaders - if the Scoutmaster cannot do this, then the Scoutmaster should step aside. Which leads to the second post - there are no "recall" elections for SPL - unless initiated by the youth - and then only in rare instances. The Scoutmaster does not get to declare new elections in the middle of a term - if the youth leadership, with support of their patrol members, want to have new SPL elections before the end of the term, then they can request them. The proper thing to do is for the PLC to request the SPL step down - typically when this happens, the ASPL becomes SPL until the next scheduled election though the youth may agree to a new election. If the SPL refuses to step down, and the majority of the PLC is requesting the resignation, this becomes a rare instance of a recall election - but the SPL will more than likely end up dropping out of the troop. The Scoutmaster should be working with the PLC to prevent this scenario as much as possible. Cases like this point out the wisdom of having elections for SPL 2 times per year - not once per year as is often the case. The only youth leadership position that serves at the pleasure of the Scoutmaster if the Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. All other youth leadership positions serve at the pleasure of the SPL or of the boys. Calico
  20. CalicoPenn

    Questioning Authority

    I'd expect that the Scouts would question authority if they believed this was the correct course of action. Indeed, I would consider it something to be expected of a Scout that is following the Scout Law. In the 7th point of the Scout Law - aka A Scout is Obedient - we tell Scouts that it is ok to question authority when we say "If he feels that these laws are wrong he attempts to change them rather than simply to disobey". I'd expect the Scouts to follow that same line of reasoning when it comes to "facts" being disseminated. We should be encouraging the Scouts to question the facts, to do the research to prove or disprove, before blindly accepting them, or blindly dismissing them. I've walked behind scout units where an adult leader has mis-identified a plant as poison ivy (and this has happened more than once) - if a Scout knew better, I'd want him to speak up and "question authority". If a Scout Leader were to declare that the world is flat, I'd expect a Scout to question that assertion. Those questioning skills lead to critical thinking, the skill most needed as an adult - and sadly, skills seemingly not used very often by a populace who get their news in 15 second soundbites on 24-hour news channels and take what was said as gospel. Calico
  21. I see a commonality in the examples of appeals to National that have resulted in National reversing the EBOR and awarding the rank. They common factor is that the initial EBOR denied rank based on measurements of subjective standards - things like Scout Spirit and Morally Straight. We measure these by our own experiences, our own beliefs, and our personal values, and they don't have a universally right or wrong answer (no matter how much some of us want to insist that they do) thus they are subjective. Objective measurements are those which have a right answer for everyone. Earn the proper number of merit badges? Objective measurement. Earn the required merit badges? Onjective measurement. Serve 6 months in a leadership position? Objective measurement. The objective measurements are easy. It's the subjective measurements that are problematic - ask 100 Scouters what Scout Spirit means and you'll get 100 different answers. Ask 100 Scouters what Morally Straight means in practice and you'll get 100 different answers. BSA doesn't define these beyond a nebulous explanation which gives them a lot of wiggle room for interpretation. This past week, there was an article in my local paper about underage drinking - specifically high school students - and how parents of a rather affluent suburban area have no issues with their 16 year-old-plus children drinking provided they do it in moderation, and at home. Imagine an EBOR in this area with a Scout whom it has been mentioned has been seen drinking at parties in his home - in other areas of the country it would surely be considered a morally straight issue - yet here the lad would likely pass the EBOR. I earned my Eagle through the appeals process because my chosen religion did not meet someone else's viewpoint and definition of what it means to be reverent and what it means to do ones duty to God. This was over 25 years ago - and there are still people sitting on EBOR's that would reject me because of my chosen religion. I know that if I were to personally sit on an EBOR for an unwed father, I would not view that as a barrier to Eagle - It's certainly foolish and stupid, but my personal moral code doesn't see it as a greivous sin - and as I've stated, we look at things like morally straight through our own values. In the case of the pipe-bomb maker, I would look at intent - was it just a foolish, stupid thing the kid did that many kids before (and after him) did? I'd have no problem passing him. If the intent was to destroy property, then I'd consider that malicious and would not pass him. There was a case of a Scout who was suspended from school for having nails in his coat pocket from a service project - would I pass him? Yes (and curse the school board for their stupid pandering to the idiots out there demanding zero-tolerance policies). Would I pass a convicted drug dealer? That depends on what has happened since the conviction - I wouldn't automatically say no if it was something the kid did when he was 14 or 15 and he's turned his life completely around. Would homosexual behavior automatically disqualify a boy from Eagle? The answer is a resounding no - I've caught a few scouts experimenting in their tents at night with their buddies - clearly acts of homosexual behavior - I wouldn't hold it against them when they were 16 and going for Eagle because experimentation is, frankly, a normal part of growing up. I'm not about to tell a couple of 12 year old boys that because they were caught experimenting in a tent, they can never get their Eagle rank. As for someone coming to the board with a claim that the lad is gay, he'd better have absolute proof - and even if the lad states he is gay, it still wouldn't be a barrier to Eagle in my viewpoint mostly because the BSA has come out and said these standards of "avowed" homosexuals apply to adult leaders and have specifically stated numerous times in press interviews on the controversy that it doesn't apply to the Scouts. This doesn't mean the EBOR should just automatically pass a Scout because they know that National will just overturn them anyway - in some cases, denying rank, even if the rank is eventually awarded, sends a message to the Scout to keep on the correct path. CalicoPenn
  22. CalicoPenn

    MBC for less popular MBs

    Hmmm, is it just me or does anyone else see a potential WB ticket item. Council must be able to provide some numbers on how many of each merit badges was earned in the council per year - Perhaps someone could work with Council Advancement to create a two column "menu" of MB's for counselors with a "no more than 4 from Column A (popular) AND no more than 8 from column B (less popular)" rule. Or to make sure as many Merit Badges as possible are covered, for every 2 MB's chosen from Column B, you can choose 1 from Column A - up to 4 Column A badges. Just thinking "out loud" Calico
  23. CalicoPenn

    Walk the Walk, Hike the Hike?

    Oh, let's not forget the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms (saving or attempting to save a life at extreme risk to oneself) for saving his dear ol' dad from a potential heart attack from the physical exertion of mowing the lawn, all while manuevering a dangerous, bladed machine. Calico
  24. CalicoPenn

    Fair Share - units paying their own way

    Sounds like an accounting nightmare waiting to happen. One can only hope a number of the units and/or their Chartering Organizations get together and tell Council to go scratch. This is nothing more than Council-level dues to families couched in "fair share" terms. What will the Council do if units refuse to play along by not participating in FOS or Popcorn Sales, and just send in their regular dues just like normal? What's next, going to each Chartering Organization and charging them a per-head count for the number of people registered? Calico(This message has been edited by CalicoPenn)
  25. CalicoPenn

    Indian Grommet?

    Hello Pat - and an echo of Trevorum's welcome. What Trevorum describes is what I know as an "Indian Grommet". It can be used with a tarp or with a tent. On a tarp, it is used to attach a length of line (rope) to a corner where there is no grommet or the grommet has come apart. Place a small roundish stone on the tarp at the corner then fold the corner over to wrap the stone - the stone needs to be completely covered, but you don't need to overdo the wrapping - tie the line around the tarp below the wrapped stone - the stone keeps the line from slipping off the tarp. The bigger the diameter line, the bigger the stone you'll need - if the line diameter is bigger than the stone, you need a different stone. For a tent missing a stake loop, the easiest thing to do is put the stone in the corner of the tent where needed and tie one end of the line around the tent corner behind the stone, make a small loop, then tie the loose end of the line behind the stone. You can put together an "Indian Grommet" along any side of a tent or tarp if needed - it bunches a bit, but that's okay. If, as SrBeaver suggests, this is trick being played on a new leader, imagine their surprise when you actually demonstrate an "Indian Grommet" This is one of those becoming lost skills that were far more commonly used when people used canvas tents that would rot - and a skill used quite often in the Pre-1840's Rendezvous re-enactors world. The 8x8 canvas pyramid (hunters) tent I sometimes use at rendezvous has 9 locations for stake loops - and only 4 stake loops that are still usable (it's a very old tent) - I use these "Indian Grommets" all the time (though I've taken to driving the heavy iron stakes right through the canvas at the corners at this stage). Practice a bit with a bandana, pebble, and string, and you'll see just how easy it is. CalicoPenn