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Everything posted by CalicoPenn

  1. CalicoPenn

    Denied a court of honor.

    Short Ridge - I know I'm coming in late on this but I have to take exception to your statement that no one deserves a Court of Honor. Every Scout - at every level - deserves a Court of Honor if they have moved up in rank. A Tenderfoot earning Second Class deserves a court of honor. An Eagle Scout? Definitely deserves a Court of Honor. That's a big part of the program - and should never be ignored.
  2. CalicoPenn

    Is this the new normal?

    People younger than us.
  3. CalicoPenn

    Sea Scouts

    Oliver Perry also served on and commanded boats in the Mediterranean Sea, the West Indies and the Caribbean - I think he earned his sea chops. It could also be said that Lake Erie is an arm of the sea. Back in 1987, as part of the America's Cup competitions, the Heart of America, sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club and practicing on Lake Michigan, competed in the Louis Vuitton Cup. The rules of the America's Cup required all boats to practice on the sea. The Heart of America went to the New York Supreme Court and got the court to agree that because of it's connection to the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lake Michigan is an arm of the sea and therefore the Heart of America was practicing, for the intents of the America's Cup, on a sea. If Lake Michigan is an arm of the sea because of its connection to the St. Lawrence Seaway via Lake Ontario, then surely Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Superior is an arm of the sea. And if these lakes are all arms of the sea, then surely lakes like Lake St. Clair, Lake Nipigon, Lake Winnebago, Lake Nipissing and Lake Simco, which are all connected to the Great Lakes via river systems, are all arms of the sea. And if that's the case, the any other lake connected via river systems connected to the Great Lakes - either directly or through other connections, are arms of the sea. And if that's the case, then we can take it to its ridiculous extreme by saying that Lake Nokomis in Minnesota is an arm of the sea because it is connected to Minnehaha Creek which is a tributary of the Mississippi River and the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan are connected via rivers in Illinois and a canal that connects the river system to the lake.
  4. You may have oversight and control of the Troop's accounts but that is not the same as having significant responsibility to control, manage or direct the legal entity, which is what is required under these rules. The Troop is not a legal entity. Your CO is the legal entity that you operate under. Getting an EIN number for your Troop doesn't necessarily solve the legal entity conundrum either. EIN numbers do not confer legal status to anyone that holds them - to be a legal entity, you would likely also have to incorporate the Troop within the Commonwealth (yeah - I payed attention to where you live) as well. So how to solve this. I would suggest that you request a meeting with the Treasurer of your chartered organization and bring the information Hawkwin has found. There is a better than even chance that this person may already be familiar with these rules and can get you the signature you need. If they've made any changes to their accounts in the past couple of years, the Treasurer may have already had to deal with this.
  5. CalicoPenn


    Scout accounts: I agree with Qwazse on only one of his takeaways. The others I partially agree with. My takeaway? low risk, potentially illegal and potentially inappropriate. Is it illegal for individual scout accounts? The IRS has not yet made that clear (in other words, there have been no test cases), however the IRS did send a letter in response to a unit that asked them about it (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-wd/02-0041.pdf) and while the IRS wouldn't come right out and say it (hmmm - kind of like National perhaps?), they strongly hint that it is probably not ok for a Scout to use the funds to purchase anything he may keep after leaving Scouts. They don't appear to have an issue with a unit using the funds to hep offset Scout's activity costs, or even for a unit to offset 100% of a Scout's activity costs in case of hardship. The key point though is scale and this is where it gets tricky because they won't define the actual scale. Could a Scout use an individual scout account to buy a handbook? Probably below the scale of what the IRS would consider significant. If the Scout uses it to buy a $250 backpack or $300 tent that won't become unit property when he leaves? That might tip the balance. If he uses an individual scout account to pay for a trip to the World Jamboree or for a Council contingent to Philmont? These will more than likely run afoul of the personal conversion rules (they may benefit the Scout but how do they benefit the Unit in a really meaningful way). Is it inappropriate? Depends on your view of the Scout Law and whether you believe that you're delivering a bad example to the Scouts by skirting what may very well be illegal - of course it is only potentially illegal since the IRS hasn't gone after any BSA units that use individual scout account. It really depends on how comfortable you are about gray areas. It's up to individuals to make this decision. I do agree 100% with Qwasze on the risk. He is right on when he says scale matters. Right now, the scale involved with individual scout accounts is pretty small - the IRS isn't likely to be too worried about them right now. That could change in the future but for right now, it's pretty low risk. I think the most important takeaway is to just be diligent if you are using Individual Scout Accounts. Keep very good records, always remember that, unless your unit is also using them as "savings accounts" where a Scout can "deposit" their own money in to the account to help pay their own way, that the funds in a Scout's account is ultimately the units (yeah, I know - its ultimately the CO's - but lets keep it simple) and not the Scout's. Know that if the Scout leaves the unit, you don't cut him a check for what is left in the account (again, unless you're returning his own money he has deposited), even if he is transferring to another Scout unit (though it might be ok if he is going from one unit to another that is chartered by the same chartering organization - and I still wouldn't do it because most of those transfers are from Cubs to Scouts and it's rather unfair to the Pack). I'll leave with one other thought - Parents love to try to guilt Scout Leaders in to transferring fundraising dollars to their son's new units, or for the unit to pay for their son's individual trip to a different summer camp, by claiming that their Scout has done a lions share of the fundraising and why should other kids get the benefit of their son's superior fundraising skills. I once witnessed a Scoutmaster asked this very question - and the Scoutmaster's response was perfect - he told good old businessman dad that while his son may have sold more popcorn than anyone else, he didn't clean the kybos once during summer camp, he leaves his patrol to set up his tent, he doesn't do his share of the cooking and cleaning up - he just wants to do the fun stuff leaving everyone around him to do the work - so the Scoutmaster would just consider his superior fundraising as a tradeoff.
  6. CalicoPenn

    BSA National and Change Management

    Who do you want National to be held accountable to? National Staff is held accountable by the National Board. The BSA is a business - non-profit granted - but still a business. If you're thinking National needs to be held accountable to the volunteers and the Scouts, then you've got our roles wrong. We're the customers - our only recourse is to stop being a customer. The problem with that is that for everyone who doesn't like a BSA policy, there are far more that are either ok with a BSA policy or are apathetic and don't care either way.
  7. CalicoPenn

    BSA National and Change Management

    I know its popular to blame National for any and everything but in defense of National on this so-called failure of management - the BSA issued a press release that was covered by just about everyone in the media - ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, Fox, MSNBC, CNN - and pretty much every newspaper - large and small - covered this Time magazine covered this . Conservative blogs covered this. Liberal blogs covered this. Progressive blogs covered this. Short of the BSA sending out some kind of campaign style postcard to every house in the USA, the news was pretty much all over the place. It's not National's failure that so many people apparently don't pay attention to news coverage.
  8. CalicoPenn

    BSA National and Change Management

    Barry's story about an unsatisfying interaction he had with a National staff member has me thinking. Perhaps the conflicts we're seeing is a matter of perception due to size differences. To use Barry's example of the problems with the Tiger program, there are folks at the local level who are not having good experiences with the Tiger program. When they mention it "up the chain", the response they get it unsatisfactory - it feels as if their concerns are not being taken seriously and that the people at National/Council just don't care and are out of touch. I wonder though if they don't seem to care because they're looking beyond the local towards a more national scope. At the local level, we may see 2 or 3 units struggling with Tiger in a district with 10 Cub Scout units and see it as a problem. At the national level, National may have heard of 100 or so units struggling with Tiger out of a few thousand units. At that level, the issue seems to be a problem with those units, not with the program. Now I'm not suggesting that there are no problems with the Tiger Program. I'm only suggesting that our worldview affects our perception on just how bad those problems are and who is responsible for the problem and the solution. We've had a lot of folks saying how much they don't trust National because of various reasons - yet I think we sometimes forget that National hasn't come out and said they don't trust us. Sure, it may feel like that with their Guide to Safe Scouting and their list of prohibited activities but when it comes right down to it - they aren't actively enforcing any of those things. Think the ban on Scouts under 14 using a 4-wheel cart (aka Radio Flyer Wagon) is silly and you're not going to enforce it at a service project? No one from National is going to jump out of the bushes and fine you for refusing to follow that rule. None of their rules and prohibitions are pro-actively enforced (except perhaps at District/Council events/properties, summer camp, National properties) - they are enforced retro-actively - after the event has occurred. No one form National/Council is actively monitoring our units to make sure we are following the program to the letter. National trusts us to run the programs that they have created. Is it any wonder that they might think the issue we might have with a program is something for us to solve if other units aren't having that problem?
  9. CalicoPenn

    Identifying a Mystery Patch

    That's some mighty fine investigative work Lou.
  10. CalicoPenn

    BSA National and Change Management

    Change management is one of those MBA buzzwords that MBAs use to justify their basketry degrees.
  11. CalicoPenn

    Is this the new normal?

    I watched that video. Not impressed. In fact, it's a bit disturbing to me. Nothing in the practice shooting (which isn't much different than many of the shooting games in a video arcade) suggests hunting at all. Instead, it looks more like an assault course for law enforcement set in a "rural" environment.
  12. CalicoPenn

    Parent Wars: The Helicopter Strikes Back

    I'm going to defend the dad in this instance, and this instance only. Yes - he committed to running an event at the camporee. Then circumstances changed - the district/council announced that there would be a Cub Scout fishing derby that same day in the same place and dad has a Cub Scout age son. Dad made a decision to spend the day with his younger son at the fishing derby. Knowing he had a conflict, he did the responsible thing and found a replacement to run the event. I think that point is being missed - he found a replacement - he didn't leave you in the lurch floundering around looking for someone to run the station or cancelling the station altogether - he found his replacement. If he had to stay home for a family emergency instead and still found someone to take care of the event, we would all be lauding him as a great example for the Scouts. Don't blame him because district/council pulled a boneheaded move leaving him with a difficult choice - and one in which, if I were in his shoes, would have prioritized spending the day with my cub scout son at a cub scout event too. Leeaving early from camp or taking his son out to a motel overnight during summer camp is a different kettle of fish.
  13. CalicoPenn

    Is this the new normal?

    I do get your point - and I agree, a warning of the danger would be a reasonable explanation, for a reasonable adult with common sense. Alas, these rules aren't being written for reasonable adults with common sense - they're being written for the adults that hold fireworks in their hands while lighting them, or who pour charcoal lighter fluid on a lit fire in order to make it burn faster. I agree that holding a Cub Scout upside down doesn't reach the level of hazing but I'll give the BSA the benefit of the doubt that they're just being over-emphatic about it to reach those folks that just won't get it otherwise.
  14. CalicoPenn

    Is this the new normal?

    I think this just might be the issue in a nutshell. The BSA isn't creating "rules" in the Guide to Safe Scouting for reasonable adults with common sense. They're creating them for the adults that almost every other warning out there is for. We may roll our eyes at the warning labels on the top steps of ladders that warn not to stand there, and on the sides of ladders saying don't use near power lines, but they are there because there are adult who stand on the top of ladders and reach beyond their limits that tumble and break their legs, or arms, or heads. There are adults that lack the common sense to know not to use a ladder near power lines and will actually lean their ladders on power lines. Granted, they're in the minority, and possibly wouldn't read the warnings anyway, but that's what we're reduced to - feeling that our intelligence is being insulted by lawyers and risk management folks because of what we consider to be stupid rules. One would think it would be common sense not to hold a child upside down over a hard wood floor (or concrete, or ?) high enough so one adult could pin a small pin on them "upside down" in case the kid gets dropped on their head and potentially do some serious damage to their heads and spines - but we saw enough people in this forum defending the practice because their sense of it was that it was a ridiculous idea - that it would never happen. Common sense tells us that risk management folks tend to be far more reactive than they are proactive - so there is a very good chance that some Cub Scout, somewhere down the line in the 1990's, got dropped on their head and is now in a wheelchair for the rest of their life. The professionals at the BSA can make these policies because they are the ones responsible for minimizing the risks for the corporation that is the BSA. I've said it a few times before, I'll say it again - the Guide to Safe Scouting's primary purpose (sorry, Richard B., I know the BSA doesn't want to admit this publicly) is to protect the Corporation that is the BSA - that it also serves to protect the Scouts and the Volunteers is a bonus - but also secondary. The BSA is like every other corporation with what are essentially HR policies (and don't think for a second that these policies in the G2SS aren't a form of HR policy directed at volunteers) - they are there to protect the corporation.
  15. Are you looking for guided or can you put something together yourselves? Contrary to popular belief, the Midwest does have a small mountain range in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a very large state park called the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Some of the Wisconsin BSA summer camps would offer treks to the Porkies (not sure if they do so anymore). The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is about a 10 hour drive from the Chicago area. The Appalachian Trail runs through it. For another set of Midwest mountains, that might be more like Philmont, there's the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota - about 14 hours away. For guided trips. you can try to Katahdin Area Council (in Maine) to see if they have any capacity for tours of Katahdin and environs - its about 26 hour away by car.
  16. CalicoPenn

    Adult going to residential summer camp

    Yes, the CO chooses the Scout Leaders, but if parents, in these hyper-aware times, are not happy with the CO choosing a single man to be the Den Leader, or Scoutmaster, the CO will get an earful. Yes, the CO owns the unit - but the parents are as much customers as the Scouts themselves.
  17. CalicoPenn

    Is this the new normal?

    Kind of a conundrum - Leave No Trace and all - but TP decomposes in about 6 weeks on the ground and since its a paper product, it adds nutrients to the soil (granted - in miniscule amounts) after being broken down.
  18. CalicoPenn

    Is this the new normal?

    They're called water blasters or water cannons and they are not in the shape of a gun. Let's clear something up (using this as a platform - not meant to single you out). The G2SS does NOT ban water pistols, or paintball guns, or laser tag guns. What the G2SS bans is pointing and shooting at people or targets in the shape of people. You can use water guns, paintball guns or laser tag guns to shoot at targets that are not people or representative of people. This rule is not in place because National thinks squirt gun battles are more dangerous than water balloon battles or wet sponge battles. It is in place to be consistent with what is being taught on BB Gun, Rifle, Shotgun and Archery ranges - namely - never ever ever point a gun, loaded or not, at another person. I know, I know - I get the argument - a water gun or a laser tag gun is not a real gun and won't hurt anyone - but ask yourself this - do you believe that television and video game violence is responsible, if even just partly, for how violent our society has seemed to become? It's always a popular argument when some kid shoots up a school - that he (and it's normally a he) must have spent too much time playing shoot-em up video games. Isn't the BSA essentially making the same argument when they say even pointing water pistols at each other teaches Scouts that aiming guns at other people is ok to do? If you accept the video game argument, shouldn't you also accept the BSA's position?
  19. CalicoPenn

    Is this the new normal?

    I must be reading the wrong blogs!
  20. CalicoPenn

    Is this the new normal?

    Do you have anything to back up this contention that it's because of females that we have no water guns, no laser tag and no pioneering projects over 6 feet? I've never heard this before.
  21. CalicoPenn

    LNT says stop geotagging

    Poison Ivy (and Oak and Sumac) are native plants to North America, not imported to the US like Japanese Honeysuckle. I can understand why it would be treated differently than an invasive.
  22. CalicoPenn

    LNT says stop geotagging

    It seems to me that Leave No Trace has either jumped the shark because they've fulfilled their mission and are now just flailing around looking for things to comment on or are admitting that they are an elitist group whose real mission is to keep everyone away from the wilderness. I read these guidelines - I'm laughing at the suggestion that if one really has to geo-tag a location they've found particularly impressive to just tag the state. Yeah - that certainly will work to keep those locations a secret - "Hey - check out this pond I found in Illinois - I'm just going to tell you its in Illinois but it's definitely worth it for you to go visit - good luck finding where in the 57,915 square miles of Illinois it is.
  23. CalicoPenn

    potentially the stupidest GTSS rule?

    I now have the image of Calvin and Hobbes flying down a hill in their Radio Flyer - thanks for the pleasant image.
  24. CalicoPenn

    Uniforms and saluting the flag

    I keep running in to the same phrase: The hand-over-heart salute should be used when not in uniform". So, you can tell the Scout that they should use the hand-over-heart salute when not in uniform. The real question though is are Scouts wrong to use the hand salute when not in uniform - and you're not going to like my answer because it relies very much on words meaning things. Specifically, the word SHOULD. It isn't shall, it isn't must - it is should - and that word leaves a lot of wriggle room. For myself, I'm not going to ever tell a Scout wearing a uniform shirt and blue jeans that they must use the hand-over-heart salute because they aren't technically in uniform. I'm not going to tell a Scout who is not in any kind of uniform but is in line with his Troop and/or Patrol that he can't salute in the same way as his mates. We are not the military - as far as I'm concerned, any Scout who is saluting the flag, even if they are wearing shorts, crocs and a t-shirt, is showing respect for the flag - and that's much more important than following some kind of "not really a rule" rule about using the hand-over-heart salute when not in uniform. I would definitely never tell an adult he's doing it wrong either - for quite some time now, veterans have been allowed and encouraged to salute the flag military style at any occasion that lends itself to saluting the flag - and you may not know if some adult you're about to criticize is a veteran. If you're ever at a sporting event during the national anthem and you see someone nearby saluting the flag and not holding their and over their heart - thank them for their service.
  25. I don't know about the Righteous Gentiles of WW2 but the overall goal of the Underground Railroad was to help slaves escape to northern states and to Canada. It was not to end slavery - it was to allow slaves to escape to freedom. I would suggest that the Underground Railroad was very effective in meeting the goal. It had the added bonus of galvanizing and solidifying anti-slavery sentiments in the northern states - making the opposition to slavery real as opposed to theoretical - turning citizens to action rather than just nodding in agreement to editorials in newspapers. Illinois has a number of Underground Railroad stations - fortunately, some of the communities that had stations on the Underground Railroad are including that history in their communities history. I've read a few accounts in local history museums that talk about their own local Underground Railroad stations and how people in these communities that were not stops on the railroad would bamboozle fugitive slave hunters to protect the "guests" of their communities.