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Everything posted by Cambridgeskip

  1. Cambridgeskip

    Troop mascots

    Question out of curiosity... do troops, packs etc in the states tend to have mascots? A few groups over here have one and I just wondered whether it happened elsewhere? My lot have Dafydd the dragon, photo from summer camp here. He's well loved and is at his most popular with home sick cubs although the scouts like him as well (who tend to be a bit rougher with him, he's a bit scared of the PLs) Anyone got anything similar?
  2. Cambridgeskip

    Eight scouts sent home from Scotland Jamboree

    Put enough teenagers in one place and I guess this kind of thing happens. Real pity it had to end up in the national press rather than just being dealt with internally.
  3. So.... following an expansion of the group in recent years and some attrition in our older tents I convinced the exec committee to release their grip on the purse strings and buy some new tents. We have some very nice tents that we like, namely Vango Omegas, you can still buy them so we bought some more. If it ain't broke don't fix it. As we like to say this side of the pond. Cheapest source of them is Amazon. 8 new tents. About £1700 spent. This evenings scout program wasn't going to fill the whole evening (second half of pottery for creative challenge involving firing their creations. Ye Gods.) so got them to check through and put up the new tents. No fewer than 3 out of 8 came out the bag with bent poles. Thankfully some mixing and matching was possible to make 7 fully functioning tents with only 1 being returned to the seller. It does though serve as a useful reminder to check kit before camping. A week on Friday these tents are due to get their debut!
  4. Cambridgeskip

    Boys' needs

    Certainly this side of the pond adults, and I mean adults in the widest sense, parents, teachers etc discourage risk taking. Non scouting adults are often genuinely shocked at what we not only allow but actively encourage scouts to do. I met a teacher once who was literally speechless that we have 10 and 11 year olds using axes. Doing something that is a bit risky, where there is a bit of peril to it, is something that I find boys in particular really respond. The best example I can remember was building a pioneering monkey bridge. It was something they enjoyed doing it as a mock up on a field, but when we did it over an actual small stream, where they might get their feet, (or more!) wet if they did it wrong suddenly got them properly throwing themselves into it.
  5. David I can assure you that I for one was not seeking to attack a religion. I am Christian myself, why would I? The simply point I was making was about life experience and how I found reality somewhat more straight forward and easier to handle than what I had expected.
  6. I find this a really interesting experience and kind of ties in with my own experience, the first time I (knowingly) met anyone who was transgender. I would have been about 21 at the time. I'd just finished university and was looking for my first "career move" job. In the mean time I had a whole series of short term jobs that kept the pennies trickling in. And I met a varierty of interesting people in the process! One of those jobs was I had a few days as temporary staff working on the railways here, specifically in the buffet car on intercity trains between Newcastle and Glasgow. I quite liked that job, while the pay was awful (it was before the days of the national minimum wage here) I am a dyed in the wool train geek. Absolutely love railways! On my first shift I got asked to take the driver his coffee. Before I took it down the buffet car manager took me aside and quietly warned me that the driver was a pre op transexual. Born male, in the process of changing to female. She just wanted to make sure I wouldn't be freaked out by it. Walking down to the driver's cab I had to confess to being curious more than anything. As above I had not knowingly, at that time, met anyone who was transexual. I didn't know what to expect at all. It was all, I thought, new. Anyway I knocked on the cab door, she said come in, and in I went. It was a pretty quiet shift, frankly we'd been twiddling our thumbs in the buffet car, so I hung around a bit. I'd never ridden in the cab of a train before and was loving the experience. We got talking about railways generally and she pointed out some really interesting (to me and fellow train nerds!) stuff about the route and how it operated. By the time I had to go back and actually serve some customers (what I was actually being paid to do) I had forgotten that she was transexual and she was just a fellow train geek. There was nothing new to it at all. It was a formative experience. I don't pretend to understand what it's like to be transexual. I don't understand either the biology or psychology of it. What that experience did help me understand though was that someone who is transexual is just another human being. Their gender, unusual though that may seem to us who are, for what of a better word, "normal" is only one aspect of who they are. They have their interests, and their families, and their sense of humour and their preferred food and sports teams and things that irritate them. Same as the rest of us. I don't understand why someone is transexual, but neither do I understand why anyone would actually eat mayonnaise (condiment of the devil) or treat golf as a sepctator sport. But they do! So I just try and take it all in my stride now. The official (for now) separation of gender is BSA obviously adds a complication for you on your side of the pond. I can see how you have some additional practicalities to work through on that front. I honestly don't think though that it isn't something a spot of common sense and lateral thinking can't handle. My troop here is coed although we mostly have single sex tents on camp. We haven't (knowingly) had a trans scout in the troop yet, but I will worry about the practicalities as and when the day comes.
  7. Cambridgeskip

    As an adult, what do you REALLY wear?

    On the BP front, no idea. Sorry! As for myself, no garters or tabs for me. If it's too hot for long trousers then it's too hot for long socks as well! Besides my legs are so hairy (my family call me The Yeti) they keep me nice and warm anyway.
  8. Alternatively many of us may well have met someone transgender without even realising it. It's still not an easy thing to admit to and many who are trans either don't admit to themselves are just keep quiet about it.
  9. Cambridgeskip

    What's your best Scouting memory?

    Ah the memories. Pretty difficult to choose! A few that spring to mind, my Queens Scout parade, we got to taught to march by The Irish Guards who were on ceremonial duties at Windsor Castle at the time. The regimental sergeant major accused me of marching like a thunder bird. I was truly dreadful at it! His comments made me laugh and find it even harder. Being elected scouts scout of the year when I was about 15. I was getting a hard time at school at the time. Basically the working class kid at a very middle class school where I struggled to fit in. My scout troop mostly had the same background as me. Being acknowledged and appreciated that way at the time meant a lot. Getting lost on a night hike one summer. We decided to stop and wait for first light to find where we were. We all fell asleep and woke up getting soaked. Turns out we’d stumbled onto a golf course where they turned the sprinklers on at first light! One of the most touching moments from my cub leader days... the school most of my cubs went to had an annual day where each pupil could bring one of their parents in for lunch. One of them found that neither of her parents could make it due to work commitments. She asked me to come in for lunch instead. I’ve never been so flattered! She went all the way through, is now 19 and an assistant cub leader and I’m proud to count among my friends.
  10. Agreed. Looking at the girls in the UK who decide to be scouts rather than girl guides, they come because they want to be scouts. They look at it and that is what they want. The uniform is a little bit more formal than that of girl guides, the program is that much more adventurous. If they didn't want that they'd go to girl guides.
  11. Cambridgeskip

    Unit milestone anniversary - What to do?

    When my group turned 100 a few years ago we organised a reunion of as many old boys as we could. We ploughed through old records, put up posters in the local library and churches, advertised in the local newspapers. We ended up with quite a collection of them! Best of all one of them volunteered to go back as an ASL. In terms of something to keep we did a special edition group t-shirt.
  12. Cambridgeskip

    New troop, big problems

    A perspective from outside the USA... putting side the specific rules and regs of BSA for a moment the thing that struck me from your original post is when you commented that every time your son gets something wrong he gets yelled at. Your son is 12. Frankly.... Ye Gods! As someone else said, this sounds toxic. Scouts, wherever you are in the world, is about learning by doing. Kids are deliberately allowed to get things wrong. That’s the whole idea of the movement. It’s not school. It’s not about getting the highest grade. You try, you get it wrong, you sit down with your PL or an adult and figure out where you went wrong and then try again. Hopefully this time doing better! That’s how it works. Sounds like the SM has no idea how things are meant to work. Ive been an SL (what you call an SM) for coming up to 9 years. Other than having a natural fog horn of a voice I literally can’t remember the last time I raised my voice to a scout. I vaguely recall barking at a couple of scouts to step away from a faulty gas stove that was leaking gas everywhere so I could deal with it but that’s it. As others have said, time to look elsewhere I think.
  13. Cambridgeskip

    Neckers back in the "news"

    I find it interesting the way on your side of the pond you are quite flexible in terms of changing your necker. Over here once a troop has adopted colours for their necker it’s pretty rare to change it and I seem to recall you need permission from district or county or something. Anyway the kids can get quite tribal about their neckers and swapping them with someone you’ve met on camp from another troop or unit is often seen as a big act of friendship. From an adults perspective the biggest use I find for them is identifying my scouts at long range on big events. We go to a weekend jamboree type camp each January at Gilwell. About 2500 people in 130 acres. It’s pretty crowded! Having the scouts wear their neckers visible (except if it’s raining, they’re cotton unfortunately) at all times makes it a lot easier to keep track of them.
  14. Cambridgeskip

    Breaking Point

    Do be fare he elaborated on this when prompted elsewhere, can't remember if it was on this thread or another. Click on his username and you'll be able to track it down
  15. Cambridgeskip

    Just curious about background

    Seeing as I've chimed in on other threads I thought I may as well give my own background. Not excited by BSA changing, not really my place as an "outsider", but I am curious to see how it works out for you. So anyway, I am from the UK. Joined Cubs, when it was still boys only in 1986, moved up to scouts 1989ish. Was still all boys then but went coed on a local option basis in 1991. My troop stayed all boys while I was there. I think only one troop of the eight in my district had any girls. Moved up to Venture scouts 1994, that unit was coed but only 1 girl actually there. By the time aged out it was about a third girls. As an adult I started as an ACSL (what you call an ACSM) with cubs in 1997. Initially all boys but went coed while I was there and it all went smoothly. Moved to a new town in 2000, became ACSL at a pack that was all boys. Became CSL 2003. Went coed 2006. Again very smooth. Moved to being SL, what you would call SM, 2009 at an already coed troop. All gone smoothly to date.
  16. Cambridgeskip

    Star Wars, Organized Religion, and BSA

    Kind of! As our constitution is unwritten and has evolved rather than been created that is not a straight forward question to answer. It is true in so far that England and Wales have an established church in the form of The Church of England and Scotland has an established church in the form of The Church of Scotland. The monarch is the official head of both but in the same way that they have no actual power within the state they have no actual power within either church. Don't even ask about religion in Norther Ireland. You'll disappear down a rabbit hole of insanity that will need you in need of a large drink, a dark room and cold compress round your head to recover from. Both churches have some official privileges the most important being senior bishops sitting in the House of Lords. It's not true in that no one is expected to be a member of either church and neither does being a member afford anyone any kind of right.
  17. Cambridgeskip

    Star Wars, Organized Religion, and BSA

    Urban myth that one! It is true that in the last census a number of people put variations of Jedi down as their religion. However for statistical purposes this was put down as "no religion". Presumably as those putting it down were taking the proverbial! Data is available to download from here. Being shown on stats output doesn't make a religion "official", it's just an official recognition by the government that it exists and is taken into account for setting policy. Actually I found a scan through that sheet quite instructive. While it doesn't have the numbers on it for each entry it does show the staggering number of religions and sub divisions of each that exist in what is one relatively small country.
  18. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    Back in the 90s my venture scout unit used to brew its own beer and wine for the Christmas party. Ah the memories! (It was disgusting stuff)
  19. Cambridgeskip

    Goodbye and Thanks for all the Fish.

    Sorry to see you go John. While we've not always agreed on everything you've said you have always made your point with courtersy. You will be missed from these parts by those on every side of every debate. Its my belief that your most recent posts were no reason to ban you, they were, at worst, satirical and if satire has now become a reason to ban users then we live in sad times indeed. Your treatment has been heavy handed indeed. Im sure we'll stay in touch and debate offline but I wanted to make my thoughts publicly.
  20. OK, but I'm curious as to what specifics put you off? To lead you a bit if TSA were to say they like the look of BSA and are going to remodel on you I can think of things that I think would work and would be an improvement and things I don't think would work. Things I'd welcome Your uniforms. (with the exception of the badge sash) Your shirts look much better than ours. Particularly the blue one for cubs. Bigger emphasis on the patrol system, would like to see it used more in the explorer section in particular Things I'd not welcome. Combining scouts and explorers to run to 18. Not sure it works with natural peer groups here. Chartering organisations. I wouldn't want to see scouting controlled by other bodies. Albeit we already have a small number of "closed" groups. Those are purely examples and not exhaustive. It's just a prompt more than anything! I'm certainly not trying to provoke an argument. I'm just curious as to what you see, whether it's actually accurate and what you like and dislike about it.
  21. I hope you don't mind me asking but why is that?
  22. First to say thanks to Matt and Mrs Matt for swinging by last week. It's always nice to have visitors! The necker you gave us is now hung up in our HQ alongside others from foreign visitors. Secondly Matt is completely right. While looking at how other countries do things is good in terms of getting fresh ideas and seeing things from a different perspective whatever BSA comes up with has to work for BSA. It's no good pointing at any one country and saying "lets do that" because it may not work for you. It should be a case of saying, country X has age ranges that work like this, why does it fit that country and are there enough parallels that it works for us? If the answer is no move on to countries X, Z and so on. Same for the award scheme, same for summer camp etc. The other side of that coin is to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. You've got well over 2 million members. Second biggest in WOSM if I remember right. Clearly you are doing something right! Whatever that is be careful not to ditch it. When TSA had its big shake up it wasn't done quickly. I was a venture scout when they were piloting it. They did an awful lot of research first. I remember taking part in it. They then piloted the proposed changes in a number of places round the country. By district was one of them and moved to the explorers/network model in 1996. We tried it, gave feedback and what eventually fell out it in 2002 when it went nation wide had a lot of what we'd tried but also had been tweeked and further adapted. It took time. You need to take your time as well. As I've said before though I don't think you should consider the current round of changes to be the last. I suspect more will come in due course. Just on the point of summer camp, to clarify what Matt said, we do have summer camp, just not the same way you do with the same set program. Our summer camps are typically for about a week and are just like another camp but longer. Typically camping in patrols, cooking for themselves, usually on a scout owned campsite doing a mix of on site and off site activities. We don't have dining halls (although a limited amount of indoor accomodation is typically available, it doesn't come cheap though) or fixed booking periods. You just book for the days you want to be there.
  23. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    Hadn't appreciated you were Surrey Ian! I was the out of county member of the selection panel for Surrey Heath district. Don't know if that involved any of your lot. It was a tough decision to make.
  24. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    I honestly don't know how that works. I'd be interested to know though. Jamborees don't come cheap to run. What I do know is some recent jamborees (Japan, UK, Netherlands) used the normal venue for music festivals and because they came with existing infrastructure it saved quite a lot of money. The UK venue is the site of the V music festival. Many of the jamboree infrastructure costs were met by Virgin who run the festival. I guess you don't have that advantage.
  25. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    BSA can indeed influence but it can't dictate. Numbers wise BSA makes up approx 7% of members. Probably more financially but ultimately has only a certain amount of leverage. In addition the management of the jamboree isn't purely BSA. There are three host nations and WOSM involved. It's not a BSA event that the world is invited to, it's a WOSM event at a BSA site. There are a lot of parallels with hosting the Olympics. The host country only has so much wriggle room. IOC rules sit at the top. I imagine that BSA have signed all kinds of legal contracts with WOSM to host this and simply refusing to play by their rules now will land them in massive legal and financial problems. I think it's also worth putting yourself in WOSM's shoes for the moment. They cover scouting in nearly every country, culture and religion on the planet. That will mean a myriad of different beliefs on every subject you can imagine, including sex. Across the world the age of consent varies between 11 in Nigeria and 20 in Korea. Attitudes vary between countries where sex is only legal in marriage to others where sex is pretty casual. You have national scout organisations where it's not permitted to even acknowledge sex exists to those, particularly from Africa which HIV is a massive problem, where sex education is part and parcel of the scout program. Through that massive raft of differences WOSM has to strike a balance and choose a policy. Individual national contingents are welcome to impose their own expectations on their own contingents, but WOSM, when setting central policy, has to get something that everyone can live with and I think that having them available via medical facilities is about right.