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About cbowe

  • Rank
    Junior Member

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  • Location
    North Andover MA
  • Occupation
    VP Quality and Regulatory Affairs
  • Biography
    Cub scout, Eagle scout (1975), Den leader 5 years, Advancement chair 2 years, Scoutmaster 3 years
  1. I keep reading these thread on scouts being too young to be Eagle. I just don't get it. Over the last few years I have started to write this response several times and told myself to wait, since I did not know my son would stick with scouts. Well I did know but it was not proved out yet. My son is "one of those" Eagles. He finished his Eagle when he was 13 had his board a few days after he turned 14 (because the district made him wait because he was too young, so they pushed it off a month and a half after he turned in his application. He is now 17+ years old and still very active. Since that point this "to young to be eagle" scout has: - been SPL for 18 months (as well as a variety of other positions) - earned the Hornady Badge and is ready to submit for the Silver Hornaday - earned the National Outdoor Achievement award. (was #51) - earned the Ad Altare Dei, Pope Pius XII, Duty to God, International Catholic Awareness (catholic religious awards ) - earned SCUBA, Standup Paddle boarding, Kayaking, Mile Swim, and Snorkeling and 50 Miler (afoot and afloat, several time over) awards - earned Paul Bunyan, Firem’m chit, Tot’n chip, Cyber Chit, Physical Fitness, Internet Scout, Historic Trail awards - earned Boy Scout Conservation Good Turn, Hometown USA, Leave No Trace, World Conservation, and Outdoor Ethics Awareness awards - earned the 4 Nova awards and is working on his Bronze Supernova - earned the Interpreter Strip for Spanish and Morse Code - earned 127 merit badges (he wants to earn all of them, with the current number he will earn 139) only a handful of these were earned at summer camp. He has had over 80 different counselor - earned 12 palms - become and is currently certified in First Aid, AED, CPR, Wilderness First Aid, Leave No Trace Trainer, SCUBA- Open Water - founded a Venturing Crew with his buddies – he is the President - attended Philmont, Seabase, National Jamboree, and is going back to Philmont this summer (all using money he raised recycling cans - over 140,000 cans) - slept in a tent more than 230 nights, hiked over a 1000 miles, cycled over 400 miles, spent more than 500 hours rowing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and sailing So here is a story for the haters When my son went for his EBOR there was a scouter with an attitude like many of you have expressed. He did not like the idea of a young Eagle. I will paraphrase some of the exchange as told to me by my son and our troop rep who sat in the board. Scouter (sarcastically): Don’t you have a life outside of scouts? My son: Yeah, I play on the school baseball team and basketball team, I love to read, I am a straight A student and I play to many video games. Scouter: (sarcastically and dismissively) "Not a type A personality much are you?" Scouter Why the rush to get Eagle My Son: I was running out of time. Scouter: (exasperated) What do you mean, you are only 14! My son: I wanted to earn Eagle before I turned 14 and being delayed a month and a half for no reason cost me a palm. Scouter: Do you really think you earned all those Merit Badges? My Son: Yes, and so do the 60 or so councilors who did them with me. (He had 70ish at this point) This went on for more than 45 minutes. It was so bad that the troop rep that was sitting in the board almost intervened but decided my son was more than holding his own and bit his tongue. I have sat in on 9 EBOR and not one of them lasted more than 20 minutes. Half of them were deathbed Eagles. These scouts had needed to stretch their “be active in the troop†over 3-4 years†to scrape together the 6 months needed to meet the Eagle requirement. When asked about what the troop did they could not answer. 3 of them elected to not have Courts of Honor since few scouts in the troop actually knew who they were. So might I suggest we all tone down the sarcasm and dismissal. Sure, they may be some who got pushed by their parents. I did not need to push my son. His buddy who started in the troop a couple years before him was all the push he needed as they competed with each other to rank up and learn skills. They worked as a buddy pair to earn merit badges. His friend earned his Eagle at age 15. He aged out at 18, active to the end. He still comes to meetings when he is home from college. When the board was over my son asked why they were so rude. I said not all people like scouts to earn their Eagles when they are younger. He though for a second and said thats silly. He went on to say well, I did get to see how a scout is not supposed to act tonight. I read on here how we want scouts to read and respond to the conversations here to get their viewpoint. How heartbreaking it would be for one of these motivated kids (since they ARE kids) to read how they are just a "paper Eagle". These are the scouts who will be the future of the program, unless we turn them off that is.
  2. Common sense tells you that it is all under the auspices of BSA. It is a scouting award after all. Under the auspices includes troop run activities, patrol activities, OA activities, Jamborees, High adventure etc.... it does not include going camping with the family. As SM I know who attends what outings. I know who is doing what activities at said outings. For activities I did not attend (Ex Jambo) I have the scout log what they did. I keep it all in a spreadsheet (TM is not very useful for tracking riding and aquatics time.) I also know what Mbs and awards (such as mile swim) they have earned. I also do the surprise, guess what you have earned method. Though I do let the scouts know these awards are available. If a scout is working on a MB one can argue that it is under the auspices of BSA since a scout is expected to observe BSA policy (like safe swim, buddy system, trip plans etc as these are part of the MBs.) So common sense or go all lawyerly .... isn't the intent of this badge to get scouts off the couch and outdoors doing things? Chris
  3. I think blaming video games is kind of a copout. When I was younger we did all kinds of violent stuff. We had to do it for real since we had no video games. Games and activities included: - Shoot an arrow straight up, whoever stood closest to where in landed won. (never claimed we were smart ) - Bottle rocket wars. Build a fortification and defend it and try to blow your opponets of of thier fort. Each participant had a 1000-2000 bottle rockets or so, real mess to clean up after. - Blood ball - basically basketball with hockey checking rules. - Sword fighting. - we played army and "killed" each other. - Watching cartoons (way more violent back then) - Movies (maybe less graphic than today, but my imagination still did a better job back then than special effects do today. - In gym we played bombardment where the goal was to inflict as much damage as possible with kick balls. - etc etc etc All that violence and my sibblings and the kids in my neighborhood all grew up relatively normal. I think the big difference today is media coverage. There are also 2x + the number of people so one should expect a significant growth in the amount of violence. I also think hand guns and assult style guns are more common today than back then. There is also a "status" associated with having a gun that did not exist back when I was a kid. Chris P.S. I don't own a gun and have never had any desire to. When I go postal it will be with a broadsword and a crossbow. Guns are for whimps. I prefer to be up close and personal. P.P.S. I am (gasp) liberal. Never said we
  4. So, councils will be merged, districts will be merged....so what? I know my scouts don't care what district or council they are in. The only reasoin they know, kind of, what district they are in is because they have to write it on a blue card. As far as the council goes if they read their shoulder patch they will remember. The district and council offer next to nothing the scouts in my troop are interested in. I can name them on one hand: National Jamboree (1 or 2 are going) Philmont (2 of our guys went this year, but with another troop, not council run) Seabase (if our bid fails we might go with a council contingent, course any council would do ) Thats it, We don't really do camporees, our guys find them boring. They much rather, be snowshoing, mountain bikes, hiking etc. Frankly I think adults are the ones who get all worked up over merger this and merger that. If they merge and dump camps and the remaining ones are insufficient, we will just do more high adventure trip to fill those voids. Personally I hate the whole summer camp merit badge mill anyway, chris
  5. I thought this was kind of funny (in a sad sort of way) Our council has no registered mentors for the newish Supernova award. So I figured what the heck someone needs to do it, and signed up. That was like 6 or more months ago. I kind of forgot about it since I had not heard anything. Well yesterday I received an email from a venture scout wanting to work on the award. Here is the content of his email that I found pretty funny. "I am interested in doing the SuperNOVA award and contacted the Council Exec. a few months ago to obtain contact information. They told me there was an applicant and they needed to be approved first, so to start, congratulations. " This scout has already earned some points in my book. It was definitely an interesting way to find out I was approved. Chris P.S. Perhaps we should require all council staff to earn the communications MB.
  6. Dean, HIPAA does not apply to scout volunteers. It applises to health plans, health care providers, health care clearinghouses and business associates (as applied to companies that provide services to the previous three). The only categories that might remotely apply is health care clearing house or business associates(as we gather health information on forms) and that is a weak connection at best. Now if the camp nurse was to lose the forms you might have a case as she is a health care provider. If Joe the ASM who is a plumber in his day job were to lose them it is not a compliance violation. Chris P.S this does not mean one should not take care with indivuduals health forms.(This message has been edited by cbowe)
  7. We camp (in tents) all year round and we do 2 nights each outing. We are in northern MA and often camp in the Whites in NH. This past winter there sadly really was no winter so I will mention what we did in 2011. December 2010: 10 mile historic trail hike. Temps in the 20-30s, no snow January: Klondike Derby, 2-3 feet of snow on the ground. In setting up camp it made for natural fortifications. After the activities of the day a massive multi-troop snowball battle broke out. The kids had a great time. Temp was in the teens and twenties. February: Snowshoing in Franconia Notch. Kids snowshowed up the flume, a 60 ft deep gorge. They went around 4-5 miles. 3+ feet of snow on the grouns. The temp during the day was teens. At night it was @17 below zero. Kids had a great time. March: Skiing - etc etc etc Let the kids decide what they want to do. Help make sure it involves alot of moving around (sitting around in the winter is not fun) Be prepared: layers, correct materials, high calorie meals, winter bags (at least 0 deg rating), spare clothes (like gloves and hats) 3 years ago we did no winter camping, now, it just another one of the things that we do. We have 11 to 17 year olds go. Personally, I think if you are going call yourself an Eagle scout, you should know how to camp in any weather condition. Chris
  8. Meet the intent of the requirements not the letter of the requirements. Intent (IMO) = Master the skills, participate for real, do not expect anything in return for doing nothing, ability to take care of yourself and others in the outdoors, have learned to lead by(good)example, be willing to teach, understand the value of service to others, have pride in your unit, be respectful, do your best. Letter (IMO) = One and done, lawyer your way through participation, expect something for doing nothing, be a liability on an outing, attempt (and normally fail) to lead but only if it serves your interest, be disinterested in or incapable of teaching other, use the unit to maximize your gain, be respectful if someone who can impact your advancement is looking, do as little as possible to get by. Meet the intent of the requirement and you have an Eagle Meet the letter of the requirements and you have someone wearing an Eagle patch. Do I expect a scout to be 100% intent, no, not really, they are boys after all (but one can hope! ). I do however expect they are more intent than letter.
  9. Guy was in the troop a year or so before me. Shortly after I joined I was asked to take over as AC. I said sure, what do I need to do? I tossed lots of wrenches in the works because I expected scouts to actually do the POR, not just hold a title. I asked the committee and got a "ok, thats fine, whatever" until it was actually enfored. Then there were some fire works. I asked if we were a cub scout pack and taking the summer off again or a boy scout troop that would meet and do things over the summer. I am definitely subtle. Guy definitly had ideas about the troop and cautiously queried me on my opinions. I think after the first year it was kind of assumed by everyone but me, I would take over as SM. In fact I asked Guy if he would rather have the job, he "politely" declined. He was interested in the CC role and our CC stepped down shortly after the SM. I tend to be pretty direct. I don't get angry very often, I do my best to be fair but firm. I try to set the boundaries and expectations and let the scouts run the program. I have also found that most parents don't like direct or compromises that the scout makes when after a chat he realizes he really did not live up to the requirements. They don't like it when it comes to why little Johnny was removed as a PL for never showing up to lead his patrol, or is not being advanced to the next rank as quickly and Mr. & Mrs. Johnny think he should. Guy is way better at talking the distraught parents off the ledge. I am more likely to offer a hipcheck to speed up the process. I did mention I am direct, no? Since early 2010 we went from 2 outing a year to 14 or 15 outings a year. The outings went from plop camping in the exact same spot and do nothing but hang around, to you name it. Since then we have gone snowshoeing in the Whites in -17 degree weather, 50 mile canoe trip, mountian biking, 4000 footer patrol hikes, orienteering, pioneering etc. Every outing has a theme now that the scout choose. It had been 100% adult lead and is now 90% scout lead. They pick the outing, plan locations, make reservations, rent needed equipment, plan menus, buy the food and request a certain numbers of adults to drive. Room to improve, absolutely, we still 10% to go. Guy and I make, in my opinion, an excellent team. I don't think we would have succeeded as quickly as we did if we had worked any differently. We have a fairly small committee now (8ish people) but we are all on the same page. Could there be problems and conflict if we were not on the same page? Sure, but we do talk all the time and we do have a pretty aligned view of where we want to go. As Guy mentioned I love the activties part of the job. In 3 and a half years I have missed one outing, when my father-in-law passed away. In the past that outing would have been cancelled. This time I talked to my SPL and confirmed we had a solid plan. He arranged for an adult to cover my absense. My belief is no one is indispensible, not even the SM, expecially not the SM. Guy is a paperwork person (I do paperwork all day long for a living, heck if I am going to do it as SM ) He does an excellent job and is CONSTANTLY, like non stop, day and night, night and day sending me idea. I have a pat answer for him "sound good to me, lets do it." That will teach him to keep making suggestions! The scouts who actually show up (which is most of them now) know better than try to play both ends against the middle (same goes with playing one troop against another as we SMs in town all talk do each other and compare notes on claims that are made). The scouts know what is expected, they know what will happen if they do not do thier part, in a POR, for being active, in not being a positive part of the troop and the best part about it is that they do not whine or complain. They are to busy having fun doing what they decided to be doing. The scouts also know if I make a mistake I will not hesitate to appologies and do what I can to correct the error. They know I will bend over backward to work around all the stuff going on in thier lives to help them succeed. All I really expect from them is honestly and thier best efforts. Guy and I both care about scouting and this troop. We have both put alot of time and engergy in bringing this troop back from the grave. So is he meddlesome? Sure, though, if he stops being meddlesome I will kill him. Chris P.S I do like to see scouts advance, that said, I am not into advancement. As I tell my scouts... "show up and have fun and you will advance without having to think about it." If fact, I often have to remind them that they might want to check their books because they are ready for a BOR and are not aware of it. PPS This is why I never post, can never seem write a short one of these. PPPS Guy, don't let the praise go to your head, you are not getting a raise.
  10. Hi everyone, I am the SM in question. A not so brief history of this mess: The scout contacted me in May 2011 (I was the AC at the time) to say he was wrapping up his requirements for Eagle. We had not seen this scout in almost 2 years, he dropped from the radar a couple months after his Life BoR (May 2009). I looked at his records and gave him a detailed list of what the record says he needed to complete: Eagle Project PoR 5 MBs Be active I suggested we meet to discuss. 3 months go by, no scout. I receive an email in August 2011 Can the troop help me do the EPrep MB requirement (practice drill) I suggested he talk with the SPL. We had been corresponding by email (as he never came to a meeting so we could actually talk. His dad got involved and there was talk of going to another troop to finish. The other troop met with him and basically said he would need to do a POR and that they that require a high level of participation (like @80% of meeting and outing to be considered active). 5 months went by and nn January 2012 the scout asked to meet. We agreed and he said he wanted to finish up with the troop and we reached a compromise on what he would need to do POR Historian, Active - 3 camping outings + as many of the meeting he could attend. We told him we would do everything possible to help him succeed but he had to want to be Eagle and do the work. He agreed that what we suggested was reasonable. I reminded him monthly, in person, to get his outing done. I suggested that he do them early so the kids in the troop could get to know him and as result he would probably get more help on his project. I reminded him in May, June July and August by email (as well as speaking to him in person) to get his outing done. He responded, every time, with a version of I am still aware of what we agreed on as part of my reactivation and I am very sorry that I have not fulfilled that part of our agreement. I told him he needed to decide how important Eagle was to him and adjust his priorities to get it done if he felt it was important. I stress to all my scouts that they are not entitled to Eagle, they need to earn it. We gave ample opportunity to do outing as we are fairly active as a troop. Feb outing No show, he did make most of the meeting (we meet 2x a month) March outing no show April outing no show May outing no show June outing 1 no show June outing 2 (a day hike) he attended July camp no show July outing - day hike no show Aug camp no show Aug outing no show Note that there were service project and other types of outing during this time as well. no show I suggested he could show up for the second night of an outing, or just do the first night. I worked with him on Eagle Project workbook, I was the counselor for the last MB he needed for Eagle. I had told him I would help him succeed and I feel I lived up to my part of the bargain. In August, after I reminded him yet again to get his outing done, I received an email that said . The marching band season is in full swing now and I am booked until mid November. Any way we can find a compromise? We meet last night. I suggested he could do the Dec and Jan trips to meet his part of the agreement as he was busy Sept, Oct and Nov. His response was he needed to get his collage applications done and that he would be too busy doing that and he really needed to get his Eagle done now. I explained that we dont earn Eagle just to be able to add it to a collage application. history off: Why do I bother? Frankly I dont care about the outings. I care that this scout cares enough, is responsible enough to do what is expected. To do what he agreed he would do and not try to slide by or wiggle out of what he agreed to do. to show us that he is not just using us to enhance his collage application. There are thousands of kids who wont earn Eagle because they did not finish all the requirements. If I sign off I am rubbing their faces in it. There are thousands of kids who managed to buckle down and get it done and if I sign I cheapen their accomplishments. Yeah, yeah, I know, boy that sounds pretentious, but I actually believe it. If I sign I am telling him that you can get away with not doing what is needed, not living up to your word. Last time I checked that was not what we are supposed to be teaching This scout has wasted 15 months. If he put in even half the energy that he has spent looking up reasons why he should be signed off, actually being a scout, I would not be writing this novel. Is he a bad kid? No, he is actually very pleasant and likeable. Do I hate him or am I angry with him. No, at this point I am disappointed in him. I really do appreciate the viewpoint of the people on here. That said, if he does not do his two remaining outing I will not sign his application. I dont care what council does or national. Let them sign and make him an Eagle. I will know and his troop will know and most of all, he will know otherwise. thanks Chris
  11. We have a few scout that have earned one to many of the segments. We have 2 with the camping segment 1 has 2 gold and 1 has 3. I expect both will get silvers pretty easily. 4 with the aquatics segement 2 of them have multiple golds. 2 with cycling 1 has almost finished the hiking segments, still needs the orienteering MB 2 will finish the adventure segment when they get back from Philmont. The hard part of these is getting the scouts to get the related MBs since they are not required for Eagle and there are alot more that are easier than cycling, hiking etc. to do as optionals. The mile swim is also a hurdle We have an active program 11ish weekend outing, 2 weeks of scout camp and 1 week high adventure outing a year. The scouts like mountain biking trips (30+ miles on the outing typically) Canoeing (50 miler and a weekend canoe trip) Hiking 3 10+ miles hiking weekends, Rock climbing, etc. If the program has a good balance of activities and the scouts attend those activities (which they do becuase it is not the same old same old) then all we have to do is make them aware of the related merit badges. Out PLC elected to do a patrol cookoff weekend where they worked on the cooking MB they also did a pioneering weekend were they spent the weekend building stuff. Chris
  12. I have sat on many an EBOR over the last 18 months. In our council they make a point of telling each scout two things: 1) Congratulations, you are an Eagle scout 2) Use the date of the EBOR when asked (or for college apps etc) when they earned Eagle. (not the date the paperwork comes back from national) So, that said, if he were in my troop I would say go sew it on. Chris
  13. Hi, I have been lurking for a while. I am amazed at the amount of 13 year old bashing that goes on. There are so many threads and posts that is was hard to decide which one to post on. I joined scouts after cub scouts. I, with my patrol, went camping every month with the troop. We rarely did patrol only outings. I went to summer camps with the troop, then provisionals. I went on high adventure trips, canoeing trips in Northern Maine, backpacking trips in the White and Green Mountains. I moved through the ranks like clockwork. I finished all the Eagle requirements at 14 and got around to having my board shortly after I turned fifteen. I was not a super go getter about advancement it just kind of happened. I eventually moved to explorers. I thought we had a pretty good troop and program. I found Eagle to be pretty easy, to be honest. Skills you learned by going camping and hiking. Most of the required merit badges were academic and boring but not really very difficult. I earned my 3 palms, just to have one of each; again, not very difficult. My dad used to say oh it was much harder when I was a kid" and that the whole thing is so much easier now then. Oh I forgot to mention I earned my Eagle in the mid 70s. The only things I see as easier about getting Eagle today is that you dont need to trudge to a library and face the Dewey Decimal System to find information. Today you can hop on your computer and find in 30 seconds what it used to take hours to find. I also question how BoRs are done now. Why is it called a Board of Review if you are not allowed to review anything? ...but I digress. Sure there are some 13 year old Eagles who are not ready, but there are just as many 14, 15, 16 and 17 year old eagles that are not ready. If you want to make Eagle harder, collapse the 3 citizens into one long boring badge rather than 3 short boring badges and add badges that have activity requirements ( like hiking, cooking, backpacking) Badges that will require months of effort and planning. I think there could be a huge drop in the number of Eagles though I bet you would still see the 13 and 14 year old Eagles coming out of good programs because they already do those kinds of things anyway. Of course bad programs will continue to sign off unprepared Eagles (of ALL ages). I think in many ways it is harder to do it today than back when I was a scout. Today, seasonal sports are all year round training. Sports have these marathon Friday Sunday tournaments every other week.. I ran cross country, winter track and spring track in high school and I was still able to be very active. School hours are longer. In 7-9th grade I went to school from 12-5, and 8:00-2:30 in high school. My sons 5-9th grade classes go 7:50am till 4:15pm. Also, one last point. Leadership is not an age thing IMO. I know many 17+ kids (and adults for that matter) who could not lead to save their life. I have met many 13, 14 and 15 year olds who were excellent leaders. Younger kids tend to hero worship older ones (11-12--> 16+). A lot of adults mistake that puppy dog following around as a demonstration of the 17 year olds leadership ability its not. Personally I would rather have a 14 year old Eagles who is around to be an example to the 11 year olds (even if they still need a little marinating) than the 17.x eagle, who has their CoH as or after they turn 18, and disappears off to college never to be seen again (until they have a son who wants to join scouts) In full disclosure: When my son joined scouts he asked how old I was when I earned my eagle I told him I had just turn 15. He asked how many MBs I had. After I told him he said I am going to get mine earlier than you did and earn more merit badges too. I said ok, we will see. My son finished his Eagle requirements when he was 13. He passed his board 9 days after he turned 14. He has 110 merit badges. (He wants to earn them all) Some he nailed going way beyond what was required. Some he scrapped by. On those few I would ask a simple question... "Not so prepared on that one were you?, Not much fun was it?". It was all I needed to say to cause him to do better the next time. I did not drive him or help himwell other than drive him and his friend to every library in the eastern half the state for meetings. He and his friend got together 2-3 times a week (outside of troop meeting/outings) to work on MBs. They pushed each other. They both earned their Eagle within a month of each other. They both also have their 1st level Hornaday award and are actively working on the bronze. Their Eagle projects had over 400 hours of labor. Labor they recruited. For my son, scouts has been a just about photo perfect experience. Before the usual jabs occur He has had 80+ different councilors on those badges. Only 3 were earned at summer camp. 12ish were earned from troop related councilors, and none of those were the required badges. The rest required he use the council list, call up strangers, arrange meetings and follow-up meetings. I have to say, from sitting in the next room listening, that 99% of those councilors were pretty darn good. His troop does 35-40 nights of camping a year. The troop is scout run. The PLC sets the schedule, picks the activities, make the reservations when needed, rents any specialized equipment needed, secures drivers and ensures there is a minimum of 2-deep leadership. He (and his friend) have been doing 4+ nights of camping a month since September as they are in a Krew going to Philmont this summer. He raised his own money to pay for Philmont by recycling cans and bottles. 35,000 cans and bottles are a lot of work to recycle. I also have been around the block enough times to know there is little use in me typing this missive. This topic is religion. Facts and opinion will not sway either side. Both will find their outlier the 13 year old Eagle who is an embarrassment to the program or the 13 year old Eagle who walks on water. As a professional in quality assurance I have found it is easy to pick on an organization's issues and become bitter. I remind myself to try not to stand so far into the dark that you cant see the light. Scouts, for all its faults, can be, and typically is, an excellent experience for kids. (And the adults who participate) P.S My son is neither of the above. He is just a bright, focused kid who set a goal and really enjoys scouting. Sorry for the novel, my apologies for typos and grammatical errors and no, I dont get paid by BSA.
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