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Everything posted by Chippewa29

  1. There are multiple perspectives for these situations. In general, I am opposed to siblings being on campouts. In cases where either the sibling goes or the campout is cancelled, then let the sibling go and make sure the parent keeps them in line. Otherwise, they can visit, but not stay. During the 90's and early 2000's, my troop was pretty small and we were in the situation where a younger sibling needed to come or the campout didn't happen. It wasn't ideal, but it is what was needed to make things work. Once my troop got bigger and we had multiple adults coming on campouts, we still had s
  2. In my troop, once we built up, we had five patrols of 7-9 Scouts each. When I left two years ago, we had one patrol with 9-12 grade, one patrol with 9th grade, one patrol with 8th grade, one patrol with 7th grade, and one NSP. Instead of a Troop Guide, we would have a 13 or 14 year old Scout act as patrol leader for the NSP for the first year (after which a couple of Scouts from the NSP would have reach First Class and they were ready to lead the patrol). This PL would act like a TG, but we gave him the title of PL as well as the vote like the other patrol leaders. We like have the age
  3. They way my troop was structured, the patrol leaders were responsible planning the program for their patrol (in coordination with the patrol members and advisor). The SPL worked with the patrol leaders to coordinate their activities. The SPL also had an ASPL whose job it was to plan campouts. The SPL also worked with another ASPL to help coordinate the troop staff (Scribe, Historian, Librarian, etc.) The SPL was like the CEO of the troop. He only led other leaders. The patrol leaders ran the program week to week. The troop leaders supported the programs of the patrols.
  4. Several years ago, my troop had three patrols and no one wanted to be SPL. We took it as an opportunity to reinforce the patrol method. The main reason why no one wanted to be SPL was because of the large amount of planning they needed to do for meetings and campouts. The patrol leaders, on the other hand, didn't really do much (everyone wanted to be a patrol leader or ASPL). Since no one wanted to be SPL, we shifted all responsibility to the PL's. It was the best thing that could have happened to the troop and patrols. Each PL planned his weekly meetings and the three coordinated joint activi
  5. My troop has had some similar issues with certain Scouts who just take a position and don't do anything so they can either wear a patch or get credit for their next rank. We are currently implementing a system we hope will help improve job performance. Each POR has a set of performance objectives based on their responsibilities. Obviously, the SPL description is much different than the historian, librarian,etc. In each objective, they are rated from 1 (poor) to 5 (outstanding). There are very clear descriptions of what it takes to get each rating. Each month, every youth leader is ev
  6. 1. My troop has two "washing machines" made out of five gallon buckets and plungers. One day, our oldest Scout was goofing around with the younger kids by showing them how the plungers would suck onto their backs and they could get yanked around by them. About fifteen Scouts had a great time playing with those that afternoon. 2. Every year, we do daily tent inspections to make sure the Scouts are keeping their tents clean and organized. The winning tent(s) each day get to go to the trading post on the SM's dime. One day, I told the Scouts that the winning patrol (average score) woul
  7. Here is an interesting article from the Detroit News regarding kids using cell phones when they go to camp in the summer. http://www.detnews.com/article/20110807/METRO/108070314/Cellphones-give-parents-link-to-summer-camp I'd like to hear some thoughts from my fellow Scouters on what they think about this.
  8. My troop now has about 43 Scouts, about 85-90% are active. In the last 2 1/2 years, we've grown from nine Scouts to our current size. We are obviously pretty bottom heavy right now. I've always felt that 40-something was the ideal troop size. While we don't officially have a cut off or limit, we feel that if the troop grows to over fifty Scouts and is going to stay that way, then we will split into two troops. We have a troop in our district that had 80-90 Scouts for years. They would generally have 40-45 on a campout and lose a majority of the new Scouts that joined each year. The SM r
  9. A couple of points here: 1. When my troop has Webelos coming to visit, we always have one or two Scouts act as their hosts for the evening. These are usually really friendly Scouts who like the challenge of introducing every guest to every member of the troop. 2. We always make sure the Webelos participate in the troop meetings. What fun is it for the Webelos to come and sit and be quiet? We also make sure they come to a troop meeting where there is going to be activity. Webelos are always more than welcome to come to a COH, or when we do our semi-annual elections, but I tell the WL
  10. When I was sixteen, I got to drive an '82 Vette....Chevette. Basically, a golf cart with doors and windows. With its lightweight V4 engine, I wasn't able to get into too much speed trouble.
  11. As far as our relationships with Cub packs go, we don't do anything really special. We make sure that we offer to help with School Night in September, invite the Webelos to a couple of campouts a year, and try to help out during Pinewood Derby season. What I've discovered over the years is that when we bring in Webelos, we try to get them into interact with our Scouts. If they get along well, we have a great chance of them joining our troop. I also sit down with the parents during the visit to explain how we do things and find out what they are looking for. If they want a babysitting
  12. Pioneer- Thanks for the compliment. I've always been someone who had multiple interests I wished to pursue. I knew very early on that my Scouting time was limited and that my priority was to help build up my troop (we had six Scouts when I took over and after crossovers this year, will be just under forty). When I step down as SM eventually, I may take a district level position that won't be as time intensive as being the Scoutmaster of a troop. My decision also was based on a couple of other factors as well. The district and our OA lodge have had very solid leadership for year
  13. I recently celebrated my ten year anniversary of being SM of my troop. I've wondered this question myself for the past few years. Fortunately, my troop is doing very well and is probably stronger than its ever been. I'm having fun with it and we're building up a very good corps of adult leaders. A couple of thoughts on the subject. People are often afraid that if they leave, the unit will perish and all that time and effort they put in will have been wasted. First of all, the guidance and experiences you gave to the youth will have had a very positive impression on their lives. That
  14. A couple of comments on the discussion: 1. After seeing numerous Webelos "crossover" and then disappear for whatever reason, the past two years, I have made sure I sat down with every Scout coming into the troop and at least one parent to tell them about the troop, what they can expect, and what we expected of them in return. This minimized the pre-conceived notions they may have had. As part of this, I asked them to make a six month commitment to the meetings and activities. Basically, to treat it like a sports station. I told the parents they if they were just going "try it for a coup
  15. Very interesting discussion here. I have a couple of points on getting the Eagle Award: 1. Not all Eagles are created equal. Every troop has Eagle Scouts that not only fulfill the requirements, but take in every growth opportunity possible from the Scouting program. There are also those who do the bare minimum to get their Eagle, then are never seen or heard from after their ECOH. In either case, the young man is not a finished product, but the ones who make the most of their Scouting experience are the ones who tend to be more productive adults. 2. Getting the Eagle award takes abou
  16. I'm a bit biased on this subject, as I sell exercise equipment for a living and have coached high school track and cross country for years. I am a firm believer in keeping physically fit and think that of all aims of the BSA, this is where we fall short the most. Physical activity and fitness is definitely an important component of Scouting, but it is just one component of Scouting. If we make Scouting all about physical fitness, then we can be neglecting other areas. Expectation levels should be high for the physical fitness component. For example, the Tenderfoot requirement specif
  17. Recently, one of the dads in the troops completely redid the inside of our troop trailer. Now, the shelving is set up so we can have more balance with the weight while pulling it, store things more efficiently, etc. All in all, he did a great job. As a couple of the adults were looking over his handiwork over the weekend, one of them joked that he forgot to add the refrigerator and built in BBQ grill. That got us to thinking about what other cool things would it be fun to have built into your troop trailer. Any Suggestions?
  18. My opinion has always been that if there aren't responsibilities for a certain position, then you either create responsibilities or you don't fill the position. My troop had not had any APL for over a decade because they weren't really doing anything. Last year, however, we decided to forgo have an SPL/ASPL in favor of having stronger patrol programs. The APL in each of our patrols is responsible for setting up the meeting room and preparing activities at each troop meeting. To me, that is more of a POR than a Chaplain' Aide who helps out with the Scout's Own Service at the campout once a
  19. At our troop meeting tonight, we were discussing the POR needed for one of our Life Scouts. He is the APL for his patrol and we realized tonight (or I re-realized) that it was not listed among the POR that qualified for Eagle. It seems that this position, if done properly, would have more responsibility than many of the other positions. Does anyone know why the APL position does not qualify for a rank POR?
  20. If you have a strong "inner circle" of adult leaders you work with (ASM's, CC, etc.), then I would talk to them first and let them know what is happening. You may have one or two potential successors waiting to take the position but didn't want to step on your toes. A couple of years ago, our long time committee chair (11 years) made an off hand comment about how she would step down if someone else wanted the job. As SM, I knew that one of our other adult leaders wanted the position, but didn't want to push her out (she did a solid job and hadn't had a son in the troop for almost ten years)
  21. My troop just got back from summer camp and had a great time. We rotate camps each year, so we are currently looking at two different camps in our council. One of the things the Scouts are looking at in choosing is that one has a dining hall and the other does patrol cooking in camp. Dining hall is nice because you don't have to worry about the equipment and you have a lot of extra time to do the fun things at camp. However, a few years ago, we went to a camp where the Scouts had patrol cooking and their teamwork development was great. I also feel that when you have a dining hall, the Sco
  22. My troop does six month terms, starting March 1 and September 1. The reason we do that instead of a full year is that a lot of our Scouts (and most of our best leaders) are in other activities throughout the year. Some may be really busy in the fall with football, marching band, etc. Others may be busier in the spring with baseball, track, lacrosse, etc. During their busier season, they may have the time to be a regular troop member or a lower level leadership position, but they don't have the time to really put in for a green bar position.
  23. To answer the question you posed in the subject, too little is what your troop defines it to be. My troop has had the issue off and on of Scouts who take a position, do nothing with it, and are the first ones in line to get their books signed off when they reach the required time needed for a rank. We recently developed criteria that really spells out what is expected for each leadership position. The Scouts are evaluated each month by their youth superior and their adult advisor. If they fall below average in two or more categories (out of the 5-7 for each position), then they are put
  24. I just returned from a Blue and Gold where my troop received six new Scouts into the troop. Over the years, I've probably been to 20 something of these events. It seems that the order of events always goes like this: 1. Dinner 2. Dessert 3. Entertainment (magician, etc.) 4. Awards 5. Crossover It seems that by the time they get to the awards, there are younger siblings and Tiger Cubs running around because they are sugarded up on cake and/or bored from sitting for so long. Also, a lot of parents are socializing in the back of the room. While the CM is trying to award an
  25. My troop had a Scout cross over last year that had joined Cub Scouts toward the end of fourth grade and had a late birthday for his class. He crossed over with his friends, but technically couldn't join until he either go his AOL or finished fifth grade. What we did was let him be a part of the troop with his friends, but we didn't turn in the application. We helped his Webelos leader work with him on his AOL for about two months until he finished it. For his first couple of campouts, his dad had to go with him on the campouts since he was still a Webelos. As soon as he finished his AOL,
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