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Posts posted by christineka

  1. Congrats!  How in the world did they do a merit badge counselor training?  Is there some set curriculum or something? I went to a training meeting, asked for merit badge counselor training and they insisted there was no such thing.  The only boy I've ever counseled is my own.  I keep trying to tell people I'm a counselor for various badges, but no one ever asks me :(

  2. It seems that yet again, I've instigated opening a can of worms.  There will now be discussions with higher up leadership to see if the boy scout troops can combine, so that ours can go camping on a monthly basis.  


    I, honestly do not know why our troop does not camp very often.  I do know that the one campout they had was a maybe until the night before, on account of the need for leadership.  Our cub and 11 year old boy scout programs are combined with a neighboring church's program, in order to have enough boys and leaders.  When that began, our most recent former scout master (he moved out of state) had been the cub master and had stated that it would also be good to combine the regular scout troop with another troop as well.  I was the one to instigate the partnership with the 8-11 program.  I hope I'm not known as a meddler or being a tattle tale.  


    Camping for all the boys in my son's troop would be awesome.  I know my son isn't the only one that desires to go camping or earn eagle. 

  3. It is a case, where we feel obligated to have our son in our church's boy scout troop.  They have activities on a weekly basis, but only two of those nights are for scouts. One night is to work on Duty to God (which is both a church award and a scout award).  i think the other night is for the boys and girls to have a combined fun activity.  It would be really odd for my son to join a boy scout troop that meets in the same building at the same time, but isn't ours.  Someone in here (or several someones) said the boy didn't actually have to belong to the troop to go camping with them.  Is that not correct?  It is now the end of August.  So far, other than residential camp, the troop has camped once this year.  I asked a scout leader about the camporee I had heard they would attend.  Apparently, that has been nixed because they don't want to drive an hour.  If the troop continues this practice of camping once a year, son will age out of scouts before earning the camping merit badge.  So will all the other boys.  I don't know what there plan is if they even have one.  I worry that they'll fudge things, by counting multiple residential camps.  Son really does want to go camping with boy scouts.  It's not me :)  (Okay, it's also nice to have him gone for a couple days.)  


    P.S.  Although not a scout position, there are leadership positions in the boys' organization at church.  My son is an assistant to the president.  It seems very important that he participate in our church's weekly activities.  If ever the community troop in the works comes to fruition, he can attend that.  It's supposed to be held on a day/time that actually works for us.

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  4. Given what you've written in these forums I think you and your son should pick one community troop to be a part of and stick with them rather thanpicking and choosing campouts to go on. Although I think most troops would always welcome a guest, if this is going to be more than a one time situation I think it's a better experience for everybody if he becomes part of a patrol, a group of friends, and learns to work and grow with them.


    We had planned for him to join a community troop, but we've proven weekly for the last month that the day/time of a second boy scout meeting is not going to work for our family.  It's a very bad day and time.  There is another community troop in the works, but it's been in the works for 8 months now, so not sure if it'll ever come to fruition.  I was going to advise my son to contact the other scoutmasters in our church area.  (We have 8 or so of what are called wards in our stake area.)  It would seem most reasonable to just ask them about joining up for camping.  I do not know if they camp on a monthly basis or not, but I suspect at least one of them does.  

  5. I'm trying to get my son to take care of communication that is appropriate for him.  When he finishes a merit badge requirement, I have him contact the merit badge counselor.   (Totally reasonable, I think.)  We've found out that the community troop isn't going to work with our schedule.  He wants to go camping more often with boy scouts, however.  Should I have him contact the various boy scout troops in the area to ask if he can go on campouts with them?  Or is that the sort of thing I, as parent should do?  On the one hand, it's an odd request, on the other, he's the one that wants to earn the camping merit badge.

  6. Good news- We were told today at a meeting with a "high ranking authority" in the church that the LDS church will continue their sponsorship of BSA.  The gay leader thing is not a problem, since sex is not a part of Boy Scouting. 


    I do sincerely hope, however, that LDS scout leaders will get the training they need and the desire to run the program as it should be, so that it is a positive experience for our boys.

  7. I was out of the state last week and talking to a co-worker that is LDS based in Utah.  I knew he did scouting so I asked him his opinion, it was interesting.  He said his only problem is now that it is legal to be a gay leader kids going to camp might be around gay people.  I mentioned that there are a lot of parents and other non-leaders at council events so that has always been the case.  I am pretty sure I saw him turned another shade of white after I said this.  That was an interested conversation.


    Most of the kids also attend public school, too.  The kids see all kinds of things there.  


    I've heard and read complaints from lds about lds scouting for years before now.  There are even blog posts about it.  Many lds wanted out of scouting before this ruling.  

  8. This came across my facebook feed today.  It's not just me, saying LDS parents want to ditch the scouting program.  http://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/6694-poll-majority-of-utah-mormons-want-lds-church-to-leave-the-boy-scouts


    My question is: If we ditch bsa on account of the flaky way it's being implemented at the local level, will anything change if the church comes up with some other program?  It will be the same leaders!  


    The LDS church embraced boy scouts shortly after it came to America- way back in the early 1900s.  I understand things were less regulated back then.  It was a different time.  The ideals of boy scouts do match up with what we want for our young men.  I think problems come with boys and leaders being expected to join, rather than volunteering/joining of their own desire.

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  9. As far as I understand it, the LDS church is re-evaluating their participation in bsa regarding the way the vote was taken (when bsa knew they'd be out on vacation), rather than the outcome of the vote.


    The LDS members in general can't wait till the church pulls out of BSA and I think it has nothing to do with bsa allowing gay leaders and everything to do with the way the program is being run on the local church level in addition to the inequality between programs for boys and girls in the church.  The girls from 8-18 get a wholly spiritual program, while the boys are told to do religious stuff at home.  The girls are given almost no recognition and very few awards, while the boys are lavished with awards for everything they do.  The boys get 5 times the budget the girls get, since scouting is so much more expensive than running a church program.   Many lds parents would welcome the boys having a spiritual church-only program, rather than having to participate in Boy scouts.  


    The ultra conservative lds homeschoolers, however, are concerned about their boys being in the vicinity of openly gay leaders while at scout camp.  I have a hunch that all the parents of boys, who attend public school and participate in sports and other activities, realize their kids have probably already been exposed to openly gay people, as well as what's even worse- drugs, drinking, and open sexual acts.  

  10. Not even a $1 (that's the fee to transfer).

    Multiples get coded as such gratis.


    However, for troops it should be a good reason like splitting time between parents living some distance apart. Not because you like the canoe trips of Troop A and the bowling nights of Troop B. It's just as easy for Troop A to invite Troop B up the river (maybe for the additional cost of whatever is not covered by Troop A's dues) and spare us all the paperwork.


    I tried to encourage boys from our troop to help a troop in their neighborhood start up. (That's how my troop got started back in the day.) Just doesn't seem to be in their mindset.


    But yes, the council registrar can make things happen if it would truly help the boy and his parents, and the SM's are willing to make it work for everyone involved.


    In my son's case it's that he's "supposed" to be a member of the church troop, but it sucks, so he is going to be in a traditional community troop as well.  

  11. The current troop merit badge counselor cannot actually play the instrument as far as I know. 


    Uh, how the heck?  I thought merit badge counselors were supposed to be "experts".  If the counselor can't play, how does he know if the scout has played correctly?

  12. I think all this discussion on Trail Life is pointless.  I'm fairly certain the LDS church is not going to want to be associated with another church's program for boys, especially one that requires a statement of faith.  As an LDS, I never can join the groups with those faith statements because my faith does not line up with theirs.  The LDS church does already have a program for boys under age 12, who do not have the option to join a cub scout program.  It's the same as their program for Girls: Activity Days.  The older boys already have an organization.  They attend mutual weekly.  Boy scouts is just two weeks of the month of their mutual activities.  They could easily drop the scout part.  They would then have more time to work on their Duty to God award.  (I know it is neglected at my church.  I've not known any boy to receive it, yet there are three different awards for the different aged boys.)  As an LDS member, I, personally, would rather have the church focus on the Spiritual stuff and then my son can be a boy scout in a non-denominational community troop.

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  13. With my own son, yes I do limit him. I do not want him taking MBs he can do at home. I told him point blank "no paperpushing MBs for you!" On the plus side, he realizes that and agrees with me. ;)  With the exception of Orienteering, he picked every single MB on his own. He asked for another MB to take, and I said 'If you like geocaching, you'll love orienteering since it's old school geocaching."  And he did.


    Problem is that the camp we've been to limits who can take the 2 MBs he really wants to take: Rifle Shooting and Shotgun Shooting.


    I encouraged my son to take camp type badges, but also let him make his own choices.  It didn't help that our troop was not on top of things and signed up late, so the options were not so many.  he took lifesaving, basketry, archery, rifle shooting, wilderness survival, archaeology, and art.  He could have done archaeology and art at home, but he managed to get them done at camp (and before, since they had pre-requisites.)  

  14. I looked at the list of merit badges available at camp and was surprised what was on the list.  I never was a boy scout, but was a girl scout, and did attend a boy scout family camp every spring for years.  I think camp should be full of fun camp kinds of stuff- like boating, swimming, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, nature and nature-y type stuff, shooting sports, as well as the typical camp crafts, like leather work or basketry.  I let my son choose what he wished, though.  I expected partials.  He has now completed all camp badges, except archery, which he may just have to retake at camp until he gets it.  At girl scout camp I earned badges, too, but was having so much fun in the outdoors, I didn't know I was earning them and really didn't care either.

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  15. I talked to one scout's mom to see if there were any more campouts than what I'd known about.  She said there weren't (and her son even camped one less night than my son, due to being sick.), but she also wants to know about more campouts that her son can go on.  It seems very wrong for a scout troop to go on one, non-residential campout within 6 months.  


    I have a feeling scoutmaster has no idea what order of the arrow is all about and just nominated several boys, not telling them what they were getting into.  I will ask son how that went.

  16. I can play reed instruments as well as brass, guitar, piano and fife. I know what it means to practice.


    With that being said, I wouldn't put a scout in the bulging POR unless he can do a fair job to begin with. At the minimum he needs to have the bulging MB. PORs expect some level of proficiency to begin with. One does not give webmaster responsibility to someone who can't turn a computer on. Same for bulging.


    One of the requirements to earn the bugling merit badge is to be the troop bugler for 3 months.  I recommend appointing kid to troop bugler after he is somewhat proficient on the instrument, not when he begins work on the badge, if he has never played a brass instrument before.

  17. Thanks for bringing up the mouthpiece!  I bought a rexcraft bugle and tried playing it.  I wondered what was wrong with me, because the tone sounded awful.  Then, I tried a regular trumpet mouthpiece and it was pretty good.  (The rexcraft bugle still has some intonation issues.)  I later bought a Mogul replica bugle.  Again, the mouthpiece that came with it was garbage and made playing difficult.  A standard trumpet mouthpiece makes it a nice instrument.  (It can play the lowest bugle ton for "Call to Quarters", but is pitched at b-flat, so harder for a beginner to play.)

  18. My older boy went through the program.  (Wolf-Arrow of Light) Now it's my little boy's turn.  I was a little bored with it, because I'd already done wolf, but the program has now changed, so it'll be a new adventure for Bears on.  My boys have very different personalities.  My older son is a "getter done" kinda kid.  (Or he was, before he turned into a lazy tween.)  Little boy wants to get it done, but he has some pretty bad attention deficit issues, which makes getting it done difficult.

  19. My son "earned" the cooking merit badge at camp last year and then it was awarded.  I had no idea, until recently what this badge entailed.  I didn't go to camp.  I didn't see what he did.  I highly doubt he actually earned that award, but it's done with now.  He got signed off and awarded the badge.

  20. Learning to play a brass instrument is hard.  It's not like clarinet, where you just have to figure out the embouchure and then you can play- at least the basic set of notes.  (I'm not a clarinetist- my husband is.  He claims the instrument is hard, but his brand new students can play Mary had a little lamb right off the bat- it just sounds airy.)  With a brass instrument, you have to build muscles in the face to play the notes.  Most of the bugle calls have at least one high "g" in them and that requires quite a bit of muscle building.  I encouraged my son to join band as a cornet player.  He did and practiced daily.  He was able to pass off all the bugle calls after a year.  Playing bugle is not like playing a recorder or a piano.  It requires time and daily practice.  


    Using a bugle in the key of G will help, since the notes are lower than a bugle in b-flat.  One caution is that the Rexcraft bugle in G cannot play the lowest note, required in "Call to Quarters"

  21. I agree with your entire post, but I'll argue in some cases that both types of Eagles have not met the requirements.  And I will put most of the blame on what I'm about to say on adult leaders and not the scouts.  Too often I think leaders rubber stamp awards and achievements.  


    The more I look into requirements of what my son has supposedly accomplished, as well as what a counselor has told him is "all" he needs to do to earn a badge, I see the pencil whipping going on.  What is my son supposed to do about it?  If he was a really awesome scout, he should look into the requirements and insist upon doing them, but he's a boy, with all those other boys around him and he wants the same as them- to be awarded badges and move up through the ranks, so he goes along with it.  When he was a cub scout, this kind of stuff went on and I had the influence to get him to refuse unearned badges.  He would later earn them and accept, but the other boys (the same ones he's with now) would accept the unearned badge and their parents had no problems with it either.  They've all moved to boy scouts now and I'm just in the background.  I don't feel like I can do anything about this other than steer my son for whatever he does at home.  (The Physical Fitness counselor described what son had to do to earn the badge and it's a whole lot watered down than what the requirements say.  I could direct son to go to the counselor listed on his blue card instead, though I have no clue whether that guy requires all the requirements listed or not- and why does my kid want to do the "harder version", when he could get away with the "easy version" the other boys did to be awarded the badge?)  What do you do about this pencil whipping?  I do believe it is more the adults' fault than the boys.  The boys- or at least the ones I've seen are not begging to have the requirements watered down.  I think in many cases they don't even know what the requirements are, just do what the counselor says, and rejoice when the card is signed.  The adult has the power to not sign.  Why are they doing it, if the badge wasn't earned?