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cjlaird

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About cjlaird

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  1. Thick skin - that's a good one... haha. I was booted out because I was so vocal about the way the troop was being sabotaged by Jerk-1 and Jerk-2, and because I had the training and experience in scouting to know how things were supposed to be... same reason the old SM was booted in 2003 - we both knew what the program was, how it was supposed to be run, and were trying to get the bad dads to follow the published rules. Sadly, Option 2 may be the plan we will probably have to look at and consider if we can't salvage what's there in the next 6 to 12 months. However, I think Option 3, as proposed by John-in-KC, is the one we will work for in the foreseeable future. All the troop members, both boys and adults (including the COR), seem to be pretty highly motivated to keep the troop alive. I've thought for quite some while that if we get rid of the problem members - the guys who are members on paper only - that we stand a pretty good chance of getting new boys and improving the troop environment for everyone. SM mentioned that, at one of the recent meetings, she suggested including the two chronically absent boys in the planning for some activity, and none of the newer boys even knew who was being discussed. It's been over 15 months since either of them even dropped in to say hello, so it isn't as if they would be missed if they were all knocked off the charter. We aren't looking to build a huge troop - but we'd sure be happy to have from 6 to 18 active scouts by the end of 2011. At the present time, our SM thinks we can get the old SM and his wife to come back in an advisory capacity to serve on the committee. If we're lucky enough to get them, I want to appoint one to oversee training the youth members & make sure they have the proper direction, and to act as a buffer between the boys and the parents so the troop can learn to be youth-led again, and appoint the other to oversee training for the adults on the roster and make sure it's current within guidelines. In consideration of trying to attract new boys and cubs in transition to troop, I have ANOTHER question for y'all. Our CO has both this troop and a cub pack. What do we do about CM/WL/DL personnel in the brother pack of our CO who seem absolutely bent on routing ALL of the transitioning cubs from the pack to one particular troop where the leader/s went through their own scouting as youth? There's a guy I've heard about from several sources who seems to go out of his way to poison the well for all the troops in town by telling the parents of the cubs in that pack that no other troop is good enough for their little darlings. The troop in question is considered an 'Eagle factory' that hasn't always necessarily pushed the right leadership & scout skills, just mainly focuses on rank advancement to Eagle by age 14, with a reputation for booting out boys who fail to reach Eagle by 14, and it's full of kids whose parents are doctors & lawyers & such.
  2. Sorry guys & gals, I've been away a few days. To WAKWIB, hey... I love HOAC, took much of my commissioner training with your council's team... but no, I'm not a member there. As to training, so far as I know there's not a scrap of YPT with the problem dads. What I do know is that these guys have chronically resisted any kind of training over the last 9 years and haven't even shown up for meetings the past 2+ years. I would be amazed if they had any kind of proof of current training with dates prior to 12/2010. The crap of which you speak has cascaded since 2001 because these bad dads have resorted to intimidation and/or coercion to get the other leaders and committee members in the troop to agree to what the bad dads wanted for their kids, e.g., rank advancement & so forth without having to actually attend or participate or follow the rules according to BSA policy or troop bylaws. They systematically got rid of everyone who knew how the program should be run and tried to ruin and besmirch the reputation of a SM who was in the troop for some 15 years until the latter part of 2003. Consequently, we have a couple of namby-pamby types who made Eagle without having to attend summer camp and troop campouts, and although one of them can say he was SPL for 3 terms, he was so cowed and intimidated by his own dad's influence that he has absolutely no leadership skills whatsoever. Hi Mike F - thanks for the input. I've been associated with this troop from 1998 until I was forced out by the idiot faction 2 or 3 years ago. The period between 2003 and 2007 was when the idiot faction was actively getting rid of everyone in the troop with even a shred of training or knowledge of how the scouting program should be run. Troop dynamics haven't changed all that much since the bad dads quit coming to meetings, but they have had such a stranglehold over the troop that they still exert control the way the troop leaders approach things. However, with the exception of maybe one or two of the newer youth members, I still know everybody in the troop. The DE has indicated to the SM and the present CC that he will work with us on retaining charter, regardless of low numbers. The present COR is not the same man who was working on the side of the idiots back in 2005 and 2006... the new COR has stated he is interested in doing what's in the best interests of the good of the troop. Gary, I would love to retain one or both of these guys on the committee, simply for the numbers issue, but they have shown time and again that they are simply NOT interested in the good of the troop - they are only interested in themselves and in getting recognition for their lazy sons by ignoring the rules of the program. They want to be retained on the roster just so they can go around and boast that they are "still" members of BSA. Of the two jerks, the lesser jerk simply doesn't attend anything. He's on the roster, but nobody has seen him in 5 or 6 years except when it's time to pay renewal membership fees, or to come make some excuse why his precious son (now 15) can't attend something. This is the dad who told the troop he'd signed his kid up for a space camp session during the same week the troop was set to go to Camp Hale in Okla, but when we got back we discovered the kid never went to space camp - he stayed home playing computer games. The greater jerk is the one the entire troop wants to get rid of. He's the one who used to remove boys from meeting rooms to go have private discussions where nobody else could witness what was going on - and no amount of reprimands from the other leaders, or telling him it was inappropriate had any effect on him. He's the one who used to come to meetings and stand 10 feet away from his kid to make sure his kid said what he wanted his kid to say while he was SPL. He's the one who, along with his best bud (former COR), got rid of one of the best SMs I've ever seen and attempted to ruin the man's reputation within the council. At a recent camporee that was called off due to excessively bad weather, six kids were vying for a prize in some skill competition. When the word went out that the camporee organizers were calling it quits, the skill competition ended despite the fact that there was already a winner. The winner never got his prize - instead, it was given by the greater jerk (who was the competition supervisor) to his son (our SPL at the time) who didn't even compete in the skill. Scoutnut - Committee meetings have been a problem because when these guys say they're going to be there, nobody else will attend - because of the intimidation and B.S. factors - and then when the guys turn out to be no-shows, as usual, all that's left is the SM, CC, and SPL. My son, a former troop member & an Eagle through this troop (in spite of the efforts of the bad dads to prevent his achievements), has indicated he may agree to come on as a committee member, as his work schedule allows, to help us stabilize things & turn the focus back where it needs to be: boy-run activities and adequate troop participation for honest advancement of skills and ranks. Shortridge - we have a SM, 2 AS, an outgoing CC, 1 MC, and me... and some interested former youth members who are now adults but won't rejoin while the bad dads are on the roster. From what I gather, the new COR may be more of a figurehead than a participating member, as the SM says he is very hard to get hold of and it then takes 2 or 3 weeks to get him to meet with anybody. However, he does seem very interested in getting the troop back on track. I agree with you about keeping the non-attending youth on the roster & deleting their dads - and we may do just that if the DE suggests it's the best way to go forward at this time - but if the DE can help us retain our charter without the boys who won't attend, and assist us in attracting new members, so much the better. Some of our former youth members have said they know boys who are interested in being scouts... but distance & transportation is a problem for them (they live 25 to 30 miles out). Clemlaw - We have 2 boys on the roster who don't attend campouts & summer camps (or meetings) because their dads think they aren't "man enough" to weather the elements or keep up with the others, or they don't attend because their dads don't want to bother to go on the activity and don't want their kids to participate without them. The kid who was SPL for 3 terms in 2002-2003, was the son of the bigger of the 2 jerks in the troop. This kid refused to go to summer camp after 2003. In the 2003 s-camp, while he was SPL, he refused to get up early enough to do the morning flag ceremony, lead the boys down to the dining hall, and do his other duties - my son, as senior boy in the troop, quietly assumed those responsibilities. When the SPL was voted out of the position - and rightfully so - both of his parents threw a highly visible tantrum during the meeting & threatened everybody in the troop. They demanded a re-election, charging that the SM "hated" their son & "rigged" the vote, and the SM refused to cave in. The parents then polled each and every boy who voted to find out who he "really voted for" and every last one of the boys refused to talk to them, AND refused to cast another vote. The troop members had to deal with a major sour-grapes attitude from the dad over this issue for almost a year - this was in 2004 - over his kid being passed over on the SPL election, as if not being SPL was going to cause his kid to break out in ribbons & lace or something. Must leave now, but I'll check back in later & respond to more when I get back.
  3. SM & current CC both know exactly who borrowed the funds, and how much it was. It's me who is a little unclear in the details at the moment. As I understand it, the boys' troop accounts were all completely zeroed out. If there were still funds, I'm sure the Committee would have siezed what was needed to restore the troop's loss, with the full support of the COR. I'm still waiting for the paperwork to go through on my troop member application before I obtain more clearly defined information and prepare to step into the latrine pit. SM says it may take a few days (up to 2 or 3 weeks) to get all the signatures because the COR is notoriously hard to reach. In the meantime, the troop leadership is going to get me a copy of the present troop by-laws so that I can see what the stated rules are and what ought to be adjusted a tad. Ultimate irony is, the guys whom the troop wants to boot out of there now are the same guys who got told me my dues were being refused at the end of 2006 (over the strenuous objections of everyone else in the troop), and now I get the opportunity to return the favor. In retrospect, if I'd had my wits about me in 2007, nad had not been so thoroughly burned out by these guys' nonsense, I could have paid dues to the council and maintained an at-large commissioner membership. But hindsight is clearer, and I was in the aftermath of a major move from one home to another at the time. The odd thing is, I don't really have any hard feelings over the whole thing - it was just politics. I guess they believed I had to go so they could wrest more control and deal with less criticism from an educated well-trained person - and they didn't count on running into opposition from everyone else after I left. As for me, I just don't believe they have any business being part of a troop they and their kids don't attend more than once a year, and to which they owe a monetary debt. Reduction in youth population numbers wouldn't be an issue this year, except for the fact that we have to maintain a certain number of kids on the charter in order to renew. If we knock off two (possibly three) kids from the charter at the same time we knock out the bad dads, the troop would have to recruit at least 2 new boys to replace them over the next 2 to 3 weeks - which sometimes tends to be kind of a trick during the Thanksgiving through Christmas period, unless we are able to get a dispensation from Council to allow a re-up with a temporary numbers reduction due to extenuating circumstances. Although... if word gets out that the bad dads are gone, it might not be so much of a problem. To ScoutNut - NO. The boys in question have done NO fundraising activity for the last 3 to 5 years, have NOT attended summer camp since about 2004 or 2005, have come to only one (1) troop meeting in the last 12 months, have a reputation for attending only about 10% of the time between 2004 and 2010, and have attended NO weekend campouts since 2004. Losing them would only be a hardship in terms of maybe not having enough names on the charter to re-up. To Lisabob - I doubt very seriously these bad dads will simply "opt out" of the troop when faced with the facts, whether the COR steps in and has a talk with them or not. They are so entrenched and so opinionated they think they own the troop and can do no wrong. Best route, based on everything I know about the bad dads, is to get a broad agreement from the rest of the adults and the COR to just cross their names off the roster and say as little about it as possible. If they appear with money in hand to pay dues we'll give them the option of applying it to last year's dues debt or finding another troop. Meantime, SM and CC and the others are so excited about getting me to come back they're practically dancing. SM says "AT LAST!!! We can finally have a committee meeting again."
  4. I've been associated with this troop since 1998 in one form or another. And, I've been putting up with "holy hell" from the Neanderthals since 2001. They're responsible for the fact that I left the troop after 2006, once they wore me down to the point where I decided it wasn't worth the battle any longer. The old COR is now out - he was one of the problems between 2001 and 2007 - and the new COR wants what's best for the good of the troop. One of the two adults who has been the biggest jerks in the troop has been on the committee for what seems like eons. He has kept the committee from holding regular meetings for quite some time because either nobody will vote the way he wants them to or he doesn't show up. There are few active adults left in the troop - SM, 2 or 3 AS, CC & 1 or 2 MC - and they have all said they want the change to occur.
  5. Following a 3- or 4-year hiatus, I was recently asked to apply for re-admittance into the membership of my son's old troop as a committee person. The leaders gave me an application and asked me to turn it in a couple of weeks ago, so I applied to be brought on board as a MC. When I turned in the app. I was told it's been unanimously decided that I will be appointed as CC as soon as the dust from the re-entry paperwork has settled (before re-chartering ends next month). The position title itself isn't a problem. I have adequate training - Doctorate of Commissioner Service, Woodbadge, 3 years of sessions at Philmont, 15+ years of other leader training, a degree in psychology, etc. - so the title doesn't bother me in the least. But I feel that a certain amount of very careful treading will be necessary. I'm not sure exactly how to proceed. Being nominated as CC in the atmosphere that presently exists in the troop is almost a scary prospect. There are a lot of issues needing attention, and some serious resolution is going to be necessary. Many of the problems have been long in the making, and attention to them has been avoided for an equally long time. Apparently I'll be the one everyone hopes will take charge of the situation and help the troop get back on track with the way things ought to be run. Historically, over the past 9 years, the troop has had problems from the dads in three particular families. Out of the five total kids from these three families, two are well entrenched spoiled-rotten brats with exaggerated senses of entitlement, very low levels of self-start ability, no leadership skills, and they're totally lacking in common sense. They're a lot like turkeys - would probably drown if you didn't tell them not to look up while it rained. All three of the dads in question have behaved like ignorant boobs for years, intimidating the daylights out of other leaders and committee members, frightening a goodly number of the youth members, and interfering with the troop's ability to teach the ineffective offspring anything useful. One of the dads even went so far as to actively and overtly sabotage the efforts of at least two of the troop's boys as they tried to finish merit badges and projects so they could make Eagle. These dads and their spouses have also resisted taking any form of leader training (at any level), and the dads have shown themselves to be shamelessly irresponsible hypocrites, braggarts, liars, and cheats, who obviously favor and promote their own kids at the expense and detriment of other kids who are better qualified with better skills. Generally, they're the kind of adults who are so reprehensible, irresponsible, and self-absorbed that any sensible troop would want to avoid their ilk like the plague. They caused 7 kids (out of 16) to either transfer to other troops or quit scouting entirely over the space of 2 months after summer camp ended in 2002. Aside from that, I could list all the stunts and the nonsense they've pulled since 2001... but it's a veritable book at this point and life's too short to waste that kind of time. I'm now told that a more recent problem that has arisen in the troop has to do with these same families - again. Two of the dads in question - aside from the other long-term problems they've caused - have now become financially indebted to the troop. Last December, when the troop was rechartering for the 2010 period, one or both of these dads wiped out all of the remaining funds in their respective sons' troop accounts to use the money toward the recharter fees for the boys and the dads. In and of itself, their decision to do this was ok, in that it wasn't against troop policy at the time to do this. That's not the issue. The issue is, these guys said 'oh, gee, we can't pay the difference of what we owe tonight' and then proceeded to borrow some $30 to $50 from the troop's funds because they claimed to be short of funds to pay the balance of their fees. Here's the rub: As the SM and current CC recently outlined to me, despite the fact that both of these dads are gainfully employed, and both of them have wives who are also gainfully employed, the dads told the troop leadership that they didn't have any cash on them to pay the balance of the fees, and they'd left their checkbooks at home. There weren't enough funds left in the boys' collective troop accounts to pay the re-chartering fees for the boys and their fathers, and the money they borrowed from the troop to cover their shortfall has NOT been paid back. They conned the committee into OK-ing the payment of the remainder of their fees (somewhere between $30 and $50, as I understand it) with the agreement, and the understanding of the entire adult contingent in the troop, that it was to be a loan that would be paid back. Well, as I suspected, the loan is still outstanding and the troop leadership and committee are not happy campers over the deal. The boys and their dads have attended only one or two gatherings of the troop over the past 18 months, and when they were present at the meetings, the boys behaved like the same inept over-indulged kids and the adults created their usual diversions to keep the other troop members distracted from their objectives of learning scout skills & completing merit badge requirements. Rechartering begins anew for the 2011 season very soon. We would like to keep the kids on the roster for our rechartering numbers (and there's no point in penalizing them for their dads' actions), but nobody in the troop - kids or adults - wants the dads of these two families to remain on the troop roster. What are the options here? What advice can be offered for a troop policy for handling the outstanding loan problem, the decision of how to handle a reduction of troop numbers by crossing out the names of the problem adults so as to make it clear that they already rendered themselves as "probationary" members when they failed to pay their own dues last year and/or failed to repay their debt to the troop. What we might expect in terms of possible repercussions or whatever else might come up in relation to this mess?
  6. I suspect the BSA is being somewhat reactionary in demanding that their adult volunteers supply an SSN for background checks. And, quite frankly, I suppose it could be argued that it's at least in part due to the fact that the Wichita KS Quivira Council BSA suddenly had a major moral and legal embarrassment a while back when the BTK serial killer was caught and found to be an actively participating Boy Scout leader in the Wichita area who did a lot of camping with the boys and other leaders. Of course, Dennis Rader looked just like your regular guy on the street, and he had the "innocent" persona down pat: well thought of in the community, family man, city employee with a good service record, church deacon and pastor's assistant, several years in BSA as a leader. I actually met Rader at a couple of campouts before anyone found out what he'd done - he had a kind of creepy way about him, but no more than any other dedicated lecher I've met. So when it was discovered this mild-looking guy, who was a BSA member with a supposedly sterling reputation, also happened to have a 30-odd-year history of killing people for sport, somebody (or perhaps a lot of somebodies) in the BSA went blinking ballistic, as did the general public, and the law enforcement services in that area, and the press. Personally, I don't agree with the demand for SSN. I know what it is to go through an honest-to-God background check. I did it for the USN/R because of my work at that time, and believe me, they checked everything I ever did practically from the day I was born. A REAL background check doesn't depend on looking up anybody's SSN... it involves looking up people's "nether regions" and every single other aspect of their lives to make sure there aren't any skeletons in the closet. A SSN check won't weed out the crazies, it won't show a valid picture of who has good or bad credit ratings (the credit bureaus are unbelievably screwed up), it won't show who has the ability to be a good or bad leader, and it sure as heck won't prove the person applying for BSA membership is the actual person whose name appears on the Social Security card. There are other ways to check a person's background, but BSA has apparently gotten stuck on the misguided idea that demanding an SSN will solve all their alleged problems and help keep their slates clean. If they want my SSN, fine; if they don't want it, fine. I don't particularly care one way or the other about letting them have it. I don't suppose anyone wants to be me anyway - my credit score sucks serious donkey butt. With or without my SSN, BSA won't find anything the FBI didn't find back in 1980 when I joined the Navy Reserves intelligence community, and I'm basically the same now as I was then: a female who's not interested at all in guys younger than myself, who doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't take drugs other than antihistamines and aspirin, and doesn't party. I've never done anything I knew to be illegal, and the one time I did something I discovered later was wrong, I quit doing it. I used to go to campouts for the purpose of getting the boys to their destination, and while there I spent my time reading or doing needlework while holding down the campsite so the kids could go to their activities. Occasionally, I drove someone up to the lodge office for first aid, or ran errands for the other leaders. I'm just a boring gal who just enjoys going to watch the youngsters learn something new & figure out how to put it into use, and make notes about it to remind myself to put it into their records when we get back. In my opinion, regardless of what anyone else thinks, I believe that if BSA wants to enforce the SSN demand, in light of people's very valid concerns about identity theft and with respect to the fact that most BSA offices and computer systems are not exactly secure enough to keep such information private, then BSA is the entity that will wind up suffering when people put their collective foot down and say "no" to the idea of giving up their SSN in order to be a leader of committee member. It will be BSA's loss - and ultimately the boys' loss - because this policy will not only serve no useful purpose, it will drive away the very people they need so desperately to help make the program run right.
  7. Depends on whether you're wanting to do this as a report to other troops, as a memory book within your own unit, or as a report to your home council on where you went and how everyone rated the place. For a council report (especially if you go to an out-of-council summer camp or merit badge activity), or fof an in-house troop report (for troop records or for the committee): it's helpful to state some of the reasons the boys elected to go elsewhere, outside the council perimeter, within the body of the report text - considerations like "we wanted to camp in the mountains" for a plains area unit, or "this camp offered blacksmithing experiences" are helpful reasons. Next, state where you all went (name of camp or merit badge activity, town/state location &/or name of foreign council), what activities were most attractive to the group in making their decision to go, how many in the unit went along, how successful the trip was, and whether or not you would make a return trip to repeat the experience. For a report you intend to submit to a brother or sister troop, or a blog designed to help other units make a decision, name the place you went, the number of kids and adults on the trip, describe the offered or scheduled activities, the amenities, the weather conditions during the time you were there, and the quality of the staff and food service you encountered. For troop-only record keeping, I like to see the troop scribe and the troop historian pool their respective efforts in documenting troop activities and campouts. The historian should keep a Troop 'Scrapbook of Activities', and keep everything in chronological order (matching it up to the troop outing chart). For each activity entry, he should label the activity (campout to Lake Wheretheheckarewe, a 5-mile hike, summer camp, car wash fundraiser, etc.), the date of the event, and then document the names of those who were there (youth & adults). The historian is responsible for either taking photos (or ensuring someone else does) and making photo captions (if any). The scrapbook should be brought out and displayed during courts of honor, and when prospective members and their families attend, so that everyone can see what the troop has been doing. The troop scribe should keep a record of activities and events as a written "History of the Troop". In this, he should also list the names of those who attended, but should approach the activity descriptions a little differently - such as, how successful the activity was, what problems came up and how they were handled, what the good points and bad points were, and a concensus of how many of the attending members would like to see the unit repeat the activity. A comment sheet passed out at the troop meeting immediately following the activity can be set up to ask simple questions like - "Did you like/enjoy this activity?, and state why you liked or disliked it" "Do you have any suggestions to make it better?" "Would you like to see the unit repeat this in the future?" "On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best possible experience, how would you rate this event?" In terms of having what you call "a specific technique", it should contain the basic Who What Where When & Why information. If the historian and scribe encounter difficulty with the concept of keeping a record the troop can look back on, perhaps an older youth or one of the assistant SM's can oversee the process until the youth gets the hang of it. A point system can be implemented to help as a learning tool and performance incentive - (1) the youth is on time and is prepared for the meeting or activity - (2) the youth has the proper materials - (3) the youth attended the scheduled activities or made arrangements for a substitute to attend in his place and do his job - (4) the youth presents himself properly attired and equipped for the event (meeting or other activity) according to the dress code of the unit - (5) the youth shows scout spirit. Additional points may be awarded as determined by the SM and CC, depending on the job.
  8. I don't know that this is the entire reason for the present requirement for adults to provide their SSN to the BSA, but I'm personally convinced that a major factor in forming this policy probably had a lot to do with the increasing reports of child sexual abuse by youth leaders (and priests), and the BTK guy in Wichita KS. Dennis Rader was a married man with children of his own, a city employee in good standing, a church deacon, the pastor's assistant, a Boy Scout Leader, and a serial killer. My son and I were actually at a couple of council-wide campouts where Rader was in attendance, and just the idea that he was in the same camping area was enough to give me the willies, even five to ten years after the fact. The Boy Scouts of America has an obligation to the parents and families of their membership. The organization simply cannot afford to have people making application to be members in their adult ranks whom they cannot run background checks on. There is just too much liability involved when it comes to the children of others, and leaders of the opposite gender who are working hand-in-hand with the scoutmaster & committee, within the troops. I'm actually a little surprised that they don't ask for proof of US citizenship or a green card, too, considering the crackdowns on illegals I've read about in the news.
  9. Desert & talk? Is it a dry conversation then? (hehe) Personally, the boys in our troop always liked "dessert" - and I usually tried to remember to bring home-made cookies to BoR nights to celebrate the efforts of everyone who was "on the line of fire" that evening. Seriously - I agree that a good basic question to ask the Eagle candidate is, "aside from the work (he) has done on projects and merit badges, whether or not (he) feels sufficiently qualified, or thinks he possesses the necessary qualities, to justify being promoted to the next rank", and describe why he thinks so. Another couple of questions I like to see asked are: "What two or three things have you participated in, or worked on, as a member of this troop (or in the community) that made you feel that you truly understood what it is to be a ranking Scout in the troop (and a responsible citizen in the community)?" "What leadership responsibilities have you taken on, or been asked to assume, that made you feel as if you had really accomplished something important when completed?"
  10. To Dcopl01 - re, tax deductions For adult leaders involved with youth organizations, the cost of the troop-related expenses you incur are deductible. This includes the cost of camping equipment, uniforms, fuel and/or mileage you put in/on your vehicle, as they are expenses related to your membership and active participation in what's considered, under the tax codes, as a "charitable" activity. Keep your receipts & use them to back up your claims. If you need information about how to declare these deductions, you can either call an accountant or go to the Publication 17 (information book) put out by the IRS for clarification and knowledge about what form to use.
  11. Re: from Scoutldr / Old Dominion "A modest proposal...can the popcorn. Make up the difference by charging user fees for Council services. $10 to process a Tour Permit. $15 to record an advancement form. $50 for an Eagle Application. 25% surcharge on all Scout Shop sales. $100 to rent a meeting room for training. You get the idea. It works for banks!" I love seeing things from this guy - he's usually pretty level-headed & knowledgable. But --- (there's always one of those, isn't there?) The proposals Scoutldr/Old Dominion makes sounds good on the surface - BUT consider the possibility for abusing these ideas in the Council if the system is instituted. I have serious reservations about paying to process forms that are required BY the council, for submission TO the council, as part of their reporting policies. If they demand the forms, THEY should be willing to swallow the cost of processing them. If not, what are the advancement and other office personnel there for? - and how much air space do we allow useless office people to take up at the Council offices if they weren't hired to serve the units? I particularly DON'T agree with a fee to process troop/pack advancement reports. That should be a service the council provides to each and every scout (via the troop/pack) and it should be guaranteed as part of the youth's membership in BSA. On hiking prices in the Council Scout Shops: People will begin circumventing the Scout Shop and order items direct from the catalog if prices are raised in the Council shops at a percentage that is noticably higher than the catalog price, or substituting generic items of the same color and general style. The uniform items and other merchandise is already ridiculously overpriced through the catalog because they're charging for the BSA name. You might as well call it Scouts, Inc. and consider it a for-profit company right now - and watch it bankrupt itself with increases at Scout Shops in the Council offices. On Tour Permits: Earlier this year, our local scout council started requiring a tour permit be filed for every single activity that occurs outside of the regular meeting place (and argues it's even if it's a planned hike around the block a few times for the purpose of meeting fitness requirements for rank or badge). If a troop is very active, and it costs $10 for every tour permit (on top of other outing costs), and a tour permit is required for every single activity that gets planned, it's going to discourage a lot of units from being quite so active, which in turn is a disservice to the youth. Some troops already have kids who can't afford the basic $10 fee to cover food costs on a set of menus for a weekend campout - and these are the same kids who have trouble finding money to buy used uniforms from Goodwill. The families who are financially pinched complain bitterly if a camping activity has activity fees of over $8-$10 to go to a camporee or museum or $20 to go to a merit badge conference (on top of the basic food costs), plus transportation expenses. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a troop in our community routinely charges membership fees of $2,000-$2,500 a year per boy - in advance - for a year's membership and for "activity fees and troop dues" because the kids in this unit do so much and they go on such expensive camping excursions (spending $200-$250 per camper or higher for summer camp at Camp Alexander or Ben Delatour). This is the same troop that's considered the Country Club Troop (full of doctor's and lawyer's and banker's kids) and is frowned on and ridiculed locally among other troops because it is known as an "Eagle Factory." On fees for processing ranks: Last year our troop graduated 6 Eagles (an unusually high number for us, given the small size of the troop, but they were boys who promised the previous scoutmaster they would earn it and have been very dedicated so as not to disappoint him). There have been another 1 or 2 out of the previous scoutmasters group already this year, with 2 or 3 more expected later in the year or early in 2006 from the younger ones who have observed the older boys' example. Two of last years' crop were brothers, two were kids from lower income households, one's dad was a Better-Than-Thou type with loads of income, and the last one was my kid. The troop was almost broke last year, and could barely afford the $23 Eagle Presentation Box we got for each one. The families elected to buy their own sons' Eagle Neckerchiefs and I made braided turk's head slides for each boy in red-white-blue gimp. Question: Who's going to pay the $50 Eagle processing fee if it's a rank for a kid from a low income family and neither the family nor the troop can afford it? Do we deprive the young man of his rightful rank? NO, I think not. It isn't ethical to expect a young man to work his fanny off for 3 to 6 years to earn the Eagle rank and then make him, his family, or his troop pay for filing the report. On fundraisers: How does one make up for poor sales if the troop is dealing with an over-priced item and everyone says "that costs too much" or "we don't want any" or "we can't afford to help this year?" We had kids who were "super salesmen" in our troop - sold lots every year, but it was never enough to bring in sufficient funds to significantly raise the troop's treasury. We had to be careful how much was spent on advancements and other necessities. On selling the camps: The problem about selling the camps doesn't exist if the parties who acquire land for (or donate the land to) the Scout Council have the foresight to have the deeds or the donation set up on the acquisition in such a way so that Council has free use of the land so long as they care for it, maintain any buildings constructed, and pay the taxes and insurance, but if the Council attempts to sell the land, the Council not only gets no money for it, the land also reverts back to the party or family who owned it before the Council had the use of it as a camp. That happened here, and when the Council discovered the land couldn't be offered for sale without losing both the money AND the use of the land, they found other ways to operate the camp and the council - and it hasn't appreciably cut into the cost of operations for the Council, so far as they've been willing to reveal. In another case, a council camp actually was sold within the last 5 years, and it turned out that someone on the Council Committee had personal ties to the real estate sales office wanting to acquire the land. This committee member was offered a large sum of money under the table as a bribe for helping to liberate the property for sale to developers, and the price the council got wasn't even considered competitive fair-market value for the land where it was located. The council got ripped off, the committee member personally benefitted, and the members/boys got screwed.
  12. YES - it's TOO EXPENSIVE. Once the prices went up - about 5 or 6 years ago - I had to say no to everyone who was selling anything. I got so darned sick and tired of having these poor kids come to the door soliciting sales that I just quit buying altogether. Even from my own kids. I'll donate my time, I'll give a little cash occasionally to the unit, I'll donate things for the food bank or the homeless shelter, I'll drive a carload of kids to camp, and I'll even buy a scout shirt for a youth who hasn't the funds to buy his own. I'll help the troop sell candy bars (if they give good value for the money), and I'll help supply items for a supper (spaghetti or potato bar) and help man the serving line & help cook the items - but I won't BUY popcorn or anything else unless it's an item I need. Sorry guys - I'm just tired of watching everyone tiptoe around this sticky subject. And... It's been a bad day, so I'm in just the right mood for a rant. I'm telling you this in advance - so please forgive me if I get a little heated. I have 2 children who are now 19 & 24 (boy & girl). Both were in scouts (son made Eagle), both went thru public schools (one spent 3 years in parochial school), one's in college now. Between scouts and the schools, I got hit with everything... Red Wheel pie & pizza products, Aunt Fatty's Cookie Dough, candy bars of every variety, magazines, popcorn, cookies, candles, potpourri, widgets, wreaths, trees, and whatever else - you name it - (worthless crap, most of it, at least in my opinion) - just about anything that can be peddled door to door by those rosy-cheeked innocents who are young enough to tug on the old heartstrings and too gullible to understand what they're doing. ALL that frilly-fluffy decorator or sweet-tooth frou-frou gets peddled, regardless of quality, regardless of value for the money - and talk about the GUILT TRIP people try to put on you because you had the brass to say NO. And we wonder why kids today don't know their boundaries, don't know the meaning of the word "no" - and it's the parents and teachers who are the ones driving the guilt trip. They should all be slapped. My opinion is - if some little fresh-faced kids want to spiff themselves up and put on their scout or school uniforms and come to my door and ask for a donation to his or her troop or classroom (for the purpose of helping raise money for the entire group to go on a trip), I have NO PROBLEM with giving $15 or $20. It's deductible. But I won't buy anything anymore of the stuff they're selling because it's not deductible and it's generally not all that useful, and if it's a magazine, then it opens the door to all kinds of junk mail. With regard to Boy Scout Popcorn - I can buy Pop Weavers' at K-Mart for $2.50 to $3.00 (compared to $15 for the same amount of Trails End) and have popcorn that's just as good - except I can't eat it because of my dental work, so why buy it. With regard to Girl Scout Cookies - what's the point of bothering? You pay $3.00 for a box that would cost $1.00 to $1.50 anywhere else, and some of those boxes only have 18 cookies in them. Shoot, I can make ten dozen cookies of almost any variety for less than it would cost to buy 4 boxes. I'd rather make my own cookies and just GIVE a little money to the girl scout troop than buy their stuff. Our Boy Scout troop did 4 fundraisers a year when I joined with my son in 1998 - Trails End, Kathryn Beich, a baked potato bar, and a car wash. We did those things for several years until some self-absorbed dunderheaded doofus joined the troop and convinced the parents in the troop to drop the potato bar and car wash, and insisted we go to Sam's Club and buy Mars candy products to sell instead of the really good $1.00 bars of chocolate. We have NEVER YET regained the customers we lost, and it's been over 4 years now since this idiot's "great idea" got put into action. (Please note that this idiot also nearly single-handedly caused 7 boys to transfer to other troops and about 15 boys to quit scouting altogether because of his nonsense and overbearing ill-informed attitudes). Advice: FIND a fundraiser your members can live with, work out the details well in advance and KNOW who's going to be in charge. Figure out some hook that's going to make YOUR fundraiser more special than whatever that other troop's effort is, and stick with the same thing from year to year so everyone in the charter organization and the neighborhood knows what to expect. Believe me - the ones who care will put it on their calendars months in advance and you'll have a lot of repeat customers. Don't let anyone in the unit try to change what the community expects you to do once you set up a regular event. If you want to sell popcorn, fine. Sell it. But don't complain if the customers say it's too high-priced and you don't sell enough to fund whatever it is you're trying to raise money to support (camp equipment, camping & activity fees, a uniform closet for trading smaller for larger items, assistance to low-income youth, etc.). It's also OK to let the local Boy Scout Council or Girl Scout Council know that their pet project isn't popular and you aren't going to do that anymore. So what if they take away your Big 5 patch or decide you don't qualify for Quality Unit or something - we shouldn't be in Scouting for the preservation of the Council Exeutive's pocketbook. We should be in it to provide a quality program for the youth.
  13. I am an adult scouter. I had 8 years of experience as a youth Girl Scout (until my troop folded), 10 to 11 years years of experience as an adult Girl Scout assistant leader and apprentice leader trainer, and 14 years of experience in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as a Cubmaster, an assistant leader, committee member, and advancements chairman. I have a daughter who was a Girl Scout for 8 years until she announced "GIRL SCOUTS IS FOR LOSERS" (and she still refuses to listen to anything to do with Girl Scouts or have any more to do with the programs GSUSA offers). I have a son who has been a Cub/Boy Scout or adult scouter for the last 14 years. He made Eagle and is now an adult member of his old troop. He is presently in college and is considering helping as leadership in a new Cub Scout pack. Recently, I had a chance to look over some of this new Studio 2B information I've been hearing about - and I can frankly say that if either I or my daughter had been exposed to this stuff when we were in GSUSA, we would have round-filed it immediately and gone to find more challenging, less expensive activities. To the girls who are dealing with this idiocy and doesn't like being treated like she's a brainless twit - listen up. Any girl who is 14 and up is eligible (and encouraged) to join a BSA Venturing Crew and do all those things the Boy Scouts do - canoeing, rock climbing, white water, camping, and all the rest - as well as learn how to be strong leaders and citizens. I know of two Girl Scout troops within 100 miles of where I live who have dual memberships - they do Girl Scouts for the Gold & Silver awards, and they do Boy Scouts and Venturing for all the rest. The only requirement of Venturing leadership is, a female leader has to take BSA leadership and youth protection training and be prepared to go along with all the rest of the unit (and male leaders) on the campouts and other activities in order to provide "co-ed" leadership.
  14. "What's next? Participating in a popcorn or wreath sale?" "Too late, those activities have counted toward advancement to First Class for quite some time already." FC3 "Only if they sell popcorn/wreaths as a patrol/troop. Usually it's done individually." Hey now... what's with that? Our troop has been selling popcorn as a unit effort at WallyWorld for 2 or 3 years (in addition to individual sales). ASM7 & others: I agree - this new requirement for FC is lame, designed for troops that haven't got enough going for themselves to attract new members on their own merits. Troops that are worth being in usually attract new blood just by going about their usual business. Prairie Scouter is probably right - youth scouts need to have a family member who's a conservative Repub (or something), and the party of choice at the moment is Republican because - well - that's what the President is. Kinda like being in Kansas years ago - Used to be, back in the 1960's and earlier, ya had to be in the same political party as the governor to get state employment. Ah, well - the days of political nepotism are long gone (I hope).
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