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clemlaw

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Posts posted by clemlaw

  1. Remember, I'm a newbie after 40 years absence from the world of Cub Scouts. (Back then, we were "square".) I actually have no idea whether I was at the Committee Meeting or the Monthly Pack Leaders Planning Meeting or something else. There were no votes taken, so I wasn't instructed about whether or not I was allowed to vote. They asked me to come, and I filled them in on what the Tigers were up to.

     

    But even if there were a rule to the contrary, if another den leader had said that their skit this month was going to be William Tell, and they would be shooting apples of the heads of other Cub Scouts with real arrows, I probably would have chimed in and said that I thought there might be something in the G2SS about that, and they might want to take a look. :)

  2. "I am thinking about small calms court, but there is nothing in writing so I am screwed."

     

    You probably don't need anything more than what you have. Chances are, you have a check that you made out to someone, and/or a receipt, showing that you paid for him. If nothing else, you have your word saying you paid it.

     

    I suppose he could lie and say it was a gift, but if that's not what happened, chances are the judge won't believe him.

     

    If you feel you really need something in writing, then send him a letter politely asking him when he's going to pay the $175 he owes you. It's very likely you'll get something back in writing saying that he owes $150. :)

     

    The other question is whether it's worth the trouble, or whether you should just chalk it up to experience. Personally, I'd chalk it up to experience, but the dollar amount is close to the point where I would go after it.(This message has been edited by clemlaw)

  3. Well, I just went to my first ever Pack Committee meeting as a brand new Tiger Den leader. It seems to be a well functioning committee, everyone seems to get along well, etc.

     

    One thing came up, and I could use some advice on whether I handled this right, and whether I was right in the first place. We were talking about possible future events, and one of them involved renting a swimming pool.

     

    When this came up, I mentioned that BSA had some very specific rules about aquatic activities. Apparently, nobody had ever heard about this before, and one den leader even said that it was OK as long as the parents were there.

     

    I played a little bit dumb, but I said I didn't think there was an exception just because parents were present, but there were specific rules about ability groups, annual checks, buddy system, etc., etc., and that BSA was a stickler for making sure that these rules were followed. I mentioned that they were probably in the Guide to Safe Scouting, but it sounds like maybe I'm the only person who owns a copy.

     

    It was just at the early planning stage at this point, so I didn't want to sound too much like Mr. By The Book. (I'm usually not Mr. By The Book, but when it comes to water safety, those rules were beat into my head as a Scout, and that's probably one area where I am a stickler by following every rule every time.)

     

    Today, I e-mailed the person who brought up the idea, and sent him a link to the G2SS Safe Swim Defense page. I told him I'm a strong supporter of aquatic programs--one of the best things I got out of scouting was learning how to swim myself, which probably never would have happened if I wasn't a scout. But I also said that if it's a pack activity, we need to follow these rules so that we're covered by BSA insurance. I have learned that it's often a good strategy to blame things on those silly bean counters who worry about silly things like insurance.

     

    First of all, am I right? AFAIK, any time a scout activity involves members (youth or adult) in the water above their ankles, then the whole Safe Swim Defense rules apply, right? There's no exception just because parents are present, right?

     

    And could I have handled it better? If the rest of the committee decided to have the kids wear the wrong uniform, I probably would have kept my mouth shut, because I'm the new guy (OK, OK, maybe I would have spoken up then, too. :) But this is too important to keep my mouth shut. I think I planted the seed so that when they do an activity like this (which they should) that it's done right. But I'm open to suggestions on how to do it better next time!

  4. I've never been a fan of these generational categories, because I don't seem to fit in very well myself. Like Obama, I was born in 1961. (He's a couple of months younger than I, so for the first time in my life, I really am old enough to be President. Fortunately, I don't want the job.) My generational identity is a little out of synch with everyone else. I had a grandfather who was born in 1855, so you can do the math.

     

    But one thing I read somewhere that made a great deal of sense is that history tends to run in cycles of about 80 years. After the last people who remember making a particular mistake die, then the new people are free to make the same mistake. Each of those cycles has three or four generations within it (or, in my case, two), and those lines get a little bit blurred. But the approximate 80 year cycle (remember, "four score and seven years ago") keeps coming back with a big event to mark the occasion.

     

    So it was about 80 years from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Then, it was about 80 years until the Second World War. There's generally a buildup of a few decades (for example, slavery controversy, first world war, 9/11). And then, about every 80 years, we have the crisis precipitated by those events, and a Great Generation comes along to clean up the mess once and for all. So one generation fights the Revolutionary War. And just about the time that the last veteran of that war dies, another generation fights the Civil War. And then, about the time the last Civil War vet is gone, another generation fights WW2.

     

    My dad and his great generation served in WW2. His grandfather and his great generation served in the Civil War. His grandson and his generation, now Cub Scouts, are probably going to be called upon to save the world the next time. And if history is a guide, they'll do exactly that. Sometime in the 2020's, there will be a handful of hundred year old vets of WW2. And there will be a few more 90 year olds who lied about their age and enlisted at 16 near the end of the war. But most of them will be gone. And when most of them are gone, the next big event will happen. And the current crop of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies, and Girl Scouts will have to jump in and save the world. I hope it's not a war, but it will be something catastrophic. But whatever it is, they'll save the world.

     

    This is probably going to happen no matter how poorly we do our jobs as parents. Again, if history is a guide, some of those previous generations of parents also did a very poor job of parenting. But somehow, a Great Generation managed to emerge.

     

    About the best we can do as parents is to give the next generation a fighting chance by making sure that at least some of them know how to Be Prepared, that they're Trustworth, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, etc.

  5. I've been using the "trucker's hitch" for years, but only recently learned that it had a name. I was extremely relieved to learn that it had a name, because since it wasn't one of my five Tenderfoot knots, I thought that perhaps it was the dreaded "granny knot"!

     

    I use the "trucker's hitch" all the time, but it does have one big disadvantage over the taut-line hitch. Depending on the kind of line that you're using, it can be almost impossible to untie. But fortunately, it's really only hard to untie with cheap rope, so I don't feel too bad just cutting it.

     

    Also, while you can get that sucker tight, it's not nearly as strong as the taut-line hitch, because the weakest link is where the line doubles back over the loop.

     

    But for many applications, it's just right.

  6. It's my personal opinion that because I sewed one official BSA button on my tan dress shirt that I can count it as a uniform shirt.

     

    Yep, you have to draw the line somewhere, so maybe that's where the line is. Or maybe the guy who lost a BSA button and temporarily replaced it with an unofficial button is out of uniform. It just depends on where you draw the line.

     

    Last year, my son was a "Lion Cub". This is a pilot program for kindergarteners in my council. He was BSA registered, and according to council instructions, the official uniform consisted of a T-shirt of a color chosen by the den (in our case, blue), with a council-supplied iron-on patch, one for the parent, and the other one for the Lion.

     

    When saluting the flag at a Pack meeting while wearing my blue T-shirt, the natural thing for me to do was to use the Cub Scout salute. After all, I was wearing the full official uniform of a Lion parent, and yes, I can show you that in writing. But I can also fully understand if someone else decided to put their hand over their heart. After all, it was just a T-shirt with a cartoon lion on it, and it didn't really look like a "uniform".

     

    But IMHO, it doesn't really matter. The whole point of the exercise is to show respect for the flag, although some people might differ on exactly the best way to show that respect. It shouldn't be a forum for nitpicking about how many buttons constitute a uniform.

     

  7. It's been a long time since I've been a Scout. I'm not sure I remember how to make a "Clove Hitch", although I did have to know how for Tenderfoot. For whatever reason, I never did have to use that one over the years. I bet I could re-learn it, but I hope I don't fail a surprise test and have my Eagle taken away. :)

     

    I don't know what the exact requirements are these days for Tenderfoot through First Class. But I don't think any of them are rocket science. Yes, I suppose one or two scouts might forget exactly how to make a clove hitch, but if a troop is running even a slightly active program, it's going to be impossible for scouts to forget most of those basic skills.

     

    So if a Scout really has forgotten everything he learned for Tenderfoot, the solution is not to take that badge away from him. A better remedy would be for the troop to surrender its charter, because they obviously failed him.

  8. Well, yes, I guess I turned out reasonably well. Come to think of it, I guess I did learn things such as the fact that there are consequences to packing up the patrol box with dirty utinsels and taking it home that way. (It turns out, that's a bad idea, even though you're the first patrol that's ready to go home.)

     

  9. Novice_Cubmaster wrote:

     

    "think a lot of Scouters overrate Scouting in terms of turning boys into good men".

     

    Having been gone from Scouting for about 30 years, I've been giving this a lot of thought recently, wondering what exactly the point of scouting was. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a point--I'm just trying to figure out how to articulate it.

     

    I became an Eagle in 1978, drifted away from Scouting when I started college, and have only recently re-emerged on the scene as a Tiger Den Leader. While a lot of things have changed, much of it is remarkably the same. As I look back, I don't really think that Scouting made me any more moral than I am otherwise. That's not to say that I'm immoral. It's just that I can't really point to anything in Scouting that made me that way. Yes, I'm trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, etc. But I probably would have been most of those things anyway.

     

    But for me, anyway, what it really did was force me to Be Prepared. I have a confession to make--I don't really like camping! Well, no, that's not exactly true. I do enjoy camping. Our family goes camping, although the experience is slightly (but only slightly) more luxurious than the kind of camping I did in Boy Scouts. So I do like camping. But there's one thing about camping that I like most of all: Getting home!

     

    Yes, I like camping, but I also like other things, like hot and cold running water, electric lights, a roof over my head, a soft warm bed, etc. I like those things very much.

     

    Now, if you asked most people, they would also say that they like those things. But if you press them a little bit more, you'll realize that most people don't merely _like_ those things. Most people think they _need_ those things. In fact, most people need those things so much, that they cease liking them.

     

    All of us old scouts realize that all of those things are mere luxuries. And since we realize that they are just luxuries, we probably like them more. And we're prepared on those occasions when they're taken away. I was shocked the first time somebody told me that they checked into a hotel because the power was out. But amazingly, there are a lot of people out there who think that way.

     

    Now, if the power goes out on me, I might grumble a little bit because I can't find the flashlight, or I forgot to put batteries in it. So maybe I'm not always Prepared in the physical sense. But I also realize that it's just darkness--just a luxury that's been taken away from me for a little while. So I just deal with the darkness, rather than grab the Visa card and head down to the Holiday Inn, and ask them to supply me with the necessity of electric lights. So even those times when I'm not physically prepared, I'm at least emotionally prepared for a lot of situations where other people are not.

     

    The astute reader will notice that I went through Scouting at the time when it was theoretically possible to go all the way to Eagle without spending a single night camping. I believe that Camping Merit Badge was removed from the required list during that time. It was also possible to go all the way through scouting without knowing how to swim. When I started, I think that both Swimming and Lifesaving Merit Badge were also required, but alternate badges (Sports, IIRC) were allowed.

     

    Fortunately, in my troop, nobody really paid attention to this little oddity. I guess if someone really wanted to get out of Swimming Merit Badge, they could have. But nobody did. Our program was built around summer camp, and that's the place where we did things like camping and swimming. I wasn't a very athletic kid, and swimming and lifesaving merit badges were very difficult for me. But somehow, I eeked by. I remember doing the Mile Swim one year. I was in the water hours after everyone else had finished. We had to swim a circular course, and shout out our number when we passed the starting point. They laughed when I kept dutifully shouting out my number, even though I was the only one left in the water, and everyone else had gone off to do something else. It was hard work for me, but I did it. I knew full well that I was the least athletic kid around, but I was able to swim a mile. There must be a lot of things I could do if I really had to. I was prepared.

     

    I was actually surprised when I recently looked at my old merit badges to see that canoeing and rowing weren't required. In my troop, it was just the thing to do, so we all got them. They may as well have been required.

     

    Again, I was the klutziest kid around, but because I had to, I learned how to paddle a canoe and row a boat. I haven't rowed a boat in a long time, but I learned that paddling a canoe is not only pretty easy once you get the hang of it, but it's actually fun.

     

    Last year, my family and I were camping at Jellystone Park (no, it's not exactly camping, but you get the idea). We rented a canoe, and I asked how long we could have it. The question took them by surprise, because everyone else who rents one brings it back in a half hour, after getting frustrated by constantly switching sides with the paddle, never quite getting the thing to go the direction they want to. We, on the other hand, were going to look at different things, and much to the amazement of everyone else, we could actually point toward a particular destination and get there. I might not remember exactly the "right" way to do the J-stroke, but I do remember that it's actually possible to do it, and that's half the battle. I'm prepared.

     

    Oh, maybe I learned a little bit of character along the way. I remember learning that if you goad another kid into punching you, then you might get into more trouble than the kid who punched you. Maybe I would have learned that lesson somewhere else, but maybe not.

     

    But maybe that's also nothing more than Being Prepared. If there are people in the world who are predisposed to punching klutzy people, then maybe the best way to Prepare for that eventuality is to not place them in a situation where they want to punch you.

     

    Who knows, maybe that's actually "character".

  10. Welcome back!

     

    I posted a nearly identical story a couple of days ago, and I noticed a few before mine. Yes, a few things seem to have changed, but as far as I can tell, most of them are for the better. My memories are fuzzy, but I mostly remember trying to be square, while doing crafts under the supervision of a Den Mother.

     

    Now, I'm the Tiger Den Mo... I mean Den Leader, and the kids actually get to do "dangerous" stuff like go camping.

     

    I had one year to ease into it, since my son was a "Lion Cub" last year, which is a pilot program in our council for Kindergarteners. And yes, even the Lions got to do "dangerous" stuff like shoot a BB gun.

     

    Did your uniform shrink, too? They apparently didn't make them very well back in 1977, since it shrunk just hanging in the closet.

     

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go look for craft materials. :)

  11. I have to admit that I had never heard of the American Heritage Girls until I read this thread. I did take a look at their website, and it said that they had something like 3000 youth members, IIRC. So it hardly seems like it's the kind of large organization that will somehow bring vitality to the BSA. It certainly seems like a wholesome organization, and if some BSA unit wanted to engage in some kind of joint program with some AHG unit, I would certainly have no objection. But nationally, it seems awfully small to engage in any kind of partnership of equals with the BSA.

     

    And it's probably not everyone's cup of tea, and in an organization as large as BSA, there are lots of cups of tea--and non tea, for our LDS friends :)

     

    And as a Christian, I read their mission statement or whatever it was called, and I don't think there was anything in there that I couldn't subscribe to personally. However, and maybe this is unwarranted, I did get the impression that someone else might look at my beliefs and say that they weren't really what they intended when they wrote that statement. While I basically agree with it, it does use some terminology that's not necessarily the same buzzwords that my Christian denomination would use.

     

    And if I, as a Christian, feel somewhat uncomfortable with their mission statement, I suspect that people of other faiths might feel even more uncomfortable.

     

    Again, it sounds like a great group. But it's not for everyone. In fact, it's probably not for the majority of people who are involved with BSA.(This message has been edited by clemlaw)

  12. Well, I'm kind of centennialled out, too. If the Methodists want to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the first Methodist troop, more power to them, likewise for any other denomination. But actually, the following idea isn't half bad:

     

    "Are we going to spend the next hundred years celebrating everything that happend the past hundred years? "

     

    Now, for some reason, we haven't yet started receiving our copies of Boys Life and Scouting (I suspect our registration is sitting on someone's desk after we changed packs). So maybe they're already doing something like this. But I would find it interesting if they had a regular feature along the lines of "100 Years Ago This Month", which could be a reprint of an old article from that issue. My Tiger Cub loves looking at his reprint of the 1895 Wards catalog, and I think a lot of kids would really enjoy something like that.

  13. It looks like I'm a little late to this discussion. But I thought it was interesting that so many people are suggesting that Cub Scouts are one area that could be co-ed.

     

    I suppose that girls might fit in better to Cubs than they would to Boy Sc---er, I mean Scouts. But based on my admittedly limited knowledge of GSUSA, it seems to me that Brownies is probably their strongest program, and I suspect it's pretty comparable to Cub Scouts (except their cookies are better than our popcorn).

     

    Therefore, I don't really see much of a need.

     

    I have a daughter who is excited about being able to join Brownies (or whatever they call their Kindergarten program) next year. Until I saw this thread, it never crossed my mind. But I wonder if maybe she'll be an Eagle Scout like her old man.

     

    If you would have asked me ten years ago, I would have said of course not--Boy Scouts is for boys. But now, I'm not so sure. I'm not so sure that co-ed troops would be a good idea. But I really can't think of any good reason why there shouldn't be troops (or maybe sub-troops) for girls.

     

    Maybe there is one, but I really can't think of it, other than having to print up new letterhead that says something like "Scouts USA" instead of "Boy Scouts of America".

  14. "While there is a Scouting Heritage MB, from the Requirements I can find, it seems simultaneously like either a "gimme" or impossible. A gimme if you can get to Philmont or another HA base; impossible otherwise."

     

    Actually, it looks like there's an alternate requirement for Scouts who can't attend a Jamboree or High Adventure. They can visit _or write to_ the National Scouting Museum.

     

    I bet the museum has a packet of materials that they send out when they receive a letter from Sammy Starscout saying that he's working on that requirement. So the cost of that merit badge is 44 cents, assuming that the scout doesn't just send an e-mail. :-)

  15. I'm another "newbie" on the other side of the same Council, in St. Paul. I'm also an Eagle Scout who has now moved up to spending one hour a week as leader of my son's Tiger Den.

     

    If you see a guy with a shirt that's a couple sizes too small (and the wrong color and no ribbons on the shoulder) at any council events, be sure to say hi to me!

  16. Hello!

     

    I've been lurking here for a while, and decided I couldn't resist the temptation to jump in any longer.

     

    It looks like I'm not the first one to say this, but I'm an Eagle Scout who has recently "advanced" to Tiger Den Leader.

     

    I started Cub Scouts in about 1969, and made Eagle in 1978. I drifted away from Scouting after college, but got back in with my son. My son actually started last year, in Kindergarten, as a "Lion Cub", which is a pilot program in the Northern Star Council. We had to change Packs due to scheduling conflicts, and this year he's put on the "real" Cub Scout uniform as a Tiger.

     

    Speaking of uniforms, mine seems to have shrunk just hanging in the closet. I'll get a new one one of these days, but something makes me want to wear this one a few more times.

     

    I've learned that there was a name for the time when I went through Scouts, namely the "Improved Scouting Program". It is nice to see that most of the improvements have now been undone. I think I went through Second Class under the old requirements, and then after that under the "Improved" requirements.

     

    The thing is, the "improvements" didn't really bother us too much. As far as I know, our troop did things pretty much the same way they always had, and then we quickly finished up whatever new requirements there were for advancement. The main problem was that we all bought a book that wasn't really much good.

     

    Theoretically, someone could have made Eagle without going Camping and without knowing how to swim, but I'm not aware of anyone who did. Camping was the thing we did, so nobody bothered substituting Basket Weaving for Camping, or whatever the alternate was.

     

    My old troop is defunct, my old district is defunct, and the old council merged into a neighboring council (where I happen to live now). So some things are different, but a lot of things seem awfully familiar!

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