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About Compass

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    Madison, Alabama
  1. Compass

    Idea for Merit Badge Change

    Thanks, John-in-KC, for remembering. Makes me want to dust off my old handbook. I like the current program's approach regarding Eagle Required's (four for Star, three for Life). When he's First Class, he's left a rather rigid approach to requirements (not much picking and choosing), so four Required's are not a problem-- in fact, he's grateful to be able to choose, even though from a short list. Life then seems less painful, even though more total MBs are required, because less Eagle-Requireds are needed. Eagle is not diminished, because five Eagle-Requireds are needed (the ones they put off-- the ones they like the least, perhaps). Mentally, the boy thinks he's over half-way there. I like the alternatives provided (Hiking or Swimming or Cycling etc.), especially since there's a lot more issues with water activities today. Wasn't there an approach in the earliest days of Scouting, similar to Hunt's suggestion, of picking required merit badges from various categories?(This message has been edited by Compass)
  2. Compass

    A Clean Sash?

    I've never heard of the not-to-wash restriction. Good thing: I've developed somewhat a, um, 'food catcher' in front, myself. My problem is somewhat different. The last time I got my new Brotherhood sash was over 30 years ago. If I put it on, it would look like a lei!(This message has been edited by Compass)
  3. Great post, Pack38Scouter! We are starting a new troop, and you have helped me in very many ways. Good luck in your future troop!
  4. Compass

    Troop Election Crisis

    ASM1, I did not say that every boy wanted to be SPL in my old troop, but that there were lots of interested, qualified candidates (including me) when I was a boy. I did not intend to imply that others who were qualified and not interested were non-existent or deficient. But, in reviewing my original post, I can see that my omission of a third category (qualified and not interested) could be troubling. I was addressing slontwovvy's original post and question, in which he said no one was willing to run, which I found odd (that is, until ozemu's post; thank you, ozemu, I wasn't thinking along those lines). I was citing those instances when I saw the same thing (no one willing to run at all), and why I thought it occurred in those situations. Again, I did not refer to all possible reasons why a boy won't run, but instead focused on reasons why all potential candidates would not run (and ozemu helped educate me on more reasons). And, ASM1, thank you too: you helped me realize how my omission might be interpreted in a way not originally intended.(This message has been edited by Compass)
  5. Compass

    Committee Votes

    denver4und@aol.com, I agree with much of your post, both the 'legal' aspect and the democratic/self-management spirit behind it. I, too, had a pukey experience with an out-of-control committee, so I can also relate to that. However, I don't think that Bob White is saying the Scoutmaster (SM) and/or Committee Chairman (CC) is/are dictators over the process, but you may wish to observe that the "Scoutmaster is the adult leader responsible for the image and program of the troop" and that he "works directly with the Scouts." (Troop Committee Guidebook, page 9) Further, "the Scoutmaster must be in charge of advancement in the troop." (Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures book, page 25). I mention these items because the adult organization is not entirely a democracy; the boys and the Scoutmaster determine the program, and the committee supports the boys and the Scoutmaster in implementing the program (Committee Guidebook, page 13). My interpretation is that the CC is often a facilitator. The SM discusses troop needs with the CC, and the CC brings that before the committee. The committee then makes it happen from the adult side of the house. You are right, the SM is supposed to be present at the committee meetings. No mention of Assistant Scoutmasters' (ASMs) attendance is made, either present or absent and, you are right, no secret meetings are allowed; anyone can attend. But that doesn't nessarily mean it's good that everyone talks at will. Regarding voting: I am sure that committee members know when a vote is necessary and when it is not. The SM and ASM don't vote-- for good reason. Nor does the SM or the ASMs sit on the Board of Review or vote on it-- also for good reason. The committee oftentimes (but not always) is made up of 'non-technical' adults who are not necessarily familar with Scouting or the technical aspects of it (knots, first aid, advancement, troop organization, etc.). Yet, the committee is the "troop's board of directors" (Committee Guidebook page 13), and "hires" (and, one assumes, with the Charter Organization Representative, "fires") the SM and/or ASM (page 19). Further, the committee has visability into the implementation of the program via the Board of Review (BOR) process, which does not retest the Scout (odd, isn't it? A review but not a retest?), but finds out what kind of experience the Scout is having. This is peculiar: a body without technical skills, that is not supposed to retest the Scout on his technical skills, but is supposed to 'review' the Scout and his experiences. For some, all of this is strange and mysterious. The answer to this mystery is that the committee is like a board of trustees overseeing a college football team. They hire the coach (SM). They can fire the coach (SM). Beyond that, they support the coach (SM)-- they don't micromanage the coach (SM). But, how can they know whether the program is successfully implemented? Especially when the SM and the ASMs are doing most or all of the program implementation, advancement, working directly with the Scouts, etc.? Especially when they are non-technical in all the aspects of Scouting? The Board of Review is one way, and maybe the best way, of letting them know. They don't need to know everything about Scouting to know that a boy is unhappy. As one, um, experienced Scoutmaster put it to me twelve years ago (a completely inexperienced Scoutmaster, and mostly clueless), it's a "sanity check on the Scoutmaster." Rather crude, but to the point. Sorry about being verbose, but the adults are divided into two separate groups, with a strong Scoutmaster and his ASMs on one side and the committee on the other-- working together, to be sure, but each making sure that the program is being run as advertised.(This message has been edited by Compass)
  6. Compass

    JASM Responsibilities

    When I was a JASM when I was a boy. Kinda like being a 'professor emeritus' of Scouts: honorable position, but sends a message (to some) that the JASM is on his way out, that he is heading to 'retirement village.' As a Scoutmaster, you can change that. Give him a steady job to do, similar to an ASM. Give him some extra, short-term assignments, sometimes in charge of other boys. Make it special for him.
  7. Compass

    SPL requirements

    It is as Bob White says: troops (boys/PLC, not adults) make the rules regarding requirements. New (or reorganized or struggling) troops tend not to have much or any requirements. Larger, established troops with lots of willing, able, and qualified candidates tend to create rules and stipulations. They can afford to be more picky. In my old troop, when I was a boy, the requirement for the job was 1st Class rank, and you could not be elected twice in a row (SPL only). (Much) more recently (nephew's and son's troops), you could not be elected twice in a row for any position (too many qualified and willing boys, and not enough positions). acco40, reading between the lines, it sounds like there is a bit of an old boy network there, where there is an insider group doing the pickin' and choosin', excluding others from the process, without concern for recommended rules and procedures (or others' thoughts and opinions). Folks go along with this approach as long as they don't have a problem with the outcome. Unfortunately, when you wait until a there's a bad outcome, the 'tradition' has become etched in stone and is very difficult to change. If this is true, I hope you have success with the adults, but it's going to be tough. However, do continue to push for SPL re-elections.
  8. Compass

    Troop Election Crisis

    My recommendation is to let 'em do without an SPL until the personal discomfort level rises to the point where they want another election. In the mean time, use the ASPL. This reinforces the idea that it's their troop, and its success or failure depends on the boys.
  9. Compass

    Scout return after prolonged absence

    What if he was 14 or 15 years old and entering Scouts for the first time? Or, what if this was a boy who had been in Scouts but had to quit because of parent priorities (had to move because Dad is being transferred due to job or military obligations)? There seems to be a desire to punish the boy on the part of some adults. This misses the point of using Scouting to help boys. Welcome him back in. Also, do something about the other adults-- they still have some unresolved issues to work out. Otherwise, this boy may have more than the usual hurdles to overcome.
  10. Compass

    Troop Election Crisis

    I'm always a little mystified by stories like this. As a boy, I always wanted to be elected to SPL, as did others in the troop; we always had lots of qualified candidates. As an adult, the situations I have seen where boys were unwilling to run were: 1) the one boy who ran was an Eagle and nearly 18 years of age, and the other boys were eleven or twelve years of age and Tenderfoot rank or below (new troop). 2) the adults had taken away the joy of leadership: too many rules, legalistic approach (extreme and sometimes nonsensical application of rules), harsh judgement of performance (boy had to be organized from the get-go with plannner, calendar, etc., and meetings/campouts had to be rigorously planned/scheduled with deviations seen as failure) with considerable risk (might not be signed-off because of 'failure'). I am not implying, slontwovvy, that these are your situations; they are merely what I have seen before. As I said earlier, it's somewhat rare in my personal experience. slontwovvy, what is the situation? Why do you think the boys don't want to run?
  11. I probably can't add much to what has already been said, which is outstanding advice from everyone. Having gone through the experience recently, one observation: be careful about what other adults (leaders and parents) say at the troop meeting at any troops you visit. Every troop we visited (seven in all) had enthusiastic parents and adult leaders that described their troop in a very positive way. This included a troop that had no boy leader elections (the Scoutmaster picked them all), an adult-lead troop, another troop that was in total perpetual disarray (no discernable patrols, apparently for quite a while as told to my son), and the unfriendly troop (no attempt to make my son feel welcome or a part by either boys or adults the entire visit). It was always interesting to compare notes with my son on the way home from visiting a troop. My impressions (I was hanging out with and talking to the adults) and his impressions (at the boy level) sometimes were radically different.
  12. evmori: "How can one celebrate Christmas if one is not a Christian? If it Jesus Christ wasn't born we wouldn't have Christmas!" Oh, I quite agree. It's just that people antagonistic to Christianity delight in pointing out earlier pagan celebrations (prior to the Christian era) that occurred during those dates, or pagan practices that resemble today's traditions (giving gifts, Christmas trees, singing hymns, etc.). My point was that, no matter what the origins of certain Christian holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and their calendar dates), no matter what the origins of certain traditions (Christmas trees, etc.), that these holidays and activities are absolutely associated with Christian events today. Though, be careful. There is an active movement to disassociate Christ from things we take for granted. Witness the substitution of "BCE" (Before Common Era) for "BC" and "CE" (Common Era) for "AD" in dates. "And if an atheist has a Christmas tree then I suspect he isn't really an atheist!" Please note my posts on November 27, 2002: 10:42:21 AM and 1:02:10 PM. I think I'm pretty clear on this. I don't question someone's stated beliefs here. It's just that I think if someone who feels so strongly in their beliefs (or unbeliefs) should not compromise their (un)beliefs by participating in these traditions in any way.
  13. Giving thanks to whom? That is the question.
  14. Compass

    Lone Scouting

    momandscout, To start our troop, we had to have 5 boys and 5 adults (Scoutmaster, Charter Organization Representative, Committee Chairman, the rest Committee men). We home school, so I have a similar perspective. I have to tell you, the others are making valid points. Going the Lone Scout route, while available to you as a home schooler, is not the best for your son. You would be denying him the opportunity, joys, and heartaches of troop leadership. He would not experience the participatory democracy of the republican (not the party, but government style) form of troop government, involving communication, debate, persuasion, and voting, as opposed to tyrannical, top-down governance. And, frankly, you as a parent can not be totally aware of your son's less-desirable traits, but other boys will be and they can (and will) let him know about it (a good thing-- part of 'rounding-off the rough edges' of his personality). Peer pressure (when good) can reinforce what you are trying to teach him, Mom, such as keeping track of his stuff, keeping his stuff clean and maintained, personal hygiene (some may differ on this one, but I've seen that even boys have limits ) and so on. I (reluctantly) considered Lone Scouting as an option this past summer and early fall, because my son was having some difficulty locating a troop in which he would happy, and because his official membership lapsed during my surgery/recovery period (I didn't want him working on advancement while he was officially not a Scout). However, it was never considered to be the permanent solution, only a temporary situation until a permanent home could be located or developed.
  15. evmori, whether a Christmas tree has a Christian or pagan origin is irrelevant at this point. They are absolutely associated with a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of the Messiah. Just because people choose not to pay attention to the angel ornaments or the big star on top doesn't make it otherwise. ScoutParent, good point. The truly dedicated should go the way of their beliefs. Merlyn, I would expect you'd to be at work during normal duty hours this Thursday and Wednesday, 25 December 2002. By the way, roads could be construed as public property. Kiss those Christmas parades goodbye!