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danbrew

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danbrew last won the day on March 16 2015

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About danbrew

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    Junior Member

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Chicago
  • Occupation
    Sales
  • Biography
    Scoutmaster, Troop 60. St Charles, IL.
  1. danbrew

    Why?

    Amen. I've been a Scoutmaster for three years now and have wholeheartedly supported the OA. I see lots of great things happening with the OA in our area, and the additional friendships & activities that our OA conduct really seem to help our Scouts become better Scouters. I always kind of thought that the Scoutmasters that didn't support the OA were the grouchy old guys that have been around for years and years and years and it was their way or the highway. But... I'm seeing more and more of our senior Scouts choosing OA activities vs. Troop activities... and that kind of bugs me a little. Older Scouts mentored and taught these current older Scouts when they were younger. If there are no older Scouts on the campouts, aren't the newer Scouts being disadvantaged? I think so. It's becoming more and more common for our older Scouts to defer to OA activities vs. Troop activities. I'm really at a loss as to "what to do about it" as I do want to support the OA. I certainly don't want to overtly call this out as a problem as I do see that the OA provides value. But I can certainly understand why some would struggle with the value of the OA and fight against losing "their" Scouts.
  2. danbrew

    I need a backpack

    Some good comments here. Don't buy a pack for OLS. Heck, don't buy a pack for Cub Scout camping. And, really, I'd bet that the camping that 99.99948382% of troops out there conduct won't require you to have a pack. Here's pretty much how it works in our council - you drive to wherever you're doing OLS and you bring a duffle bag or some other bag with your stuff in it. You walk, maybe, 50'. For Cub Scout camping, you car camp at local council properties or maybe a state park. For Boy Scout camping? Maybe you walk 100' for virtually all campouts. Yes, we're a "city" troop - Three Fires Council in Northern Illinois. In ten years of Scouting I can count on one hand the # of camping trips that I've gone on that a pack would be required. Most of the time you'll have your stuff in the car/truck/trailer and can go right up to the campsite. If your troop gets into High Adventure treks, sure, you'll need a pack. We're sending a crew to Philmont this summer and we all went out an get packs. But I'd bet that you probably don't "need" a pack if you're like most Scouters.
  3. danbrew

    TWO MORE CAMPS BITE THE DUST

    That one in New York sounds nice. You know, if I had $4.5M laying around. But then there's this part: Now I have no idea what that property is really "worth" - but having that kind of easement on it? Pfffttttt. There goes the opportunity to build your dream house on the land you just paid $4.5M for. And, hey, who are those guys down there in my lake? Oh, right, right, there's a public access easement. Pffffftttt again.
  4. danbrew

    What Do You Look For In A Summer Camp?

    We have a group of Scouts do research on area camps and then present the results to the troop, including the promotional videos that each camp offers (most do have these). The Scouts put together a matrix of # of merit badges, # of additional offerings (COPE, ATV, etc.), waterfront activities, etc. and then we distribute this to all of the Scouts and they vote on the camp. We are in the Chicago area and we've gone to Camp Tesomas in Rhinelander several times - excellent camp. We're going to Tomahawk Scout Reservation in 2016, also an excellent camp. Ultimately the Scouts have to decide - as Scoutmaster I do my best to keep the adults out of the decision making process, although I think about dining halls and amenities for the adults. In an ideal world, the camp the Scouts pick will offer some of those adult amenities like internet access and decent cell phone coverage. If so, great. If not, maybe that adult goes to town for a few hours to take care of work that can't wait for them to take off a week. I go back and forth on the dining hall issue - you really want to implement the patrol method, cooking every meal at camp is a good way to go about it, although I can see the viewpoint that cooking three meals a day for each patrol can take some time at a camp. So... we do tend to lean towards those with a dining hall and the Scouts like that. I could probably push the issue a bit with them, but the Scouts get that dining halls are easier and will probably have better food. As an aside, we have a Scout that can't make our scheduled summer camp and is instead going with another area troop to their camp. He tells me that he is working on 7 Eagle required merit badges at that camp. I lol'd a bit and told him that was very unlikely and that he should probably do a little research on the camp to ensure he wasn't disappointed. He lol'd right back at me and told me, no, he was sure he could work on 7 Eagle required merit badges at that camp. Guess what? I did some research on the camp and, sure enough, they offer a program where a Scout could work on on 7 merit badges from 6:30a until 5:45p. Ummmm... I was astounded. Yes, some of the Eagle required have prerequisites. But, still, 7? Holy cow. While I'm not the world's most experienced Scouter, I've typically seen four or five. I know there are a lot of folks out there that will say "we have a rule that a boy can only do..." and those that try to limit Eagle badges at camp. I understand the sentiment there, but if the boy does the prereqs and has a MB counselor sign off on them, well, that's what the Guide to Advancement says. So while I am a little surprised, I'm not planning on getting in the way of it.
  5. I take lots of photos on our trips, being a big believer that photos of Scouts having fun helps to keep the family connected and if mom (and dad) know their sons are having a good time, they'll be more inclined to be supportive of Scouting. Nine times out of ten I put some some thought into the photo/compositions/settings on the camera and try to get good shots (tip - I dig portraits showing a good close up of a smiling Scout - and parents dig 'em too). Anyway, not a whole lot of thought went into this one. It was spur of the moment and turned out great. No retouching to this photo - came right out of the camera on mostly auto settings. Canon G16 shot raw. Scout descending 80' silo. Nice.
  6. As a district membership chair, I'm thrilled that you guys are doing such a great job on your recruiting events. Fantastic! Kudos to you for doing it and, especially, doing it without losing money. So you made a little extra this year. Would your COR rather you lose just a little bit of money every year? Money that would otherwise be needed to put on a good program? While true that your CO and COR should have some insight into the expenses (and revenue) for the unit, as long as the surplus goes towards the unit, good for you. It would be a different story if somebody said, "Hey, we made some money on this. Let's go buy some drinks and have a night out for the adults."
  7. danbrew

    Donations from Troop to Cub and Venture??

    Somebody else already said this but I think it important to reinforce. The CC (or Treasurer for that matter) does not have the ability to unilaterally decide where to spend the Troop's money. The troop committee and the treasurer make the call. Said again, the Troop's money. Not the CC's money. How were those funds raised? By the boys either through dues or money-earning projects to support the Troop. From the BSA Troop Committee Guidebook for Successful Troop Operation (ISBN 0-8395-4505-3): Troop Finances Proper Management of the troop's finances will allow your troop to achieve its program goals. The recording, disbursing, and budgeting of troop funds, along with unit money-earning project assistance, is the responsibility of the troop committee and its treasurer . I would have a problem with money raised for the boys of one troop being given away - even if for another Scout unit - but especially given the circumstances describes by the OP.
  8. danbrew

    COR and "firing"

  9. danbrew

    Wife of the Cubmaster

    We were cleaning out a room in the church where our Troop stores stuff a few weeks ago and I came across this... I've shared this with a few folks and people either really like it or, ah, are not too enthusiastic about it. I brought it home to show my wife, thinking that she would not like it one bit, and she surprised me. She said "You can fill that out and give it to me and I'm gonna frame it and put it up in my office." Didn't see that coming.
  10. danbrew

    Whittling Chip Demo Knife

    When my son was a bear we started with soap and plastic knives. It was a mess. While we were able to quickly clean up the big slivers of soap we then wiped down the tables and sprayed some general purpose cleaners on the tables. Uh, yeah. Won't do that again. Lots of soapy water and bubbles. lol.
  11. danbrew

    Summer Camp - In Council or Out?

    Tesomas ROCKS. We've been there three times and plan on going back next summer as well. The boys all universally made the call to schedule our visit while we were at the camp the prior year. Now, having said that, we're investigating alternatives for 2015 as it would be kind of nice to try something new. We probably will go out of council as the council camps don't have dining halls. We could talk all day long about the patrol method and eating as a patrol, yet we factor in the time required for that. You can easily eat up (ha ha) 3 or more hours per days planning and cleaning up after meals.
  12. danbrew

    VIRTUS

    I'm also a fan of the virtus training. The monthly training bulletins are good and easy enough to review/complete. Good discussions on grooming, bullying, social media, etc.
  13. Yep, as others have said, there is required training for each position. I'm the district membership chair and a UC and both positions have training requirements. The UC role also has additional recognition for service above and beyond the additional training - the Commissioners' Arrowhead, etc.
  14. danbrew

    Dual roles

    This is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Agree completely with those that suggestion you can't effectively do both - it will lead to burnout and the program will suffer. It may have to happen for a short period of time, though. If so, a top priority should be putting together an org chart with a succession plan.
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