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About Aidan_MacAnBhaird

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  1. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    Need VLSC info

    The council adjacent to ours has a district solely for Venturing, whereas, we are one of the only crews in our council. I asked about their program and if they had a district run VLSC or would be interested in having us jump in with one of their more experienced crews. They have provided a goodly amount of information, and passed my name on to their coordinator to further this along. In our situation, being only 6 months old, this may provide the greatest benefit for the crew. Just a thought about looking outside the "box", as our inexperience may provide some challenge and interest to a more experienced crew. Have a great time!
  2. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    Merry Christmast ACLU

    Thanks for the input folks. The reason I used and stated personal experience was precisely because many municipalities and schools tend to blame the ACLU on virtually everything. I personally have a great disdain for misrepresentation and biggotry, both of which I found without short supply in some Texas communities, unfortunately. And even more unfortunate, both can be found virtually in every corner of this country to some degree, still. I happened to be online this a.m. due to a frantic phone call from our current Eagle candidate. He of course needed one more paper trail, and was having trouble retrieving it. Afterward, I ended up at an associates house and the news was on. There, in all their popcorn glory, was a local unit being interviewed at the chanel 27 news station (I think that is either Warren or Youngstown, it may be Cleveland. Not much time for t.v. here - more computer, radio, print, and book people) at about 6:30 a.m. They were promoting our annual fund raiser, which is now. It caught my attention because it was a positive event, and as the media has been recently, positive appears out, while contentious appears in. Then it dawned on me the possiblility that my negative experiences with the ACLU are all past and deal in only one region. It has had me thinking all day. Back in the afternoon to get "one more paper trail for the panicking Eagle candidate (can we all say "be prepared" together? :-) and I cought up on this thread. Good post OGE. Each of you have brought up some very good points. Some of our crew are looking into presenting an ethics and a diversity forum. This may be an opportunity to include the ACLU in some capacity, and have a more updated and more local version of what they are doing in our region. I hope it interests one of the crew!
  3. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    Need VLSC info

    purceIce - how old is your crew, and have you done this before? Emb - when dealing with a young crew that has not gone through VLSC before, would you find it acceptable for the youth to choose an area most interesting to them, learn it, then present it to the rest of the crew at vlsc? Or do you think it would be better to find a crew who has experience with VLSC and and see if they can jump in with them? Thanks
  4. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    Merry Christmast ACLU

    That is correct Merlyn. These incidences took place about 7 years ago. I did not provide the city or school districts names as they have been through enough. There was some news coverage of the flagpole event, which is how the various alums including myself found out about it. The others did not. This is an open forum. There is no guarantee any of the people reading these posts or even the posters themselves are involved in scouts. There is no need to have an untold number of viewers, and the people to whom they send copies of or redirect to these posts calling any school districts. This was a very large point of contention in this community, but as it was over 5 years ago (remember, I've changed states) there is probably not a good deal of info remaining except with the districts themselves. Contacting them would just be rude. If you are unsure of the veracity of these statements, that is your prerogative. I provided further detail for your edification, but this is getting off point of the thread. The point is the ACLU, in my opinion, based on personal first-hand experience, has a public consumption policy and a non-public consumption policy. Take it however you want it. That is my opinion based on personal experience. You can't verify that in an e-news clip.
  5. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    Merry Christmast ACLU

    Hi Merlyn - Sorry for the confusion - I was in a rush & did not even read before sending. In every single one of those cases I was present. I don't know about cites. The e-mails and info I would get from the ACLU regarding cases I personally saw was usually quite different than the actual actions and statements made without cameras rolling. Personally, I found their tactics deplorable. Their soundbites and web bits are either non-existent or relatively contrary to the actual acts and statements I witnessed. I have no idea where they stand on "prayer around the flagpole" now. At the time it came to a head at the high school where I graduated, the ACLU was throwing their weight high and mightely at the school. The students would not back down, so the school stated that since they couldn't afford protracted litigation from the ACLU, they would have any student found praying on the campus, or meeting in groups and praying (around the flagpole or not) prior to the opening of school then they would have them arrested. Those of us that came out as contientous observers were alum back from university and working in the region. The police (who really didn't want to be there), ACLU, and the observers (who were not organized but had each heard of the problem and chose to attend independently) all ended up across the street from the flagpole. To my surprise, it was the same principal, and boy, he obviously wished the whole thing would just go away. (This is a HS larger than some college campuses.)The ACLU guys kept asking what firm everyone was with. The principal came over to see who all showed up, and was surprised to see so many alum. He asked each of the people why they were there, and to a person, all answered that if he tried to have those children arrested, they would make sure under no uncertain terms we would go with him. He asked how long we had been planning this, and was surprised to find none of us had any idea the others would show up. The ACLU guys jumped in their cars and left just as the kids were starting to gather around the pole. The child that prayed over lunch was a new entry from a private school. He went through lunch line, sat down, bowed his head, started to look up to dig in, and was yanked out of his seat by a teacher. He as taken down a hall and told in no uncertain terms that it was offensive and unacceptable behavior. The school backed the teacher. Their reasoning was that someone had got the ACLU invloved with the school because any allowance of any Christian act or symbolism was considered promotion by the school. There were a number of conferences and back and forth with parents about this. It was never resolved. The middle school the next year took out any reference to Christmas, but started teaching alternative holiday traditions. That is fine,except they disallowed any teaching about Christmas. The kids learned about Ramadan, the Jewish Festivals, and about 5 or more other holiday celebrations from other religions for about 6 weeks prior to "winter break." (1 week per religion) Parents praised the new curriculum, but questioned why there was no presentation of Christmas. The ACLU stepped in and stated that their belief was that any mention of any event, act, or belief regarding Christianity would hold that the school promoted Christianity. The parents were relieved, thinking the ACLU reps in front of them had no idea that 6 weeks had already been spent on everything EXCEPT Christmas. They made it well known that they were in fact aware, and alluded to the "assistance" they had given the school in creating the new curriculum in the first place. People started to get miffed. The head ACLU rep present stated that the constitution was quite clear, the founding fathers only concern was the seperation of the Christian Church from the state. Anything else was not an issue. So Merlyn, I don't really care what the ACLU puts out in its little bits and bites to the public. In these three instances, I got to watch them up-close and personal. They weren't pleasant, they made no attempt to reason with anyone, to be civil with anyone, or even appear open to any dialogue whatsoever. Until I have a direct positive experience with them, I won't believe a smidgen of what they say. With the third time being a charm, I found a way to get on a couple of their "activist" lists. I was curious as to whether the group in that region was just a little too cooked in the sun, or if this was condoned. From the tone of the information I received, and the invitations to push around "new found" targets, I came to the realization that on the underside, this is who these people really were. So you can ask for cites till the cows come home. Until I see and interact with them directly, they are about as valuable as a tick with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to me. And as for the berth situation, did you bother to see the selectiveness of the other organizations receiving free berth space. This is a hate the BSA/Gay issue only. If they were all that concerned about equality, they would stop hiding some of the other organizations with free berths. In the meantime, I will continue to hope they someday become what they say they are.
  6. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    Merry Christmast ACLU

    Love the idea purceIce! The ACLU has had some really nobel ideas, unfortunately, they also have had some of the most misguided litigation known to this country, costing millions of dollars to individuals, companies, and organizations. Merlyn_LeRoy - the ACLU ensured the public schools in our neck of Texas could say absolutely nothing about Christmas, yet demanded these kids learn about a number of festivals to do with Wicca, Kwaanza, and some new age group to help "round" out their education. A kid praying over his own lunch silenetly usually brought disciplinary action until someone brought it into the light of day - thanks to the ACLU. Their litigators stood around the school property during "prayer around the flagpole" demanding the kids who attendend (prior to campus opening) be arrested for illegal usage of school property and illegal [association] - know that's the wrong word. As a Christian, would it be offensive if I sent a Christmas blessing to a group that may have done a few good things, but in general have made this country more divisive and intollerant of Christians than in any other time in history? As a Christian, I can turn the other cheek. I also have the command to love my enemies.... Instead of arguing with them, or going to court with them, I can truly love them. Bless their little socks right off. Not in spite or smite, but sincerely, genuinely, truly bless them this joyous of all seasons. We as Christians have more ability to fight back in a myriad of arenas if we would just open our eyes. Christ was the biggest extremest next to God of all time. We can take our que from him. Not in hate, or intollerance, or any other negative form. And remember, it's not the act that counts, it's the condition of the heart while the act is being committed. In all humbleness and humility, my prayer for them would be that they act after thinking through a situation. I would pray that they stop concentrating on how large they can swell their coffers and start concentrating on how small the pettiness is making so many. I would pray they would grasp a tinge of Arthurian Ideals and comprehend that right makes might, not might makes right. I would pray that they would hold up the individual freedoms of a person who is Christian just as fast as a person who is Athiest. I would pray they throw out their Orwellian dogma than all are equal, just some more equal than others. I would pray that they stop taking BSA to court for things they consider acceptable by other organizations. That's not harrassment. That's Christianity.
  7. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    Need VLSC info

    Where do you plan to hold your training and how long are you planning to be there? How many adults do you have lined up to help? Which part or parts are you talking about specifically? Do you find them boring or are you looking to add more meaning to what they learn? Do you have access to electronics during the training?
  8. Seems like the same answer to the original question keeps poping up in different forms: Troops that are run on the BSA model are successful model units. Units that try to re-invent the wheel or only follow part of the model (aka - adult led) are losing scouts. And to think, it only took 9 pages of repeat the obvious, again! Brianbuff - I think your original question is quite worthwhile; however, and with all sincerity, I believe the spirit of scouting is completely lost to you. I say that with all humbleness and humility. I haven't read your website. After perusing scoutingforall and keeping up with our latest round of $$ sucking court cases (I get asked questions by people in the community, so I try to stay somewhat knowledgeable in order to put a factual face on the topics) I get the impression it just may nick my sensibilities. It's simple. Save scouting by being the best scout you can be, in the spirit of true scouting. Convey that attitude wherever you go, but most importantly to the youth that look to you as a leader. Hold your standard high and people will clamber to rise to your occasion. In utter respect, stop trying to reinvent the wheel. The wheel provided with the program works, it unfortunately is just not used by every leader. Be a leader. Be a scouter. But most of all, research, read, study, or visit successful troops to get a grasp of the spirit of scouting. We don't need re-invented, we need committed adults who will use a very proven business plan. Use it.
  9. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU To everyone who posted their ideas and opinions to my original question. Thanks also for the PM's full of useful data, programs, and resources. The roundtable introduction was a great success! I've been attending RT meetings plainclothes while we were all making sure we had a solid foundation as a crew and all of the adult leaders (including myself) were fully trained and prepared to communicate knowledgably with other Scouters. This tacit was also useful in providing a great deal of curiosity, as our district is very big on "shirt reading" and the collection of all things necessitating gluing or sewing. The crew at first opted out of a 1st class uniform on the basis that one of our youngest men said best, "I don't care how many things I can attach to my shirt, I care about how many things I can learn." I told them I thought it would be best if at least a few of the adults that would be in front of other Scouters and council had a shirt for those occasions. They agreed, and since we had all worked hard to make 100% quality unit, be trained, and rack up over 100 Good Turn For America hours in the past few months, there would be something to "read" at the meeting. As soon as the rain shirt over cover was off, the whole room looked like a big contagion of turning heads. A few moments later, I was asked to speak, and at that moment, you could have heard a pin drop on the opposite side of the auditorium. After introducing myself and my crew affiliation, I started with a question. Could anyone give me the BSA definition of a Venturing Crew. Lots of unsure looks but no takers. So they were first given a definition of what Venturing was NOT, based on what I had heard through the months from this region and from this forum. This immediately allayed their fears and their anticipation as to the true definition was palpable. After paraphrasing the Venturer/Ranger Handbook (which was on hand and available to all) excitement started to build. The next few minutes was spent addressing their retention concerns, as like many other regions, we lose a goodly number of our 14 & up scouts. Options to retain scouts aging out was also discussed. This truly brought a great deal of relief. SM's & ASM's started asking questions in rapid succession in retaining their scouts at-risk of quitting. I gave a profile of our membership, including helping find a scout troop for new members who had never been in scouting, and their younger siblings that wanted to do what their big brother was doing. Even the SM & ASM of two scouts who left and joined the crew confirmed my commitment to retention, and plainly stated nothing else would have kept them in scouting. We went over the spirit of Venturing and how it was being applied in our crew. Everyone received multiple BSA tri-folds on Venturing to give their scouts and parents. We detailed our super-activity and some of our upcoming activities, providing crew tri-folds titled "Destination: SeaBase". The presentation turned into a terrific animated conversation, with the Scouters really pumping up. The benefits have been wonderful, and all of your advise and knowledge was no small part of this success. I could not have been this proactive without all of your awesome input. We are no longer vultures to the troops. We have received great advise, questions, and support from SM's, ASM's, & CM's. Council no longer acts as if we have "black-sheep" status, and has been a help instead of a hindrance. My apologies for taking a few weeks to get this out. Between working on a number of projects, crew, scouts, band, wrestling, LOST, and the inevitable minor emergencies, things have been beyond hectic. Thanks for the advise on Powder Horn. I tried to make the upcoming Pitt. dual-weekend, but between other responsibilities and the need "stash" a teen somewhere for the weekend (AKA single-mom-syndrome)it will have to wait for the Cleve. course in the spring. We are only 45 min. from Pitt. on the Ohio side. Anyone knowing of a training program pertinent to running a crew feel free to drop a line. Through all this, we have met some great crews here in NE Ohio and hope to visit with each of them. They have also discussed getting together the crews in the region for some fun. Again, thanks to all. Everything we do, from recruitment to forms approvals has been made easier by creating a culture of solidarity. And I truly appreciate every single one of you! Sincerely, Mic
  10. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    What do you know about boys using myspace.com

    Hey mmhardy - yello-hammer has a very valid point. We as adults who have perused the myspace web site, and especially those that log in as 14-16 year-old boys and girls have a pretty good working knowledge regarding what to expect. We as adults can often sense when a conversation or a chat thread is turning unacceptable, but most teens just don't get it. So yes, we can monitor away, but what would be your advise to a daughter that just fat fingered a button from an unsolicited cam-chat, only to see a grown man about your age performing live on screen. Of course delete it. Now delete it from your daughters brain. What a wonderful intro to a sex-ed talk! Now as adult leadership of the scouting movement, using myspace as a scouting place gives your tacket approval to the images that tend to be throughout the site in order to get to the area you have created for the youth. It doesn't matter if you agree with it or not, as far as the child (and they are in fact still children), and often their parents are concerned, the subcontious and contious both relate YOUR tackit approval. Now go one step further and watch a scout or potential scout whose parents do not pay attention to their internet use get sucked in to a bad situation. YOU and BSA are now at fault. Unfortunately in this day and age, parents are never liable or at fault for anything for the most part. It is just too ripe a situation to completely dismantle everything scouting has tried to build up and maintain. I like OGE's idea too. How about on a site that is less sexually pervasive, or where at least one must actively choose to peruse the "adult content" areas of a site. Myspace is cool today, but go find the statistics on their approval ratings from teens. They are dropping. Why? Other sites are popping up, and myspace is starting the downward slope of becomming, "like, so 5-minutes ago, like, ya-know?". Using electronic communication in scouting is a cool tool. But we all need to use it responsibly.
  11. Aidan_MacAnBhaird

    Some good press coverage for a change!

    Did anyone notice all the links in this thread are broken? Any new links?
  12. I FORGOT ABOUT THE SPEAKING MERIT BADGE - AND THAT'S PART OF MY JOB - have some boys speaking at a roundtable and they have either already finished or just finished their communications. This one's a no-brainer. We have mentors for our youth, either as SM's, ASM's, DL's, ADL's, A's, AA's, merit badge councilors, consultants, and more. What mentoring program do we have for the adults? Why isn't each new unit started with the assistance of a mentor who ensures the spirit of scouting shines through? Why doesn't this mentor check on each pack, troop, team, or crew in BSA on a regular schedule, at times contacting random youth and parents for a "snapshot" of the unit's performance? If, from what I am understanding, a measurable percentage of you think the ultimate reason for the participant decline rests with adult leadership, what is being done to ensure leadership worthy of the BSA emblem?
  13. So, since we all know of at least a few units that would not hold up to this type of scrutiny, what would be the preliminary action to ensure each troop would be prepared to receive recruits with a factual perception of scouting? Not every troop can meet the needs of every boy, so SM's would have to be honest about who would do best in which troop, but otherwise, how to help obviously lacking troops raise to the scouting standard? Do you think the districts or councils these troops are in just don't care, don't have the resources to help, or what? Just curious.
  14. Thank you emb021 for the web reference. I am going through all of the materials we have had to create on our own and make sure they are in the right format. Eamonn - You asked about the need to "win over" scout masters. We are in a highly rural area. When something negative is said to a youth (the venturer), or group (the troop to which the venturer belongs)about venturing, it is passed through the school chain to a large segment of our recruitable youth. Thus, the potential scout/venturer is lost. Add to that the negativity these youth receive when at their troop meetings and events. This is from the adults. There seems to be a lot of politics and a lot of "fiefdoms" in this area; maybe that is true of troops/districts/councils in general. Then there's the council, which is not versed in venturing, nor appears to necessarily like the concept. Their perspective is that for this crew to be sustainable, we need the support of the troops and we should be supporting the council and troops. I get the impression that if this is not accomplished, they will not support us. I don't know. Maybe virtual seperation is a good thing, other than we file everything through them and it would make life much easier if they understood what we were doing. We may have something in common. The more I research how other crews in the region - not just our council - are run, the more I take issue with how they are run. No wonder it has been difficult to get this running, and no wonder some are so darned negative over the program. That's why the "re-education" guised as an introduction to our crew at Round Table. To set Crew 17 apart from the "un-crews" or "crew-lites" that tend not to last past a year or make it so far is the original youth age-out. This crew was started to provide area youth (cross-district & council due to our location) with an outlet to augment their scouting experience, or for those that did not choose scouting to participate. The charter members wanted more exposure to a myriad of interests, while some from very large troops or very disorganized troops wanted more leadership training. Eamonn wrote: Sadly most of the Troops seem to have only a handful of older Scouts and a large number of the very young Scouts. One thing I hear a lot from these Lads who are in both a Troop and the Ship is that they dislike having to work with the "Little Kids!" I know some people are going to say that they shouldn't feel this way, but the fact of the matter is they do. If everything was as it should be, when a SM who seen that a Scout was starting to lose interest in the Troop he or she would try and direct him to a Venturing program. But that doesn't seem to happen that often and maybe (And I'm not sure!!) this is why we have so many small Crews spring up? [end Eamonn wrote] This is very true here. Personally, I am tired of seeing such a drop rate. Especially since when I talk to these boys, they either found no challenge in troop activities, found themselves the "babysitter" for the younger kids, or both. The point I want to make with the SM's is that we are not here to steal. If they see someone about to walk, mention venturing and let the crew know so we can do our part. We may be able to give them the outlet they need to refresh their desire to stay in the troop. If they still drop the troop, at least they are still in scouting. Troops garner their membership from packs. I have not seen any other recruiting effort in this area by a troop recruiting anyone outside the scouting program. Maybe this is the perspective they have on our crew: we must be providing the next "crossover" point, thus taking their members. This of course, is far removed from the actual concept. This is another point I want to drive home with the SM's, with the CE, DE, and others all present. The point of winter event is that it is the only thing the crew wanted to do with the troops all year. Everything else is a work project. I know they wanted to use it as a tool to build their teamwork better. But I also seriously think they are tired of the bunk from troops, and honestly think they want to attend (they even want to practice for it) to prove to everyone present - including their own troops, that they have a good thing going. The crew is primarily all male. They've been dissed and they want to prove the nay-sayers wrong. (We only have one 18 year old, the rest are 15 1/2 to 14.) I envy Sea Scouts. Their program is well-defined, accepted, and by the sheer nature of their program, dno't seem to actually get involved with any of this.
  15. 1ST AND FORMOST, I AM SO THANKFUL FOR ALL THE POINTS MADE TO MY INITIAL QUESTION. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS RESPONDED SO FAR AND A THANK YOU ALSO TO THOSE WHO WILL BE MAKING POSTS AS THIS PROGRESSES. This has helped prepare me for the Roundtable more than any other notes or necessities as this has given me insight into the types of questions which may be asked; however, the greatest benefit has been the need to me to examine these points and ensure my information and understanding are bang-on solid. embo21 - The Venture/Ranger handbook states, "venturing is a catalyst." on page 2. The BSA uses the word Venturing throughout all of its liturature as the action (verb) of the program (noun). High Adventure is available to scouts 14 and over within a troop. A troop may have a high adventure patrol or activities. Eamonn- Thank you for some very good questions. I have to run on an appointment, but maybe the best thing to do is run down a little of what we have been going through to get this going on this end. I am committed to not allowing the crew to be pulled into the politics that can sometimes arise, but possibly that is exactly what is happening. Thanks everyone, Monday Madness has overflowed to Tuesday!