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Posts posted by diogenes

  1. The campaign hat is Scouts. My dad wore one, and was part of why I wanted to be a Scout growing up. Shortly after my son was born, my dad bought him a campaign hat to wear when he was old enough.


    I wear a campaign hat. I found a surplus store that sells them for $10. Add the band and the Scout emblem and you're set. I was able to outfit my entire troop, and believe me, we were noticed at camp. I also like that with the campaign hat, 1st Class Scouts can wear the old 1st Class pin on the hat instead of the usual emblem. Every one of my scouts that earned 1st Class and got the pin wore it with pride.


    I've since moved to a new area, and have been called as a Scoutmaster in my new troop, so the campaign hat is again drawing attention. We already handed out one 1st Class hat pin at a CoH and the young lad is now trying to figure out how he can get a campaign hat so he can wear it. He is one of my best scouts, even if he is one of the youngest.


    My WB course must have been pretty traditional: the staff had the campaign hats, shorts, knee-socks, red jackets, and had their Troop 1 POR patches. We didn't have to strip our uniforms, though.


    I've just been asked to be a TG at a WB course, and I'm already wondering how much my course was "old school" or if this new course is "sloppy". No unity in the uniform, no patches to ID who is what role in Troop 1.

  2. While I can understand the concern over access and cost for swimming pools, it is no different than other aspects of the program.


    I did not advance past Tenderfoot because I couldn't pass the swim test. Darn near drowned a couple of times trying. I just never got it. My parents could swim, so that wasn't the problem. They tried teaching me; it just never took. My brother eventually figured it out and was able to advance.


    I didn't quit Scouting because of that; I was having too much fun doing the camping and other stuff.


    The lack of swimming ability didn't stop me from saving a Cub who was going under at a den activity when I was Den Chief. I jumped in the pool, grabbed the Cub, and kicked off the bottom to get him out. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but I was the only one close enough to do anything fast enough.


    I have managed to learn some basic swimming as an adult. I still can't pass the swim test (yet), but it doesn't stop me from being involved. I earned the Polar Bear swim patch at summer camp two years ago with my Scouts (it was warmer in the water than out). One of my Scouts was able to swim, but was afraid of jumping in over his head. I got in to prove to him it was ok, and that he could trust the lifeguard (I cleared it with the lifeguard ahead of time so he knew to look out, though everything went well and didn't require his intervention).


    Rambling aside, I don't see a problem with the requirement. The medical exception is there for those who truly need it (it was offered to me but I turned it down; I didn't have a medical problem, I just couldn't get the hang of it).

  3. Sounds like some of the boys are embracing their consequences as a means of defiance, trying to get a rise out of the adults. They don't want to admit that having Dad along to babysit him will be embarassing, so they use their bravado.


    It's like the delinquents in my security unit who claim that OC Spray "aint't nothing" to them... until they get sprayed and have to get decontaminated. I'm not saying we should OC the scouts, but just be aware that the consequences may be just fine, it's just the boy trying to look "tuff". Of course, if they have found a way to manipulate the system as others have mentioned, make sure you find what is important to them and attach the consequence to that.


    It wouldn't hurt to give camp expectations before leaving, and making sure the parents understand them as well. That way you're less likely to get a surprise if you end up having to call a parent.

  4. If you dig through the forums, you'll see plenty of good advice has been given on this topic. You need to look at this as a long range goal, and get the boys to buy in from the beginning. Work with them to lay out a plan with goals and expectations, step by step, and work it. If an established troop that currently uses the kind of leadership you want is operational, perhaps they can send over some Troop Guides to help for the first little bit, or let you come visit and learn from them a few times.


    Keep the goals reasonable for the age and capabilities of the boys, but don't underestimate them. Once you train them, step back and let them go.

  5. My (former) troop had summer camp plans for a combined week of COPES and the aquatic base (two separate camps about a dozen miles apart). The program got yanked on them about two months ago, so they made other plans. I know the paperwork and payments were straight because that was the last thing i did before I got a job transfer. Maybe the same thing happened; I'll have to check back with them.

  6. moxieman


    Our council supported an all LDS campout week at BTSR last year. It was huge as we had church leaders coming in from Salt Lake to do training. They are usually supportive of LDs units.


    I can only guess if this law affected the unit in Lubbock. This law was on the books when I was a youth herer in Texas and we did our own summer camp just fine. My dad was one of the leaders and he never said anything about having to deal with this. Maybe it was because we did the campout on a training range of Fort Hood (which was also an established BSA/GSA campsite).

  7. Just wanted to report back in. A job transfer to northern Texas has taken me from active participation with the troop but I've stayed in touch.


    They are at Scout camp this week in New Mexico. They were signed up for camp at the local council aquatics base and COPES course, but they were told about 2 months ago that the camp was cancelled. They quickly put together a plan at the new location for cheaper, plus they are getting to do as we originally planned.

  8. LDS units are open to non LDS members (leaders and boys), but interest is usually limited because of the integration of the religious program. My small troop in west Texas doubled in size with some non-LDS friends of one of our boys and they were just fine. We also picked up a few when the other troop in town fell apart last summer.


    I can't say for sure but I think it may be roughly the same way with a number of other churches that charter a unit.


    I can see a purpose for targeting units when the target groups has needs that require operational adaptations away from the "default" troop style. We need to be careful about over-targetting for each demographic, though.

  9. Not every boy is a leader, just as not every boy is a genius or a jock or a musician. However, they can still learn leadership skills and benefit from the experience. If nothing else, they become better followers by understanding what leaders have to deal with.


    There is enough variety in the PORs for a boy to gain leadership experience in a way that suits them best. This may take some trial and error, but they'll find a spot. They may even find that they can do it once they try it and gain some confidence. That's exactly what happened with me in Scouts, band, and JROTC. Started off shy, and after being nudged/shoved/thrown in I gained experience and confidence and was able to do a variety of jobs. I discovered I work better as an XO than as a captain, but I can do just fine as a captain if needs be.


    It is up to the adult (and senior boy) leaders to decide how much nudging/shoving a boy is ready for to move them from their comfort zone to their grwoth/learning zone.

  10. For the sake of arguement, let's flip the question: little Johnny was allowed to skip a grade, so can he skip a level of Cubs (to be with his classmates)? If Billy is a genius and is in 7th grade at age 6, can he join the local Boy Scout Troop?


    Age and grade requirements both exist. Sound advice has been given so far, so I won't say much more than I agree that the boy shouldn't be held back in Cubs just because of school. As a criminologist, the potential harm in holding him back far outweighs any possible benefits. Will holding him back make him a criminal? Not in and of itself, but it sure would increase the odds of the "I'm a loser, why bother?" attitude devloping.


    Not all units are organized by grade cohort. Some go by age and will move the boys up and along as soon as they are old enough and have met any other requirements.

  11. The first I heard of PPL was last Saturday when I got my beads. Someone asked who it was for my patrol and everyone around me (classmates from the course) all said "Huh?"


    Our patrol flag hangs in the dining hall of the local Scout ranch. I got to point it out to my Scouts when we were there for camp. Then I pointed out the Buffalo patrol flag that had some Beaver in it due to a branding "accident". We had leather flags and after my Antelope buddy showed some initiative and branded his patrol's flag, others wanted to copy the idea, but that quickly stopped after the accident and the staff discovering the borrowed course brand. My patrol cut our flag into the shape of a beaver tail, so we had scrap pieces left over, and being a well prepared beaver, I had it on hand for the patch job.

  12. Where to start...


    I did band and JROTC and excelled in both because I put in the time and made sacrifices. I stopped doing Scouts with my church troop because all they did was play basketball. I wanted to do outdoor stuff. I managed to get that with my JROTC Recon Company/High Adventure Explorer Post (which would probably be Venturing nowadays).


    I was ranked 13 out of 540 in my graduating class. Band and JROTC sucked the GPA down, as well as not taking honors classes because I did summer classes to have room in my schedule. My grades overall helped me get a full ROTC scholarship and admission to a top university. The leadership I learned and practiced in Scouting, band, and ROTC all helped as well.


    I managed to strike a balance between the two/three. I got permission from my band director to miss part of summer rehearsal to attend to my JROTC duties, including being commandant of the summer NCO Academy. Part of why I was allowed to do this is because I had proven I would keep up my end of things n the band, and I also presented a plan for how things would run in my absence. JROTC allowed me to attend to band functions as needed. It took communication and initiative.


    All that out of the way now, let me add another curveball. Maybe it is just a Texas thing, but most communities I've been in have managed to get the school district to make a "family night" policy. This initiative was mainly started by the local Baptist ministers so their youths could do Wednesday night church, but they built enough of a coalition that the public pressure was too much to ignore. The district made a strict policy of no school activities after 5PM on Wednesdays to allow for family time. Most church and other youth organizations in the community were smart enough to use this as their time for activities. This avoided most schedule conflicts during the week. Weekends took some doing, especially with sports, but I'll put that back under the "you have to make a decision of some kind" category. If the youth and his adult leaders/parents can help him make arrangements to attend to his responsibilities in both areas, then great. I think most organization leaders will work with a youth who shows the initiative to take responsibility and work extra hard to make things happen. And if not, time to make a hard decision like most adults have to make.

  13. If you can put together a basic SOP booklet for the troop, plus a page for contact info, it would not only help your new scouts and parents, but everyone else as well.


    If they do a crossover ceremony for them, the receiving troop usually sends someone to welcome them into the new troop. Usually a Patrol Leader for new scouts, the Senior Patrol Leader, or the Scoutmaster. When the boy bridges over, the troop member will present them with things like a troop neckerchief or a Scout handbook.

  14. SctDad wrote

    "But some of the parents would rather run to McD's instead of trying to learn to cook. Bad part is, when we go to the campground this spring, the nearest eatery is about 30 minutes away, and you had better know your way back."


    Sounds to me like you solve that problem all by itself. Maybe the boys will get hungry while the parents are lost.

  15. Call me a stickler, but unless a person did 5 years, they don't get the 5 year pin. I have yet to see any employer say "Aw heck, you can have the 5 year longevity pay raise at 4 years and some change, close enough!". For the boys, I might be persuaded to round up if they were shy by a few weeks, or in a really generous mood, a few months (they still must be at least over 4 years, 6 months). But 4 years 1 month is not 5 years by any stretch of logic.


    If the boys wanted to hang around and get a 5 year Cub pin, they could have not crossed over already. I'm personally more impressed that they earned their AOL already and moved on to bigger adventures.

  16. These kinds of things are supposed to come up in the check, but actual results probably vary by jurisdiction. BSA has issued new adult application forms that all adults must fill out this year which includes a signature block authorizing a background check. Failure to sign the block will result in non-admission or dismissal from Scouting.


    In this particular case, I'd take the accusation with a grain of salt. Divorces tend to bring out the worst in people, and false accusations of abuse are not uncommon as part of a power play for custody, alimony, and other reasons. If the guy does have this charge on his record, it should show up when they do the background check on him, which everyone is supposed to be getting soon if not already recently. If you believe that it won't show up, or not soon enough, you can report the information you have to you district executive and the unit leaders (Committee Chair, Charter Rep, Institutional Head).

  17. Do you know which unit was turned away last year? I'd give them a call now, explain that you're the new pd, and ask if they plan to attend this year so you can get a rough count of how many will show up. You can even include a gentle reminder about the need to register on time, even though you just contacted them. A bit of extra work, but you can probably soothe any sore feelings from last year and boost attendance for this year and future cub camps. Otherwise, you (they) may have lost this unit for a while, if not permanently.


    Heck, calling all the units in your area might be a good investment in the personal touch. There may be other units that don't attend due to past problems. Its amazing how many groups don't attend certain functions because of "something that happened in the past" which may be years or decades old.

  18. "A case in point LDS scouting, while it uses the basic concepts of the BSA their focus/program is different from non LDS units, their units are much smaller in size and the boys are registered by the church even though many do not attend meetings, the leaders are appointed, not volunteers, by church leaders for a one year committment and as a result many do not get properly trained. While they do use the BSA program the main focus is to prepare the boys to go on missions and to become church leaders."


    Not to sidetrack the thread too far, but just to clarify that LDS Scout leaders aren't appointed for "one year tours". We have had some problems in the past of leadership getting changed out fairly quick as they get moved to new callings, but this issue is being addressed. The current instructions are that Scout leaders are to be left in their callings (appointments) unless specifically needed elsewhere. It was explained to us in our training from the Young Men's General President that we should think of tenure for Scout leaders as "10 years, in other words, leave them there for at least 10 years. Don't move them unless you are absolutely certain that they are needed elsewhere and they are the only ones that can fill the new need."


    Now to weave back on subject, I do agree to an extent with the point that "demographic focused" units could start a trend of balkanization of Scouting. Then again, we already have this of sorts based on how units are chartered. In my area, very few units are chartered by any organizations other than churches, so they are already "demographic focussed" to an extent.


    Could Hispanic focused units hurt Scouting? I think it could go both ways. Large areas could probably support it without too much trouble. Sparse areas such as mine could either collapse from balkanization, or swell due to the sudden influx of previously unreached people. I could see some people in my area resorting to anti-immigrant bias, but if we can't teach these people about Scout spirit, we don't need them anyway.

  19. Doing challenges based on the Scout Law would be good. It'd also take a long bridge (and/or small steps) to get all 12 points in there, but the idea is good. I figure the main point is in using the challenges to help make the transition feel real, and become real. Boys like to feel that they've really earned something, especially if it involves feeling like an (young) adult instead of a "little boy". All the better if he can be publicly recognized for this.


    Make sure the lad really knows the Oath and the Law before the ceremony if you plan to include them. Mine gave it his best shot but ended up needing a literal "good turn" from the older Scouts as they turned around the chalkboard with the Oath and Law posters on the back to where he could see them.

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