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Posts posted by dkurtenbach

  1. Trevorum wrote:


    If I was going to create from scratch a Quality Unit program, I would craft it around the eight methods:





    Personal growth

    Adult association

    Leadership development





    I heartily agree -- actually, I've been toying a bit with a sort of checklist for a solid troop program, more comprehensive and detailed than the quality unit requirements, and thought that the Eight Methods would be a good way to organize it.


    Now for the substance. If you were going to create a one- or two-page "cheat sheet" of the elements that make up a good troop program, what would you put on the list?


    Dan K

  2. Very true -- I'm ONLY talking about folks who choose to wear the official "recommended" uniform: the spruce green shirt from BSA and gray pants. That uniform is totally optional for crews, who also can choose to create their own uniforms or have no uniforms at all. My point is simply that if you choose the official "recommended" uniform, you DON'T have to buy the gray pants or shorts from BSA in order to be in the official recommended uniform.


    Dan K

  3. From Al Bormuth, posted on the Venturing List:


    Posted last night-




    new stuff on Trust Award announcement,

    New Venturing Literature

    Shooting Sprots Outstanding Achievement award


    and, from a couple of weeks ago

    Procedure Clarification: Venturng Advancement Procedures

    Venturing Firearms Policy Revision for Guide to Safe Scouting





  4. To become a Venturer, you must be at least 14 years old and have graduated 8th grade, but not yet 21.


    Find a Venturing Crew in your area. If you don't know of any Crews in your area, contact your local Boy Scout Council. If you go to the official BSA National web page, www.scouting.org, look in the lower right-hand box for "Sign Up for Scouting," which will direct you to a Council locator and contact information.


    Then fill out a Venturer application form and pay the fees.

  5. It can be done simply and cheaply and without a controversial two-year process and lots of trauma.


    Keep what we have now, but ADD additional official pieces that can be mixed and matched, for example:


    In addition to the current tan shirt -- a tan shirt in modern high-tech, "wicking" fabric; and a shirt with a band collar or no collar that makes neckerchiefs look good.


    In addition to the current green pants -- BDU-style pants in the same green color; nylon zip-offs in the same green color; and modern hiking-style shorts in modern fabrics, in the same green color.


    In addition to the current red jac-shirt and red windbreaker -- red Polartec fleece jacket.


    Each Scout and adult has more options and can acquire the pieces he or she likes but still be in uniform.


    Dan K

  6. I spun off a new thread because the title of the old one, "venture uniform," uses incorrect terminology. "Venture" refers to older boy high adventure/sports patrols in Boy Scout troops.


    As for the VenturING uniform, it is not necessary to have BSA-issue gray pants or shorts to be in the official "recommended" BSA Venturing uniform. You need the BSA spruce green shirt, but any gray backpacking-style shorts or gray casual pants will do. See the Venturer Handbook. This is different from Boy Scouting, where only the BSA-issue green pants are part of the official uniform. There is no need to buy BSA-issue gray pants or shorts to be in the official, recommended BSA Venturing uniform.


    Dan K


  7. SP, I'm sure you will have great success -- you will be one of the "key persons" who actually succeed because you understand the importance of getting people to help you early and often.


    The challenge you have taken on is to take all of the Membership load on yourself, while also trying to build up a committee to pass that load on to, and finding the resources you need to carry out the Membership Committee operations. Those are THREE big jobs.


    Just as in units, with the division of labor between the unit committee and the unit leadership corps, there is and should be a division of labor in the district: the operating committees, like Membership, and the Commissioner Corps, that do the "boots on the ground" work; and the infrastructure behind them that gather resources and provide support, like the District Officers, the Members at Large of the District Committee, the DC and ADCs, the Nominating Committee, and the DE.


    While you have the best of intentions, you aren't necessarily doing the district organization a favor over the long term by letting the DE, the District Officers, the District Committee, and the Nominating Committee off the hook. Neglect the support structure, and it won't be there in three or five years when you are ready to move on to something else. By all means continue to recruit and keep your eyes peeled for resources, but doing so should be incidental to your real work. Let the DE and the others do their jobs, so that you can focus on the ONE job you have been given -- bringing youth into Scouting.


    That said, I suspect that that you have the larger purpose of strengthening the district overall by building a strong Membership

    Committee and working outward from there, bringing in new blood. That could work, perhaps. I wish you well in your new endeavor.


    Dan K



  8. I think the best candidates for unit commissioners are active, competent Scouters who have one other Scouting job doing something else, whether a unit leader or member of a district operating committee. The unit commissioner job, assuming a unit that is in pretty good shape, really can be done in just a couple of hours a month (including the monthly District Commissioners meeting). There are a few practical aspects to using the UC as a "second" job. An active, working Scouter is more likely to be current on the program his assigned unit is in, and will be sensitive to "outsiders" sticking their noses into unit business. He or she will understand the importance of getting the job done and so is likely to give it appropriate attention rather than ignore it. At the same time, as a "second" job, the UC won't be tempted to lavish his/her time and attention on the unit, but instead will keep appearances and contacts appropriately brief. For the UC, it is an opportunity to see how other units "do Scouting" without taking on responsibilities in those units. It is also a way to get to know other Scouters in a different context, and flirt with aspects of District operations the UC may not be familiar with.


    Dan K

  9. SP, congratulations on your new position! Membership is incredibly important, so obviously the DE was being very selective about who he was going to volunteer for the job.


    Since your DE is such a great recruiter, I suggest you use those skills -- and give him a little payback -- while avoiding the pitfalls of being the "key person." Tell him you won't be making any moves as Membership Chair until you have a good, solid committee behind you, say, five people. Tell him to let you know once that is taken care of, so you and the new committee can start thinking about Join Scouting Night. Then ask him to list the resources that Council (through the DE) and the District Committee will provide for your use -- flyers (Council), placing articles in local newspapers (District Marketing/Community Relations Committee), displays or activities to draw people in (District Program Committee).


    In the meantime, of course, do your own recruiting. But make it clear that Membership is not YOUR job, it is the job of the Membership Committee. And make it clear that pulling in the people power and other resources necessary to do the work of the Membership Committee is not YOUR job, it is the job of the District Committee and the Nominating Committee.


    Best of luck!



  10. What our district most needs to do is get away from the "key person" style of operations. This is where responsibilities (such as a camporee, or Join Scouting Night) are assigned to one individual, who is then responsible for going out and finding the people and resources needed, doing the planning, and carring out the activity. Now, on occasion, it works -- the key person has the skill to corral enough volunteers and find the resources to get it done. But very often, the key person ends up unable to get help until the very last minute, and ends up doing or trying to do everything him/herself. In addition to poorly executed activities, the poor key person gets burned out (and then abused when the activity doesn't come off well). The "key person" style can work very well in business or the military where the key person has the authority to command people and resources. But volunteers need to have committees of like-minded folks ready to take on responsibilities as a group. The real weakness in the system is laziness in recruiting -- stopping when a "chairman" is found, rather than getting entire committees in place. That's where a strong Nominating Committee is vital, as well as a commitment to focus on the district "infrastructure," not just district operations.




  11. Very true that you don't need to be in uniform all the time, especially at summer camp. However, the Uniform Method tends to work better when the boys are in uniform. I think the "activity" (Class B) uniform is intended to be practical and durable and comfortable for most outdoor activities, so that boys *can* be in uniform all of the time at summer camp if they bring a couple of pairs of Scout shorts and a few Scout t-shirts with them.



  12. Sometimes terminology catches on, sometimes it doesn't. The use of "Class A" and "Class B" is widespread because people found the terms to be a useful and understandable shorthand. "Field uniform" and "activity uniform" don't seem to work as well. I also think that, unless "Class A" and "Class B" are postively banned or actively discouraged, it will be very difficult to get them out of Scouters' standard lexicon.


    So I would say, yes, it does make sense to officially adopt common usage. But I also agree with some other posters that there are really *three* levels of "official" uniform:


    Class A -- tan shirt, Scout pants or shorts, socks, belt, optional hat, optional neckerchief.


    Class A "Plus" -- Class A plus merit badge sash, medals, hat (if outdoors), and neckerchief.


    Class B -- troop or camp T-shirt, Scout pants or shorts, socks, belt, optional hat.


    There are also times when it is appropriate for the Scout to *not* be in uniform on a Scouting activity: swimming, caving, a dirty service project, etc. Aside from its death-grip on unpopular pants, BSA really is fairly practical about the whole uniform thing.



  13. I really like BW's list but I'd like to turn the part of it dealing with program into something a little more concrete: A checklist of sorts for Scoutmasters and Troop Committees and PLCs doing annual planning. Something a bit more more detailed and comprehensive than the Quality Unit Award requirements -- How many nights camping? What types/mix of camping and other activities? For new or struggling troops, it would serve as a set of goals. For great troops, it would serve as a list of "bare minimumns."



  14. I found three references to this issue in the Boy Scout Handbook (I've got the 3rd printing):


    Page 281: "Carry food scraps home in a trash bag or burn them in a hot campfire by adding them to the flames a little at a time. You can burn wastepaper, too, but don't put plastic bags into a fire; burning plastic can release toxic gases into the air."


    Page 252: "Clean a permanent fire site by picking out any bits of paper, foil, and unburned food. Pack them home with the rest of your trash."


    Page 245 (Leave No Trace discussion): "Inspect your campsite for trash or spilled foods. Accept the challenge of packing out all trash, leftover food, and litter."



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