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DrBeado

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Everything posted by DrBeado

  1. Merit Badge Universities (MBUs) seem to be all the craze in our area (about 3 a year within easy driving distance). I have always been uncomfortable with them for a variety of reasons, but I just got my "Merit Badge Counselor letter" and wonder how MBUs can be reconciled with the directions counselors are given in the letter. It states "...you can coach more than one at a time, but only one Scout at a time can satisfy you that he can meet the requirements." A bit earlier it also says "When one Scout in a group answers a question it can't possibly be prove that all the others in the group also know the answer." What are others' opinions of MBU's and how do you deal with this issue of group testing? If you know of MBU's that have resolved this problem I would like to hear how they did it? Thanks. DrBeado PS: I also think that MBU's take away the requirement for self-initiative that I think is an important role of approaching a counselor you do not know. Finally, I wonder how well Scouts actually retain anything they learn at MBU's when they get it all in a single 8-hour stretch instead of stretched out over weeks or months in a different situation (even at summer camp, it is a couple of hours a day over several days).
  2. DrBeado

    Merit Badge Universities

    Well well well.... I have only been perusing this site for a few weeks, but it seems that every thread I read I find Bob White and yaworski arguing the opposite sides of the issue. It looks like you two CAN agree some some issues after all. Maybe its the start of something new.....
  3. DrBeado

    Merit Badge Universities

    I think lots of partials may be the sign of a good program. Much better than my boy's experience (I was in the audience). The actual presentation was good, and my son had a good time. But a couple minute explanation of Ohm's law to 11 and 12 year olds is NOT "learn Ohm's law and how to apply it" (or something to that effect). Also, everybody who tried to build their circuit got credit for building it, whether or not they actually completed it. I think every scout there got the completed badge, whether or not they really understood anything. The temptation is strong to let things slide, because so many boys who do not complete the requirements will be disappointed and maybe never come back to that topic. It's the equivalent of grade inflation
  4. DrBeado

    Troop Committee question

    OK, you have changed the situation I outlined. I said they wanted to take all the troops, including new scouts, not 14 year olds who were experienced campers. And you propose maybe a dozen steps, all of which have to work properly. I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that ideally everything can be worked out without preventing the scouts from doing something and without any votes taken. But just one hold-up in that scenario you propose and we have a conflict. The committee MUST have the final say in a situation involving safety, AND if they cannot come to consensus, the only obvious way to resolve the issue is a vote. You have proposed a reasonable solution to a DIFERENT situation than I posed.
  5. DrBeado

    Troop Committee question

    I have to disagree with you, Bob White. The scenario I described in #2 on my posting is a situation that IS the committee's decision. As I understand the Committee Handbook (I don't have it in front of me, so I cannot quote you a passage), the troop committee oversees the troop activities IN PARTICULAR as it relates to safety issues. Taking inexperienced campers on a week-long backpacking trip into Yellowstone in January is NOT a safe practice. If the committee allowed this event to occur and a scout froze to death, the fall-out would be tremendous. The committee DOES have the right to "not let" the troop do this. [A smart committee would kick it back to the troop to ask for adjustments to their plans, but that is essentially rejecting the original idea as presented, just diplomatically.] And what if some of the committee members insisted that there was no safety issue and would not budge. Then the committee would HAVE to come to a vote on it, or talk it to death. The fact is that there are some situations where consensus just cannot be reached. I will reiterate the comments of some others. The very fact that Scoutmasters are explicitly denied a vote implies that there are some situations where a vote may be needed. This is not to say that the committee should not strive to minimize these situations, and some committees may work well enough together that the NEVER need to vote. But the possibility of a vote as a final arbitrator of an intractable issue is necessary. rlculver415 asked a "real-world" practical question and this forum has been going round and round talking about theoretical "ideal" situations.
  6. DrBeado

    Troop Committee question

    I have just read the past 5 pages of this thread (as a new ASM in a brand new troop, and one who will not get to SM training until next month, this seemed like an appropriate subject to read about). After reading all of this it seems to be a no-brainer. 1. Let the Scouts make as many decisions a possible. 2. Where there is a committee decision that has to be made (i.e., Will we really let the whole troop take a week-long cross-country ski trip in the Yellowstone backcountry in January, or are safety issues involved?), discuss it and try to come to concensus. 3. But if a concensus cannot be reached, and a decision has to be made, then VOTE ON IT!! Go back and read the original posting. He said that he realized that consensus was the best option, but in the eventuality that a vote had to be taken, he wanted to know WHO SHOULD VOTE. In an ideal world the committee will never have to vote. But this is not an ideal world, and few troops are perfect. Better to figure out who has a vote before the fact, rather than trying to settle this in the heat of a contested issue (the type likely to need a vote, after all). I actually had this question too, a few weeks ago. The TC handbook (if I remember right; it is not in front of me now), clearly states that the SM is not part of the committee, but it is silent on the ASM. I think later it says that no adult should double up in 2 positions, which for me resolved the issue (I cannot be a committee member and therefore cannot vote). It just seems that we quickly got off topic, quibbling over ideal situations, and never really answered the original question.
  7. I am relatively new to this forum. I notice that every once in a while the "Greenbar Bill" logo appears next to a post or topic (or elsewhere on the forum?). Can anybody explain why it appears? I think I remember it even happening to either a thread or post of mine (I am not going back to verify that). Thanks.
  8. DrBeado

    Greenbar Bill Logo

    Surely someone on this forum can explain this. I just noticed it again. The logo appeared to the left of one of the threads, and then was gone 10 minutes later when I viewed the thread again. Also, the same thing happened to a particular posting in a thread (except the logo appeared to the right this time). Anybody know?
  9. DrBeado

    By the way....moms aren't allowed....

    Time to move this over to the "issues and politics" forum. We have gotten so far afield from the original question. I sense that we can debate this forever and not change anyones minds. This has gone from being a debate over how to deal with the practical issue of what to deal with you come upon a "men only" troop to a series of rants about our pre-existing biases (and I mean both sides of the issue). Enough. Nobody is going to change their minds on this issue.
  10. DrBeado

    By the way....moms aren't allowed....

    So I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this issue. I think it DOES send a message that it is OK to discriminate against someone because they are female, even if inadvertantly. We have enough trouble in this world because of these attitudes without reinforcing them in any way.
  11. DrBeado

    By the way....moms aren't allowed....

    I told myself that I was not going to post to this thread anymore, but the following recent comment made me change my mind. "However, if the issue is - the boys want it to be a males only cluband again, I emphasize if it's the BOYS IDEA, then I think its acceptable." Are you saying that it is OK to send the message to the boys that it is acceptable to exclude women? This is the same attitude that leads to country clubs and the like that exclude women (and thus exclude them from a location where many business decisions are made over meals, golf, etc.). This attitude leads to the "good old boys club" syndrome that we are just now getting away from in society. This is the WORST of rationales for excluding women from campouts; the modesty issue is much more valid compared to this.
  12. DrBeado

    Chicago Area Council? Anyone?

    I have another comment not related to the replies so far. If you want to get people to read your threads, you need to think more carefully about your title. I do not have anything to do with the Chicago Council, so it is only happenstance that I opened this thread (most of us have time limitations, and do not read every thread on the forum). For all I knew, you were just looking for another troop to collaborate in a local service project. Try something like "Camp Owasippe is being closed down. Help!" or something else to get people's attention. I have watched some threads take off and others languish simply due to its title. You ahve to get enough people to open it to keep it at the top of the list.
  13. Help!! We have JUST started a new troop (our first Troop meeting is tomorrow night), and strongly believe in the concept of "Boy-led." We have several questions regarding the logistics of implementing boy led principles. 1. Our only direct experience with boy led are the two other troops in the area, both good examples of how NOT to do it (that is one of the reasons we are a troop now). Indirectly, we have picked up a lot of advice on this forum, but we do not know of a good "how to" source of what is and what is not considered boy led. 2. None of us is really trained (cub training, but that is not the same thing). We KNOW how important training is, but we have only existed for 1 week, our meetings are starting NOW, and what we introduce in this first month (before we can get through training), will influence the traditions and patterns of the troop for a long time. 3. We are also a very young troop in age. Most of the boys are 11-12, with maybe 1-2 13 year olds. Their only experience has likewise been with the other troops mentioned above. I am assuming that the basic idea is for the older, more experienced, boys to train the younger ones and pass on troop traditions, etc. In our case we HAVE no traditions or experience. I guess my questions/requests are for advice and examples of other troops that started out this way and how they handled the special situation. Also, do any of you know of any sources that we could readily get ahold of (relatively quickly) to help us get our troop going? Web sites would be great. assume that somewhere on this site there are useful threads, but I have not seen any that directly address some of our questions. Thanks in advance for all the advice I am sure we will get. DrBeado
  14. DrBeado

    By the way....moms aren't allowed....

    A while back Twocubdad quoted scout policy as: All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders. If this is true, how can even a CO prevent moms from going on the campout? Someone stated that the CO could request that dads instead of moms should go. But where does that leave all the single-parent families? It seems to me that a troop may be able to legally set up a "no female leaders on campouts" policy, but I cannot see how they can prevent a mom going as a parent but not a leader. We have been going around and around for 6 pages on this issue, but it seems to me that if this is in fact an accurate quote of scout policy, there is really no room for debate (the fact that some CO's and troops have such policies in no way means that they are correct. Anyone who has read many threads on this forum see LOTS of examples of incorrect application of scout policy). DrBeado
  15. DrBeado

    Passing requirements

    Hey guys! With all the expertice that is out there, surely there are more opinions than 5 replies for this thread. How about some examples for Stressbaby? How does YOUR troop decide how much knowledge a scout has to demonstrate before signing him off in the book?
  16. DrBeado

    New Troop and Boy Led

    Update and further clarification: First, the meeting went great. We had 8 boys, about as many parents, and 3 college students (and former Eagle Scouts) that are going to help us out. We had to prop our flag between two chairs because we don't have a stand yet, but the boys ran the opening ceremony well. The theme was cooking as we have a campout in a little over a week. We lit charcoal on a trashcan lid in the parking lot and the SM directed the boys to make a dump cake in a dutch oven (it was delicious). After the opening ceremonies, the adults held our first committee meeting while the SM helped the boys. We planned our menu and the boys planned theirs. Our one older boy even proposed a service project on his own, which we readily agreed to. Everyone had a good time. A few bugs like picking up pancake bits from our pancake flipping relay by hand (just where DOES the Church store their broom, anyway), but a roaring success. ---------- By the way, if I gave the impression that we were panicked over the start (several replies seem to assume that), I am sorry. We have lots of ideas; we just wanted to hear some ideas from others experience in order to catch potential problems early. Our present plan (similar to what some of you suggested): We plan to assist a bit more early on, especially this first month. We plan to wait til after the campout for troop elections, so that scouts will get time to see how each other function. Right now we only have one patrol, but hope in the not to distant future to have enough for a new scout patrol. We are not sure how long to wait to elect a SPL (we differ on this, but will resolve it soon). Adults will be forming their own patrol, as a means to either demonstrate how we would like it to be done, or give the adults something to do to keep them away from the kids. So we are off and running. Training as soon as we can (next 2 months there is lots of training opportunities in our council), but for now we are winging it.
  17. DrBeado

    By the way....moms aren't allowed....

    Hey, there's a difference between giving the guys some space (reasonable) and prohibiting mom's from camping (while evidently legal, a poor message to send to the boys). It sounds like the latter in this instance. Besides which, if the troop is boy-led, ALL the adults except those with specific duties (read SM, etc.) should be keeping their distance.
  18. DrBeado

    New Troop and Boy Led

    Thanks for all the responses. We got lots of reinforcement that we are on the right track. You got us to go back and read the resources we had better, and some of our worries were addressed there. But I would like to fine-tune my questions. We are definitely going to try to be boy led, and we all are going to go through training as soon as we can fit it into our schedules. But we start interacting with boys in about 5 1/2 hours. We are a VERY young troop, both in experience (both leaders and boys) and age (unfortunately, this only applies to the boys). Are there any SPECIFIC hints that will help us in this initial phase, until the boys have some more experience and we have some training. Inertia can be a wonderful or awful thing. Therefore, we want to start off with good policies and "traditions," not ones we will have to try to change later. Thanks again. DrBeado
  19. DrBeado

    By the way....moms aren't allowed....

    So you want to push the envelope without embarrassing your son. Then try this. Give up on going camping with the troop, and becoming an ASM is probably a losing battle here. Instead, apply to become a merit badge counselor for the district. To really make the point, pick merit badges like pioneering, hiking, camping, etc. Maybe even look for district activities that you can be involved in. Make your presence known without getting in direct conflict with the troop. Who knows, as scouts come to you for merit badges you may even soften up the troop's attitude and be able to get a more active role within the troop eventually. DrBeado PS: Now I know I am in trouble. I'm getting hooked on these forums. I'm beginning to post to threads that do not directly involve me. Next thing you know I will have 1000's of postings listed next to my name........
  20. DrBeado

    Passing requirements

    I post these comments not based on scouter training (I am StressBaby's ASM and thus also a novice in this game), but based upon my experience as a teacher (College Biology Professor). I see the requirements break down into 2 categories: First, there are those items that require the scout to DO something (take a 5 mile hike, cook a meal for the patrol, do a service project, etc.). For these, it is obvious that the scout be signed off as soon as he completes the action. This can either be witnessed, or you can take the word of somebody else that says it was completed (verification from the red cross that a scout did a service project for them, or verification from his patrol that he did in fact cook that meal). Second, there are items that require KNOWLEDGE of a skill, such as first aid, knots, lashings, etc. In this case, I think the scout should demonstrate RETENTION. It would not be appropriate for a scout to be shown how to tie a clove hitch, and to check him off as he ties one while watching you also tie one. To verify that he in fact did learn how to do it, I would put some period of time between the teaching and the testing (how long will vary). Maybe teach them on Friday at camp and test on Saturday, or teach one meeting and test the next. This gap is important not only to verify that he knows the skill, but it give him time to review, practice, etc. before the test (assuming he knows it is coming and wants to pass). This repitition, reinforcement, and active learning will greatly increase his ability to actually learn the skill. As with the first type of requirement, sometimes you will be taking someone's word for their knowledge rather than seeing the actual demonstration. For instance, to sign of on a scouts identification of 10 animals, you may have him tell you 10 he can recognize and have him tell enough about it to verify that he really does know that animal. He doesn't actually have to see the skunk in your presence if he can tell you enough about his encounter with it to convince you that he in fact does know what one looks (and smells?) like. As with anything, there are always shades of grey, so there will be some judgement calls. DrBeado PS: I have some issues with "Merit Badge Universities" for some of the reasons outlined above. In many cases, requirements are checked off simply because they were exposed to the knowledge, not that they actually understood or retained any. I watched my Son (11) get the Electronics merit badge at one of these. He built the circuit board, and did soldering, etc. and these fit into category 1 above. But he also heard about Ohm's law in about 1 minute and was checked off for understanding and applying Ohm's law to circuits.
  21. I just read this thread for the first time. Wow! Makes our Troop's problems seem minor (same issues of selective removal, micromanagement, etc.), but so much less severe. My suggestion is DON'T let this sit. You need to show all this documentation (including that letter you tore up) to somebody (COR or if not that, some of the more senior members of the Chartering Organization), because this SM and his buddies will harm more boys than just your own unless they are removed. This gives a black eye to all of scouting. Maybe if your son sees that the system works, he will accept the fact that the problem is not with Scouting, but with that individual. Follow this through, even if you have moved to a new troop and even if you son does stay out of scouting. Do it for the sake of others to come. It also does not put good light on the Chartering Organization, so it is in their best interest to get rid of this person. You mention the SM and one committee member that have it in for you. What about the other committee members? Surely, others see the same problems that you do.
  22. We are starting a new troop and would like suggestions about how to compose the committee. How big is a good size? Should we put as many parents of scouts as we can on it? How about adults outside of the troop? Any other suggestions would be welcome. Our only model is the Committee on the troop we are leaving, which is not exactly a good example to use. Thanks.
  23. DrBeado

    Problem SM

    As another person associated with this Troop, I should point out that the Scouts (those that are not dropped from the "to call" list) seem to all be having a good time and are learning a lot. The SM devotes a TON of time to the Troop. He works with the scouts incessently on advancement and skills. He PERSONALLY signs off on every advancement requirement (nobody else is authorized to sign that a boy has passed a requirement). As far as the Scouts are concerned, there is no major problem. Theyu are learning and having fun. The problem is all behind the scenes. In the few months that I have been associated with the troop I know of several instances where a scout was dropped from the Troop by being dropped from the "to call" list, thus never finding out about Troop events. Another scout's parent was told that he wasn't a good fit in this troop and should go elsewhere. At least one committee member has been unilaterally dropped from the committee (again, by just dropping them from the call list). The SM is the dominant force in committee meetings (one of the other major voices is his spouse). So the problem is that Scouts in his favor seem to be learning a lot and enjoying themselves, but if you fall out of favor, all of a sudden you do not exist.
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