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drmbear

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About drmbear

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    Fredericksburg, VA
  1. drmbear

    Light hearted teasing of scouts

    Heck, my wife doesn't even get the teasing back and forth between my son and me. Guys are just different.
  2. drmbear

    Light hearted teasing of scouts

    Heck, my wife doesn't even get the teasing back and forth between my son and me. Guys are just different.
  3. So if we say that 99% of a pedophiles consider themselves Christians, does that mean that all Christians should be banned? Without the discrimination that BSA put in as policy, after my time as a youth, Scouting can return to dealing with what I consider the high ideals of Scouting, with local chartering organizations working together with their communities to provide a great environment for all kids to grow up in.
  4. Beav, Actually, a UUA BOR would welcome the views of a Fundamentalist Christian lad - the whole point being that it is an individual decision whatever you believe. The whole point of UU belief is respect of what others believe, a completely Scouting perspective in a Scout being Reverent from what I learned as a Scout.
  5. Changing this rediculous discriminating policy is the very best thing I've heard about Scouting since I've been involved again for the last five years. Ever since I was a youth in the mid '70s, I've never had a problem with the idea of "Duty to God," because there is not a single person on the planet that can tell me definitively just what "God" is. In every case it is something entirely personal, tied to a particular religion, a belief, a possibility, and there are different perspectives depending on who you ask. Looking at the Scout Oath (I'm working with AOL Webelos right now), there are three duties we prescribe to as Scouts: 1) Duty to Self - no one has a problem with that one. 2) Duty to Other People - the idea of service is definitely part of Scouting. and 3) Duty to God, Country, and the Scout Law - think about it - the idea of this duty is to higher ideals and principles, a moral code, a way of living, and along the lines of the character connections that we've worked through in Cub Scouting. I am now a member of a Unitarian Universalist church BECAUSE of the ideals of non-descrimination, acceptance, and respecting the belief of others, that I learned as a Scout. The only definition of God that matters to me is how I choose to define it. Even Christians say things like "God is love!" An athiest that can ascribe to the higher ideals that Scouting represents, and I know many who can and do, will never have a problem with the Scout Oath when it is from a non-descriminatory context - which is why the removal of the sexual orientation issue and a move toward local option is vital. Removing judgement based on comparing what one person believes to another is what this is all about. Just being a Christian (or Jewish, or Muslim, or any other faith that has specific ideas of how they see God) does not mean they they meet the "high ideals" standard. They are just as likely to be liers, cheats, killers, sexual molesters, etc. as anyone else. My son, brought up Unitarian Universalist, accepting and respectful of other's beliefs, may never pass muster if judgement in a Board of Review is coming from someone with a Fundamentalist Christian perspective. That doesn't mean that he doesn't have his own ideas about God, about right and wrong, and about the higher principles that we all strive for as Scouts. Even our country is a work-in-progress when it comes to eliminating descrimination, but that doesn't mean we disregard the attempt. Top companies have all instituted non-descrimination as a core value. I'm glad Scouting is moving toward the same.
  6. drmbear

    High Adventure ideas

    The Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine is an incredible trip, and while it requires some upfront planning, there are outfitters that can take care of most of the logistics with canoes, drop-off and pickup arrangements. Awesome fun too.
  7. Depending on where you are and the availability of very small amounts of branches and wood, the most useful backpacking stove I've come up with is a simple woodgas can stove made from a 1 qt paint can, a Progresso soup can, and a bamboo shoots can, from directions I found online. It is very similar to the Bush Buddy, I believe, but very cheap. In Shenandoah National Park, where I do some of my backpacking, there is plenty of down wood and dead limbs. I did a comparison on one trip comparing how long it took to bring the water to boiling for dinner for my daughter and me, and this stove took no more than 2 or 3 minutes longer to boil the water, and part of that was just getting the wood burning. And I used no more than a handfull of sticks - that sample sold me on it, because it is lightweight, I have to carry no fuel, I can sit it on a small rock to keep it "Leave No Trace," and I made it myself for a couple of dollars (I bought the empty paint can from my local hardware store, and I ate the soup and stir fry!). I remember at Philmont (1976) we mostly built fires for cooking, and what I would have given to have one of these, considering the challenges of getting a good amount of wood - this takes so little it is surprising. But it depends entirely on a source of wood - if I had doubts about availability I'd still bring my MSR Universal.
  8. Depending on where you are and the availability of very small amounts of branches and wood, the most useful backpacking stove I've come up with is a simple woodgas can stove made from a 1 qt paint can, a Progresso soup can, and a bamboo shoots can, from directions I found online. It is very similar to the Bush Buddy, I believe, but very cheap. In Shenandoah National Park, where I do some of my backpacking, there is plenty of down wood and dead limbs. I did a comparison on one trip comparing how long it took to bring the water to boiling for dinner for my daughter and me, and this stove took no more than 2 or 3 minutes longer to boil the water, and part of that was just getting the wood burning. And I used no more than a handfull of sticks - that sample sold me on it, because it is lightweight, I have to carry no fuel, I can sit it on a small rock to keep it "Leave No Trace," and I made it myself for a couple of dollars (I bought the empty paint can from my local hardware store, and I ate the soup and stir fry!). I remember at Philmont (1976) we mostly built fires for cooking, and what I would have given to have one of these, considering the challenges of getting a good amount of wood - this takes so little it is surprising. But it depends entirely on a source of wood - if I had doubts about availability I'd still bring my MSR Universal.
  9. drmbear

    Making Tiger Cub Den Shared Leadership Work

    Our new Tiger Den is about to take off on their own this evening. I have two parents that stepped up to take on the TDL role, and they've already been taking the initiative to set up fun adventures and Go-See-Its in the coming weeks and months. The other parents are involved and they are working the shared leadership concept. I am certain it wouldn't have happened like this without me stepping in and being the TDL for the last six weeks or so. These parents have become engaged in the den and engaged in the pack, even attending our Parent and Leader (PAL) meetings. This is the way it is supposed to work. There has been some discussion here about the Den Meeting Plans. I say that if you are not using the Den Meeting Plans, you are wasting your time. They lay out sixteen (16) meetings for you to get through the Tiger Badge, and it is a fairly simple path to get from the beginning of the year to February or so to earn the Tiger Badge. That is one of the great selling points for the new parents - that it is simple and essentially "done-for-you." Trying to get them to figure out what to do for an hour with 1st graders, even if they know the requirements in the book, is beyond what most new parents want to get into. It may be a no brainer for me, as a Bear or Webelos leader, to go online and find all sorts or resources and other fun things for us to do that go far beyond what's in those meeting plans, but not for a new Tiger Parent. In those initial meetings where I wanted to get the new parents involved, that's what I would do - hand them the meeting plan for next week and say they had it. When that next week came around, I'd launch things with loud craziness, pledge, promise, and law, etc., but then I'd help the responsible parent take charge through the activity. The one thing I wish with the meeting plans is if they were less connected to a set schedule, one feeding into the next. We tend to rip things apart and mix them up - for example, if you follow the sequence, by the time you get to the meeting where you go watch the weather and collect leaves, etc., then the leaves have already fallen off the trees. Most have already earned their Tiger badge by the time the leaves sprout out again next spring. We always do that one right away. We also make shifts to work with various Pack and community activities: our Magic & Treats at Halloween, local area sporting events, the holiday parades we participate in, the Pinewood Derby preparation, our newspaper's open house for Scouts, and the Ten Commandments Hike we participate in each February. So I wish the Den Meeting Plans were essentially self-contained. The pre-requisites or homework that needs to be done beforehand needs to be built into the top of the one plan. Homework for afterward also needs to be on the one plan. That way, when they are sifted out of order, you don't lose the flow or miss requirements. It is perfectly okay if not everything for an achievement is completely finished, but the one meeting plan needs to have everything in it so you don't have to be flipping through previous plans in order to figure out where you are. Maybe that is a project for someone to take on.
  10. >> From his religion which says that it's immoral and thus not "morally straight". It's not rocket science to answer those types of questions, acco40. My religion says nothing connecting sexual orientation and morality. In fact, my religion follow these principles: *The inherent worth and dignity of every person; *Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; *Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; *A free and responsible search for truth and meaning; *The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; *The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; *Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. And in fact, I came to my religion BECAUSE of the foundational principles I found in the Scout Oath and Law. In Cub Scouts, we have these Core Principles of "Respect" and "Compassion," and it is just wrong the organization (BSA) only has to live up to those principles when it suits them. Certainly I would judge a persons actual behavior, appreciative of Youth Protection guidelines and background checks for abuse, violence, criminal behavior, etc. But to exclude someone because of who they love, freely, legally, as a citizen of this country, is the thing that is morally wrong, in my opinion. And to exclude someone for what they believe just because it is different from the way you believe, is also wrong, because different religions and different individuals may define just what is "Duty To God" differently, and there should be nothing at all wrong with that.
  11. drmbear

    Making Tiger Cub Den Shared Leadership Work

    My focus my first year as Cubmaster was to find a TDL early, get them trained, and have them ready by the time things kicked off in the fall. There was a huge problem with that, because I've found that spring recruiting picks up far fewer Tigers than does fall recruiting. So the numbers of Tiger parents is smaller. And even if there is interest, motivation, etc., they may not really be the very best person to be the TDL once full program starts in the fall. A new Tiger parent, clueless to the workings of the program, even if they get trained, probably just won't be ready to deal with 8 first graders, won't have the easy knowledge of the Bobcat requirements and how they relate to the Pack, and probably won't get the spirit of "being a 9yo" that say a CM should have - to be loud, and silly, to sing songs, to be completely fun, to connect with each of the boys. How about having supplies on hand and an ability to deal with everything that comes up. The parents that show up to those first meetings are used to dropping their kids off to school, dropping them off for sports or other activities, etc., not engaging in a "family" program that requires them to be involved. A clueless person (newly trained TDL) trying also to be an "adult partner," will have a great deal of trouble engaging the other parents in the shared leadership concept of participating in what's going on. And all their initial inclinations are to find a way to avoid participating. An early assigned TDL will only encourage all the other parents to allow that person to take on everything so they can step back. If allowed to step back in the Tiger year, it raises the likelihood that they will stay stepped back in the following years, and when the parents are less invested in the program, then the boys can end up less invested in the program as well. How many stories have we heard about the kids made to take music/piano lessons where the kid really didn't like or want to be there? Years later they are either glad their parents stuck with them to have them do it, or they are disappointed their parents caved and allowed them to quit, for the most part. Involved, excited parents, lead to involved, excited boys. Indifferent parents can lead to indifferent boys - if they don't see Cub Scouts as something valued in their family, then it will be harder for them to value it. My solution is to encourage all the parents to gain knowledge and experience on the workings of the Tiger Den. A new interested parent in the spring I just send to the TDL training online, send them other information links, etc., so they are clued in. If they want to register as a TDL, that's great, I'll register them. I just don't expect them to take on and actually DO and TDL things until after the shared leadership mode is set for the den, getting all the parents involved, getting them participating and engaged in the process. I'm able to be the TDL at first, as Cubmaster, as a parent of a 5th grader and Web. leader with interests there, and get them in motion without them counting on me to be there all year so they can avoid responsibility. I can engage them into the program concerning how things work, Bobcat, and all then. I focus on making it a blast for the boys and the parents, involve everyone, and make sure the boys are talking about it at home. Den leaders emerge to be able to keep up with things, tracking, coordinating, representing the den for leader meetings, etc. I move back to my CM and WDL activities (there are actually a couple other WDL's so it's not like I had been trying to do both).
  12. drmbear

    Making Tiger Cub Den Shared Leadership Work

    My first year as Cubmaster I believe I totally messed up how the Tiger Den got started off. Last year, the process I used worked fantastic, and I'm getting to try it out again this fall. I'm even tied in to do a University of Scouting class next February on launching a Tiger Den. My general premise is that long-term Pack success is very dependent on a strong and successful Tiger Cub Program. The Tiger Den sets the very best conditions for building Cub Scouts as a family program, by actually requiring that family members participate. When working toward Tiger den Leadership, you have several choices: 1) go with an experienced den leader; 2) focus on recruiting a Tiger Den Leader early (maybe through Spring recruiting); or 3) launch the Tiger Den to focus entirely on the "shared leadership" concept, actually reducing the den leader focus in the beginning, to allow the Tiger parents to find their place in leadership. This can easily be done just like you are planning, with an experienced leader (I do it as Cubmaster) as a facilitator at the beginning. As much as I love the idea of an experienced (or even trained)leader(EDL) stepping in to take over, it becomes far too easy for new parents to defer to the EDL rather than discovering how easy and fulfilling it is to use the uncomplicated resources to engage and have fun with the boys. Implementing shared leadership in the Tiger Den is extremely difficult, because our normal "Scout Leader" mode is to get things done, quick, in an hour, and 1st graders make it like herding cats. Also remember, implementing shared leadership is not only about getting the parent to take on a den program, but about getting the Adult Partner/Scout team to take that on - this is about starting a kind of leadership development for our very newest Scouts. It can be amazing when I got that realization and saw it happening. I let a den leader emerge from this process, more as a coordinator than someone the other parents would immediately defer to, and as a result there was more parent involvement. While den leaders effectively run Wolf, Bear, and Webelos programs, I think you are short-changing your overall Pack leadership, and the shared leadership that's required to run a pack, if you allow the Tiger Den to fall into a Den Leader run program. I'm going to continue exploring this - I've already decided that after my boy moves to Boy Scouts in the spring, and I go too, I'm going to come back for at least the next couple Tiger Den launch times to help this process along. Good luck.
  13. drmbear

    BSA Should Ban Smokers

    I'd rather have a whole slew of gay, athiest volunteers than have ANY smokers or drug users!!!
  14. The policy does not just exclude gay men, it also excludes gay women, even mothers of boys that would like to be a part of Cub Scouts. I'm afraid there is no justification in that for the possibility of there being a sexual predator. Of course, we allow there to be women leaders in Scouting, and there doesn't seem to be a problem with that. Which leads me to believe that it really is just a discriminatory policy. If the problem is sexual predators, then the ban should be on sexual predators - not be based on their sexual orientation.
  15. drmbear

    Fires

    I loved canoeing down the Alagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine, all the firewood you could ever want in any direction, no restriction on having campfires, and we even did all our cooking over fires. There were no stoves.
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