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Major Changes For Our Council - District, Venturing, Troops, Cubs, and etc.

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46 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

This MB discussion is very disheartening. 

I don't mind the discussion.  It's the reality that is disheartening.  I sometimes feel as if I am living out a dystopian novel.

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7 minutes ago, David CO said:

I don't mind the discussion.  It's the reality that is disheartening.  I sometimes feel as if I am living out a dystopian novel.

Silence falls on the scouts as the brave young girl launches an arrow true, spearing the large troop, custom-wrapped, double-axle trailer.  Hushed tones carry her name ... mocking jay.  

Edited by fred8033
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19 hours ago, David CO said:

Looking down the road, I think it is almost inevitable that, sometime soon, merit badges will be entirely taught (not counseled) by council employees, in a classroom-like setting (just like school).  Safe and efficient, standards-based, and totally boring.  

I wish I could call that a stupid statement. I wish I could jump up and down in rage. I wish there was no way that such a thing would be allowed to happen.

Sadly though, I shake my head and worry that you just might be right... 

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20 hours ago, fred8033 said:

This MB discussion is very disheartening. 

Please elaborate - why?

*EDIT*

Sorry, I advanced pages and see now.  Would it be correct to say that you don't agree with bigger troops and how they do things?

 

Edited by ParkMan

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Bigger troops are not the issue.  My ideal troop size is 35 to 50.  Baden-Powell said 32, but corrected for society changes, I think larger troops of 75 to 100 are okay.  One great benefit is to do more campouts / activities and a greater variety of campouts / activities.  

The issues are ...

  • Not recognizing long-term existing BSA policies, etc. 
    • MBC is not a troop position and has never been a troop position.  MBC has always been a council approved position.
    • MBC app allows to say what troops to mentor, but also has bold stating counselors are encouraged to work beyond their troop.   
    • Troops encouraging parents in troop to council for their child's troop lessons the MBC availability for everyone else.  It develops a mentality of Trump's "troop first".  
  • Discussion attitude reflects "too bad, so sad". 
    • Sort of like well maybe you should have joined a large troop then.  Everyone else is out of luck.
    • If large troops can take advantage of having a large pool of MBCs, maybe smaller troops then should also subvert MB program by allowing their adults to register for 10 to 20 MBs each.  That way they have coverage too.
  • IMHO ... the whole value of the program is getting the scouts out of their comfort zone and learning to reach out.  Some knowledge benefit, but I see it more as about scouts taking control of their advancement.  
    • We are already have too many scouts that see MBs has jumping hoops without much benefit. 
    • We already have too many adults offering MB cards like they are hoops without much benefit.   
    • If troops maintain their own MB counselors, I really begin to question the value of the program. 
  • If I do have an issue with larger troops ...
    • Large troops add bureaucracy to enable the size of the troop.  I often see this as subverting the program.  
    • An example of this is I've often heard larger troop scoutmasters say they don't have time to work their own scouts.  Or SMCs get delayed or scheduled because of the 80 to 100 rank advancements each year.  Procedures get created for how to advance.  Or an advancement chair begins to own the MB program instead of a friendly conversation with the SM.  
  • I often wonder if advancement should be majorly changed.
    • Rank reflects number of camp outs / activities.   Example --> First class scout requires 30 nights of camping.  Eagle scouts should have 100+ nights of boy scout camping.  
    • MBs are fully troop sponsored.  Example --> Canoeing MB is a canoing campout of 30 miles and two overnights ?  Biking is a biking camp out with 50 miles and two overnights plus three pre-campout practice runs.  MBs could reflect the program planning guides that suggest troop activities.  No need for special MBCs for most MBs.  Or troop can bring in special skilled adults and the troop adults have the registration / sign off.  

I've mostly mentored within my own troop too, but I've also bent over backwards, driven many miles and spent weekends helping other scouts with the same MBs.  

Edited by fred8033
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Thanks a lot for the comments @fred8033.  I very much see what you're saying.

I'm sorry if my own comments came off as "too bad, so sad - you should have joined a big troop."  It was not my intent to make this a big vs. small discussion.

At the core of what I've seen in our larger troop experience is a sense of "let's make sure the Scouts we serve are provided opportunities to enjoy and learn from Scouting."  It's been my experience that our ASMs, Troop Committee Members, and Merit Badge Counselors work to make sure they do their job - provide the infrastructure so that Scouts can run their own program.  So, as you run down the list of needed infrastructure, what you see in our larger troop is effort is expended to make sure the support is there.

MBC is a good example of that.  It's not that we're trying to keep our MBC to ourselves - not at all.  In fact, we proposed to the district that we establish a network of MB coordinators in larger troops to help build up the list of MBC. (That offer was declined.)  It's that we looked at what our Scouts were requesting and said - hey, we've got 100 parents, let's see if we can put something together to support what our scouts are asking for. 

In our trips and activities, we routinely have friends from other troops join us.  We routinely lend out gear and supplies.  We routinely hold joint trips with other units.

We don't try to cut corners on advancement.  Not at all.  No-one is making our MBC soft sell requirements.  Scouts earn their merit badges with us.  We just don't believe in having a ton of hoops to go line up a MBC.  We have someone who will make sure you don't have to go find a guy four towns over who will counsel you on First Aid.

There's nothing we do that a smaller troop cannot do - nothing.  Further, we'd bend over backwards to help smaller troops.  But, the small troops rarely ask.  In fact, most of the support we lend outside the troop is to other big troops. 

 

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On 1/15/2020 at 9:29 AM, perdidochas said:

I don't see the big deal.  When I signed up as a district level MBC and did it for about 5 years, I had two Scouts from outside of my troop request for my services as a MBC. 

You have me beat by 2.  🙂  I've asked other counselors whether their phone has ever rung from a scout outside their unit, and the answer is almost always no.  The exception was someone who counseled a required badge that generated a lot of partials at summer camp.  He said he got calls occasionally for that one.

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9 hours ago, clemlaw said:

You have me beat by 2.  🙂  I've asked other counselors whether their phone has ever rung from a scout outside their unit, and the answer is almost always no.  The exception was someone who counseled a required badge that generated a lot of partials at summer camp.  He said he got calls occasionally for that one.

Phone?   Que es Phone ?   I get emails, and have to remind the Scout to copy to another Scouter for YP requirements...

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