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TMSM

Modified Requirements

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Here's a test of the new virtual scouting system done with an AOL crossover

Session 1:  30 minutes:  Scout Rank Completed

Session 2:  45 minutes:   TF 1-5, 6a, 7-9 completed

Session 3:  60-75 minutes: 2nd started 1. completed 2, 3, 4, 5a, c, d, 6, 7c, 8, 9,10

Session 4:   60-75 minutes: 1st started 1. completed 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 b-d, 7, 9,10,11

 

And so it goes...also completed his FA MB class in a class size of 1000

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I've never been that caught up in any one "requirement" as I view the scouts need to do many things to earn each rank.  And it's that journey that is important.  Each individual requirement I could take or leave.  Maybe swimming.  I think that's very important.  I've always thought the scouts would benefit in one or more ways.  IMHO, the requirements were never the benefit of scouting.  It was always

  • Fellow ship of other scouts.  Learning to work together.  Experience new things together.  Helping each other.  ... Build citizenship
  • New experiences.  Stretching the comfort zone.  Expanding awareness. ... Builds character
  • Working hard.  Going further than you have before.  ... Builds physical fitness
  • Working outside the family unit.  Cutting the parental umbilical cord.  Realizing you can find solutions on your own ... Builds independence and responsibility

The new requirements stab at the heart of the program and are just wrong.  

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10 hours ago, TMSM said:

I have taken the advice to just keep these changes to myself.

Well, that didn't last very long. I just got email announcing the changes.

11 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

It's tied to the flexibility I need to have to keep an urban troop of 37 ambitious young people together and "moving" for six months -- during which time we will not actually be in physical proximity to each other.  Our Mayor is not going to open things up until late June at the earliest, so there is no real hope of face-to-face programming until September.

That does suck. However, so does strong wind on a campout. Good scouts can still figure out how to have fun in bad weather. There are two other methods not really mentioned (well, I think they're methods): fun and service. How to make scouting fun or how to give service in a zoom world is a big challenge and, I think, a goal that will create much more growth than simplifying requirements. A bunch of families in my neighborhood put together a game for the kids to play the day before Easter rather than an egg hunt (it snowed on Easter, hence a day earlier). They were never near each other. There were clues all over the neighborhood. The kids had fun. Two weeks before that, after our troop announced merit badges the scouts could work on, I suggested we look into fun types of activities the scouts could do separately but at the same time talking to each other on their cell phones. Nobody was much interested so I let it go. I watched the kids in my neighborhood having fun and thought to myself the BSA's emphasis is just wrong. If a couple of parents can figure out how to make hunkering in place fun while my troop is just going with stripped down advancement then maybe it's a case of the king having no clothes.

@TMSM, I'd suggest figure out some fun activities, push for that, and ask the scouts what they want to do. They will likely give you good ideas. Good luck.

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13 hours ago, MattR said:

That does suck. However, so does strong wind on a campout.

I KNEW IT!  National is terrible at controlling the weather. We need to put the Girl Scouts in charge. My wife says if she were in charge, we would just have  beautiful 75 degree sunny days.

Barry

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13 hours ago, MattR said:

 

@TMSM, I'd suggest figure out some fun activities, push for that, and ask the scouts what they want to do. They will likely give you good ideas. Good luck.

We did a 10 tree ID challenge that new scouts thought was fun(each scout went out by himself and took pics), Scout Jeopardy in patroll meetings was fun, broke out older scouts (Star +) and the met with the Eagle coordinator and was productive. We broke into ranks and worked on specific FA requirements. We were going to do a litter cleanup project but too many parents lost thier minds over this so we cancelled. 

I am thinking we could maybe deliver a troop tent to the crossovers and have their Patrol leader help them virtually to set it up. This would be a race to see which patrol could set up first. A few scouts are creating a Mine Craft flag ceremony and one of the scouts is creating a google survey to see what MBs are interesting to troop members.

I had the SPL invite the TLCs (all with PORs) and they really struggled to come up with anything, We are a hands on, outside, patrol method troop so they have no experience with making virtual fun. In fact Zoom meetings are making it seem like school. We don't all live in the same town so scavenger would not work.

I did invite a former Eagle Scout to do an SM minute and he talked about why the crossovers should stick it out and wait for their first campout and how how his first year changed his perspective.

 

I will not allow virtual tour to replace tours in any of my MBs

I will not sign off on Virtual Troop Campouts 

I will not allow sign-offs by anyone but me for scouts cooking in a family patrol

I will not sign off on the Triple Crown award for scouts virtually touring 3 HA sites

Right now I am thinking it would be better to close down the troop until September

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48 minutes ago, TMSM said:

We did a 10 tree ID challenge that new scouts thought was fun(each scout went out by himself and took pics), Scout Jeopardy in patroll meetings was fun, broke out older scouts (Star +) and the met with the Eagle coordinator and was productive. We broke into ranks and worked on specific FA requirements. We were going to do a litter cleanup project but too many parents lost thier minds over this so we cancelled. 

I am thinking we could maybe deliver a troop tent to the crossovers and have their Patrol leader help them virtually to set it up. This would be a race to see which patrol could set up first. A few scouts are creating a Mine Craft flag ceremony and one of the scouts is creating a google survey to see what MBs are interesting to troop members.

I had the SPL invite the TLCs (all with PORs) and they really struggled to come up with anything, We are a hands on, outside, patrol method troop so they have no experience with making virtual fun. In fact Zoom meetings are making it seem like school. We don't all live in the same town so scavenger would not work.

I did invite a former Eagle Scout to do an SM minute and he talked about why the crossovers should stick it out and wait for their first campout and how how his first year changed his perspective.

 

I will not allow virtual tour to replace tours in any of my MBs

I will not sign off on Virtual Troop Campouts 

I will not allow sign-offs by anyone but me for scouts cooking in a family patrol

I will not sign off on the Triple Crown award for scouts virtually touring 3 HA sites

Right now I am thinking it would be better to close down the troop until September

The only rebuttal I would give is the virtual "tours" for MBs.  Well, for some MBs anyway.  Crime Prevention Mb is a prime one that I look at, that even under "normal" circumstances, a virtual component is probably better than the real thing in many cases.  I've tried going the route using Scouter contacts that work for the MA DOC and Sherriffs office to arrange tours for Scouts at Ma prisons, and it is so limiting on timing, length of time involved to arrange them, and when successful to arrange them they last about 15 minutes and the Scouts don't experience a whole lot about the prison itself, never are in contact with inmates, and mostly it is whomever has been tasked to us from staff that speaks to them about "what it is like to be incarcerated".  I've had better experiences with going to local PD and tour the lockup at the station, but that is, for us as a small town, not exactly a scintillating experience to the kids.  There are a number of documentary films and docuseries that can easily be found on YouTube, or even streaming services, that give an even better experience on the objective of the MB requirement that IMO are more valuable than the physical visits.  

Now, are all of these virtual sources better? No, so I think some flex and working with your MBCs to make sure what would/could be used is warranted.  Common sense is an undervalued thing these days for sure, so I appreciate being guarded, but as you alone are going to be the one giving the approval for the Scouts to start working on the badges, you are fully within right to ask the MBCs to give their presentation to you first for blessing any of it.

   

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1 hour ago, HashTagScouts said:

The only rebuttal I would give is the virtual "tours" for MBs. 

I am ok with other MBCs doing what they think is in the spirit of the requirement. If I am the MBC I won't consider it and scouts can look else where if they wish.

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I'm editing in order to deccentuate the negative ....

2 hours ago, TMSM said:

We did

  • a 10 tree ID challenge that new scouts thought was fun(each scout went out by himself and took pics),
  • Scout Jeopardy in patroll meetings was fun,
  • broke out older scouts (Star +) and the met with the Eagle coordinator and was productive.
  • We broke into ranks and worked on specific FA requirements. 
  • [started on] creating a Mine Craft flag ceremony
  • [started on] creating a google survey to see what MBs are interesting to troop members.
  • had the SPL invite the TLCs (all with PORs) and they really struggled to come up with anything,
  • invite a former Eagle Scout to do an SM minute and he talked about why the crossovers should stick it out and wait for their first campout and how how his first year changed his perspective.

I want to quietly make one modest evaluation:

That is one awesome group of scouts!

@TMSM, there is only one thing you should strike from your list:

2 hours ago, TMSM said:

... Right now I am thinking it would be better to close down the troop until September

I am thinking of bragging to my troop about your troop. But if you throw in the towel now, the scouts who know which forums I browse will get wind of it and say, "Serves you right for listening to strangers on the internet."

Don't let National freak you out. If your scouts and their families are letting you keep channels open, spend time on those channels. We work for smiles.

I agree about not making these online sessions feel like school. Troop meetings should be shorter and more like roll-call and reports from PLs.  Screen time should involve boys posting their accomplishments. Provide that structure. The scout/family who really needs you or has something unique to offer will reach out.

 

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6 hours ago, qwazse said:

Right now I am thinking it would be better to close down the troop until September

Just a little frustrated. I spent 5 years getting the commitee to understand the value of the patrol method and to strictly follow the advancement rules. I ruffled a few feathers so I see this coming back at me sometime soon. I am in it for the Scouts but dread the drama that I might be in for.

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24 minutes ago, TMSM said:

Just a little frustrated. I spent 5 years getting the commitee to understand the value of the patrol method and to strictly follow the advancement rules. I ruffled a few feathers so I see this coming back at me sometime soon. I am in it for the Scouts but dread the drama that I might be in for.

The way I expressed my feelings to my committee members and SM- these should be considered for helping the kid who is in the middle of working on a rank, but we shouldn't be pumping kids to start working on their next rank using these.  It may be a few more weeks or months until we can have overnights, but no one should feel a rush.  

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Posted (edited)
On 4/14/2020 at 4:50 PM, TMSM said:

In my opinion campouts are not reallly about sleeping a tent,

Hello Strangers-On-The-Internet, I'd like your opinion.

The covid-FAQ is permitting some temporary changes to allow Scouts to complete rank requirements, despite the need for social distancing. It discuss certain specific rank requirements. Specifically concerning camping it says “Tenderfoot rank requirements: 1b - Virtual patrol or troop campouts via video conferencing will be permitted.” and “Second Class rank requirements: 1a & 1c – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.”

Note that virtual camping is not listed as permitted for Second Class, which make a lot of sense, since a “virtual” back-yard campout is very very different that troop or patrol camping.

Here is my situation:

Scout joined in the fall. Went on one tent-camping trip. Has been on various day activities, two cabin overnights and an adirondack overnight, but the troop did not do tent-camping mid-winter. In March/April three tent-camping opportunities have been canceled due to covid, and I suspect our May and June trips will be canceled also.

This scout has been camping out in her back yard and decided that the other scouts should do so to, so she convinced the other scouts that our troop needed a “virtual” camping trip. She took the lead in the organization and got the other scouts excited about it. Some scouts (including this one) slept in tents in their back yards. (A few scouts, such as ones in apartments, slept in tents pitched indoors). While the scouts had fun, this was very very different from a real in-person camping trip.

This energetic scout has been enthusiastically ploughing her way through the rank requirements and has very very little left for 2nd class, mostly just one more “troop/patrol activity” “including overnight camping” “spend[ing] the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect”

Here is the question. Can I combine the aspects of two overnights into one and call it close enough? On the troop trip in which she slept in an adirondack the temperature was in the upper teens (Fahrenheit), all the cooking was done by patrols over campfires, and the facilities were boy-scout-camp pit privies, and (very cold) water could be fetched from a hand pump a short ways from the campsite. One scout slept in her hammock, a couple under the stars, and the rest in the open-air very cold adirondacks – simply because it was logistically simpler than borrowing enough tents for the troop. (The scouters brought personal tents.) After that trip I regretted not encouraging this scout to find a tent to use, because of the 2nd class requirement. Because apart from not pitching a tent, this trip had the other aspects of a basic troop camping trip.

Now, on the virtual campout she has had more tent-pitching practice, and further experience of sleeping in a tent on a troop “virtual” activity. I feel that between the two overnights, she has gained the experience and shown the skills of a typical troop camping trip. Would it be reasonable to call it “good enough”? Or would that be bending the rules too much?

 

Edited by Treflienne
P.S. This is a high-schooler. For a younger scout I would be more inclined to say to simply wait and count some future trip.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Treflienne said:

 

Here is the question. Can I combine the aspects of two overnights into one and call it close enough? On the troop trip in which she slept in an adirondack the temperature was in the upper teens (Fahrenheit), all the cooking was done by patrols over campfires, and the facilities were boy-scout-camp pit privies, and (very cold) water could be fetched from a hand pump a short ways from the campsite. One scout slept in her hammock, a couple under the stars, and the rest in the open-air very cold adirondacks – simply because it was logistically simpler than borrowing enough tents for the troop. (The scouters brought personal tents.) After that trip I regretted not encouraging this scout to find a tent to use, because of the 2nd class requirement. Because apart from not pitching a tent, this trip had the other aspects of a basic troop camping trip.

Now, on the virtual campout she has had more tent-pitching practice, and further experience of sleeping in a tent on a troop “virtual” activity. I feel that between the two overnights, she has gained the experience and shown the skills of a typical troop camping trip. Would it be reasonable to call it “good enough”? Or would that be bending the rules too much?

 

As you know, there is a lot of discussion about using advancement instead of adventure as the driver scout activities. The thing is that the at the heart of it, scouting is about using adventure to motivate a youth to make decisions that guide them toward personal growth. How or why or what is dependent on the individual scout. Each has their own want from scouting that encourages them to want more from scouting. Only the adult can take that away, which happens a lot. And is the reason many of us preach ADVENTURE, NOT ADVANCEMENT!

But, for some scouts, rank is their goal, their adventure to drive more into this scouting stuff. Their passion isn't to be the highest rank, but reach a rank that proves they are doing the scouting stuff. Nobody wants to squelch that passion because it's momentum. And we want to use that momentum to drive toward more adventure. 

See, from our perspective, the more the scout get's into the adventure, the more they are making decisions that steer them into personal growth. We just need to make sure the scout knows when they make bad decisions and how to make the next decision the right decision. That is personal growth.

All that to say that you do what you need to do for the scout so that she doesn't loose momentum for adventure. And, make sure that she grows from the experience. I don't know how to advise you beyond that. But, if a scout is using 7 Methods for the adventure and Advancement just happens to benefit from the actions of other 7, I don't think scouting can get much better than that.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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@Treflienne, that scout of yours is in it for more than just rank, so brag about her to your troop, your district, and your council. Send her a patch, or maybe a backwards necker  face mask from your collection!:p

As far as rank requirements go, none of us should meddle in the machinations of you and your PLC. Read the requirements (and in this case, I'd stick with the ones in the Handbook) discuss with your PL and SPL if they think it would be fair for them to sign off on her work, and proceed accordingly.

It's not a thing to leave to strangers on the internet, be it National's advancement committee or us. But since you asked ...

My bottom line: conceptually, is she a second class scout? If she fell in with one of my patrols -- or my crew -- could I expect her to have the skills and demeanor commensurate with her rank? Or, would her provisional PL/officer come grumbling to me that this kid barely has tenderfoot skills?

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Did she come to you and ask to be signed off? Did you ask her if she believes she has fulfilled the requirement as written?

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Thank you all for helping me think this through.

@Eagledad, you articulated one of my underlying concerns that I had not actually identified yet – I don't want this enthusiastic scout to become discouraged by being “stuck” and to lose momentum. (Thanks for clearly articulating this issue.) And I realize, that even if I were to combine these two outings and call it close-enough, I would not solve the “stuck” problem – she would very quickly bump up against the need for another troop-or-patrol tent-camping trip for first class.

Another layer under my concern, I realized, was whether this scout was starting to count up the months left till she turns eighteen. It is not too tight a time-table, but it could be worrying to blow all one's “buffer” of time near the beginning of the process.

So I am attempting to redirect the scout's advancement enthusiasm towards the merit badge program. There are a bunch of merit badges (including eagle-required ones) that can be done very well at home, or for which large portions can be done at home (Family Life? Personal Fitness?) For an active scout who is active in a leadership position in the troop, completing Star in four months and Life in six months should be quite doable - if the scout has already worked hard at earning merit badges while waiting to being able to do those camping trips required to complete 2nd and 1st class.

@DuctTape,  no the scout had not asked yet, nor was she being demanding, but it was obvious the topic would come up, and I wanted to have thought through my answer in advance. Y'all's advice was helpful in the thinking process.

@TMSM I agree with you that sleeping in a tent is really a very small part of the scout camping experience. (There is a great description by Baden-Powell in the 1929 “Scouting for Girls” that articulates the character-building (and character-testing) aspects of camping with ones fellow scouts/guides ) A “virtual” backyard camping experience, though it can be a fun light-weight activity, is simply not patrol (or troop) camping, since it does not allow for growth in “citizenship” in the same way. I attempted to explain this to the scout so that she would understand that it was reasonable not to count “virtual” backyard camping as equivalent to in-person patrol or troop camping.

So, in short, I decided that “fudging” this requirement would be a bad idea.

By the way, I am interpreting BSA's covid-19 FAQ as allowing “virtual” backyard camping (if well done) to count for Tenderfoot but not for 2nd Class or 1st Class. The “virtual” camping for tenderfoot does not trouble me too much – since the scout will still need two in-person camping trips for 2nd class. In other words this allowance delays but does not, ultimately, lessen the required amount of camping along the way to 1st class. So far I have no scouts in the position of asking to do count a “virtual” camping trip for Tenderfoot – they are all either far from Tenderfoot, or else have done tent camping with the troop.

Thanks again for the advice.

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