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Walter Underwood
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Are the questions available somewhere? The site is down and my wife has an asshole client...
"Our standard for Badge earning is not the attainment of a certain level of quality of knowledge or skill, but the AMOUNT OF EFFORT THE BOY HAS PUT INTO ACQUIRE SUCH KNOWLEDGE OR SKILL." -- Baden-Powell, Aids to Scoutmastership, 1920 Caps are in original.
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Always give a reason. Instead of "go get some firewood", say "it is getting dark, if you want a fire tonight, gather some firewood now". Be ready to not have a fire and say "no" to gathering firewood in after sundown. Use the buddy system. Always have two Scouts gathering firewood, cleaning dishes, whatever. Make the consequences clear. We don't get in the cars until the pots are clean, or whatever you want. Make sure that the adults will back you up. This isn't a punishment, is it about not getting sick the next time the pots are used. Lead from the front. When you are cleaning latrines at summer camp, the leader had better be the one with the toilet brush. Always be doing more and helping. If you are sitting in a chair and ordering people around, they'll resent you, not follow you. Helps Scouts get their tents set up right. Show how to clean the pots.
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We do exactly what you do for the Venture Patrol. It is a virtual patrol that exists purely for high adventure outings. They are still members of their regular patrols. The right terminology is Venture Patrol, not a "crew". A crew is a chartered unit. The leader is a Venture Patrol Leader. That is a leadership position that qualifies for Eagle, so it is worth using the right terminology. Members can wear the "Venture strip", certainly one of the more obscure bits of official uniform. The Scoutmaster Handbook has a whopping one or two paragraphs about Venture Patrols, but the scheme is essentially a return to "Explorers in the Troop" from the 1950's. This sixty year old diagram is much more helpful than what is in the current handbook. http://seniorscoutinghistory.org/seniorscoutsite/explorerstroop.html Our troop has ASMs as a liaison to each patrol. I'm liaison to the Venture Patrol, thus "Venture ASM".
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2011 on Scoutmaster Podcast 52 at We've Moved!
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First, the only time we've had a problem with patrol makeup is when the adults got involved. Second, the "ambushed" Scout should change troops immediately. He does not have enough time to work this out and he's likely to be re-ambushed when it is time for signoffs for Scout spirit and the Scoutmaster conference. Call the district executive, explain the problem and ask them to recommend a troop. Clarke, I disagree that the district, council, and national should stay out of it. This is the BSA program, and this behavior is wrong and gives the whole program a bad name. This behavior is far too common and is a cancer on the BSA. If the COR doesn't understand that it is wrong, the commissioner needs to step in. A uniformed commissioner is going to carry more weight than a complaining parent. Doesn't the Council have to approve the charter renewal? If so, this is a good reason to withhold that approval. Other organizations do not allow local units to do whatever they want and use the national name. McDonald's won't let you do that and the BSA shouldn't either. One of the duties of the council is "To insure that each Local Unit (i.e. a Boy Scout Troop or Cub Pack) within its territorial area carries out the general principles of advancement in Scouting." The council cannot dodge this responsibility. http://usscouts.org/aboutbsa/bsaorg.asp
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2011 on Scoutmaster Podcast 51 at We've Moved!
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The first thing I would do (now that I found it) would be to read the BSA publication "Scouting for Youth with Disabilities Manual", specifically the sections on autism spectrum disorder. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34059.pdf This is much, much improved from the material available ten years ago, when my son was going through Cubs with disabilities.
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Let me know when there is a PDF. Visio? I can't even look at the mess, sigh. == Yep, I agree Walter.. Even when I download the Visio viewerf its HUGE! I wanted to try to make it small enough to just do a screen capture.. but by the time I could see it all, the fon;ts are too tiny to see.. I agree!:) /s/Miles
Well, my son is the Scout with witty observations during PLC, and the SPL has been working on him, so one of those is from personal experience.
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2009 on A Question of Scout Spirit at We've Moved!
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I noticed a couple of other things in this. Why is the Scoutmaster teaching knots? The Scoutmaster should be teaching leadership. Have that 17 year old Scout teach the bowline, while the Scoutmaster has his hands in his pockets. As for behavior at the PLC, talk to the SPL. The SPL runs that meeting, and should be the one to keep discussion on track. Make sure that Patrol Leaders also know that they can tell this Scout to save it for later when he interrupts their instruction. The PLs are doing the instruction, right?
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2009 on A Question of Scout Spirit at We've Moved!
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Scouting already has this. It is called Venturing. Why do this instead of encouraging the Venturing program?
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Nah, "Webelos" stands for Wolf-Bear-Lion-Scout.
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2009 on Language of Scouting at We've Moved!
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I always reinforce the note about originality with Life Scouts, because they often assume that the project must be original. It is just fine to ask an organization what they need done, then do it for them. I recommend that they do something that they find interesting or do it for an organization that they care about, because they'll be spending a lot of time doing it. But that is advice, not a requirement. It is really important to brief the parents on the requirements, because they need to understand their part, which is mostly to stand back and help when asked. It is not an Eagle Parent Project.
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PDF is where text goes to die. PDF is not a text format. It is instructions for putting marks on paper. Those instructions move virtual rubber stamps around. Any standard relation between those stamps and actual text characters was minimal until after Acrobat 4, and optional even then. At one point, I considered using cryptanalysis algorithms to figure out non-western characters in PDF, but decided it would be hell to export. Still, PDF is closer to bad cryptography than to a good text format.
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2009 on PDF - The New Legacy Data at Enterprise Search
I remember this trick from my Sierra Club snow camping trip in the 80's, though they suggested red parachute cord. Worst case is to drop a pocketknife, warm from your pocket, in deep snow. It will go straight down for several feet. If it is small, like the one in the photo, you might never find it. With a cord tied to you, it will be easy to find. And it never hurts to have a few extra two-foot lengths of parachute cord.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2009 on Making Small Gear Harder to Loose at We've Moved!
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Thanks for the link, though I guess I wasn't clear about which photo is which. The photo of the light blue tarp is the "creative" tarp pitch. The "cave" is the photo below that with the single pole in front. http://www.flickr.com/photos/47528366@N00/3836239226
Toggle Commented Sep 16, 2009 on Backpacking Gear Narratives at We've Moved!
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Enterprise search vendors are stuck in a bad place. Customers think that they are paying for a search engine, and robust, mainstream search technology (Lucene) is free. What costs money is QA'ing connectors to the last five versions of twenty "critical" software packages on four platforms ("do you support Django on Amiga?"). If vendors passed through the costs, it would cost a pile of money for connectors and the engine would be cheap. But that would lock out the small customers (like local government) and confuse the rest, so we end up with the current licensing schemes. A connector-oriented market does favor big players. They can amortize the connectors over more customers.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2009 on Do you drive on freeways? at Enterprise Search
I grew up sewing on my own scout patches, so I split that task with my wife now (she's better on the machine than I am). The plastic-backed patches are hard to sew by hand and feel like armor plate on your uniform. I wish we had Jacquard patches like Scouts in many countries. Those are lighter and more flexible. Time for me to get sewing -- replace that SM patch with ASM, and add a couple of knots.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2009 on Sewing on Scout Patches at We've Moved!
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I did WFA a couple of years ago and it scared the stuffing out of me. I can't believe I was tour leader without this training. Geez. The WFA curriculum was developed by the Transylvania Chapter of the ARC. The full title is "Wilderness First Aid Basics" (http://www.transylvaniaredcross.com/wfab.htm). The dividing line between WFA and community first aid is not four hours, but 30 minutes! Scouting in the UK is much more organized about leader training for wilderness outings. They require a WFA-like course plus extensive leader training for any outing where you would be 30 minutes or more from notifying professional rescuers. The BSA is pretty fuzzy about this. The new med form requires part B for activities where evacuation would take 30 minutes. Of course, evacuation time depends on the injury. I would do a hasty evac with a snakebite, but a very, very careful and slow evac with a neck injury. So, an evacuation time requirement is nonsense. The FAQ on form clarifies "evacuation" to mean where "emergency care is more than 30 minutes by ground transportation" which is a massive change in the meaning. The UK version is better, with definitions for terrain zero, one, and two. "Terrain One" is "more than 30 minutes but less than three hours travelling time from a road which can take an ordinary road-going ambulance or a building which is occupied (such as a farm) or another means of calling help (such as a telephone box)." Obviously, terrain two is over three hours. Each level requires a different level of certification for leaders. I really do wish that BSA National would take an hour or so to read up on what Scouting UK does. For a taste, check out the UK-wide Mountain Leader Training scheme (http://www.mltuk.org/). WFA training can be done by people 14 and up. Sign up your Scouts. This is a different challenge than First Aid merit badge, and entirely appropriate for the older Scouts. I know of a crew that went to Philmont with every member trained at WFA or WFR.
Toggle Commented Jun 30, 2009 on Wilderness First Aid at We've Moved!
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When I was at HP in the 80's and 90's, lab stock carried big yellow ear protectors. They were popular with programmers, both to shut out sound and as a flag that they were in the middle of some concentrated work. I also remember Capers Jones describing an invention of his, cubicle walls that went all the way to the ceiling with an extra partition that was hinged to close off the space. Never caught on.
The proper abbreviation is GSUSA, not GSA.
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2009 on How to Save the BSA at We've Moved!
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I "discovered" this a couple of years ago, too. The Arrow of Light requirements are almost identical to the Scout (joining) requirments, except that Arrow of Light does require "repeat from memory" and Scout doesn't. Another chance for confusion. I used to say they were the same, but AoL is harder. We try to get new Scouts through the joining requirements in the first meeting. There is no reason not to do that. To practice careful reading of requirements, think about Scouts with special needs. A Scout can still "demonstrate you know how to tie the following knots" if they don't have control of their hands. They talk someone else through the knot. Also, you can't "show first aid for the following" by talking about it. Somebody needs to get bandaged or squeeze their nose. By now, I never assume that I know the requirement cold. I ask for their handbook and read it out loud. Oddly, the training module for boards of review says, "A board can expect a Scout to be neat in appearance and properly uniformed." It also says that a lack a preparedness reflects on the troop as well as the Scout. I agree with the latter, but I wish they clarified that "expect" is not the same as "require".
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2009 on Reading Requirements and Policies at We've Moved!
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I have never advocated "flunking" a Scout on leadership. I do what the SM conference training suggests, discuss performance with the Scout when there is a problem and make sure they understand the obligations. I also help them with self evaluation at those conferences and advancement conferences. On the other hand, Scoutmasters should "fire" Scouts from positions if they are not fulfilling the obligations, according to the BSA. The Rank Advancement FAQ says: "However, unit leaders must ensure that he is fulfilling the obligations of his assigned leadership position. If he is not, then they should remove the Scout from that position." I have never fired a Scout from a position, though I have had one Scout decide that his previous performance did not measure up in a conference for his new position.
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Also, be careful about calling something "BSA policy". Not everything published by the BSA is a policy. In the Guide to Safe Scouting, they use boldface for "rules and policies". That is in a note on the first page. http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/GSS/gss01.aspx As far as I can tell, advancement policy completely covered in "Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures", a book that every Scoutmaster should have, even though it was written for council and district committees.
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Take a look at the training module for the Scoutmaster conference. That content is missing on the redesigned BSA site, though there is a link to it. I presume that is a bug, not a change in policy. Here is the cached version from Google (sorry about the extremely long URL): http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:2IN6lFmp7CQJ:www.scouting.org/boyscouts/trainingmodules/scoutmaster%2520conference%2520training.aspx&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a Here are two paragraphs from the section on the Star and Life Scoutmaster conferences. It specifically supports delaying the advancement if the Scout concludes that he needs to work further on leadership. From Scoutmaster Conference Training: As a Scoutmaster, you may be evaluating how a Scout has done in his leadership positions, but this is not the time to tell a Scout that he was a poor leader. If that is the case, or was the case, it should have been the subject of a Scoutmaster conference long before the advancement conference. Leadership skills should be reviewed as they are exhibited, not held over to a Scoutmaster conference where the Scout is flunked for failing to meet expectations. On the other hand, it may be that a Scout will conclude that he needs to work on certain aspects of leadership before he achieves the next rank, and you should be supportive of this concept.
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I disagree on your interpretation of the Rank Advancement FAQ. This clearly applies to the membership requirement, but it isn't so clear about the leadership requirement. The Q part of the FAQ is specific to "be active in your troop and patrol." If they also meant it to apply to "Serve actively in a leadership position", they would have said so. Those are two different requirements. For leadership positions, we discuss the responsibilities of the position with each Scout as soon as they are elected or appointed. At that time, we ask each Scout to set one or two goals. The Scoutmaster and ASMs check back with the Scout on these goals and the SPL asks PLs to report on them at the PLC. If there is a question about whether the Scout has fulfulled the obligations of the position, we have a Scoutmaster conference, and talk about how the Scout has contributed to the troop in his position. The FAQ recommendation about removing the Scout from the leadership position is hard to implement, because most problems take a while to appear. If the Scribe misses three PLCs in a row, then is removed, do the three months count towards Star? For the Eagle project, the Scoutmaster must evaluate whether the Scout provided leadership. Some projects, like blood drives, are generally considered as not requiring enough leadership to qualify. This will not be a surprise to the Scout if they have been required to serve in their leadership positions for Star and Life.
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