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The Accidental Coach

What are your Scouts working on? (Boys & Girls)

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Hi, I posted this in a separate post also, but what can my AHG kid do real quick for the "Special Event" requirement to get the Explorer level award?  I did not realize this was something she needed to come up with on her own.  She has to get it done pretty fast.

Edited by SKL

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Well, to be fair, Chief Scout is a bit lower than Eagle Scout. Scouts here are only up to age 14 (9th grade... so could be 15 before done). Equivalent to Eagle Scout would be the Queen's Venturer Award. So the projects are a smaller scale, but are (in the old program) a part of the World Conservation badge or Scout Environjent Award so must be environmental in nature.

 

But yes, they are supposed to be selected and organized by the scout. My view was as a parent / cub leader for the group. So I was at the camp as a cub leader. I also saw the emails as the leader arranged permission for the butterfly garden to be planted at the scout camp with the area scouter in charge of the camp.

 

The group doesn't work the way it is supposed to. Yet, it is one of the better ones in the area... sigh. They also have a no scout left out policy... they have bought our kids uniforms, helped with registration fees, paid for camps.

 

As I said though, they seem to expect more from my son, while at the same time expect less.... or see him as younger than he is. He had a lot of trouble last year as the other scouts... and the leaders... kept trying to send him with the younger scouts when they were working on badgework.

 

 

I'm surprised that they can do a Chief Scout project FOR Scouts. BSA doesn't allow it. I had to turn down a project last week because of that. 

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It's not uncommon for me to turn down a project; I shot down one two days ago. In BSA, the Eagle project canNOT benefit the BSA. So, the project the Scout had in mind won't fly. His first project idea would have taken about 35 minutes, one afternoon (he wanted to finish a Billion Graves mapping for our local cemetery--only it's already been done). So, no go on that one, but then he did nothing for 4.5 months. Not my problem. He ages out in 3.5 WEEKS. I had a discussion with his SM, but that was 4 days ago, and the boy hasn't contacted me. Oh well. 

 

Let me ask you about a project. I sat for an Eagle BOR last week, for a young man I know well. He's newly 16, very intelligent, a natural leader, and all around great kid/scout/person. He is the poster child for the Scouting program. I'm wondering if the fact that I know him is clouding my perspective on his project. Here it is:

 

He was working with a local wildlife group that regularly offers this as an Eagle project. They gave the boy a written proposal to submit to BSA. He did tweak it to be more in his own voice. Then he built ten bat houses to set up in the city park. The group ordered pre-cut bat houses and delivered them to the boy. His parents paid out of pocket for the $900 in material costs, no fundraising was necessary. In one afternoon, this scout and three friends assembled the bat houses. On a second afternoon they used a power tool (drill) to secure the bat houses to posts. The wildlife group had previously poured concrete and prepared the lower half of the posts, so the scout needed only to assemble his parts (like putting together a fake Christmas tree, top part goes into bottom part.) And that's it. 

 

I feel like it was a box-checking project. If anyone is capable of executing a well thought out project, it's this kid. And he's the kind of kid you KNOW is going to be a leader in life, and this project could have really refined and honed his natural skills. But does that mean he should have to?? Am I holding him to a higher standard because i know him and what he's capable of? Honestly, this project (done this way) would disappoint me in anyone who did it, but I'd understand it coming from someone on the cusp of aging out or something. I'm especially disappointed because my son expressed an interest in doing this for his project, too. (But i'm not bankrolling him, so he'd at least have to figure out a fundraiser.) I will be disappointed in my son if he chooses this project. He's capable of more, too. He will age out this fall, but he still has time to get a "legit" project (IMO).

 

Am I being stupid about this? I guess it boils down to "letter of the law vs. spirit of the law" for me. Maybe I need to get over it. I tend to get overly invested in my kids LOL. Tell it to me straight. 

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I'm surprised that they can do a Chief Scout project FOR Scouts. BSA doesn't allow it. I had to turn down a project last week because of that.

The thing is, in Canada, the Scout Leader is the final authority. There is no Board of Review.

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Hi, I posted this in a separate post also, but what can my AHG kid do real quick for the "Special Event" requirement to get the Explorer level award?  I did not realize this was something she needed to come up with on her own.  She has to get it done pretty fast.

 

 

Hey SKL, 

She should NOT have to do it all on her own! Didn't her unit leaders scaffold this for her? They are supposed to mentor the girls though these things. We give our girls a packet with budget requests forms and planning sheets, all to be approved well ahead of time by the board. PM me if you want a copy of the packet. Our Explorers usually help a PiPa who is actually leading the event, esp becaue Explorers don't need tons of hours. We take the calendar and board (esp. advancement chair), unit leaders and girls levelling up see what is planned or what they want to add and we go from there.

 

That said, the two easiest things I have seen planned are a skate night or trash pick up. Skate night: call the rink and see if you can get a discounted entry fee. Make a flyer and circulate to other troops. Do NOT make it a drop off event! Parent required to stay, siblings welcome. That way you do not need to be crazy over leader ratios. You will need a CPR certified health/safety lead designated. You will need permission forms. Ask everyone to wear a class B. Gather everyone at some point for a photo. 

 

Trash pick up is weather dependent and so trickier this time of year. Call your city or county public works dept. and see if they sponsor this. Ours will drop off and pick up grabbers, trash bags, gloves, reflective vests and hand sanitizer. they will take the trash too, but we usually just put it in the dumpster at park we clean up or at the one belinging to our charter. Again, NOT drop off. Make it a family thing. Nice because it only takes two hours (for the organizers) on the day of the even and an hour for everyone else. Nice because it makes us visible in our community and the girls enjoy chatting as they walk and pick up. 

 

Other things we have done that are not major planning include a park day (hike and naturalist's lesson in a wooded park), food drive for local food pantry, and service to our charter (yardwork, deep cleaning nursery and toys). Events where you can take advantage of a program someone else runs and all your Explorer has to do is organize our people to show up are good. History museums and the zoo work well, but can be pricey. We have also done outdoor things in cooperation with BSA troops. 

 

A "Popcorn and Presentation" night can work too. For any girls who need to present to finish up a badge. Rent a popcorn machine, serve cheapo lemonade and water with it. This can be done multi-troop. This is usually not drop off b/c paretns want to see their kids present. Have back-up games ready in case the girls run through their stuff too fast. We usually need a sound system and computer/projector for this. 

 

Do you have a campout or camporee coming up? Can your Explorer lead a SWAPS making night in preparation for that? Easy and fun. We do one craft for everyone. They may not finish, but take the material home to finhs later. We usually plan 10 SWAPS per girl. This does require supplies and a good bit of prep - can she enlist her untito help?

 

That's all I've go off the top of my head. hth! 

Sorry your girl is stuck at the last minute! Shouldn't happen...

Edited by ScoutTN

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Hey SKL, 

She should NOT have to do it all on her own! Didn't her unit leaders scaffold this for her? They are supposed to mentor the girls though these things. We give our girls a packet with budget requests forms and planning sheets, all to be approved well ahead of time by the board. PM me if you want a copy of the packet. Our Explorers usually help a PiPa who is actually leading the event, esp becaue Explorers don't need tons of hours. We take the calendar and board (esp. advancement chair), unit leaders and girls levelling up see what is planned or what they want to add and we go from there.

 

That said, the two easiest things I have seen planned are a skate night or trash pick up. Skate night: call the rink and see if you can get a discounted entry fee. Make a flyer and circulate to other troops. Do NOT make it a drop off event! Parent required to stay, siblings welcome. That way you do not need to be crazy over leader ratios. You will need a CPR certified health/safety lead designated. You will need permission forms. Ask everyone to wear a class B. Gather everyone at some point for a photo. 

 

Trash pick up is weather dependent and so trickier this time of year. Call your city or county public works dept. and see if they sponsor this. Ours will drop off and pick up grabbers, trash bags, gloves, reflective vests and hand sanitizer. they will take the trash too, but we usually just put it in the dumpster at park we clean up or at the one belinging to our charter. Again, NOT drop off. Make it a family thing. Nice because it only takes two hours (for the organizers) on the day of the even and an hour for everyone else. Nice because it makes us visible in our community and the girls enjoy chatting as they walk and pick up. 

 

Other things we have done that are not major planning include a park day (hike and naturalist's lesson in a wooded park), food drive for local food pantry, and service to our charter (yardwork, deep cleaning nursery and toys). Events where you can take advantage of a program someone else runs and all your Explorer has to do is organize our people to show up are good. History museums and the zoo work well, but can be pricey. We have also done outdoor things in cooperation with BSA troops. 

 

A "Popcorn and Presentation" night can work too. For any girls who need to present to finish up a badge. Rent a popcorn machine, serve cheapo lemonade and water with it. This can be done multi-troop. This is usually not drop off b/c paretns want to see their kids present. Have back-up games ready in case the girls run through their stuff too fast. We usually need a sound system and computer/projector for this. 

 

Do you have a campout or camporee coming up? Can your Explorer lead a SWAPS making night in preparation for that? Easy and fun. We do one craft for everyone. They may not finish, but take the material home to finhs later. We usually plan 10 SWAPS per girl. This does require supplies and a good bit of prep - can she enlist her untito help?

 

That's all I've go off the top of my head. hth! 

Sorry your girl is stuck at the last minute! Shouldn't happen...

 

The timing is tough - and it's partly my fault because I lost track of time, I guess.  The BORs are due April 12 and the cross-over is May 3.  The troop has no planned events between now and then.  If I had been thinking, I would have pushed for my kid to help with the lock-in we had in February.  But nobody suggested it all year.  (The leader did confirm today that the Special Event doesn't have to be completely done before the BOR, but it needs to be fully planned and scheduled.)

 

I found a couple of possibilities that involve outdoor work - planting trees in a national park, or clearing gardens for planting at a charity for kids' mental health.  These are existing opportunities so my kids would just coordinate the communications / sign-ups and participate in the event.  That should be do-able.

 

I don't mean to point fingers - I am partly to blame for not monitoring my own kid better; the unit leader quit last month over some ongoing personal issue; the troop leader is trying to step back as her kid is ageing out of AHG. The volunteer who enters kids' progress is behind.  The girl handbook could be clearer.  The website could offer more useful info.  :P

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The timing is tough - and it's partly my fault because I lost track of time, I guess.  The BORs are due April 12 and the cross-over is May 3.  The troop has no planned events between now and then.  If I had been thinking, I would have pushed for my kid to help with the lock-in we had in February.  But nobody suggested it all year.  (The leader did confirm today that the Special Event doesn't have to be completely done before the BOR, but it needs to be fully planned and scheduled.)

 

I found a couple of possibilities that involve outdoor work - planting trees in a national park, or clearing gardens for planting at a charity for kids' mental health.  These are existing opportunities so my kids would just coordinate the communications / sign-ups and participate in the event.  That should be do-able.

 

I don't mean to point fingers - I am partly to blame for not monitoring my own kid better; the unit leader quit last month over some ongoing personal issue; the troop leader is trying to step back as her kid is ageing out of AHG. The volunteer who enters kids' progress is behind.  The girl handbook could be clearer.  The website could offer more useful info.  :p

 

Well, if the troop planned it at the beginning of the year with the girls, it wouldn't fall into your lap at the last minute! As they get older, it gets more important because multi-troop or community outreach events that take 15-20 hours of work don't happen last minute. Our tentative calendar for next year exists and the PiPa girls levelling up next spring (inlcuding mine!) have already chosen their events. They don't get to do the same event twice. So if they helped with Operation Christmas Child as an Explorer, they don't get to plan that one as a Pioneer or Patriot. 

 

Yep, going with an existing event that y'all can just show up for is a good level for an Explorer! 

 

The handbook desperately needs revision! It is WAY out of date for Stars and Stripes information and even for Dolley Madison, the Patriot level award. AHG spends way too much time making rules intended to protect them from litigation (creating more paperwork to drown their TCs in!) and not nearly enough directly on the girls and the troops. 

Yes, the documents available on AHG Source are insufficient. That is why we created a packet to show our girls, step by step, what is necessasry to pull off an event. It helps them to be so much more proactive. They know exactly what is expected of them. Doing these level award events well will make their S&S projects less fearsome because they will have been trained and have some experience. 

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My Junior troop (4th graders) just got back from Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island. Twice a year the BSA camp does a GS weekend and we were able to go. It rained the entire weekend and my girls started saying things like, "I want to do archery but probably won't if it's raining." So we declared it a Try-It Weekend and they tried and then loved everything. It was the first time a lot of them have done archery, they were able to paddle board, kayak, and just play in the freezing-cold water. They petted sharks at the aquarium. They (and I) loved everything. Well, everything except the boat ride there and back. Apparently we are not a sea-faring troop.

 

I was telling my older daughter (12yo, Cadette) about how fun it is and she started getting all excited about it but then realized that their troop tends not to participate when they go on camping trips so the money and time would be wasted on that troop. (They do a lot, but like to just hang out when camping.) But I'm seriously thinking about enrolling them in both Boy and Girl Scouts when things are organized for girls just so they can have the experiences at these camps. I love GS but I do think that at least in our area, BSA camps have more to keep the kids interested. We shall see.

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We had a GREAT Court of Honor tonight! Lots of ranks and merit badges, Klondike awards, 30 year patches, presentation of the charter to the Elks Lodge, and dh got Unit Leader Award! He'll actually get it again at District tomorrow night, but we're not sure he can be there--it depends on how my surgery goes. It's lovely to see folks come in and sort out the desserts, and to hear the SM and ASM ask, "I don't know. How do you want that to go?" And to watch the boys say, "Hey, let's do the tables this way, and move the chairs, and here, I'll do the candles." 

 

I am SO tired after being up for hours last night with the first lamb of the season. I have to stay up a few more minutes for the last sheep check. I am "hosting" the awards gig 65 miles away tomorrow, but I doubt I'll make it. I have spent months on arranging things, but I handed off to the district chair--filled his car with awards and programs and food and table cloths and candles... I hadn't realized how tense I was, but my whole body hurts. Not looking forward to surgery tomorrow and not happy at leaving dd home to check sheep on her own. She has a spiral fracture of the fibula and is on crutches. She'll have to call the ASM if anything is going on. But I know we can count on our Scout family. 

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My kids have six partially-completed badges.  Looks like they will not finish most of them before cross-over.  We need to finish Bible Basics (the only personal well-being badge my eldest will have) and can probably finish cake decorating.  They finished the World Heritage badge.

 

With that and the Earth Day event my kid is working on, I think we are set for the level award for my eldest.  The troop track website is not in agreement with me, but hopefully that doesn't matter.

 

I don't like being so close to the deadline.  Hopefully we are more proactive to finish the next level requirements early.

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Ok, frustrated. My son was testing for his Cultural Awareness badge which is one of the 4 he is doing to finish up his chief scout award. He did the various requirements including making German Pretzles for his troop - which everyone liked.

 

He gets home from the meeting... Did you get the badge?

No...

Ok, do you know why?

No

Do you know what else you need to do?

No

Well, did Scouter ... not have his badge box, or did he not test you, or do you need to do more?

Frustrated non-answer....

 

I should have gone to the stupid meeting. I shouldn't have to go to the meeting, but it somehow goes better when I am there even when I do nothing...

 

Next week the troop is doing a regimental museum tour... I'm not sure what is up after that. Advancement meeting is the first of May. I'm not sure when the deadline for being in the huge cerimony in the province is... He is running out of time and I always feel like they keep putting obsticals in front of him.

 

 

 

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But I'm seriously thinking about enrolling them in both Boy and Girl Scouts when things are organized for girls just so they can have the experiences at these camps. I love GS but I do think that at least in our area, BSA camps have more to keep the kids interested. We shall see.

 

BSA offers Venturers which is a high adventure program for 14-21 yos that's been coed since the 1970s. There are lots of crews around, usually loosely affiliated with a BSA troop.

 

Trinqueta is a Sea Scout which is a similar program dedicated to sailing. It's been a great experience for her because youth are given more responsibility and freedom since they're older. It's a very different vibe than a BSA troop where there are 11 yos who have just crossed over.

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BSA offers Venturers which is a high adventure program for 14-21 yos that's been coed since the 1970s. There are lots of crews around, usually loosely affiliated with a BSA troop.

 

Trinqueta is a Sea Scout which is a similar program dedicated to sailing. It's been a great experience for her because youth are given more responsibility and freedom since they're older. It's a very different vibe than a BSA troop where there are 11 yos who have just crossed over.

My oldest is in a Venture Crew and i think by the time Scouts is organized for my dd12 tomjoin, Venture will still be the better choice. But for my dd10 I think actual Scouts will work well. She’ll be close to the same age of the other kids crossing over.

 

And yes, my ds17 likes Venture in part to get away from the 11yos. But it seems like his Crew doesn’t do the Scout Camps like EB is. They do the bigger trips instead.

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Dd and I are camping with AHG twice this month. Friday and Saturday she will get to do some trail riding, in conjunction with camping. Hoping the rain holds off til afternoon Saturday. Then in a few weeks, we have Camporee. Dd is working on the Climb On badge ad I am leading Hiking for the Explorers. I will participate in BOR next week, which I always like. 

Dh and Ds have a CS camping trip coming up too. Ds is hoping to do some fishing.  Their pack had this year's Arrow of Light ceremony last week. Nicely done. It is always interesting to me to see what the parents say to their sons during the ceremony. Some have well thought out words and others very superficial. I am thinking even now about what we will say next year. Got Dh and Ds signed up for summer camp this week too.  Woohoo for Webelos resident camp! 

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DS11 is receiving his Scout rank at the troop’s CoH this week.  He is well on his way to Tenderfoot as well.  

He’s electing not to go to summer camp this year.  He doesn’t feel ready and DH and I are in agreement.  He’s done some other smaller camps with the troop, though.  

DD8 is on hiatus from Girl Scouts because of new baby.  Not sure what we will do next year.  I would love to get her into Cub Scouts, tbh. 

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Ds is receiving Life rank on Monday. And I believe finally has all his homework done from Sustainability, the last badge he needs. He'll be busy this summer working on an Eagle Project. 

Dh's 1st Annual MBU went off w/out a hitch, 160 boys registered, woot!

AHG is not going well. I'm about ready to jump ship. At this point, it is only me and one other person that are really dedicated, we have a couple of other part-time leaders that I honestly don't expect to be back next year. We only have the girls and leaders for  small groups of Tenderhearts and Explorers. I've been here since inception, on the board and leading units, 6 yrs now, it is wearing thin. As it is all the Troops at our Charter are doing poorly and with the Cubscouts dropping by 70% it dropped the number we had as well. We keep losing leaders but cannot get replacements. We have some that think it is great but will do nothing to help, that just doesn't work.  We've tried to add more activities to help retention and attract new people but that is only serving to make more work for me. It is just not nearly as fun when you only have a few girls(we had just 9 total Monday night and 3 were mine!). There is a new Cub Scout Pack starting that will be co-ed AND is in the same location as dh has Scouts but I don't know how many they will have that are older. I don't know, I imagine I'm going to make some people mad and some happy but I have to weigh the options. 

My AHG girls are doing Engineering, we did our contest last week and I think that just about finishes it but I've got to double check.

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38 minutes ago, soror said:

Ds is receiving Life rank on Monday. And I believe finally has all his homework done from Sustainability, the last badge he needs. He'll be busy this summer working on an Eagle Project. 

Dh's 1st Annual MBU went off w/out a hitch, 160 boys registered, woot!

AHG is not going well. I'm about ready to jump ship. At this point, it is only me and one other person that are really dedicated, we have a couple of other part-time leaders that I honestly don't expect to be back next year. We only have the girls and leaders for  small groups of Tenderhearts and Explorers. I've been here since inception, on the board and leading units, 6 yrs now, it is wearing thin. As it is all the Troops at our Charter are doing poorly and with the Cubscouts dropping by 70% it dropped the number we had as well. We keep losing leaders but cannot get replacements. We have some that think it is great but will do nothing to help, that just doesn't work.  We've tried to add more activities to help retention and attract new people but that is only serving to make more work for me. It is just not nearly as fun when you only have a few girls(we had just 9 total Monday night and 3 were mine!). There is a new Cub Scout Pack starting that will be co-ed AND is in the same location as dh has Scouts but I don't know how many they will have that are older. I don't know, I imagine I'm going to make some people mad and some happy but I have to weigh the options. 

My AHG girls are doing Engineering, we did our contest last week and I think that just about finishes it but I've got to double check.

I am so sorry your AHG troop is spiraling down! Wish you could be here with ours. The BSA programs are very good, if well led, and I totally understand your interest in CS. I would probably jump ship too.  

I am so thankful that our AHG troop has plenty of good leaders. Our troop is not as adventurous or outdoorsy as we would like, but we add that element in other ways.  We did the Engineering badge this year too. 

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Hi!  Today is a big day for us - my eldest has to finish 3 requirements for her level award (a badge, BOR, and announcing her upcoming event.  While she has done the work for all 3, it's been a few weeks and she might not remember when put on the spot.  Today is the deadline so she needs to get it right, and I somehow need to prepare her, though I don't have a lot of time ....

My daughter's event is a volunteer project for earth day - planting trees.  So far nobody has indicated that they are joining us.  Well, at least she will have 3 people (the SKL trio).  :P  So far she sent out an email and posted on the facebook page (of course it looks like I did it since she doesn't have her own social media).

My other kid is not crossing over, so I am not pushing her.  She did finish the requirements for the Bible Basics badge, so she can get that signed off if the leaders have time.  Actually she already has all the requirements done for her level award, except for things that must be done in her final year.  She has several partially finished badges that she can finish at her leisure over the next year.  Or not.  She seems to want to do it, so this is an opportunity for her to be proactive and get it done.  I am going to focus on the next level once we get today's meeting behind us.

Another girl has arranged an event for later this month at a skating rink.  Sounds like fun, so I will try to make it.

I believe our next campout is in June.  I expect that my eldest will go as a Pioneer, so no mom needed, and my youngest will not participate, as she hates camping and already has all the badges.  Like every year, it will be right before a couple of huge work deadlines, so I will not appreciate any guilt trips about staying home.  Hopefully my eldest makes some good progress toward her camping & outdoor skills badges, and starts on her way to the Stars & Stripes requirements.

Over the summer, I plan to have both of my kids do the Family Helper and Home Care & Repair badges.  I might not tell initially tell them the work is for scouts.  :P  These are things they should be doing anyway.  It would be great if my eldest could also do the Physical Fitness badge, as that is right up her alley, along with some sports pins.  She should be able to easily finish running, martial arts, and get another ring on her gymnastics pin, and maybe add basketball, bowling, and volleyball since they do them for school.  Theoretically we could easily do some others also, but I seem to say that every year and it doesn't happen, so ....

My kids are finally working on their pen pal letters.  We are doing them via email this year, which is a lot easier from the motivation standpoint.  That will be part of their writing practice over the summer.  :P  A travel journal for the travel badge sounds like a great idea too (though my younger already has her level travel badge).

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22 minutes ago, ScoutTN said:

I am so sorry your AHG troop is spiraling down! Wish you could be here with ours. The BSA programs are very good, if well led, and I totally understand your interest in CS. I would probably jump ship too.  

I am so thankful that our AHG troop has plenty of good leaders. Our troop is not as adventurous or outdoorsy as we would like, but we add that element in other ways.  We did the Engineering badge this year too. 

I think the big problem is that unlike Boy Scouts people don't see the value in sticking with it, there is prestige w/ the Eagle Scout. We are the only AHG Troop for 1.5 hrs+ in any direction, so we constantly have to explain what our Troop is and does.  People just see it as something to try out and drop if you don't have anything better. So, they try it awhile then the girls get older and have other things going on and it gets dropped. Really, Boy Scouts has the same problem but it is just magnified because our numbers are fewer to begin with. And the lack of good training w/ AHG and red tape is getting on my nerves. 

The guy spearheading the new Pack is amazing, he is running the new Troop with dh and I've never met anyone more organized, he knows his stuff. His last pack had well over 100 and their Troop that is not even a year old already has around 25 boys.

Dh and I are doing BSA Challenge Course Training at the beginning of May and then Rock Climbing Training the beginning of June. I had hoped to take my AHG girls on it but IDK w/ their restrictions on age and how few older girls we have I don't know that it will be possible. 

Oh, and our AHG Troop has a camp-out the end of April, Mother-Daughter Tea in May, and Dad/Daughter Fishing in June. 

My fil is still in hospice though so I've told everyone that we need other helpers b/c I cannot guarantee I will be able to attend.

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1 hour ago, soror said:

 

AHG is not going well. I'm about ready to jump ship. At this point, it is only me and one other person that are really dedicated, we have a couple of other part-time leaders that I honestly don't expect to be back next year. We only have the girls and leaders for  small groups of Tenderhearts and Explorers. I've been here since inception, on the board and leading units, 6 yrs now, it is wearing thin. As it is all the Troops at our Charter are doing poorly and with the Cubscouts dropping by 70% it dropped the number we had as well. We keep losing leaders but cannot get replacements. We have some that think it is great but will do nothing to help, that just doesn't work.  We've tried to add more activities to help retention and attract new people but that is only serving to make more work for me. It is just not nearly as fun when you only have a few girls(we had just 9 total Monday night and 3 were mine!). There is a new Cub Scout Pack starting that will be co-ed AND is in the same location as dh has Scouts but I don't know how many they will have that are older. I don't know, I imagine I'm going to make some people mad and some happy but I have to weigh the options.

I'm one of those moms who can't help much, because of work.  Do you have any ideas for how moms like me can be better at supporting you?

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5 minutes ago, SKL said:

I'm one of those moms who can't help much, because of work.  Do you have any ideas for how moms like me can be better at supporting you?

I would say that I know not everyone can help, we're just at the critical point with not enough people. I don't even have a helper. Our one other leader is only there half the time.

Staying late or coming a bit early to help clean up or set up is a huge help, whether it is for meetings or special events. Even if you can't help at all of them pitching in when you can is great. Helping to provide 2 deep when there is no one around, sometimes you just need another adult. Making sure you are current on any financial obligations, not only are people not wanting to help they aren't paying their share either. I'm sure you probably do your fair share.

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8 minutes ago, soror said:

I think the big problem is that unlike Boy Scouts people don't see the value in sticking with it, there is prestige w/ the Eagle Scout. We are the only AHG Troop for 1.5 hrs+ in any direction, so we constantly have to explain what our Troop is and does.  People just see it as something to try out and drop if you don't have anything better. So, they try it awhile then the girls get older and have other things going on and it gets dropped. Really, Boy Scouts has the same problem but it is just magnified because our numbers are fewer to begin with. And the lack of good training w/ AHG and red tape is getting on my nerves. 

The guy spearheading the new Pack is amazing, he is running the new Troop with dh and I've never met anyone more organized, he knows his stuff. His last pack had well over 100 and their Troop that is not even a year old already has around 25 boys.

Dh and I are doing BSA Challenge Course Training at the beginning of May and then Rock Climbing Training the beginning of June. I had hoped to take my AHG girls on it but IDK w/ their restrictions on age and how few older girls we have I don't know that it will be possible. 

Oh, and our AHG Troop has a camp-out the end of April, Mother-Daughter Tea in May, and Dad/Daughter Fishing in June. 

My fil is still in hospice though so I've told everyone that we need other helpers b/c I cannot guarantee I will be able to attend.

Yes, the bolded, so much! AHG has twice as many rules and policies as necessary. Too many lawyers and people who have no clue what the reality of running a troop is. National staff should be required to serve as a unit leader and on the board, preferably a TC, before they have any real authority. And the training is weak.Outdoor related training is non-existent.  

Does one have to be a leader with a particulal BSA pack/troop/crew to be a registeed leader and get their training? Because I want to go get it and take several AHG women with me! 

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2 hours ago, ScoutTN said:

Dd and I are camping with AHG twice this month. Friday and Saturday she will get to do some trail riding, in conjunction with camping. Hoping the rain holds off til afternoon Saturday. Then in a few weeks, we have Camporee. Dd is working on the Climb On badge ad I am leading Hiking for the Explorers. I will participate in BOR next week, which I always like. 

Dh and Ds have a CS camping trip coming up too. Ds is hoping to do some fishing.  Their pack had this year's Arrow of Light ceremony last week. Nicely done. It is always interesting to me to see what the parents say to their sons during the ceremony. Some have well thought out words and others very superficial. I am thinking even now about what we will say next year. Got Dh and Ds signed up for summer camp this week too.  Woohoo for Webelos resident camp! 

 

We're supposed to say something significant at the ARrow of Light?!!!! My son has his coming up next month.

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2 minutes ago, ScoutTN said:

Yes, the bolded, so much! AHG has twice as many rules and policies as necessary. Too many lawyers and people who have no clue what the reality of running a troop is. National staff should be required to serve as a unit leader and on the board, preferably a TC, before they have any real authority. And the training is weak.Outdoor related training is non-existent.  

Does one have to be a leader with a particulal BSA pack/troop/crew to be a registeed leader and get their training? Because I want to go get it and take several AHG women with me! 

You know I'm not certain how it works to take BSA training if not w/ BSA. I'd already done basic youth protection training since I'm a Merit Badge Counselor. If you've got a son in BSa you can just be a registered adult. I've not been a leader in BSA since ds was Tiger age (b/c we started AHG after that). Some of our people did do some AHG training thing but said it was almost entirely about how to do the paperwork and they only found out nitty gritty details from talking to other Troops, which is ridiculous, it should not require that much training to just figure out how to do their dag blasted paperwork.

Fwiw I've only been to a couple of Arrow of Light ceremonies but parents didn't speak at either of them, I'm guessing it varies based on the Pack/Troop. 

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You can take any BSA training w/o a kid in the program. Just sign up as a mb counselor so you're registered. Heck, you can even do Woodbadge!

 

We got a Philmont 2019 slot! So, I signed dd and dh up. We'll see where dh's cancer is at that point, so we signed up a 3rd adult just in case. And dd might have to bow out due to AF commitments, but we'll have no problem filling the spot. 

 

The troop had a new recipe cookoff last Monday, and it went really well--lots of new ideas. We're gearing up for a bike trip down valley, in canyon country, then Blue and Gold, Crossover and Callout for OA! And then Spring Fellowship, Northern Tier, camp, and on it goes with some mountain climbing (we're smack in the middle of 14,000' peaks), paddle across Blue Mesa, lots of flag ceremonies, and 3 rodeos. I'm headed to Woodbadge later in the summer. 

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Of course, Margaret knows the answer to any BSA question. 

So, dh has had a new boy transfer to his Troop, now his old SM will not release his MB cards, it has been over a month now. He isn't even answering dh's texts or messages anymore. The last message dh sent and copied the DE and his Charter Rep, still nothing. So, dh is jumping through these hoops to get replacement cards, like he doesn't have enough to do w/ a dying Dad b/c this dude wants to be a jerk. I'd love to give him a piece of my mind.

Oh, and I sent the SM an email about the new Pack and they are having an info meeting next week I'm going to try and go to, I know our current Troop leader won't be happy w/ me but I've put a lot more time and years in than she has, I'm not obligated to keep on forever.

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Just start new blue cards, then go through the requirements and see if the boy can answer intelligently about each. Sign, done, boom! And then immediately put them on his account! "Never ding a boy for a stupid on the adult's part." We no longer have adults hold blue cards--it's the Scout's job. Every time an adult has held them, there are problems. We've recreated cards that have been lost--not really too big a deal. We have a biannual mb rally in which ALL the records are ALWAYS lost. I finally just make up the blue cards when they get back. I'll get the info from the rally and they'll say the kid wasn't there. Um, I drove him, ate lunch with him, and picked him up. Fine. I can make a cute little Excel spreadsheet with the best of them. I like our camp now--they do the blue card thing right there, not a stupid spreadsheet that always gets lost. Then it's up to the BOY to hang on to the fool things!

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1 hour ago, vonfirmath said:

 

We're supposed to say something significant at the ARrow of Light?!!!! My son has his coming up next month.

I am sure each pack tailors the ceremony in some ways. In ours, the boy's parents speak a few words of encouragement to him after he has received his arrow. They usually say how they have seen him mature, meet challenges,   and take on responsibilty. They speak about his character, strengths, and how proud they are of him etc. It is nice. Shows how unique each boy in the den is, though they have all accomplished basically the same scout things in a year. 

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59 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

Just start new blue cards, then go through the requirements and see if the boy can answer intelligently about each. Sign, done, boom! And then immediately put them on his account! "Never ding a boy for a stupid on the adult's part." We no longer have adults hold blue cards--it's the Scout's job. Every time an adult has held them, there are problems. We've recreated cards that have been lost--not really too big a deal. We have a biannual mb rally in which ALL the records are ALWAYS lost. I finally just make up the blue cards when they get back. I'll get the info from the rally and they'll say the kid wasn't there. Um, I drove him, ate lunch with him, and picked him up. Fine. I can make a cute little Excel spreadsheet with the best of them. I like our camp now--they do the blue card thing right there, not a stupid spreadsheet that always gets lost. Then it's up to the BOY to hang on to the fool things!

Dh and the other leadershave no problem signing the ones they counsel but aren't MB counselors for several that he has. So, dh has contacted the district offices to get reprints, the other problem is that the old SM did not update advancement w/ National so he has to get that fixed. The boy is not being dinged for it at all, it is just work for my dh to get the reissued, work he is just doing because the old SM is refusing to give them to just be a jerk b/c he is mad the boy transferred, and he has enough on his table as it is.

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1 minute ago, soror said:

Dh and the other leadershave no problem signing the ones they counsel but aren't MB counselors for several that he has. So, dh has contacted the district offices to get reprints, the other problem is that the old SM did not update advancement w/ National so he has to get that fixed. The boy is not being dinged for it at all, it is just work for my dh to get the reissued, work he is just doing because the old SM is refusing to give them to just be a jerk b/c he is mad the boy transferred, and he has enough on his table as it is.

 

I'm so sorry that your dh is having to deal with this. A lesson learned--make sure advancement is up-to-date before transferring. We're dealing with this with a transfer--fortunately, the mom was the adv chair for the troop the boy is leaving so she made sure it was all good. I think we should cross-stitch that caution and give a copy to each new Scout! I have the Eagle paperwork and OA stuff to deal with tonight for this boy. It's REALLY complicated when they get elected to OA but then leave that troop before Callout and Ordeal! Fortunately, the Section Chief contacted the Area Chief and the National Chief and figured it out for me. The boy will be registered in his original Lodge and then transfer to the new Lodge. It means paying two sets of dues, but that can't be helped. Sounds like we should all be grateful that BSA has guidelines for all this, unlike what some folks are going through with AHG. 

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2 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

 

I'm so sorry that your dh is having to deal with this. A lesson learned--make sure advancement is up-to-date before transferring. We're dealing with this with a transfer--fortunately, the mom was the adv chair for the troop the boy is leaving so she made sure it was all good. I think we should cross-stitch that caution and give a copy to each new Scout! I have the Eagle paperwork and OA stuff to deal with tonight for this boy. It's REALLY complicated when they get elected to OA but then leave that troop before Callout and Ordeal! Fortunately, the Section Chief contacted the Area Chief and the National Chief and figured it out for me. The boy will be registered in his original Lodge and then transfer to the new Lodge. It means paying two sets of dues, but that can't be helped. Sounds like we should all be grateful that BSA has guidelines for all this, unlike what some folks are going through with AHG. 

Yes, thankfully, BSA is very organized, even if some leaders aren't. Thankfully we've not had to deal w/ any boys being OA eligible

Do you mean boys should make sure their advancement is up to date? How would that work, by the way, I'm transferring so update my advancement? I don't think that he would have done anything to fix it anyway. I wonder too how would a boy know whether or not his rank is updated w/ National if your SM doesn't use Scoutbook. Can you call? Dh's new Troop does Scout Book so every kid and parent knows their rank and everything they've done and need to do for advancement but in the old Troop they just used Troopmaster and the boys were not ever told anything, rank was often months to years out of date. And now the new SM wants nothing to do w/ Council or National, it is an utter mess. 

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Your Council can email a boy their complete records. It's good practice for the adv chair of every troop to print out a copy once a year and hand it to the boy. It's so much easier to fix a problem in a timely manner than years down the road. The Life Scout will need a printout for his Eagle book anyway. 

Sounds like a good thing that the boy transferred!

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Well, my son has done the work to complete the 4 badges his Scouter has agreed will be for his "challenging program"... his final requirement for the Chief Scout Award.  Will test for them on Tuesday...

There used to be a big cerimony for the recipients of the Chief Scout Award and the Queen's Venturer Award (and Scouters getting awards) with the Lieutenant-Governor... but I haven't heard anything....  not sure if we are too late, or if it isn't happening this year...  :|

 

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Well, thank goodness, my daughter passed the Board of Review and got her badge signed off.  It was a productive day, though I personally was way stressed out.  :P  The kids practiced for the cross-over ceremony and did some service projects while most of the adults were doing Board of Review and badge sign-offs.  Hopefully it will be low-stress for several months now.

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6 hours ago, SKL said:

Well, thank goodness, my daughter passed the Board of Review and got her badge signed off.  It was a productive day, though I personally was way stressed out.  :P  The kids practiced for the cross-over ceremony and did some service projects while most of the adults were doing Board of Review and badge sign-offs.  Hopefully it will be low-stress for several months now.

Hooray for the new Pioneer!  

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Boy Scout families are the best. We signed dh up for Philmont 2019, in the hopes that he'll be able to go (another brain scan in 6 weeks--they found a spot). And this evening I got a text from the treasurer that someone has paid his way! I'm pretty sure I know which family did it. Isn't that cool?

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Back from quick camping trip. The girls got a great trail ride yesterday and all morning of riding and horsemanship lessons today. Thankful for a covered arena since we began the day with a thunderstorm and the rain hasn't let up yet..

 

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In a couple of days, our family will have...  44 cases of chocolate bars.  30 bars per case.  About 1 month to sell them.   It is for the 2 oldest kids to go to summer camp.  We have managed that amount before...  but, this year we do not have a working car.  (After selling the nearby streets, we would drive the kids to a street within the community and the kids would sell door to door... we would move the car forward, refill their boxes, etc.  Or even when we had a storefront to sell at the car was needed to get the bars there.  Doing that number of bars was challenging within the time even then.  I'm really worried.

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ARG! I spent 7 HOURS online today, going on trying to register Scouts for their merit badges. I called the office and they gave me a different time. So I went on and on and on, and no way to register. So, I call the office back again--Oh, they changed the date! Well, putting that info online would have helped. Or better yet, TELL ME when I called you. So now, I repeat the process tomorrow. The entire troop wants kayaking (dds moved away so no way to do it here) and that will fill almost every slot. 

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I just needed to go be around SCOUTS and forget stupid paperwork! Great meeting tonight--boys got stuff signed off, SM conference, and the boys built a tower!

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Finding a new troop and pack.  We visited one troop last night.  Oldest ds liked them, but we want to visit a few more before deciding.  It will be a hard decision. DS loved his small troop in Ohio.  He really misses it.   There are no small troops here.  

Younger ds plans to try the feeder pack for the troop older ds chooses.   He has just his Arrow of Light year to go before bridging to Boy Scouts.  He is looking forward to being with his big brother.

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DS's pack has a campout this coming weekend. We went to the last one, and there were some issues (related to safety, supervision, and leadership communication). Hopefully this one will be better organized (and not rained on)! The leadership scapegoated the climbing instructor, so he won't be volunteering with the troop/pack any more, which is too bad because he clearly knew what he was doing; he didn't have backup from the leaders or eyes in the back of his head.

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Ds had his Court of Honor and officially received his Life rank.

Our AHG camping trip is being downgraded w/ to a day trip, since I'm not sure I can go (fil in hospice) we don't have enough leaders. Plus, it has been significantly cooler than usual. I'm relieved b/c I just got too much going on. 

Tonight I'm going to the info meeting for the new boy/girl Pack, we'll see what happens. We might do summer day camp if nothing else b/c we don't have the manpower to pull it off and I thinkt he girls will like it. I'm considering volunteering b/c I know how it goes but I'm holding off for now.

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My DS got his letter stating that he is being hired to work at our council's Boy Scout camp. His last day of school is 5/31 (incentive to get his online classes finished early) and he reports to camp on June 2nd. He turns 16 on June 17. He will have to stop work one week early for his troop Philmont trek. 

The pay is very low, but he is allowed to attend any merit badge classes that fit around his work schedule, and he found out from his week last summer that the camp does a pretty god job of providing gluten free meals including gluten free pizza on pizza night.

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We just attended the troop's COH.  Ds got his next rank advancement (Star) and 5 completed merit badges.  It should have been 6 but the MBC for the reading merit badge has been ducking ds's calls to get the final item signed off.  I couldn't figure out what was going on until the kerfuffle I posted about with the woman at church who cyberbullied my dd for her political opinions.  The MBC is that woman's husband, so I feel like they just don't want anything to do with us.  Because there is only one more requirement to be signed off and I have pictures of him completing it, I might go to another leader.  It is the reading merit badge for heaven's sake, not cooking or one of the other required for Eagle badges.  Anyway, Ds is working on a couple more merit badges that just need one or two finishing touches.

Amber in SJ

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Our troop has confirmed that they are doing their 50 mile hike in Yosemite, including Half Dome as their super activity this Summer.  They were supposed to do a 30 mile hike of the lakes in Yosemite last Summer but the wildfires put the kibosh on that, so they did their 30 miles in Tahoe instead.  I am a little nervous about ds going 50 miles and climbing  Half Dome.  He is a very small 13 and can't carry as much weight in his pack.  Dh is going.  He took dd on this hike when she was 14 and it was the year there were several deaths in the park due to inexperienced hikers who ignored the warning signs or weather warnings.  He has gone with the scouts to Yosemite on this hike for the past 10 years (or so) even when we didn't have a kid in the troop so he is very experienced and he is able to take the extra weight for ds.  Just like the November ocean canoe trip, I just have to tell myself it will be OK.  Dh will be there, and he is not one to take unnecessary risks with the kids.  :)

Amber in SJ 

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My son has officially earned his Chief Scout Award as of tonight!   They need to order the badge yet.  I don't know if there will also be a big cerimony in the province anymore or not... I think it is usually in May so hopefully he isn't too late.

I can't remember how many challenge badges (sort of like merit badges) he has earned... they are 4 wide and fill his sleeve...

 

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Here is my Camporee story:

Friday morning I recieve news that a white supremacist organization is having a conference at the lodge of the park where we will be and the local paper has published a pot-stirring article, complete with photos of police in riot gear from Charlottesville. The troop leading Camporee confers at length with the park staff and decides Camporee will still happen. Our troop leadership passes this along to our people and gets major criticism from some families who choose not to participate. I trust the leaders and finish packing, but still worry a bit in the back of my mind. 

Mid-afternoon,  I had a van full of gear, Dd and two of her AHG friends. We stopped at my mom's to drop something off on our way out of town and my van died. I called AAA, they said two hours until a service truck could get there. I begged. In 45 minutes AAA arrived, started my car and told me my starter was bad and that my van would not start if I turned it off. Meanwhile, I had let the moms of the other two girls and our troop people already at Camporee know what was happening while the girls played outside at my mom's. One of the moms came (whose anniversary it was and who had been headed to a nice hotel with her Dh) and we loaded most of the gear and all three girls in her van. I headed out for our mechanic's shop and she headed to Camporee. There was metal debris on the interstate and she hit it, blowing out a tire. There were 10+ cars on the side of the road with flat tires. There was a wide, grassy hill off the shoulder, so the girls sang camp songs and chatted til the mom's Dh came to change the tire. The state trooper took a long time to arrive, but he posed for a photo with the girls before he left. The van had only a baby spare so they switched all the gear again into the husband's SUV and headed out. They arrived at the campground at 9:00 and with a small army of helpers, set up huge, new, oddly configured tent (for all our Pioneers and Patriots to sleep in) that no one had ever set up before. The girls stayed up way too late, sharing their adventures and winding down from the adventure.  I went out the next day in another vehicle, since by the time we got my van settled and I got home it was amost 9:00.  

The rest of the weekend was lovely! Sunny and a little cool in the daytime. Cold at night. Dd earned the Climb On badge and decided she needs to work on upper body strength. I led the Explorer Hiking badge twice and decided that 5-6 miles in a day is not wise for this out of shape, over 50 yo mom. I enjoyed being with the girls and meeting other leaders. We were on the other side of the park from the lodge where the conference was held; several miles. Other than men (either AHG dads or park staff) at the check in gate to our campground area, nothing unusual. There was a golf tournament and a 5K race in the park Saturday too. Our troop had good attendance, won the dutch oven dessert contest and enjoyed being together.  

 

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