Thursday, November 29, 2012

Helpful videos

I use these Early Rank Requirements video clips as a "Virtual Troop Guide" for my EYOS patrol.  It's kids teaching kids.  It works pretty well, especially for younger guys, but maybe your older guys need a refresher. This works for that, too.

Click the link above, then the appropriate rank badge, and select the clips you need.  Some requirement numbers don't match up with the current Handbook, the videos are a little older. (BSA site, requires free Quicktime player - add this to your favorites).

YouTube is, of course, full of good information, and some real crap too, so use wisely. But you can find swimming instruction (side stroke, breast stroke, trudgen, crawl (freestyle), elementary backstroke), how to make a shadow stick, and more!

Prepared. | For Life.™

Satisfaction.

Last night I got to see one of my former EYOS receive his Eagle Scout Award.  He was in my first group of boys, two years ago, and has always been at the forefront of the Troop.  He's currently serving as SPL (and DQP, so he's not yet 14), and before that was the Troop instructor.  In the EYO patrol, he served as Patrol Leader.

It was a good COH, as it was an everything-COH, not only his Eagle presentation, which he planned himself, and it showed.  In fact, the boys ran everything, which is a 180° turn from not too long ago, when they just showed up and did what they were told. 

Congratulations, BV!

Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, November 15, 2012

First Years

Clarke Greene takes on the "Scouts should earn First Class in their first year of Scouting" premise:
...All that being said I think that Scouts earning First Class in the first year is an important aspiration and one that should be promoted. A healthy troop that is delivering the promises of Scouting will have Scouts earning First Class in the first year pretty regularly not because it is something they specifically drive towards but as a natural result of the health of the program.

What’s left to us is to look at our troops and see if we are getting Scouts to this benchmark. If we aren’t, what should we start doing, stop doing, or continue doing to make it happen?
Once again, the case is very strong against marking off a checklist. Instead, provide opportunities for boys to do Scouting (i.e., a strong outdoor program, with a determined adherence to the Patrol Method. Let advancement take care of itself). I've written about this topic before.

Here's what the Green Book says about that:
Eleven-year-old Scouts participate in rank advancement. They are encouraged to achieve the rank of First Class before turning twelve years old.  (§6.2, ¶4)
Notice that it lays the responsibility at the boys' feet.  It's not the adults' job to drive them to a finish line (or worse, classes), and doing so is a surefire way to ensure they voluntarily leave as soon as they get the chance. Marking off a checklist will never be incentive enough for any boy to stay involved; however, participating with their friends in fun activities that they plan themselves will go long way toward keeping them active. That advancement requirements are completed in doing so is a side-benefit.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knotty Words

Does it bother anyone else that Scouts are always using so many knotty words - bight, turn, loop, hitch, bend?  What do they all mean, anyway?  I put together a small vocabulary list of useful knot-tying terms that you can print out and give away to help the boys understand which part of the rope is which, and to help them describe what to do.

Click for the list.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Journey to Excellence, correleated to the AP Purposes

At Roundtable last week, we discussed the 2013 Journey to Excellence scorecard.   I've been wondering how to incorporate this into my ward's Troop (and Pack, Team and Crew) program for a while now, even discussing it in my now long-forgotten Ward Scouter Training lessons.  I think I figured out how to rouse some excitement for using this performance measurement tool amongst ward leadership:  by correlating JTE objectives with AP Purposes, it underscores the "Scouting is Aaronic Priesthood in action" and "Scouting is the Aaronic Priesthood laboratory" concepts.

Tying each objective to one or more Purpose can help solidify in the minds of the more spiritually minded (I jest, but only because dedicated Scouters have all "gone rogue"; we just don't see the big picture ;^), that by taking an annual inventory of certain metrics, we can better gauge how effective our efforts are in meeting the needs of our Young Men (and our daughters, too, if we're willing to color outside the lines just a teensy bit).  It is my opinion that the Spirit can work more effectively when we have good information to work from in the first place - something I learned on my mission about studying it out in your mind, I guess.  It's like someone wrote a set of SMART goals for us to measure progress and further challenge ourselves.

Click image for printable document


Prepared. | For Life.™

That's the way we've always done it...

I read every issue of Ask Andy as it hits my RSS feed. I really like his "rules." Here's Rule #97, from the latest issue #334:
When doing it right collides with doing it the way we’ve always done it, the latter wins.

Every time.
It would appear that the challenges in LDS Scouting are not all that different from those of "regular" Scouting. If it were not so, Andy's column wouldn't be necessary.  Also, this is a universal, not Scouting-specific, rule.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Friday, November 2, 2012

Can't complain

B playing in his first band concert
After my oldest finished school last spring, he announced that he wanted to play the french horn and be in the band in Jr. High. He did this all on his own initiative, and under no pressure nor influence from me or my wife - it was a bolt out of the blue. Now, I'm not going to go so far as to say that this decision can be attributed to Scouting, but I am pleased to have seen him make his own decision. I gotta say, I was pretty floored by his announcement. He now practices every day, and enjoys the camaraderie of fellow band members. The challenge will be to encourage him in this, while encouraging his Scouting progress, as well encouraging him to continue his Tae Kwon Do, which he hasn't touched since he earned his black belt in June. But since progress is measured in character and not in patches, this is a great step on the path to adulthood - making a decision, and sticking with it. It was a joy to watch him perform for the first time last night.

Also, I can't complain so much about the multiple draws on a kid's time and the interests they pursue, not if I want my own kids to be well-rounded.

Prepared. | For Life.™