Showing posts from September, 2018

Youth Protection ... for kids

By the time this post goes live most of the volunteer leaders of the Boy Scouts of America will have taken or will be scrambling to take the new Youth Protection before the October 1st deadline. Which is a really good thing, Youth Protection had not updated in many years and for many long time scouters (like myself) it became something you could just flip through, take a quiz and be covered for two years. I’ll be the first to admit that the execution of the new training is not great. It doesn’t depict enough youth and adults in scouting environments. But that is beyond the point, there is a lot of good information and I learned a few things. So we are flush with leaders, merit badge counselors and parents (who occasionally help out) who are filled with all these great concepts ready to keep the scouts safe and know of the warning signs to look out for. But no one has explained it to the kids. They don’t know why we do the things we do and don’t do. And yes there is the pamphlet in the…

The methods of Scouting - the patrol method 

When I was a scout our troop had a very strong patrol structure, we had traditional names, wolves, eagles, arrows, and ravens, among others. At the time a patrol had mixed aged scouts. My first patrol had other boys in it that were in high school while I was a very timid sixth grader. As guys aged out or moved on the scouts of my generation started dominating the leadership positions in our troop. The patrol leader of the Ravens became SPL, the wolves patrol leader became ASPL, the two patrols merged, I was the patrol leader, and after a few guys left the troop I had two guys in the patrol who were also serving as troop guides. When we camped the SPL and ASPL camped with us, we were in essence a senior patrol. Then one of our Assistant Scoutmasters had a great idea, let’s form a pseudo varsity patrol. We would still provide leadership for the troop, but also have separate more mature adventures on our own. Our troop really didn’t have a culture of patrols doing things totally separate…

What about the young Assistant Scoutmasters?

It was December 18th 1992, a Friday night at Troop 327 was having it’s Christmas party/parents night. That night our scoutmaster Lee handed me a few merit badges (that would never be seen to a sash) a Life patch (that would only be pinned on my shirt for a Troop activity that Sunday ) and the one patch that I was really anticipating and would be on my sleeve for the better part of the next 15 years, my Assistant Scoutmaster patch. Sure, I wouldn’t be 18 till the next Monday, and my application hadn’t been sent to council but by the next time we met as a group, I would be an Assistant Scoutmaster. The last few months I served as junior assistant scoutmaster during my first semester in college, the troop leaderships was easing me into my next role. I was ready. I took trainings, starting going to round table meetings, volunteering for district jobs and helping lead my troop. Eventually I would be called upon to be scoutmaster. My most important role during those early years was often as…