Archive for the ‘National’ Category


myscoutingDo your Youth Protection Training online, they tell us. Take your position specific training through the website, the council promotes. You should be doing your troop advancement through the internet, not through paperwork, I am told.

How the hell am I suppose to do anything online through MyScouting.org when the website does not even recognize me?

I have been a registered adult leader with the B.S.A. through Boy Scout Troop 68 for over 33 years. I am also on roundtable staff and a member of the Cub Pack committee. I once was able to use the myscouting.org website without a problem. Then something happened a year ago, right about this time. I was up for Youth Protection Training and tried to get on the website to take it once again. I could not get on it. I tried Safari and Firefox on my home computer ( I use a MacPro). I tried at work. No luck there either.

I call my district executive and explained the situation. I have to admit, he went out of his way to try to fix it. He even called the national office. It took over a month, and a phone call from someone at the website, but it got fixed and I was able to do the YPT online. I have to say though, I was very frustrated with the B.S.A. during that time period.

I have not been back to the myscouting.org site for several months. I had no need to visit it. I had a nice visit with my district executive this afternoon and we talked about internet advancement. Our troop does not currently use it. I told Bob that he should email the information to me and I would take a look at it.

Meanwhile, I tried to get into myscouting.org on my Windows based computer at work. I tried Internet Explorer and Firefox. I could not enter the site through either one. (The server could not sign you in. Make sure your user name and password are correct, and then try again.) Maybe I forgot my password, I thought. I tried to reset the password but the site threw a page at me with a lot of code which meant absolutely nothing to me. Okay, I will try again at home and see if I was using the right password.

After supper, I received the information from my D.E., including my username and password. Surprise! They was the same ones I had tried using at work. I tried it again on my home computer. I used Firefox and Safari. Neither one worked! We are back to playing that locked-out game once again.

Can you tell that I am frustrated once again? The national and council offices want us to do virtually everything online these days, yet they lock me out of my account so I can do nothing. It is like I do not exist. If this is how the national office wants to treat me after 33 years of volunteer service I feel like it is time to tell them to forget it. If they don’t want me as a volunteer anymore then just tell me. If I am so low on their radar that they cannot even keep my account active then maybe it is time to quit this organization and find one that does appreciate the work I do for it.

I have dropped an email to my D.E. to let him know what is going on again. I feel sorry for him, because I know what he went through last time this happened, but what can I do? I know no one at the national website, and from the looks of it, they do not know me.

Have any of you out there have any similar problems with this website?

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    LifeRsmallThere has been a lot of press lately that the Boy Scouts of America is about to change its policy on allowing opening gay youth into the organization. In fact, the press likes to make it sound like this is already a done deal. The press makes it sound like the poll conducted by the B.S.A. states that Scouts, parents, leaders and councils overwhelmingly support changing the policy. I decided to bring up the poll results at the scouting.org website and look at the figures myself. It is not quite as cut and dried as the media is playing this up to be. I am a little bit skeptical. Here are a few statistics from one part of that poll, along with a few of my thoughts:

    Parents Study Group and Leaders Study Group

    The BSA’s Voice of the Scout Membership Standards Survey was sent to more than 1 million adult members, with over 200,000 respondents. I have been involved with the Scouting program for 33 years, yet I was not contacted to participate in this program. As far as I know, not one person in my troop was contacted. How did the pollsters choose the parents and leaders that were contacted for this poll?

    The survey found:
    Respondents support the current policy by a 61 percent to 34 percent margin. (I underlined the phrase.) Wow, that is a 17% margin. Presidents have been voted into office by fewer percentage points. Yet the media makes it sound like it is the other way around..
    Support for the current policy is higher at different program and volunteer levels in the organization:
    50 percent of Cub Scout parents support it; 45 percent of Cub Scout parents oppose. This was closer than I thought it would be.
    61 percent of Boy Scout parents support it. This could be true, but I don’t think it is true in my part of the country. Once again I ask how they choose the parents who participated in this survey. Was there a balance from across the nation?
    62 percent of unit leaders support it. I know some who do and some who do not.
    64 percent of council and district volunteers support it. I know more who are not sure what to decide yet.
    72 percent of chartered organizations support it. For some reason, I do not fully believe this figure. It seems high to me when you consider what groups make up a large portion of the chartered organizations.

    Local Council Study Group

    The Local Council Study Group was charged with listening to the voice of the Boy Scouts of America’s 280 local councils. While many of the conversations centered on a policy that would give chartered organizations the discretion of whether to accept avowed homosexuals to serve as leaders, many groups had concerns about this concept:
    50.5 percent of councils recommend no change.
    38.5 percent of councils recommend a change.
    11 percent take a neutral position.
    So, one way to look at this is that 61 percent of councils do not recommend a change to the current policy, almost two thirds of the organization’s councils. When listening to the media I thought that most councils wanted the policy change.

    There is a lot more to this poll. Read it yourself at

    http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/MembershipStandards/Resolution/Summary.aspx

    So what do I think? I am not ready to tell you yet, but here are a couple things that stick in my mind. The B.S.A. does not ask people what their sexually preference is. It is not found anywhere on any application. The only time it comes up is when it is brought up by the person himself, and when it does it becomes a media circus and the gay activists try to use it to their advantage.

    I was a scoutmaster for over 30 years. It was not my duty to ask a Boy Scout about his sexual preferences. It was my duty to try to teach him citizenship, leadership, and outdoor skills, and to let him have fun. Did I ever have a gay young man as a member of the troop? Yes, I did. But they did not come out as being gay until after they left high school. Would I have kicked them out of the troop if they mentioned they were gay while still a Scout? I am not sure because it was never an issue, but I would like think I would have allowed them to continue being a Boy Scout as long as they did not give me any other reason to ask them to leave. Keep in mind that the 1980′s and 1990′s were a bit different then today’s world.

    I think all boys should be allowed to be a Boy Scout. However, I do not think that any boy, or his parent, should take his membership and turn it into a political issue, which is what I am afraid this issue has become. In my opinion, this takes everything good the Scouting program offers a young man and turns it upside down. Suddenly everyone forgets of all the great things this 100 year old program has done for our youth and our country.  ”Don’t ask, don’t tell” worked for the 30 years I was a scoutmaster. I did not ask, they did not tell, and we all enjoyed the time we spent in Scouting. It was not an issue, and it should not be an issue. I wish everyone would just shut up and let us get on with implementing the best Scouting program that we can provide for our youth.

    Now, what are my feelings on allowing opening gay men as adult leaders? That is a post for another time.

    Last words… I usually stay away from hot topic issues with this blog, but I felt I needed to finally get something out there. I do review every comment before it is posted. That is the best way to keep spam off this blog. I will be reading any comments for this post and if they are civil I may allow them to be added to this post. However, if I feel that they are mean spirited or rude I will trash it. It is my blog, and I will decide what is posted to it.

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      I have been podcasting for over five and a half years. I have co-hosted one podcast (The Leaders Campfire), produced an audio podcast (Around The Scouting Campfire), and continue to post videos to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. All three podcasts have had Scouting related themes. I have had fun podcasting and hope that those of you who have watched or listened to them have found them fun and informative.

      This afternoon I did something I have not done for awhile. I went on iTunes and did a search for Scouting themed podcasts. There used to be several out there, mostly audio versions. I was a little surprised by what I found. I did a search for “cub scout” and 15 podcasts were found, but only three actually dealt with Cub Scouting: An Hour A Week (audio), Autism and Scouting Radio (audio), and my own Melrose Scout Productions (video). When I changed the search to “cub scouting” only two showed up: Autism and Scouting Radio and the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast (MSPP).

      Next I tried a search for “boy scout”. Sixty one podcasts came up, but only five of these actually dealt with the Scouting program. One was produced by the Boy Scouts of America, and another was produced by Boy’s Life magazine. Both appeared to be dead podcasts with no episodes produced for quite awhile. Of course, MSPP was listed. When I changed the search to “boy scouting” I discovered that MSPP was the only Boy Scouting related podcast listed.

      Now I know there have been other Scouting podcasts produced during the last few years, such as The Scoutmaster Minute and the Boy Scout Hour. I know the Scoutmastercg podcast is going strong and has a strong listenership. But these podcasts did not show up in the searches. Even my old Around The Scouting Campfire did not show up. Why? The only thing I can think of is that we all may need to check our podcast tags.

      Then I started thinking. Are podcasts even relevant to Scouting anymore? Are adults leader searching them out and listening to or watching them? Do current leaders even know they exist? Do we need to do a better job and promoting them? If we do, what is a good way to promote them? The BSA does not seem to be podcasting any longer so maybe they do not feel there is a need for this medium.

      I know the viewership of MSPP has gone down over the last year. I receive very few comments about the videos. If you look at the iTunes listing for MSPP you will notice that there has not been a comment left for nearly two and a half years. Comments  and emails are the only way we podcasters really have of knowing how people feel about what we are producing.

      I have begun to wonder if it is time to retire the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. I have already stopped producing Around The Scouting Campfire. Is it worthwhile putting forth the time and effort?

      Here are my questions to you.
      Do you listen to or watch Scouting related podcasts?
      Do you subscribe to any?
      Which ones do you subscribe to? How should we promote them?
      Or have Scouting podcasts lost their importance, if they ever had any that is?
      I look forward to reading your comments.

       

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        Last month I finally broke down and bought an iPad (the newest version). I have been having fun with it. It looks great and works well. I have to admit, playing Angry Birds on an iPad is a lot more fun then playing on an iPod Touch. I have downloaded dozens of books that are in the public domain, especially all the fictional novels I can find written about Boy Scouting during the early years of the movement. Most of the stories about Pee Wee Harris, Roy Blakely, and Tom Slade are waiting on my iPad’s hard drive waiting to be read.

        I have also downloaded a couple of Scouting related apps.The first one was MyBadges, written by Kevin Butler. It is an app which quickly puts the requirements for Boy Scout ranks, merit badges, and other awards on the screen. I have used this app while sitting on a board of review and found it to be quite handy, although one Boy Scout may not agree with me since I found a current requirement that was not listed in his handbook which was about 5 years old. Kevin has been doing a pretty good job of keeping his app current with the latest BSA handbook.

        Which brings me to a problem I found. I was going to download the Boy Scouts of America app of The Boy Scout Handbook. After all, I am still involved with Scouting and thought it should be on my new gizmo. I went to the App Store to download it and stopped dead in my tracks. I have not purchased it, and will not purchase it. Here are the reasons why…

        First of all, The B.S.A. has not updated the Handbook App since November 7, 2009. Yes, you read that correctly. 2009! For an organization that wants its members and volunteers to stay up to date they have really dropped the ball here. Heck, they come out with a new printed handbook every year. Why should I pay $9.99 to download a handbook that does not even contain the latest requirements for ranks and training?

        And the price of $9.99, which just happens to be the same price as a physical handbook, but yet does not let me (or a Boy Scout) write in it and keep track of things like we can in a real physical copy? I think the price should be a couple bucks cheaper but I think I understand the reasoning behind it. After all, I was going to buy it until I started looking closer at it.

        Third, the app is only available as an iPhone App. Really? Come on B.S.A., get with the program. Over 50 million of these devices have been sold. I am sure I am not the only Boy Scout volunteer that owns an iPad. I had thought the B.SA. was trying to be more modern and catch up to current technology. It seems to me they have been dropping the ball in a major way with this app.

        Fourth. And speaking of dropping the ball, have you read the reviews about the latest version of the e-hanbook? (Which, keep in mind, came out in 2009.) They are not glowing, I can tell you that. The main gripe seems to be that it is not much more then a pdf version of the handbook. Excuse me national office, but if I am going to pay for an ebook, I would like it to be an ebook with at least a fair amount of accessible features. The book should be interactive, like the B.SA. says a Scouting program should be for its boy members.

        So, I will not be purchasing the B.SA.’s Boy Scout Handbook app. At least not yet. I would like to, but the national office needs to work on this program and at least update it, if nothing else. Or could it be that this app is not a big enough seller for the B.SA. to care about? That would be a shame.

        I would be interested on hearing from you if you use the Boy Scout Handbook app. Do you think it is useful? What is your general impression of it. Write a comment and share your user experience with us.

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          This is fantastic news, or as Buttons the radical Boy Scout would say, “Totally awesome!”  The World Jamboree will be coming to the United States this decade. According to the Boy Scouts of America Facebook page:

          Great news!

          The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve has been chosen as the site for World Scout Jamboree 2019! Make sure you head over to their Facebook and congratulate them! The North American Scout Associations (Boy Scouts of America, Scouts Canada, and the Scout Association of Mexico) won the bid to host the 24th World Scout Jamboree.

          More information can be found at: http://newsblaze.com/story/2011011309300100001.pnw/topstory.html

          Are you going to make plans to attend?

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            I am not afraid to say it. President Obama  has lost a few points of respect with me this week when he decided to join the five hosts of The View television show instead of talking to the 40,000 Boy Scout and leaders at the BSA National Jamboree.

            I know, I know. Speaking at the National Jamboree is not in the President’s job description. He only does it if he wants to do it, and if his schedule allows it. But you know, he accepted the position of the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Why wouldn’t he want to address the young men who are the future of our country. And do it live at the event?

            I understand the Jamboree participants will watch a prerecorded message from President Obama. That is better than nothing. At least the Boy Scouts were worth his time to record a video.

            I attended the 2001 National Jamboree. President Bush was scheduled to appear at a arena show to speak to us. Unfortunately, a storm went through the area and the show was postponed until the next evening. President Bush was not able to make it the following night so he recorded his message for us to watch on the big screens at the arena. (I personally did not mind watching the video. It saved us the time and trouble of going through presidential security.)

            The difference between these two events was that President Bush made the effort to attend the Jamboree, where President Obama did not. It gives me the impression that he decided to sort of brush off the Boy Scouts.

            Come on Mr. President! This is the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. You had a captive audience of nearly 40,000 young men of every race and background, the future of this great country. This event was not something that just came up suddenly. The planning for this Jamboree was going on for years. You could not find the time in your schedule to address the Scouts?

            Yet, you could find time in your schedule to appear on a national daily talk show, and do some fundraising. This gave me the impression that being a celebrity is more important to you then being a leader of this country. And I know I am not the only person to feel this way.

            Mr. President, you could have taped your talk show interview at any time. You only have one week to speak to the young men at the 100th anniversary BSA National Jamboree. In my humble opinion, you blew it.

            Of course, this is my opinion and not the opinion of the Boy Scouts of America. I realize that not everyone shares my point of view. I also realize that the President will probably never read this blog post. But this is something that has been weighing on my mind this week so I wanted to write about it.

            How to you feel about the President skipping a live appearance at the National Jamboree? Please keep your comments civil or I will delete them.

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              The trial is over. After seven years of court battles the trial about wether the Cradle Of Liberty Council, BSA, can stay in the building they paid to have built and pay for the yearly costs, has come to an end. (If I understand correctly, the council has always paid the maintenance costs of the building on the land they rent from the city for $1 a year.)

              It appears that the Boy Scouts have won. According to the philly.com website:

              “A federal jury Wednesday decided that Philadelphia violated the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment rights by using the organization’s anti-gay policy as a reason to evict them from their city-owned offices near Logan Square.”

              The full article can currently be read at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20100623_Federal_Jury_Decides_in_Favor_of_Scouts.html?submit=Vote&oid=1&mr=1&97011914=Y&cid=8500281&pid=97011914

              So, does this mean it is over? I doubt it. It sounds like the city of Philadelphia’s lawyers are already looking toward their options for the next round of legal battles.

              I find it simply amazing that when you consider all the good that Scouting has done for that community, and how that building has not cost the city a dime to build and maintain, and how the city has so many other pressing problems to take care of, that they spend so much time, money, and resources to trying to evict the Boy Scout council. Scouting has been such an asset to Philadelphia. Seems to me like the city has received quite a bargain from the Cradle of Liberty Council.

              It does not make much sense to me. I guess that is why I am not in politics. Wouldn’t it be great if some rich supporter of Scouting would just buy the property and donate it to the council?

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                Have you read it yet? If not, you should. The plot is riveting. The characters are interesting. The story’s climax will leave you waiting for the sequel. Okay, okay. The Guide To Safe Scouting (G2SS) is not quite that exciting, but it is a good book that every Cub Pack and Boy Scout Troop leader should read and have a copy kept nearby. There is a lot of useful information in it, and it can help you through some troubled events. For example, do you have a problem with a boy that continually misbehaves or hurts other boys, and nothing you try seems to help?  The G2SS has an app guideline for that. It states:

                All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Law. Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, and drugs and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout’s membership in the unit.

                If you do not have a copy of the Guide To Safe Scouting you should get one today. Stop by your Scout office or go to scouting.org to download a pdf version.

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