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Historian - a Real Leader
The troop position of Historian is often left unfilled in smaller troops and thought of as a 'bogus' position in many other troops. Scouts that take on the Historian job may find that they have nothing to do for 6 months except put a newspaper clipping or two in an old scrapbook. It doesn't have to be that way. Every troop leadership position can and should have real leadership responsibilities.
Leadership doesn't need to be demonstrated in a charismatic, up-in-front, "Follow Me!" manner. There is a whole lot of leadership that can happen behind the scenes or in quiet, supportive roles. And, opportunities to get in front of the troop should be added to every leadership role.
To ensure the Historian job is a real leadership position, our troop has included the following responsibilities in the list of duties.
- Main Role - document and archive activities of the troop
- Maintain and add to the troop history record on the web site - There is an archive section of each year that contains information about each campout and troop event.
- Write about troop awards, recognitions, advancement, service, and special events in the troop record. This is being done on the web site now but is also printed and stored offline.
- Update troop information, such as new eagle scouts and troop leaders - we have a web page that lists eagle scouts and their projects and a page listing all positions and who held them.
- Publish photographs from troop activities on the web site - a photo gallery package lets the scout organize photos by event. Now that we have a new digital camera, we're also posting some video clips.
- Submit at least two articles about troop events to local newspapers - in a town of 60,000 the paper is still willing to publish lots of 'feel good' articles and photos. When we first added this, they were very surprised at how often the short articles were accepted. It's great publicity and more clippings to put in the old scrapbook.
- Keep historic items safe such as ribbons, awards, and memorabilia - all this gets stored in scrapbooks and a big box.
- Give a presentation to the troop in the last month of your term about the history of the troop - this gets the Historian in front of the troop and gives him a reason to go through the old stuff and learn something about the troop. It also gives the newer scouts a connection to the past.
- Two Personal Goals - the Historian is also asked to develop and fulfill two goals of his own. This might be starting a new scrapbook, archiving old ribbons off the troop flag, or anything else he feels would benefit the troop.
- Wear my uniform correctly, set a good example, practice the Scout Oath and Law - a standard responsibility of all the troop leadership positions.
- Fulfill the requirements of this position for 6 months - the troop's chosen term of office
The Historian meets with the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader at least every 2 months to report on his progress towards his goals. This ensures he is fulfilling his duties and will receive rank advancement credit. The Historian also has an adult mentor that he can go to with ideas and for advice.
Our troop web site is becoming a key method of communication and that is why it is included in these duties. All troop leaders have access to create and maintain content. The web site makes access to information easier and faster for everyone.
Posted: 17:16 11-29-2007 268
Now that the weather has dipped into single digits - Brrrr - I thought you might be able to use some indoor game ideas. These are some of the favorite games of our scouts for troop meetings that still get some action going.
- Pinguard - a very active ball-throwing game that scouts will play for hours. It's the favorite Lock-In game and requires a large gym. Guardian is similar but requires less room.
- British Bulldog - the roughest game we play with a good chance of ripped clothes, bruises, and scrapes. It's an opportunity for the biggest guys to use their strength and weight.
- Hunker Down - one-on-one strength and balance contest. It doesn't take much room and can be used as a gathering activity before meetings.
- Crab Fights - simple physical game that pits patrols against each other. Rewards speed, strength, and balance.
- Kangaroo Wrestling - Another simple physical rough-n-tumble game that size matters less than balance. It's every 'kangaroo' for himself in a battle royal.
- Steal the Bacon - speed, memory, and fearlessness are needed in this fast-action game.
Don't let your troop meetings get stagnant during the winter. Make sure evey meeting has some action for scouts to look forward to.
Posted: 10:47 11-28-2007 267
After eating, sitting, and visiting relatives for two days stright, I'm stuffed!
Each family has its own traditions - some watch football, some hunt deer, some always go to Grandma's, etcetera. I guess our family's tradition is to eat - we don't do much else for the weekend. I actually cut back on my meals for three days before Thanksgiving in hopes of reaching Monday without a big gain on the scale. There's still some turkey left to make sandwiches for the drive home tomorrow, but all the pumpkin and pecan pie got finished today.
I guess it's a good think to set aside a couple days to relax and reminisce with the extended family. We don't get to visit with everyone very often. It seems kind of gluttonous with all the food that gets laid out, but it is a celebration of thanks for life and the opportunities we have in this country. And, I for one am thankful for my situation and place. I've been fortunate to have few family, social, or professional hardships and this past year has been especially smooth.
It will be back to the normal life on Monday, but for now I just heard it's time for dinner - again.
And to think we do it all over again just one month from now, but with presents too!
Posted: 19:16 11-24-2007 266
Centennial Quality Unit Award
At the end of October, units could start claiming their Centennial Quality Unit goals for 2007. This is the first year when this new CQU award replaced the normal Quality Unit award.
The six requirements for the award raised quite a stir this year around here. Lots of confusion and questions about just what was needed to actually earn the award, especially compared to the fairly simple requirements for past QU awards.
|New Requirements||Old Requirements|
- Have ___ percent of direct contact leaders complete Basic Leader Training for their position, including Youth Protection Training.
- Retain ______ percent of our members, recruit ______ new youth, and recharter on time.
- Recruit ______ new adults
to be active.
- Have a minimum of 60 percent of youth advance in rank for Cub Scouting and
Boy Scouting or earn Venturing recognition awards, or improve by 10 percent over last year.
- At least 70 percent of youth have an outdoor experience or one activity per month, or improve the percentage over last year.
- Conduct annual program planning and provide the financial resources to deliver a quality program.
|(Complete 1st four requirements and any two more.)|
- Scoutmaster completes Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Training and Basic Leader Training for Scoutmasters.
- One or more Assistant Scoutmasters registered, trained, and active. One registered adult is assigned responsibility for Youth Protection training.
- Conduct six highlight activities and attend a BSA long-term camp.
- Complete charter renewal before current charter expires.
- Conduct an annual program planning conference, publish an annual troop program calendar, and present it to parents at a family activity.
- Conduct a service project annually, preferably for the chartered organization or the community. The project will be reported on the www.goodturnforamerica.org web site.
- 60 percent or more of youth advance a rank, or have a 10 percent increase in total rank advancement over a year ago.
- A Boysí Life subscription will go into the homes of all youth, or have a 10 percent increase over a year ago.
- Renew charter with an equal or greater number of youth registered over a year ago.
- Conduct Troop Junior Leader Training as outlined in the Scoutmaster Handbook and hold monthly patrol leadersí council meetings.
The past QU requirements were all pre-set. With the CQU, each unit sets its own goals for the first 3 requirements. Some units may low-ball to ensure the award while others may challenge themselves and miss the goals.
The curious thing is looking forward to 2008 and the changes in the requirements. Individual units will get to set their own percentages for requirements #4 and #5 - effectively letting each unit decide what is needed to earn the award. See this 2007-2008 comparison
Posted: 12:09 11-21-2007 265
New Rank Requirements
The National Youth Protection Committee recommended additions to Boy Scout rank requirements that were approved and will become effective January 1, 2008. These changes will emphasize the importance of Youth Protection training.Tenderfoot RankRevised requirement 9:
Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Describe what a bully is and how you should respond to one.Second Class RankNew requirement 8b:
Explain the three Rís of personal safety and protection.First Class RankNew requirement 12:
Describe the three things you should avoid doing related to use of the Internet. Describe a cyberbully and how you should respond to one.
The changes will be represented in the 2008 Boy Scout Requirements book and the revised ninth printing of the 11th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook.
Posted: 0:49 11-21-2007 263
Progress Towards Rank Remedy
As you may remember, the Cub Scout Immediate Recognition Kit has been recalled this fall due to high lead content in the paint.
Scouts or parents that have one of these items can return it to a Scout Shop starting on December 1, 2007 and receive a replacement. The new replacement items will have an imprinted diamond shape on the back so you can tell they are new.
Also, when someone returns an old one, they can enter to win one of three BMX bikes from Kahoot - as kind of an "Oops, sorry" contest. The bike winners will be drawn on April 1, 2008.
See Kahoot News
Posted: 14:17 11-19-2007 262
Merit Badge Video
The BSA has put out a video overview of the merit badge program. You can view it online - Merit Badge Primer Video
Posted: 12:41 11-19-2007 261
Eagle Scout Ceremony
The troop celebrate another Eagle Scout today. This one finished his requirements just a few weeks before his 18th birthday, so it was close. He hovered at Life for over 3 years but finally completed the tasks.
The Court of Honor ceremony went very well. Check out the script at this page
- the interrupting scouts worked out well and added a little intrigue to the event. The best part was having his little brother and sister put on his Eagle neckerchief. The worst part was having the Scoutmaster talk too much. :-)
The Eagle did a great job of encouraging all the younger scouts to set goals, persevere, and not wait too long. Whenever an experienced scout can prod other scouts along in their advancement, that's a good thing.
Posted: 23:08 11-18-2007 259
Popcorn - Behind the Scenes
Trails' End Popcorn is the staple funding for many packs/troops, districts, and councils around the country. There's a good chance the scouts in your unit sell popcorn. Some love doing it while others hate the whole thing. From the average scout's, parent's, or even scoutmaster's point of view, the popcorn just magically appears at someone's house and they go pick up the items they sold.
Today, I had the enlightening opportunity to discover that the popcorn does not magically appear at that person's house. Actual people spend many actual hours of actual hard work getting it ready!
Our District Executive put out a request for folks to help sort popcorn. Since I was free today, I said, "Sure!" I didn't know that I was the only one that had that reply.
All the orders for a district are combined into one huge order from Trails' End. Popcorn is delivered on pallets in cases. Many pallets with hundreds of cases! All wrapped in plastic and waiting to be broken down and re-assembled into piles for each specific troop.
Our D.E. gave me one troop's order and told me to gather all the items 'over there'. I searched for Cheese Lovers and Three-way Tin Chocolate Lovers and Microwave Kettle Corn. After lots of searching through pallets, I finally had the lay of the land and the next order was easier.
You may not know this, but on every item and every case there is a symbol - a moon, circle, triangle, sun, or something else. You should look on your items. We had our own special language. We didn't say we needed 7 2.5 Pound Popcorn Tins - we said we needed 7 Triangles. I didn't even know what was in most of the cases for half the day. :-)
After 3 hours of picking and packing, the troops began to arrive for pickups. Then, we moved the orders to a loading bay and they checked off that we had the correct number of triangles, circles, and clovers (sometimes called 'clubs'). I was impressed - we only had a couple mix-ups and they were fixed.
So, when you get your popcorn, remember that someone put in a whole lot of work just to get those items to you so your scouting adventures could happen. Next year, consider volunteering to help sort your district's popcorn - it really was an interesting day. And, try the 'stars' - they're very good!
Posted: 22:12 11-16-2007 258
Christmas Gift Idea
Back in September, I wrote a post about the Rocks In My Backpack
book written by Tom Sholes. I just wanted to remind you that this really is a great gift for any scout volunteer you may know - or anyone you know that was ever in Boy Scouts.
Tom tells me that many copies of his book are going overseas to soldiers that were scouts, giving them some humorous relief from the stress they face.Buy It - > < - Buy It
Posted: 13:06 11-15-2007 257
In our troop, each campout is organized by a patrol with the assistance of an adult. The patrol does all the planning and arranges training in troop meetings before the campout for skills that could be useful on the outing. To aid in the planning, a Campout Planning Checklist
We've been seeing a lower participation level in troop camoouts for the past year than we'd like. I asked the PLC what they thought might be done to bring the numbers up a bit and they decided that more promotion would help.
For the past couple months, each planning patrol has been asked by the PLC to present the outing with a little more 'OOMPH' than just standing up and saying, "We're going camping on the 24th. Here's the permission form." At last night's troop meeting, it finally happened!
A couple scouts from the patrol planning the December skiing campout got dressed up in ski gear, goggles, poles, ... head to toe. One came running in hollering that he was tired of raking leaves and wanted to go skiing. But, where could he go? The other scout said he had a solution to his problems. They went back and forth explaining all the fun activities they had planned for the campout and how scouts should sign up. Very entertaining and a great demonstration of how the other patrols should do it. A lot of scouts signed up right then.
Now, I'll be talking to the SPL about how he can challenge the patrols coming up in 2008 to outperform this patrol.
Adding a bit of entertainment, even in announcements, is a good way to make troop meetings more interesting.
Posted: 12:55 11-13-2007 256
Today I'm recovered from our annual Lock-In on Friday night. Yesterday, I was a little sore and tired as an old man. In years past, this was our Webelos recruiting night but we now have the Scoutorama for that.
The Lock-In is probably the most un-Scouting thing our troop does. Mini-golf, bumper cars, and mostly shoving coins into blinking, whirring, flashing arcade games for a couple hours in the quest for the jackpot of tickets. Then, exchanging all those tickets for some silly plastic jumping frog or other such junk. Can you tell what I think about it? :-)
But, every year, during the PLC's planning session, it finds its way back onto the schedule. This year I even mentioned that global warming is making it feasible to camp in November, but that didn't have much impact.
It's not really that bad. After the arcade, we retreat to a local church with a huge gym and play highly active games. We have pizza and pop and then the scouts battle it out in the gym. This weekend, we played pinguard for 2 1/2 hours straight. They even let the old guys play and I'm still sore from throwing about 500 nerf soccer balls.
Another change this year was that we ended at 1:00am rather than staying all night. At past lock-ins, some scouts would leave around midnight anyway and then I'd be stuck with a bunch of zombies at 7:00am trying to clean the place up. It worked out much better this time and it looked to me like the scouts were tired enough when they headed home. I'm anxious to hear what the scouts have to say about it at the troop meeting tomorrow.
Posted: 22:46 11-11-2007 255
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