I believe it is important to have the adults of a troop give input to the program as well as participate in the program.
This afternoon, I had an open invitation to all troop adults to meet with me and share how the past year went and suggestions for the coming year. Two hours later, we were through most of it! :-) Eight people gave a lot of good input that reinforced some of the things our troop worked on this past year and made me realize we have some key areas to improve.
There were a few really good, really easy changes to suggest to the new SPL being elected next month which should make his meetings go more smoothly. It was encouraging to hear that for the most part we are going the right direction and there is strong support for the program from a good core group. We do need to spread the 'burden' of support to more adults - I guess that is a common thread for most troops.
I will be conducting 'parent training' sessions at March, April, and May troop meetings to give parents opportunities to learn about scouting, our troop, and expectations. They went over fairly well last year.
Three of the biggest things for the troop to work on are:
- how we do merit badges
- holding scouts accountable
- getting experienced scouts to encourage newer scouts
Looks like its going to be a great year - as soon as it gets back over 0 degrees. Brrrrrr.
Last night, we had 7 scouts and a couple parents at a kick-off meeting for the troop's first self-driven high adventure backpacking trip. Two Life scouts ran the whole meeting which included a slide show of pictures of where they're going, description of the cost, travel plans, and itinerary, and demonstration of gear that will be needed for each participant. The meeting went just great.
The plan is to backpack for 5 days in the Cloud Peak Wilderness area in Wyoming in July. It looks like we'll have 5 to 8 scouts and 2 or 3 adults - a good 'first crew' to come back and infect the troop with the excitement of the mountains.
We had a crew go to Philmont last summer, but this trek will take us up to 13,000 feet which is almost 3,000 more than our highest point at Philmont.
July is still a loooooong way away, but the scouts have a list of training sessions for packing, use of stoves, filtering water, high altitude first aid, and waste management. Just tons of opportunities for the more experienced ones to teach and the younger ones to learn. Can you tell I'm excited about this one? :-)
There were about 28 merit badges updated the past year and the new requirements are in the 2006 Boy Scout Requirements booklet. I've made new merit badge worksheets on the site for all these badges which I hope are helpful for at least a few scouts out there.
I just picked up the 'Troop Leadership Training' 3-ring binder package of pages that is document #34306A at the Scout Shop. I was expecting the replacement for the Junior Leader Training materials, but there's nothing in it except a quick intro and a bunch of pages of wallet cards with position descriptions to hand out to the scouts. I'm really hoping I missed the real materials someplace or else I'm really disappointed. I'll have to search around to see what other folks have found out about this new leadership training.
Sunday, Feb. 5 is Scout Sunday - an opportunity to recognize scouts in your congregation.
|Good information about Scout Sunday can be found at this BSA Official Page.|
Scout Sunday is designated by BSA as the Sunday that falls before Feb. 8 (Scouting Anniversary Day) but each congregation can celebrate on a more convenient Sunday if necessary.
I hope you have an opportunity to wear your uniform to church tomorrow. If your congregation does not currently have a Scout Sunday program, it would be a good idea for you to discuss it with your pastor and see if something can be arranged for next year.
Having scouts usher, greet, or read is a good experience for the scouts and for the congregation.
Hey, there's a new merit badge for 2006. Composite Materials is now available. This is another high tech career merit badge. To find out a bit about composite materials, you can google it and see there are about 2 million hits - ouch! Or, the page at this Australian site
has some good info.
Also, a bunch of the existing merit badges have had requirement changes in the past year. Scouts and merit badge counselors should check the requirements before forging ahead with what they always did in the past. (I'm working on updating the worksheets here now)
Finally, there's a new requirement for First Class rank advancement...
#11: Tell someone who is eligible to join Boy Scouts, or an inactive Boy Scout, about your troop's activities. Invite him to a troop outing, activity, service project or meeting. Tell him how to join, or encourage the inactive Boy Scout to become active.
If scouts have not earned their First Class rank by June 30, they will be required to include this new task.
The new requirement fits well with what I've been 'preaching' to scouts for the last couple years. We can't take Webelos for granted - they may not advance on to our troop. A first year scout needs to invite a friend that hasn't been in cub scouts to join his patrol. It is a perfect time for a new boy to get involved because it is all new for the cub scouts moving on also.
I also see this requirement as another opportunity for older scouts to teach effective communication skills and better understanding of the joining process for everyone.