Mark Ritter (ritterme@STNY.LRUN.COM)
Fri, 14 Aug 1998 02:15:47 -0400
Warning ... long ... soapbox on ...
I've been trying to get myself to quit monitoring this list, but it's
addictive. I'm going to comment on several threads here, because to me
they have a common theme. How to develop various aspects of
responsibility in Scout age youth.
YES, the unit should plan to re-imburse drivers for their expenses!
Paying for the gas used on the trip should be the bare minimum. IMO,
the scouts should be able to estimate the milage to the destination,
calculate the cost per vehicle to make the trip (times 2 or 4 depending
on whether the vehicle is staying on site or is returning home), and
including that cost into the activity budget. It should be handled just
like the food money, campsite fees, etc. Tolls, parking, and other
out-of-pocket expenses should also be included in the budget. I'd leave
it to the PLC to decide whether or not to pay any wear-and-tear mileage
costs. Let them discuss the pros and cons; with the right Q&A, they'll
"decide" what the committee and your drivers want them to decide.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even if one or more drivers refuse to accept their
share of the gas money, record it as an expense for the trip anyway,
then turn around and record it as a cash donation. Explain to the
scouts that you are doing this, and why you are doing this.
RE: Patrol Name Changes
I'd let the patrol members change patrol names as often as they want,
provided they accept the responsibility that goes with that.
Examples - The troop budget should only have to bear the cost of new
patrol patches once a year at most. Do the patrol members want the name
change enough to pay for the extra patches themselves? (Hold an extra
car wash or spaghetti supper if necessary?) Do the members who are
voting in favor of the change want it enough to pay for the patches
needed by the members voting against the change? What about the effort
to make new patrol flags? What about re-stenciling patrol tents and
other equipment? What about the effort and materials to change other
signs and posters that may be on display? Does the patrol scribe and/or
patrol leader agree to assist the committee member running the troop
data-base in making the necessary updates?
There is a place for tradition, too. Example - Patrols are often
assigned a position in troop formations based on "seniority". There are
several ways this can be defined, but the patrol with the longest
continuous use of a name is certainly one way (perhaps the simplest) to
define it. Let them take the front rank in the formation; a patrol that
changes names moves to the back of the formation. Or give the "senior"
patrol first choice of seats on the bus, or first choice of tent sites,
or ... Let the PLC determine the definition of "senior" patrol, and
determine the perks that go with it.
Having said that how often should be left to the patrol members
themselves, I'll also say that the choice of to what should also be left
to the patrol members as much as is possible. The PLC and/or committee
might need to veto names not appropriate for Scouting, might need to
discourage use of favorite rock bands names, etc. If at all possible,
guide the patrol members to an acceptable choice rather than vetoing an
unacceptable choice. Examples - With a choice of ZYX for their new
name, the patrol just can't come up the the time or money to overcome
all the very reasonable obstacles; but with a choice of ABC for their
new name, isn't it amazing that a committee member just happens to find
the paint left over from the last re-stenciling job, and how convenient
that the committee secretary doesn't need any help updating the data
base, and the treasurer offers that since it's been over 9 months since
the last time the troop had to buy patrol patches that maybe the budget
could afford them now if the patrol agrees not to change names again for
15 months instead of only 12 ...
Re: Personal Management Questions
I've reread the descriptions of the MB requirements in both the
1995-1997 edition and the 1998 edition of the requirements book. I
don't see anything that requires the parents to disclose total income to
their kids. If they wish to keep to themselves how much (if anything)
they are investing for their own retirement, or how much (if anything)
they are socking away for the kid's inheritance, that's their choice.
And I don't see any requirement that the kids need a job to earn the
IMO, I do recommend that the parents share enough information about
their family expenses so the scout can complete requirement 3B2 for the
standard of living he has come to expect. From 3B1 the scout should be
able to assess whether or not a minimum wage job will maintain that
standard of living in 3B3, from re-looking at 3B2 what standard of
living a minimum wage job would maintain, from re-looking at 3B1 what
category of job is necessary to maintain the desired standard of living,
in 3B4 and 3B5 what education is necessary to get that category of job,
what kind of grades are necessary in Jr and Sr high school to get into a
college offering the education needed to get an adequately paying job,
etc. The specific focus is on what kind of job and standard of living
the scout could get with his current education, but this should leave
the scout with an understanding of the three relationships and how this
will apply throughout life.
Personally, I cringe when I see a scout asking mom or dad for a buck
or five here and another buck or five there, every time I see them.
Dues for the week, then he's a month behind and it's dues for the month,
plus food money for the campout, then it becomes a check for the entire
year's dues. I'm thankful I was started on an allowance and budget when
I was in 1st grade. My "allowance" has multiplied itself many times
since then, but to this day I still find myself putting something I want
but don't need back on the store shelf on Tuesday to ensure I have money
for the weekend ... even though I'll go back and buy it on Sunday anyway
if I have any money left over and I still want it.
Ouch! That raises thoughts of "doesn't that mean the scout whose
parents can afford to by the most complete uniform gets an extra $100
for CDs or whatever, while the scout whose parents can barely keep a
roof over his head and food on his table and can't aford a uniform at
all is just plain out of luck?" It might be workable with proper
safeguards, such as a well stocked bank of "experienced" uniforms, and
restrictions on how the money is used - camp fees for example; provided
the scouts/PLC agrees to fund it. Will they hold the extra car wash or
pancake supper needed? Or will they agree to a $.25 increast in their
weekly dues or $1 increase in their monthly dues?
It seems to me there are other incentives, other "rewards" that can
be used. Rather than listing the members alphabetically on the campout
duty roster, perhaps the "best uniformed" scout could get his choice of
which meal he does cleanup. Or maybe he gets to pick which song the
patrol sings at the campfire, or which game the patrol leads for the
troop the next time it's their turn, or gets to lead the next opening /
closing ceremony, or ... It doesn't need to be the same perk every
month, the patrol could vote on what the perk will be each month. Or
maybe part of the perk is to choose which perk (from a predetermined
list), or choose the perk for the following month, or ...
I'm generally not in favor of negative reinforcement, but it does
have its uses. I'm sorry Joe, but no I didn't see Sam causing any
mischief (minor of course) because his uniform blends into the
background so well, while every twitch of your florecent multi-color
t-shirt in my peripheral vision catches my attention. And isn't it an
amazing coincidence that as people wander around an activity area (still
within reasonable safety limits) that those out of uniform only get
about half as far away before they are called back; it's gotta be those
unusual colors in my peripheral vision again!
If the committee truly feels strongly about the uniform issue,
there's ultimately the "no uniform, no participation" rule. (I won't
say I'm in favor of that, but - IMO - it's better than committee
established cash payments.) It's difficult to balance this against the
"I'd prefer you to be here in uniform, but I'd rather have you here than
not" attitude which also has merit.
Personally, I'd keep the committee out of it, and let the PLC work it
into the overall scoring for honor scout / honor patrol.
Too much is enough ... soapbox off ... nomex on ...
Mark Ritter - RitterME@stny.lrun.com - Committee Member
Sea Scout Ship 90 - The S.S.S. North Star - New Milford PA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City