Bobwhite Blather

Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Q&A: More on SSNs, counselor ID numbers

questionmark_200Time now for a couple more questions from readers.

Social Security numbers in troop records

From a troop committee chair:

Troopmaster has a place in the adult records for a leader’s social security number. Should we be recording the SSNs of our adults? It seems to me like that’s private information.

A unit has no reason to retain Social Security numbers of its adult members. It has no use for them, and in fact it can be a liability to the unit when stored in a database such as Troopmaster, which can typically be accessed by multiple persons in the unit. This is why the SSN field is blacked out on the unit copy of the application form – units are expected not to file that bit of info away. Continue reading

Put passion in your presentation

microphone_200Former president Bill Clinton has acquired the title of “Explainer-in-Chief” recently, for his talks and speeches clarifying the current administration’s actions and policies. Mr. Clinton has the ability to relate complex subjects in a manner that can speak to a large audience.

Regardless of how you may personally feel about Mr. Clinton and his messages, there is much to take away from his style of presentation. Continue reading

Why keep score?

scoreboard_200The game of Scouting that we play is indeed a game. We hope that our boys are having fun, and one of the best ways to have fun is to play a game. William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt was the first to describe Scouting as a game with a purpose.

Most games we play have winning as the desired outcome. In order to determine a winner, a metric is needed: the score. Indeed, virtually every game – from sports to darts to cards – has a means of scoring the outcome. The football coach Vince Lombardi was the one who famously pondered:

If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep the score?

The boys playing the game enjoy keeping track of how they’re doing, whether they are playing a sports contest, engaged in a robotics or debate competition, or playing the game of Scouting. Continue reading

Wolf program changes

tigerwolf_250Last month we presented an article on the changes coming later this year to the Tiger program in Cub Scouting. We’ll continue with an overview of changes to the next level, the Wolf program.

As I mentioned previously, the website Cub Scout Ideas, edited by Sherry Smotherman-Short, has a great overview of the new program that officially begins June 1st. Briefly, the new Wolf program replaces the twelve achievements with seven Adventures, six of which are required and one which may be selected from a choice of thirteen electives. The remaining twelve Adventures are optional but fun, and Scouts will earn an immediate recognition belt loop for each one they complete. Continue reading

Follow my friends

thumbs_up_250I’m truly fortunate to have so many readers and followers here on Bobwhite Blather. I get a little kick out of seeing visitor statistics, a new follower on Twitter or a subscriber to the e-mail list. It’s good to know that my fellow Scouters are finding value in what they find here, and keep coming back.

There are many other Scouters who write for the world-wide web. You’ve probably discovered that you can find a lot of information on almost every conceivable Scouting topic.

But how can you tell which ones follow the first point of the Scout Law – trustworthy?

As our disclaimer reads, this blog isn’t to be construed as official information. That can come only from the Boy Scouts of America directly, and their several websites (chiefly provide the canonical reference on all things Scouting.

But many others are reliable sources, interpreting Scouting in line with official policy and traditional methods, and critical of those who would reinvent Scouting to advance their own ideas of what it’s all about. Continue reading