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Balancing Act Revisited


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#1 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 02:27 PM

So, I feel like a highwire act again in more ways than one.  New SPL and PLC have not met yet. 2 meetings ago, it was the most boring meeting as the SM lectured on the parts of a canoe. Plus there was no game time or patrol time: Opening, 1:20 of pure lecture, and Closing. YAWN.

 

Several days after the meeting, I asked the SPL what his plans were and he didn't have any. I gave some suggestions on topic and presenter, but the presenter I suggested was out of town too. So Oldest gave a presentation on packing a pack for a river trip. OK it was a last minute preparation, and he did OK. There were some questions he didn't know, and  I could see the SM and Gunship ready to take over. Instead, I took over. I wanted to make sure the ASPL running the show had a chance to do things other than hear a lecture and "war stories"

 

Because we leave in 2 weeks for summer camp and the leader for the AT trek needs some time with the AT crew, I essentially told the SPL what this upcoming meeting will be about: splitting into 2 groups to go over summer camp and the AT. I sent the ASPL the summer camp info since he will be the SPL that week as the true SPL is going on the AT.

 

I suggested to the SPL that he gets together with his PLC in the next two weeks and come up with plans. I also suggested that he go ahead and select his troop level officers before the SM picks them for him.

 

On one hand I feel like I'm telling the SPL what to do, how to do it, etc AND DO NOT LIKE IT ONE BIT (emphasis). On the other hand, I see one confused Scout who did ask for some help on the AT prep trip we did, and am trying to advise and mentor. That's one balancing act: Adult vs Youth led. The other balancing act is being an ASM supporting the SM and not stepping on his toes. I honestly do not know what is up with the SM, but I see his health slowly getting worse. As you know I talked to the CC/COR once a few months ago, and my offer to step in as SM was rebuffed. But it seems as if I don't step in and help out and try to do things as they should be done, youth led, Gunship will come in and take over. And I honestly believe that while Gunship is a good person to have in a bad situation, he did help me out when I was injured, his style is more adult oriented, and will destroy the troop.


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#2 David CO

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 02:54 PM

The question of Youth vs. Adult led is for the owner of the unit, the Chartered Organization, to make.  It's not your call.


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#3 qwazse

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 05:20 PM

Here's a "grand scheme of things" way to look at this.
Imagine the SPL continuing to fail to be proactive ... It's likely there are one or more boys who don't like it. One are more of these are thinking right now, "I could that SO much better."
And he'd be right. But, the harsh reality is it may not be put in a position of responsibility to do anything about it next election cycle.
Wouldn't it be nice if out there somewhere there was an ASM who knew what it was like to have to lead from behind, and was graciously modeling that behavior? Well, it sounds like in this troop there's at least one ASM who's getting that specific on-the-job training.
There's nothing wrong with setting some benchmarks for an SPL, ASPL, or instructor. Then following up to see how he did them!
And as these boys manage to succeed, be sure to be full of praise, especially in front of your buddy, Gunship.
E.g., "Did you see that? Joey came to a meeting with a half-baked agenda. That's half more than he did last month!"
Big boats turn slowly ... but not at all if the rudder isn't set.
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#4 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 07:50 AM

Well "Patrols" is one of the methods of Scouting that the CO agrees to implement. The challenge as I see it is that adults do not think they are ready to take charge. Question is this: HOW DO THEY GET READY TO TAKE CHARGE IF THE ADULTS DO EVERYTHING FOR THEM? (emphasis, not shouting)

 

I'll give you an example from the part of the meeting I was at. An adult was going over land nav, trip planning, and backpacking meal planning. That leader was short, to the point, and really asked questions about how the Scouts would do XYZ. While I think an older Scout could have done that, since the plan with that leader was to do some outdoor prep with the Venture patrol and it was raining, the Adult went to plan B for the Venture patrol, and someone thought it would be good for the entire troop to go over. I'm hoping it was the SPL, but have a feeling it was the SM. But after the adult finished, another adult, Da New Guy takes over and reviews what they just learned, going over the allotted time.

 

Since the ASPL will be in charge at summer camp ( SPL is doing AT instead) I asked him to review the information about summer camp. While he's going over the information, Da New Guy starts interjecting into the conversation saying the stuff like "you'll report to the adults for..."  At one point talking about equipment and tents, I jumped in before he could and asked the Scouts "You  do you report to if their is a problem with your tent or equipment?" When some replied "The Adults." I said "No, your patrol leader as he's in charge of you guys. He'll tell the SPL and the SPL will fix the problem."

 

Da New Guy has a lot to unlearn. He crossed over to Boy Scouts in December. Hopefully he can get trained since he is staying the entire week.

 

On a tangent.

 

#1 the two experienced adults regarding summer camp will only be there part of the week, and one is Gunship for 2 days. I am currently scheduled to stay 4 days, AND THAT MAY BE CHANGING (emphasis). Since my physical in early May, I've had some health issues come up. The issue is serious enough to get me an immediate doctor's appointment (as in I called the doctor's office and they said "COME IN NOW!" (EXTREMELY strong emphasis), and I now have 3 tests scheduled for next week, and a follow up appointment 2 days before I am scheduled to leave for camp, "to make sure you can really go to camp."

 

I really am uncomfortable with having Da New Guy there with no experience as an adult leader at summer camp ( I think he has some youth experience way back in the day), and the other full week adult with limited experience at camp (3 days last year). I am hoping and praying that i will be able to go so I can set the tone for them the first 3 days at camp that I'm there.

 

2) talked to the SPL and ASPL last nite, suggested they hold a PLC meeting immediately after the day trip next week, so that they can come up with a written plan for the meetings so that the adults won't be jumping in and taking over. They both agreed.


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#5 Beavah

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 08:39 AM

Well "Patrols" is one of the methods of Scouting that the CO agrees to implement. The challenge as I see it is that adults do not think they are ready to take charge. Question is this: HOW DO THEY GET READY TO TAKE CHARGE IF THE ADULTS DO EVERYTHING FOR THEM? (emphasis, not shouting)

 

Yeh do leader training with 'em.   Preferably in da outdoors. 

 

That's the time for the adults to help 'em set up systems and learn how to handle various types of challenges.   It's also a good time for the adults to get comfortable with their capabilities.    By doin' leader training the PLs and older boys get to learn and figure things out and work out teamwork on da PLC in a practice environment where they've got time to debrief and they're not embarrassed in front of da whole troop.

 

Generally speakin', I think a Patrol-Method, youth-led troop needs a lot more time spent on Patrol Leader / Youth Leader training than what da modern BSA materials call for. 

 

Though I think EDGE is sorta a silly thing, remember EDGE, eh?  Yeh need time to Explain and Demonstrate and Guide your PLs and other youth leaders, eh?  Yeh don't just start out by chainin' the adults up in a corner and lettin' the lads sink or swim.   So, for example, before yeh tell the young ones to go to their PL for equipment problems, yeh better have spent some time teachin' da PLs how to do tent and stove repair, eh?  Otherwise you're settin' 'em up for failure, not success.

 

#1 the two experienced adults regarding summer camp will only be there part of the week, and one is Gunship for 2 days.

 

Yah, lots of times adult schedules cause issues like this eh?   I reckon your instincts are right, eh?  For a troop that's new to youth leadership, yeh really want one consistent adult with a vision to be at camp for da whole week.  Otherwise the boys get whiplash, eh? 

 

Summer camp is da best time to set up the way the troop will work for da rest of the year, eh?   Aren't any other times when we have the lads for such a long stretch.   Yeh want to use that time well.   If you're buildin' Patrol Method, yeh want to find a camp that will let yeh use Patrol Method, and not just have boys off lone-scouting Merit Badges or Troop Method dining-halling. 

 

Beavah


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#6 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 12:56 PM

Yeh do leader training with 'em.   Preferably in da outdoors. 

 

That's the time for the adults to help 'em set up systems and learn how to handle various types of challenges.   It's also a good time for the adults to get comfortable with their capabilities.    By doin' leader training the PLs and older boys get to learn and figure things out and work out teamwork on da PLC in a practice environment where they've got time to debrief and they're not embarrassed in front of da whole troop.

 

Generally speakin', I think a Patrol-Method, youth-led troop needs a lot more time spent on Patrol Leader / Youth Leader training than what da modern BSA materials call for. 

 

Agree with you regarding training and especially with ILS-T. Troop did it in January 2015 and all SPLs since were in attendance at it. It does not really prepare them for the office. I've asked someone with an extensive training background to add to the ILS-T format from the leadership courses he took and taught.  But maybe the old Troop Leader Training should be considered.  I know there is talk of sending folks to NYLT in 2017 since 2016 is full.

 

I think the frustration with some of the adults is the lack of patience. At times I believe that the adults want  adult level results from the Scouts, and when they do not meet adult level expectation, "they are not ready"  Let's face it, It takes time to grow leaders. They will screw up. That's part of the learning process. And by screwing up, I mean minor stuff like forgetting what a thwart is, or confusing starboard and port. Stuf that if they have time to prepare and do over and over, the y will be able to pull a session on little to no notice.

 

An aside to training, I also think the PLC needs to meet on a regular basis to plan and organize things. Also that gives the SPL time to work with the SM.

 

Though I think EDGE is sorta a silly thing, remember EDGE, eh?  Yeh need time to Explain and Demonstrate and Guide your PLs and other youth leaders, eh?  Yeh don't just start out by chainin' the adults up in a corner and lettin' the lads sink or swim.   So, for example, before yeh tell the young ones to go to their PL for equipment problems, yeh better have spent some time teachin' da PLs how to do tent and stove repair, eh?  Otherwise you're settin' 'em up for failure, not success.

 

That's the thing, the youth have been Explained and Demonstrated to, but instead of being Guided while doing, or teaching something, when they make mistakes they are told they can't do it and are not Enabled.

 

Best example would be a meeting that I mentioned in post #1 Our entire Venture patrol, which had been doing canoeing for multiple years and know the stuff, sat bored stiff, some sneaking onto their phones, because it was material they knew. OK may not be to the mastery of the adult who has been doing canoeing 60+ years, but they knew enough to teach the younger Scouts.

 

Compare that to the meeting my oldest ran, and I helped him with. He did the bulk of the work, I just answered questions  he didn't know and said a few hints I've learnt over the years. Basically enough to keep the other adults out of the way.

 

#1 the two experienced adults regarding summer camp will only be there part of the week, and one is Gunship for 2 days.

 

Yah, lots of times adult schedules cause issues like this eh?   I reckon your instincts are right, eh?  For a troop that's new to youth leadership, yeh really want one consistent adult with a vision to be at camp for da whole week.  Otherwise the boys get whiplash, eh? 

 

Summer camp is da best time to set up the way the troop will work for da rest of the year, eh?   Aren't any other times when we have the lads for such a long stretch.   Yeh want to use that time well.   If you're buildin' Patrol Method, yeh want to find a camp that will let yeh use Patrol Method, and not just have boys off lone-scouting Merit Badges or Troop Method dining-halling. 

 

Beavah

 

Agree, I think once I leave camp, if I even make it to camp :( ,  things will revert to adult lead and controlled. Did I mention that Da New Guy wants the Scouts to report to an adult so that an adult can go with them to the health lodge for easy to resolve matters like removing a tick?

 

As for summer camp, I wish there was one nearby that would allow the Patrol Method. In my neck of the woods, they are like the ones you describe. I haven't been to the one we are going to since I last staffed it 17 years ago. But from the program guide and admin stuff, I have a bad feeling it's a MB factory.


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#7 David CO

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 01:29 PM

Well "Patrols" is one of the methods of Scouting that the CO agrees to implement. The challenge as I see it is that adults do not think they are ready to take charge. Question is this: HOW DO THEY GET READY TO TAKE CHARGE IF THE ADULTS DO EVERYTHING FOR THEM? (emphasis, not shouting)

 

 

 

I'm getting a little confused.  If the Chartered Organization wants to implement the patrol method in its unit, why isn't the CO appointing leaders who agree with it?


Edited by David CO, 07 June 2016 - 01:32 PM.

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#8 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 05:26 PM

The leaders say they believe in the patrol method. But they also say the Scouts are not ready yet to take charge.  CO also wants one of their members as SM. Current SM's health is poor, and he really needs to step down. Only 1 other leader is a member, and I am hoping he gets appointed in the near future. I helped train him, and he was in a youth led unit growing up.


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#9 David CO

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 06:05 PM

Thanks, I think I have a better understanding of the situation now.

 

I've been on both sides of the interview table.  Selecting a scoutmaster can be a trying process, and much of it is never seen by the other leaders, parents, and scouts.


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#10 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 08:06 PM

Yes, selecting a new SM is a trying process. Especially when the SM is a long time Scouter who has the respect of everyone, but just doesn't have the health to be as active as he wants.


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#11 Lurking...

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 08:36 PM

I had my Webelos cross over boys for their first scout meeting.  They formed two patrols with one of the older boys PL of one patrol and one of the Webelos boys PL of the other patrol.  The younger PL is heavy in to sports and hasn't been attending well and so we'll see how long that lasts.  The other older boy will function as TG for that patrol.  But they do have patrols, patrol names, made decisions on flags, patches, etc. and it was pretty much hassle free.  They all got their study packets for Scout rank and the older boys got their packets for 2nd Class.  ALL the boys will be attending summer camp.  Looks promising. 

 

Parents have organized another fund raiser and are looking into more before summer camp to help defray the cost.   Parent stepped up to take on the CC position and another treasurer.  I asked on of the fathers to be ASM/committe member in charge of monitoring advancement,   Life is good.    

 

There's gotta be something in the Kool\aide here,   From what I hear on the forum, this isn't normal.


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#12 sst3rd

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 09:03 PM

Stosh,

 

    I remember you said that other potential Webelos scouts went to other troops and others simply didn't cross, but it sounds like a great start anyway. I also think that as your/their program grows in action, former and bored scouts will look you up. When you have an exciting program, word gets around (social media and the old fashioned ways).

    My troop has done a variety of recruitment programs over the years, as our associated pack never had a consistent program. My question to our scouts has always been, "what if it works ?"

 

Congratulations,

 

sst3rd


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#13 Lurking...

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 05:40 AM

My task this next week or so is to personally contact every boy that DID NOT CROSS OVER.  I got a copy of the "dropped" Webelos boys from each of the packs.  If nothing else, I'm going to learn why the dropout rate at this point is so high.


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#14 sst3rd

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 02:39 PM

Stosh,

 

    I've done the same thing over the years. It's weird to me that these troops give up on these inactive scouts. We've picked up several new scouts over each cycle this way. You know what you're doing. This is how to do it. The program will keep them. They've just got to give it a chance.

 

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#15 Hedgehog

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 07:17 PM

I really can't let this pass without commenting on it....

 

The question of Youth vs. Adult led is for the owner of the unit, the Chartered Organization, to make.  It's not your call.

 

No.  Boy Scouts are boy-led.  An adult-led is Cub Scouts.  Please read this link:

 

http://www.scouting....leadership.aspx

 

which is quoted below:

 

Boy Scouts is a boy-led, boy-run organization, but the boys must be trained to be leaders. One of the Scoutmaster's most important responsibilities is to provide the direction, coaching, and training that empowers the boy with the skills he will need to lead his troop.

 

 

Although the BSA may ignore it, being ADULT-LED is not a method of Boy-Scouts.


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#16 Eagledad

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 06:38 AM

My task this next week or so is to personally contact every boy that DID NOT CROSS OVER.  I got a copy of the "dropped" Webelos boys from each of the packs.  If nothing else, I'm going to learn why the dropout rate at this point is so high.

Contacting the scouts isn't enough. If you really want an true assessment, talk to the parents and leaders. That is what I did and they fill in the picture much better. Example: The Scout says that he is more interested in sports. The parent says the son felt the boring meetings were a waste of time. The Leader says she/he didn't want to be a den leader, but only took the responsibility because nobody else would.

 

Sports?

 

Barry


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#17 qwazse

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 07:52 AM

Contacting the scouts isn't enough. If you really want an true assessment, talk to the parents and leaders. That is what I did and they fill in the picture much better.  ...

Like the old evangelist said: "Ain't nobody has the sense to knock on doors anymore."

Or, in modern management speak "That 360 evaluation is the gold standard, if you can get it."

 

Truth is, it's very hard to get that kind of thing. It's a rare day when Mom, Dad, the youth, and their former leader will be in the vicinity at the same time. In our community, the best bet is to spend evenings at the community pool in the summer. That seems to be when you'll cross paths with a Webelos' entire family.

 

The closest I got to complete coverage efficiently was when two of our scouts visited the webelos den, after introductions, the boys talked to the youth, and the scouts' dad and I talked to the parents. Scouts and I compared notes afterword. Both parents and Webelos were on the same wavelength about our program. That den all crossed over ... TO THE OTHER TROOP!!!! But, it was still productive IMHO. It allowed us, and our boys, to see that a merger was the most sensible thing to do, no matter how hard it would be.


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#18 Lurking...

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 08:10 AM

@qwazse

 

Well, I "talked" to the three leaders.

 

1) There was no Webelos den leader, the pack did one pack meeting and one activity per month.  That was it.  I picked up 4 scouts from this anyway.  Never saw a pack that poorly run.

 

2) The leader was burned out, dropped out of the program and took her son with her.  The boy was super gung ho on Boy Scouts but when mom left so did the boy.  I picked up 4 scouts from this anyway.

 

3) The leader was set on going to another troop.  5 of 15 followed him.  Other 10 are on my list.

 

Half of the boys had a poor experience in Cubs.  That's a hurdle I have to overcome.  The reason I did pick up 8 boys is because I went back, became an ad hoc WDL and worked with the boys that wanted to come to get their AOL.  All but 2 stayed with the program and crossed over.


Edited by Stosh, 09 June 2016 - 08:10 AM.

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#19 qwazse

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 08:28 AM

...

 

Half of the boys had a poor experience in Cubs.  That's a hurdle I have to overcome.  The reason I did pick up 8 boys is because I went back, became an ad hoc WDL and worked with the boys that wanted to come to get their AOL.  All but 2 stayed with the program and crossed over.

So, let's say talking to the leaders gets you 120 degrees of the story. And I think it's very true that disengaged leaders give boys zero reason to crossover.

You still have 240 degrees of story for each boy who didn't cross-over. That's a lot of work!

 

I think E94 is in a similar position. Only, his biggest wedge is from the boys via his sons! Then he gets the leaders' views, but I'm wondering if they aren't particularly candid about why they can't trust the patrols to operate more independently. It would take a lot more time to crack those nuts! Then, there's the parents.Getting that 360 view's a lot of work!


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#20 Eagledad

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 08:34 AM

It's not easy finding the real causes for scouts dropping out. I remember when our Council made an effort to call each Webelos who dropped, sports and karate were the number one reasons. After I got finished with my research, sports wasn't even on the radar. Kids will do what is fun and rewarding no matter how busy their schedule. 2/3s of the scouts in our pack and troop are in sports, so I know that isn't a cause. 

 

Scout age boys don't like to be cold called for answers to why they quit. First off most don't really know the exact answer, they just don't want to continue scouting. Second, adults asking scouts why they don't like something is intimidating for boys this age because they think somebody is going to be in trouble. Sports, Karate, music, and etc. is easy because nobody is in trouble.

 

Parents may not know exactly why their son doesn't like scouts, but they do know when that started happening because their son started whining about going to meetings. Parents being parents want their son to finish what they started, so they push their son to the meetings. Many scouts quit after Webelos because that is the end their parent are willing to concede. Going to a troop is like starting a whole new program and that is just the break the family is looking for to get out of scouting.

 

The problem that for us is we really don't know when the Cub Scout started disliking scouting. It could have been at the Wolf age, but since most parents push their sons to finish what they started, or they feel the scouting is a good program for their son, they stick it out until the end of Cubs. I was surprise to learn that Bear and 1st year Webelos drop increased around 2005. The only reason I could find for that was families were frustrated with all the national gay publicity and just wanted to get away from it. But I couldn't find enough data points to verify that. And that was a national trend, it wasn't a trend locally. So it still a mystery. 

 

Finding the truth is a lot of work and most people aren't willing to put out the effort. But it does paint a picture of the problem. Scoutmasters are in the the best position to learn because they get to talk with the scouts, parents and cub leaders. They just need to learn now to ask the right questions and listen carefully to the accumulated answers. Attacking the problem is a whole different discussion. 

 

Barry


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