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Advancement Resources

Scouting ranks, merit bades, and the advancement programs

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  1. venture crew

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  • LATEST POSTS

    • Don't know. But a retired Pro told me that national let go 38 people from the national office last month. Regarding the increase in registration and last minute notice,  from the phone conversation I had earlier today, a lot of council pros are ticked off and are bugging the heck out of national about it. The tone I got is that it has ticked a lot of folks council execs off because they have already started their recruiting, and now are informed of a registration increase, when folks already paid for 2020 with their roundup fee. 
    • When I read the list at first, I was "totally makes sense".  I would still pack a pocket knife and three feet of 4mm cord.  Just in case...... The "just in case" got me thinking.....Be Prepared........and the 10 Essentials..... and why are they essentials? Is it just THIS hike you are training them for, or are you preparing them for ANY hike they may take?  Would make for an excellent discussion for PLC: Why are the 10 essentials called Essential? Are there any scenarios where you may need something on the list even in an urban hike? (like first aid to bicyclist who crashed). Could we use both modern tools (GPS) and old ones (Compass) to practice our skills? Do modern tools ever fail or worse run out of batteries?   Just thoughts from an old guy......;
    • Wonder when the top execs take a cut? 
    • What do you really need to bring with you when you're hiking in a populated area? I'm working with a small group of scouts on the Hiking merit badge. For each of the hikes that the scouts do, they're supposed to prepare a hike plan that includes, among other details, a list of things to carry on the hike.  All of the hikes will be day hikes.  The group plans to start off fairly easy with a couple of urban hikes, then on to more "rugged" hikes in area forests, rocky hills, etc. We're in Texas, and a very popular urban hike is to go around Lake Lady Bird in downtown Austin. It is a VERY easy trail that's 10.15 miles, making it ideal as the first of the 10-mile hikes. The only real hazard is too many Austinites out walking and biking along the trail.. As our group discussed the hike plan for the day, a couple of scouts trotted out the equipment lists that they downloaded from various hiking and BSA sources.  These were good for a few laughs as many were chock full of completely unnecessary and utterly useless items that would do nothing but weigh down the scout. We discussed how backpackers discard things that are unnecessary, how LNT tells us to plan and prepare, and how "being prepared" means that we assess our situation and bring only what might be useful because everything else is simply excess weight that makes us overly exhausted by the end of the trip. We discussed how, 1) we are in the city, 2) our route is a well maintained, wide, flat path, 3) there are multiple public restrooms along the way and multiple water sources --- the longest distance between 2 water fountains is 2.0 miles.  Therefore, any "hiking essentials list" that was compiled for backcountry hikes in the frozen tundra will be about as useful to us as a pack of soggy matches.
      Here's what we came up with as our "urban hike essentials" list: Bring: Very small, light, comfortable day pack Map  Cell phone Sunblock Light First Aid kit (be prepared for blisters, scrapes, beyond that is luxury) 1 Lire of water (leave extra bottles and hydration packs at home....we have water sources all along the route) 8 ounces of trail mix or other snacks  Cash (it's an urban route, we might rest near stores, food trucks, etc.) Sunglasses  Hat Leave at home... Flashlight or Headlamp (except for night hikes) Compass (We're in the city...the year is 2019...) Knife (useful in the woods, not so much downtown) Matches/lighter  (Might be helpful if somebody asks us for a light.) Extra clothes for layering (we're in Texas. We're hiking in the day. We take layers off, not put them on.)  Poncho (unless the weather forecast is for greater than 30% chance of rain) Tarp or space blanket (What are we going to use that for? To camp under the bridge like a hobo?) Walking stick or pole (Flat. Paved with pea gravel. Groomed by city. What's the purpose?) Signaling mirror (We're in the city...the year is 2019....we have cell phones...) Bottom Line... Be realistic. Consider your location, the weather conditions, etc. Pack for your hike, not somebody else's.
    • It blows me away how we always play MORE for less lol.  I wanted a one man but wasn't going to pay $200.00 + for one.   I purchased the Alps Mystic 1.5 (not the outfitter) Weight 3 lbs, 14 oz  with floor saver and it has served me well for 5+ years.  Got it from HikersDirect for about $120.00     I have also abandoned the idea of taking my own tent. I am buying the Osprey 60 Aether, waiting for a sale fist.  Bag will be a Kelty Galactic 30 w lightweight liner 
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