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About Eagle1982

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  1. Geocaching, at east once in a while, is a great activity to show Scouts the reality of GPS's. Too many youth have the idea that a GPS will take them to exactly the spot, within inches. You watch them geocache the first time, and the GPS says they have arrived, yet they can't find the cache. They are great to teach that the accuracy of the GPS when the cache is set, the accuracy of the GPS finding it, plus weather conditions, tree cover or if you are on the north side of a mountain can effect how well it works.
  2. Eagle1982

    Best Cameras for Scouting

    Best is so subjective. For car camping, or weekends, I have a Digital SLR. I have a heavy lens on it that is 17mm to 55mm focal length and f2.8 all the way through. Focal length is of course your zoom and the smaller the fx.x you can go, the more light it can let in. The 17mm allows me to capture the whole campsite, full group shots or large landscape shots. I found with so many campouts starting on Friday evening evening, that the f2.8 lens allows me to take more quality shots at dusk/dawn of the Scouts doing their jobs, plus it allows a faster shutter on action shots during the day. This allows me to take a variety of shots that are well exposed. Downside is that you need a large/heavy piece of glass, mounted on a heavy body, to do all that. For other uses, there are companies that make quality waterproof containers for point and shoot cameras. Get a decent point and shoot camera that has a waterproof container ready for it. That way, you are ready for water outings, and you have a lighter point and shoot for backpacking. After just looking at point and shoots for my daughter, to me, so many of them seem to be so similar, you really have a lot of options. Regarding megapixels, someone commented that 6 is fine. Most cameras today are larger than that, and if you can go higher why not? I have had pictures I've taken used on magazine covers as part of my real job. The magazines require 300 dots per inch. At 6 megapixels, you are just below the what you need (about 3000 pixels by 2000 pixels depending on model). At a minimum, you should have 3000 pixels for an 8x10 picture. Having a camera with more megapixels gives you more flexibility for cropping the image.
  3. Eagle1982

    Campouts without the scoutmaster

    Huh, if our troop only went camping when the Scoutmaster did, they'd never go camping. OK maybe once in a cabin, but that's it.
  4. Eagle1982

    Starting a new troop-Looking for advice

    Someone else mentioned it but get all the boys you have now NYLT trained. They will be able to work together as a core that sets the example for all the others that join.
  5. Eagle1982

    Starting a new troop-Looking for advice

    Ah, I see. John, I don't think a den chief will help if there is not a nearby homeschooled pack to feed from, based on their goals. So, you have an opportunity to start a new troop, and start it with "patrol method" right away. WHile you said it will be kind of "troop method" at the start, that may be true in the background, but in the foreground, you can model patrol method early on. I would think early on you need to really emphasize outdoor skills. Have one outing with nothing but different cooking methods. Cook in patrols, adults in their own patrol modeling how patrol method works. Have another outing where you lash a tower together, emphasizing teamwork and how everyone contributes a small part of the whole, and if one person doesn't do his part, the tower won't be stable. Do your own "First-Aid-O-Ree", get scouts from other troops to help be victims. Most of all, go slow, let your SPL run it. Resist the temptation to jump in and "fix things" (unless someones safety is at stake). If they make a mistake, they learn from it. Explain alternatives of how it could have been done afterwards. If you jump in and fix things all the time, then the Scouts start to expect it, and they stop doing stuff for themselves. They start expecting you to do it. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and all that. Good Luck on your endeavor.
  6. Eagle1982

    Starting a new troop-Looking for advice

    Regular Webelos recruiting season will be starting soon. It's probably safe to say you don't have a regular stream of Scouts from an existing Pack to rely on. You may be able to recruit at other places you have connections, such as a church. It's difficult enough starting a new troop, but to start a new troop with leaders that are transplants to the area make sit even harder. If there are other decent troops nearby, you may become friends with a few that match some of y'all goals and shadow them a little. Just so the few boys you currently have will have more interaction/practice/play with other like minded Scouts. If you are close together, you may consider a recruitment drive in your neighborhoods also. Just some ideas. Good luck with it.
  7. Eagle1982

    Avoiding Ad Hoc Patrols

    Make the patrols a little bigger. To me, it's a fair trade off to have a patrol of 10 at a troop meeting so that at least 6 show up for an outing, and can stay a patrol.
  8. Eagle1982

    Where do you go for balanced news?

    Another vote for NPR. While public radio has some left leaning shows, the news shows during the morning and afternoon seem to go our of their way to present both sides. Without the use of celebrities and politicians for the sake of celebrities and politicians. I also like the Economist. I guess snobby reading and radio shows with proper enunciation and grammar appeal to me for some reason.
  9. Eagle1982

    How green is your camp out???

    Nothing like hauling 5 cases of water to help weigh down the trailer for 3 hours because an adult doesn't like the taste of water from the pump at camp... Then half filled water bottles litter the camp and they did poorly on their inspection.
  10. Eagle1982

    Omlette in a bag

    Stosh, I actually prefer the taste and consistency of eggs done in the ziplock bag, vs the ones done in a cheap aluminum pan/cup. It's not always expediency. Now, carry a well seasoned cast iron pan, and all bets are off...
  11. Eagle1982

    Backpack Stove for patrol use

    The MSR Whisperlite is a great backpacking stove. If looking at stability and patrol cooking, consider the MSR Dragonfly. It is a little heavier, has a wider base than the whisperlite. Also, it has real simmer control, if cooking things other than boiled water.
  12. Eagle1982

    Troop Tents at Summer Camp?

    This is one of those things that doesn't matter to me much, as long as I get to go camping. I draw the line at low quality tents though, but I can use my own. I don't like to see Scouts in low quality troop supplied tents. Invariably they get one strong rain, and invariably someone's Scout Handbook gets soaked. Many of my summer camps have sites with tents on platforms, and sites for troops to provide their own tents. I do think the camps need to keep some canvas a-frames in stock for things like NYLT, where it does look nice with those canvas tents.
  13. Eagle1982

    Compare Scouting vs Sports ?

    "While I'm sure there are some shady "schools" out there it seems that most of the complaints come from the purists who don't believe it can be an activity for youth/families. Will my daughter be able to defend herself in a street fight when she earns her black belt? Probably not, but her (and my) view of the program has always been that this is a "sport" that she can do. And it costs $250 to put your kid into Pop Warner football, so it seems in line." Yeah, sorry to come off as a snobby purist. That's cool, as long as you have a clear understanding of what you are getting for your money. I only bring it up because easily 1/3 of my students came from other schools, and they always say, "I wish I knew then what I know now."
  14. Eagle1982

    Compare Scouting vs Sports ?

    Off subject a bit, and a bit of a soapbox issue with me, but there are so many bad "karotty" schools out there (called McDojo's - google it) be careful. Some warning signs are high testing fees, long contracts, required seminars, black belt clubs, required to buy their gear, lack of realistic contact... Worse than taking your money, many bad schools give a false sense of self confidence. OK, I'll get off the soap box now.
  15. Eagle1982

    Compare Scouting vs Sports ?

    "Yep sports are costly. Oldest takes karate. "Class A" uniform was $80, 2 t-shirts for "Class B" was $40, monthly fee is $80,and his first belt test, which actually covers White and Yellow is $100 ( yep they called the uniforms Class A and B, and yes they get tested for white, although they already gave it to him). That doesn't include tourneys or seminars. And I was informed that as he gets higher blets, he will need to go to seminars." Not to offend, but this sounds a bit McDojo-ish. Does the belt fee increase as the rank goes up? Do they have a special "Black Belt" club?