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Posts posted by Eagle1982

  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. 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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.



  6. 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.


  7. "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."

  8. 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.

  9. "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?

  10. Because Marching Band is a school function and Scouting is not. Scouting will, in most everyone's eyes, be secondary to school. Schools hold an incredible amount of power over parents and students. So many parents are afraid of the truant officer coming after them if their kid should miss a day of school for some other event. So many parents are afraid their kid won't get into a good college (although there's too many kids going to college, but that's a different rant).


    As a school function, the Marching band can require students be there for a certain number of practices and events, or get kicked out of band. You local Scout troop can't do that.


    Marching band meets more often during the week (when in season) than Scouts. The same friends they see daily in school are there, then afterward they walk home together. These same people are at every event, not just a few campouts. This close camaraderie may lead to a Scout preferring marching band over Scouts.


    I think in general parents fear schools, and have given up too much power and control over their lives.


    Now, my own son is in marching band. Fortunately it does not conflict with Scout meetings, and usually does not conflict with events, except possibly arriving late on Friday night at a campout because he was playing.

  11. Venting eh? Kinda reminds me of this cartoon, Engineers can appreciate it http://xkcd.com/406/


    "'Hmmm, I don't accept that. I will not accept that from my boss. I will not allow my job to run my life.'


    Must be nice to be independently wealthy. Most of us can't afford to be fired for insubordination."


    Job interviews are a two way street. Gotta decide who you are willing to work under. Good bosses are training their replacements, instead of scaring their underlings. Engineers, and you should know this, are required to be insubordinate at times. Sorry you chose poorly, but don't take it out on others.


    "And generally, I don't take advice to seek counseling off of forums....but you might consider it. "


    Maybe this time you should. So I went back and read some of your other threads, it seems you have not been here too long, but have made a fair number of posts. The "trend" I've noticed is this:

    (1) You seem to necromancer a lot of old threads, simply to post a snide or sarcastic comment. This behaviour in forums is normally associated with trolling.

    (2) You seem to mention or hint at "control" a lot, that's kind of scary.

    (3) You willingly and intentionally choose work over family and fun. Kids gotta love that.

    (4) You publicly demean two of your children when comparing them to "the saint"

    (5) You don't seem to believe in the patrol method, or the concept of boy led. Preferring adult controlled instead.

    (6) You come here and argue against Scouting in general. That's kind of like going to the Ted Nugent forum and arguing against hunting and eating meat.


    I doubt your son had a "miscomunication", he may have told you that to get you off his back. Kids in the advanced classes have a better handle on what's required than adults give them credit for. Those acts of "sandbagging" are a by-product of a different problem, which will only get worse if not addressed.


    Now you might think I'm attacking you or your character, but I'm not. An engineer can separate his emotions from the data. You obviously care a lot, and want what's best for your son. Sometimes that means asking a professional for help. But you'll do whatever you want. Let us know in 3-4 years how dropping the hammer hard and frequently worked out.

  12. By Engineer61


    "Oldest and Youngest are practically identical in demeanor. No, that's not a positive statement. Good news is the girl is 18 and starting to show glimpses of progress.

    The middle is the saint...does what he supposed to with little or no input from anyone.

    I'm pretty much to my fed-up line with this nonsense. Considering overseas military boarding school options ..."


    I sure hope your kids don't read these, or that they don't pick up on that vibe at home. That would be very bad. Now that the youngest knows how to get a big rise out of you, he will likely intentionally fail stuff, just to make you mad, the more you push. It's part of growing up and separating from their parents, you'll just magnify it.


    "To those that wish to minimize the importance and priority of education, (and I am amazed how many of you there are) my response is ... no education, no job....no matter how many Eagle's you have. "


    So do you honestly believe he is on the slippery slope to failing school or dropping out? Talk about hyperbole. I'm also an engineer (from a highly respected engineering program) and got very good grades in middle and high school. Yet somehow, the "C" average kids managed to get jobs too. It's amazing isn't it? I'm an Eagle, and having it did make a difference on a scholarship application once.


    "So you're saying that it's perfecting fine to raise the next village idiot, as long as he went Scouting?!?!?"


    So, dropping a letter grade in one class turns your kid into the village idiot? More hyperbole perhaps? Everyone screws up, it's part of the learning process. Keep this tension and obvious anger going, and you are going to have bigger problems later.


    "I simply refer to it as "Teacher's Prerogative" just as my boss can exercise "Management Prerogative" and reassign my design tasks/requirements/dates as he sees fit."


    Hmmm, I don't accept that. I will not accept that from my boss. I will not allow my job to run my life. Separating the two and having balance is important. If nothing else, maybe Scouting will help your son have balance. I wish him luck. When my kids were in elementary school, some teachers went "handout" crazy, with these assignments that were completely useless waste of times. More than once I told my kids to not do the assignment and not worry about the grade. The teacher won't fail you because you skipped a couple stupid handouts, or didn't color a whole page.


    Seriously, consider a few sessions of professional counseling, for both you and your son. I think you are beyond what advice from a forum can give.

  13. Yes it can be a problem, even more so when there are brothers involved, and both (or all three in one case) drop out of the event. Especially if you've already bought the food, and in some instances planned a menu around those that end up dropping out anyway.


    An even bigger problem, for us anyway, is getting people to commit earlier on. They him and haw, then decide at the last minute they want in, is there still room? Again, food may have already been bought, etc.


    But I just equate a lot of that to crappy intra-troop communication.


    Worse, if the troop has no set policy on how to handle the dropouts, who is left holding the bag? Someone drops out, they want their deposit back, there is no official policy they don't get it back, but it causes a hardship on everyone else.



  14. A martial arts program that is only kata, without the practice of the bunkai (self defense techniques), randori and kumite (sparring), is not a real martial arts program.


    Many martial arts rely on impact (punching, kicking, knees, elbows...) as their main form of defense. These martial arts are the Karate's, Tae Kwon Do, Kenpo, Kung Fu... - the intent is to cause harm by striking people.


    If scouts aren't allowed to have laser tag, or marshmallow gun wars against each other, they certainly won;t be allowed to smack each other. I believe it's the intent of the action, not whether you are doing the complete action.


    Mostly I agree.



  15. I honestly was surprised at how summer camp (at least in our council) has changed since I was a kid. Back then, you were able to earn one, at best two merit badges during summer camp. This is because you still had to practice all those camp chores you've been learning along the way, like cooking, KP, trail maintenance, etc. Plus you had more swim time, exploring time and what not.


    Now, summer camp is just a merit badge camp. Today the kids don't practice their cooking or camp chores, because they are at merit badge class. They don't become better swimmers, because they don't practice, they are at merit badge class.


    Add to that the merit badge camp-o-ree, troop meeting merit badges and special Eagle Merit Badge camps and yeah, it's advancement driven.


    Now, I've seen a patrol decide to work on Wilderness survival together, and do the campout part together. But it was not part of a troop regular activity. I've seen a PLC arrange a campout, where Scouts could do some of the outdoor requirements of Environmental Science. Those, I thought, were good because the Scouts decided, and the Scouts still finished the badges individually.


    I guess I'm just an old curmudgeon, and think these merit badge factories have taken some initiative away from the youth. If they only earned badges at camp, and didn't finish partials, or work on their own, then they didn't have much initiative to begin with. I don't see why you'd need to pay money or raffle Scouts a gift card for earning merit badges. Isn't the recognition and sense of accomplishment enough? I'm a believer if you gotta be dragged across the finish line, you didn't really want it in the first place. I've seen parents do that with little kids and sports, "Score a soccer goal today and I'll get you that new Nintendo game," and didn't like it then either.

  16. There have been a lot of good comments in this section. Yea, the ball was dropped. I suppose you could ask the boy flat out, "Do you really think you fulfilled your POR with your performance?" If the boy says no, then apologize for staying on top of it and let him actually do the bugle chores for a bit and give him the rank then.


    One thing that still stands out to me is that the troop committee members performing the Board of Review made a requirement of him. This kind of bothers me. If the POR was signed off in the book, then they can say they are disappointed in how it worked out, and hope he does better in the future, but they should not just make an arbitrary requirement of the Scout. It's a power they should not have had.