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Everything 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 da
  3. 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. 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. 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 met
  6. 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/pl
  7. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. "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 m
  14. 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. "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?
  16. 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 g
  17. 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 ta
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. Congratulations to the new Eagle Scout. I'm sorry he had to go through all of this, and glad he persevered instead of just giving up. Perseverance is a good trait for Eagles.
  21. 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
  22. Yes - kids are scheduled too much, at least in my burbs. I don't think Scouting puts undue pressure on it, unless the kids are in every sport imaginable, plus band. Sometimes a Scout event conflicts with a church youth event. That one is a little tougher, but we manage.
  23. Is that the only thing that can come out of that zippered compartment? Is it strictly on the bottom, or does it fold up the front of the pack? A picture would be helpful. Without seeing a picture, I might speculate it is used as part of attaching skis to the pack.
  24. 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, the
  25. 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
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