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Everything posted by Eagle74

  1. On a related note, as I've been watching the Olympics, the 19 year old Flying Tomato (Shaun White, half-pipe snowboarder) was the only one I've noticed placing his hand over his heart during the National Anthem. Way to go Shaun!
  2. Don't get me wrong, I don't recommend cotton socks to anybody else. The other leaders always shake their heads and can't believe I wear them and don't have problems. They just seem to work fine for me 90% of the time. Have worn them under every conceivable condition - these are high quality cotton socks, not blue-light specials; and not 100% cotton. They are 65%-75% cotton - maybe it's somewhat misleading to say I wear cotton socks. In deep winter, especially in snow, I switch over to Carhartt cold-weather boot socks which are a blend of acrylic, nylon and wool. Inexpensive, but does the job. If you want a good sock designed for hiking/backpacking try a Smartwool or Teko hiking sock, (I prefer the Tekos) not cheap but in my book they're quite good. I've used these occassionally when I know I'll encounter nothing but nasty conditions. SR540Beaver, we've had the same problem. Every year when the newest crossovers come into the troop we tell boys and parents to spend the money for a pair of hiking shoes; some can't seem to get the message until after one miserable experience.
  3. For me, Eagledad is right on the mark, but for you he may not be. Hiking shoes are a very personal piece of equipment that needs to suit your feet (soft/tough, dry/sweaty, etc), your physique (feet/ankles size, shape, strength, flexibility), and the type of terrain or use they will see. Part of this will come from experience - years of experience and trying various shoes are an advantage. As the contrarian here, I have never spent more than $80 for a pair of hiking shoes/boots, I rarely wear anything other than a single pair of cotton socks, and function fine with either low cut shoes or over the ankle boots. (Experience with short treks, treks over all types of terrain, long hiking treks, backpacking treks - 10 to 150 miles) Ankle support is generally not for me and I think that many people who wear boots with stiff ankle support predominantly (especially daily) make their ankles weaker in the long run. Yes, there are those whose ankles will not stand up to much abuse or who have suffered an injury that subsequently requires ankle support. And ankle flexibility is as important as ankle strength - you should target your feet and ankles with strength and flexibility training well prior to your trek. As mentioned above in several posts, what's on the bottom and inside of the shoe/boot is as important if not moreso than the style/type of boot. I would suggest that you not experiment with something other than what you know already works for your feet for a long or tough trek. Many make the mistake of acquiring the newest highly rated hiking shoe because they will be making the trek of a lifetime. Many are disappointed with the result. The shoes you wear for that upcoming 100 mile trek should be one that you've already tried before for at least 50 miles. Again, shoes/boots are an item that need to fit you. You, and only you, will be able to determine your need in the end.
  4. Define the term "hiking boot". That term now includes anything from below the ankle cut to 10" tall. And not many provide any real ankle support. If one is looking for true ankle support it needs to be something that the boot is specifically designed to do. Personnally, I prefer an over-the-ankle boot for long hikes in the backwoods or over terrain simply because I like to have protection for my ankles; ankle support is not an issue for me.
  5. The "life statement" is actually ". . . a statement of your ambitions and life purpose . . ." It is part of the application submission for the Eagle rank. It also includes a listing of positions held in any organizations in which the scout has demonstrated leadership skills and a listing of any honors or awards the scout has earned. The statement is to be attached to the application for Eagle Scout recognition. The final part of the requirements is to take part in a Scoutmaster's conference and a Board of Review. BSAMustang asked why the life statement is allowed to be late. I have found that among various references and sources, it is not clear cut whether this is required to be completed prior to SM conference and/or 18th bday. The Handbook and Requirement book state that requirement 6 is "Take part in a Scoutmaster's Conference". There is no reference at any point in the rank requirements to the application or life statement. The Eagle Scout Application reads as part of requirement 6 "(Attach to this application a statement of your ambitions and life purpose and a listing of positions held in your religious institution, school, camp, community, or other organizations during which you demonstrated leadership skills. Include honors and awards received during this service. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference with your unit leader.)" There is one view that since the application and life statement are not a part of the requirements (handbook or requirments book)that requiring the life statement and application prior to the Board of Review is "adding to the requirements". But it really is a requirement for the rank of Eagle, since the application cannot be processed without it. It would certainly be nice if National would add the application wording into the requirements in all reference materials. Further, it should be clearly stated whether or not the statment is needed prior to the Scoutmaster's conference, prior to the Board of Review, or simply attached to the application. Presently, the application wording leaves the impression that it is intended to be part of requirement 6.
  6. Update 2: Candidate handed in all paperwork (without life statement) less than three hours before deadline. Advancement Chair advised him that his Board cannot be scheduled until the life statement is received - the longer he waits, the more it eats into the 90 days during which the Board of Review must take place. Gasp! Gasp! :
  7. Would I dump my dishwater on my neighbor's lawn? No way, why waste it on his when I can use it on mine! - If you wash dishes by hand, don't let the water run constantly. Instead, fill up big pots of water to wash in. Afterwards, you can use the dishwater to water your garden (make sure the soap you use is plant-friendly). Mother Earth News - Using gray water actually provides a number of benefits. For instance, you can reduce your potable water usage--and your water bill--since you're not using tap water on your plants. And because the waste-water you're using on your garden isn't getting pumped back to the city's waste-water treatment system, you're also saving energy. Gray water also contains soap residue which adds phosphorous and potassium to your soil, reducing the need for fertilizers. And don't forget: the trees and shrubs in your landscape may be worth thousands of dollars. Being able to keep your plants alive during city water bans protects your investment. Garden Activist
  8. The troop I serve has modified the 3-dishpan method to a 4-dishpan method. The first pan now is the "gross decon" pan - nothing more than cold water. We found that even when the scouts wipe out their dishes (which at times doesn't happen) the spaghetti sauce, chili sauce, food remains, etc. make a mess of the soap pan quickly sometimes. If nothing else that red soap water is ugly. The "gross decon" pan is used to get the major mess off the dishes and can be changed out quickly. This subsequently leaves the soap water and rinse water cleaner longer.
  9. Update: Troop Advancement Chair indicates that scout must complete all requirements, complete workbook with sign-offs, and complete application (with the exception of the "life statement") prior to 18th b'day. District Advancement Chair and his primary assistant agree with that position. Interesting though is that during a recent University of Scouting session the Council Advancement Chair made a comment that all requirements, project, and project workbook must be completed by 18th b'day, but the application does not.
  10. Thanks everyone for the input; additional posts would still be appreciated. Yes, this is another "death-bed" Eagle situation. Scout just finished physical work on project and has only a week til 18th birthday. Although a sufficiently motivated candidate should be able to finish the paperwork with a little time to spare - so to speak - and the SM would accomodate the "urgent" need for a conference within the remaining final days/hours, there is some doubt that the candidate will make it. So the question has arisen whether or not the workbook itself must be complete or can be handed in (completed)after the birthday along with the application, and whether or not the conference can take place without the finished workbook (completed workbook handed in after-the-fact). Additional question raised by replies: Is there documentation stating that the application must be complete and submitted before the 18th birthday? Troop and District Advancement Chairs initial thoughts are that the Workbook must be totally complete prior to birthday (but application submittal does not), but they are checking further to be sure. These specific questions haven't come up in the past.
  11. "All requirements for Eagle Scout must be completed before a candidate's 18th birthday. The Eagle Scout board of review can be held after the candidate's 18th birthday."* further "All the work on the project must be done while the candidate is a Life Scout and before the candidate's 18th birthday"* Question: Must the final paperwork for the Eagle project be complete prior to the 18th birthday? In other words must the workbook be complete and signed? Specifically the hour tally, material tally, statement of project changes, photos of completed project, etc. part of the Eagle Project Workbook? To start the discussion, view #1 would be that the workbook cannot be signed off as "project completed" by the project organization rep and the SM until the workbook is complete. Therefore the project requirement (req 5)would not be complete without the completed workbook and signatures, as needed (prior to 18th birthday). View #2 is that the "work" on the project must be complete before the 18th birthday. Then, "Upon completion of the project, a detailed report must be submitted with the Scout's Eagle application to include the following items . . ."* Hence, the project has reached "completion" if the physical work is done. The Board of Review is reponsible for determining the final approval/acceptance of the project. Therefore the final paperwork is simply a part of the application packet that can be forwarded for the Board of Review, which may take place after the 18th birthday. *Boy Scout Requirements, 2004 ed.
  12. Good discussion with good info all around. Did however want to clear up the air regarding air mattresses; there is an impression left that it's the air itself in the air mattress that results in poor insulative properties and that's not the case. Air is a good insulator and it's what you want in your sleeping bag, your clothing, etc. - just not wide open air space. Basics (not intended to insult anyone's intelligence here) - Heat transfer occurs by conduction, convection, and radiation. Let's apply these to the air mattress. The air mattress is a good insulator in relation to conduction. Air is a poor conductor of heat. Hence air space in double pane windows, air space in down-filled apparel, air space in holofill, thermarest pads, etc. to reduce the occurrence of conducted heat transfer. Open air space - like that inside an air mattress - is not a good insulator in relation to convective heat transfer. The large, wide open air space in an air mattress contains nothing to prevent convective heat transfer - there is constant circulation (air current) in the wide open air space of an air mattress. Down, holofill, the filler in a Thermarest mattress, etc. create small air pockets which do not allow convective currents throughout the space between the outer and inner shell. Open air space is not a good insulator in relation to radiated heat transfer (unless the goal is to allow heat to radiate away for cooling purposes). Air allows the free travel of radiated heat away from the warmer object - think of that warm feeling sitting by the campfire. The open air space in an air mattress allows radiated heat to travel freely from your body/sleeping bag to the ground three or four inches away. Down, holofill, or other solids stop heat radiation directly to the ground, instead absorbing the radiated heat and releasing it primarily as conducted heat across the solid material. In a sleeping pad for instance, that means that the radiant heat transfer away from the body is stopped close to the body. Result is a slower progression of less heated space the further away from the heat source you get. In basic terms, that's why a regular air mattress doesn't work so well, but a Thermarest-type "air mattress" does. It's also why if one uses a cot in cold weather it's essential to use a pad on the cot and fill the large open air void under the cot.
  13. I'm one of the cot users, too. Use it year-round. Mine is a little different than those described above, though. It is a Byer Allagash cot; sits only about 6 inches above the ground and folds up as small as a typical collapsible outdoor chair. In winter I use it with a 3/4" closed cell foam pad on it, "0-degree" bag, wear fresh polypro long underwear and dry socks with a thin fleece sweatshirt and stocking cap. To fill the airspace under the cot (like ScoutNut) I stuff my coat and clothes worn that day under part of it and my clothes for the next day under the rest. Toasty all night unless nature inevitably calls - why does this only happen during the coldest of nights?
  14. OK, I'll bite . . . I'll be the contrarian. If this is a change-up from the typical way of doing things (full patrols), a "let's try it this way for once", or if there is indeed an underlying reason, why not? As a scout (dinosaur ages) and in the troop(s) I serve, there have been opportunities for full patrol (mostly), small(er) group, pair, and individual experiences. Each brings its own ways, methods, and learning experiences.
  15. From Guide to Safe Scouting (some wording abridged here to save space). See GTSS for complete info. Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts are permitted to participate in shooting activities outlined in the Cub Scout standards and in the standards listed. Boy Scouts are permitted to fire bows and arrows, BB guns, .22-caliber bolt-action, single-shot rifles, air rifles, shotguns, and muzzle-loading long guns under the direction of a certified instructor, 21 years of age or older, within the standards outlined in current Scouting literature and bulletins. BSA policy does not permit the use of handguns in the Boy Scouting program. All training and shooting activities must be supervised by a currently NRA-certified (shotgun, rifle, or muzzleloader as appropriate) instructor who is 21 years of age or older. Only Venturers may participate in handgun trianing / activities under the supervision of a currently NRA-certified pistol instructor or a pistol instructor of a local, state, or federal agency who is 21 years of age or older.
  16. The NAA/BSA certification is not intended to be an archery course - you would be correct that it does not qualify one to be an Archery MB counselor. It's intent is to cover the basics (how to introduce basic archery to the neophyte), safety practices and procedures to manage the range. The merit badge counselor application states " . . . to qualify as a merit badge counselor you must . . . be proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training." and further indicates that one explains that experience on the back side. A combination of the two would qualify one to be an Archery MB counselor / rangemaster at camp.
  17. Being the old conservative fart that I am, I still have the BSA tie. Haven't worn it for about five or six years though; currently our troop leaders do the casual route with no neckwear. I still like it for formal occassions such as COH, Eagle COH, etc. The shirt collar is not real good for a tie, though.
  18. JM: welcome to the forum. I enjoy your perspectives from another country and a different way of doing things all within the world brotherhood of scouting. Looking forward to more.
  19. Allow me to put this another way. I ask scouts working toward Eagle "Are you doing this for the badge, or for what the badge represents?" The same can be applied to Woodbadge. "Are you doing it for the beads or what the beads represent?" I would also offer that there's a reason it's called a "commencement" and not a "conclusion".
  20. I'm curious about the above statement. Do you mean to suggest that if a long-time committee member who has steadfastly (ignored/dodged/weasled out of) training suddenly sees the light, goes to training and successfully completes woodbadge, that their WB beads are somehow less worthy than those of the volunteer who gets trained early on for their position and continues steadily on through woodbadge? No, I do not mean to suggest that the person that has such a change of heart/attitude or "sees the light" is any less worthy. I do mean to suggest that the person that sees that training as a waste of time and effort or simply "not necessary" (for those many years and still today) until they suddenly needthose cards becausethose beads will give them the status, is. Can't people in both situations, and the unit they serve, still get an awful lot out of their wb experience? Yes, as you present the situation. In your view, should there be a mandatory waiting period between basic training and wb, or something like that? I'm not trying to be flip (well ok, not too flip - grin), I'm just not sure what you are getting at with the view you expressed above. No, I did not mean to imply that. Is this any different from the people who grumble that WB should be reserved for longtime leaders because those "newbie" leaders don't know enough about BSA/haven't paid their dues yet and don't "deserve" wb so early on? No, I did not say that nor mean to imply that.Sometimes, the scouter that's been around for a long time, has not been trained or has not kept up, may in fact be the worst-case scenario. This would be the "when I was a Scout . . .", "I've done it this way for years" type.Dues are paid by learning the program and following it to the best of ability, not byticking offthe years. A bad program of twenty years is no better than a bad program ofone year. Of course everyone really should get trained for their position as soon as possible. But then, we all know plenty of scouters who don't. If the desire to take WB is what motivates them to get off their duffs and get the basic training, hey, at least now they're trained. Agreed. My reference was to those who aresubverting the system. It would be hard to do the wb course, finish the tickets, and not become a more dynamic and effective volunteer in the process. Isn't that the main point? Yes, that is the point. The value of the course depends on what you put into it, what you want to get out of it, and how you apply the experience. From my perspective the process of education, training, and knowledge seeking never ends. I see wb more as a means than an end. That one simple sentence says it all. Are you doing it for the beads or for theexperience and what you will be able to offer after the experience. This is similar to some of the Eagle Scout discussions on the forum. PS - Cub leaders aren't required to do OLS as a pre-req. either, though some do anyway. Does that make their beads "worth" less than the troop leaders' beads? No, it does not. My reference was to committee members who were committee members on paper only and then used that to take advantage (subvert) the program. Myissue is those that see the beads solely as a status symboland get them by any shortcut possible. And who don't really understand the program any more when done than when they started.
  21. True . . . for the most part. Partly an internal issue; listed committee members who function primarily as ASMs, but use the committee position title so that it's not necessary to go through the SM/ASM training track. The other part is a take-off on my post above. Committee members who suddenly discover the wonders of Woodbadge after many years in scouting, then arrange or "abbreviated" specially arranged training classes to qualify for Woodbadge ("Damn the torpedoes . . .", let's jump straight to the top-tier leadership stuff). Youth protection? Essentials? Position-specific? Not until "getting the card" became critical for something else. And it's not just our unit. But that's fodder for another thread.
  22. Back to a possible overemphasis on leadership. I tend to agree, but maybe it's a function of the times - the tendency to jump straight to the top, never building or touching anything below. The problem is you might be able to build the house without a foundation, but the foundation will always be missing; and sooner or later it won't be a pretty picture. Becoming an Eagle Scout (scouting's ultimate badge of leadership) - isn't that what it's all about? How fast can I get there and with the least amount of output. Woodbadge - who needs any of that other stuff like Essentials, Outdoor Leader Training, etc anyway? I want to be a top-tier leader. (Please don't manipulate the thought . . . I didn't say Woodbadge is bad). And lest we focus too much on the Scouting program, this happens not just in Scouts (and Scouter) programs, but in other walks of life as well. I see it every day at work - I want to be a Chief and Chiefs don't need to use tools or pull hose or rappel from buildings or shore a trench. Too many Chiefs; not enough Indians. I may be on the wrong track, but my goal is to develop - or rather do my part to help develop - a young man with a firm footing, solid character, and leadership ability (not a finished leader) by the time he leaves the Scouting program. At whatever rank.
  23. Look at it as a total package. The methods include leadership development, outdoor programs and advancement (skills). The explanatory material after each method paints a pretty good picture. In the total package perspective, (scouting) skills are an adjunct to character and leadership development. First, the lad develops a skill set and one that has transferable applications (part of the later situational leadership game). The lad learns, conceptualizes, and successfully completes a set of basic skills. Many of these basic skills progress in difficulty - knots start with a basic square knot and progress through more difficult knots; cooking starts with assisting and progress through cooking for the patrol for an entire meal set. The scout learns to work the process (skill) through to successful completion. The skill set provides the foundational basis for later leadership. Good leaders have a thorough understanding of the foundation that holds up the organization, team, etc. - might not be a master of all skills, but have a very thorough understanding. Second, some of these sometimes labeled "irrelevant" skills are at times more relevant than one imagines. With emergency services involvement I regularly see, hear, and experience the helplessness of a significant part of the public when the poop hits the ocscilating blades. During a severe storm for instance, many are without a clue as to how to continue with basic living. Those knots can come in handy when a tarp needs to be placed across the damaged house. That first aid is always a handy skill. That axemanship and firebuilding can come in handy when the power is out for days. Map and compass skill has kept many an adventurer from meeting a disasterous end; and how does the fire department find you when the street signs are gone and half the roads are blocked? By map and compass, if you know how to use them. GPS/GIS - "A map with a bullet hole in it is still a map. A laptop GIS (computer) with a bullet hole in it is an expensive paperweight" (paraphrased). Leaders live by "Be Prepared." Study of management/leadership literature from the East emphasizes mastery of basic skill sets and basic concepts. (Book of Five Rings, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, and so on) Third, the skill process begins the leadership process. The lad learns, teaches, and leads. The skill is learned. In turn the lad teaches others (development of communications skills needed for effective leadership). The teaching (mentoring) lad begins to develop group dynamics and leadership. Successfully teaching others involves many of the of the things needed for leadership development - verbal communication, non-verbal communication, demonstrative communication. In teaching others the lad starts the leadership trail. Most often the lad with skill mastery and teaching (communications) ability morphs into one of the troop's leaders by default. Fourth, take the lad that now has the skill set and foundational knowledge/concepts, sprinkle in leadership skills and we are reaching the aims. The little ditty I posted earlier comes into play here. Good leaders understand followership (is that a word?). Watch a "leaderless group" assessment center exercise sometime. A group of all leaders each trying to be the leader. The leader that understands following (and contributing) often ends up with the consensus (leads) much to the chagrin of "dominant leader." Scouting should not be an all-skills or all-leadership development program - both are important in their own ways and compliment each other. It's not about square knots, it's not about axe skills, it's not about developing every lad into an outstanding leader - it's about the total program and total package. It's about the Aims and Methods - all of them.
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