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Everything posted by EagleBeaver

  1. Ban all Banning! :-) Like all tools, appropriate and safe use of electronic devices comes through education. The PLC of our troop adopted http://troop479.org/techchiptraining.pdf
  2. EagleBeaver

    Troop Management Software

  3. The form for the troop award tells what counts. "At least 50 percent of your troop must attend resident camp. On other campouts, at least 33 percent of your Scouts must be in attendance for each twenty-four-hour period to count as a camper day to qualify for the troop ribbons." And, what can count for individuals: "Individual Scouts and Scouters may qualify for the cumulative patch by participating in campouts with their families, patrols, or other groups." "A full day of camping counts as a "day", late arrival and early departure days together count as a "day"." The National Outdoor Challenge Unit Award supercedes the National Camping Award now. Scout On
  4. I take a diet soda and water bottle along. If I get bored or feel too relaxed, I open one of them and just sip from it. Having a bag of crunchy snacks along also gives me something to do. One potato chip each mile marker. :-) Those little super sour candies will give you a jolt too. I tell drivers the worst thing they can do is have an accident and the most embarassing thing they can do is get stopped for speeding. We aren't in a hurry to get anywhere and it's just fine to arrive 10 minutes after everyone else because you needed to stop at a gas station for a stretch, toilet break, or coffee/soda/energy drink. (We don't all drive bunched up, with everyone stopping if one does.) Scout On
  5. EagleBeaver

    Acceptable Attrition Rate?

    I tell scouts that join our troop that my job is to kick them out the door - when they turn 18. Pretty much everything I do up to that point is intended to help me fulfill my job, and the only way I can do it is to have them still involved at 18. So, acceptable attrition is 0% in my book. Anything above that is failure to some degree, for whatever reason. If a scout troop is not delivering the promise of adventure, I don't think it's because of BSA rules. Peak at http://www.troop479.org/ad.htm - I think adventure is still out there waiting. Maybe we need to push scouts towards it, but the BSA is not stopping us from experiencing it. The "adventure" is not MY adventure, it is the scouts' adventure. It's no longer exciting for me to shoot a .22 but every year it is the coolest thing for a new scout that never did it before. Scout On
  6. EagleBeaver

    New one on me - Eagle Scout project destroyed

    Scout on bench - http://triblocal.com/glenview/files/cache/2010/11/Scout.jpg/460_345_resize.jpg On http://triblocal.com/glenview/files/cache/2010/11/CT-GlenviewFire61.jpg/940_705_resize.jpg you can see the burned-out metal frames from the benches all lined up. If those frames aren't ruined, wouldn't it be cool to replace the burned out wooden slats with oak and have 8 reborn benches?
  7. EagleBeaver

    Rules? What Rules?

    I took a $3.00 check with pre-stamped, addressed envelope to the council office last Tuesday and asked for them to pass my request for the Regs and Bylaws to national. I received both documents today - no big deal, no problem, no conspiracy, no secrecy. On the first page of each document, it states: Councils may purchase additional copies for $1.50 each, which includes shipping and handling. Volunteers requesting copies of these publications must contact their local council which will forward their request and payment to: Boy Scouts of America, Office of the Chief Executive S400, PO Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079
  8. EagleBeaver

    First Class Requiement 3

    I've got two scouts in the troop this year flying through the requirements, but they invite their entire patrol to join them whenever they do anything for advancement. Yesterday, four of their patrol led me on a 5-mile hike - it was great! They'll finish 2nd Class requirements this weekend and 1st Class probably by January. I wouldn't dare tell them to slow down or they'd probably run right over me. :-) Your questions: 1. There are too many possibilities to have a definitive list. We use any activity approved and scheduled by the PLC for the troop, or any activity scheduled by a patrol and approved by the Scoutmaster. We do not use Eagle service projects, other troops may. 2. No. 3. If an adult has a concern, he should go to the person he has the concern with - in this case, the ASM that signed it off. Certainly not to your son. This would get addressed right away if I heard of it happening. I have to believe you are kidding when you mention just dropping your son off and pushing his SM conference out to next year. That would be silly. It doesn't really matter if there are any ASMs rubbed wrong by your son's advancement. No ASM approval is needed. As long as the SM and your son have a good relationship and the SM is ok with your son's advancement, he's got nothing to worry about. If the SM was concerned, he'd mention it to your son. Doing service for the joy of helping, rather than asking how many service hours it's worth, is a great role model your son is being to other scouts. Pitching in to help with his fellow scout's CoH is super. Completing all the requirements to earn Eagle by 14 is a great goal for a motivated scout, nothing wrong with it. You could show your son all the other BSA awards in the back of the "2010 Boy Scout Requirements" booklet. It's important to know that the Eagle rank is not the end of scouting and there's lots of other fun things to shoot for. The new "National Outdoor Badges" might be right down his alley, or a pile of "Eagle Palms". "Paul Bunyan Woodsman", "William T. Hornaday", and others include significant service projects.
  9. EagleBeaver

    Hot pot Tongs VS Lid Lifter

    I think you are asking for advice between lid lifter - http://www.dutchovencookware.com/lid-lifter.jpg and tongs - http://www.scoutstuff.org/BSASupply/ItemDetail.aspx?cat=01RTL&item=1215 We had both until the lifter was left at some campout recently. :-( The lifter keeps your hands away from the heat and requires much less hand strength, but it requires more coordination to prevent spilling of ash into the food. The tongs are half the price, useful for lots of other stuff, smaller and flatter, but require wearing a glove and strength to squeeze and lift. We have welding gloves that the scouts use and do fine with the tongs. Each patrol has their own tongs for whatever they need to use it. (I'd also point out that the tongs from BSA scout shop have a real cheap rivet that you should plan on replacing)
  10. EagleBeaver

    merit badge sash--identification

    For holding the sash in place, see http://www.scoutstuff.org/BSASupply/ItemDetail.aspx?cat=01RTL&item=14712
  11. EagleBeaver

    Seasoning a DO

    maybe it's not the oil - maybe it's the crud that didn't get cleaned out all the way. I've used canola and it works just fine for me, but I do all my DO work outside, usually on scout outings. I try to show a few scouts what I'm up to, too. Burning everything out of your DO and starting over should get rid of any weird smells. Then, first thing to cook in it is a batch of doughnuts. :-) Nothing but hot oil soaking into the pores. Scout On
  12. EagleBeaver

    Fire Piston

    The original post wondered if anyone had used fire pistons - yes, I have. I've ignited punky wood, fungus, milkweed fluff, not just charcloth. I carve/whittle one from a kit for each scout that reaches Eagle in our troop. See http://boyscouttrail.com/i/misc/firepiston1.jpg or http://boyscouttrail.com/i/misc/firepiston2.jpg They make good gifts because they are unique and fun. Scouts can supposedly make fire by rubbing two sticks together, but it impresses new scouts when you say you can make fire from just air. :-) Fire pistons aren't complicated. Drill a hole in a dowel, get a smaller dowel to shove in the hole, and that's it. Getting everything to fit good enough to work is more challenging, that's what the gasket is for. Instructions are pretty easy to find on the 'net. If you really want one, but don't want to pay that much - I give one away each month at boyscouttrail.com - maybe you could win one. So, you should not consider my view about them to be unbiased. Scout On
  13. EagleBeaver

    Mess kit cooking

    A small part of the reason may be that we aren't offering usable mess kits. The two mess kits you can buy at scoutstuff.org are a uber-cheap $10 aluminum piece of junk or a teflon-coated $36 one with a plastic cup and plate. Neither are appropriate for cooking over fire. It could be a fun campout if you could convince your PLC to have a "Personal Super Chef" competition where every scout has to plan, make, eat, and cleanup his own meal. Then, you could see how each scout tackles the challenge - maybe have a prize of a useful, strong mess kit for the champion. :-) According to the advancement requirements, a scout can now reach Eagle with having never lit a fire. Scout On
  14. EagleBeaver


    ( raisinemright: on the 1# bottles we use, it says "Never refill this cylinder. Refilling may cause explosion." The bottles also state federal law prohibits transportation of refilled bottles. ) --------------------- We use 1# bottles so each patrol is separate. The concept of sharing a large bottle comes up occasionally, but that pulls patrols into a tiny, crowded space and reduces their independence so it has not happened yet. When the scouts reduce the flame strength to just what is needed and disconnect the bottle as soon as they are done using it, the bottles last a lot longer. A bottle left connected tends to leak its contents overnight. It costs less than $1.00 per campout for the propane to cook 3 or 4 meals. I promote the use of gas backpacking stoves to reduce the waste of bottles and cannisters and the cost, but propane is fast and easy. Another way fuel costs go down is when patrols cook on real fires. Last weekend, 4 of the 7 patrols made something in a dutch oven - one patrol did all their cooking on fires.
  15. EagleBeaver

    New Tents

    Philmont documents say that 2-man tents are required there. But, it doesn't appear to be enforced. 2-man tents on any backpacking trek allow you to find appropriate tent spots more easily. We have 4-man tents for new scouts and then they 'graduate' into 2-man tents and pass the 4-mans to the next generation. There are usually 3 scouts in a 4-man tent. A full rainfly with enclosed vestibules rather than an open-ended fly makes a huge difference in keeping scouts and stuff dry. As other threads have said, scoutdirect.com does good discounts on good tents. In Boys' Life, there is a campingmaxx.com advertising, but I've not used them. Nothing can withstand the impact of boys. :-) We have tents assigned to patrols by the quartermaster. If the tent or parts of it need replacing, the patrol pays for it - broken poles, ripped rainflies, lost stakes all cost money. I believe this approach has helped limit tent problems, but there are still occasional rips and breaks.
  16. Historian could gather and preserve contact information for scouts that age out of the troop so alumni can be sent newsletters, invitations to Eagle CoHs, and the like. We have a board listing all Eagles and the Historian adds new names to that. We have adults volunteer to take photos at events, so the scout historian can participate fully rather than be photographer. But, he is responsible for publishing photos online in the troop website.
  17. EagleBeaver

    Do you do term limits or not?

    no term limits in this troop. In the past, a new SM has stepped up as the current SM's son ages out. I've identified a possible replacement now that my son is 16 and have started talking to him about it. Scout On
  18. EagleBeaver

    Building up troop membership

    We have a Scoutorama day the beginning of November inviting 4th and 5th grade Webelos to cycle through scout skill stations, earning wampum beads which they can exchange for cheap toys. Then, we have lunch and large-area games for an hour. Every Webelos gets a patch. The goal is to give them an opportunity to see what Boy Scouts are like and earn their Arrow of Light - we don't say anything about joining our troop. The goal on the other side is to give our younger scouts opportunities to lead small groups. It's about my favorite day of the year. I guess we also have a good story to tell when someone asks what we do. We do summer camp every year. In 2008, we did Philmont and Boundary Waters canoeing. Last year, we did our own high adventure to OR/WA. This year, we had 3 crews at SeaBase and 2 crews backpacking in the Bighorn Mountains of WY. (I'm actually leaving on that at 6am tomorrow :-) Listing our monthly campouts shows we're active year-round. When I explain how each monthly campout is planned and led by a different patrol, the parents get interested. When I tell them how many adults and youth we have trained in CPR and Wilderness First Aid and that their son's safety is my #1 concern, that seems to have an effect too. I think the best 'strategy' we use is that scouts do the talking and I stay out of the way for the most part. We spent some time before an event so we all understand what the goals are and who has which role. That seems to help the SPL, PLs, and others take on the challenge of addressing larger groups. Scout On
  19. EagleBeaver

    Ideas on Troop Librarian

    www.TroopKit.com has a Librarian area. Since using that, use of the troop library (and work for the Librarian) has increased and it's easy to see if a book is In, Reserved, or Out. The actual library is a couple big boxes of books that resides at the home of the current Librarian. The last Librarian just cleaned house just as Skipper described to make room for the new MBs.
  20. EagleBeaver

    Online Tour Permits--FRUSTRATION

    If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. After spending the last 70 minutes doing an online Natl Tour Permit, I don't have anything at all to say.
  21. EagleBeaver

    Eagle Ceremony Help Scouting by the Numbers...

    4 - minimum people to go on a hike 4 - national BSA high adventure bases (including the Summit) 7 - Leave No Trace princples 8 - patrol size needed for National Honor Patrol, or 'perfect' patrol size 9 - required 'knots' (square, two half hitches, tautline hitch, timber hitch, clove hitch, square, shear, diagonal lashings, bowlne) 10 - minimum troop/patrol activities required 11 - ranks from Bobcat to Eagle
  22. EagleBeaver

    miles/nights credit for non-scout outings

    For T-2-1 advancement requirements, the overnight activities need to be troop/patrol activities. Same for the Camping merit badge's 20 nights. But the Backpacking merit badge and individual National Camping Award are two examples that don't have the stipulation of "troop/patrol" activities. So, it seems to me that it depends on what sort of 'credit' HikerLou is talking about. I'm not sure what 'miles' HikerLou's refering to unless it's for the 50-miler or Hiking merit badge. Hiking m.b. doesn't require troop/patrol hikes, but does require written plans and follow-up reports, so that's probably easy to not count in this case. Scout On
  23. A "new scout patrol" is not "Webelos 3", at least it doesn't need to be. With a strong Troop Guide, an NSP is a great way for energetic, excited new scouts to soak in scouting skills, learn how patrols work, and figure out that they're in charge. It's been my experience that after 6 months of having an experienced scout showing them the ropes, they nearly always want to take off on their own, keeping their patrol intact. Ensuring the troop's program, leadership, and style fits your son's needs is important. http://www.boyscouttrail.com/library/troop_questions.asp has a list of questions to consider asking each troop you consider joining.
  24. EagleBeaver

    Scout Priorities and Responsibilities (Vent)

    One of my favorite pictures of the past year is of 'Billy' working on a social studies assignment at a picnic table on a campout with other scouts running around in the background during 'free time'. I've used that image a couple times as an example of self-motivation. My personal opinion as a father with two sons taken/taking advanced high school classes: expected hours to be put into homework outside of school has gotten excessive. Some teachers of these classes give out many of these 'surprise' assignments which adversely impact extra-curricular activities. Another word for 'extra-curricular activities' is 'life'. And, as my oldest likes to say, "School IS my job." Scout On
  25. EagleBeaver

    Your favorite Dutch Oven recipe is..........

    Our favorites are listed at http://www.boyscouttrail.com/recipes.asp - PECS and Pizza are popular. This past Saturday, we tried "CowBoy Stew" for the first time and it was great. (http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/recipe/cowboy_stew-1314.asp)