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Everything posted by EagleBeaver

  1. EagleBeaver

    Eagle Porject ideas

    For some recent projects, See http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/project/recent_eagle_scouts-1672.asp Or http://www.boyscouttrail.com/rss/eaglescoutprojects.php A project is more likely to be successful, rewarding, and useful if the scout is passionate about the organization he helps or the general topic of the project, such as conservation, sports, or theater. If it's something presented to him by his parent or scoutmaster, it tends to be just more work and not 'his' creation.
  2. EagleBeaver

    uniform tents

    If a consistent tent is used throughout the troop, some benefits are: - recognizable as 'our' campsite - cannibalization of broken tents for parts - easier for quartermaster to inventory and replace - easier to fix - longer life, passed down the generations - less expensive - less campsite space needed We've got 4-man and 2-man tents, all Alps Mountaineering Taurus. The quartermaster issues 4-mans to the new scout patrols. The next year, they can exchange usable 4-mans for 2-mans - getting ready for high adventure and helping the next new scouts. Since they're all the same look, mixing them still keeps each patrol looking like a single unit. Our patrols implement either the "straight-line" or "shotgun scatter" tent formation, depending on amounts of flat space, darkness, and rain. It's up to them. Two scouts did nickname their personal tent "The Taj" at summer camp last year - a 3-room family tent with screen porch for just two guys.
  3. Parents give permission to the adult volunteers at a scout event to administer over-the-counter medication. Each scout is responsible for self-administering prescription medication. As scoutmaster, I will hold the medications for safe-keeping if the parents ask me to and I will remind him that it's time for his medications. Pretty much like it's written in the G2SS.
  4. EagleBeaver


    "Rather than banning electronic devices, by teaching courteous use scouts and adults can take advantage of technology to create a safer outdoors experience without reducing the value of the experience for others." That is the stand our troop takes on the subject after discussions with adults and scouts. I expect you'd need to look far and wide to find a troop where the PLC has discussed the issue and voted for a "No Electronics" policy. I expect you'd have to search even farther to find one where all scouts in the troop are following the policy. A "zero tolerance" approach is a demonstration of adult-driven troops, rather than scout-led. Electronics use is a great opportunity for the scouts to set their guidelines, own them, and follow them. As scoutmasters or other adult volunteers, our preferences shouldn't count for much. I'd much rather never hear a beep, ringtone, or alarm once I set foot outside my door. But, if I'm forcing rules to suit my comfort and enforcing that by taking away personal gear, then I missed something along the way about why I'm here. I'm here to help prepare scouts to make ethical and moral choices. This is yet another way scouts can learn to make those choices. If the scouts include the proper use of these devices in their guidelines and training, then they should get to use them, as any other equipment. The scouts in our troop present this electronics training to new scouts just like they do the Totin' Chip and Firem'n Chit training. We call it the "Tech Chip" - you're free to use the short training plan we use at http://troop479.org/techchiptraining.pdf (the cards are a fundraiser of our troop, just to be transparent)
  5. EagleBeaver

    Multiple Summer camps?

    The scouts in this troop have settled into scheduling a fairly consistent 3-year plan of: - Either Seabase or Philmont in June for 12 days. - One week at council summer camp in mid-July. - Scout-planned high adventure in August - mountain backpacking for a week or canoeing for 4 days. This flipflops each year to counter the sailing or backpacking of Seabase or Philmont. Some scouts that miss the troop summer camp or want to complete another round of merit badges attend "All-Star Camp" at the council camp. This pulls individual scouts from various troops into a single camping group. They always love it.
  6. EagleBeaver

    Crossover Tonight

    We've consistently grown by about 6-8 scouts the past 5 years and just got 30 this month to pop from 54 to 84 scouts. This winter, we just moved to a larger area since we were pressing the walls out on our location. I believe an 85-scout troop is too large to offer the opportunity, community, and unity available in a 30- to 40-scout troop. I started research into splitting last year and plan to pursue that so this time next year, before we break 100, there are plans in place to plant a new crop in a fresh field. Scout On
  7. EagleBeaver

    Den Chiefs

    There is online training for Den Chiefs as well as a good Den Chief Handbook. You should supply that to the den chief scout so he can be successful. It also describes what should be expected of a den chief. It would absolutely NOT be appropriate to recruit a den chief with the hopes he would help a struggling den. That is completely unfair to the scout and a set-up for failure. Instead, that poor den leader should be trained and coached to improve, or replaced. See http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/AboutCubScouts/ThePack/csdcf.aspx for the Den Chief responsibilities. And, if the den chief enjoys his first couple months, he might stick around a whole year and earn the Den Chief Service award. We have a scout doing that this year. See http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/dencf.aspx Scout On
  8. EagleBeaver

    New positions

    There are descriptions at http://www.bsahandbook.org/PDFs/troop.pdf The BSA National Outdoor Ethics Task Force says the LNT Trainer description is incorrect and is having it redone to be something like: Leave No Trace Trainer The troop Leave No Trace Trainer teaches members the principles of Leave No Trace, improves Scouts' outdoor ethics decision making skills, that helps minimize the impact on the land. The senior patrol leader may appoint a Scout, 14 years or older, who has successfully completed the official 16-hour Leave No Trace Trainer training course to serve as the troop Leave No Trace Trainer. A Scout under the age of 14, or who has not completed Leave No Trace Trainer training may serve as an Instructor teaching Leave No Trace skills until he obtains the necessary training.
  9. EagleBeaver

    philmont prep tips and equipment

    If he's growing, buying boots too soon might mean needing another pair next summer. Maybe hold off to buy the boots he will use a few months before the trek. There is just as much 'breaking in' your body as your gear. Your shoulders, waist, thighs, feet all should be used to the rubbing and pressure of your gear. This doesn't take 18 months though - starting a few months before the trek takes care of that. It's never too early to start working on strength, though. Trek poles mean more weight, more bulk, and more impact on the trail. They distribute the work over more muscles, but require more overall work. They are helpful on Ups and Downs, but not flats. Borrowing a pair to try is a good idea if he can try them on more vertical trails. For sleeping bags, it can freeze but it probably won't. A 30 degree bag on a foam pad is what I've used twice. Scout On
  10. EagleBeaver

    When is too much emphasis placed on uniforms?

    "Where does one draw the line with expecting a full uniform for scout activities?" In my view, it is when the scout is denied something because he is not wearing the uniform. Since uniforms are not required, their wear is highly encouraged but not mandatory. If a reward is given because of proper attire, that is not denying something. If a scout is denied a scoutmaster conference, board of review, ... because he has no uniform, that is over the line. Regarding Klondikes and winter camping specifically, requesting scouts to wear uniforms can be unsafe since they are not appropriate attire for outdoor wear in sub-freezing temperature. On a side, the best thing that ever happened for uniforming in our troop was the 1/2 price sale of zip-off pants. Virtually everyone got them, but now older scouts having grown a few inches have not purchased new pants for their last year or two of scouting. I'll second the eBay.com option for pants - I've gotten two pair there.
  11. EagleBeaver

    Tech Chip

    Electronics in scouting has been a very (un?)popular topic over the past year here and pretty much everywhere. Some people absolutely do not allow electronics. I understand that's the way they've chosen to run their unit and am not trying to change that. Our troop created a "Tech Chip" training and wallet card, along the lines of Totin' Chip, to promote proper use of personal electronics. It's a short, scout-taught intro to set expectations. I prepared the SPL, ASPL, and a PL and they presented the topic to 15 scouts at this past weekend's campout. After, the scouts I asked could recite their responsibilities. A few were just excited to have another wallet card. :-) You can use the Tech Chip session for your troop or pack - see http://troop479.org/techchiptraining.pdf
  12. EagleBeaver

    Webelos Patrol crossing over into BoyScouts

    I might talk with the 3 Webelos and their parents in February and challenge them. It's a great opportunity for them to identify some friends that were not in Cub Scouts but might enjoy Boy Scouts, and invite them to check it out. Spring of 5th grade is an excellent time to start scouting since it's a whole new ballgame whether the new Scouts were Webelos or not. Scout On
  13. EagleBeaver

    National Camping Awards--Troop and Individual

    TwoCubDad, The award info (in its many forms) is at http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/award/award-874.asp - the link to the award form is there, and it says: "Record-keeping procedures: 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." Oak Tree, You didn't ask, but on the individual form it says: "You may qualify for the cumulative award and count your days since Jan. 1, 1991 (while you were a Boy Scout/Scouter, no Cub Scouts)." Scout On
  14. EagleBeaver

    National Camping Awards--Troop and Individual

    We do. We use Troopmaster to track unit and individual camping. We do 17 outdoor nights, plus summer camp and high adventures each year, for around 30 nights. The award has three forms - annual unit, cumulative unit, and cumulative individual. The individual has 4 levels - 100, 250, 500, 1000 nights. We have 3 or 4 scouts earn the individual 100 nights award each year. We've had 3 scouts earn the 250 nights award - working on camp staff may count and camping with family counts. The troop usually gets the Bronze award each year and we're working towards the Silver cumulative unit award. There are minimum participation requirements to count your unit camping - 50% at summer camp and 33% on weekend campouts. I distribute the award tracking form to new scouts when they join. When the Troopmaster records indicate they've done around 90 nights with the troop, I give them the form again with a report from Troopmaster. After that, it's up to them to complete the form. The award info (in its many forms) is at http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/award/award-874.asp Scout On
  15. EagleBeaver

    Christmas wish for your unit

    I'm with BrentAllen on this one - a Scout Hut! We'll be moving to a new church location in March since we're bouncing off the walls, floor, and ceiling where we are now, having grown over the past few years. But, I get envious when I hear about Scout Huts - places specifically for a scout unit where they can have 'patrol corners' and set it up in a permanent manner rather than rolling in on Monday night and then doing the Leave No Trace thing after each meeting. :-) Oh, peace on earth would be good too, along with two more backpacking stoves, and one of those "BSA 2010" flagpole top ornaments. Scout On
  16. EagleBeaver

    US Mint reveals design for Scouting coin

    Good luck to everyone wanting a coin - including me! But, with just 350,000 being made, what's the real likelihood of getting one, let alone a handful? Do you have to know somebody that knows somebody that has a friend in the mint? :-) I'll put in my order and cross my fingers, toes, and eyes. I expect they'll be available at a high premium in the after-market right away, so I guess it's just a matter of how much a person is willing to spend. For me, $50 for a gift to two Eagle sons I could take, but $100? $150? hmmmmmm, I might be too practical. Scout On
  17. We've laid out an orienteering course at a local park. See http://troopkit.com/o.jpg for the map that scouts are given. At each waypoint, there is a code that they write on their map. They can choose the path to reach each waypoint. There are also a few key items at some waypoints which they estimate for height or width. A "compass course" is a great exercise for compass skills, but I don't believe it does justice to the First Class #2 requirement which emphasizes map use in the field. When we're in wilderness, scouts will have a map and landmarks and topography around them - that's what they'll need to use to navigate and that's what an orienteering course provides. And, it's really a lot of fun! I just purchased orienteering maps for the troop for five parks in the area and am really looking forward to the spring to explore new places with the new scouts! Scout On
  18. At the PLC meeting, the SPL announces who the 'service patrol' and 'program patrol' are for the next few upcoming troop meetings. The service patrol does set-up and clean-up. The program patrol comes up with activities, games, and skills which are approved by the PLC. This way, each patrol leader comes up with fun, interesting activities only about twice every six months. That distributes the leadership tasks and reduces the whining about boring meetings - a patrol tends to not complain about its own activities and some try to come up with new ideas. The scoutmaster trains the SPL at the start of his term to make sure he understands the parts to a troop meeting, the importance of 'fun' and 'active', and providing him with resources for activities that he can share with the patrol leaders. We have the Troop Program Resources and Features books, but scouts tend to use www.BoyScoutTrail.com for a good selection of activities, and there are other sites too.
  19. EagleBeaver

    How Do YOU Do Youth Leader Training

    Here's the agenda from our Sept. TLT - http://troop479.org/tltagenda.pdf We have an SPL election every 6 months and the new SPL arranges a date for his TLT right away. The Scoutmaster meets with SPL/ASPL for about an hour of training and planning. Then, the SPL/ASPL prepare for and lead most of the TLT. They also solicit help for some parts from other advanced scouts or do it themselves. It takes from 3.5 to 4 hours including about 1 hour of lunch and breaks with games. Plus, some parts of the training are games and activities. There's snacks and drinks available all day. The SPL also decides if the troop planning session is done in conjunction with the TLT or at a different date. We have an 8th grade SPL and ASPL now and they ran an excellent TLT 6 weeks ago. Youth training is ongoing. After the TLT session, the Scoumaster meets separately with the SPL and ASPL about every 2 weeks. He checks in with each other position monthly (theoretically). We also have an adult volunteer for each leadership position that acts as mentor - a resource for the scout to get advice and assistance as they need.
  20. EagleBeaver

    Your thoughts on Den size?

    I can think of no advantage for the cub scouts in having a mega-den. The advantage is just for the parents that can remove themselves from committing to a role. As a group this big moves through the years, they miss out on the growing responsibilities and decisions that should be passed on to them. Few get to be denners, lead activities, and feel ownership of their den. Just slogging along with the crowd instead of navigating a new trail will degrade the scouting experience for most of them. Scout On
  21. EagleBeaver

    First Class in a year

    Our troop offers a program that allows a scout to complete T-2-1 requirements in 12-16 months, but very, very few actually do that. Each scout advances at his own rate, diverted from participating in scouting by school, sports, vacation, ... - each a different variable for each scout. In general, we see around 6 to 8 months per rank on average. Scout On
  22. EagleBeaver

    Scouting article - Cub Cold Weather Camping

    On the flip-side, we have a council-run campout for Webelos this weekend and forecast for snow and 29F degrees.
  23. EagleBeaver

    What would you have done...?

    I would have had the SPL with me doing the check-in and site selection. After meeting the other troop, he and I would have discussed our options. If he made the decision to settle for the other site rather than enforce our reservation, then there's nothing to worry about, no revenge, no wrongs done, no bad taste - the troop decided. If I made that decision without him, then the troop doesn't have ownership of the decision and may feel wronged. Your story makes me wonder what the talk was like at that other site after you moved on. Did they feel like they got away with something? What did their scouts learn? Were their scouts part of the decision?
  24. We have a TLT session twice a year, right after elections. Right before that, I (as SM) spend a couple hours with the SPL and ASPL training them on their duties. Right after the TLT, the SPL and patrol leaders come up with 6 events for a year out. At that time, each patrol leader chooses which event his patrol will be responsible for planning. With 6 patrols, each patrol leader plans an event during his term. He has assistance from an ASM and can use http://boyscouttrail.com/library/campoutplan.asp to cover most planning. At each monthly PLC meeting, each patrol leader has something like http://boyscouttrail.com/docs/plannertroopmeeting.pdf that the SPL and gang work through to plan upcoming troop meetings.
  25. EagleBeaver


    It sure sounds to me like you're the perfect candidate - experienced, son in troop, well-known, conflicted, but not completely adverse to taking on the position. Maybe you could make a commitment to be SM until your daughter is 14, then become a Crew Advisor for her. That might be something for her to look forward to. If your son and daughter were both 14-21, they might both be in the crew with you. If your wife likes adventure, she could be involved and no one is left out. :-) Scout On