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About alki

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  1. Camping Hiking Personal Fitness Backpacking Orienteering Wilderness Survival
  2. Yes, again emb021 is right. Our SOP on rechartering is to match the church youth group's membership list to the charter roster, with the addition of any non-LDS Scouts we have participating. No comment on the 2 troops thing since I haven't run into that problem yet. I do have youth co-registered in Varsity Teams, Venturing Crews, and Learning For Life units. Some of these units are non-LDS.
  3. This thread got me thinking about some of my winter camping experiences in Scouting and with my dad: - My first Klondike Derby in Connecticut, I forgot mittens and a hat. Dad snuck away to a gas station and returned with snowmobile mittens and a Pittsburgh Steelers stocking cap. Saved my life. - Troop outing in the Buckhorn on the Olympic Peninsula. Had a huge snowball fight with a frozen pond as no-man's-land. Had to thaw out the fuel lines on our rides home with coals on a garbage can lid. Dad's idea. - High adventure trip to Hurricane Ridge. Blizzard closed down the road and lodge after we were already up there. Snowed 17 inches that night. Slept with a propane bottle under my armpit so I could have hot chocolate the next morning. Yep, Dad's idea.
  4. I'm an LDS Scouter. emb021 explained the Sunday issue very well. Here's an excerpt from the booklet mentioned: "The [LDS] Church does not approve of hiking or camping trips on Sunday. [LDS] Scouts and other [LDS] youth groups should not travel to or from camps or youth conferences on Sunday." I added the "LDS" to clarify that the audience of this booklet is adult leaders of LDS-chartered units. LDS Scouts are not required to be in an LDS unit, just as non-LDS Scouts are welcomed in LDS units. Many LDS Scouts (in LDS units) are co-registered in non-LDS units.
  5. Our unit has been tasked with producing a High Adventure experience that is low-cost and local. The boys discussed this and at first decided that they would do a 50-miler in the ranch/farm country around our city. Then the idea to make it a race was proposed and you could see their pupils dilating. Has anyone carried out an "adventure race" before for Scouts? Are there any units in South Texas (or even further away) that would be interested in competing? This is not a fundraiser, again, keeping with the mandate given us by our chartered org. The cost is $75 per boy. Our boys are hammering out the details in a registration packet that will be available before Christmas. If you have experience with this kind of thing, please post quickly so we can incorporate your advice into our plan. Here's the skinny on what the competition will be like: Stage One, Cycling and Backpacking 10 miles, First Aid Competition at simulated accident; Stage Two, Backpacking 10 miles, Service Project; Stage Three, Backpacking 10 miles, Tracking El Chupacabra through the ranches; Stage Four, Backpacking 10 miles, Rock Climbing/Rappelling Competition; Stage Five, Canoeing, Portaging, and Backpacking 10 miles, Rifle Shooting Competition. Course will end with a pool party, bbq, and awards ceremony. Competitors must be 14-20 years old and registered with BSA. Dates: August 4-8, 2008. Place: Laredo, Texas. This is a team competition made up of 8-man teams.
  6. I, too, have struggled with the ambiguity in the insignia guide over "cluttering." I'm at peace with myself now that I have one uniform with all my knots, interpreter's strips, etc. [for roundtable and special events] and one [for general wear] that is "plain jane." My wife is helping me make displays of my Cub and Boy Scout youth awards. My red, white, and blue surfer shorts (swim trunks with pockets!) have my BSA Lifeguard, Snorkeling BSA, and Mile Swim patches. I've noticed that people listen to me more when I'm wearing the knee-high uniform socks and my WoodBadge neckerchief with beads smartly wrapped around them.
  7. This started at a winter camp a few years ago when the temperatures were too cold for us to have fires. [Freezing temps in Texas = no running water to most of camp = no fires] Instead of huddling together in our campsites for warmth after the day's activities, we decided to get active. I sent the buddy groups to various high points in camp, all toting two-way radios, flashlights, and Morse Code sheets. They were to reach their positions without drawing undue attention to themselves. Then we played "telephone" by sending coded messages with the flashlights around the camp. We used the radios to discuss what the message should have been, as well as to do buddy checks. Upon coming back, many of the groups had seen wildlife, etc., that they would not have normally seen. They overheard some camper from another troop saying that they heard "ghosts walking around camp", hence the name... They've taken this to another level, now. They choose clothing and equipment that allows them to melt into their campsites, they speak only in whispers or hand signals, and they don't light fires. I even saw one young man wiping his tracks away from his bedding spot. Capture-the-Flag and Sardines are our units' favorite games... which develops these skills in the younger scouts. Again, bear in mind this is a small group of 16-18 year olds. Our 11-13 year olds practice "stampede of wild elephant camping."
  8. Great photos!! I especially like that the uniforms have simple, uncluttered, insignia.
  9. alki

    Camo vs. SAR

    I can't honestly say that it was my idea, more a spin-off of an activity we did at a winter camp. The idea is fairly simple. Avoid drawing attention to yourself by being seen, heard, or smelled. I don't let them do it unless they each have two-way radios and signalling devices. All other safety precautions (buddy system, etc.) are standard and accepted. Not sure how this would work in a large unit, but the Venturing Crew that does it only numbers 6 active members. If you'd like some more details about how they do this, we oughta spin-off a new thread...
  10. Some of our boys went to Tom Hale Scout Reservation in Oklahoma this summer. I was pleasantly surprised to get a packet with hard-copies of an obviously electronic "blue card." I even received "partials" with the appropriate boxes dated and initialed. The counselor's name was printed on there, all signatures were present, and they even used blue paper! Even though it was a single sheet, I cut them immediately into thirds and gave the boys their copies. I don't know how to get this e-version of the blue card, but if you run a scout camp, you'll make a lot of friends by using it.
  11. I apologize that my frustration with bureaucracy came out and soured our discussion. Please forgive me. [Je suis dsol que ma frustration avec le bureaucratie a rat notre discussion. Je t'en prie de me pardonner.] I should correct my earlier statement that said a newly-elected scoutmaster "must" quickly be trained if they aren't already. The truth is, unfortunately, that a scoutmaster may go many years without training. If a scoutmaster breaks rules, frequently it is the chartered organization and the Boy Scouts of America that are sued [pursued in justice], not the individual scoutmaster. In the US, there is no training requirement, just a training recommendation. This training is conducted by the national organization (BSA), so it is the same for any chartered organization (church, school, etc). Hugolin - Who conducts your training? Is it the Scout Federation or the Guides? How long is this training? What topics are included in this pedagogy? [sure hope I used this word right. ]
  12. alki

    Camo vs. SAR

    Just so the color of clothing doesn't become more important than the buddy system and adequate/qualified supervision... In our ESAR post, we all had blaze orange caps but many of us had Swedish military trousers (wool that wore like chain-mail) and warm woolen sweaters (hard to find back then in anything but OD and navy). We also stuck to our buddies like glue. The Olympic Peninsula was a place that few walked out of alive if lost. Our blaze orange caps would disappear within 20 feet. Outdoor ethics also infer that your clothing, tents, etc., not mar the wild landscape that others may have travelled great distances to enjoy. A great compromise is to have a reversible jacket with blaze on one side and a more natural tone on the other. Our older scouts now practice something called "ghost camping" where their goal, beyond Leave No Trace, is not to be noticed by neighboring campers... really trips out other groups at camporees who think our campsite is still "open."
  13. trevorum - Yes, I was in France as a missionary for 22 months. I lived in Angouleme, Cholet, Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz, Bordeaux, and Cahors. Absolutely loved it. It's been awhile, though, so my French is comparable to a "vache espagnole". hugolin - Un certificat d'entranement avant de devenir chef scout n'xiste pas ici. Au contraire, on est lu chef scout, comme Trevorum a dit, et puis on dois assister (tout de suite!) sois-mme aux entranements si tu n'y tiais jamais. Le gouvernement amricain n'a rien faire avec a. Le BSA dirige tous ces runions pour toutes les organisations qui veulent adopter les "Methods of Scouting." Est-ce qu'il y a un diplme de chef scout donn par l'tat en France? Comment es-tu devenu chef scout? [There is no training requirement before becoming a scoutmaster here. In fact, once you're elected scoutmaster, as Trevorum stated, you must (quickly!) get yourself trained if you haven't already. The US Government has nothing to do with this. The BSA oversees this for all the (chartered) organizations that want to adopt the Methods of Scouting. Is there a Scoutmaster Diploma given by the French government? How did you become a scoutmaster?
  14. concerned - I don't believe that "going up the chain of command" ecclesiastically is the best way to approach this problem. Firstly, let's make sure the units WE work with are the safest possible. I asked our ecclesiastical leader to "call" a health & safety officer for our committee. He did. This officer's goal is to help us earn the Ready & Prepared Award [to give structure to his ultimate aim of making us safer]. He just happens to have 35 years experience of this for the DOD and DOE. Secondly, I wouldn't be surprised if something isn't already "in the works." The new General YM President for the LDS Church also works for their legal counsel. Let me make some calls to see if there's a solution forthcoming and, if so, how we can facilitate this. Thirdly, talk to every new LDS scout leader and every BSA DE you can. Any BSA DE that works with LDS units should be aware of the turnover rate and be doubling up their efforts to train these leaders. Every new LDS scout leader should be directed to the DE to get proper training. There's no "hand-off" period in LDS units, so the only way for effective training to happen is through the District. Don't give up on either organization. They may be divinely inspired, but they're still human...
  15. concerned - Thanks for addressing this. I believe that you have been prompted by a higher power. I would really like to help in pursuing this through the most diplomatic means possible. My personal observation has been that a small number [statistically] of highly-motivated LDS unit leaders have shouldered running the Scouting program. This is often with little or no tangible support from parents or ecclesiastical leaders. I think it's obvious that the significant factor in the deaths mentioned is a lack of adequate, qualified supervision. [Though I hope that reputable studies will continue to explore the relationships between Scouting casualties and other factors.] Within the current parameters of LDS Church policy and BSA policy, however, what are some possible solutions? A letter from LDS Church leadership is enough to establish doctrine and policy to all LDS ecclesiastical units. If a link is acknowledged between these incidents and poor adult leadership, what could this letter possibly say to prevent this? How could it be approached without crippling the program [ie getting rid of high adventure all together]? I really like the BSA Ready & Prepared Award, but I'm undecided as to how that should be tied in to this discussion [so I just thought I'd blurt it out]. Bro. Campbell Scoutmaster/Coach/Advisor - Canyon, Texas BYU '99 Boy Scout - Indian Trails & Sagamore Councils [LDS units] Varsity Scout - Chief Seattle Council [LDS unit] Explorer Search & Rescue - Kitsap County Sheriffs Dept [non-LDS unit] Unit Commissioner - Utah Nat'l Parks Council [LDS units] Unit Commissioner - Golden Spread Council [LDS units] Scoutmaster - France [LDS units] P.S. Myself, another adult, and 4 boys just completed mountain biking the White Rim Road in Canyonlands NP. Got all of our permits, didn't make any mention of Scouts [less rangers trying to talk you out of doing stuff]. Had a great time because we were prepared and had trained for months. One boy suffered a week-long corneal ulcer [upon return] because he didn't realize he needed to take his contacts out during our afternoon naps. This brings up another point: 1) Are there other casualties that should be grouped with the statistics we're looking at but aren't because they didn't identify themselves as scouts?
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