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Posts posted by allangr1024

  1. 33 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

    There's a document out on scouting.org that seems to discourage many of the common practices that enable merit badge events (like fairs, universities, etc.) and that also seems to discourage bad practices that are very common in almost all merit badge summer camps and winter camps.

    I wonder if this will indicate a trend away from the current merit badge mills that prevail across the country...

    The document is "Merit Badge Group Instruction Guide" and is available here:

    Some interesting points that appear there...

    • "Group instruction should be focused on those scenarios where the benefits are compelling"
    • "The focus must on the quality of the Scout's counseling experience, and not on the number of Scouts who can take a class or complete a badge."
    • "Simply taking notes, completing a workbook, or listening during a group instruction session does not constitute completing a requirement"
    • "For many badges---perhaps even most of them---partial completion is not only acceptable but expected from a merit badge event."
    • "most classes should be small"
    • "Group tasks do not fulfill requirements..."
    • "...completing a worksheet does not constitute completing a requirement."


    I am glad to hear of this direction.  I do not think that these MB events serve anyone very much, except in the case of earning a small badge, like finger printing, which can normally be done in one sitting anyway.  Certainly Eagle Required badges should require effort, accomplishment, and skill or knowledge acquiring.  When I see thirty scouts come out of a First Aid badge class with a signed blue card at the end of the day, I am pretty sure they will not know a lot about first aid by the next camp out.  But they will receive a badge at the next COH.

    And I have seen scouts learn to "work the system" in order to get badges by using the least amount of effort.  I have seen indications that the scouts find out who will pass a requirement by sitting in a class and who will make the scout literally do the requirements.  

    Two of the most important reasons to do merit badges is to find a life long interest, and for the scout to have healthy relationships with caring adults.  I am not sure that the MB event format contributes to either of these things.  So I am glad that BSA is tightening up these events.

    • Upvote 2
  2. On 7/13/2019 at 6:04 AM, scoutldr said:

    The only problems I see are the tent flaps are not properly rolled up.  Points off on inspection!  Also, if it rains, that rug is going to get wet .

    Some of the tents at our council camp do not have the straps to tie up the tent flaps any more. The tent straps tore away long ago and we will not see them again until the tent is replaced with a new one with buckles.

  3. 1 hour ago, Double Eagle said:

    The hammock may be a climate or weather popular thing.  Growing up on the Canadian border, give me a tent and straw bottom layer in cold weather.  I can't imagine hanging in the cold between Oct -May.  I think summer months and warm temps its ok.  In L.A. (Lower Alabama), I see a lot of hammocks as the thing to catch any breeze, and stay away from fire ants and such.  Seems your gear is still exposed and you have to climb out to get dressed in the open, have to figure a way to keep a waterbottle and light nearby, and rig an awning.  I'm still a tent guy.      

    It is all about the gear.  You should know that you have to insulate your underside, and equip yourself to do so.  I have been using a hammock as an adult leader since 2007, and I have missed few camp outs, either winter or summer.  For years I used my ground pad inside the hammock for insulation, with my 20 degree sleeping bag zipped open and draped over me.  This year I started using a DIY under quilt attached to the outside bottom of the hammock, and that keeps me warm down to the 30's. 

    I had to conclude back then that my tired old body could not handle being a ground dweller any longer, and the options for getting off the ground; cot or air mattress, were just too heavy and only suitable to car camping.   Then I found this article by a Scoutmaster from the state of Maine (https://mormonsite.wordpress.com/camping-in-a-hammock/), and tried out a similar system.  I have not been on the ground since.  It can be as cheap or as pricey as you like.  You can spend hundreds on a backpacking tent, and hundreds on a high end hammock.  But the difference is stark.  You have to try it.


  4. I went to Philmont in 2005, and my pack started out at 35 pounds.  Then they added 15 pounds of food and water.  You are looking at a base weight of 20.  Not hard to do these days, but you have to plan carefully and look at the gear you want to carry.


  5. I really see the Scouting movement splintering, with each of the splinter groups going off and creating their own Scouting organizations.  We saw this happen with Trail Life five years ago, and now we see the LDS groups going off to do their own program.  That is already three Scouting groups out there, and the programs will be similar because the people who leave the BSA will still implement a program that they are familiar with.  Who will be next?  The Catholics?  I hear that they have a program in the planning just waiting for an impetus to launch.  What will that be?  Further changes to BSA membership policies?  How about Muslim or Jewish splinter groups.  Is there anything that the BSA is doing that are objectionable to these groups?  mmm.....

    The main thing the BSA has going for it is that control is still dispersed to the local level.  Units can make most of the decisions, and districts and councils do things at a local level.  If these two want to buck the National organization, they can do stuff quietly and not be noticed.  The other thing the BSA has is the Eagle Scout award, which still is something valuable in the minds of the public.  It is a big selling point, and the best marketing tool in the BSA toolbox.  

    Among Scouters I know, the big problem BSA has in all is the perception that they are in it for the money.  We changed membership policies so we could garner corporate donations.  We tweek the guide to safe scouting and OA traditions and practice to avoid lawsuits.  Of the Trail Life folks I know, this attitude, and not gay acceptance, has driven the break away attitude.  National needs to shake off this perception, but I don't know how it will happen.


  6. You know, even though the BSA has been trying to get us to stop using the term "Class A uniforms"  and "Class B uniforms",  and instead use terms like "Field Uniform", I rarely hear the sanctioned terms, and much more often hear about Class A's or Class B's.

    If there is such reluctance to change the usage of terms to refer to clothing,  how much more so will there be resistance to talking about people and groups in terms that have been in use for generations.  You are not going to find this change occurring unless the Scouts BSA enforcement division steps in and starts revoking peoples membership for infractions of the naming conventions.  They will do it fairly, giving offenders a certain number of chances to get it right.  Something like:  3 strikes and you'r out.



  7. On 4/5/2019 at 9:49 PM, TLUSA said:

    I understand where you're coming from. There have been times where I wish my organization would stop obsessing over the competition and just focus on themselves for once. 


    It is good to hear from you.  In my area there are only 3 real TL troops, and they have been set up as either extensions of or replacements for the church youth ministry.  The adults involved that I have met were part of a Cub Scout pack or were new BSA dads when the cut occurred, and don't seem to be as familiar with the BSA program as I would have thought.  The area point man is a quiet guy who is the head of a troop at his local church, but is not that familiar youth leadership principles or the Patrol Method.  I would expect there to be more TL troops in our area, as we in Eastern Oklahoma have a strong tradition in Scouting, and a lot of BSA volunteers are shaking their heads and saying, "What is going on?"

    To be fair, when TL started, a TL troop leader started going around to BSA troops in our city trying to recruit adults and their sons into the TL organization.  They would go into BSA troop meetings and spread a bit of decent ion among the ranks.  The district Pro's found out about it and started a pro active campaign to fight this by having the unit commissioners visit each troop and warn them about the TL "Plot" to tear the the BSA troops apart.  TL got the rap for it, and I don't think the bad blood will vanish soon, though most current volunteers do not know the history or the accusations hearled by each side against the other.  

    I for one am a strong believer in the Patrol Method as defined by "Green Bar Bill" Hilcourt in his Scoutmaster handbook of the 1930's.  In this he shows how giving decision making authority to patrol leaders, who are elected by their patrols, brings about growing character in the scouts, as well as a sense of ownership by the scouts.  I am not sure how this has come over to your organization, as the example I saw divides the scouts by age along the age of 14, with patrol leaders either appointed by adults from the older age group, or perhaps younger trailmen being able to select patrol leaders from the older group.  I admit I have not read the TL handbook, and may be seeing untrained adults trying to figure it out.  It seems that there is more "Troop Method" adult led stuff going on.  You will have to set me straight.


  8. For all its hundred years of experience,  the BSA seems to know almost nothing about marketing.  We heard rumors since 2010 that soon there would be girls in the Boy Scouts.  The folks at BSA headquarters have been thinking about fashioning the BSA after the English Scouting Association for some time.  That means no membership limit due to sexual orientation, that means co-ed troops, that means Scouting groups for all the ages sub-grouped by age, that might mean more national control at the local level.  But the marketing campaign was about "Family Scouting", implying that a parent could bring all the children to a meeting on a given night and put the 8 year old in an appropriately aged unit, the  12 year old male into his own appropriately aged unit, and the female 16 year old into her appropriately aged unit.  I don't recall anyone doing any market research in our council about the preference for this kind of organization until about a week before the national board of directors voted to start "Scouts BSA".  Even the name is confusing, and leaves many shaking their heads. I think that Trail Life USA has a closer model to Family Scouting than the BSA. 

    Maybe the BSA just knows that the changes they want to make need to be spaced out so that the old timers can be dealt with.  The people who really dislike the changes will leave,  new parents who did not know the old organization will come in and be properly "trained" in the Scouts BSA methods, and the scouts can still get the Eagle Scout award.  With each change, some will leave, some will stay, the past will eventually be forgotten, and the Progressive thinking will endure.

    What could the BSA have done better?  If they wanted boys troops and girls troops, they could have just left the "Boy Scouts of America" program and organization alone, and added the female program "Scouts USA" for girls.  Both could work on requirements for Eagle Scout, but they should definitely be separated by gender.  But I fear that the goal is co-ed units all across the board.  And whereas the Scouting professionals of 1910 chose to disseminate control to the local level as much as possible, today's scouting   professionals will seek to reel in control from the local units.

    I don't know what to do.  I like working with young men, and really like the "helping boys grow into men" idea.  I expect that to disappear soon.  I think Scouting will go co-ed at some point.  It could be in a few years, or next month.  There are scouting alternatives popping up, largely along religious lines, but they are not big in my area right now.  I am serving where I am right now (ASM in a local troop), but like the BSA, that could change.


    • Upvote 2
  9. So here is a question we the adult scouters are throwing around right now.  We are seeing that our older scouts are coming to fewer camping trips.  Some have expressed to me (ASM) that they have done everything on camping trips there is to do, and they are boring.  We do mostly car camping at local scout camps and at state parks in the area.  I know that varying the types of camping trip will help, with doing some backpacking and water based traveling (canoes).  But the PLC does not choose these kinds of things.

    So the Scoutmaster wants to require that all scouts holding an elected office or an appointed position be required to go on 50% of the camping trips.  He reasons that this will increase attendance for our life scouts, most of whom have been around for three years and hold the most POR's.  Since all scouts in the upper ranks must serve in order to advance in rank, we are wondering if this troop requirement in effect adds to the requirements as stated in the handbook.  Or are the two concepts effectively separated so there need be no concern.

    I know that keeping older scouts active in the troop has been a problem that goes back almost the hundred years of Scouting in America.  Are we reasoning correctly that a troop can set such policies on serving in POR's in this way, or are we way overboard.  Should we override the PLC and put more high adventure trips on the schedule?  I could foresee the SM going in to the annual planning meeting and telling the PLC to include backpacking on the schedule somewhere.  Or is there another way?   

  10. On 10/8/2018 at 5:54 PM, dbautista5 said:

    Hello Scouters!

    I am positioned to be the new Scoutmaster for our girls youth Troop starting next year and am honored to have been approached by our Committee to fill this role! 

    I'm trying to wrap my head around getting program started for these new youth. As much as I want the Troop to be youth lead, I also realize that the youth will be starting with little to no scouting experience. I believe a couple of the girls have been with GSA, most have not, and have only experienced Scouting through their brothers. 

    We will be sharing a Charter, Committee and ASMs. I should be able to leverage most of our existing ASMs to help teach Scout skills to the new youth (EDGE method) but ultimately I want to get to the point where the girls are doing this for themselves, similar to the boy's Troop.

    My questions are related to experiences with starting brand new Troops. 

    How did you initially plan program? Did you just arbitrarily plan out the first few months and then let the youth start planning thereafter? 

    What youth leadership positions do you consider absolutely necessary? Obviously SPL and PL. Troop Guide / Instructor ?? Do we have to have an ASPL?

    I'm sure I'll have more questions as we get closer to launching. We're having our first recruiting event in a couple of weeks so I'm sure these questions and more will come up.

    Thank you all for any insight you can provide!

    Yours in Scouting,

    Denise Bautista


    Hi Denise,

    To me, the most important aspect of Scouting is THE PATROL METHOD,  followed closely by THE PATROL METHOD,  and of course then followed by THE PATROL METHOD.  Did you catch my drift?  This is the easiest thing to say, but in many respects the hardest to implement and facilitate.  But going back to Baden Powell and on through Green Bar Bill, this is the most important thing.  I got some good stuff from Bill Hilcourts Scoutmaster Handbook from the 1930's and 1940's.  There is a section at the beginning of the book that fairly well explains the subject.

    How do you start?  The first thing is to form the patrols.  On the first night I would hold a meet and greet, with games and ice breakers.  Let the scouts interact, and then at the end of the meeting, ask them to write down on a piece of paper their names, and then the names of two other scouts they would like to be grouped with.  Take these home and see how many patrols can be formed, and put as many of these preferred groups of friends together as possible.  At the second meeting announce the groupings, and let them meet together for the rest of the meeting.  Tell them they have to choose a PL, a patrol name, flag, and yell by the end of the patrol meeting.  (You can show them some examples.  Examples are easy to find.)  Tell the new PL's that a Patrol Leaders Council meeting  will be scheduled.  On the third meeting you have a formal swearing in ceremony in front of the troop for these patrol leaders.  Be sure to play a lot of games, and select games that pit patrols against each other.  Build the comradery among the patrol members.

    Everything else, like advancement and outdoor program, can be delayed until after the patrols are formed.  Once they are formed, you start laying decisions before them.  Camping activities and   single day activities should be voted on at least by the patrol leaders.  But I would put together choices to be selected from.  Camp locations are not important, any council camp will do.  But you ask stuff like "From the list of Fire building, or Hiking, or Map and Compass, what would you like to do on our first camping trip?"  Or "From the list of Beef Stew or Chili, what would you like to learn to cook on this camping trip?"  Of course, on the first few trips you will be teaching tent raising, and fire building, and proper layering of clothing, and all the practical beginning camping skills.  

    Not many people get to start a troop from scratch.  Most wish they could, but are tied by past traditions.  You will look back on this time with fond memories.



    • Like 1
  11. 1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

    Please see my response to ParkMan.  The one exception I would see to shutting down a chronically poorly-performing unit is where that unit is the only game in town, such as a rural area.  In that case, the only way to provide those youth a Scouting experience is to keep the unit alive and provide whatever resources are available.  (NOTE:  The size of a unit is not an indicator of the quality of the unit's program.)  But in a suburban area like mine with a dozen troops and packs within three miles that the youth can go to, there is really no excuse for nursing along a unit that has not gotten better over a very long period.

    You know, dkurtenbach, The BSA originally set up governance of the program in a diversified manner.  They looked at the original setup of the country as a guide.  In our country in 1800, the idea was that the most control was at the local level, so government that touched the lives of most people was in the hands of local, county, and state officials.  The Federal Government was weak by design, having only a couple of tasks that it had to do, like defense, foreign policy, interstate trade, running Federal courts.  Everything else, like roads, schools, police, water and mineral rights, property rights, and a justice system, were run by the states and counties.  At one time, some larger states had more employees than the federal government.  The Federal Government would never have thought to interfere in a state matter.  That is why we had Free states and Slave states before the civil war.  State politicians thought they really could vote to leave the union.

    In the BSA, the power over Scouting units is almost entirely in the hands of the Chartered Organization.  They appoint the adult Scouters in the unit, or fire them, they control a units budget, and can set policy for the unit.  This usually happens through the Chartered Org Rep.  The District and Council are there entirely for support.  They own camp property, some equipment, run Scout shops, and advise troops through appointment of Unit commissioners, recruit merit badge councilors.    National runs National camps like Philmont, defines and makes the uniforms, writes the handbook and other publications, creates training materials, like Woodbadge. 

    The council can revoke BSA membership if a crime has been committed, but it cannot and never has been able to judge the quality of a unit program or the competence of a Scout leader.  You are going to have to do some political miracle to pull that off, and fundamentally change Scouting forever.


  12. 12 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

    Weird question assuming a worst case scenario.  Could Councils exist and operate IF National went away as a result of this?  Maybe under the umbrella of a central State office?  Would there be different brands of Scouting across the country due to regional political and cultural differences?


    This has already been happening.  Trail Life split off five years ago.  The LDS church will make their own, and I bet it will follow the Trail Life model of sponsorship.  I have read that the Catholics are considering putting together a Scouting type program for their constituents.  The fracture has already begun.  

    • Upvote 2
    • Downvote 1
  13. When I get temporary patches, like Camporee patches or WOW patches, I take a hot glue gun and a 3 inch piece of leather shoe lace, and glue the ends of the lace on to the back of the patch, making  a loop.  This will allow you to button the patch to the pocket of the shirt.  The patch hangs from the button, the same way that the plastic patch holders do.  It acts like the Philmont patch, which hangs off the button the same way.  I can change out the temporary patches in 5 seconds as the need arises.  The glue does not harm the patch, and can be removed fairly easily if need be.  I have found it to be a good practical solution.


  14. I have found that training is OK up to a point.  I have been doing Scout Leader training since 1999, from fundamentals through Wood badge.  Formal training can give you an understanding of the form of the organization, rules of the BSA, and familiarity of the scouting program.  But when a man takes up the role of adult leadership, the training does not offer much.  The leader really needs to read extensively ask advice of more experienced leaders in the district.  And he needs to heed the lessons of experience.

    When I became a Scout leader, and later a Scoutmaster, I had been to the Leader Specific training of the day, Woodbadge, and other classes done by the district.  But I also read the Scoutmaster Handbook, then the Patrol Leader Handbook, SPL handbook, and began to research how scouting was done in the past.  I found the writings of William Hillcourt, and books by British Scouters about camping, the Patrol Method, and youth development.  From these I got some insights into the purpose of Scouting and the goals these men were trying to achieve.  I did not get these valuable insights from the District level training.

    The early Scout Leaders seemed to have an experimental frame of mind when they built their programs.  Baden-Powell was always trying new things to build a program, with the attitude that says, "Lets try this and see what it does."  Hillcourt became scoutmaster of a troop in New Jersey where he tried stuff out to see if it benefited his scouts.  I did not get any sense from the scout training that this kind of experimenting was even allowed.  (Well, in Woodbadge we made additions to the uniform on the patrol level.  Uniform Daniel Boone hats or bird feather decorations, and stuff like that.)  

    I think Scouting is more organic than what I saw in the training I took.  The idea is to do all kinds of things and see what works.  I am trained, but I am also experienced.


  15. 8 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

    I do not think they are adding to the requirements. I appears, and I could be wrong, the SM is empowering the OA scouts to have the sign-off authority for the requirement, "show scout spirit". Looks no different than empowering PL's to sign off on the other skill requirements. 

    You could say that the Spirit Board is a tool for helping sign off on the Scout Spirit requirement for all ranks, and that involving the scouts in a decision making process is a worthy undertaking, but not if it can affect any scouts advancement.  As @HelpfulTracks has pointed out, advancement is meant to be in the hands of the SM and ASM's, to be confirmed by a board of review made up of committee members.  Any Scout Spirit issues that arise should be caught by these adult Scouters.  As a committee member, I have had to address the behavior of scouts if it went against the Scout Oath and Law.  As a SM I have dealt with these issues in Scoutmaster Conferences.  The machinery to deal with Scout Spirit issues is already there, and should not be added to, especially with the rank advancement of peers.  Scouts leading patrols deal with decisions about camping,  cooking,  hiking, and the like.  When they make decisions of judgement over others, that is an area they are not trained in, and need heavy oversight in.  I could see it as valid in recommending to the SM that the scout be signed off for Scout Spirit requirements,  with the SM making final decisions,  BUT, it can easily slide into moral judgement of behavior.  That is a bad idea.  

    • Upvote 1
  16. 1 hour ago, Thunderbird said:


    Respectfully, I disagree.  The Guide to Advancement says:

    Policy on Unauthorized Changes to Advancement Program
    No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited
    exceptions relating only to members with special needs. For details see section 10, “Advancement for Members With Special Needs.”

    Units / individuals do not have the authority to add to the requirements.  This isn't just a scheduling issue if a Scout cannot attend a campout for several months and this delays his advancement.  It might be the Scoutmater's preference (due to several different reasons as mentioned earlier in this thread), but it cannot be made a requirement for rank advancement.


    I think you will have to define the terms "requirement" and "Advancement Program".  I do not see this as being a specifically redefined requirement.  I do not hear the SM saying, "I require you to go on 3 10 mile hikes and build a lookout tower out of lashings before I will pass you off. "  He is not even denying the scout a conference.  He said "Come, I will be here."  (BTW, I would not set this up this way, as there will always be exceptions to the circumstances this guy is envisioning.)  Holding a conference may fall under the admonition to recognize advancement quickly, but that is not quantified (must be in 2 weeks of the requirements be done), and hard to be held accountable for.

    And, if I am reading Hawkin's posts correctly, the scout has not brought the issue of being unavailable for two camp outs up to the SM.  Has he refused to do anything else to get the scout to a conference?  I think this SM has a worthy goal of getting the older scouts to go on camp outs, which they may not be attending.  But he would be unwise in being inflexible on this kind of stuff, since these scouts could vote with their feet and find something else to do all together.    

    The scout needs to follow the chain of command.  Talk to the SM, then the CC, then the COR.  Scouting is set up to have power spread out to the local units in local matters.  I don't see the district level professionals or volunteers doing much but making an appeal to the unit.  


  17. 14 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

    Bottom line is, no unit leader can impose a change to the Scouting program as outlined in official materials and policies. So, while they may try to enforce this "rule" for the sake of convenience or achievement or whatever, they cannot force you to follow it. Talk to your Unit Commissioner and then your District Advancement Chair if needed; simply put though, they can't force any of their Scouts to follow this change in official programming.

    I do not see this as a problem of the official scout program,  or of scouting policy.  This is a matter of scheduling (even if it is bad scheduling).  The SM is offering scoutmaster conferences, only at a place and time of his own choosing.  In our troop scouts meet with a specific person (SM), at a specific time (last monday of the month) and at a specific place (church meeting hall).  This SM can say he is exercising his prerogative in how he implements the scout program. 

    As far as the Unit Commissioner and the District Advancement Chair are concerned, these men are support personnel,  and have no direct line authority to the SM.  If you want to go over the head of this guy, you go to the CC or the COR to make your case.  These are the persons who can dismiss a SM.

    I have heard the argument that making scouts go on campouts is unfair because they have to pay  money for their review.  But the BSA does the same thing, by saying that only registered scouts can have scout advancement, and that costs a charter or recharter fee.  


  18. 2 hours ago, Mich08212 said:

    Actually where I am from here on Long Island. The Troop arranges it as well as sends out notification letters to certain congressman etc etc and the troop prepares plaques etc for that time.

    I have reached out to a council member and will be continuing to seek answers as to why they denied it, names, etc. 

    Its a complete outrage. My son has been in scouts since being a tiger and has been nothing but respectful. As well as working so hard on his Eagle project.   This may be some form of discrimination and if so there is going to be hell to pay.

    I also dedicated much of my time to (10) years) to scouting.


    There is still something not being said here.  Why do you think there is discrimination on the part of the committee members?  Age?  Gender? Political persuasion?  Religious beliefs?  Past behavior?  Has there been ANY communication between this scout or his family and the leaders of the troop.  This is not coming out of the blue.  Tell us everything about the scout and the troop.  There is an animosity here that is still unexplained.

  19. 2 hours ago, Buggie said:

    I'm in the OKC area. 

    And to make the sob story even sadder, my marine battery I use for the CPAP died at summer camp this year as well. 

    I had it since 2010, so I'm happy it lasted as long as it did, but I didn't use it as often as I would have liked to since I didn't get to go camping much. Job limited me to pretty much only summer camps. Also very handy to have in case of power failures at home. Those pesky T-Storms et al. 

    So that's another thing I'm in the market for. My plan is to take stock of all that I need and prioritize it. There are things I'm getting starter items for, where it might not be the exact item I want, but it will do for now until I can afford the one I really want. 

    A new hammock is definitely on the list. As well as a whole truck load of other things. LOL

    I bought this battery:


    So far it has worked well.

    I use a Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip hammock.  It is ok.  If I had to look at something else, I would look into the Warbonnet hammocks.  They are pricey, so I would have to go for a used one.  I have also made hammocks out of tablecloths from TableclothFactory.com.  They have some crinkle taffeta tablecloths that make great DIY hammocks.




  20. 10 hours ago, Buggie said:

    Yah, I have a CPAP so I tend not to sleep in hammocks outside of a nap. The hose and apparatus don't work so well with it. 

    The fun thing is that my hammock broke at summer camp this year. I just got comfortable and suddenly I was on the ground.  The rope coming out of the hammock and through the carabiner connecting to the straps on the tree went *pop*!  I joke that the two other adults in camp woke up long enough to ask if I was okay. 

    Actually I was pretty lucky. I had a camp pillow that cushioned my head in the fall. Also I always try to clear the ground beneath me. Lastly, because I was relaxed and hit the ground square, the contact was spread out and easy to deal with.  

    Needless to say (but I'll say anyway) I did not get my nap. 

    p.s. Hooray for Trappers! 

    I have to use a CPAP too.  I have a net suspended above my hammock with the CPAP and a battery with a 2 day charge.  The hose reaches down from this net and into my hammock.  I camped for years without it, due to lack of power, and sprang for the battery this March with some yearly bonus money.  I had this setup at summer camp this year and slept very well.  I never realized what a difference it makes.

    Sorry to hear about the gear failure.  It happens to all of us.  I went camping with a different troop a few years ago, and decided to use an extrawide Tablecloth hammock.  I tied the ends into a gathered end and attached the suspension rope.  I was in it for a minute when I heard a TWANGGGGG, and then landed on the ground.  Fortunately I had my ground pad in the hammock for insulation, and it cushioned my fall.  I was embarrassed when all the men came running to see what had happened.  After that I started using whoope slings to attach the hammock to the suspension straps, and all is good.

    Where in OK do you live?  I am originally from Louisiana, but have been here for 30 years.  I had my sons in scouting, and probably had more fun doing it than they did.  They are all grown and gone, and I am still making it to scout camp outs every month.



  21. 1 hour ago, Buggie said:

    Mostly camping in Oklahoma. With one trip a year expected to Kansas. The weather varies after October. Either you've got sunny skies and 70 degree weather or you go down the temperature range to highs in the 20's generally. Typically you don't see Okie kids camping below 20 for highs. We deal with heat, not the cold! Most of the scouts aren't well outfitted for below freezing weather, so there's a limit that various troops choose on when to go camping or not. 

    But yah, my situation is that I need to gear up for winter camping and wanted to know what sorts of things people would recommend to look into (brands or items). I'm planning on getting the standard winter gear stuff, but if someone had something that they thought was the best thing ever, I'd like to know. I might not be able to afford it this year, but I'll be planning on getting it eventually. 

    So thanks to everyone who has responded! 



    I live in Tulsa, so I am very familiar with the weather conditions you mentioned.  And, I LOVE Trappers Rendezvous.  I have been there when it was 40 degrees, and when it was 4 degrees.  With little in the way of a planned program, it is amazing how many people come.

    I camp in a camping hammock year round.  This is on troop camp outs and private trips.  I found 10 years ago that I could not sleep on the ground anymore, and alternatives like air mattress and cot seemed either too heavy or too prone to failure.  I would seriously consider using a hammock when you go camping.  When used properly, it is comfortable, easy to set up, environmentally friendly, light weight, and perhaps a bit provocative.  I cannot tell you how may people came up to me at camporee and said "you sleep in that?"   

    As far as brand names for gear,  I see a lot of Ospree packs,  MSR and Kelty tents and tarps,  Merrell boots, and of course, Coleman is always in someone's truck.  For me, you just have to see what you can get a deal on, and decide if you care about light weight,  Ultra-light, or just good enough for car camping.  

    Good luck, and have some fun out there.


  22. I saw the dance thing happen at a camporee this past spring.  It was planned and run by a team of Eagle scouts, with a theme of the Olympics.  It was very well carried out, and at the ceremony on Saturday night, after the awards were passed out, we had an ice cream social.  The team also brought DJ equipment and strobe lights and had a quarter of the dining hall set up as a disco.  We had a lot of scouts get up after they finished ice cream, and try  to boogie to the music.  It was part of the program the older scouts came up with, and I think all the scouts liked it.  I am not sure about the adults, who mainly congregated at the other side of the dining hall and talked.



  23. I believe that the troop started using the worksheets in the past as a tool to help the scouts to prepare for the requirements that say "Discuss" or "Describe" or "Talk about".  If you view these sheets as a tool then it makes sense.  But of course, after the original visionary Scouter has retired from his role in the troop, behind him comes adult volunteers who were not privy to the reasoning behind the use of the worksheets as tools, and saw them as the fulfillment of requirements themselves.  I think the attitude on the part of the adult Scouters is supposed to be "how can we help the scouts fulfill the requirements? What tools  can we use?"  But when it comes right down to it, the scout passes the requirement when he discusses or describes or he talks about the subject.  If the requirement says to "Demonstrate", then he passes when he demonstrates.   If he has to "Write a plan" then he has some sort of writing to do.  

    A reading of the publication "Guide to Advancement" is helpful here, as this has the BSA's take on all things Advancement.  I have not checked lately, but the Guide has said in the past that although the worksheets are helpful, they are not required and are totally voluntary.

    And there are alternate requirements in the Guide that scouts like your son may find better suited to their situations.  Explore those.  

    Use of worksheets, especially for work on Merit Badges, can be incredibly useful.  But I have seen them used very badly.  The people who first put them together were hoping to do a service to scouts and Scouters, but anything taken out of its context can be misused to do a disservice to the scouts.


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