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Everything posted by allangr1024

  1. As a Scoutmaster, I can say that I have had different results each year out troop has been to camp. Some years the boys learn more from these programs, and some years they don't. I have learned to use "Trail to First Class" type classes as a resource to teach the boys, but I test them in the evenings on the skills, and usually sign them off on later camping trips when I see the boys demonstrate the skills on our own campouts. As a camp staffer, I would ask that you concentrate on skills that require specialty knowledge or the outdoor setting that we do not have usually. For instance,
  2. My mantra these days, especially to adults in the troop, is "Let the boys do it." Although they are young and have no idea how to go about planning a campout, call the leaders together for a Saturday morning training session, and spend the time doing the first PLC meeting. Show the SPL how to call the meeting to order, and tell him he has to do it from now on. The first order of business is to plan the next campout. Again, no experience, so you as Scoutmaster (coach) can have some simple options prepared that cover place, theme or activity, and meal prep. Fishing trip, or fire buil
  3. As someone else has said, a leader going to the bathroom does not mean that 2 deep has been abandoned. The requirement does not say they must stay in line of sight at all times. If my associate is in the building, or on the property, I think we are fine. 2 deep is there to provide accountability of adults to each other, to protect the children from predictors, and give adults protection from false reports. Nothing in the above example seems to have deprived anyone of these benefits. On a camping trip with 2 adults, you would have to hold on for 2 days if you need to use the bat
  4. I am encouraging my scouts to build fires with fire steels, like the "Light my fire" starter, or the simple one found in the scout shop. But as much as they like to spark the fire steel, making fire with it is a challenge for them. It is all about the tinder. And since this is the case, they should carry a small tinder box with stuff like: cotton balls, char cloth, dryer lint, tiny tube of vasaline, natural tinder like brittle bark, pine sawdust, dry moss. So you could make a tin tinder box and show them what to put into it.
  5. I know that the thing that held me up from getting Eagle in the 1070's was the practice of making scouts schedule their own merit badges and find and contact a councilor. I got my merit badges at three years of summer camp, period. My SM never encouraged us to earn MB's, never had a MBC list, ect. I did not get out there and earn MB's that way, and then age 16 happened.... Today in a lot of troops in our district, you earn MB's in the troop meetings in classes that are a part of the troop meeting plan. Since you need 2 deep leadership, and can have a gang of adults on hand, troop lead
  6. If you are on a driveway, just put some tin foil down and put your charcoal on that. I would use the charcoal chimney starter and pour the charcoals out on the foil when they are lit.
  7. I think this goes the root of a big problem with merit badges. A lot of "counselors" these days are troop leaders or parents who have no training in being MBC. They use these forms and mark off the boy when he sees them filled in. Most merit badges now adays in my council are done in the troop meetings, with little outside work done. In fact, our council does not have a real MBC list that a scoutmaster can refer to. We are left to recruit our own, so our ASM's and committee members do them. This allows scouts to get merit badges quickly, and it gives excess adults in the troop something
  8. So, how about this: A lady from the local Salvation Army Boys and Girls club called me and asked me if I would call out the troop to ring bells in front of a department store one day during Christmas season. She said that lots of troops do it, and she has only two days still open. Of course, ringing the bell for them is a solicitation to put money into their Christmas Kettle, a big Salvation Army fundraiser. I asked my District Director, and he has to get back to me. I bet he will not want us to do it in uniform. So what do you think?
  9. This is the size of my troop right now. I have 10 registered, but have average 4 to 6 on campouts and at meetings. My SPL is really a glorified PL, an I interact with him like that. His job really is to see that the camping stuff gets done. I still have the troop come up with a patrol flag and yell, and respect the leadership. My big problem is that with 4 to 6 at troop meetings, I am afraid that visiting cub scouts will see hardly anyone there, and decide to find a "substantial" troop. I would love to have 30 scouts in 4 patrols, but am just learning the recruiting job. It seems th
  10. I don't think we have unit commissioners in my council. At least, no one from the district or council has ever paid my troop a visit in the 3 years since I took the SM job. What are these guys supposed to do?
  11. I have a 1942 edition of the Scoutmasters handbook. It is probably the same as the one listed by BrentAllen. It comes in 2 volumes, and was probably written by Bill Hillcourt, the same guy who wrote your Patrol Leaders handbook. This book is the best I have found for describing the patrol method. This is where we learn that we are to train the youth leaders of the troop, then sit back (in a rocking chair at the back of the room) and let them lead the troop. This book has chapters about training, chapters about camping, chapters about advancement, and chapters about scout games
  12. I had surgery for a ruptured disk on my neck a few years ago. I now sleep in a hennessey hammock year round. I put a closed foam pad in there, a sleeping bag rated at 20 degrees, and I am good. Sleeping off the ground has kept me camping.
  13. I have used one to teach fire building, but I usually use it along with a metal match, and a bow drill, when we do wilderness survival. It usually takes several tries for me and an older boy to light an ember, and younger boys do not get it to work. I would say it is just like using an old fashioned flint and steel as far as the effort used to get the fire started. It is just fun for us to try when we are doing something that centers around fire building, which is always a big hit with the scouts. As with all expensive pieces of camping equipment, I try to find these for as low a cost
  14. I had one first year camper who had only been camping with the troop once before. At summer camp, he did not want to sleep in his tent. He put his sleeping bag in front of the two man cabin tent. I told him to sleep in his tent on his cot. The next day he told me he was afraid of spiders, so he could not sleep in his tent. I looked and did not see any sign of spiders, an re-assured him that all would be well. That night he asked me to kill the spiders. He opened the tent flap and pointed at the ceiling. There I saw a dozen Daddy Long Legs' that liked to hide in the shade in the aft
  15. "Collaborative: Youth get to make up their own structure, and adults are just a part of it. Job descriptions and roles change according to da people in them. Youth routinely work together in ways that aren't top-down, and da adults fade more into the background as occasional collaborators." Beavah. I have a bit of a problem with this statement, especially the part about youth making up their own structure. What does that mean to you, and what does it mean to the scouts. The BSA gives us the structure of our scouting experience, defining and describing to us our aims and methods, our a
  16. Since I have worked with our troop (and I am now SM) I have seen very few boys get a MB outside of the troop and summer camp. I recently asked a Pro at the scout office for a list of MBC's in the council. The list I got has 126 names on it, of which 63 are listed as not being "Unit Only" MBC's. When I examine these 63, I find only 22 names of people who are in my city. Well, that answers that. Of these 22, I find MBC's for the follow Eagle required MB's: Citizenship in the Community, Emergency Preparedness,Environmental Science, First Aid, Lifesaving. If a boy can travel about
  17. So, my troop is down to 8 guys. Our SPL election is coming up. We average 6 at meetings, and 4 on camping trips. I have been running 2 patrols, but they have not succeeded. In fact, the guys elected as PLs rarely come camping. Patrol method breaks down at those levels of membership. I am considering doing just one patrol until our numbers increase to 15 active scouts, and we can field 2 patrols. That means that the SPL position turns into just a PL position. Last year, that is the way the SPL functioned any way. On any outing, patrol designations disappeared and he just led whoever wa
  18. I have used KUDU's ideas when I have talked to kids in church youth groups. I cannot get into a school here. They will let scouts have one recruiting night per year, and the school's local cub pack gets that to make their pitch. Our district director urges us to go and talk to the older brothers, fifth and sixth graders, who may tag along but be bored with the cub scout presentation. I did this at three of these things last year, and had one scout aged boy show up, and I did not see him after that. I also have not seen the results from Kudu's presentation. I get to do it on Sunday mo
  19. We went to a patrol cooking style summer camp last year, and they supplied utensils, pots, and pans. We took one of our own patrol boxes, and mainly used the stuff from there. The boys were more used to it. Our only problem with cooking at our campsite was that one day the camp staff did not include the cooking instructions for the fajitas at lunch one day, and our boys just cooked meat for lunch. I liked doing it that way, and I think the boys got more out of it than they usually do at a dining hall type camp.
  20. How do you recertify for BSA Lifeguard. In our council, they told us we either had to take the 12 week course again, or spend your week at summer camp doing it. We are not offered a chance to recert. with just an afternoon of skills review and testing. Is there an official list of stuff to demonstrate? Can I find it online?
  21. I have had 3 boys in scouting, only one eagle'd. I did not push it. After first class, I let them alone and do the badges at their pace. The oldest and youngest made star and quit at age 16 to do other things. The middle son was sparcely active at 16 and did his eagle project at 17 and turned his paperwork in on the day before his 18th birthday. Since they all gave it 4 years, I was not dissatisfied. Make a suggestion to the 12 year old that he do 3 "fun" badges and then an Eagle required badge. Sit down with him and ask him what 10 badges he wants to work on. Make a list of the
  22. With a troop of 12, I would shoot for 2 patrols, both with 6 members. Let the patrols elect patrol leaders. Then have an election for SPL. In this way you have a patrol with 6 and a patrol with 5. You do not need an ASPL until your troop reaches over 35 in number. And the troop guide can serve in that job as well as be a patrol member. In fact, all other troop jobs can be done by scouts who are in patrols. Now you have 3 main leaders to form the PLC, the SPL and two patrol leaders. These three should meet once per month for 2 purposes. First they plan the weekly meetings. I woul
  23. I became a believer one year at summer camp. We sent the boys to bed at 11:00 and I put on my sandals and headed to the shower. The shower was just50 feet from our camp, and I had to pass a group of 3 trees. I felt a sharp pain on the top of my foot. It felt like a bite, but the pain was searing. I hobbled back to the camp in agony, the other adults looking at me like I was crazy. In the light of the camp I could see two puncture marks on the top of my foot. Our scouters and the camp staff searched for the snake and found a baby copperhead not far away. I had stepped on it
  24. When my son went to get his project approved by the district advancement committee, they asked how many hours. He said 70 to 80 for a conservation project at a nature preserve. They said it should be more like 100 or more, and had him write in a pledge to do more than 100 hours, and sign it. I was a bit worried, as hour estimate was based on the number of people we got commitments from to help. Fortunately the troop rallied at the scoutmasters behest, and he got twice the number of people out for the project. But I wonder what would have happened if we had come in under the 100
  25. For my part, I "caught the vision" of the Patrol method, and learned the most, from the way we did the woodbadge training in 2001. This was Woodbadge for the 20th century. I have not taken the new one. When they divided us into patrols, and put us in different camp sites, and had us do everything by patrol, including cooking and eating, scout skills, lectures, camping, and game play, I found that I had fun, found comradeship, and learned to depend on the patrol. The staff played the "steal the weather rock" game with us, and I am amazed the effort of some of the patrols to do just that. I
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