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frankj

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Everything posted by frankj

  1. frankj

    A Date which will live in infamy...

    to orennoah: Ditto for my son's 10th grade history class. I read your post and asked him, his answer, "Not a word, but I knew it was Pearl Harbor day." The world history class is on the Roman Empire at present, so maybe they didn't want to jump ahead, even for a few minutes. This is a school that showed the movie Schindler's List to classes one year. A segment of the school was taking standardized tests and the movie was to occupy the kids who were not being tested. In the permission slip they sent home for parents to sign, the TEACHERS who wrote the movie description called it "A story about a man who is determined to make a profit from the Nazis during World War II." Didn't mean to change the subject from Pearl Harbor, just got carried away.
  2. frankj

    Hunting - What's the attraction?

    The attraction: Food for the family. There ARE people who hunt out of need. Just because you don't know any, doesn't mean they don't exist. People connect with the outdoors in different ways. This is one. A family tradition. I know of 3 generations w/in a family that hunt together, and I'm not referring to the Beverly Hillbillies. A tradition among friends. A work/business relationship type activity -- like playing golf with a client. The personal challenge. I knew a man at work who would load his horse trailer, drive to a neighboring state and pack in. He said he would have a base camp but if he was trailing an elk or a herd, he would just sleep where he was when it got dark. He had been doing this for years, he was in his late 50's at the time. Get away from family/work/other. Get away with your wife and do something you both enjoy. Introduce your son or daughter to something you like that you think they may like too. C'mon guys, put your reasons up on the board, I know I didn't cover them all.
  3. frankj

    Poles for lashing projects

    Start by defining what it is you need and how much. For example: 40 or so poles, of hardwood, with dimensions of between 3 to 6 inches in diameter and lengths of 8 to 20 feet. Then get in touch with the people who will know what landowners in your area might have such material and might be willing to let you come get it. Contacts: Does Ohio have a state forestry division? If it does, there might be a department that offers advice to private forestland owners. What about a local office of the National Resource Conservation Service? They work with private landowners too. Do you have a Forestry merit badge counselors in your district? Ask them. Are there any sawmills within a reasonable radius of your location? A sawmill will have a log buyer who knows who might have such material on their property. They're not going to bring it in for you, but they can put you in touch with the landowner.
  4. frankj

    Why do adults quit?

    I'll add one here, that by itself is not a reason to quit, more an irritation than anything else. I turned in a merit badge counselor application form for an adult leader today. He is registered, a committee member and previously submitted the adult application form when he got active in our troop. The district told me he would have to submit another application form (but no fee) in order for them to process the merit badge counselor form. I think I know why they are asking for this. The adult registration form probably has some information that is needed to facilitate the background check and the merit badge form does not have this info. It may be national policy or our council or maybe just our district. Any comment? It begs the question of how they handle a prospective merit badge counselor who is not registered with a troop.
  5. Restrictions on size of group are common in wilderness areas here in the Pacific NW. A wilderness area is a specific designation given to areas within the National Forest system. National Parks probably have similar group size restrictions -- we tend to go to wilderness areas more. The trick is, knowing you have to ask the question or knowing to look for it on a web site. I have mixed feelings about the group size thing. I don't buy the arguement that it has to do with impact. I think it has more to do with a recreation-planner/manager's concept of what constitutes a "back-country" experience. Some may take issue with me, that's fine.
  6. frankj

    District Advancement Folks

    A new Scout does not automatically earn the Basic Scout badge on joining. On the Eagle Boards of Review, in our district they are handled by the District. The SM introduces the candidate, maybe gives some general info, then is excused. The board consists of the District Eagle Coordinator, the troop advancement coordinator and a third party someone the Eagle Coordinator invites -- it has been a Scouter from another troop, familiar with Eagle BOR procedures. nld scout says: SM and ASM cannot searve on any BOR's, Eagle or otherwise. Huh? Our SM serves on nearly every non-Eagle BOR. nld ... are you sure about this? (I'm going to have to start keeping my booklet on Advancement Policies and Procedures next to this computer!)
  7. frankj

    Spouse thinks scout leaders are geeks

    My son is an Eagle Scout and plays on the school soccer team in the spring and on a club team in the fall. So does a friend of his who is also in the troop. Other boys in the troop are on sports teams. You can do both. As for geekiness or not, it is a matter of perspective. Mrs. Fleetfooted Fox should count her lucky stars that she has a husband willing to volunteer for such a worthwhile organization. There are mothers of boys in our troop who are darn glad there is an organization called Boy Scouts of America and volunteer adults to lead a troop and take their sons on outings and help them learn things that they would have little opportunity to learn otherwise.
  8. frankj

    Blue Cards from Camp--ARRGH!

    Anarchist -- I feel your pain ... The merit badge cards from camp cause me the most problems. At one camp, they drew an "X" across the part of the card where you are supposed to list the requirements completed. At this particular camp it meant "all completed." I wasn;t looking for them to list each completed requirement by number, and then initial and date each one -- but the way they did it strikes me as a little too "production oriented" and some Scouts who didn't actually complete all the requirements can slip through.
  9. My suggestion is review the advancement procedures manual, and with then talk to the sm and advancement chair, and if necessary SHOW THEM the text in the manual which says "When the BOR has certified a boy's advancement (except for Eagle) he DESERVES TO RECEIVE RECOGNITION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THIS SHOULD BE DONE AT A CEREMONY AT THE NEXT TROOP MEETING. The certificate for his rank may be presented later at a formal court of honor." In my procedures manual, this is in the section "Advancement in the Unit" under the topic:Boy Scout Advancement -- Four steps of Advancement. The only reason I can think of for why you unit does it the way you describe is that it saves time on running to the Scout offices to acquire the rank badges or merit badges -- but that is not good enough reason! Be prepared ... to offer your services to the Adv Chair in a tactful way to break the logjam on this. And awheck is right, it is the BOR date that is the date of advancement -- if your Adv Chair is not posting this date on the records, he or she is screwing things up.
  10. frankj

    backpacking trek

    I think it is important you do a shorter, "shake-down" cruise type of backpack trip, earlier in the summer. This could be a two or three night trip and the objective is to test equipment, try out food or recipes, and see just what type of weight Scouts and adults can carry in their backpacks and sort out what is necessary from the rest. Best of luck, I think a trip like this can be something the boys will remember all their lives.
  11. frankj

    Virtual Patrols during Campouts

    We use two man tents because they work for both car camping and backpack outings. If boys want to bring their own tent, that is ok. As for virtual patrols, we do it on campouts to make the cooking groups "more even." I don't like it and agree with BW that it undermines the whole Patrol concept. When the "cooking groups" notion is mentioned while organizing for a campout, the boys will sometimes form little bands to go in together, at the exclusion of other Scouts. This thread has prompted me to bring this up to the SM and see if we can't start doing this correctly.
  12. frankj

    Two-hour BOR

    I am the advancement coordinator for our troop. I can't imagine a BOR taking that long. We had one for Eagle that ran about 90 minutes, but that was because the candidate was giving very thoughtful and somewhat lengthy answers. He was someone who would actually THINK before he spoke, so there were some long silent pauses. I think the AC should be a moderator-type at a BOR, it sounds like your AC perceives himself or herself as "Lord High Executioner!" Having sat through many job interviews (as one doing part of the interview) I suggest a structured approach. There are certain suggested questions for the various ranks. Divide these up amongst the interviewers. Each interviewer should be responsible for asking the questions assigned and follow ups if needed. Then, when one interviewer has finished his set of questions, it is the next one's turn. This keeps it moving. Of course, any interviewer can jump in with a question to clarify, but no single interviewer dominates the BOR. If you ask a candidate the same question in a few different ways, and they respond pretty much the same way each time -- you might as well move on. As an interviewer, by asking the question a few different ways, you are assuring yourself that they understand what it is you are asking. If they show a consistency in their answers, they are telling you they understand the question and are giving you their answer. If it is not the "right" answer, so far as as the interviewer is concerned, more questions will not change things. Move on to a new topic. It takes a little bit of planning in advance and the AC will have to give up some control. In my view, the AC acts as sort of an auditor and recordkeeper, not as judge and jury. Discuss this at a committee meeting. Get it on the agenda and put it out in advance so all who attend know that this is an item to be resolved within the troop. I hope this helps.
  13. frankj

    Orienteering

    What resources are available and how quickly can you get your hands on them? Specifically topgo maps and/or compasses? Either of these might be a good place to start if you are in a pinch. With compasses, you could familiarize them with the parts and then practice taking bearings on various objects outside. And you could practice orienting to north or other directions. If maps are available but not compasses, you could explain features on contour maps, how to read contours to determine terrain, how to determine the direction a stream is flowing, what is a "handrail", how to determine elevation, all sorts of stuff. You could make an "ancient mariner" compass. You need a magnet, a bowl of water, a sewing needle and a cork. Magnetize the needle by stroking it in one direction with the magnet a number of times. set the needle on the cork, floating in the water. (cut a little groove in the cork first for the needle to set down in.) the magnetized needle will orient itself toward the north magnetic pole. put some liquid white out or something similar on one end of needle, first, so you can keep track of North/South. This won't take long and might be a way to occupy one group while you instruct another.
  14. When the problem reaches certain economic proportions, the federal government steps in with its checkbook. A few examples are the bailout of Chrysler (they repaid the debt as I recall) the bailout of New York City when they faced bankruptcy, the S&L crisis and there may be other, lesser examples. On the heels of the criticism "you (the feds) didn't do enough to help" will come the demand, "you have to help pay for the rebuild." To those who are the most critical of the federal response and say they should have done things to prevent the disaster -- and this is not aimed at thread participants, I say be careful what you wish for, you may get it. Which federal response is more logical? (1) make loans available to rebuild the city for about the same population as it was, or, (2) use the power of eminent domain to acquire land and create either (a) a shipping and industrial base on a much smaller footprint with limited population, or (b) return the whole thing to nature in the form of an estuary. It may sound far fetched but if the feds are called on to help make sure that such a disaster does not happen again with the human toll, then the federal "help" I've mentioned might just be offered.
  15. frankj

    MB Counselors???

    Our district publishes a merit badge counselor list indicating which couselors do not want to counsel outside their own unit. (Frankly, I don't understand that one, but whatever...). We do some MB work at meetings. Without it the boys in our troop would stall out, in my opinion. We have no qualms about doing some of the MB stuff w/in the troop because we know we adhere to the standards. I have observed the merit badge mills -- on a Saturday, "Hey, get your merit badge right here, in the next 45 minutes ... Hey you, Scout, whattdya need ... " No thank you. I have also observed some of the badges offered at summer camp. I think it is wonderful that young counselors are there for the boys, but the fact is, they just do the best they can, and they are not necessarily experts in the particular discipline. As to whether the boys would pursue MBs on their own, within or outside the troop, my observation, based on our troop is NO. This is based on my experience with simply getting them to complete the "partials" earned at camp. We now have two years worth of partials, 2004 and 2005 to deal with. Here is my question for forum participants: Given that Scouts are going to come out of summer camp with "partials," what would you do in your unit to encourage completion? Where are you on the scale from "whatever" to "here's what you need to do and this is when you're going to do it" Thanks.
  16. frankj

    Ever hear of the Corps of Discovery

    I'll throw in here, and maybe somebody can help me out. I'm Advancement Coor for our troop. There has been little to no talk of Venture Crew w/in our district. Can someone advise whether the Venture program, if that is the proper term, should come from within the Troop, or should it be more of a District-type effort? It seems to me, as Scouts progress through the ranks, there is a cadre of Scouts within a District (but in different Troops) that might make for a critical mass of boys to take part in some Venture type activities. Any ideas on how to tap into this potential?
  17. frankj

    Ever hear of the Corps of Discovery

    I'll throw in here, and maybe somebody can help me out. I'm Advancement Coor for our troop. There has been little to no talk of Venture Crew w/in our district. Can someone advise whether the Venture program, if that is the proper term, should come from within the Troop, or should it be more of a District-type effort? It seems to me, as Scouts progress through the ranks, there is a cadre of Scouts within a District (but in different Troops) that might make for a critical mass of boys to take part in some Venture type activities. Any ideas on how to tap into this potential?
  18. Prairie: well said. And IMHO the last thing we need is some event planner from Boca Raton Florida weighing in.
  19. frankj

    BSA orienteering

    Being a traditionalist, brought up on USGS map symbols and legends, I am more familiar with those and more comfortable. When I looked in the Orienteering MB book at pages 36 -37 of the current edition, I found them to be different from the USGS symbols I was used to, but also more comprehensive. I think your choice might be guided by whether Scouts will be earning the Orienteering MB (I assume they will). In this case, I would use a format and map symbolism that lends itself to this end, which is the stuff in the MB book. It may require some customization of the symbols to the base map. I don't have advice per se to give on Scout Orienteering competitions -- the MB book gives some good tips on pages 62-63. If you want to use the personal message system available in this system, I will e-mail you a file that is intended for leaders who are teaching Orienteering techniques. It is background information, not overly technical.
  20. frankj

    Eagle Project suggestions

    There is the question of what species of trees will survive and do well, and there is also the question of what species of trees are 'right' for the location. You might want to first consider the locations where you will be planting... THEN consider trees appropriate for the location. Consult with a horticulturist or an arborist or a forester specializing in urban forestry. You'll learn which species produce lots of undesireable litter to clean up in addition to just leaves. You should be conscious of which species have overly aggressive root systems which may try to tap into sewer lines (like willow). You'll learn which species might tend to be shallow rooted and would not be good choices where the roots might buckle a sidewalk. Best of luck with the project.
  21. frankj

    fundraising for troops

    How do you suppose that guy tapped into this thread???
  22. frankj

    Questionable Fund Raiser

    FScouter: good call. Def'n of menial: "of or fit for servants, low, servile." Substitute the word "uninspiring" for menial in my earlier post. As to the guideline Madkins put up about being reasonably certain that the unit's activities will not damage someone's livelihood ... yeah, we're reasonable certain that no commercial provider of lawn and yard maintenance services was deprived by our activities. We're also certain, without the "reasonable" qualifier, that more than one troop member earned a not insignificant portion of his summer camp fee via this fundraiser.
  23. frankj

    Questionable Fund Raiser

    Our troop has done what you describe in your first paragraph, not just once, but on several occassions. The work, yard maintenance, is menial, yes. But it requires leadership, and organization before and during the activity. The troop is advised of the troop's finances beforehand and votes for one of a couple options as to how the money will be split between the troop and the boy's accounts. The individual we "worked for" could have hired a yard maintenance outfit for the same or less money, but he chose to approach the Scouts because he believes in Scouting. I don't see anything wrong with this scenario ...
  24. frankj

    Supreme Court ruling on land owners

    I'd like to reply to what GernBlansten wrote. "The justices who typically would be lefties, voted pro-business. The justices who are typically righties, voted for the people." The "leftie judges" voted PRO-GOVERNMENT, not necessarily pro-business. I say this because the carrot held out by the developer in front of the governmental entity is increased tax revenues. The main mission of a bureaucracy is survival and expansion. This is one more means by which government can fulfill its mission. I read part of my son's US History textbook this past school year. In the section devoted to the Constitution (the drafting of) and events leading up to it, the textbook made it very clear as to the amount of debate and tension over the power of the federal government and the states. To read today's headlines you would never guess this was such an issue at the time of our country's founding.
  25. frankj

    Why do LDS Scouts get lost/killed more often?

    The three part problem statement is on the right track in my opinion. In fact, it reads like the introduction part to a grant proposal, written by an individual seeking funding. (That is a compliment!) Someone with credentials in sociology might be able to assist further with the problem statement, although in my opinion you have nailed it. A researcher-type would be of great assistance in devising a study plan. There is whole area of academic endeavor out there that blends sociology with outdoor recreation. People were getting Masters degrees and PhD's in this area at the Univ of Washington College of Forestry when I was there in the mid 70's. There was a program at Univ of Michigan (or whichever college is at or near East Lansing). Univ Wisconsin too, a prof I knew from UW ended up there for the last few years of his career. The point is, help is available for what sort of investigation or study it would take to demonstrate a link. If you are able to establish a dialogue with someone who is familiar with the data collection needed for this type of thing it would be productive. I'm sure there is a college prof out there somewhere, who will be teaching a course on study design and might be willing to throw this out to students as a assignment or term paper or discussion topic. It wouldn't have to be a direct comparison between LDS and other troops either. A first step might simply be the relationship between accidents and the training level of leaders present. You would be taking the focus off a particular group and by doing so you might attract the cooperation and even some $$ from BSA.
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