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About GKlose

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  1. We're in a similar situation. With an aging set of camp stoves, and the need to invest more money, I (as CC) proposed to our SM that we start approaching a set of 3 cooking methods: 1) cast iron dutch ovens, skillets (a few new purchases, less than $200 total), 2) cooking one-pot meals over open fires (using the old 10qt trail chef pots we have), and utensil-less cooking ("meat on a stick", one of our favorites, and foil-pack meals), and 3) start using portable stoves, in cooking groups of 4, with 4qt and 2qt trail chef pots (backpacking stoves, new purchases, less than $300 total) So far, so good. We could use another set of cast iron for a new patrol, and we'll eventually need some more stoves. But our guys are really starting to love cooking on cast iron. They've been reinforcing fire-building every chance they get (and are pretty good at it), and the expenses haven't been too heavy. Would lave to have some renegades, even a patrol, say "hey, let's try using our mess kits". Guy
  2. We just returned from a trip (4/20-26, Coral Reef Sailing). Heard something interesting from another crew there -- in fact, there were four crews from MA there all at the same time (which includes us). One guy told me that they tried to get a summer slot (sailing, I think) and weren't able to. So they tried again on our (MA) spring break. Got right in. Since our arrival day (4/20) was Easter, we were wondering if some crews just opted not to go that day, which opened it up for some of us (like me) that forgot to check if that day was Easter (I just knew it was during our school break, so it was really our only choice). Guy
  3. Hello all -- just got back from our trip yesterday. What a fantastic week! Everything went extremely well (except for one minor nutty I had: we had two crews -- the other one left shortly after dinner on Sunday; our boat stayed on the dock Sunday evening...it agitated me, so in the morning, I sought out the sailing director, didn't find him, so I unloaded on the program director -- his first response was "well, we don't guarantee that boats go out the first night". And I responded "I've been hear for 19 hours already and I'm still here". I could have handled that better -- but it really stems from the idea that I think they knew all day that we wouldn't be out that night, while the other four boats would get out, including our other crew, and they just didn't tell me. I don't like surprises, like at 8:30pm getting told "we'll be leaving in the morning"). Anyway, it was great. Clear water, warm weather, no rain. Good wind most of the time, and I think FSB did well overall. Logistically, everything went well. We're from MA, and it shouldn't have surprised me that we met four other crews from MA down there at the same time. Flew from Manchester, NH to Fort Lauderdale, rented a 15-passenger van (which holds 12 people and some duffel bags, if everyone packs lightly!). We had one late-joiner to the group who arranged his own transport to FSB (frequent flyer miles, and relatives picking him up and delivering him) and we had two more who made their own flight arrangements (but joined us at the car rental place). We didn't really do much for ground tour -- just a stop at the Evergaldes Alligator Farm on the way down. Wasn't that expensive, and was mildly interesting. I kind of wished the airboat ride had been longer than about 15 minutes. Maybe if we do this again we'll check out Everglades N.P. instead. So -- one more thank you to everyone for helping me through this trip. On our flight back, we started discussing a 2016 Northern Tier trip :-). We already have a Philmont slot for 2015...
  4. Thanks for the advice, Qwazse -- I already saw that one coming
  5. Hey Duckfoot -- I haven't been on the forum as much as I used to -- the Camelbak I bought was the Alpine Explorer model, which I recall was around $85, full-price, at the time.
  6. Hello all -- just another followup, seeing as how we are 4 months out from the trip. Just paid the final installment to Seabase, so we're really going! Airfare purchased -- much angst to get that going -- I kept watching fares climb up, realizing that I'd lost a window of great opportunity and thought we were going to have to blow the budget. But one adult leader kept his eye on Southwest.com (BOS-FLL). Caught it the morning they were opening up new routes. I signed on early, and got 8 seats for a really great price. He delayed by about 15 minutes, and all cheap seats were gone, so his seats were way up again. On average, though, we did well. We don't have a full crew yet -- two crews of six on two boats (Coral Reef Sailing). So we have room for four more, and while I am thinking of the prospects of dropping the overall cost for everyone by adding four more, we also will run into exorbitant airfare at this point. By the way, just this last month we entered into the lottery for Philmont, summer 2015. The good news is that our first-ever national high adventure base trip to Seabase will be followed up by a 2015 trip to Philmont :-). The plan gets sketchy for 2016 and beyond -- I'm not sure who will be our Scoutmaster at that point (I will probably still be CC, though). Thanks for everyone's input over the course of this thread. I've learned a lot from all of you. Guy
  7. For years (through Cubs, and hiking on our own), I used what could best be described as "book bags" for day hiking. One by LLBean, one by Jansport. Those weren't comfortable day packs at all, and didn't carry loads well. So I splurged and bought a much higher-quality daypack. In particular, I got one of the larger Camelbak daypacks. Very comfortable, can carry larger loads. Not so inexpensive, but I'm awfully glad I got it. Day hiking has been much more comfortable ever since.
  8. One more thought -- the oral appliance is called a "PM Positioner" and was purchased and fitted through an oral surgeon. My dentist cautioned me by saying, "I'm glad you didn't get something through late night TV advertising." Here's the real bad news -- the cost was $1600, but was covered by insurance. My CPAP machine was about $1600, covered by insurance. Seems expensive for a couple of small hunks of plastic and some stainless steel.
  9. Well, my solution isn't perfect -- but soon after starting on a CPAP machine, I realized I couldn't go on a particular 5-day remote canoe trip with the troop. So I talked to my various doctors (Somnodoc, ENT and oral surgeon). The oral surgeon had a solution, that he admitted doesn't work well for everyone, and that (his words) "CPAP is the 'gold standard'." So through him, I got an oral appliance. I've used it on every troop outing since then. The oral appliance basically moves your mandible forward, creating more space in your throat. Less obstruction, less problems. But it isn't perfect. You need to heat it in very warm water for a couple of minutes and then pop it in. Sometimes in the middle of the night, it might pop off. In that case, it is near impossible to get back on. Strangely, I've only had those problems at home, not while on outings. It needs to be kept clean, obviously. Also -- you can't just wear it once a month. So I wear it at home every now and then, sometimes even with the CPAP mask on (I find the combination of the two means I can drop the pressure a little, and have fewer problems with aerophagia -- swallowing air -- which is worse, for me, at higher pressures). Overall, I've had few problems with TMJ pain, and even when I did, it didn't keep me awake. In the morning, after popping out the appliance, it takes a good 20 minutes or so, before your bite restores.
  10. Thanks guys -- this really helps. My default position would be to economize every way possible, so a combination of all three might be the way to go -- Guy
  11. For those of you that have experience at booking Scout air travel -- any recommendations? We have an April 2014 Seabase trip planned (likely BOS-MIA, or FLL) and I'm just now looking into air travel. I did contact one airline about group travel, and their quote was almost 70% higher than what an individual could get by booking via their website. I understand paying a premium for the service, but I think 70% is kind of overboard. Just thinking out loud -- I see three options: - talk to a travel agent about group travel - check group travel with other airlines, to see if I can get a lower cost - book multiple smaller groups (airline websites usually limit bookings to two adults and four kids -- our Seabase contingent is now four adults and eight Scouts) via the website To hold costs down, we're going to try to minimize checked bags, and travel with appropriately-sized carry-ons. Any other ideas, recommendations, cautions? Thanks, Guy
  12. It doesn't meet your criteria, but we go to a patrol-oriented camp in New Hampshire, and I love it. At this point, our Scouts don't even remember the old in-council "advancement-oriented" camp, loaded with all-day merit badge classes, that we are missing. I mentioned this to a D.E. once, and his reply was "our local camp has patrol cooking". I said, "the camp we're going to has way more to it than just patrol cooking -- activities are all patrol-based too" (and even though they don't have the same emphasis on advancement, a motivated patrol can earn several different merit badges). I asked the DE if he'd ever visited the camp, but he said no. I was left wondering why a guy in his position (he was staff adviser to the council's summer camp) wouldn't know what the competition in an adjacent council was offering. Last summer, a couple of DE's did decide to visit me at camp, and I took them on a tour. They were amazed at how different the camp is. I've talked about it on this forum: Camp Bell, Daniel Webster Council. Great place. So far, it's my favorite, out of the six or so council summer camps where I've spent a week. "it's way more than just patrol cooking" Guy
  13. Had a very similar circumstance, which was chronicled on this forum, a little less than a year ago (under "Seems Like Skirting") -- but there were some major differences. We had a Life Scout who disappeared on us, just after his Life BoR. The only outing we can remember he attended was a 5-day canoe trip, about 4 months after his BoR. Didn't see him for a long time after that (Aug 2009 to Sept 2011). No POR or anything. The next we heard from him, was an email to me, asking about some dates. I thought the question sounded like he was prepping his Eagle Application. So I asked him about his POR -- he told me, via email, that the prior SPL had signed him off in his handbook (BTW, the prior SPL was pretty much a no-show during his SPL year). I suggested he contact the SM, and he asked why -- I told him because we have no record of him having had a POR during that time. Turned into a major event, with the Scout eventually telling us that he'd be checking out some other troops. Turns out we're on good terms with the other troop in town, and their SM contacted us about our side of the story. That troop suggested that the Scout resolve his differences with us, so the Scout came back to us. The Scout had a detailed discussion with our SM about rejoining the troop and "what do I need to do to finish Eagle?". The SM gave him some conditions...start coming to meetings, attend at least half the outings over a six-month period, and fulfill a made up POR that fit the Scout's schedule. He did that, except for the outings part. At the end of six months, just after his project was finished, the Scout asked for a signature. The SM asked about the agreement to come on half the outings (three)...the Scout said, paraphrased, "I couldn't make any of them, can't we come to some kind of compromise?" The SM responded, "that was the compromise." The end to that story was the Scout ended up filing his application under disputed circumstances, per the "Guide to Advancement". The council advancement committee met, and decided that the Scout had done enough in his prior tenure (which I think is a dubious claim, because really we only saw him once after his Life BOR) to warrant the granting of a EBOR, and the District Advancement Committee did one for the Scout. He's now an Eagle. So, the point: we had a Scout which really only participated 5 days or so after his Life BOR. After all of the discussions, email flying back and forth, hurt feelings, etc. Eagle was still granted to this Scout without SM and committee signatures. The council advancement committee determined that he met the requirements, and the Board of Review was scheduled. You have a Scout that did participate for six months after earning Life -- bottom line, he's met the requirements. You should sign, and move on. (there was a lot more to my story than the simplified version I posted above...check the prior thread if it interests you...there was lots of very interesting banter back and forth on that one) Guy
  14. Thanks for your response, bwest. I haven't been on this site lately, and just recently read your response. Guy
  15. Oh my -- I just realized I should do a followup -- we were selected for two crews, Coral Reef Sailing. Just this last Monday, I got enough firm commitments that we can get the minimum for each crew. I'm pretty excited about this. Seabase opened up about the same time I aged out, and it's always been a dream of mine to go there. The only bad part -- they said I'd have three weeks once I received the letter -- not true -- the letter was sent out and I received it with just over two weeks to go. So I'm scrambling to collect deposits, and get an SE signature (why?) just so I can drop the form in the mail with a little over 7 days to go before the real deadline. I looked into Blue Sky Adventures, for ground transport, and some S. FL touring. At a little over $400 per person, estimated, I'm not sure that's going to make the final cut. I appreciate that businesses still need to make money, but I also think we have an obligation to manage the trip costs for our guys. Right now, I'm looking at somewhere between $1600 and $1900 each, depending on lots of factors. For example, I perfectly tickled (sarcasm implied) that we have to commit a deposit without knowing what the final Seabase cost will be, for 2014. They could have a 30% price increase, and I'd have no way to deal with that. Guy
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