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KA6BSA

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About KA6BSA

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  1. KA6BSA

    Eagle pin

    I understand it is the medal (ribbon) not the pocket patch you are asking about. I earned my Eagle medal in 1959 and still have it. There is no BSA on the front of it and the back of the eagle is flat. But The eagle on my son's medal from 2002 has the BSA on the front and a contour with detailed feathers on the back. I was curious when I first examined his medal and found a webpage showing pictures and descriptions of the various versions of the Eagle medal, but when I searched for it today couldn't find it with Google... just the page for the patch already cited. But I remember there were different vendors making the medal and various minor changes over the years. Even for small parts, for example the knot hanging from the scroll on my son's is a detailed cast metal piece looking like a rope, but on my old one it is an actual shiny silver wire loop tied into a knot. There were medals earlier than mine with BSA on the eagle, I think the very first medals had it, but for some reason the BSA was left off on other versions... if someone finds that webpage with the pictures it would be interesting to see the details, as I believe there were four or five different suppliers over the history of the medal.(This message has been edited by KA6BSA)
  2. KA6BSA

    SM Key requirements?

    Thank you FScouter, the SM Key information was very helpful. On a related note... are the requirements listed for the Scoutmaster Award of Merit (1.5 year NESA white knot) current and correct on the USSSP website? They refer to their source as Application Form (No. 58-413)
  3. KA6BSA

    Ham Radio for Scouts

    When I was a Scout the Morse code was a requirement, either using a flasher or key with a sounder... BSA even sold official sets made by Fleron (I collect old ones today). And we also did Myer 2-element wig-wag flag signaling. These interests led me to get a ham license in 1961 and start putting together my own transmitters from junk electronic parts, design and build my own radio teletype equipment and then even television sets. Eventually I completed an advanced degree in electrical engineering from UCSD, and was a member of the design team to earn an Emmy Award in television technology in 1986 for the VideoCipher scrambling system. You never know what can be achieved by Scouts when they get interested in new activities and continue to be involved. There are new digital modes in ham radio such as Winlink (Pactor on HF or VHF), IRLP internet gateway technology, ham satellite packet communications, and APRS position reporting (combine that with Orienteering) that could spark the serious interest of modern Scouts. By demonstrating the networks of mountain-top FM repeaters using the ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency System) ham radio is very clearly distinguished as not a toy like a Gameboy. And in an emergency the cellphones are the first method of communications to become overloaded and quit working. Even just starting by teaching the proper radio protocol and network control for FRS two-way radios during a hike can be lots of fun for Scouts... and lead to interest in ham radio as a valuable and fun activity.(This message has been edited by KA6BSA)
  4. KA6BSA

    Limits on MB Counselors

    In our council, and I thought this was a general requirement of BSA National, the boy's Eagle Notebook is open to the Eagle Board of Review as evidence of his work. The notebook contains the application forms and all the write-up materials on the Eagle Project, and all the merit badge cards, with blue card stubs attached, that the boy has earned. The notebook is not approved without the original blue card stubs... this is why there is so much emphasis on the boy not losing them. The BOR members can easily see who signed all the blue card stubs, and if most of them are by mommy and daddy of course they would be concerned. The merit badge program is supposed to broaden the boy's knowledge and experience in the real world, not just have his parents provide everything. We don't have a limit on parental signoffs here and if a parent did something like Art, Woodcarving, and some other general interest merit badges it would not cause a big problem. But the Eagle BOR is especially mindful of the Eagle Required merit badges, which are taken very seriously in meeting the exact requirements.(This message has been edited by KA6BSA)
  5. KA6BSA

    Limits on MB Counselors

    Yes Laurie and there are also serious problems in the quality of rank advancement when the parents take it upon themselves to counsel many merit badges each and set up a system in the unit to push the boys through. We had a Council level limit of 5 merit badges per person for a while as an attempt to prevent these unit advancement systems, but it was discontinued after objections from many parents wanting to make it easier for their boys. Even during the limited period there was one special case where many merit badges were allowed per person... for Rangers at a Scout Reservation. There the head Scouter could be a super-counselor all year around for even 25 or more merit badges. But of course there were no issues about not being accessible to all units, and hopefully there were the facilities, training and resources to do the badge correctly. Many people forget (or never knew) how the merit badge counselors worked in the "old days." A boy was expected to find the counselor and make contact on his own. The counselor was almost always an expert in the field doing only one badge... and could be very demanding on meeting exactally the requirements. When I was a Scout in 1959 the typical method was to walk to the counselor's house, knock on the door, and present oneself in full uniform ready to politely ask for service. I remember vividly having to go back to a counselor several times for the Music merit badge because I made a single mistake in playing the song for him. He was an orchestra conductor for the town theater and made me go back home and practice another week each time just for one wrong note! In those days there were no parents calling on the phone for the boy making appointments, no parents setting everything up for him, no parents allowed to interfere at all. And there were no merit badge factories at summer camp (we just had fun instead), no groups of parents in the troop putting on merit badge classes so every boy in the unit would get it. Success depended on a strong individual initiative and persistence from the boy himself. There was no Eagle Project requirement, but the earned merit badges were an indication that the Scout had real determination and had worked hard on his own, not just followed all the other boys through a pre-arranged system of advancement run by the troop's parents. These days the Eagle Project now seems to be the event that separates the boy with that initiative from the others. Maybe BSA in its wisdom realized it was necessary for a Project requirement to demonstrate leadership and individual motivation, when just earning merit badges was no longer a consistent measure of those qualities.
  6. In the Guide to Safe Scouting (GSS) there is no argument specifically against Tae-Kwon-Do. It is just lumped into the "karate" type of martial arts activities along with boxing. The only mention in the GSS restricted activity list is: "Boxing, karate, and related martial artsexcept judo, aikido, and Tai Chiare not authorized activities." That is why I brought up the "allowed activities" from Sports merit badge because it gives a much more complete picture of the issue... which I think is centered on the punching and kicking. Of course there can be plenty of nasty punching and kicking in those approved sports, but there the ref yells "foul" before they continue the game. I have competed in many karate tournaments in the last 10 years and there are strictly enforced rules against any head/face punching/kicking contact for anyone under age 21, but I guess that is not widely known and doesn't make much difference in the image of karate as a safe sport. In all those years any injuries I got were minor and usually due to some lack of preparation on my part, insufficient stretching, repetitive over-use muscle strain, etc. By comparison high school age football players routinely get concussions playing that game, but then they wear a helmet so it looks like they are ready for it. I still think it is just the over-simplified reasoning that there is an emphasis on punching and kicking that puts karate and boxing on the no-no list.(This message has been edited by KA6BSA)
  7. It is interesting to look at the requirements of Sports merit badge for the allowed activities: "3) Take part for one full season as a member of an organized team in ONE of the following sports: baseball, basketball, bowling, cross-country, diving, fencing, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rugby, skating (ice or roller), soccer, softball, swimming, team handball, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, or wrestling (or any other recognized team sport approved in advance by your counselor, except boxing and karate). 4) Take part in ONE of the following sports on a competitive basis in two organized meets or tournaments: archery, badminton, bait or fly casting, bowling, canoeing, cycling, diving, fencing, fishing, golf, gymnastics, handball, horsemanship, horseshoes, judo, orienteering, paddleball, rifle or shotgun shooting, sailing, skating (ice or roller), skiing, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track and field, water-skiing, or wrestling (or any other recognized sport approved in advance by your counselor, except boxing and karate)." So it appears not to matter what the amount of actual body contact is with football, judo and wrestling on the list. But boxing and karate are specifically excluded. Whether offensive or defensive, hard or soft, seems to me the punching and kicking contact is what BSA is excluding.
  8. KA6BSA

    Cubmaster's got a WHISTLE!

    You could keep tryin to fix each problem as it comes up... sounds like you have plenty already in progress. But what really needs to happen is the Cubmaster needs to go get proper BSA training and also visit other Pack's meetings to see how it should be done. If he is unwilling then start looking for a replacement Cubmaster who can do it right. Among the parents there may be a few dads that are Eagle Scouts... ask them to get involved and help your Pack Committee start making the right choices.
  9. KA6BSA

    Ham Radio for Scouts

    As you can tell from my username I am trustee to a Scout club station here in San Diego. At our council Scout Fair I have organized demonstration stations at a Radio Merit Badge booth on the midway there. Each year we have had more than 150 boys go through the booth, work on the merit badge, and each make radio contacts on HF SSB, and 25 of the boys staffing the booth earned the badge. The merit badge is a good goal but I have found that is difficult enough, and none of the boys (except my own sons) have been willing to study toward getting a license. If you are looking for a good website to teach Radio Merit Badge check out Bill Jeffrey's AA6J worksheet pages at http://www.qsl.net/aa6j/radiomb/index.html . Bill has been a major contributor to the MB booth at Scout Fair here.
  10. KA6BSA

    Philmont alternatives ?

    Fussy Bear, Click on Whitsett Sierra at that site, www.whitsett.org/sierra/index.html . They use the regular summer camp facilities as a base for the treks. It is a new program started late this year and you may need to email or call them to get the details. The camp commissioner told me they were going to be part of the BSA National High Adventure program soon and they expected to get waiting lists like the others do after folks discover it.
  11. KA6BSA

    Philmont alternatives ?

    My troop attended summer camp at Camp Whitsett (West Los Angeles Council, CA) in the Sierras (Near Kearnville, CA) and they told us there were becoming a National High Adventure Base soon. They have a great program in a wonderful remote location, but are still available because most people do not know about it yet. Check it out at www.whitsett.org
  12. KA6BSA

    Appropriateness of Scouter wearing patches earned as a Youth.

    At some of our special events like Camporee or Scout Fair adult show off collections of antique BSA equipment, uniforms and patches. And they may even dress themselves in vintage uniforms, not necessarily representing their current adult positions, but their Scouting days as a youth. Almost everyone agrees that this is a special way to show Scout Spirit and enjoy the heritage of BSA. I can think of another example in my troop, which I helped found 6 years... we had all new boys age 11. At the troop's first Court of Honor the SM encouraged all the ASMs who were Eagles to wear their Eagle Medal for that occasion, to motivate the boys, many of whom had never seen one. It really served a purpose and I would still not have any problem with anyone doing that at COH, but not at a regular troop meeting.
  13. KA6BSA

    Appropriateness of Scouter wearing patches earned as a Youth.

    Another common patch obtained as a youth but worn by adult Scouters is the National Jamboree patch (above the BSA strip over the right pocket).
  14. KA6BSA

    Expedition Hat

    Here in San Diego where a hat is more than just ornamental because it is easy to get a sunburn all year round, it is very common to see expedition hats worn with either field uniform or activity outfits. The expedition hat is so practical that few people here are going to make a fuss over this issue. Also many folks don't like to wear any pins on the front of their expedition hat from the experience of imbedding the inside clasp into the forehead when bumping into somethings like a tree branch.
  15. KA6BSA

    Toten' Chip Badge

    Yes the Totin' Chip requirements are contained in the 2nd Class rank but I didn't see anyone mention here yet the practice of SM, SPL or Instructor cutting corners off the Totin' Chip card for violations of the safety rules. For example, if a boy does not make a proper safety circle before using his knife, he may get a corner cut off the card. No eye protection when chopping wood he loses a corner, etc. When the last corner is gone the Scout must get the Totin' Chip instruction again (no matter what his rank) and re-qualify for a new card. Some troops even take the card away for one violation of safety if it is serious, like running with a knife open, or having too many boys inside a wood yard perimeter, whether anyone gets hurt or not. Because of this custom of cutting corners off many troop require that the boys carry their cards even if they have a patch sewn on somewhere.
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