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Everything posted by kenk

  1. kenk

    Water purification

    Though I myself have not used one, a lot of folks seem to like the Katadyn Base Camp filter. The'll fill it with one of those collapsable buckets (you can weight them down with a rock so they sink - you usually want to get water from a depth - rather than from the surface). The recommendation is to pre-filter the water through a bandana or a coffee filter to remove the larger "chunks" and make the primary filter last longer. It uses the same filter catridge as the Hiker Pro.
  2. kenk

    push ups

    From Wikipedia: "Corporal punishment is the deliberate infliction of pain intended to punish a person or change his/her behavior." Its not so much the activity as the cause of the activity. If a scout is being 'forced' to do pushups as punishment for something, then it is corporal punishment.
  3. kenk

    Hello from Iowa

    > Hey! I spent two summers at Lakeside Lab - '80 & '81 I think. Got a B.A. in biology from UNI, and an M.S. in Animal Ecology from ISU. Spent the rest of my life not using either degree.
  4. kenk

    Adding New Patrol - What Would You Do

    My suggestion would be: 1. Vote for SPL. That leaves 24 Scouts. 2. SPL picks ASPL. That leaves 23 Scouts. 3. SM has SPL tell Scouts that there needs to be three patrols, each with no less than 7 Scouts. Tell them that the first patrol forms in that corner, the second in that corner, and the third in that corner. Tell them to "Go form the patrols, now". Nobody leaves until the three patrols are formed. Let the Scouts create them. Adults stand back. SPL can offer "advice" on resolving counts. The odds are that you'll find yourself with a new-Scout patrol by default. If so, live with it and have the ASPL help them during the first few campouts - unless you also have Troop Guides (doesn't sound like you do). 4. Patrols vote for PL. 5. PLs select APLs. 6. Gather names of those interested in each of the other positions of responsibility (PORs -- Quartermaster, Scribe, Librarian, ...). 7. Scoutmaster and SPL come to agreement on who will fill the open PORs. Have training for the youth leadership ASAP. Plan to have lots of training associated with the first campout - where you teach newer Scouts how to plan menues, how to buy food, how to pack food, how to create duty rosters (might be in youth leader training), how to handle food, how to start stoves, how to cook, how to clean, how to wash dishes, and how to put gear/food away. I'm fully bought into the idea that patrols are the primary component of the troop. Everything is done by patrols, though often the patrols get together. I'm a BIG fan of not using adhoc patrols - even two boys can camp/cook as a patrol. I also like having patrols camp/eat a substantial distance from each other - yet in shouting range - for those inter-patrol chants/joking. Adult patrol - same thing. SPL & ASPL are invited eating guests with the patrols and/or w/ adult patrol. The troop meets for flag ceremonies, events/activities, and camp fire. SPL & ASPL roam from patrol to patrol keeping distant - so as not to mess up PL leadership, but to make sure things are going OK. SM(s) work with the SPL, SPL works with the PLs, PLs work with the Scouts in their patrol. It works.
  5. kenk

    better campout participation

    It seems that if the campouts and other activities are things that the Scouts want to do, and places that the Scouts want to go - within reason, then participation should come naturally. THAT is why troops should be boy lead!! One of the important aspects of the planning is to allow the average Joe-Scout to provide their input via the patrol. The planning process should allow the PL to bring back ideas to the patrol, and then later come to the PLC with feedback and hopefully new ideas garnered from the patrol(s).
  6. kenk

    Scout Oath and Law for advancement

    In my simplistic view: >> Having Scouts fill out a form for the SM Conference is adding to the requirements. It may be for the convenience of those involved, but it is not in the BSA process. >> The "testing" for requirements is to be done BEFORE they are signed off in the back of the handbook. >> The SM Conference is intended to be a focal point of communication between the Scout and the SM. Part of it is to review the Scout's experience during the period that the rank was being earned. Part of it should be a discussion about their time spent doing service and in their position of responsibility. Part of it is a bit of review regarding the requirements - BUT it should not be a complete retest of the requirements. I could easily see SM conferences being followed up with feedback to the PLC, as appropriate. >> The BOR is intended to be a focal point of communication between the Scout and members of the Troop Committee. The idea is for the Committee members to determine whether the troop (and SM) is providing an appropriate Scouting experience for the Scout(s). In my view, BORs should really be followed by some kind of feedback to the SPL and the SM. The BOR is NOT - and never should be - a retest of rank requirements. In my view it would not be appropriate for a SM to ask the BOR adults to test a Scout. >> Regarding the particular requirement to be able to repeat from memory the Scout Oath & Law, that is Tenderfoot requirement 7. That requirement is not repeated in any of the subsequent ranks, so quite frankly I'm not sure how it would have come up in a FC or Star SM conference. >> Have you never memorized something only to forget it later? >> It is a good practice to have Scouts repeat the Scout Oath & Law often enough during troop meetings and other activities so that the Scouts can't help but keep them in memory. Yeah, I know troop openings need variety, but I'm one of those who feels the Oath & Law need to be repeated - often.(This message has been edited by kenk)
  7. kenk

    Researching New Tents for Troop

    Its my understanding that the weird half-fly is a weight-reduction technique ... waterproof part of the tent itself and reduce the size of the fly so the whole thing weights a bit less. Of course that results in less ventilation and possibly more condensation. Its all a balance. I myself prefer the more classic full fly with breathable fabric or netting underneath.
  8. kenk

    Researching New Tents for Troop

    Unless you're going to do backpacking, I'd recommend 3-person OR 4-person Alps Mountaineering Taurus Outfitter using the 45% Scout discount via ScoutDirect.com. Very nice tents. Supposedly made at the same factory as the REI tents. The outfitter version has extra heavy duty zippers (mostly likely item to fail) and floors. They also have aluminum poles, which will outlast most fiberglass poles. Here is a link to ScoutDirect: http://www.scoutdirect.com Here is a link to Alps: http://www.alpsmountaineering.com For Scoutmasters I'll recommend the 5-person Taurus Outfitter (for interior height). If they're backpacking, consider the Zephyr tents. I've read good reviews on them. Get 2-person or 3-person versions and share parts between backpackers.
  9. kenk

    Campfire waffle maker

    In my humble opinion the best maker of these (and the original Pie Iron) is Rome Industries, based out of Peoria, Illinois. http://www.pieiron.com
  10. kenk

    MB Counselor Issues

    Its been well documented that Scouts may use their fathers as as merit badge counselors, so long as the fathers are registered as MBCs. MBCs must follow youth protection measures, so they need to avoid one-on-one counseling, but, of course, this would not apply to the MBC's own son. Two-deep leadership is technically only required on "trips and outings", and not necessarily for meetings, including MBC sessions. Still, if I'm the only adult leader present, I prefer to have another adult present, and if not, I prefer to have at least two non-related youth present (not counting my son as one of them). That's just my preferences though. In my view it is OK to be the MBC for your own son. Make sure he follows the same requirement expectations as would any other Scout - not more and not less.(This message has been edited by kenk)
  11. kenk

    My Old A frame Tent

    With all honesty and the highest level of respect to your cherished memories ... I wouldn't want to stay in that cheap crudy tent. It is a poor quality, low (maybe no) tech single wall tent. Unless you have a breeze and leave all of the doors/windows open you will be suffering from extreme condensation. If your son is in Cub Scouts, my advice would be to buy a modern 3/4/5 person tent. Go to http://www.scoutdirect.com , which is a site by Alps Mountaineering that provides a 45% discount to Cub/Boy/Girl Scouts and their families, and register for their discount. You can see their products at http://www.alpsmountaineering.com . Call them to order a tent. The tents are decent quality and the folks at Alps are very nice to work with. I'd recommend the Taurus w/ aluminum poles or the Vertex. If you live in a very warm climate, then the Meramac would be good too (it gets a bit breezy in the more northern climates). Avoid fiberglass poles as they weigh more and tend to splinter & break. BTW, the REI Half Dome tents are similar tents that I'm told are made in the same factory as the Alps tents. A lot of folks really like them. They are sold at REI stores, or at http://www.rei.com . If your son is in Boy Scouts, my advice is to have him talk to his youth and adult leaders about the kind of tent to buy. For car camping the 4-person tents mentioned above are great. He may prefer something a bit smaller. The Alps Mountaineering Extreme 3 might be better, or the Zephyr 3 for very warm climates. A lot of Scouts like the similar REI Taj 3 too. Do keep in mind that a 2-person tent is good for 1 person plus gear. A 3-person tent can tightly fit 2 Scouts plus gear. A 4-person tent fits 2 people plus gear, etc... I've seen a lot of adult leaders use larger dome tents - maybe the 5-person or 6-person sizes - I suspect mostly for their height - so the old backs don't have to bend over quite so much. I myself use a 6-person Meramac in summer and a 5-person Taurus in fall & sprng. The only problem with these larger tents is that they are more suseptable to wind (big sail). Still, they are very nice tents for adults (too tall for small boys to set up though - would be very hard to reach the 6' clips). Last, but not least, if you are dead-set on getting an A-frame tent, you'll do VERY well to get a Eureka Timberline tent. They are rock-solid tents that have take care of campers for decades! (This message has been edited by kenk)
  12. Oops ... that should have been 12 hours ... not 24 hours.
  13. The device you mention cost about $35, so here is an idea ... I'd been looking for something that would provide minimum overnight temperatures so that we can know how cold it really got on those cold nights. It is actually hard to find a robust device that provides that information. Even the fancy Kestrel weather devices don't record temperatures over time. They seem to focus more on wind speed. I finally found the Brunton ADC Wind (ADC = Atmospheric Data Center) for $39 at http://www.opticsplanet.net/brunton-instruments-adc-wind.html . Its listed on Amazon.com for a similar price. It has a clock, provides current temperature (F or C), and more importantly for me, it records and displays hourly temperatures for the past 24 hours. It displays both a little graph of the recorded temps and the individual temps for each hour. Pretty slick. I put it out on a REALLY cold night last week (Chicago area) and the minimum temperature seems to be about -10F. It does read down to the negative single-digits in F. The manual doesn't give the actual max/min temps. Though I wish it went down to more like -20F or -30F, that's not bad for a digital battery-operated device. Oh, and the battery did just fine at those temps. BTW, it runs on a 3V CR2032 button battery. Time will tell how long the battery will last. Battery access is pretty easy - use a coin to rotate the o-ring protected battery hatch. The ADC Wind even ships with an extra battery. I wonder if that's in case the clock/temp feature runs the battery out before its sold. As the name suggests, it also displays current and average wind speed. Since it knows the wind speed and temperature, it also displays the current and average wind chill. That's kind of handy. The propeller that provides the wind speed is housed in a ball-shaped capsule such that the propeller can be rotated closed in order to minimize dust, contamination, and damage. It is waterproof - the manual even says you can use it to measure water flow speed. It can read in several speed units including Km/h, mph, meter/s, feet/s, and knots. One of the propellors blades is magnetic, so if you hold it horizontally, it can act like a simple compass (the red blade points north), to help you get wind direction ... or to use it like, well, a simple compass, if needed. It also has chronograph functions, if you find that useful. So far I really like it. Still, (1) it would be nice if the minimum temperature was a bit lower - maybe -20F, (2) I wish that the lanyard that came with it was a bit longer - its kind of short for my big fat head - still it is nice for hanging it outside a tent, and (3) I wish it came with a little nylon drawstring case to provide a little protection for the device. Beyond that it is really nice. Highly recommended. Oh, and it does have a back-light on the dislay (push a button for light). BTW, the two complaints listed on amazon.com are (1) wind speed reading varies too much at very low speed - 6-8 mph (I don't have enough experience with it to comment yet), and (2) the Wind model doesn't have barometric measurements (duh, that's only available in the higher-end model that costs twice as much). I hope that helps. Ken
  14. kenk

    Thoughts on homemade firestarters.

    Instead of drier lint - which can also have synthetic fibers - just buy jumbo-sized cotton balls (check the label to make sure they are 100% cotton), put a handful of balls in a plastic sandwich bag, then add a glob (legal term) of white petroleum jelly (Vaseline), and massage the jelly into the cotton balls. Pull out one or two balls and fluff them up a bit to start a fire. They make GREAT firestarters that, when pulled apart to expose the less schmeered center, should easily light from a sparking rod. They can also help chapped lips, if needed.
  15. kenk

    family camping

    We've had very good luck with Jellystone parks. They tend to lean toward families and youngsters more than many. The directory is at http://www.campjellystone.com
  16. Regarding the 2nd Class requirement to show evidence of 10 kinds of animials, and the 1st Class requirement to show evidence of 10 kinds of plants ... ... Is it acceptable for a Scout to complete these requirements in a museum or similar setting?
  17. If they expanded this to summer camp (the form says the weight restrictions are recommended for ALL events) my days at our Troop's summer camp will have ended. According to my mapping software the hospital is 38 minutes from camp. I've been overweight my entire life - since a young boy. My weight has been the classic roller coaster. I'd like to loose weight, but my history is that every time I do, well, it comes back even higher than before. I almost fear loosing weight in recent years. It could very well be that my years in Scouting will be stopped by this new requirement.
  18. I wholehearedly agree. The reason I'd asked is that my son's SM is setting up a day trip to a local museum to help Scouts who joined last spring, but haven't bothered to collect the signs to date. I (adv coordinator) told him that "signs" found in a museum are not in the spirit of the program and should not be acceptable. I sense that the SM is too focused on the rank advancement. He's a new SM (his son is one of the newbies) and may still be in Cub Scout mode.(This message has been edited by kenk)
  19. kenk

    Age Appropriate Fire Building?

    Having experienced it myself having gone from Tiger Cub Den Leader to 3rd year Asst. SM, it is far too easy for excited adult leaders to want to teach young Scouts skills that the Scouting program really plans to teach them latter - when it is more "age appropriate". Teaching pre-Webelos fire safety - both indoors & outdoors - is a great thing. My view is that we should follow the Age Appropriate Guidelines and that teaching them fire-building should be left for Webelos and Boy Scouts.
  20. I'm the father of a mildly autistic Scout - actually he has Asperger's Syndrome. He is currently a 13 year old Life Scout with two more merit badges needed for Eagle (plus the project). He joined the troop with a group of four Scouts. Last year all four were eligible for O/A. Only two got elected - the two special needs (SN) Scouts - my son included - did not get elected. My wife was mad. I was a bit sad about the inequity of it, but yielded to the process. I talked with my son about it and he said he didn't care. I think he really did. The other SN Scout seemed OK with it. This year there will be three eligible Scouts: the two SN Scouts who are now Life Scouts, plus a younger First Class Scout. We have a whole bunch of younger Scouts that joined last year. Since then my son has become a patrol leader. I suspect my son will have a good chance of getting elected this year. If he doesn't, then I'm OK with it. My own opinion is that its no so much an election issue, but rather a long-term issue of educating the non-SN Scouts - and parents - about the needs of special people. This isn't a one-night thing, but something to be brought into the open and discussed from day one.
  21. My son's troop (I'm an ASM & Advancement Coordinator) does pretty much what others do. Scout SM "signs off" (not really a specific place to do it though). TF through FC --All but SS, SMC, & BOR - Any Scout who Star or above can sign off; SM or ASM - preferably not a parent - can also sign off. We prefer Scouts to do it. The Advancement Coordinator (me) usually signs off on service hours and camping nights since I track that stuff, unless a Scout, SM, or ASM knows the counts. --SM signs off on SS & SMC, except for his son - then its carried out & signed by an ASM. --BOR is usually signed by a Troop Committee member after the BOR, but sometimes will be signed off by the Advancement Coordinator. --MB Blue Cards are usually signed by the Advancement Coordinator, but, of course, could also be signed by the SM. Of course the MB counselor signs the appropriate portions - except for MB's completed at summer camp - then the Advancement Coordinator inserts the camp name instead (our summer camp doesn't use blue cards - Council keeps those records & gives Advancement Coordinator a copy at the end of each week of camp. Star through Eagle (though his young troop hasn't had an Eagle yet - close) MB's, Service, & POR - usually signed off by Advancement Coordinator since I track those items, but could also be SM or ASM. SS & SMC - same as above. --BOR - same as above. --MB Blue Cards - same as above.
  22. kenk

    Modern Baker Tent

    Oh yeaaaaah. Its called a "Lean Shelter" and made by Cooke Custom Sewing in the USA. http://www.cookecustomsewing.com/leans.htm Note that it is made of silicone-impregnated nylon for light weight, is floorless to minimize weight & maximize flexibility, and that it is available with and without mosquito netting. It does not come with poles as the intent is to minimize weight, so they designed them to be hung from nearby trees and such. CCS does sell poles for it though. The awning is made wider at the outside so that in bad weather it can be lowered so it leaves a ventilation gap & entry-way, but still provides good weather potection. I've been looking at getting one myself, but need to wait until less "uncertain" times. BTW, their Tundra Tarp is considered by many to be one of the best tarps available.
  23. Big TM fan here. You CAN enter the same activity as "combined" activities in TM. For example, a campout can also be a service event. You'd just create the first event and then press the Combined button at the bottom of the Edit/Review dialog box. This generates a new activity for which you'd select the Service type and enter the number of hours expected. You could create two separate TM activities - one with a Camping type and another with a Hiking type. Start a new activity. Select the Camping type with Backpacking box checked, Enter the number of nights and other details, then press the Combined button. The Type field will be highlighted. Change the Type to Hiking, enter the number of miles, the other details as appropriate, and then press OK. You will have created two activities - one Camping and another Hiking. I would recommend that for ONE of those - probably the Hiking - you uncheck the "Include on Calendar" checkbox. TroopMaster's Help documentation says: "If the activity was a campout or a hike, a "Backpacking" checkbox is available: This item is used to generate the Backpacking Summary report (para 12.1e) and when determining O/A Eligibility (para 12.9c). Backpacking should always be entered as a both a camp and a hike." Note the last sentence. If you run the Activities by Type report with and then without the "Include backpacking only" option checked, you can tell which hiking miles are "pure hiking" and which are backpacking. If you run the Individual Participation report, select the Scout, and then select type Hiking, the output will add a "Backpacking Trip" note for those trips.
  24. As I understand, technically, any vehicles, trailers, gear, ... are the property of the chartering organization. I would guess schools are hesitant to allow vehicles such as buses, but many churches seem "bus-friendly".
  25. kenk

    Recommend good hiking boots?

    Ha, before I even saw Jethro's post I'd planned on coming on here are recommend the L.L. Bean Cresta Hiker. I have the all leather model, and really really like the fit and feel. They are a mid-weight boot, so I can see why some might like the lighter-weight Day Hiker. The only thing I think I'd like better on the Cresta Hiker is if they had a toe cap to protect the toe ... like the L.L. Bean Day Hiker has(that's the ironic part). Ken K.