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Everything posted by artjrk

  1. Our Troop will periodically have a MB class meet before regular troop meetings. some may be every other week some monthly. But never seems to be more than one running at a time. Every few years they run the cycle for the Citizenship badges. Allows for bringing in local politicos to talk and take questions. Auto repair was popular this past year. On a rare occasion we will have a meeting where we all meet somewhere like the police station to do Fingerprinting. But this happens at most once a year. It does give scouts a sense of change. We will occasionally have a meeting at the local indoor rock climbing place as well. Some MB councilors will meet with scouts one-on-one during meetings during Game time. or after the meeting. We don't as a troop do a lot of MBs during campouts, but I hope to do some cooking MB stuff in the coming year especially as there will be high demand for time on it next year. But meetings in general for Patrol Time, Trip Planning and Scout Skill development.
  2. artjrk

    Tent vs Hammock

    Forgot to add. I also have two types of stands to allow me to hang in an open field (Camporees) one is only 2 1/2 pounds, light enough for simple backpacking.
  3. artjrk

    Tent vs Hammock

    I have been using a hammock at Scout Camp for over 10 years with no issue. My kids use one too. Generally we have about 4-6 using one for some if not all the nights. This year the boys scheduled a Hammock Campout for the Spring. We will be DIYing hammocks with the boys interested. Living on the East Coast, haven't had issues with not being able to hang. When I asked prior to camp this Summer, the Camp Directors response, "We have plenty of trees." I noticed several staff were in hammocks as well. As far as insulation goes. You can survive using a pad in the hammock. I did that for nine years. This past year I have made underquilts using military Poncho Liners and old down jackets. I do have a heavy duty down UQ for the winter. There are also synthetic alternatives to down which keep costs down. I have heard some Scouters say that hammock camping does not belong in Scouting because it violates the buddy system. That is nuts. Many of the older scouts already use one man tents. Also we have had scouts bunk there hammocks to share one tarp.
  4. As I look at it, it could be more of a challenge. Hiking through the city, one comes across a multiple choices in direction to go. Every corner there is a decision to be made. There is no established trail to assist you. In the woods, most of these hikes follow established trails with minimal crossings to allow one to "check the map". Unless the 5 mile hike is set up as a cross country hike off the beaten path.
  5. artjrk

    When exactly can a scout earn his rank badge?

    My first Pack with my two older boys would hold an Akela's Council at every other Pack meeting to present any earned awards or ranks. My current pack with my youngest does rank at either its Fall or Spring Family Campout and AoL at the B&G. Personally I prefer the first. The packs are large enough that to try and do it at every Pack Meeting would be a bit too cumbersome. I do not like the current Pack's method. and glad that my youngest son crosses over this weekend.
  6. artjrk

    Does your troop meet in summer?

    We meet in the school cafeteria during the school year. During the Summer we meet on the school's "front porch". The meetings are a little shorter but afterwards the scouts join the cub scout pack that also meets at the school for their "Summer Games" It gives an opportunitity for the older boys to interact with the younger ones. Occassionally the Scouts will run some of the games. They go to camp in July and try and schedule a campout in August.
  7. artjrk

    Decision delayed

    Was just wondering. If the BSA does allow the local option, how far could a gay Scouter rise in the ranks of leadership? District?, Council, National? or will they be restricted to the local level only?
  8. artjrk

    The emerging Biden Proposal

    Here is an article in the Washington Post just a couple days ago. "Data indicate drop in high-capacity magazines during federal gun ban" http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/data-point-to-drop-in-high-capacity-magazines-during-federal-gun-ban/2013/01/10/d56d3bb6-4b91-11e2-a6a6-aabac85e8036_story.html Then I hear the NRA say that the Assault weapon ban was a total failure. Where are their facts. Oh wait they lobby to prevent any research.
  9. artjrk

    Scout Stuff - New Items

    re. the double hammock Having gotten into hammock camping lately, I will say I use a Double Hammock. This only means that the hammock is wider and is capable of supporting more weight. Seeing a lot of the Scouters this is important. (looking at myself here). The extra width also allows one to get a more diagonal lay, which allows one to lay flatter.
  10. artjrk

    Who carries a firearm on Scout Outings???

    I can think of only one time in 13 years of scouting that having a firearm might have been helpful and it wasn't even in our troop. A rabid skunk had entered a scouts tent during the night acting crazy as a rabid skunk would do. The scouts cut their way out of the tent as quickly as possible but were still bitten. The skunk did leave the camp but then returned. At that point the camp ranger and leaders were able to kill the skunk with shovels. So yes a better weapon would have helped but in the night with scouts moving about and the skunk acting erratic, it may have been to hard to get a good shot anyway. Personally, I can not imagine bring a personal weapon to any scout outing. I hope no other leaders bring one either. My neighbor (fellow Scout parent) who is a Federal Agent does have weapons in his trunk on outings since he is on call, but never on his person. I think that is appropriate.
  11. "I wouldn't have an "official" SMC until all of the rank requirements have been reviewed by our advancement chair." This seems easy and reasonable. Let the AC review and verify signed of items, part of his job anyway. Not retest but get a better feel as to when and how requirements were signed off. Also having the boy talk to the SPL first is good for the boy to understand the operations of the troop and its expectations. Then you can have a SMC.
  12. Disclaimer: my son had his T/2/1 Boards all at one time eight years ago. I haven't seen the actual ruling from National stating that there needed to be separate Boards. Where can one find that. I guess that is more recent. If so are we as leaders trying to circumnavigate the spirit of the rule by having three "consecutive" boards in night? Is this the right message to be sending to the scouts by technically being right but side-stepping the spirit?
  13. artjrk

    Cold Weather Camping tips.

    Nice check list. I'm going to pass it on to my Webs.
  14. artjrk

    Troop Bus

    As a youth, our Troop had a bus. Several rows were taken out in back to carry the gear. It actually belonged to the CO (church) so we didn't have a lot of the financial responsibilities, but it was our bus. We also a had a Scout Hut for meetings. The Church own several houses on the block. Back to the bus. It was nice to be able to all travel together. Since the bus couldn't get in the tightest spots, we would park in the main parking areas and backpack into the sites. It was an older bus so it didn't have the greatest power. There were times when we had to get out so it could get up a steep hill. And on more than one occasion we had to push it up. We enjoyed that.
  15. When I was a Webelos Den Leader, I had one scout who I guess didn't appreciate my sense of humor a few years previously. I had hidden his cookies during a hike after he had asked me to watch them for him. He initially thought I had eaten them, but he got them moments later. Anyway, during our final year as Webelos, we were doing an orienteering course around the school. The kids were really enjoying themselves. This scout says to me, "You know Mr. K_____, I used to hate you, but this is kinda fun." Today this Scout is in his final year of Boy Scouts and is set to earn his Eagle as well. He was a SPL while I was SM. Now whenever I visit the Troop he is one of the first to call out "Jimbo!" a term of endearment I have been given by the boys. I can't wait for this scout's ECOH.
  16. artjrk

    No Response?

    In the two packs that I have been part of each den leader would handle the RSVPs for Pack events within their den. The Pack sent out announcements en mass but communication was more on the den level.
  17. There are times when there is just not enough room to carry the backpacks alone based on number and size of cars. My Corolla can take 5 people, albeit a tight fit, but there simply is not enough trunk space for 5 fully loaded packs. Multiply that by 3 other drivers with similar vehicles, how do you carry the gear. Even if one of the cars is an SUV, it can't handle the overflow gear. Now if the SUV is towing a small Troop trailer. It can work. Trip is on. And this is for a backpacking trip. Other times the event we are going to requires additional gear. The pioneering merit badge councilor is having several boys build a tower at campout with visiting Webelos. The trailer makes hauling the materials possible. Webelos are impressed. New scouts come crossover. Trailers are not just a luxury. As one mentioned earlier, sometimes a trailer is a necessity. Note I said a small trailer. For our troop of 45 scouts a small trailer works. I have seen larger troops get away with out using their trailers, but the convoy of cars going out with 3-4 people per car pack with gear seems to me just as frivolous.
  18. You asked how much does our troop have in our account. Not counting Scout accounts, We keep an additional surplus equal to our annual operating budget. approx $5,500. We keep this in case our annual fundraiser doesn't go well. We have now capped the fundraiser so as to not put too much money in the account. Since our accounts are technically belong to our CO (school PTA) we are trying to keep it streamlined. We keep the surplus since the PTA does not actually provide any financial support.
  19. artjrk

    scheduling boards of review

    As SM, I had a notebook where a scout could sign up for a SMC or just moment to talk to me. That way I could get to each scout in an orderly fashion, usually the same night. If I couldn't get to one due to time constraints then they would be top of the list the next week. The list also included a column for BORs. at the beginning of each meeting I would let the CC know if we would be needing any BORs that night. That would give him time to gather up a board or two if need be. If a BOR couldn't get done one night it usually was done the next week. For younger scouts I would personally make sure the CC had a Board ready. As boys advanced to Star and Life I would at times ask them to go directly to the CC. It let them be more aware of the process and free up some of my time. My favorite SMCs and BORs are the ones done on campouts and at camporees. Getting adults from other units to help sit in always gave the Scout insight to other point of views about scouting and see toe larger picture.
  20. artjrk

    Do we need scout camps?

    I feel fortunate to be part of a larger council (National Capitol Area) that has multiple camps Camp Snyder that is close by and has a good cub Scout camp and Goshen which supports multiple Webelos and Boy Scout camps and a High Adventure camp. Our Troop also utilizes other local area council camps for off season camping. Cost to the troop is very reasonable (about $25 - 40 a night total, not per kid) Winter time Cabin use is also available. I estimate we use BSA camps for 30 -40 % of our outings. So Yes Camps are needed and desirable for us.
  21. artjrk

    PLC Meetings

    The Troop and Pack chartered by the school PTA and meet in the school cafeteria each Monday. The Pack meets on the 3rd Monday of the month, and the Troop on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th. The PLC meets off site at the local community pool clubhouse on the 3rd Monday. The Troop Committee meets directly afterward. The SM attends the PLC then reports to the Committee immediately afterward. On the occasion when the 3rd Monday is a holiday, the PLC will meet at another time. On occasion they have met in one car on the way back from a campout. Great way to utilize a 2 hr trip sometimes. Another time they met at Fuddruckers while the clubhouse was under renovations. Happened to be the only ones in their at the time and the staff was quite supportive.
  22. artjrk

    Ending Pack Meetings

    The two packs that I have been affiliated simply open the meetings with Flags and the Pledge, and end with the Oath, Law and Flags.
  23. artjrk

    Scouts angling to shorten Merit Badge Reqs

    Sorry I don't read these forums daily. Moose, an item you mentioned in your last post does change things in my mind. "what I had emailed him about concentrating on." Apparently you had discussed this requirement previously with the scout. I did not get that from the initial post. I'm with you then that he had failed to meet your expectations for the requirement.
  24. artjrk

    Scouts angling to shorten Merit Badge Reqs

    I agree with your denying the first email request. I don't agree with how you handled the second. I did not see anywhere that you actually had a discussion with the scout based on the question he raised. If you had you could have asked him to show you the plan he had for his lashing lesson. He could have shared with you how he prepared his assistants (an important type of communication in it own right), he could have given you a summary on how the actual demonstration went, what went well and what didn't. Maybe he actually did have teaching aids, but you didn't ask him. Did you find out exactly when he did this lesson? Did you take a moment to actually talk to the SM or the SPL about how it went? Another problem I have is your letting a prejudice you have towards how the troop is being run now and how you think the scout's presentation went. True, he did not get prior approval, but even you had questions about that from a previous discussion you did have with the scout. Part of the MB program is Adult Interaction. An email back and forth is not good interaction.
  25. artjrk

    Scouts view of advancement method

    As SM, we never set the program up to get Scouts to 1st Class in a year. Instead we would cover all the skills necessary for 1st Class each year. All the Scouts would go over them every time. Our emphasis was learning the skills by repetition, to make each scout more independent on outings. The older ones leading the younger. Most of the boys would end up getting 1st Class in their second or third year. For the higher ranks, the onus is put directly on the boy. Most eagle Scouts in the troop achieved their rank in High School. My oldest finished days before his 18th. My 17 year old is happy to stay at 1st Class, which he actually received in a short 8 months after crossing over. His focus is on high adventure and the Venture Crew.