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About KoreaScouter

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    Oahu, Hawaii
  1. When we cold-weather camped in Korea, the only thing we nixed were air mattresses and cots. Some Scouts (older and long-termers) sprung for thermarest and had no problems. And, many younger Scouts used the closed-cell foam -- they were readily available at the military clothing sales stores, and not expensive. Either work fine, as long as your son follows all the other great advice here. One additional thing I did, right before lights out, was shove a Hershey bar at each Scout, before they tucked in, and told them to eat it before they went to sleep. Our Troop would also put a cup
  2. I've seen this from both sides, as a Cubmaster and later, as a Scoutmaster. I've found that dropouts were minimal when the Troop had an active First Class First Year program that included a dedicated ASM for the New Scout Patrol, a hyper-emphasis on summer camp for the NSP, and a Troop Guide who's respected among the other older Scouts, a good teacher, and has a union-steward mentality toward the NSP's care and feeding. When any of that's deficient or missing, attrition starts going up. It's not easy to judge a Troop based on meeting visits. That's a part of the overall picture, but I'
  3. One advantage of Boys Life going into the home is that if the unit follows the program recommendations in the Council calendars, Roundtable planning guide, Program Helps, etc., there will be program-related articles for the boys each month, that tie right into their unit program/theme, and in turn, their advancement. Even if the unit program doesn't follow the calendars lockstep, if the boys save the magazines, they'll come in handy eventually. My son's 16 and can't advance any further; he's not interested in any more MBs, but reads and saves his BL each month, for the game reviews, ad
  4. Radmom; Just one piece of advice from an old 2-time cubmaster: avoid felt at all costs. It's not durable, and when you have to wash the vest (and you will), it'll self-destruct. I'd also recommend a pocket or two if your seamstress is "ambitious". KS
  5. MinnSM: I apologize in advance if this comes off as harsh, but here goes: First, I wholeheartedly endorse CalicoPenn's advice: if there's been a BOR, appeal right away. The circumstances of the BOR weren't optimal, but at least you have something to appeal. Second, get a copy of the BSA Advancement Committee Guidelines. It's a full size booklet, meant to be snapped into a 3-ring binder. Your council service center should have them on hand, but probably not in the Scout Shop -- go back in the office and ask; they cost a few bucks. Now, consider yourself tongue-lashed. I'
  6. The assumption is that you have the necessary outdoor training for your program level. For Cub Scouts, I would think that BALOO would be the minimum necessary. Depending on the setting in which your council holds their WB course, your actual nights outdoors may vary from just several to virtually the entire course. There have been numerous other WB threads in the forum. I suggest you dig them out and read through them; you'll probably find them helpful. KS
  7. Little KS did his 5th grade science project on "What makes a PWD car go fastest?". He got about 30 kits, and configured them differently. There were blocks, wedges, paint, no paint, max weight, weight out of the box, weight in different places, polish, lube, polish/lube, no polish or lube, and so on. The pack left the track up after pack PWD, the school let him have cafeteria access, he made up worksheets, and we spent the entire next day running the test cars (and a control car). Here's what his experiments revealed. 1. Shape doesn't matter. Blocks and wedges with all other thi
  8. I've got three North Face 20-degree synthetic fill bags -- got 'em overseas for a song about six years ago. Good for spring and fall in Korea, too cool for winter, and too hot for summer. Haven't used them at all in Hawaii. Also have a few of the military OD green down-filled mummy bags, two cold weather, and one extreme cold weather. They're okay for most winter weather, but the extreme cold is very bulky, and if it gets wet, it's a 3-man lift. I also have a couple of Coleman 40-degree cheapos, bought originally for sleepovers, but in Hawaii, we actually use them a lot for real c
  9. The lyrics clearly indicate you're SUPPOSED to sing it before you earn your beads ("...I'm going to work my ticket if I can..."). Now, I was admonished at a District Dinner some years ago that we Wood Badgers shouldn't sing it in a group where non-Wood Badgers were present...they might be offended. We did, and they weren't. KS
  10. I consider "stage mothers" (and, to be fair, fathers) to be a pain the neck sometimes, but in the balance, I also consider them to be a "good problem". At least they're: 1). There 2). Involved I've known many boys in Scouting whose parents have never looked between the covers of their Handbooks, don't help with anything, and are MIA when their sons are recognized at a COH. That's a heart breaker, because you know that Scouting likely isn't the only part of his life his parents aren't involved in. Coincidentally, or maybe not coincidentally, those boys tend to advance far slowe
  11. As a former SM, I would have more confidence in the putting green project if the nursing home in question would allow non-residents to use it when it's completed -- making it more of a "community" project. That said, my opinion wouldn't matter much if the District/Council Advancement Committee still had a problem with it... KS
  12. Maybe I'm missing something, but everything Lisa mentioned as an area for improvement in her initial post is covered in our training and in the mainstream BSA pubs (not the arcane stuff that us unwashed volunteers can't readily get our hands on). Communicating with new parents? Look at the recruiting section in the SM Handbook -- it gives an outline for a new parents orientation. New Scout transition? That's in the SM Handbook too, and in the SPL Handbook, all laid out under the First Year program, and so is the older Scout relationship, the advancement program, etc., etc. The
  13. I believe external motivation will only overcome inertia as long as it's applied. Remove it, and friction will again take over, sooner or later. Self-motivation is the only type of motivation that can sustain itself. The trick, in my opinion, is to match opportunities with the Green Bars' inclinations to act. I've found that this almost never happens without coercion at antiseptic monthly PLCs. Conversely, I've also found that it can happen almost spontaneously if we meet/plan at the end of an event, sort of like an enhanced reflection. For example, carving out a half hour with the
  14. If your PLC uses Troop Program Features when they do their annual Program Planning Conference, they will select 12 monthly themes for the upcoming year, either straight from the book ("shrink-wrapped", I believe it's being called), or tailored to fit the unit, the environment, the resources, District/Council calendars, etc. By definition, they should pick and choose, because there are 36 monthly themes, and only 12 months in a year. Unlike some on this thread, every unit I've been associated with uses Troop Program Features, even if we modify them to substitute certain interpatrol activi
  15. In my experience, "tent lines" are sometimes necessary when you're compelled to use a troop camp site that's too compact for the "willy-nilly" method. Tent lines also help channel traffic, etc. Tent lines aren't the only way, of course, but they are one way. And, you can still use the patrol method while doing so, and allow younger Scouts to select patrol camp sites, even if it's just which row they're going to use, the line alignment, and the spacing/interval -- it's all attention to detail. It's optimal if all the tents are identical, but even when they are, it works best to at least
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