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Everything posted by MattR

  1. The aspiration is no yellow snow.
  2. We ask the scouts to knock down the roofs so nobody gets hurt playing on the snow and it caving in. They get more and more solid so it's difficult to completely knock it down after a day. And think about it. We walk into an area with 3' of pristine snow and create tracks and caves and tent slots all over the place. There's no way we can leave it the way it was.
  3. MattR

    Wood splitting tips

    Not sure if this is related, but I have a really nice axe and they explicitly said don't use a sledge hammer to push the head in further as the sidewalls of the head could split. That's also my half axe, so not sure if their full axe is not built with thicker walls.
  4. MattR

    Hair-Brained Idea du Jour...

    If marching band is ever combined with scouting I will quietly exit. Sports, at a rec level could actually work. A patrol of soccer players could go look for other patrols in other troops for a pick up game. Or ultimate Frisbee. Or robotics. For those that enjoyed the activity but don't want to go full type A competitive, it could me more fun than a normal meeting. Lots of opportunities to learn useful side skills. How to have fun at a skill you suck at would be great.
  5. MattR

    Wood splitting tips

    A couple of comments. The video shows the use of a splitting maul. Few scouts learning to use an axe can even control a full sized axe, much less a maul. There are different sizes of axes. The sizes are 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full. A 1/4 axe is a hatchet. A 3/4 axe is often sold as a "boy's axe" and is really good for younger scouts. I have a half axe (be careful how you say it) that I really like because I can hold it with one hand and, with a sharp blade, can split most of the wood I deal with. I didn't watch the whole video but something I noticed is that the guy is standing with his feet together. If he misses the wood with the axe then the blade will come down to where his feet are. That's a big no no. Keep your feet apart. The big stump really helps. When the axe hits the wood it should be traveling straight down. A tall stump helps or else the person has to bring their hands down to be even with the top of the wood. I didn't see any discussion on starting the swing. Especially for scouts, start with the main hand at the end of the handle and the other near the head. As the swing moves toward the wood the hand near the head slides down toward the end of the handle. Most people new to this stand too close to the wood, resulting in overshooting the wood and smacking the handle against the wood. This guy is splitting logs so that won't happen much, but when cutting the wood further down to make a fire, one needs a good aim. There there's all the safety issues. Axe yard. No branches to get caught on. The head is on tight. Assume the head will fly off (been there, done that). Also, learning how to really sharpen an axe. I use a fine, single cut file. I never see them at the big box hardware stores but I can get them online. Files are like sand paper, they come in different grits. Fine, single cut leaves the smoothest finish. Bastard double cut is the coarsest and likely not needed unless the axe is really chewed up. Once you get used to it, cutting wood is better than mediation. It takes a lot of power and also good control. The focus required will wash away any other issues you have.
  6. MattR

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    @swilliams, I respect that you don't like how the LDS church wants to run their program. At the same time we need to respect their program.
  7. MattR

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    Well, I'm not there yet. The whole premise of this thread is a bit antagonistic and given that, y'all have been fairly good. I have to agree with the comments that the BSA and LDS just grew apart. I know several LDS members that are disappointed with the split. I'm also guessing that the outdoors will not be used much in the future LDS program. That will be a shame but I'm not trying to make a world wide program. Now that I mention it, I guess there already is a world wide outdoor youth program. I think it's called scouts or something and it's doing real well. Maybe the BSA should figure out what they're doing that works so well.
  8. MattR

    National Leadership, Surbaugh Leave of Absense

    And hence, too much kool-aid drinking. I hope it's someone that can sell a lot of popcorn. I'm hoping Chapter 11 will force that change. Time to drain the kool-aid, so to speak.
  9. @Onslow, my guess is you're getting a response you didn't expect. Hang in there, you're at least trying. It sounds like this culture you're seeing is new to you. Don't be so quick to judge. Keep listening and watching. There is goodness everywhere. If there's anyone that needs scouts it's these kids in the town you're describing. Nobody else is trying. So it would be great if you would. To those that see this as the usual tribalism in our country at the moment, all I can say is never waste a problem.
  10. MattR

    Anyone hear of Raise Craze?

    Once a year we hand deliver an addressed envelope and a flyer to a few thousand homes. We tell them if they put out their old x-mas tree on the curb we'll recycle it. In return we'd appreciate a donation. It's a good fundraiser, completely based on the honor system, and the scouts have a bunch of work to do.
  11. MattR

    LDS Youth Program for 2020

    Thanks, @Saltface. I suspected it was something along those lines. There are aspects about it that I really like. Primarily, motivation from within, not some mythical award. Also, it's much simpler and easier to explain. No parents are going to get wrapped up in pushing there kids to get eagle. It's kind of like Venturing. Skills are nothing more than preparation for doing something you want to do. They aren't a check box to get an award. On the other hand, many people, teens especially, don't know what they don't know so how do they get some guidance? I could see adults causing just as much trouble running the show. I'd rather see more outdoor activity but nobody asked me . Maybe if it works the BSA will take notice. Competition would be good.
  12. MattR

    LDS Youth Program for 2020

    Are there Cliff notes for this? I got 30 seconds into it and it reminded me of talking to my 92 year old dad when he has something really important to tell me, but Can't. Get. To. The. Point. I skipped and sampled and all I got was kids can pick what they want to work on.
  13. Maybe the national media issues do hurt scouting, as the view of scouting, by the parents that don't put their kids in scouts, is not positive. Hence, fewer new parents, fewer new leaders, online training. This is a national media issue. If national doesn't put anything out then they don't get ahead of their message and whatever bad media is put out by other people is the only message that all these parents get.
  14. This is why you can ignore the parents. The scout might just turn out okay.
  15. MattR

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    @RainShine, l agree that several months is too long. I also agree that finding more time to make this happen is also good. I'm just not sure about the details past that. Who is asking the new scouts what they would like to accomplish? And giving them some options? Play games, learn skills, earn a new rank? Typically they want to advance. Get them interested in taking ownership in their destiny. That's more important than when they get a rank, and the ranks will come from that as quickly as you might hope for. Do the new scouts, or the scouts that might sign off understand the process? I'm guessing not. That's likely why nothing is happening.
  16. I've seen fairly bad MB fairs and some better ones. Not sure I've seen anything great. Whether the focus is on interest or size of class isn't really the point, is it? What's the point in these fairs? Sure, we want the scouts to learn something and interesting counselors are always better than just grabbing someone and throwing them in, but don't we also want the scouts to work with a counselor at a level more than they get in the standard class environment. Introduce yourself, find out about the MB, what's required, talk to your SM, get the blue card filled out, get the book, read it, prepare answers, do the requirements, manage time, deal with an adult, and yes, make it memorable and have fun being interested in a new subject. And how about adding optional stuff to do that's not part of the requirements but something the counselor thinks would be great to learn? Weld a table frame. Cook an omelette in a cast iron skillet. Swim a race. Show the scouts the good stuff. All of this doesn't fit the current model of signing up with someone in your troop that signs up with the district and takes care of all that registration/money/records stuff and just showing up at the appointed time and place that has to fit in a two weekend window. Something about efficiency hurting the program goes here. Someone mentioned this in previous threads but I like the idea of a 2 hour fair where scouts can go around and talk to counselors hawking their wares on one side of an open market style set up with the SM's on the other side. Let the district only help counselors find space to teach about special equipment. Specify a max class size of 4 scouts. Get them out of the record keeping and money side of things (except maybe selling MB books and handing out patches). Maybe the Cit in Nation MB will require a dozen counselors instead of one teaching at the front of a class and 11 other adults checking work sheets in a rush on the second week (my pet peeve). Maybe some scouts will have to wait 3 months to get into the welding class because that's when the adult has time. Kind of chaotic but that's okay. The point being, figure out what the point of MB's are before solving MB fairs.
  17. MattR

    Uniform During Fund Raising

    I've heard the same thing about only wearing uniform when fundraising with popcorn. Like you, we ignored it.
  18. MattR

    ...Still Relevant and Worthwhile...?

    I think the game needs to be fun as well. The mindset of too many parents is that there's a trade-off between fun and purpose. It starts working when the two happen simultaneously. Maybe this is why it's so difficult to come up with a message that parents respond to. Who needs kids that know how to have fun in the outdoors? How will that possibly help them get a job? Which, BTW, is the only reason for extra curricular activities. Honor? Community? That won't pay the bills. That's what we're up against. Sorry to sound cynical but it's been a bad week for scouting for me.
  19. MattR

    Winter Camping Quick Tip

    I think everyone should mention their definition of cold weather camping. For us, the 20's are considered cool for September, but not that unusual. Cold is below 0. Umm, I don't want to take 20 minutes to put all that clothing back on. Wide mouth Gatorade bottle. Say what? That's one issue I've never seen. I'd be surprised as most watches are based on a crystal. They will lose power to the display before the timing circuit fails. Better yet, bury them in snow. Snow is a great insulator. If we left our large water bottles out they'd freeze solid. A better thing to do with small water bottles is to insulate them, put boiling water in them, and put them on your thighs inside your bag. It'll keep you warmer most of the night. In the morning you'll have warm water to drink.
  20. MattR

    ...Still Relevant and Worthwhile...?

    I had to look this up. I wasn't sure it was in the original paper. It was the same except for the bold font. Anyway, this reminds me of a discussion I had with a group of people that are going to Rwanda where my wife and I sponsor a kid to go to school. They were talking about different kinds of poverty. The Africans have a material poverty. Many advance Western countries have a community poverty. This paper spells it out. Something else we talked about was the best way to help the people in Africa. Surprise, surprise, a lot of ideas were similar to developing leadership in a scout troop. Don't tell them what they need. Help them find out what they need. Encourage them to solve their problems on their own, and don't jump in to save the day. One thing they did focus on a lot more than we talk about, was developing a relationship with the people you want to help. In fact that's the only thing we're going to do while there. Play with kids. Talk to parents. Enjoy their music. Letting them know they're not alone while solving their problems.
  21. @Eagle94-A1, I think a lot of troops are having this problem. I think our district has shrunk by some 40% in the past 10 years or something. The troops don't lose anyone more than before but the packs are failing left and right because nobody will step up to lead. I'm also wondering how many neighborhood kids would be more likely to join scouts if their neighborhood friends were told about it at the same time. Rather than use Facebook to get the word out, use the Nextdoor app. Find a patrol first, then find a troop to plug into. In a way, making the patrol without finding a troop is the GS model. While I think a patrol should be with a troop, this would help bring friends together. A group of friends always makes for a stronger patrol.
  22. MattR

    Fee increase - observations

    One data point for you - my troop. $75 to the unit (we spent $220 per scout last year but fundraisers covered about half of that) $200 to our district (most districts are around $40, and I just found out ours is a very strong armed "suggestion") $15 per campout, except district run campouts which are $30 $350-$400 for summer camp (and anywhere from $350-$1200 for a high adventure trip) $15 for Merit badge event Gear and such sounds the same as us.
  23. MattR

    Fee increase - observations

    I don't think it's the money. If things were going great, membership was increasing, and volunteers were aplenty, nobody would mind that much. But it's just the opposite. Underlying all the angst is a desire for leadership. Everyone here believes in the program and if something came from national that really helped with membership and volunteers we'd be less grumpy. I'm not sure what the answer is. My gut says it's nothing major, more like focusing on making the message and program more succinct. Adapt training to busy families and a wide range of interest and backgrounds. Have vision.
  24. MattR

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    The scouter's camp fire. Pull up a stump and join us.
  25. MattR

    Fee increase - observations

    True, but everyone here is rather passionate about scouting. Everyone seems to vent in their own way. One group not mentioned are those that didn't reply. It could be they don't care, or maybe they're wise enough to not worry about what they can't control.