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Posts posted by MattR

  1. 4 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    n 2016, Paige Spears, then 14, of Winslow, ME achieved Scout Canada’s Chief Scout Award. Chief Scout is the highest rank in the Scouting section of Scouts Canada, making it equivalent to Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts or Gold Award in Girl Scouts. (No word if Ms. Spears is still a BSA member  - RS)

    So Paige could get eagle by not doing much more than asking for it? She could squeeze in just before Sydney. Zing! Such poetic justice. But Paige likely is a bit more humble and probably doesn't care. More poetry.

    To each his, or her, own.

    • Upvote 1

  2. I had a scout bring marijuana to summer camp. His tent was inspected after another scout said he smelled it. It was the right thing to do but that's an extreme case. For medicines and cell phones being found I agree that it should have been clearly explained ahead of time, as none of the scouts were intending to do anything wrong. Even if it wasn't explained it would have been better to just explain it that night and give everyone the option to make things right. I'm a bit surprised the council doesn't collect prescription medicines. At the same time, telling a scout that he can't take his over the counter allergy meds without first walking across camp to get it is just going to encourage a scout to not turn it in.

    As usual, this sounds more like a personality problem rather than anything to do with policy. Maybe it was an adult that was getting cranky late in the week or just cranky all the time. Or maybe scouts were pushing his buttons, or maybe the whole troop was getting grumpy for some reason. I've seen a lot of it. You just need two scouts butting heads all week and the SM/SPL/random parents or scouts start getting frustrated.

  3. I'm going backpacking next week with my troop. There is so much snow in the mountains that we need to bring snow shoes, and warmer clothing, and a big pack. Frost points the end of June, just what I want. Anyway, I went and borrowed a big pack. I'm thinking I'm getting too old for this. New thought: Now I'm more like the younger scouts on the hike - not quite sure if I'm going to make it. Reminds me of my first backpacking trips.

    I have a smaller pack that works just fine for a weekend (without snow) and a recent external frame pack that is super comfortable but doesn't hold much more than the little pack. It could hold a lot more if I just make a pack that will fit the frame (the pack that comes with it is only 2/3 the size of the frame). I may do that some day.

    • Haha 1

  4. I don't think anxiety is the same as home sickness. I tend to agree with Ian, this is beyond our abilities. As they tell us in first aid training, don't try and solve problems above one's training.

    That doesn't mean just bring him home and give up. The goal is still to get him comfortable camping. You just have to find plan B.


    • Thanks 1

  5. I agree with those that say don't beat yourself over this, @CarlosD.

    First of all, while the scout may have gone to the emergency room, it wasn't an emergency. The ER is where you go when you're in so much pain you can't fill out the insurance info, or you might die if left un attended. A swollen knee is not that. Urgent care would have been fine. Urgent care is also the place where broken arms are put in a cast. Would you be upset over a broken arm on a campout? For your first campout as SM, yeah, I guess. But you'll get used to it. I had a troop guide sledding with a new scout and he figured out how to hit the one rock on the whole hill. New scout broke his leg. It was so much work to get him camping I was sure he was never coming back. Well, he's still in the troop and he's growing up just fine.

    Second, nobody mentions how serious this cut really was. If this scout was cutting raw chicken with his knife before he stuck it in his knee then it could have been a slight scratch and he could have gotten an infection. You can't prevent all problems. In fact, most problems are an opportunity to teach. Does he really know how to clean a wound? Does he need to re learn how to use a knife? Don't beat up on the scout either. It's just a case of "hey, since all this happened, let's review a few things." You now have one of many good stories to tell. Enjoy the adventure.

  6. I suspect that you can add a tag when you create a thread but that option runs out after some amount if time, just like how long you can edit a post. The reason for these limitations is to prevent spammers from posting something respectable, waiting until after the moderators decide it's not spam, and then going back and adding links to, porn sites, ads, and all sorts of other garbage we see. 

    Anyway, I think moderators can add tags at any time. Send us a PM and we can probably help you. I added the tag "tag test" to this thread.

  7. I think it was from a recommendation on this forum that I took my troop to a patrol cooking summer camp. I was impressed with the results. Cooking for a whole week helps the scouts get in a groove. It really did help teamwork. They did like the food better as well. And yet, my troop doesn't do patrol cooking at summer camp anymore. I think the biggest problem was the lack of support from the camps we went to. There was a stretch of 6 or 7 years where we tried every other year and it was always a disaster because the camps didn't understand what the patrols needed. Honestly, what do you do when you get a bag of frozen chicken breasts a half hour before it's time to eat? We went back to one, and I won't mention names because it's on the list in the OP, and I had to drive back home and pick up our gear because while they said they had everything they didn't.

    I also hear the "but we cook as patrols for every weekend campout so give us a break at summer camp so we can do more activities" comment. Well, if camp wasn't 90% about merit badges I'm not sure this would be an issue. For every other summer camp outside of scouts summer camp is about fun with friends. Granted, all these camps have dining halls (and cost a bunch) but nobody else has a class schedule. That class schedule gets in the way of a lot.

    I talked to some of the counselors at Camp Dieter at Peaceful Valley and it's not just patrol cooking, it's just about patrol everything. Each patrol gets a counselor and they decide what they're going to do for the week. They decide how much advancement they want to do. At the lake, at the shooting range, service projects, hikes, pioneering projects. It's all about teamwork. There are times where patrols can split up for individual merit badges but it's the exception and not the rule. I think it would be great but the adults in my troop shot it down several times.

    • Thanks 1

  8. 6 hours ago, perdidochas said:

    We don't need to camp, either.  This is not a matter of absolute needs for scout camping or camping, but for life.

    I think you're looking at my comments a bit differently than I intended. What I meant was that in order to participate with my troop I needed all those skills. My tent had ropes that required whipping and tying knots. We had no stoves, and hence had to build fires at least twice per campout. We had no patrol box so all the requirements for cooking, including make a list of required utensils, made sense because the PL just handed out utensils to each patrol member. I did have a stalking and tracking requirement. It did turn out to be useful when playing some games.

    6 hours ago, perdidochas said:

    Also, your post seemed a bit strange, as in the first two paragraphs you talk about how obsolete map/compass/axe/firebuilding are, then in the 4th paragraph you include all of the above as new first class requirements.

    I see what you're saying, there is a paradox ...

    6 hours ago, perdidochas said:

    "Away from the road" camping. One of the camping requirements in 1a should require the scout or group of scouts to bring all of their essential gear with them for a camp overnight for a distance of at least a mile without motorized transport.  This could include backpacking, snowshoe packing, cross country sky packing, bikepacking, or canoe/kayak camping.

    ... but this is what I was thinking of. Either require skills that are needed for everyday (weekend?) camping or make them advanced enough that a scout is prepared for a more challenging campout (and hopefully that will be done more often). Make first class be, well, first class. I really like your off road camping idea.

    6 hours ago, perdidochas said:

    Sewing--require sewing on of a button, patch and repairing a hole. 

    Not needed for camping but I like it. That alone might push for a uniform that is more practical.  Of course, I see a lot of scouts with velcro on their uniforms now.

    6 hours ago, perdidochas said:

    Also, not sure what you are talking about with "pre-made" meals, other than for backpacking?  Does your troop just buy a bunch of  Mountain-House meals for a car-camping trip? My sons' troop just bought ingredients and made the food for car camping from the ingredients (yes, they did buy just add water or milk pancake flour).    

    Pre-cooked bacon, pre-made spaghetti sauce, pre-cooked hard boiled eggs, pre mixed eggs, and yes, pre mixed pancake batter and/or pancake mix. Cooking your own food from basic ingredients is much cheaper than all of this stuff. And it tastes better. And it's healthier.

    • Like 1

  9. I can promise you that BSA is not trying to use 4 to start all girl's troops. If they want 4 digits give them 4: 0422.

    This is all based on one person at council saying something. Kind of like the one person in another thread saying the insurance won't cover an activity, or that there's a limit on blade lengths. People pass on rumors.

    If you want 422 then tell them so and if they complain ask them to show you the official documentation that states all girl's troops will begin with a 4. 3 digits is hard enough to sew on a sleeve.  Anyway, have fun with it.

  10. If the rules for voting went back to the way they were it would have little impact on how many are nominated from my troop. It's been a long time since we've had more than 3 people nominated and that was when we had 70 in the troop. My troop usually nominates the best scouts. The scouts that screwed around a lot as younger scouts typically have a lot of work to do to fix the name they made for themselves. Most don't make it no matter how hard they try and the ones that do really are the better scouts. So I'm not sure it's about making it harder to get in.

    I remember when my SM encouraged me to go to JLT. He basically said you're a good scout, now you need to take it to the next level. That sold me right then and there. I wanted to know what that level was. It wasn't anything about higher adventure, some sort of recognition or patch, or even more service. It was about learning a useful skill. My troop does high adventure and service so thart's not a great way to sell it. Eagle already has the biggest name recognition so telling a scout they will earn something will not get them to chapter meetings. Camaraderie can't compete with what a few years of developing friends in the troop. It has to be something that they can't get in their troops. It would be great to have the OA run camporees but it assumes they have the skills and motivation to lead something big. I listen to the OA adult helping the scouts and he's frustrated with scouts that just can't get anything done. Whatever it is, it needs to be self motivating.

    • Upvote 1

  11. 27 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

    What I have seen is the lodge having weekend after weekend putting tents up at the council camp, taking tents down at the council camp, building a new stage at the council camp, spreading much, shoveling gravel, clearing downed trees  all at the council cubscout camp.  Is there any weekend ( or even a hour or two) devoted to how to be a better patrol leader?  SPL? QM?   Den chief?  Troop guide?

    Well, that is different from my experience. We have 3 service weekends and that's it for the year. I'd understand the frustration if it were half the summer weekends. I don't think much of any time is allocated to improving leadership. Tell me about that, even if it's an old program. It sounds great.

  12. 2 hours ago, karunamom3 said:

    Today they are telling the parents/scouts that going was not approved by troop leadership and that if any scouts go they are not covered by troop insurance.

    That's nonsense. I talked to the insurance company that provided our insurance a long time ago and if there were scouts at an event then it was covered. No permissions nor uniforms needed. Besides, nobody's likely to get hurt anyway. Sounds more like an ego issue to me.

    • Upvote 1

  13. 11 hours ago, sst3rd said:

    Scouts have long sense known that this is all about free labor. 

    I think that's over simplifying things. The work the OA does is what it has always done. And yet nobody thought of the OA as just free labor when I was a scout. One thing that changed is there are fewer people volunteering. If the same amount of work needs to be done by fewer people then I can see the perception that it's just about labor.

    My council is also being squeezed by fewer volunteers and less donations. The solution is adapt to that by scaling back but the council is just expecting more money from families. 

    • Upvote 1

  14. I watched the video. It would have fit in with the national meeting better had Sally really been George C Scott: "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country...."

    But more seriously, all the scams the cyber chip is trying to prevent is just a subset of something much bigger these days. We live in the information age and so we need to know how to deal with untrustworthy information. Whether it be youth protection issues or scams involving bit coins, stolen passwords, and pornography or your credit card, this is the dark side of society now. We used to call it street smarts because that's where unsavory characters would try to take advantage of people. Now it's anything we get information from.

    While I think the BSA's methods could be tweaked and improved, I certainly respect their overall goal. There are a lot of people, and not just children, that are getting sucked into these things. This is where protecting children too much can backfire. Trustworthy is good and therefore they need to know how to deal with untrustworthy as well.

  15. Given that the article doesn't explain what happened it's really hard for me to decide anything about this. Was it a slingshot or was it a trebuchet? Is the scout now blind in one eye or is it just a scar? Was the scout running around out in front of the "makeshift slingshot" or was he trying to launch the potato? To be honest, I'd be careful about launching anything that could do damage if someone stood 10 feet away and threw it at someone's head. But I don't really know what happened.

    We made a trebuchet that would launch a 4 lb cabbage 100 yards. The forces involved were impressive. We used something like a 100lb counter weight and a 12' arm. On the first try the arm was pulled apart. (Imagine taking a 2x4 and pulling at it from either end until it came apart (hint: the tensile strength of a 2x4 along the grain is about 50,000 lbs)). I was really paranoid about getting someone hurt so I designed a trigger using some sailing hardware that allowed someone to pull a rope that was 30 feet from the trebuchet to set it off. Good thing I did that because when the arm came apart it made a big mess. But that just made it more fun. Then we went and did a stress analysis on the arm and designed one that would hold together. The scouts loved it. Cabbages look like comets when thrown hard. 

    We had fun because I treated it as being dangerous. My question for this incident is did the SM do the same?

    • Upvote 1

  16. 15 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    What could your pack have done differently that woudl have piqued his interest during those years?

    He was tired of other kids that were essentially out of control. He had to sit and wait while some parent tried to take care of their son. The pinewood derby was also a let down. I did the power tools and let him do everything else. He really enjoyed it, until his car got trounced by the cars made by the parents. We went camping as a family so anything the pack could have done for camping, but didn't do, probably wouldn't have been as much fun. I let him climb trees. He was never that interested in the crafts. I don't think the advancement program helped much either.

    • Thanks 1

  17. 8 hours ago, fred8033 said:

    If I could choose to do it again, I'd start each as a Bear or Webelos scout and find other activities for the earlier years. 

    My son was getting bored/annoyed with cubs, I knew what was coming in scouts, so we took 2 years off and came back in time for webelos. Worked out fine.

    • Upvote 1

  18. 28 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    However, if once full, they are mounted to the stern of a tall ship and a scuttle is cut atop one so that a dipper can be used for dispensing, we still may still call it a scuttlebutt. Or at least that's what we call the gossip that starts when everyone gathers for their water ration!

    I learn some of the most fascinating trivia around here. My guess is scuttlebutt is a British phrase. So, now I know.

    I was thinking it was originally the water mule, which changed to water ass, which was not scout like and changed to water butt.

    But I still would rather see PL, APL, QM, Grub Master, Waterbutt.