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Posts posted by MattR

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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.

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  9. 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. 

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  10. 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.

  11. 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?

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  12. 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.

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  13. 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.

  14. On 5/28/2019 at 6:51 AM, ianwilkins said:

    Ok, seriously, in the interests of international knowledge exchange, what are you doing to your flags? On what basis are flags retired? If they touch the ground? The slightest speck of dirt? Are they use once only? 300 at a time? I'm taken aback.



    Most of them are quite ratty looking. A number of people will fly them all year and a winter of wind and summer of sun will rip and bleach most flags. The people that fly them from their trucks really annoy me because a constant 60-80mph wind will shred most flags. We live in a windy area in the winter and most flags are not outside all the time. I don't think mine is out for more than a week or two a year and I've had the same one for at least a decade. It's fine.

    And a number that are retired are in fine shape. Honestly, a way to swap out "gently used" flags would make for a nice eagle project.

  15. 2 hours ago, ianwilkins said:

    A water butt is a large barrel that usually collects and stores rainwater. We have one attached to our rainwater down-pipe to harvest rainwater to put on the garden.

    We call those rain barrels. Anyway, I like my definition of water butt better. Of course, that's probably how we've butchered all sorts of your customs.

  16. 4 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

    the water butt

    This has to be a British phrase. Is the water butt the one responsible for getting the water? My scouts will likely have a lot of fun with that one.

    Anyway, a leader that rarely has to talk to everyone at once is probably the best kind.


    40 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

    Only lists Advancement, Merit Badges and Eagle rank. 

    Maybe this is why people think the program is advancement.

    42 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

    Each charter org should decide their own objectives and purposes for the troop.  This would be more aligned with the venturing style of unit. 

    I see where you're coming from but shouldn't the objectives and purposes for each unit be the aims? Living the oath and law? Maybe there are different ways to get there but the goal is the same. The thing missing is how the methods get us to the aims. It would do a lot of good to talk about how advancement teaches a scout to help other people at all times. That alone should get us over the idea that the goal is eagle. How does the patrol method encourage selfless decision making? I could go on for every method except the one about ideals (and that's mostly just redundant to the aims).

    Something else missing is teaching the scouts all of this as well. I've never understood that. Why doesn't the scout handbook explain the program as well? I would think everyone in at least a troop should understand what the program is. Why the outdoors, why advancement, why patrols, etc. That way, when one of the adults, parents, or scouts start making a mess the everyone else will know something is wrong. When the parents start complaining that their kids aren't advancing fast enough it would be so much easier to point them to some page in the handbook that explains how advancement helps a scout reach the aims of scouting. "Here, read this page with your child."

    1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

    Is it through a TG that mentors the patrol or through more senior scouts embedded inside each patrol. 

    While I agree that this is a good thing to describe, the problem is that not enough people even understand that older scouts should be working with younger scouts.

    15 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

    I wonder if this has something to do with how people learn today.  I get the sense that many people are ignoring the training.

    If you mean adults want training that is to the point, timely, and useful, I agree. My experience was that the BSA training was not that.

  18. The thing that's missing here is a description of the program. We have aims and methods but no description of how the methods lead to the aims. It almost sounds like it's multiple choice.  It seems to me that @Eagledad is saying the program has a large component in which older scouts teach, work with, and lead the younger scouts to eventually take the place of the older scouts. Although I like this it isn't explicitly explained anywhere. @fred8033 seems to be saying it's less about that and more about adventure. Of course, that isn't described anywhere either. Maybe I'm putting words in people's mouths but my only point is there's no guidance as to what the program is. This is causing confusion.

    For a contrast, and I've mentioned this before, I met some Israeli scouts and their program is almost entirely about the older scouts guiding the younger scouts. A scout troop goes from Kindergarten to 21-ish. There are no den leaders and very few adults (2-3 in a troop of 100). The older scouts are responsible for everyone and everything. We talked about ranks and they just didn't see how ranks could help them with their responsibilities. Eagle was just an odd idea to them. If you're going to be an older scout then you will be running a troop. From the day you join as a 6 year old you know what you'll be responsible for as you get older. Whether you like this model or not, there's no question what the program is. Everyone knows what it is. I'd rather see more outdoors but their sense of camaraderie, teamwork, and community is impressive. The scouts I met, while admittedly a select group, were above and beyond what I've seen in any similar group in the BSA. Leadership, confidence, responsibility. They were an impressive group. They also have over 90% of eligible youth in their scouting program.


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  19. I was talking to two nearly-18 Life scouts that are busting their rears to get everything done on time. As I was talking to them it hit me that a lot of requirements really don't make you a better scout. It seems to me that when I was a scout we honestly needed to know all the first class requirements in order to be good scouts. We needed axe and fire skills if we wanted to make a fire to cook our food. We used knots because we'd cut down trees and make stuff. Map and compass, absolutely. First aid, while not used every campout, was used. The tracking probably wasn't needed and while the plant and animal identification is nice, it's not really a core skill. For the most part it was all useful and we used it most campouts. That was a big part of the motivation to get things signed off. It made you a better scout. You were more useful to your patrol if you had those skills.

    Now, you don't need knots or fire or an axe for most campouts. Clips and stoves have replaced them. Map and compass is useful but in many places people aren't allowed off a trail and you don't have to go for a hike other than a few requirements. First aid is still good. On the whole, it seems to be a bit obsolete. Or at least less relevant than it used to be. Rank doesn't necessarily mean more useful to your patrol. It just means you have more things signed off.

    I thought back to @Kudu's comment about Free Range Kids and the pros and cons of lone patrols and "troops." The FRK idea is the parents train their kids to do something on their own and then the kids go do it, on their own. Would parents that want their kids to go off and do adventures consider First Class to be useful training?

    What skills would make a scout more adventurous? Here's my random list: How to make or fix your own gear (i.e., Macgyver skills). Making a backpacking wood stove. Taking care of cast iron cookware. Cooking a meal for 8 on your own with no help and from only simple ingredients (and buying the food on your own). Moving all of Orienteering MB into First Class. Making a survival shelter. Taking your patrol on a campout with the requisite planning and approval. Making a fire in a down poring rain. Making fire starters. Make a knife blade from 1/8" steel plate. Kill and clean a chicken, part it and then cook it (I haven't done all of these last two but it sure would be fun to learn). Or even just how to part a whole chicken.

    I would think that if a First Class scout could do these types of things they would have more confidence at being adventurous and trying new things. No describe and discuss, just do things that are beyond the usual plop camping and "plop cooking" (pre made meals). The goal would no longer be skills you can learn in a year. Rather, skills that would make your patrol more independent.

    Granted, there's no way the requirements will change but it's just a thought. Unless someone knows how to incorporate these ideas into their troops.

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