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Posts posted by moxieman

  1. Randy, you might want to contact those putting on the OKPIK training. Up here in the Maine Wilderness, equipment is provided under the assumption that those attending either don't have the equipment or don't know which equipment to bring. All you bring is your body and clothing--they'll even supply some of that (outer layers) up here.


    Also, what would be an appropriate sleeping bag for OKPIK training in Maine will not be the same as in Florida or Montana or Alaska.


    My winter mummy-style bag is rated only to 20F. I have made a fleece liner for it that brings it down another 10 degrees or so. That's all I've ever used. Then again I'm a "whoos" and you won't find me in the sort of weather they camp out in Minnesota or Montana in the -20F range. Mostly 'cause I can't afford to buy the proper gear to overnight in such conditions.

  2. I'm not that familiar with the Venturing program. There are maybe 4 crews in our district. At our district roundtable last night, the associate adviser for one of those crews spoke to me. He's a bit frustrated with a lack of information on suggested ceremony ideas for the Ranger Award. You see, one of his Venture Crew members has achieved this award. Furthermore, she's not only the first one to do so in our district, she's the very first in the council, and apparently only the second one in the entire state. There are going to be council big wigs at the ceremony as a result. However, he can't find any ceremony resources for this award (maybe he's doing the wrong net searches?) that he can present to this crew member to provide guidance/advice on what her ceremony should entail. The adviser is also a scoutmaster, but doesn't want to just give her a bunch of Eagle Scout ceremonies as suggested starting points.


    Any suggestions/pointers I can forward to this adviser would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Our district here in the Maine wilderness hasn't done one in nearly 20 years due to the lack of a reasonably priced venue within the district large enough to host all 80 or so units (Cubs, Troops, Crews, & Posts) of the district. I know of two venues large enough to host such an event--the Augusta Civic Center (would be several grand), and the field house at Colby College (an Ivy League school) in Waterville. One of the last ones we held was outdoors at a local fairgrounds. We got lucky with the weather, but had little turn-out 'cause it was out in the countryside rather than near one of our few population centers.


    Meanwhile, Katahdin Area Council to our east hosts two scout shows each March--one in each of the two malls in their council (Aroostook Centre in Presque Isle in the northern part of the council and the Bangor Mall in the central part of the council). From my understanding it's a good fundraiser/publicity event for them.

  4. Others here are more knowledgeable than I am in regards to what Cubs can and can not do. It is my understanding that Cubs can not camp out in the snow. I could be wrong.


    As for the Polar Bear Award, that varies from council to council, but usually includes camping out in the snow. In our Council, it's an award put on by the local camp boosters, the Camp Bomazeen Old-Timers. It's called the Cold-Timers Award. You simply need to camp outdoors in the winter time with temps below freezing. It is only available to Boy Scouts, Venturers, and leaders. Below freezing temp is to be confirmed by a member of the Order of the Arrow on the trip.


    In some councils, it's called the 100 Below patch. Yup, you need to accumulate points based on how cold it got at night while camping in the snow. Every degree below 0F counts as 1 point. When you reach -100F total, you earn the patch.


    These type of cold weather awards have been covered in past issues of both Boys Life and Scouting Magazine.

  5. Like John-in-KC, mine was a tap-out, but not so hard as to floor the scouts.


    The most impressive call-out I've seen was while I was in grad school in Lubbock, TX back in the mid-90's (Nakona Lodge).


    Chapter Chief and others in regalia show-up at the evening campfire of the district camporee. They call forward all youth who are eligible to be members of the OA to form a circle around the fire and their leaders to stand behind them. In this lodge, those who have been elected are not notified prior to call-out.


    A lodge member starts beating on a drum and one of the other members in regalia slowly dances/paces around the circle, looking each scout in the eye. Meanwhile, scout leaders will hold a sash over/behind an elected scout. The dancer leaps into the face of the elected and yells: "YOU! HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!" The scout is whisked around to the chief to complete the call-out. The dancer then continues his circuit. He'll go around several times until he sees no more raised sashes.

  6. Well, I don't own that style of pack. I own a "traditional" external frame backpack. But there is a non-removable bracket within the top section which holds it open for easy loading.


    The few times I've needed to wash it, I've used my bathtub, cold water, and Woollite or similar soap designed for hand washing.


    I let it soak an hour or so. Rinse it the best I can and then hang it to dry.


    Again, I don't know if that will help you or not as I don't know what your internal frame is made from.

  7. This might help explain the notice on our council's website:




    Yes, it's partially due to the changes in the requirements from the Dept of Smoke & Mirrors..er..Homeland Insecurity.


    But if you now need to mail your tour permit to Irving and await a response rather than sending it to Massachusetts, I can see that yes, you had best be sending this in 2 months in advance rather than 1.

  8. Welcome to the virtual campfire as others have said.


    I went to Party...er..Plymouth State University (back then College) and volunteered with Troop 56 of Plymouth, NH while there.


    Plymouth is home of one of only three boy scout statues in the country (and Plymouth's is a fountain that sits on the "Other Plymouth Rock"). I saw this past spring that it's been restored/refurbished recently.


    Born and raised a Mainah, spent a little time in exhile in West Texas, but back in Maine.


    If any of your Cubbies are already into patches, you might want to bring'em down to Camp Carpenter in Manchester the weekend before Halloween. There's going to be a scout memorabilia show--scouts in uniform are admitted free.


    If you go, look for the guy with all the patch blankets. :)

  9. I have roughly 2,000 patches from around the world on five blankets. One of those five covers things I've earned, positions I've held, and places I've been. The other four are things I've picked up over the years through trades, some gifts, a few auctions, and fundraiser events (ex. a patch set from the New Orleans Council/Lodge, post-Katrina to help their scouts go to NOAC).


    I guess you could call it sort of a traveling patch museum.


    In addition, one retired scouter gave me a brief case filled with patches under condition that anything already in my collection be given away. So, when I'm invited to a cub pack meeting, troop court of honor, etc. to display, that brief case is opened up and scouts get to take one each. Over the years others have contributed to the freeby pile and so I continue to give patches away.


    As to what will happen to my collection, upon my demise (hopefully not anytime soon) I plan to donate it to a local scouting museum.


    Believe it or not, I've cut back on trading as the collection is starting to get cumbersome to cart around. Especially, when I'm about to start blanket #6, aka, Stuff I've earned, pt 2, as after 30 years in scouting, my original blanket is just about full.


    I have also made patch donations to my lodge for patch auctions, proceeds of which have either helped the lodge or the section. I've also put forth patches for door prizes at our district banquets and for other events. I'm not rich. I've simply accumulated a lot over time, a little at a time.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  10. Many state parks here in Maine do not have group sites. However, they do have a "day use only" area with a picnic shelter/pavilion, that defaults as a group site when a troop or other such group contacts them to stay at the park as a group.


    It works out in a few ways:


    Usually the "day use area" is well away from the campground, so you don't have to worry about complaints about noise.


    Group rate at most of the parks is in the $3 per person per night range. If you work it out in advance, you can get a discount/waiver from this by offering some community service time to the park.


    Why use a state park? Maine is a big state. Unless you've got contacts in the part of the state your scouts want to go to (permission of land owner, etc.), it's the easiest way to find a suitable campsite for a low rate.


    I don't know of any units that have specifically hunted out parks with a pavilion. But it's a nice bonus to discover when you get there.

  11. SctDad asked: "that is the Blockhouse from Hinds, right???"


    (chuckle) No. I don't know the history behind the blockhouse at the center of Camp Hinds. Nor does the Camp Hinds Alumni Society know. They state as such on their website--no one knows who, when or why that block house was constructed.


    It could be based on one of the reproduction blockhouses at Olde Fort Western, Circa 1754, in Augusta (central barracks is original, everything else is reproduction), or in the case of Winslow Troop 443's patch, all that remains of Fort Halifax, a single blockhouse. It also dates to 1754 and is (was) the oldest fort in the nation, found where the Sebasticook River meets the Kennebec River in Winslow, Maine. Ft. Halifax was washed away in a April Fool's Day Flood of 1987. Roughly 65% of the timbers were found/retrieved from down stream and used to reconstruct the blockhouse.


    Benedict Arnold's forces spent time at both forts on his ill-fated trip to try (and fail) to capture Quebec City & Montreal during the American Revolution.


    Several years ago, a pen pal in California sent a squirrel plushie around the country to tour with friends as said pen pal could not afford to travel herself. As a result, here are pictures of Ft. Western & Ft. Halifax. Can you find the plushie in both? (chuckle)


    Ft. Halifax:



    Ft. Western:

    http://home.gwi.net/~moxieman/buzzy/ftwest1.jpg(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  12. I forgot to mention and should provide a bit of a warning about the drip pan route:


    They are thin and will only last a couple of expeditions. But they are under $10 each around here. So, it's a great way to start and see if your unit wants to get into the DO cooking way of camping without spending the big bucks on a heavy-duty stand.

  13. SctDad wrote:

    "Do you happen to remember the Klondike derby patches from teh early 90's. They were all hexagon and if you were at all 7 they formed one large patch. Unfortunatly I only got one, my troop decided to quit going."


    I'm in Kennebec Valley District in Pine Tree Council. The patches you are referring to are from York District--the far opposite side of the council from me. York District has done a lot of these over the years. Prior to and after that Klondike Set, they did several sets where you had to attend all three district events in a school year (Klondike, Spring & Fall camporees) to complete the set. A couple years ago, their Roundtable Commissioner (and SM in Shapleigh, ME) gave me almost a complete set of the hexagon patches you're referring to. I have 1991 through 1995. So, I'm missing one edge piece and the center one. I don't know if that would be '90 & '96 or '96 & '97. I do know the center one has a gold myler border.


    Eagle92: Most patch design companies don't charge extra for unusual shapes. The base price through most companies is the average size of the patch. So a 3 inch square or 3 inch circle is charged as a 3 inch patch. A 3 by 4 inch rectangle is charged as if it's a 3.5 inch patch because: (3 + 4)/2 equals 3.5. However, if you opt for an odd shaped patch, you usually have to have a "laser-cut" border as opposed to a traditional "myler" (embroider thread) around the edge of the patch.


    Here is an example of a special shape:



    Troop 443, Winslow, ME 40th Anniversary. The 4 sticks out beyond the edge of the pentagon shaped, patch. But because it doesn't go outside the bounds of the area of the length/height of the pentagon, it didn't change the cost of the patch through the company they used. But due to the special shape, they couldn't do the myler border.


    I hope this helps a bit. And good luck with the multi-part patch. I'd love to see a picture of the final design.


    If you need tips for patch companies, look in the back of Scouting Magazine. They can't advertise if they aren't approved to do patches for the scouts. I've had great luck with both Stadri and Sunshine Patch Companies. Stadri made the example above. And our Council has used Sunshine for their Jambo CSP sets.

  14. Here are some examples of Multi-part patches:


    Daniel Webster Council's 50th Anniversary:



    The combined patch is only 3.5 by 3.5 inches. A scout had to attend five events to earn all five pieces.


    Scouts Australia Trail Award:



    I don't know the details behind this one or what the requirements are--it was sent to me by a friend Down Under. Each patch is unique, but combine to make the fleur-de-lis. It measures just under 8 by 8 inches.


    Finally, Pine Tree Council's 2005 National Jamboree Set, aka, the Four Seasons Set:



    Again, each piece is unique, but combine with a center patch to form a 7.75 inch diameter circle.


  15. I've never heard of this term before. In the past, the term I've heard is "Multi-part" patches.


    I have seen something like what you're talking about before. A Canadian National Jamboree back in the '90's (I don't recall which one-only seen the resulting combined patch) did a multi-part patch as a friendship game: There were ten subcamps. Each scout was given 10 patches for his/her subcamp. It was up to them to meet up with scouts from the others and trade off all but one of his patches to acquire the other nine. Upon doing so, he got the center award patch. Put together, it made sort of a starburst design. But each patch was distinct/individual from the others.


    With the number of patches you're proposing, you'll have to go the "backpatch" route if you want people to be able to see each patch and what it stands for. However, if they must all be combined to make any sense, then it doesn't matter what size they are. You can make'em smaller.


    However, you're talking a lot of money here. Instead of producing one patch, you're producing several.


    Some questions for you:

    Do you really need "hidden puzzle lines"?

    Are you taking one overall picture and cutting it up or will each patch be unique, but when combined with the others form a larger picture--for example, the outline of the Fleur-de-lis?

    Or, could your award patch be the center one and the other six sit around it? For example, maybe as CSP-style patches for the camps and then the center would be a hexagon. If you're concerned about size, make them smaller than normal CSPs.


  16. On the original poster's Q's, those have been more or less answered. OA patches have a national following, so those, in general will have a higher value than the camp ones. The camp ones all depend on the camp and who is interested in them.


    One of our local camps, Camp Bomazeen, consistently gets "high" bids (over $10 per patch minimum) when a patch comes up on auction from it. Why? Well, it's been semi-closed for the past six years--no boy scout summer camp program, and there are a couple of deep-pocketed collectors out there who send the prices up quickly when they see one available for bid.


    As to the Jambo questioner: It all depends on what the attendees deem as "cool" that year.


    Ex: One of our other camps (Camp Hinds) put out a picture patch of their camp staff for 1986, depicting the previous year's staff. They couldn't give the patches away at camp. No one liked this photo silk-screen over a standard embroidered patch. They sat in the sale bin at the council office for a few years. A scout going to the '89 Jambo bought out what was left at 50 cents each. They were a huge hit at Jambo, 'cause no one else had ever seen anything like it before. He was getting 6 or more Jambo CSPs for one of those photo patches.


    At the '93 Jamboree, Ghost Patches (patch done all in one color) and Shadow Patches (a good portion of the patch done in black, like Pine Tree Council's previous, no longer current CSP), were very popular regardless if it was a CSP or an event patch.


    Problem is, your son won't know until he gets there if there will be anything beyond CSP's/OA flaps that will be "cool" at the 2010 jambo.

  17. One Question for the original poster: Why are you jostling for space in the fire?


    DO's can be stacked one on top of another while cooking, sharing the heat. The coals on top of the bottom oven act as the bottom coals of the oven above it.


    The trick is figuring out what you're stacking where so everything cooks relatively evenly.


    Me? I prefer charcoal when I use my DO as I don't have an easy supply of hardwood and most places our district camps doesn't allow ground fires. You don't need a ground fire for a DO if you use charcoal. A steel garage floor drip pan (can't recall the real name of this--it's this metal pan you can slip under your vehicle to keep it dripping fluids on the garage floor) from the auto parts store and 4 cinder blocks can do the trick.

  18. Final one...no, honest. This one takes a lot of coordination/planning.


    A couple of years ago my brother's troop held a car smash during their town's 4th of July event.


    As I said, this one takes a lot of planning:


    Obviously, you need a vehicle to smash. In my brother's troop case, he donated his 7,000lb 1978 Buick Electra that would no longer pass inspection. The scouts painted it up for the event: SMASH ME-SEND A SCOUT TO CAMP!


    You need a hold-harmless contract that every participant must sign before they are allowed into the smash area. Basically a contract that states in lawyerese that the participant is participating of their own free will, is taking self-responsibility and understands that if they are injured, they can't sue anyone--not the town, the sponsoring business, nor the scouts--bro's troop had a youth, who's dad was a lawyer--so they got this done-up for free.


    Car must be prepped--remove the engine, gas tank and anything else that could leak liquids (radiator, etc.). Leave the windows/headlights in place.


    You need a business willing to let you do this on their level lot--they got the local car parts franchise to host them. The franchise was so enthusiastic that they prepped the car for free.


    You might need a liability insurance policy depending on what the business' lawyers say. This killed this fundraiser for my brother after the first year as they couldn't find a reasonably priced policy (or a donation) at the last minute the second year they had planned to do it. The business' policies changed and required the insurance policy despite the hold-harmless contract mentioned above. The best "deal" they could find last minute for a one day policy would have cost $700.


    You need a way to get the car to the smash site and a way to haul it off--they got the services of a local flatbed wrecker at discount. The wrecker hauled it to the site and away in exchange for the scrap metal value of vehicle.


    You need to rope off the area and put up warning signs of the potential for flying debris hazard.


    You need safety equipment for participants and spotters: goggles, work gloves, and good foot wear--no sandals.


    You need implements of destruction: baseball bats, sledge hammers, large rocks, hammers, pick-axe, old golf clubs, you name it. Bro's troop had all this and a 2 ft section if steel I-beam.


    You also need push brooms/dustpans to clean-up the resulting debris.


    A PA system can be handy to attract attention. Be sure to thank your sponsors.


    The charge to trash the car: $5 for a window, 3 hits for $5 or 15 for $20. Later in the day as the car starts to become a bit more compact, offer better deals like $5 for five minutes.


    Someone in his troop set-up a digital camera and printer and for $2 to $3, he'd capture you on camera trashing the car and would print it out on the spot for you.


    The results of the fundraiser: $700 to send scouts to camp.


    Oh, and bro's Buick was a bit smaller:



  19. Another non-sale fundraiser up here is holiday gift wrapping. Several units will get permission from the Big Box Stores or the Mall in Portland to set-up a gift-wrapping service in the entry area.


    They then offer to wrap customers gifts on a donation basis-pay what you think the gift wrap job is worth.


    Back in my Scoutmaster days, we raised $600 over a Friday evening/all-day-Saturday weekend doing this one year. I think only two people stiffed the scouts. We held ours the weekend prior to Christmas.


    Best part was we got all the gift wrap, tape, and boxes donated in advance, so there was no expense. For gift tags, we recycled previous years gift cards.


    The key is to practice gift wrapping in advance with your scouts. Use empty boxes and newspaper for practice. Oh, and find a store that will let you do this in their entry/lobby.

  20. Many units up this way do the bottle/can collection thing as Maine has a bottle deposit law.


    One unit has an "In" with one of the forest management companies up here. In the fall the unit buys several 50lb bags of black oil sunflower seeds.


    They then go to a particular location in the managed forest area--where-ever the management company's forester directs them.


    They collect all the green, closed pine cones that the local red squirrels have harvested from the Norway pines in that assigned area. They leave behind the sunflower seeds where ever they gather the pine cones so the squirrels don't starve over the winter.


    They have to fill burlap bags no more than half full. The gathered bags of cones are then trucked to a large shed, hung-up and dried, triggering the cones to release their seeds, which the company will use to reseed whatever part of the forest they "harvest" for timber next. The forest management company pays them for the gathered pine cones (and the seeds within) based on weight.


    I participated one year with that unit and we made just over $400 after the expense of the sunflower seeds. I don't remember how much we gathered with three leaders and six scouts in three hours, but we filled the back of a couple of pickup trucks.


  21. My only qualm with this push is the use of BMI. BMI doesn't work-out for everyone. I'll give you one quick example of a penpal of mine from Australia:




    She competitive rock climbs and regularly beats those who she races against.


    Ignoring the Purple Hair, under BMI, do you think she is ideal, overweight, or obese?


    Without revealing her weight/height (she won't do so), according to BMI, she's overweight. Yet, her doctor complains she has too little fat on her body.


    For the personal record: 6'1", 225lbs. Overweight. I hardly eat snack foods. Do home cooked meals from fresh ingredients rather than premade crap/box meals from the store, keep my meal portions reasonable, and lunch tends to be on the lean side. I walk 1 to 2 miles a day regularly, never mind that I live in a multi-story house and the facilities are in the basement and 2nd floor only, so there's plenty of stair climbing every day. Due to the "wonderful" weather we've had here in the Maine wilderness, I only got to use my pool about a dozen times this summer (pool temp plummeted from 84F a week ago to 68F this morning--brrrr!!!). My weight has stayed right around 225 for the past 10 years.


    Went backpacking earlier this summer and did the five mile trek to the campsite in the time I figured it would take without breaking much of a sweat. Felt great, even the following day after taking the difficult/strenuous route back.


    So, please forgive me if I don't jump on the band wagon and try to lose weight. I've got little left to cut back other than giving up the 5 mile drive to work. Guess I could leave an hour or so earlier and walk it, taking my life into my hands as there are no sidewalks for most of the trip along a busy highway where folks go 5 to 10 miles over the limit. This is also why I haven't bothered investing in a bicycle. Coworker use to bike to work. She had a few to many close calls and decided that it wasn't worth her life for the extra exercise.


    If only I had inherited my father's metabolism. If there were all-you-could-eat buffets around here, they'd have photos of him with notice not to serve him. He can put away a lot of food, but remains skinny as a rail.

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