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Posts posted by moxieman

  1. Greetings from Kennebec Valley District, Pine Tree Council, Maine. As I have posted before in other threads, KV District is the second largest district area-wise in the northeastern USA, covering roughly 6,660 square miles (larger than Rhodes Island & Connecticut combined). This makes us slightly larger than the original poster's (xlpanel's) district. We have a little more population due to the state capital being in the southern part of our district, which stretches from 20 miles south of the state Capital (Augusta) to the Quebec border. We have roughly 40 troops with an average size of 9 youth for a total of 360 boy scouts spread over the district. Again, the majority of them are within 20 miles of the state capital.


    Some of our leaders/youth in our more remote portions of the district travel 2 hours to attend events. However, many of those who have to travel that distance also happen to be our most active. This has not stopped us from having a successful and active chapter. Furthermore, our chapter adviser travels over an hour each way to attend events and understands the commitment involved. Every member of his family is a Vigil member in our lodge.


    Our chapter holds their meetings on the same night/location as the district roundtable. Youth who wish to be active Arrowmen catch a ride from their adult leaders going to RT. If their leaders aren't doing so, they usually start going, or the Arrowmen in question finds some other way to get to the meeting.


    When someone complains how "far" they had to travel to our RT/Chapter meeting location, which is usually a new leader who had to drive a mere 20 miles, I quickly introduce them to the Jackman contingent (usually 2 leaders and 1 youth) who faithfully drive 2 hours one way every month down from the Quebec border to attend. That usually puts an end to distance complaint.


    Compared to sports, our travel times are short. We have a few off-shore islands with year-round populations here in Maine. A varsity game against the island high school on home territory is an overnight event, ditto if the island team is playing an away game. Why? 'cause the last ferry to the island in the "off" season (fall to spring) usually leaves the island at 6pm.


    How do they deal with the logistics? Simple, families of the home team put up members of the opposing team for the night.


    Maybe we've got a different mentality up here in the Maine "Wilderness" when it comes to travel?


    But I digress. Meetings have been youth planned/led. I can't go into much detail as I'm too busy running/overseeing the roundtable. On an average, I do see roughly 20 to 25 youth attend that meeting, which is slightly less then the 30 adults that attend our roundtable. Furthermore, this chapter has received "honor chapter" status at least every other year for the past decade. I put that in quotes as it's a Lodge award. Usually only two, and sometimes three out of the five chapters meet the requirements each year. Every year, one or more members of this chapter go on to serve at the lodge leadership level. Some members of this chapter have also gone on to serve at the regional level and on staff at NOAC.


    I've seen the youth of this chapter hold great campfires at our distict events. Never mind other ceremonies when they're called upon to do so, such as an OA-themed Webelos Cross-over or Eagle Court of Honor.


    What further justification do you need to host a chapter in a rural district? If you don't offer the youth the opportunity, how can they have the chance for that kind of leadership experience?

  2. I agree with John-in-KC. Something doesn't add up here. Why would national spend so much $$$ on putting out a brand new handbook when the rank requirements in it will be changed again only a few months after the requirements in the new handbook take effect? The only change I see on page 438 to Star Rank is a few new positions of responsibility to choose from.


    Haven't got the new handbook yet? You can download the requirements from the companion website:




    Click on Table of Contents

    then click on Rank Requirements

    Scroll down and click on the Star Rank Badge

  3. Been there, done that as some others have said. Many of them have great advice.


    I was in your situation back in my college days 20 years ago, except my college was out-of-council. I maintained registration with my home unit as they understood that my time would be limited with them (but appreciated when I was available). I also signed on with the unit in my college town, which understood the demands of college and were quite happy to simply have an extra "warm" body on some weekend events, even if that driver simply had to disappear to some quite corner to study while the scouts went off and did whatever it was. For example, the unit was short a vehicle for transporting scouts to the klondike derby. I did that for them, went to the "command post", found someplace to study and spent more quiet time there then I normally could find at the college.


    Grad school was further away (2/3rds across the country). I did the same thing there as in undergrad, but I became a bit more involved with the OA than before.


    However, in both towns and in all units I was involved it was understood that my course studies came first.

  4. My Insignia guide is a bit out-of-date, but I doubt this has changed much. Knots are to be worn centered above the left pocket. Emphasis on centered. So, if you have a row of two, they would be centered. So a row of three on the bottom and then a row of two centered above those like the steps of a dais.



  5. As others have said, it depends.


    We have had shooting sports at some camporees. It depends on the theme, where the camporee is located, is there a safe place to set-up said shooting sport and is one of our council's few rangemasters available (ie, did we beat the other four districts to asking him/her).


    Webelos have been allowed at our camporees, but only as a guest of a troop and with proper leadership.


    We are a very large area-wise rural district. Usually if there is a shooting range, we're out in the middle of no-where and very few Webs will show-up. As I'm usually involved in other areas of the camporee, I can't answer as to whether or not the Webs get to shoot guns. I know that when an archery range is set-up Webs do participate. Ditto on the tomahawk range.


    Alas, it's a pain in our council to make arrangements for a shooting range at a camporee 'cause someone at council office had the bright idea to "encourage" all five districts to hold their camporee on the same weekend every spring and fall. It's frustrating and makes it hard to help out other districts at their event. But that's a topic for another thread, I'm sure.

  6. Well, I don't have the most "recent" printing of the 11th Ed to compare to. I have the third printing. I see several changes and/or rewording in rank requirements between the two. I know some of these were added in the past couple of years.


    Some examples:

    Scout Spirit is now better defined for all ranks.

    EDGE appears in Tenderfoot AND Life requirements.

    Swimming Requirements for Second Class and First Class can NO LONGER BE WAIVED by the troop committee.

    Leave No Trace is required for Second Class

    You no longer need to light a fire for Second Class. I assume this is a nod to the many parts of the Country where it's difficult to obtain permission to have an open fire due to dry weather conditions.

    Attempt at recruitment (the one invited doesn't need to join) and Internet Safety are part of First Class.



    I've only glanced briefly at it with the expectations it would be more of the same of the previous two editions--more watering down. It appears that's not the case and it does seem better organized. Within the requirements, they've brought back the page numbers the scout can look-up in the book to complete the requirement.


    Book references a companion website: http://www.bsahandbook.org


    As of this post, that website isn't up and running. You get redirected to the useless (IMO) BSA National site.


    Oh, and BAMSAM, you might want to look more carefully at the new book as your council is incorrect about your son being able to finish using the old requirements. See page 443: "The rank requirements in this book are official as of January 1, 2010. If a scout has started work toward a rank before that date using requirements that were current before January 1, 2010, he may complete that rank only using the old requirements. Any progress towards a rank that is begun after January 1, 2010, must use the requirements as they are presented in this Handbook or in the Boy Scout Requirements book."(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  7. "There's also an ad in the back of the issue: buy $50 worth on scoutstuff.org, plug in a special offer code, and get a new handbook for free"


    Well, that's a bummer. National just took over our local scout shop at the council office. From my understanding, it was a better deal for council. If I had known of this when I was down there today, I could have bought a couple more items and not paid for the handbook.


    Our council just updated the standard CSP. This is the first update to the regular/standard CSP since 1981. I wonder if any of our reps who are on their way to NOAC got some before heading out.

  8. Our Council Camp, and the camps adjacent to our council are five full days of programming: Monday through Friday. You check-in Sunday afternoon. You check-out Saturday Morning.


    When I was in graduate school in Lubbock, TX, one of South Plains Council's two summer camps, Camp Tres Ritos is up in the Pecos Wilderness at an elevation of about 9,000 ft in the mountains, roughly 20 miles east of Taos, NM. They follow a similar schedule to Philmont, which is a modified 4 day program:


    Arrive/check-in is on Sunday. You're welcome to arrive on Saturday, but you're on your own for food until Sunday evening meal. Many units do this to give their members a full day to acclimate to the higher elevation before any activities start.

    Full activities Monday & Tuesday

    Wednesday is "On your own day". You are offered a variety of day hikes in the mountains to choose from or you can drive your unit to Taos or even make the trip up to Philmont (60 miles away as the crow flies) and hit the visitor center. You are provided with a bag lunch to take with you where ever you go for the day.

    Full activities on Thursday & Friday

    Leave Saturday Morning--you're encouraged to wait until Saturday to leave as it's a 6 hour drive back to Lubbock from Camp Tres Ritos.

  9. I recall reading this somewhere in national BSA documents at one time, but can't find it now. I had looked it up back around 2000 to present to the committee of the troop I was SM in at that time as the troop was sending a small contingent to the 2001 Canadian Jamboree (6 scouts, two leaders) and we needed new tents or to get the current tents refurbished. The committee I had to deal with (not work with, but deal with) was very tight with money and it took things like this to get equipment repaired or upgraded. It's not like the troop was hurting for funds--they had over $3K in the troop savings account for a unit with 20 active scouts.


    But I digress. What I found in writing was you needed a minimum of 35 square ft per scout for long term camping of five or more consecutive days. Our four man Timberlines were 56 square ft (7 by 8). Add a vestibule that covers another 14 square ft (roughly 7 by 2) and you get 70 square ft--enough for two scouts by the guidelines of the time.


    At least it convinced the committee to authorize repair of the tents and the purchase of vestibules for each tent. I'd have preferred to replace the four tents in question as they were 15 years old at the time, but you take what you could get.

  10. I missed this thread back in Nov.


    I'm glad, diogenes, that your scouts will be able to have a summer camp experience this year.


    That Texas Law you quoted helps explain something I wondered about 15 years back when I was in graduate school in Lubbock, TX (South Plains Council). One of the units in the city held its own summer camp on a ranch that belonged to a relative of one of the leaders out in Oklahoma every summer. The troop in question was the largest in the council at the time and ranked #6 nationally with over 120 registered/active youth. The excuse I heard from that unit at the time for holding their own camp in OK was not wanting to overwhelm the local scout camp. Now, I wonder if it was actually partially to work around that law.


    As for LDS, our council works well with their LDS units. In past years (I don't know about this summer), they have held an LDS week at their camp centered around the needs of LDS units. Other units are welcome to attend that week.


    My large area-wise, rural district has 80 active units, with roughly 8 of those LDS units.

  11. Eamonn, you are not the only person out there who does not own Thriller or any other MJ album. However, my folks own a working player piano and a Micheal Jackson Medley player piano roll put out by the QRS company at about that time. It has "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" on it.


    QRS still exists, still makes player piano rolls, but mostly concentrates on electronic player pianos these days that play cd/DVD's. No, seriously. http://www.qrsmusic.com/


    I don't follow Twitter. I do some blogging, but not much through LiveJournal (moxie_man), but only 'cause several friends migrated over there from Usenet. Usenet? You know, the predecessor to web forums like this one. I was around on Usenet back when rec.scouting was split into multiply subgroups roughly 20 years or so back. (shrug)

  12. As I am not currently active at the unit level, I can't state when my unit meets as I don't have one. As I'm active at the district level, I know that the majority of our units meet on a weeknight.


    There is one unit that is unique among them. They don't meet during basketball season at all (most of the winter) because most of the troop *IS* the school basketball team for that town. It's a small town of 700 people on the Canadian border. The troop has roughly 24 youth or almost every eligible-age boy in town.


    This year's high school graduation class had 14 students. Their combined elementary-through-high school is smaller than the high school I went to here "down state". They are so remote that the nearest McDonald's is roughly one hour north of them in St. George, Quebec, Canada. Yes, if you live there and want a Big Mac, don't forget your passport! The nearest ChinaMart...er...WalMart is 2 hours south. The town is mostly self-sufficient as going for services anywhere is an all-day affair. Everyone helps everyone else.


    The troop meets the rest of the year including throughout the summer. They must be doing something right. Two months ago, I attended a quad-Eagle ceremony up there for the second time in the past 4 years. Roughly one quarter of the town turned-out for those two ceremonies. There has also been a double-Eagle ceremony in between those two quad ceremonies.


    I wouldn't suggest your unit stop meeting during sports season as this particular troop has a unique situation.

  13. Two fall into the category of hardest for different reasons:


    Archery MB, which took two summers for me to complete. I had a 'handicap' the first summer. A day into camp, I had an accident involving a flying flaming marshmallow and the palm of the hand of my bow arm. Had a bandaged 2nd degree burn the rest of the week. Second summer, I obtained completed it with a qualifying score during a tropical storm. No, seriously. Five minutes after I finished, the winds picked-up and knocked over all the targets.


    Emergency Prepardness MB (I was a poor swimmer, so Swimming/Livesaving were out for me on the Trail to Eagle)--in this case, the challenge was finding a living, breathing MB counselor. The one on the troop/district list at the time had been deceased for three years.

  14. Okay...now this is bizarre. I just logged back into the profile area to attempt again, and my profile was updated. But when you click continue, it stays stuck in the profile section. (shrug)


    Computers and I have never gotten along.


    VigilNavy: I went through my Ordeal at Bomazeen in '84. Brotherhood at Camp Post, South Plains Council in '94 (was in grad school at time and agreed to seal my membership if younger bro made Eagle--he pulled it off with 4 hours to spare), Vigil at Bomazeen in '07.


    Madockawanda will be hosting Conclave this year, the second full weekend in June at Camp Hinds. I'll be on kitchen staff.


    As for your offer of stories, don't hesitate to contact the lodge's current youth leadership. At our annual banquet this past December, they had the lodge's second chief as the guest speaker. He provided a lot of insight into the early days of the lodge.


  15. I attempted to update my profile and receive the following error message:


    "Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80040e14'


    [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver]

    Line 1: Incorrect syntax near ','.


    /members/modify/process2.asp, line 19 "



    Should I try again later, or does someone need to look at the database?


  16. From my understanding, that is Green Mountain Council's ONLY Boy Scout Camp.


    There is more info, including copies of the letters sent to leaders on GMC's website:



    I heard about this about a week-and-a-half ago as the leaders of one of our very active troops is on staff at their Frontier Camp. They have been very busy scrambling to locate an alternate site for this summer. Matter-of-fact, he was off at some meeting in regards to that this weekend instead of at our camporee.


    I jokingly mentioned to said leader that he should try and suggest relocating Frontier Camp to our mothballed Camp Bomazeen. It's not like PTC is using it. (grumble)


    As for the dioxin spill at the '81 National Jamb, one of the scouts in my unit back then eventually lost an eye due to cancer which I think they had traced back to that spill.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  17. kahits, what GWD said. Unfortunately, unlike the Cub Scout level, there aren't a lot of adult awards for Boy Scout Troop Volunteers. I find it annoying. There should be something to recognize the adult leaders in your troop other than the training award. For example, the white square knot used for the SM Award of Merit started as a regional award for newer leaders and was called the "Why Knot":



    Why "knot" offer something similar for ASMs and committee members?


    Anyway, enough ranting. There is one thing out there that you could use. Has this ASM been active at least five years in scouting (you can count time as a youth it they were a scout). If so, you can at least recognize them with the Scouter Veteran Award. Just search for it on the net. I had several hits for the application form such as:




    There is both a recognition card (milestones such as 25 years have a certificate), and a civilian wear pin.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  18. Excerpt from my LJ blog from last August upon the death of my scoutmaster, Phil Mason:




    My very first hiking trip with the troop was to Baxter State Park. I had been in the troop less then 6 months and was definitely not ready to attempt to climb Katahdin, especially not up the near vertical Abol Slide Trail. A little less than half-way up, this very young 11 year old gave it up. Scouting rules were a little different back then. They allowed me to sit there and wait for them. I waited some four or five hours, but I obediently stayed put. I found myself climbing back down with Mr. Mason, who leaned over and said, "I think you were the only smart one in our bunch today."


    One of the patrols that climbed up had brought along a day pack with their lunch--meat and cheese sandwiches, except they didn't make them in advance. They brought all the stuff up that mountain to make them: meat, cheese, mayonnaise and mustard in glass jars. Do you see where this is going? On the return hike down, the older scouts did not want to wait for the younger scouts. No rest breaks. They wanted down/off. So, this heavy knapsack kept getting passed back from one scout to the other until one of the new scouts pleaded with Mr. Mason to carry it for him. He already had a pack on his back and asked, "Is there anything breakable in it?" The scout assured him it didn't have any breakables. At which point, Mr. Mason accepted the bag and winged it down the trail. When he caught up with it, he'd toss it again. He forgot about it at some point. I don't remember if it was before or after he caught up with me.


    We didn't locate the knapsack until the following day. Thankfully (or not), the rangers do a patrol of the various trails up/down Katahdin daily. Wherever Mr. Mason had forgotten to pick it up, that pack sat in the sun for several hours with churned-up left over sandwich material, smashed jars of mayo and mustard...oh, and the unlucky owner's spare socks. We found it OUTSIDE the ranger station well away from the rest of the lost and found articles the following morning. It was well away from everything else for a very good reason. You could find it by smell. I think they simply trashed it rather than try and clean it.




    That trip was in August of 1981. For those unfamiliar with Maine, Katahdin is our highest peak, just a few feet shy of 1 mile in height. Doesn't sound tall compared to some of the peaks out west, but the elevation gain from the base of the mountain to the peak is close to 4,000 ft. The Abol Slide trail is roughly 3 miles from base to peak and very, very steep--it's hand/foot holds in places. I placed the above tale in the sympathy card given to his family. I learned that most of them hadn't heard this tale from him. As a result of this trip, glass containers were banned from troop outings. Gee, I wonder why. :)


    More info on Katahdin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Katahdin

  19. What fgoodwin said. I went through my ordeal back in '84. The word mumbled to me sounded like the title from a '70's TV show about a family struggling to make a living in rural Virginia during the Great Depression.


    I didn't learn the proper way to pronounce/spell the admonition until I borrowed a new handbook at an ordeal work weekend, wrote down the word needed for the jump site and then went to the jump site. My old '84 handbook has an illustration on the page referenced on the website (chuckle).



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