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Posts posted by moxieman

  1. Back when I was active at the unit level rather than the district level, our troop made a trip over the border to New Brunswick, Canada almost every year to participate in an all night hike/competition event, known as Operation Poverty Peak (and then Operation Greer Creek after the location changed).


    As a youth, my unit went to Quebec City three times and an international camporee in Sherbrooke, QC.


    I also took a patrol of scouts from my unit to the 2001 Canadian National Jamboree, held on Prince Edward Island. My scouts all earned Weather Merit Badge as I was a counselor for that at the time, and one of the things we did while there was visit Environment Canada's (Canadian Weather Service) set-up at the Jambo.


    There are some Canadian scout camps that will tailor a program around American Merit Badges for your unit if you ask in advance.

  2. rjscout, I currently serve as the Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner in my district. It's been about 7 years since I've been actively involved at the unit level. As such, I've done very, very little outdoor cooking in that time period (and miss it). Usually at district events I'm invited as a guest of one unit or another and as such, eat whatever the scouts cook me.


    I know I've done some of these in the past, but can't recall which ones other than the cajun sausage and beans. I used pork cajun sausage instead of turkey sausage. It came out really good.


    Rule of thumb I've learned over the years is regardless of what else the recipe calls for, if there is no liquid in the recipe, always add a little water inside the packet before you seal it. The resulting steam will help cook your meal. AND always double-up your foil! Use the heavy duty stuff if you can.


    I've had little problem cooking directly on coals as long as I remember to add water as I've said before.


    Another recipe I did that worked out well was stew beef marinated for a few hours in terriyaki sauce in a ziplock back. Then dump the contents of the bag into foil, beef and sauce combined. Cook it over the coals for about 10 minutes and you'll be the envy of the scouts in your unit. :) This is also where a little cheating like using boil-in-the-bag rice comes in handy as a side dish to the foil meal.


    From there, it's a matter of practice to get things right.

  3. I have to agree with the others, OGE, I'm not seeing what the problem is with a patrol called the "Bear Rasslars" (Wrestlers).


    In this district I've seen:

    Chubacabra--should we be offended that they call themselves after a fictional monster that sucks the organs out of its livestock victims?

    Black Eagle--should we be offended that it's got "black" (or any other color for that matter) in the name?

    PYROS--their flag has a burnt edge to it. Should we be offended due to the implied potential arson implications here?

    Roadkill--flag and homemade patch both have an area of fake fur/blood with tire tracks across it. Surely, this would offend the vegans out there, never mind PETA. :)


    And I could go on and on.


    As I said, I agree with the others, you're reading something in this that isn't there IMHO.


    Be thankful these scouts actually have a patrol name/flag. I know many a unit that struggle to convince their youth to have a patrol identity.

  4. How many do I have? Less than most of those who have responded so far.


    1 complete uniform, long sleeve with slacks with my current district position, silver loops, etc. on it. The slacks are showing their age.


    1 complete uniform, short sleeve with "old-style" shorts with cargo pockets with my current district position, silver loops, etc. on it.


    1 short sleeve uniform shirt that is my old shirt from when I was scoutmaster (8 years ago now), stripped of most of it's patches. That shirt dates back to when I was a scout. It still fits, but I don't need a second short sleeve uniform at the moment.


    1 pair of those awful zip-off switch back pants that they sold off 2 for 1 a month after I bought my pair. Bought'em to replace the slacks above. Suffice it that I'm nursing the slacks along. A lot of times I'll be "out of uniform" by wearing my REI Explorer olive drab zip-off pants instead. Looks good with the shirt, fits correctly, unlike the "switchbacks", very rugged, dry quickly and cost about the same as the "switchbacks" did back when I bought'em.


    1 "antique" 1950's Cub Scout Shirt with Wolf/Bear badges/arrow points on it along with the town/state strip of the scout in question and in the pocket, the scout's Lion badge and Lion Badge card. This last one gets displayed at scouting events, especially cub events so the cubs can see what the uniform was like 50 years ago.

  5. Guy wrote: "he doesn't have to worry about outsourcing"


    Shhhhhh...don't give your council ideas! Otherwise, you'll start dealing with a DE with a strong accent over the phone/internet-video protocol only. :)


    More seriously, folks in my area are "use to" being poor. Our economy tanked nearly two decades ago and never fully recovered after the previous "recession" in the early '90's. But it's starting to show more now. At this time for the last National Jamboree, we had filled three troops, requested, received and filled a forth troop. This time around, I've heard we've filled 1.5...maybe 1.75 by now. Cost to attend from here is roughly $1800 with the before/after side trips. They will be taking tour buses down/back.


    Summer of '07, my brother's troop did a car smash fundraiser at their town's Forth of July festivities, where more than 40,000 gather--it's one of the largest celebrations in Maine. They cleared over $500 on the event. In '08, they lost $6. How do you lose money at a fundraiser? They had less takers then the cost of the liability policy they needed to have in place for the event and they couldn't find a donor to provide the policy like the year before.


    I've heard similar from other units and their fundraisers, but not in the extreme my brother experienced. Just that the units aren't making as much on fundraisers. I noticed the same thing at work with girl scout cookie sales. I saw two flyers posted and only half the number of orders that were placed last year. No one can spare as much money this year.


    I'm not sure in other areas at this time. The units don't talk directly to me about what they're observing other than the comments I've heard about fundraisers. It's not "my business" in my current position as roundtable commissioner to ask either.

  6. You know, we seem to have this topic come up almost once a year or so it seems to me. I just did a quick scan of topics for the past year and I guess I'm wrong, though there have been two on how to improve your relationship with your CO.


    Others have covered this pretty well, there is little for me to add.


    I have been in the position of a folding unit once. Adult leadership had dwindled to two college students, I being one of them. We approached our CO to explain the problem. CO decided to fold the unit rather than rebuild it because they didn't like the fact that the two remaining leaders were not members of their church and not about to join them. Sad, considering they were one of the larges churches in that city, with a congregation of several thousand. Surely, they could have just as easily kicked the two of us out, recruited from their members and kept the troop going, which at that time had been the second oldest in that council. We got no help from the DE. He was aware of the situation, but too busy to get to us in time. This is another good reason to make sure your unit keeps contact with the CO. It turns out that in this case, the CO had forgotten it had a scout unit. I haven't a clue how they got their paperwork signed every year. I happened to join the unit 6 months before it was forced to fold.


    At least we found another unit to transfer the youth to. Soon afterward, the other college student transferred to a different college. The CO of the old unit would not allow us to take any equipment to the other unit to help them with the additional scouts. I was very disgusted with this. The folded unit had enough wall tents to supply three campsites at the local council's summer camp. I do not exaggerate as I did the final inventory--48 wall tents and 6 brand new backpacking tents the unit had bought that spring. They would not have missed 3 tents. Interesting that the new tents vanished right after I took inventory and put in the request for three tents. I also reported that said tents went missing to the CO. They admitted they had moved them in a tone to imply they didn't trust either of us leaders to respect their decision to not share equipment. We are both Eagle Scouts. Sometimes, I wonder if it was because I was a "Damn Yankee carpet bagger" in West Texas at the time as much as I was Catholic/a college student and not a member of that particular Protestant Church.


    But that's how it goes as the CO owns the unit number, equipment and checkbook. Being college students who didn't know all the rules in details, we bought each of those scouts a complete uniform with what little was left in the troop treasury and held one last camping trip (to the local scout camp) with food covered by the troop including a steak dinner for everyone before turning the checkbook over to the CO. It probably would have been less expensive for them to give the three tents. Looking back, I'm thankful they didn't catch on about the uniforms. They probably would have demanded them turned over to them.


    In the two years I remained in that place after this incident, said church never restarted the unit. For all I know those 48 wall tents are still sitting there in storage dry rotting now some 16 years later.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  7. John-in-KC:


    Tax deductions are for those who make enough money to make doing taxes with itemized deductions worth the effort. As I stated previously, the one time I went to PTC, it cost me one month's take-home pay. It'll be a while before I do so again. I barely make ends meet.


    Right now, I have an invitation to attend and present my patch collection at a University of Scouting in Southwestern CT. I haven't accepted yet, 'cause I'm still trying to determine how I'm going to come-up with the funds for fuel to drive down/back (6 hours each way). I have relatives I could ask to put me up in Plainville, but they're in their late 70's.


    Woodbadge: Round here, it is 'restricted'. I can't get a copy, period.

  8. You've seen my previous posts in this thread. I have received TWO invitations in the past two weeks. I'm guessing that our current DE forgot that I asked not to be invited and perhaps our former DE (now the council field director) may have also put in my name.


    What I stated previously hasn't changed. I do not intend to accept the invitation, partially 'cause I really can't afford to spend a month's pay to go out there and back, even though I've received completely open invitations this time around, which is a change in their format from just a couple years back. Of the courses I read over, if I lived closer/could afford to attend, I'd possibly consider the course on international scouting. Why? 'Cause it's something I know little about (other than our interactions here with Scouts Canada just over the boarder) and as such, I might actually get something out of it.


    You've seen the spoof Trained patches before? I have one on one of my uniforms: "Overtrained".


    I'm also the guy they can't seem to recruit to take Woodbadge. After my past experiences with training, I'm not going to fork over that kind of money, upgrade my gear, oh, and try to convince my company that I need to take-off two long Thursday-Friday-Saturday (so the LDS leaders can attend) weekends during our busy fall season. But that's a rant for a different thread, unless I can produce a course syllabus to show my employer to show it might be worth letting me take it.


    Anne, the letter is a form letter, but as others have said, someone has to recommend you to get one. If you see a topic you like/want to learn more about, go for it. They do a good job and your kids will have a blast too as they have a program to keep them busy while you're in class. You'll meet up with them again for meals, unless they're Venturer-age teenagers at which they'll get to go out on a backpacking trip for the week.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  9. ASM915 wrote: A 4 mile hike, or what ever the distance at Jambo is, doesn't sound like a HA activity to me, unless we're in the Sahara, Amazon or Antarctica.


    I lived for two summers in DC. I've also lived in West Texas for a while. Jambo can be like the Amazon. The first summer I was in DC, we had record 100 to 105 deg heat WITH 90 degree dew point. Can you say "WHERE ARE MY GILLS!?!" You've heard the term pea soup fog so thick you could cut it with a knife. Imagine normal air so thick/heavy you wish you had a knife to cut through it. No, SERIOUSLY. That was the extreme. The two summers I was there, it was normally in the upper 80's/low 90's with upper 70's dew point temps. Very miserable for this "Damn Yankee" Mainah.


    As much as I hated my time in TX, I'll take West Texas "dry heat" (105 to 115F usually with no more than 30F dew point) over the swamp DC can become in the summer time. So, YES, you will be hiking in the equivalent of the Amazon (without the promise of a daily rain shower, though you may still get one) and if you're not use to it, it will run you down very, very quickly.

  10. Would leaving the ground beef out be an acceptable way to make it vegitarian


    And in the process offend all the meat-eaters present. At work one of my duties is logistics for continuing education of state workers. On one evaluation from a training, a meat-eater took offense at the vegetarian-only lunch:


    Quote: "It is our evolutionary duty to consume the lower life forms of this planet. I take offense that I was not given the opportunity to do so at lunch." (seriously)


    If you have to do something like this due to a vegetarian present, there is a compromise that will keep most meat-eaters happy. You can use "veggie crumbles" that look like meat and have the texture of meat. The one I use when I need to make something for a crowd that has a few vegetarians in it is "Morning Star Veggie Crumbles", which is comparable weight/price-wise to hamburger. I'll keep the empty bag on hand to show to the vegie-only eaters can read through it, see it's vegan and be happy. The meat-eaters don't know any better if you don't tell'em. ;)


    You can find this stuff in the freezer section of major supermarkets--no need to go into the natural food store if you don't wish to.

  11. I got lucky. We only got 1/4 inch of ice overnight here in Augusta, Maine. I can't say the same for folks on the Maine Coast, southern New Hampshire or central Massachusetts. States of Emergency have been declared in NH & MA. Among the three states, over 800,000 are without power and the footage I've seen on the net makes it similar to the '98 Ice Storm. Some of these people will be without power for a week.


    Keep your fellow scouters and scouts in the affected area in your prayers.

  12. Not much worse than being snug as a bug and needing to go outside to pee at 2:30 am in 10 degree weather.


    That is where a "P" bottle comes in handy. Take a 48 once sports drink bottle with the 2 inch opening, rinse it out, remove the label and in black marker mark it "P" in large P's all over the bottle and cap. Keep it next to your bag. If you find you gotta go at 2:30am, you won't have to go outside. Uncap, do your business, recap tightly, snuggle back into bed.

  13. As others have mentioned "Cotton is rotten".


    No, COTTON IS DEADLY! Not only does it wick up moisture, it loses any insulation properties it had once it's damp or wet. Wet wool will still keep you warm. Wet cotton will kill you on a winter trip.



    Here's a simply demonstration to provide to your scouts about the wonderful wicking properties of cotton.


    Take a strip of old blue jean roughly 1/2 inch wide by 4 to 6 inches in length. Have a second strip of wool the same dimensions.


    Pass them around to your scouts. Then, take a 1lb margarine tub/bowl. Place no more than an inch of water in it. Lay the two piece of cloth such that only the bottom half-inch is in the water.


    Talk to the scouts for five minutes. Then ask one of the scouts to inspect the two pieces of cloth. The jeans (cotton) will be soaked through. Only the part of the wool in the water will be wet.


    Then ask them which would they prefer to wear outside in freezing weather?


    Of course, some wisecracker will say the jeans. (sigh)

  14. My old troop, now my brother's troop, is in a small town. Most of the youth are also active in either a team sport or marching band. This leaves few scouts to march/walk as a troop. However, we've got a good rapport with the band teacher. Scouts who are band members are welcome to march in the band in scout uniform rather than band uniform.


    I remember one year where it was just one other leader and I carrying our troop/US flags for the troop. Parade watchers would call to us asking where our scouts were? We'd reply, keep your eyes on the JR/SR High Bands behind us!

  15. 1. Yes, and I'm in favor of being able to wear it, period, if you earned it. Why? Yes, those in the organization know what the red, white, & blue square knot stands for, but those outside of scouting do not. If I could wear my Eagle Badge (there's your answer to #2--1988) at all times, it would save a lot of "Oh, you're a scout leader...are you an Eagle Scout?"


    A lot of youth, especially new youth, and cubbies, don't know what the knots mean either. Seeing that their leaders who are Eagles wearing their Eagle Badges would help inspire those youth.


    Just my three cents (inflation) worth.

  16. OneHour wrote:


    Hacked by Aggies ! ... go figure! There is a sign of technology in College Station after all!


    If Aggies were able to hack into this website, the security must be really low! :)


    I went to Texas Tech (pity me) for grad school and one of the jokes there was that you could legally park in a handicap parking space if you displayed your Texas A&M Undergrad diploma on your dashboard. :) Never got to test the theory as I went to Party...er Plymouth State for my undergrad degree.

  17. Before you go about punishing a state for how they voted, maybe you need to take a closer look.


    For example, Maine is not Red, nor is it Blue. It's Purple. We may have voted for Obama, BUT:


    We are Bush Sr's summer home. Our two US Reps may be Democrat, but our two US Senators are Republican--one of whom faced reelection this year, Sue Collins (the other is Olympia Snowe). She won by a margin of more than 2 to 1 over her Democrat challenger, who had served the past 12 years as Maine's First District US Rep.


    So, you wish to punish us 'cause Obama won, yet we have have sent two Republican Senators back to DC in the past two elections, both of whom are now serving their third term?


    As some of my coworkers would say: (shrug) WHATEVER!!!

  18. Greetings from a Da#n Yankee who spent 30 months in exhile in West Texas back in my grad school days at Texas Tech in Lubbock. I volunteered first with T409 and then T140 (sponsored by the Optimist Club back then) while there.


    So what part of West Texas do you call home?

  19. A popular one at our scout camp that involves two staff members.


    Emcee is getting ready to call up the next group for their skit/song and these two staff members come running out, one chasing the other with a stick yelling how he's gonna kill the other staff member. Couple of close calls, maybe dodge around the emcee and then off into the dark.


    Two or three skits/songs later, same thing again, except the other way around (chaser is chasee) and carrying a larger stick.


    Again, two or three more skits/songs later, we're back to the original chaser/chasee. Chaser now has a VERY LARGE STICK (or a baseball bat). The staffer being chased trips and falls to the ground. Chaser swings his stick, stops just short of the other staff member, barely taps him and yells, "TAG! YOU'RE IT!" and takes off.

  20. We have offered a Scoutmaster/leader competition at several of our camporee events. We sometimes make sure it isn't scheduled at the same time as the youth events so the scouts can cheer on their leaders, but not always. That depends on the folks who plan that camporee and what the event is.


    As others have mentioned, we have done Caveman golf a few times in the past where the leaders must make their own clubs and golf balls using only natural materials and then see how they fair at the four hole "Slates" Golf Course, all in the rough and through the woods/puckerbrush. When we hold this event, we usually require that they sign-up in advance for a time slot (up to a Foursome) so that there isn't a bottle neck on the course and we'll know when to send the scouts looking for'em if they don't return after a reasonable amount of time. :)


    We've done scout leader cooking competitions, usually as part of a cooking camporee, so that the leaders aren't in the way of the scouts. Believe it or not at least half the time, the scouts out cook their leaders (though they aren't judged against each other).


    At our Order of the Arrow conclave, there is a competition we call the Healy Cup (I think that's how it's spelled). I don't recall the events, but it's for the youth. They offer a similar one for the adults called the "Coffee Cup".


    Bottom line, have fun with it. Oh, and remember, you may not be smarter then a Tenderfoot. How do I know? Because MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) only made it to Tenderfoot Scout. Seeing what he can do with what he learned as a Tenderfoot, I highly doubt I'm smarter then a Tenderfoot. :)

  21. Starting around 1989 or so and right up to 1999 or so, Pine Tree Council had mandatory training in place. You had a year to get (what was then called) basic training completed. If not, you were not allowed to recharter with your unit.


    Yes, we lost some leaders, but we had a stronger program with adults who got/understood what scouting was about.


    Then our council leadership changed and mandatory training went away. Since then, we've had to deal with many Webelos III Scout Troops, "Good Ol' Boy Units" (No Female Leaders allowed), violations of the Guide to Safe Scouting and so on. We've seen units splinter due to disagreements between those who get the program (and are trained) and those that don't (and aren't trained). We've watched those splinters die off. It's created a huge headache/backlog of tasks for our commissioner staff, some of whom have left due to being overwhelmed. We now have units that don't have a commissioner 'cause we can't find anyone in that part of our rural district to take the job.


    Many of the "fires" our overburdened commissioner staff are trying to put out would be solved with mandatory training.


    I hope this rumor is true and it comes back. It's sad that we have to make it mandatory to get people to go. But it works. I've been there and done that. I went through training while at college in another state in order to stay on my home town troop's roster.

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