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Posts posted by moxieman

  1. Our Roundtable theme last night was District Open-House. Various members of the district explained what their roles/their committees roles were and how they can help the units in the district.


    As part of his introduction, our District Chairman displayed a map of our district and stated, that area-wise we are one of the largest districts east of the Mississippi River covering 6,747 square miles.


    For reference, the state of Connecticut is roughly 5,500 square miles....Rhode Island is roughly 1,200 square miles. So, all this time when I've said Kennebec Valley District is as large as those two states combined, I was really, close. Provided, about half our area is true wilderness. :)


    Over those 6,747 square miles we have about 80 units providing service to about 2,000 youth, or 1 youth per 3 square miles. Talk about spread-out.



    So...how big is your district? If it's not as big as ours, and folks complain it's too far to go to your roundtable, point to us. We have folks from the Canadian border town of Jackman travel 2+ hours each way every month to attend RT.



  2. Like some others have stated, our district has three age categories:



    11-13 year olds

    14-17 year olds


    Yes, Webelos are welcome to participate in our district. They usually borrow a sled from the troop their pack is a feeder to. All patrols are given their 'map' at the beginning of the day that leads them from town (station) to town. Some towns are Webelos-only, some older scout-only, etc. Some are for all age groups.


    Points are awarded at each town/station in the form of gold nuggets (painted beads).


    For those that are for all age groups, the judges usually have a specific task/set of criteria for each age group. My station is a wandering station. I am the Claim Jumper--but not your normal claim jumper. I'm Yukon Moxie and I've been cooped up in a log cabin most of the winter with only the Boy Scout Handbook to read over and over and over. So, I give the scouts a fair chance to keep their gold nuggets. I ask them three questions that they should be able to answer based on the highest rank earned in that patrol (IE if highest rank is 2nd Class, I can ask q's based on joining requirements, tenderfoot or Second Class only. If they have an Eagle Scout, ANYTHING from the book is fair game, bwahahahaha ;)). They may work as a team to come up with that answer, but they can't look in their handbook (unless they're Webelos). If they get the answers right, I give them nuggets. If they get them wrong, I take nuggets. Usually, the younger scouts do better then the older ones. Probably because it's fresher material for the young'ons.


    But I'm starting to digress. ;)


    Webelos may participate in the day-only Klondike. Scouts are welcome to participate in either the day Klondike or the overnight-Klondike. If they do the overnight, they have a couple less towns to hit during the day. They are then also judged on a couple of night-only events and on participation in the evening campfire and Sunday morning meal --done up for all participants at the school on whose grounds we hold the event--do they sit/eat as a patrol? Did they say grace? Scout spirit? Did they clean-up any messes they made, etc.


    We also have a timed race at the beginning. This timed race is used only in the event that we need to break a tie-score among the patrols in that category. We have had to do this three times in the past five years.


    Prizes: Camp Gear instead of trophies. First place in each division gets first pick. Second place is next, etc. We usually have 5 places in each division.

  3. #11 Scouters Key

    Green knot with kahki backing

    This is the first knot i earned.


    The solid green knot is the Scouter's Training Award.


    As to #4, according to a story on Mike "Settummanque-Black Eagle" Walton's Know award website, it started as a local-joke patch known as the "Why Knot" to recognize newer scout volunteers:




    And to add to the mix

    #12 International Scouter Award

    If I recall...Purple and white. There are a set of requirements to earn this--there are five categories of requirements and you need to complete 6 of the total of 15 requirements out of at least 3 categories to earn it. Some of the options include being on staff/attending a world jamboree, participate with scouts in a scouting event in their nation, host scouts from another nation at some of your scouting events, take up a collection for the World Brotherhood of Scouting fund at two different events, etc. I'm close to finishing it. One of the advantages of living in a border state.



    Settummanque also has an extensive list of both real and fake square knot patches on his website. Top page for that section is:



  4. As others have said, have *them* lead the training.


    However, one neat trick I've done in the past is set a bowl of water on the table where everyone can see it. I then pass around two strips of dry fabric--a strip of jeans cotton and a strip of wool (usually from a $3 thrift store pair of dress slacks). I then place the tips of these two strips into the bowl such that only the bottom tip of these strips is in the water. The rest of the strips are dangled over the edge of the bowl.


    At the end of the presentation, I have a scout come up and pull the two strips of fabric out of the bowl. Guess which one is soaked through. A demonstration like this sinks in with the scouts and they get the idea that cotton is a no-no winter camping unless they *WANT* to be wet, cold, and miserable.



  5. Girls love Scouting the way boys do it and there is no law (other than BSA ones) that prohibit co-ed Scouting.


    Several times over the past many years and some of those times I got this from our paid scouters: BSA isn't completely coed because of some sort of agreement with GSUSA. If it weren't for that agreement, we would be ScoutsUSA (much like BSC became Scouts Canada about 15 years back). One of the explanations has been something about GSUSA having better lawyers. (shrug) I wish I had hard facts to back it, but that's what I've been told time and again.


    Personally, it's a bunch of bs and it's time the USA followed most other countries into the new century and go completely coed. Alas, that doesn't help MomIsBoyScout with her problem at the moment.


  6. Hotdesk asked: My question is can you learn and change by simply being in Boy Scouts or do you have to reach Eagle?


    Well, I searched all my old posts and can't find this tale, though I could have sworn I posted it in these forums about a year or so ago.


    Eight years ago (summer of 1999), my brother and I were invited to

    serve on the staff of the First Maritime Jamboree, a regional Scouts

    Canada jamboree held at Kouchibouguac National Park in northeastern

    New Brunswick. It was a small jamboree with roughly 1,200 scouts from 5 Canadian Provinces and eight American states. My brother and I were the only two Americans on the program staff. We had been invited to operate the low level COPE element known as The Web' (which can be found in the Troop Resources monthly planner under the Leadership theme). We had been invited to do this for we had put on this same event for several years at a Scouts Canada fall district event that our troop (at the time) had been invited to year after year.


    The Web' served as one of four events at the obstacle course site at

    the jamboree. Approximately sixty scouts would be in our site each

    period. There were two periods a day during that week. In the site

    they would be split up at random into 4 groups and rotate through our

    four programs. So we would put groups of about 20 scouts through The

    Web' in a 30 minute period consisting of 5 minutes of instruction, up

    to 20 minutes to complete the task and 5 minutes of discussion on what

    worked and didn't work. Keep in mind these are mixed groups where a

    scout might only know one or two others in his group. It provided

    quite a challenge for them to learn to work together as a team in a



    The week went by fast. We made friends. We packed-up the equipment

    at the close of the Jamboree and made the 11 hour drive home to

    central Maine and looked back on the photos and the friends we made.

    That fall we were at that Canadian District event again running The

    Web'. One of the Scouts Canada District volunteers approached us and

    asked if we had heard the news. We asked, what news? She told us the

    tale of the scout who's life got turned around at the Jamboree.


    This scout had had serious problems at home that eventually led to him

    being thrown out by his parents. He was doing poorly in school. He

    was bouncing from foster home to foster home due to behavior issues.

    He was allowed to attend the Jamboree as a "last chance" effort.

    After the Jamboree, it was like this scout was a totally different

    person. He cleaned-up his act. He was already showing significant

    improvement in school. He apologized for his behavior to his family

    and was welcomed back into their home. His scout leader asked him

    what happened to make him change his life around so quickly. The

    scout credit us and The Web'.


    It still brings tears to my eyes. Neither of us would have ever known

    if our Canadian friends hadn't passed the word along. In the rare

    occasion, when I feel like I'm getting discouraged, I just look back

    on that event, for you never know how many other untold tales there

    are out there like this one, where you, the volunteer in scouting, has

    made a real difference in some youth's life.



    So, YES, a boy can learn and change for the better simply by being in scouting.

  7. Maine Jam happened this past weekend and there was JOTI/JOTA available. We had about 2,000 overnight campers for the weekend from all over our council, a few from Katahdin Area (eastern ME) and Daniel Webster (NH) and a parent/son from CT Rivers. In addition, we had roughly 3,000 day visitors (mostly cubs and their parents) during the day on Saturday.


    We had heavy rain/wind Friday night, but it cleared out with unseasonably warm temps (70's--in late October in Maine--that's unheard of!) on Saturday.


    This was Pine Tree Council's (belated in my opinion) 100th Anniversary of Scouting celebration.


    Too many things happened to list. A few things did not happen--for example, the Mentos-Diet Coke guys had to cancel out, even though this was less then a half-hour drive for them--Coke failed to deliver the cases of 2L Diet Coke they needed to perform. Yes, those crazy two are from Maine. Don't know who I'm talking about? Where have you been the last year or so? (chuckle)


    Link to their website: http://eepybird.com/


    I served on sub-camp staff for the sub-camp my district oversaw.


    I saw many, many smiles on cubs and scouts alike, so despite some communication/organizational issues, it was a success.

  8. Just a quick note that Gunny2862 has it right: your unit doesn''t own anything. All troop gear, the troop checkbook, even your troop number are all OWNED by your chartered organization.


    Scouting is franchised much like McDonald''s or several other fast food restaurants. BSA National gives a charter (franchise license) the the sponsoring organization (aka chartered organization) to deliver the scouting program in their area.



    Anyway back on topic: This particular topic on which way to go on tents--troop (Chartered Organization) owned or scout owned has been discussed many times on this forum. Just look back a bit and you''ll find similar named topics on this.


  9. From around 1990 to about 2001, Pine Tree Council had mandatory training for all leaders-new or old. Their policy was similar to LongHaul''s post--get trained or get dropped/barred from the charter at recharter time. You were given 18 months to get fully trained.


    Each district in our council has excellent training teams and offer the trainings at least 3 times a year. When possible, we share the dates with each other so that leaders can attend the training that works for their schedule. In addition, if your unit made arrangements in advance, they would hold a training for your unit. There was little excuse to not get trained. Even though it''s no longer mandatory here, the districts still follow the above schedule--offer it at least three times a year.


    Why did Council stop making training mandatory? Council exec. changed. The effect? Our commissioner staff is putting out more "fires" dealing with untrained leaders who don''t get the program and we have less commissioners and more difficulty recruiting them due to the burn-out effect caused by dealing with the above problems.


    Do I approve of mandatory training? You bet I do after seeing how well it was working for us and now seeing several years of not having it in place.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  10. FScouter wrote: "When was the last time anybody bought a pair of shoes made the U.S.?"


    (raises hand) Ever heard of New Balance? Many of their shoes are Maine-made including the three pairs I own-sneakers, walking and work shoes. Last I heard, Maine was still part of the USA, though many here wouldn''t mind seceding to Canada. ;)


    Now if you said shirts, I would have had to semi-raise my hand because until 5 years ago, you could still buy a Maine-Made Hathaway shirt. But they got bought out and the jobs went overseas, putting a few hundred mostly single-mothers out of work. At the time, they were the oldest shirt manufacturer in North America. It''s a shame they couldn''t have landed the Scout uniform contact. It might have enabled them to hang on a little longer.

    (This message has been edited by moxieman)

  11. Up in my neck of the Maine Wilderness, if a unit tried to charge 3 figures for dues, it would fold so fast you wouldn''t have time to blink as it folded.


    Most units up this way don''t charge "dues", period, except for the national registration fee. They do fundraising instead as needed. Want to go on a trip, but your folks can''t afford it? Then participate in the upcoming (insert type of fundraiser here) fundraiser.


    Most of our units have bi-laws. In those bi-laws, most require the scout to participate in at least one unit fundraiser a year (whether it''s the popcorn sale, a spaghetti supper, bottle drive, car wash or whatever), but they don''t require that scout to raise a certain minimum amount at said fundraiser.


  12. Up here in the Maine Wilderness, it depends on the pack. Some seem to have a lot of youth with brag vests, others do not. Usually, if you get one to have one, the others see how cool it is and suddenly, they all want one.


    Then again, when the youth see my five blanket display, including one set-up wearable poncho-style like scouting organizations in many other countries do, there seems to be new enthusiasm to show off what they have earned. I do quickly point out that only one of the five blankets is my "brag blanket". The other four are trades/gifts and a few purchases (mostly fundraiser patches like the set put out by Southeast Louisiana Council right after Katrina to raise funds to send their OA youth to NOAC).


  13. Man, I wish I had nearly $8K to spend on a vacation. :)


    More seriously, I went to the Philmont Training Center 3 years back. With transportation and a few overnight rooms (cheap $25/night flea-motels), it cost me roughly $1700 (one month''s pay after taxes at the time). I didn''t tour a lab, nor go white-water rafting (flew into Colorado Springs rather then ABQ).


    So, $1,800 with your side trips from the east coast is reasonable for Philmont.


    My home town unit sent a contingent 10 years back. Yes, they did a lot of heavy fundraising to do it, but they pulled it off such that the out-of-pocket expense per attendee was about the same as attending a week of scout camp. I guess it depends on how determined your scouts are to go.

  14. Another one I have seen was a rest stop concession stand. I don''t know if it would work up here in Maine. I supported one of these fundraisers a few years back in CT. The troop in question had permission from that state''s Transportation Department to set-up a concession stand at one of it''s interstate rest stops. Everything they offered they had gotten donated and the prices were by donation. They had coffee, donuts, soft drinks, hot dogs, chili. This was the first Sunday in November and they were doing a brisk business. I was the designated driver for my folks on a return trip from a family reunion outside of Hartford. Just before the rest area, both my folks had mentioned needing to get something to eat soon, but it was too early for lunch. That concession stand worked out for us and for those scouts as we left with a few donuts, a coffee, popcorn and a soda.


    I spoke briefly with a couple of the leaders of that unit and apparently they do this 3 times a year at the rest stops along that section of I-84 in both directions. Other units take up other weekends.

  15. I have a huge patch blanket display I take to various scouting events. When I'm invited to a pack meeting, one of the things I'll do is point to one of my blankets and ask the scouts if they can find all NINE Snoopy patches.


    That gets them searching among the 600 patches on that one blanket. When they succeed, I then say, so you're so good? Try and find the one GARFIELD patch.


    Several of the leaders and parents start to chuckle as the scouts search for the orange cartoon cat, when in fact, I have a GARFIELD Community Strip at the top of the blanket. :)



  16. It has been pointed out to me that we don't follow national recommendations with our roundtables as we don't follow the national theme plan for upcoming months. Despite this we have very good attendance with what we do.


    What do we do? We let those who attend/who will potentially attend have a stake in what we're going to present. In the last roundtable before summer, we run it like a troop annual planning meeting where the volunteer leaders act as patrol leaders and myself, the roundtable commissioner, acts as SPL. The leaders throw out ideas of what they want to learn about in the coming year. I write'em down a large flip chart/chalk board for all to see. They then decide which month we will do what, saving the last roundtable before summer for the next planning session.


    I then turn to those "seasoned veterans" like you would your older youth and put them to the challenge of helping with some of those topics or providing suggestions on who would be good at presenting this or that. I admit that I don't always find someone/someones for a topic, but for those, we make it an open forum and let those in attendance talk about the topic (like Trevorum's group), which gives the seasoned veterans a chance to help-out the newbies. When the topic was on "How does a Patrol Leader Council work?", we got one of the local troop's PLC to hold their meeting right at roundtable and take questions from attendees as they went. For "Troop Games", we dug out the Troop Planning Guide (formerly Woods Wisdom) and tried-out as many different games as we could in the time period we had. Dutch oven cooking--got some of those veteran volunteers who could double as "Iron Chef-Dutch Oven" to show-off their skills and share samples of their creations.


    We get the word out on what is going to be presented in advance. Topics are sent out to all units in a calendar format flyer at the fall kick-off meeting/BBQ our district holds each August. These are placed in the kick-off packet that includes other important info from district/council on things like the annual popcorn sales that each unit receives. Unit commissioners deliver packets to their units who can't make this meeting. We also email that flyer on our email list.


    We are a sparsely populated, large area-wise rural district (imagine Connecticut and Rhode Island combined but with less then 5% of the population of those two states). We stretch from the Augusta, Maine area north to the Canadian border. We have leaders attend every month who travel up to 2 hours one way from one of those border-crossing towns. We average 75% unit representation (30 out of our roughly 40 troops in our district) in any given month and 35 to 40 attendees.



    Our biggest problem: we've outgrown our current meeting place (a protestant church with several meeting rooms) and can't get into the area schools for one reason or another. Both Cub and Boy Scout Roundtables and the local OA Chapter meeting take place on the same night/location. This enables the OA youth to get rides from their adult leaders attending RT. This means we need a minimum of one large room to hold everyone and at least two break-out rooms (third group stays in main room). Some months we need a fourth room for one reason or another. That's where the problem lies currently, we don't have a fourth room available and our numbers have grown too large for the rooms we do have (except the main one). We try to hold our roundtables near the center of population in our district, but there isn't much available around here in the way of free multi-room meeting space.

  17. It's been a bad summer for our district. We lost a current volunteer, a retired volunteer and a cub scout in the month of July. Alas, we didn't get word about the cub scout until after-the-fact, but we sent representatives from the district to both the volunteers' visiting hours and funerals.


    The current volunteer had been a recent past SM and current committee member of one of our more active units. He was a paramedic killed in the line of duty. Some drunk idiot in a pick-up truck slammed head-on into the ambulance he was riding while tending a patient in back. Driver of the ambulance is still in very serious condition now nearly 2 months after the accident. Ambulance had lights and siren blaring at the time. The patient and the drunk survived. Visiting hours were extra crowded for him between the two different sets of uniforms present (Scouts and paramedics from across the state).


    The retired volunteer had been a leader in my home troop when I was a scout. He had been active for nearly 30 years in many capacities before retiring in the late 90's. Local paper featured him about a year ago. He was a quiet WWII hero surviving the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge--reporter worked hard to get him to tell his story. Alas, his family gave short notice of his death and arrangements (no visiting hours--posted short obituary 2 days before funeral), so we didn't have the usual amount of time to get as large a crowd together for him as we wanted. Some of his relatives were shocked/surprised to see scouts at his funeral. Apparently, he didn't tell many of his relatives that he was in scouting. Lester was humble to the very end.


    Cub Scout was a Webelos in one of our smaller packs in one of our smaller towns (more like village). He and his family had been four-wheeling on their own property. Parents and big brother took their eyes off kid bro for only a moment...'nuf said.


    Other funerals/visitations in the past for leaders and youth in this district have fallen along many of the lines described here.


    Last year we also paid respect to a volunteer leader who had contributed a lot to our OA Lodge and council camp. We did the OA's Broken Arrow Ceremony (Google it if you want to know more) at his visiting hours with about 50 arrowman/women present. It was very simple, but impressive.

  18. Madockawanda will be sending a group out to the Wyoming location of AC5. Alas, I don't think I'll be joining them. It's not going to be cheap to send scouts and leaders from Maine to Wyoming and cash is tight. We're (well, those who attended the AC5 meeting a few weeks ago--I'll be cooking in the kitchen) will be promoting it heavily at our Lodge Leadership Development weekend in three weeks.



  19. ozemu wrote:

    Fair enough too. Here every Scout (Cub, Scout, Venturer,Rover) has a passbook with all of the possible badges listed and each test is signed off individually. A complete record in one place. Just the thing for washing machine tragedy.


    I hear you. For ranks, the scout's handbook is the back-up system which is suppose to be signed-off (and whoa the scout who misplaces his book!). There is also paperwork that has to be sent into the council office. For merit (proficiency) badges, we have a three piece card system printed on blue card stock, thus the name "Blue card". One piece remains in the hands of the merit badge counselor, one in the hands of the scout and the third part in the hands of the troop (which then records it on that report form and sends it to council).


    Our local district asks scouts to produce these blue cards as part of their Eagle Scout Board of Review. It is not required (because we can't add to the requirements for Eagle), but it has helped resolve issues of missing council records in the past (like what I went through as a scout).


  20. Being from Maine and a Maine Native who can trace his roots heah to a time before the first white flatlandahs invaded these lands (I'm part Micmac), I'm sure people would expect me to say Maine Lobstah. But you're wrong. I, personally, don't like'em much and I'm allergic to shellfish (Shrimp is the worst for me, but others affect me also, just not as painfully. The last time I accidentally had shrimp...well, let's say if you took a 10 inch serrated blade, stabbed me in the gut, hooked it to a power drill and set it on max RPM for a few minutes, that would be less painful then what the shrimp does to me.). It's a good thing 'cause I wouldn't be able to feed the habit if I actually liked them. Most Native Mainahs only get to have lobstah as a treat 'cause it's too expensive. Hard to believe that roughly 150 or so years ago, it was considered a valueless garbage food and those who ate it were embarrassed to do so. Now it's something we sell to the tourists at outrageous prices (this time of year could be as high as $8-10/lb off the boat and higher in a seafood market and higher still at a restaurant) and quietly laugh behind their backs as they pay it.


    Fiddleheads (ostrich ferns before they unfurl in the spring) lightly steamed with fresh butter, now there's a local favorite.


    Fresh Maine Wild Blueberries straight off the bush on the side of most hiking trails this time of year.


    Nearly any one of over 100 different heirloom varieties of apples you can find across the state at various apple farms, but not in your local supermarket. Can't start to describe some of these or how best to use'em. Some are great for snacking as it, others are better in pies, etc.


    Poutine (I think that's the spelling, was never good at Acadian French)--french fries with gravy and cheese--is also a favorite up this way. Personally, leave the gravy off. Gravy is for turkey and mashed potatoes.


    Moxie (of course)--you eithah like it or hate it. No in between. Maine's official soft drink and oldah then Coca-Cola (by two yeahs).


    Ployes--Acadian buckwheat pancakes used up in the St. John Valley (far northern Maine) at most meals in place of bread. I like to make'em for breakfast (got to use cast iron and keep with tradition!) with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on'em.


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