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Posts posted by moxieman

  1. Despite national guidelines, we are a naughty district, 'cause we have a District Mascot. Well, let me clarify that. We're naughty 'cause we have the mascot on a "district patch" which the local camp supporter group sells to raise funds for camperships.


    He originated with the Maine State Dept. of Conservation back in the late 60's as "Tidy Coon" and filled the same role at the state level as Woodsy the Owl (though he's older than Woodsy as Woodsy was created in 1970). The "Keep Maine Scenic" program he was part of was retired in the early 80's.


    Flash forward to a couple years ago when my wife and I were camping way Downeast (Cobscook Bay State Park) and we came across an abandoned Semi along US Route 1 with a faded, rusted sign from the old "Keep Maine Scenic" campaign. It features Tidy Coon pointing to the sign "Don't Litter, Take Pride in Your State, KEEP MAINE SCENIC" (photo below was shot a couple weeks before we came across it by the blogger in the link, who posted it a couple weeks after we saw it):




    I thought, he'd make a great mascot. Did some research, contacted DOC and obtained permission to use him if he was altered, we didn't use the name "Tidy Coon" and we only used him regionally and NOT nationally.


    So, got rid of his litter bag, turned his litter stick into a hiking stave, put a fleur-de-lis on his campaign hat and rolled him out at our 2010 District Banquet. He's been a big hit.


    You can see him on our website:




    Scroll down a little and he's on the right--only place he'd fit in the predesigned template provided by the webhost company (which gives free websites to troops/packs/districts if you follow their template).


    We call him "Kevy", derived from "K-V".(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  2. Of course, I can't find it now, but I doubt National has dropped this guideline, or maybe they have.


    Ten years ago, in writing, I found in some National guideline somewhere that for long term camping (like summer camp, jamborees, etc.) you must have a minimum of 35 square feet of covered tent space per youth.


    A 4 man Timberline has 56 square feet. Throw on a vestibule and you gain another 14 square feet and meet that 35 per youth as long as you only put two youth in the tent.


    It was thanks to that written guideline that I was able to convince my troop committee to allow us to refurbish our Timerberlines and purchase vestibules for the 2001 Canadian Jamboree.


    But, of course, I can't find it now. Basically, I wanted to note that if this is still in effect that you need to keep it in mind if you have to bring your own tents to your summer camp (we don't).

  3. SSScout wrote: "I have Scouts that don't want to mix things, and insist that the plastic bottle ready mix pancake powder (add water and shake) is the way to go... then complain about the fry pan to clean. "Isn't there a throw away pan?" I had one ask me... "


    (chuckle) Next time challenge them to find a flat rock and cook it on the rock!


    Better yet, put them up to the challenge of preparing their entire menu utensiless. My scouts didn't believe it could be done, so I and my brother when utensiless (and foilless) for the weekend:


    Breakfast was boiled eggs in paper cups, bacon cooked in paper bags and toast on a stick.


    I think lunch was something simple like hot dogs.


    Dinner: Tarzan Roast, roast potatoes, roast corn on the cob, roast onions, and stick bread (Bisquick-type mix done thick and wrapped around a stick to toast over the fire).


    Tarzan roast--take a beef roast, put it in a ziplock bag with mustard (we like to use the spicy kind) and let it sit in a cooler at least overnight. Get a good hot bed of coals going. Reach into that bag with your barehand (like Tarzan or a caveman), pull out that hunk of meat and toss it in the coals. Using a shovel (or green stick in our case), bury it and let roast for 20 minutes to the pound. Move out of fire, douse with water to ensure no hot coals are left, cut off outer burnt part and enjoy juicy, mustard-flavored middle.


    Roast potatoes--coat'em with mud before putting them on the coals.

    Roast corn--pull back husk, remove the silk hairs, pull husk back into place and soak well in water. Place on hot coals and rotate often.


    Roast onions--we just tossed them in as is--outer layers burned, but inner part was excellent.


    Okay, we cheated on dinner--we used our scout knives to cut into the roast.


    We opened a few eyes that weekend.


    Oh, and the only "dish" we had to clean was our scout knives.

  4. "He had a kid sitting next to him. His job was to draw two green bars through his autograph with a magic marker."


    My brother was one of those lucky scouts at the 1991 Maine Jamboree. Basically, how GBB did this, was when he arrived, whatever scout was first in line got "voluntold" into Green Bar duty for an hour or two. Then he'd get replaced by another scout in line and so on.


    In the end the voluntold scout got a few extra things signed. I still have our patrol flag with a streamer with his signature on it as a result of bro's voluntold green bar duty.


    And, I too, am disgusted that National would sweep him under the rug.

  5. Thanks for your quick responses. I've forwarded the link from the National site on Safety Afloat and recommended to the unit leader that if the "lifeguard required" issue is the only thing preventing the tour permit, he should challenge it. Our DE was included in the original message sent to me and I kept him in the loop in the response.

  6. Lisabob, I've been at the receiving end several times of a handful of patches here and there as you have on hand from "retired" leaders. I keep a briefcase on hand, which was also given to me with patches in it which I take to scouting events where I've been invited to display my collection. Scouts are allowed to take a patch or pin from the treasures in the briefcase. I've been to pack meetings where you thought the briefcase was full of money and to other events where the cubs were well restrained, polite and all remembered to thank me for the patch.


    I'm still going through a bunch I was given last fall, all from the 60's. Some of those (a New England lodge first issue--can't recall which one right off and several "Trader Bill" patches) may go to auction instead of being given away and the proceeds will go into our local campership fund to help send scouts to camp.


    Maybe you can find someone down your way who happens to give patches away.

  7. I can't find this in the online version of the Guide to Safe Scouting or the Safety Afloat info. A unit in our district was denied a tour permit to do a three day canoe trip. They were told they need a BSA Lifeguard. Several leaders have completed Safety Afloat and a few also have current CPR.


    Is a lifeguard now required or is someone in our council office interpreting requirements for Safety Afloat/canoe trips in their own way?


    If this is a change, I'd like to pass it on through our email distribution system...but I'd also like to be able to point to the documentation that states this. If it has NOT changed, I'll direct the unit to point the person at Council to the online Guide to Safe Scouting.

  8. I have served as BS Roundtable Commissioner in my district for 10 years. I've also recently given the Key Three notice that it's time for someone else to have a chance at being the BS commissioner. Not quitting 'cause of burnout or low attendance (we average 50 a month, the highest in the council), but 'cause I promised myself a long time ago that if I made it 10 years, I'd step aside at that point. I have offered to remain on RT staff and train/assist whoever my replacement is.


    As for topics, ask those who attend what they want/need to know more about. That's what we've done every spring at ours. We plan out the following year's topics. I then spend the summer recruiting presenters for said topics.


    On the cub side, we just got a new roundtable commissioner, who did the topics similarly rather than follow the national program just to fill in the rest of the year. I don't know what her plan is for next year.


    We don't meet in June/July due to high school graduations (very low attendance) and summer camp.


    Past year's BS topics have included:

    Hands-on use of GPS units and what exactly IS geocaching

    Board of Review and Scoutmaster's Conference process

    The Process to Request Alternate Requirements for Eagle Scout

    Weather Safety

    Troopmaster--new web-based version

    Camp Gadgets--This one attendees were invited to bring in one camp gadget that they use in their troop. One leader brought in what looked like a still. It was a coil of copper pipe hooked to a trash can. It was a hot water heater. The coil of pipe sits in a steel can you put coals in. The trash can is filled with water. The lid has a funnel/pipe in it and spout in near the top of the can. Pour water in the funnel while having a pan/bucket under the spout and you get hot water. The cooler water is drawn through the coil and heated and so on. Everyone was impressed.


    Some of next year's topics include:

    High Adventure Trip Planning--we've got a unit that recently went to both Alaska and Yellowstone. I'll probably recruit their leaders to explain how they did it.

    How to Conduct a Troop Open House/Recruitment night

    What exactly is that knot patch for anyway and how can I earn it?

    Religious Emblems and conducting a Scout Sunday Service



    Again, these are all based on what attendees want to know more about.

  9. Living on a border state and having interacted with Scouts Canada quite a bit, I have seen the coed program in action and it WORKS. The coed patrols work better together. For the past couple of years at the Moosehorn International Camporee outside of Calais, Maine, it's been a coed Canadian patrol that has netted top honors in the competitions.


    Actually, last fall, they chose to compete against themselves in the patrol cooking contest--guys vs. the gals. They tied for first place.

  10. My brother takes his dog to scouting events. The dog is considered a therapy dog and is the troop's mascot. Brother has several youth in his troop with Aspergers, ADD, and other syndromes, who cope better with the dog around. The dog is well behaved/trained and on a leash/chain during events. There have been events where he has been asked to leave the dog home due to rules set forth by the event organizers/owners of where ever the event is held. In those cases, the youth in question have not attended. And, on a couple of those occasions I've been the one to notify him about this.


    On the other hand, he's been allowed to take the dog with his troop to summer camp (next council over) because he's a therapy dog.


    Dog in question is a mutt and a Hurricane Katrina victim/survivor. At scouting events, when allowed, he has a troop neckerchief on.


    Like others have said, it depends on the dog.

  11. RememberSchiff wrote:

    but leave the dog home.


    Why leave the dog home? Just co-register with Dog Scouts of America (http://dogscouts.org/) and Spot can go to camp with you. :)


    Yes, that's a real organization. There's a Dog Scout Troop in Downeast Maine that's done fundraising to obtain pet oxygen masks for local fire departments, 'cause Fluffy and Fido need just as much help if they're pulled from a burning building as their two-legged owners.

  12. I asked a similar question about four years ago in:



    Pine Tree Council covers the western third of the state of Maine (10 of Maine's 16 counties). Kennebec Valley District, consisting of Kennebec, Somerset, and Franklin Counties, is one of the largest districts, area-wise, in the northeast US, covering roughly 6,750 square miles. We are larger than the states of Connecticut & Rhodes Island combined, and cover half of Pine Tree Council's total territory. Roughly the northern third of the district is wilderness, thus my location as "Maine Wilderness".


    The district stretches from about 20 miles south of the state capital of Augusta northward to the Quebec, Canada border. Leaders in Jackman, our northern-most town in the district, travel 2 hours, one-way to attend roundtable and they do so every month unless there's a bad snowstorm, despite several close encounters with moose. US Route 201, the road they travel isn't called "Moose Alley" for nothing. They are 50 miles from the next nearest Maine town. They're so remote that you need a passport to go to the nearest McDonald's and you'll have to order your "Big Mac avec frits" in French, 'cause it's in Quebec Province 45 minutes north not counting time at the border. It's 90 minutes south to the nearest Wallyword. They just got cellphone reception in town last year. Prior to that, you had to drive up out of their valley 5 miles south to the "overlook" above the valley to get reception.


    We have about 100 units spread over that area providing scouting to about 2,000 youth. Most of those units are located within 20 miles of Augusta as that's the "major" population center of the district.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  13. Studied meteorology. Never found work in it (long story involving Contract on America--nuf said). I recall some nationally published comic strip from back in the early 90's that shows the hand of God pointing towards the Earth and a tornado descending where he is pointing. There are two angels to one side. One comments to the other: "You'd think they'd figure out by now that He hates trailer parks."

  14. Mine are no where near as bad as some mentioned.


    Skeptic, I wonder if we worked the same restaurant, except I never got a fungus infection. Or maybe a lot of restaurants out there are scary in the back end.


    I spent two years on/off as a "route jumper" for a local bread company. Basically, an extra helper for whichever bread delivery person needed extra help that day. So, I got to see a LOT of nasty restaurant backrooms, never mind fast food--that company had the Whooper-bun contract at the time. You had best watch your step at Burger King or you'll slip and find yourself on your back. And the plastic bags attracted tons of dust due to the static. By the end of the day you had dirt ground into every pore and into your work clothes.

  15. I own a Eureka Alpine Meadows (no longer made) and a Eureka Tetragon 7.


    The Tetragon 7 is 17 yrs old (first generation version of that tent). It's held-up well over the years, though one of the zipper pullers is on its last legs. I use it as a "backpacking" tent, though for those who backpack a lot, it would be considered too heavy at about 7lbs. Works for me. HOWEVER, I don't stay completely dry in it when it rains. There isn't much of an overhang over the door and being only a Tetragon 7, with the finished size closer to 6ft by 6ft, I tend to be touching two walls when I sleep if I'm sharing it with another adult as I'm roughly 6'1" like you. Looking online, surprisingly, the price of this tent has stayed at about the same amount today as when I bought it new back in '94.


    The Alpine Meadows is from whatever year it was discontinued (1999 or so). The Eureka Alpine Meadows is/was a modified 2 door Timberline 4. Take a Timberline, add a dome tent hoop down the center of it to pull the sides of the tent outward to give you more elbow room inside. I've added a standard Timerline Vestibule to the front. This is my "rain-o-ree" tent. We don't have a lot of non-raining camporees up this way (thus "rain-o-ree"). I've kept dry in this thing during a tropical storm (back in the pre-hazardous weather training days) and fall nor'easters--in one case 6 inches of rain fell during one "rain-o-ree".


    So, the question is, what kind of camping do you plan on and how much are you willing to spend? If you've been really satisfied with the Timberline, why change?


    I don't know anyone around here who's tried the next generation of Timberline (the SQ series) yet, but if it's anywhere near as good as the older ones, it might be worth spending the extra money on one. The 4 person version has 2 doors. Here's the specs/info from the Campmor catalog:



    Good luck. You'll probably get a lot of personal opinion on this one as what usually happens when someone asks about tents 'cause everyone has their own personal favorite.

  16. Comments/feedback:


    I think this is a great idea. I like it so much, I've already passed it on through our district's Facebook page. I'll probably also pass it on through our e-newsletter (next issue goes out next week).


    I logged on, found nothing in my state yet, so I registered and tested your add a destination feature. As a trial run, I added the Cutler Bold Coast Preserve in far Downeast Maine. Yes, I put the pin in the "middle of nowhere" on purpose. It's smack dab in the middle of the Preserve rather than along the public road access point.


    I encountered a few problems (I use Firefox as a browser if that makes a difference):


    1. When I moved the red pin to my new location, a balloon appears over the pin reminding me to click the "update map" button. I can't find this button. Things seem to work without clicking this hidden button. Clicking on the pin a second time enabled me to add the destination.


    2. On the new destination editing page, the links section won't let me edit/add links. If I click on "Edit" I get the message: "No links are active yet. No links have been deleted.". I can't add anything. All I can do is go back to the main destination edit page. So, I can't add links in the right place. Since I couldn't put the links in the proper section, I stuck'em in the description for now. When you fix this, either you can move them, or I can go back and move them.


    3. You may want to note somewhere on the edit pages that the content boxes will accept HTML code and without it, it will jumble the text together. IE: if you want a blank line between paragraphs you need to either wrap your paragraphs with the "" html code or put a couple of "

    "'s between paragraphs. If you just hit the enter key it won't stay that when when you're done editing. Not everyone uses/knows HTML, so if you have a way to upgrade the edit features to WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), it would be more user-friendly.


    4. Photo upload: It asks for a description, but after it's been uploaded, that description can't be found. I know this is an "undocumented feature" (bug) in Firefox that you usually can't see a description when you mouse over a picture, so maybe this isn't a problem.

  17. Weare is in Wannalancit? Color me surprised. I didn't think that district went much further south than Concord and Pembroke. I could have sworn it was the next district south (Massabesic?).


    Then again, as I said, it's been nearly 20 years since I served with Plymouth Troop 56 while attending Party...er...Plymouth State. :) Way back then, Roundtable was the first Monday of the month at I think Franklin High School. Whether or not I attended depended on my homework situation...then again, there were many a district event where I was relied on for transportation, where I'd find a quiet corner after arrival and while the scouts headed off to participate in the event, I'd be studying/doing homework.


    You have nothing to fear as you won't see me "stalking" you anytime soon. 1. It hasn't been required for either First or Second Class since the days when my father was a scout in the 50's. :) 2. It's over a 3 hour drive one-way--it would make for an awfully short night for me prior to going to work the following morning. (chuckle)


    I briefly glanced at the troop internal politics turmoil thread you three are involved in. Good luck as all I can say on that.



    I brought-up the axe-wielding murderer thing because of my mother-in-law. (chuckle) My wife and I met through a creative writing group we participated in on the Internet. She moved cross-country to be with me. The first time I had met her mother and father, my (future) wife couldn't get time off from work. (Her folks flew up from out-of-state to visit.) So, I got to play tourist guide for them, showing them around Maine during fall foliage. We were on our way to the western mountains when (then) future mother-in-law quipped: "I guess you're not an axe-wielding murderer." :)

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