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Posts posted by moxieman

  1. The troop I use to volunteer with in West Texas (and several other troops in that area) used a modified cowboy coffee method: l'eggs-style woman's nylon stocking. Put coffee grounds in stocking. Tie in knot. Drop in boiling water pot. Let boil until it looked like coffee.


    Next pot, untie sock, add more grounds, retie and repeat. At end of weekend, throw away sock.


    As scary as it sounds, it worked.


    These days, I use a peculator I bought for 50 cents at a yard sale--with the innards intact and it works just fine.

  2. I hate to say it, but theft goes back a lot further than that. I served on the staff of the local scout camp in the mid-80's up here in the Maine Wilderness. My tent mate and I were the only staff members who still had our staff neckerchiefs at the end of the summer. Why? 'Cause we were the only staff members who had footlockers with locks.


    Scouts may recite the Scout Law, but sadly some don't live-up to the first point.

  3. Tokola,


    Our council no longer has their own shop. They sold-out to National, so no choice and no way to convince them to do as you suggested. Again, my complaint is National's lack of rhyme and reason in their pricing scheme--why does a 100% embroidered patch that costs more to make cost less retail than one that isn't 100% embroidered?


    I need to get up to Orono to the Katahdin Council Office, whose scout-shop is not nationally-run, and see if they charge $5.45 for a Katahdin CSP like the nationally run shop in my council or if it's actually less.

  4. What's this "Trophy" thing?


    We usually handout camping gear. First place gets first pick and so on down the line. How many places depends on how much gear we pick-up/get donated.


    I'm talking things like a two burner stove, lantern, cooler, cast iron fry pan, etc.


    You know, stuff the boys can use on future camping trips.



    Nicest prize we had one year was a scout leader who made one of those plywood patrol tables...but he did it with birch plywood.

  5. Can't help you, Scouts-a-lot with a straight "handicapping" system.


    What we've done in the past is have an "older scout" competition (Star and above rank) and a "younger scout" competition (up to First Class Rank).


    At our Klondike Derby, I operate a station with three "trivia" questions (based on advancement requirements) that a scout should be able to answer. Those Q's are based on what a scout should know at a specific rank. Rank used to determine which Q's are asked is based on highest rank in the patrol.


    Confession: I usually ask the same Q's or similar no matter what the patrol, especially, if one keeps trumping the scouts...and guess who knows their stuff better? The younger scouts 'cause they learned it more recently.

  6. I have no children and have served in scouting as a leader for over 20 years, currently at the district level. The biggest challenge I found as a unit-level volunteer was convincing parents that I understood the boys despite not having a son of my own.


    Then again, the best scoutmaster of my youth had no sons either...he had three daughters. When #3 came along he stepped down to spend more time with his family. We joked the the Girl Scouts stole him from us.


    Good luck!

  7. "Camped through all four seasons in one weekend"


    This actually happened to me...on my first camping trip as a boy scout. We had gone to an invitational international camporee outside of Sherbrooke, Quebec. We left the May spring weather in Maine and arrived in heavy thunderstorms that Friday Night at the camporee site. It got up to the mid-70'sF Saturday afternoon and I watched someone waterski on the lake we were camping near. As the sun went down, the temp started to drop. As we packed-up on Sunday morning, it was snowing lightly. The two Canadian units present thanked the 14 American units present for allowing them to attend their camporee. :)

  8. jhankins and prairie,


    It's not so much that they've gone up in price, which seems to be the greedy norm for National lately. It's the lack of logic in how they went up in price. Both were $3.50 each just 18 months ago, the last time I bought some for trading. PTC's went through a design change at that time--the lighthouse now looks like Portland Headlight rather than just a black blob. KAC's hasn't changed in over 20 years.


    What I don't understand is that since a 100% embroidered patch costs slightly more to make then one that isn't 100% embroidered (again, for an example, see the price chart on Stadri's website), why is it that after they raised the prices on these two, it's the non-100% embroidered one that costs more? You'd think they'd use a straight mark-up on everything instead of a random amount. In the examples I gave, the mark-up on the PTC (100% embroidered) is roughly 300% while KAC's is roughly 400% over initial cost. You'd think both should be marked-up the same amount.


    Also wouldn't be easier in their pricing catalog to have two prices set for CSPs? One price for those not 100% embroidered and a slightly higher price for fully embroidered?


    (shrug) As I said in my original post, I don't understand their pricing scheme.

  9. How does BSA National come-up with their current Council Shoulder Patch (CSP) pricing scheme? (Crests to my Canadian Scouting friends)


    Why am I asking? Cause the price of Maines two CSPs have gone through the roof in the past year compared to years before. Pine Tree Councils CSP is fully embroidered and costs $4.50. Katahdin Area Councils CSP is NOT fully embroidered $5.45more than the PTC one!


    These are two of the most expensive CSPs in the council scout shop, which is run by national. Some of the others run as low as $2.50.


    I have also spoken to a local store that is an authorized BSA supplier and has PTC & KAC CSPs on hand. They, too, are not pleased with the sudden spike in CSP prices and have seen their scouting business drop-off. Apparently, Im not the only CSP trader who is not happy with the spike in prices.


    So, where is National coming up with their pricing scheme? Theres no logic here. Why do I think that?


    Heres a quick example. If you go to Stadri Patches, an authorized BSA supplier, they post right on their website what they charge scout groups to have patches made:




    Prices are based on the average size of the patch. Thats found by measuring the width, adding the height and dividing by two. Your average CSP is roughly 5 inches by 2 inches. 5 + 2 = 7, 7 / 2 = 3.5 inches.


    For simplicity sake, lets assume the prices posted are the prices BSA National pays. They might receive a discount for all I knowand if they pay more than theyre not doing their homework nor putting the request out to bid to several authorized embroidery companies. Lets assume they only order 300 at a time (most likely they order more). Looking at the chart, it costs them $1.05 per patch to make-up 300 Katahdin Area Council CSP and $1.15 to make-up 300 Pine Tree Council CSP. Thats a pretty hefty mark-up from national on these two: $3.35 for the PTC and $4.30 for the KAC.


    Since a Scout is suppose to be Thrifty, I guess Im done CSP trading for a while. I cant afford to spend that kind of money to what seems like lining the pockets of National.


    I welcome any insight on the logic (or illogic) of Nationals CSP pricing scheme.

  10. As long as it's not as generic as the Frantics Sketch from the late 80's called "Worshipers 'R' Us" (http://f2.org/humour/frantics-worshippers.html), it can't be too bad. :)


    More seriously, at our district events we try hard to have Catholic, Generic Protestant (led by whichever local church minister is willing to lead it) and Native American Services available. When we can't, we alert units in advance and it's up to them as to whether or not to hold their own "Scouts Own" service or to motivate their unit to pack-up that much quicker on Sunday in order to get home in time to catch their normal Sunday services. Service attendance is not required at our events. However, we do ask those who choose not to attend to respect those who are attending, but keeping the noise level down during services.


    One of our leaders ID's as Native American and heads-up that service. We don't have a large Native American population in our district. Despite this, it's usually more heavily attended than the other services combined. Either he does a very good job, or maybe it's just curiosity among the scouts/leaders. (shrug)


    We don't have a large Jewish population, so we've never had to deal with that. Of course, what little I've observed is that the local small synagogues have their services on Friday evening after sundown, so this wouldn't be a problem for any Jewish Scouts. They can attend their normal service and just arrive a little later to our events--not much different than scouts who are also active in sports.


    We do have a lot of LDS units and do our best to make sure that they get packed-out with enough time to get home before Midnight Saturday Night into Sunday Morn. We usually place them in the campsites closest to parking (or easiest access to the access road). Each event, I double-check with them to ensure this is alright as I don't want them to think they're being singled-out by being grouped together at one end of the camping area. Each time, I'm assured they appreciate the accommodations we provide them to make it easier for them to get home when they need to.


  11. I know the topic is cutting food/campsite costs. However, if our district ever tried to charge $35 for Klondike Derby, guess what? No one would attend.


    Sounds to me like your district activities committee needs to do some cutting back of their own unless that $35 included all meals...and then some other extras. Our past few we've charged less then $10 for day trippers and $15 for the overnight crowd. Overnighters get Dinner/breakfast as part of their fee.


    District camporee--our last one few were $5 per person if you paid by the "early bird deadline) and $8 otherwise. We keep our supply costs down and as such can keep the camporee fee down. Our two biggest costs are patches and port-a-potties. We usually can secure the site for camporee at a reduced or free rate depending on the organization or landowner in question (Past two spring ones were free--fall one was $100--the city's mass-gathering permit fee). The only time we charged $15 that I can recall was when we got a deal on a "surprise" fireworks display for Sat. evening of camporee--"surprise" as in the scouts didn't know it was going to happen.


    So, what are you getting from your district for your high-priced events? Is it worth it? If not, as others have said, don't attend and let your district folks know why. And this advice is from one of those "district folks".

  12. I'm glad the original poster has received the answer they're looking for.


    Tokala wrote: "It's not Florida! I'm used to the Florida heat & humidity."


    I spent two summers in DC. I almost grew gills that first summer when the air temp topped 100F and the dewpoint was near 90F a few days. Set some sort of record if I recall.


    I also spent 2.5 years (3 summers in there) in West Texas "dry heat". I got news for you, 115F dry heat is no more bearable than that humid soup of DC (never mind it didn't drop below mid-90F day or night for nearly three months straight in Lubbock).


    If Florida is hotter than either of those, then it's just another good reason for me to avoid it. :)

  13. Heat index is simply how hot it feels to an individual based on the air temp and the relative humidity. The higher the humidity, the hotter it actually feels above the air temp. For example, if the air temp is 100F and the humidity is 60% (not unheard of in DC in the middle of summer), the heat index value is roughly 130F.


    I bow my head in shame. Why? 'Cause I have two degrees in meteorology and I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THE "WET BULB GLOBE TEMPERATURE" (WBGT). Provided it's been 15 years since I finished the second degree and I have never successfully found employment in the weather field, but that's beside the point.


    Researching it online, I now see why. It appears to have been developed by the Marine Corps.


    Here's the formula:



    TW is "natural wet bulb temperature"

    TG is "globe thermometer temperature"

    TD is "Dry Bulb Temperature"


    The first and last are easy. TD is the air temp measured by a regular thermometer.


    TW is also easy if you have the proper instrument such as a sling Psychcrometer--it's a thermometer mounted on a pivot you can spin. There's a piece of muslin cloth sock over the bulb of the thermometer. You wet the sock and then spin the thermometer around. As the water evaporates, it cools the thermometer and you get a lower reading, aka the "wet-bulb temperature". A low wet-bulb temp is a good thing. The lower this number is, the better water (or human sweat) will evaporate. Unfortunately, suburbia DC in the summer won't have much of a difference between TD and TW. There are formulas (or tables if you have the proper reference book) to calculate relative humidity if you have TD and TW. Quick example: If TD is 100F and TW is 95F, your RH is 83%.


    TG, I've never heard of before this. A Globe thermometer measures solar radiation.


    Here's the wiki article on it with links to other sites:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_Bulb_Globe_Temperature(This message has been edited by moxieman--I wouldn't have to edit it if I could see the whole message at once as it will appear before it posts. I always forget to check that option.)(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  14. Around this area, hats are not worn indoors, period. Many of our units meet in church halls/basements. You don't wear a hat in church, so it comes off when you enter said building. So, you don't see a lot of youth in this area wearing hats into meetings. They come off at the door. If they don't come off, other youth/adults remind them they're in a building, hat off, please. Ditto in our camp dining hall. And so, it quickly spreads that hats are not worn at indoor meetings regardless of where that meeting is held.


    So, it's up to you as to whether or not you have a hat. If hats are worn indoors in your area and you want your youth to wear hats, you should lead by example. Otherwise, don't bother.


  15. Tomahawk is always popular. Last fall at the Annual Moosehorn International Camporee, there was both a youth and adult competition. I received special recognition at the adult competition for my "unique" throw. You see, the target butt was a little more punky than the range master had planned. I am the only person he's ever seen sink a hawk into a target butt handle-first. :)


    Back on topic: For a more challenging experience, hold a "night hawk"--camporee during the night. Do a lot of the same events, but with the added challenge of no daylight. One we've done very successfully and is very popular with the youth is a low-level cope course element called "the web" (or the spider web). Use your favorite search engine to find info on this challenge.


    At night, you deny them flashlights/light sticks at the "web-site" and provide them three candle lanterns: two fixed (one on either side of the web) and one they can move around. If they accidentally cause one to go out, it stays out and can't be relit.


    Three candles doesn't sound like a lot of light, but after a couple of minutes, they are amazed at how well they can see by that little light.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  16. Bah. Keep your Life Scout Ford and Eagle Scout Spielberg. I'll take MacGyver (Richard Dean Andersen) hands down. You do realize he learned how to save the world with his Swiss Army Knife and a roll of duct tape by earning the rank of Tenderfoot, right?

  17. Basementdweller, I don't think he attended the same meteorology schools I did (BS from Plymouth State in '92 and MS from Texas Tech in '95). Or maybe they've redefined Lightning in the last 15 years. :)


    Engineer 61: You wouldn't do much camping here in Maine.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  18. AnaMaria wrote: "We're currently at 65 - 70% chance of scattered thunderstorms"


    Most US National Weather Service (NWS) offices cover a vast area. For example we have two NWS offices here in Maine. One covers the eastern two-thirds of Maine (roughly the size of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut). The other covers the western third of Maine and most of New Hampshire. That territory is then broken down into smaller forecast areas (zones) based on among other things, terrain and/or county lines. Between the two NWS offices, Maine is split into 30 forecast zones. Some are as large as Rhode Island, some as small a couple hundred square miles.


    The NWS "Percentage Chance of (insert weather type here)" forecasts means that there is that percentage of chance (in this case 6.5 to 7 out of 10) that the weather type (scattered t-storms) will affect one part of the forecast zone in question.


    So, if a single T-storm pops-up and rains on a single town in the forecast, they got the forecast right.


    Where am I going with this? I wouldn't worry about your forecast unless they are forecasting for strong (lots of rain/wind/lightning) to severe (see above plus hail) t-storms. As others have said, you could take shelter in your vehicles if necessary.


    But this is all moot for this past weekend. I'm glad you had a good time despite the weather. Up here in Maine there's a push to change the name of our spring/fall camporees to "Rain-o-rees". :)(This message has been edited by moxieman)

  19. Should have checked the Scouting Magazine website prior to responding--National has already corrected #4 (as of 4:10pm Eastern on 5/4) to now read:


    4 Do ONE of the following:

    a. Attend either a BSA national jamboree, OR world Scout jamboree, OR a national BSA high-adventure base. While there, keep a journal documenting your day-to-day experiences. Upon your return, report to your counselor what you did, saw, and learned. You may include photos, brochures, and other documents in your report.


    b. Write or visit the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas.* Obtain information about this facility. Give a short report on what you think the role of this museum is in the Scouting program.

    * *If you visit the BSAs national traveling tour, Adventure Base 100, in 2010, you may use this experience to fulfill requirement 4b. Visit www.adventurebase100.org (with your parents permission) for the schedule and for more information.


    That's a bit more reasonable for scouts who can't afford to visit one of those locations/events.(This message has been edited by moxieman)

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