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About pinkflame

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  1. It seems to me that there are some things that younger Scouts just won't get to experience if they take certain merit badges too soon. For example, for the Citizenship in the Community requirement about finding out about a community agency and then volunteering some time with that agency, a 12 year old would not have a lot of choices. When I have counseled it the youger boys end up doing stuff like helping out at vacation Bible school or church food pantries. All useful stuff, but I'm not sure how much of it was their choice nor whether those activities will spur them on to volunteer in the community when they get older. Most of the other agencies in our community have either liability limits for young kids or they are so far away that transportation becomes an issue. Some boys have said their family voluteers at this or that place so they will just go along and help, but that's not exactly whst the requirement says to do. Similarly, making and managing a budget for Personal Management isn't much of a job if all you are managing is your lunch money and a small allowance. These days most kids in own community have a lunch account at school that mom just writes a check to every so often, so even that can't be managed. i don't counsel that merit badge, but I remember a mother telling me once that her son was planning their family vacation for his project. Turns out that meant calling relatives along their itnierary and telling them when they would be there to spend the night along with a little net surfing about local attractions. Not exactly "planning" and not exactly a "project", but wha telse can a 12 year old do?
  2. For inexpensive ideas for trail food. check out trailcooking.com and go to the section called "freeezer bag cooking 101". They have basic recipes that the boys can experiment with and then taylor to thier own tastes, all using zip loc freezer bags and any number of cozies for heat retention while the ingredients "cook". The website has some commercial products, but they are not necessary for most of the recipes. I did a demo a few months ago at roundtable and made o point of only buying my ingredients at the local supermarket. Of course, if some of the guys get into it they might decide to learn how to dehydrate food ar they might want to spring for a supply of shelf-stable cheese. If so, more power to them
  3. Coleman makes a battery powered ceiling fan that you can tie over your cot. Don't fall for the smaller, cheaper more flimsy fan options. It needs 4 D cells and they will last 3 nights each. If it is not looking like rain, fold the fly up the most you can. Microfiber sheets are probably best but the fan will probably make the regualr cotton ones OK. I sometimes just use a cotton flannel sheet and then I don't need a blanket. We are in south Texas so our summer lasts 6-8 months. Good luck
  4. Maybe my perspective is more activist, but i usually figure that I don't have much right to complain if I'm not willing to do something to fix a situation. There are Scouting professionals, but us volunteer Scouters can and shold have a lot of input into the program; at camp and in the district and council as wel as in our own units. One year our troop went to an out of council camp that had some missing elements in its program. The medic who was supposed to care for the camp did not show up. The First Aid and emergency Preparedness MB class (and the first aid part of the trail to Eagle group) were being taught by a youth who was clearly unqualified. I am a family doctor. When I first saw this happening, i was, to say the least, chagrined. However, since we were already there I figured the best plan was to treat the whole event like a campsite and leave it better than when I found it. So I became camp doctor and i taught the classes. I ended up getting to know some really neat kids and making some very good SScouter friends. The troop has now gone back to that camp twice. I only got to spend one night the second time and did not get to go back the last time, but I think we made friends where e could have made enemies. Further, I think our boys learned the importance of being part of the solution instead fo part of the proble,. So if the program is half-a**ed, maybe it is because enough adult Scouters didn't step up to make the program great.
  5. BTW, I wouldn't buy a super expensive tent. Webelos are learning about things like zippers and tent flys. The ipeers and doors have a limited life around 10 year olds. This tent will not be your last, so don't make a big investment. You can re-sew zippers, but several of our earlier tents went on to happy lives with the homeless. those guys have lots of time to fix zippers.
  6. I'm in south Texas. Maybe we're not quite as humid as Louisiana, but I feel your pain. Webelos camping is car camping, so you can go with a bigger family camping kind of tent. Look for something advertised as 4 person. That determination is mabe from how many sleeping bags will fit on the floor. If you want to be cooloer (and maybe a little more comfortable), use a cot. (Preferably one of the fold-up nylon cots, maybe with a little air mattress on top of it. You don't need much of a sleeping bag, sheets and a summer blanket are fine. )That will get you up into the air so maybe you'll have some ventilation. With cots, a 4 person tent becomes a 2 person tent. (If the rest of your family might sometimes come along for family camping, then you might even want to get a 6 person tent.) In our part of the country, cross-ventilation is key. You want BIG netted windows on all of the sides and some kind of netted vent on the top. The dome type tents are the easiest to put up. Your son will figure it out with you and then be proud of his new ability. Your windows will have zippers on the inside if it rains and your rainfly (tarp) should extend to just the level of your windows and hopefully be a little bit of an awning to them so that you still have good ventilation when the rainfly is up. If you end up buying a dome type tent is should have a rain fly with it. I'm always tempted not to put the rainfly on when it is a seriously dry Texas night without any rain in the forcast and usually I get away with it. In Louisiana I think the mornings are a bit dewier so you will probably have to put it on from the start. This will probably not be the tent your son ends up taking on his Boy Scout camp-outs when he gets older. it might end up being your tent when you are at summer camp for a week and want/need a space to chill, read, relax, etc. I have had several summer camp weeks as one of the adults to meet the numbers (a really fun way to get to know the guys, just be there to listen as they come abck through the campsite or have a new adventure or observation to share) and as camp doctor and I like having a tent for my personal space. I bring my cot, a folding chair and table, footlcker (also double as a game table, and MOST IMPORTANT, my Coleman battery powered ceiling fan. Nothing makes 90 degrees and 90% humidity at 9 PM feel good, but the cieling fan makes it a little better. You can tie it to the gear hook in the cented of the tent and get more than a hint of breeze. I'm sure some of the trditionalists in the cold frozen north (anywhere norht of Texas and Louisiana) are howling heresy right now, but those of us form God's country know it to be true. It uses 4 D-cell batteries and they will last about 3 night, but I highly recommend it. .
  7. This is all Texas stuff camping/service/history Fort McKavett State Historical Site. It is about an hour east of San Angelo and about 30 minutes west of Menard. It was a buffalo soldiers site. After 6 or 7 at night it closes to the public and if you are staying there you have the place to yourself. You can camp but even better is staying in the authentically restored 1870's era barracks, complete with iron cots with corn-shuck (or something organic but not real comfortable) mattresses. Our Scout troop stayed there free one Saturday nogth on the way back from summer camp becasue we did a trail maintenance service project for them. That night we retired the colors which ther is a flag from back in the bufalo soldiers day, so a history lesson in itself. it is at the headwaters of the San Saba River. There is a Scout camp owned by the Concho Valley Council just down the road, Camp Sol Meyer. Hiking/camping Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Backpacking Lost Maples State Natural Area Caving Longhorn Caverns States Park. This is a tame cave, but for beginners who aren't ready for doing it on their own it is a good introduction. They have a geology program geared to older middle school people that you can do be special arrangement. They might include younger boys if it were a Scout group. You can't camp there but Inks Lake State Park is very close and a beautiful place to camp. Colorado Bend State Park. Wilder caves, some with guided tours and some self-guided with advance permits. Also has camping and some backpacking oportunities. Much closer to Dallas You can get more information and links to how to get permits and reservations on all of these places at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/
  8. Since another name for my house could be "teenage jock central", I need to point out that some guys seem to ALWAYS need to discuss who is more buff, who is (or might someday) develop the reasured 6-pack of abs, who can bench what weight, run what distance in what time or perform some other feat of strength or skill. It's pretty boring to listen to, but better than listening to rap music. The little brothers listen and chime in and dream of when they might be talking fact and not fiction. Maybe this ASM didn't grow p in that culture, so comments about muscles really do sound odd to him.
  9. I got pretty tired of the whole brag vest thing by the time my son finished Cubbies, but last Sunday, when I put it out as one of the decorations for the reception after his Eagle COH, it had a whole different meaning. (I just got a few tears thinking about it.) People who didn't know much about Scouts asked a lot of questions, my son told some great stories explaining some of the patches to some of the guests, it was a great walk down memory lane. So don't trash it, it could have an entirely different life in a few years.
  10. It may be time to step away for a hile. If there is a bigger Packnearby where your youngest can have a good experience that you can share with him without feeling burned out and scttered (and therefore not really being with him), maybe you should give that program your support and help and have thepleasure of working alongside a team of committed adult leaders. Are you leaving your friends in the lurch? I think that is hard to say, since friends don't leave it to friends to do almost all the work and get burned out. The people who want to might come with you to the other Pack or maybe they will stay with the old Pack and take appropriate responsibility. As to other youth organizations, it really is the same everywhere. There may be policies or expectations saying that all parents have to help out, but I have had WAY too many nghts in concession stands, early mornings of field maintenance, intimate bonding moments making teacher or coach breakfasts, all the way for pre-K through high school. I think it is the Marines who say that only 10% get the word. it is probably fair to apply that to youth organizations and say that only 10% actively contribute to the program
  11. This policy is common in all the sales tax exempt groups I work with (PTA, church, Scouts), at least where I am from in Texas. There is a paper cpopy of the state tax-exempt certifcate and then a form that I have to hand in at the time of purchase if the tax is not going to be charged. if i don't have the form, then I will take the hit for the taxes i paid. There is nothing underhanded about it and the organizations won't get anything back from the state for not reimbursing me. On the other hand, if the merchant does not charge me tax and does not get the forms and copy of the tax exempt certificate, then they will have to pay the state for the tax owed. Most organiztions state the reimbursement policy at some point during their training and I try to remember to tell newbies about it and have enough copies of the proper forms if new people have to go out to buy something. Obviously your council should have been clearer about their policy and that is the angle I would work with them on, but it is sort of unreasonable to expect the council to continue to take a bit for all the sales taxes people incur. That definitely IS FOS funds wasted.
  12. Sometimes I am the only woman on a trip, so the modesty issue is real for me. A few years ago I found the perfect solution at one of the big bog store. I call it the portable phone booth. It is a pop-up cabana that starts out as an almost flat 36-42 inch disc and opens to about the size of an old school phone booth. It is nylon on all the sides with a zipper door on one of the sides. If my tent is not an option (like if we're going swimming somewhere away from the campsite) or if it's just too hot to zip up all the windows of my tent and all I'm doing is a qucik change, I can just pop it out, do my business and then pop it back down. It doesn't have a floor so I guess it could be a latrine for those with serious backcoutry privacy issues, but that sounds creepy to me and carrying that big a disc would be a drag, but it's great for car camping with the large group.
  13. OOPS!, I meant PA's not OA's. Apparently I can't even type legibly
  14. I am a family physician and a parent. Although I do physicals for the troop, I do NOT do my son's physical and infact try NOT to treat him (OK, I will call in ointment for pinkeye and stuff like that, but my teenage son needs his own doctor that he can discuss WHATEVER he needs to discuss without worrying about the mom-filter). The other doctors and OA's and NP's in our practice do the same thing with their children. The child in question in this post is younger so may not have teen isues to discuss (although that will soon happen) and probably has a host of sub-specialists who look after his shunt. The names on the medicine bottles that go to camp will tell that story, although I guess technically it is no one's business but the family. Nevertheless, having a vertriculo-peritoneal shunt is a BIG DEAL. I find it fairly scary that this boy has been on campouts before without the adult leadership knowing about the shunt. Shunts can clog and fairly rapidly lead to serious neurological compromise. Shunt infections can also begin and lead quickly to meningitis. None of that should exclude the oy from camping and pther Scouting experiences, but the adults present need to be on the lookout for even subtle changes in behavior, coordination or vision. As he gets older he will probably be able to self-monitor. It would probably be an excellent growth experience if he could learn to discuss these issues with a non-parent adult ("how ya doin'?" "no headache?", "keep me posted")--all natural, just like we would with a boy with migraines or some other medical issue where they want to be at camp but might need a little extra support or monitoring. After all, this is going to be a lifetime issue and he will need to learn how to be comfortable with it and with sharing his own information on a "need to know" basis, in order to function independently as an adult. As for staying licensed, it costs MONEY. In Texas it is over $500/year, and that's not counting CME (continuing medical education). Inactive status is less, but then you really aren't keeping up in the loop so I probably wouldn't want that person pretending to take care of me. And hey, I CAN write legibly, but on prescription signatures I purposely do not. My scrawl is a lot harder to duplicate than a perfect penmanship signature. In fact, the way we often catch people forging prescriptions is when the pharmacies call saying the signature is too legible so they know I couldn't have written it.
  15. The bottom line is, some people will NEVER 'step up" and no maount of alk, cajoling or even pointing out what htey are missing by not bsing involved with their children will change that. My son is now 17 and I have seen the same phenomenon in Scouts, sports, PTA/PTSA, church and probablky other places that I have repressed by now. I think it is the Marines who say that 10% never get the word. You can probably turn that around and say 90% never "get it" about volunteering. You can either get all upset about it (which I have in the past), or just understand the phenomenon and be grateful that you have the opportunity to be involved in things for your child and for the other children who don't have parental support. Sometimes people aren't involved because of difficult situations and sometimes it is just because they live for themselves. If the latter is the case, then our involvement with their children may be one of the few ways to break that cycle for the chid. After all, that is one of the reasons that adult association is one of the methods. Other people may truly feel they have nothing to offer. With those people, a friendly invitation may be all that is needed. All that being said, I sympathize with Amy's problem but need to add a personal story. My son joined Tigers late in the fall because he had been playing flag football (and I somehow ended up being responsible for the concession stand for the whole organization---go figure). He was at a diiferent school from most of the kids but we lived in the area and the CM and CC were people we knew from our church. He made the 12th Tiger. Before the first meeting I got a call and was told by the DL that he couldn't join because 12 was too much. (Now, that was true, but not anything I had known about. Additionally, probably 9, 10 and 11 was too much also.) There wasn't an option offered to start another Den or anything. I called the CM with that question and became a DL (actually I think the title was Tiger Coach, but I didn't know that at the time.) Interestingly, the 6 boys who remained in the original Den were all "old guard" form the town and the 5 other boys who came to the new Den with my son wer the newbies or otherwise different (from the East coast or Hispanic or, in my son's case, African-American). Coincidence or clique, who knows?
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