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Everything posted by qwazse

  1. qwazse

    Where would you go?

    On a practical level, for me, a fee increase means postponing some gear purchase. Not a big deal. On a troop level, I think that's the same thing. But, if not ... TL/USA has delivered the promise of scouting to my young relatives. Not sure about their price structure. BPSA looks good on paper. Never camped with one in person. Campfire was very good to my Aunt ... nearly a century after she participated. That should count for something. There will always be youth who want to camp and hike independently with their mates. It's only a matter of who will lead them.
  2. qwazse

    Fooled to want foil?

    It's like I'm one of a set of evil triplets! I was in the Flaming Arrow patrol! And, being more lark than owl, I got up before dawn and restarted the campfire. It was really endearing to my heart when on a crew campout, I woke up early, peeked out of my tent, looked across the field, and saw my daughter and her friend and a campfire coming to light between them.
  3. We've all been talked into using foil for lots of campfire cooking. It's all fine and good if you gather your scrap foil, wash it, throw it in your forge, and roll it into sheets again. But most of us don't have time for that sort of thing. I've found there's plenty of situations where it (or any other utensil) is unnecessary as long as you can maintain a sizeable bed of coals. This is best done by separating the upwind and downwind side of the fire with a large log. The downwind side is for burning wood to make more coals, which you dig out under the log to bring over the upwind side. Things cook slower, but better. Corn on the cob. Do not shell! Rinse the husks lightly, and set the ears in coals to roast for about 1/2 hour. Rotate as needed. (P.S., if the fire is on a sand dune or beach, insert ears under the fire. The hot sand will speed cooking. Potatoes. Get a smaller brand and bury in coals. Three inch potatoes will cook in 1/2 hour. Dry-Rub roast beef. Lay on the coals, pull another 1/2 inch layer on top. Slice meat from edge to center as it cooks. Pastry dough. Store-bought? Bury tube in coals. The paper wrapping will burn away, and as it blackens, you can rotate it. Inside is yum! The alternative (especially useful for dough from scratch) is to wrap around a stick. But getting the thickness of dough correct and suspending it close above the coals is a bit tricky. Apples ... yes the thicker varieties will cook while buried half way in coals. Core them and and spices and a little water to the middle while they roast. Yes, every now and then a husk or one of your vittles will come alight, but that's half the fun!
  4. qwazse

    And the Teens Shall Lead

    I was wondering about the author's tone of amazement, then he got down to his scouting experience: It breaks my heart every time I hear of adults sacrificing the promise of scouting on the idols of lossless hikes and perfect meals.
  5. Well, give the scout unit applications to hand out. Got bullies? We got bear country! A great opportunity to work the 4th and 10th points of the law at the same time. Doesn't matter, our troop didn't meet this week so getting the word out is a non-starter. In general, BSA's fad-chasing doesn't impress me. I wore my uniform to school Feb. 8th. That's timing that I can get behind.
  6. qwazse

    possible fee increase coming

    Not bad logic, but why round down? $49.20/12 = $1.10 a month. Brother, can you spare a dime?
  7. I have no idea if this will help you or waste your time, but I've come up with the idea of "who's on first" goals. That is, when I list a group's goals, the first line of each goal is who we're helping. So, for example, for the "what kind of unit" step. The who is, broadly, "Youth". So that goal looks like: Who: youth What: a BSA, Pack Troop Crew, and Post. When: one evening a week and a weekend a month for the forsee-able future. How: Committee Members and Leaders and Willing Parents Why: They all need it. Well, obviously that's a terrible goal, because it's so nebulous. But it it changes perspective a little. @ParkMan's step #1 becomes 1. "Determine who you want to serve." Then when you list the type of youth who could be served through one of BSA's programs, readers can quickly decide if they really need to start just one unit, or more. Note that in subsequent goals, the "how" becomes the "who". E.g. parents who need to be recruited, committee who need training, etc ... Like I said, I am not sure how helpful this will be. But often, when we get eye-rolls when we say "we need another fundraiser" but when we say "These scouts want to hike and camp independently" or "these cubs would love a pinewood derby", we will get people rallying behind those goals.
  8. By way of reference here are the essential survival gear attached NASA's new astronaut flight suits (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/orion-suit-equipped-to-expect-the-unexpected-on-artemis-missions numbering is mine) Scouts could trade with an astronaut -- a full-size neckerchief for his/her kit -- and still have three optional items.
  9. qwazse

    Voice of the Scout surveys

    Regarding bathrooms/showers, etc ... Do your troops take it in rotation to clean your camp's showers? I know as a scout up until a few years ago mine did. Heck, I built* my camps' latrine. *Okay, "built" was quite a stretch ... kinda like how Al Gore and I built this here internet ... but my limited involvement in latrine assembly was because of a sudden bout of flu. It was mostly scouts slapping up posts and plywood while I huddled in a corner fighting chills.
  10. qwazse

    Voice of the Scout surveys

    To be fair, @Jackdaws asked the question in the OP in a way that supports a particular message:
  11. qwazse

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    Et. al, You've heard me state my Rule #1: Don't ask for a rule. You'll get one. That holds here! What I feel is useful is understanding. The incident reviews constitute a great step in this direction. What are some of the issues with Cubs and more than one consecutive overnight campout? Resident camps may have something to offer in terms of risks observed after night 2 vs. night 1. Maybe the Risk Management talked to some psychologists and there's something different when a pack spends time in the woods vs. a couple of extended families. Maybe, historically, BSA has wanted councils to own consecutive overnights for cubs. Disambiguation only let's people know if they are compliant, background gives them the ability to improve their judgement.
  12. qwazse

    Advice for a new CC

    That's actually fairly typical traffic for any new website. Folks out their are really bored. Actually, with the slew of World Scouts Jamboree participants passing through DC, you'd pop up on a lot of their searches. But, here's hoping that some of those are scouts whose parents are relocating to your fine city for a time and they want to stay active. The Italian exchange student who joined my crew was thrilled when she heard that she could continue scouting with my crew. It wasn't a perfect fit for her, but I think it bridged a couple of gaps.
  13. qwazse

    Cleaning and Drying a Sleeping Bag

    Roughly the same, but no fragrances/fresheners. I will leave them out a couple of days if the weather is nice. I will put my tech fabrics in a washer. Dry on low. My son's down bag: the tub, then dry on high briefly. I throw in a tennis ball to fluff it. My synthetic fleece blankets seem to go through the wash cycle well. Wool requires a little more care, but they don't smell-up as quickly either. That's probably because I don't pull them out unless I'm bracing for bitter cold.
  14. qwazse

    Pack dilemma

    Some of our troops parents hung back as Pack committee members, so don't take that option of the table if it's weighing on you. This over-assertive leader is not CC material. She needs a mentor who can gently but firmly guide her in improved communication skills. But, your bottom line is you have a CO who doesn't realize how much the pack represents them. If they did, they would lean on an employee who they trust to be a little more assertive in the "hiring and firing" of volunteers. This is probably partly your doing because you had to scramble to find a roof. No matter. Every effort the CC makes to build a better relationship with the COR will have its return in terms of getting adults to work better together.
  15. qwazse

    How much water?

    Leave the trailer. Hitch up a buffalo!
  16. qwazse

    Advice for a new CC

    @Cburkhardt, have fun raking in the dough! Don't forget to use this time to build relationships with the church membership. Teach your SPL to introduce herself to the church officers and other VIPs. You'll start out by introducing her one-on-one, of course, but she'll catch on in short order. There's nothing that opens a curmudgeon's wallet faster than a youth who can work a crowd! It's not just about $$. There are likely some kids, grandkids, adopted refugee kids, exchange students, etc ... in their spheres and the chance for their kid to grow up to be like your lead scout would be a very strong selling point for recruitment. Also, some of these adults might be good counselors, or they might have a good place to camp, etc ... I think this kind of event is ideal for a CC to meet adults who want to put a little of their time towards the well-being of scouts in their community. The PLs on, the other hand, should be prepared to teach children in the congregation a simple skill. I suspect that's what your displays may offer. Obviously, for some scouts this will be overwhelming and your SPL might be one of those, so you'll have to back off, for now. But if you have a scout with the least bit of an outgoing personality, leverage it on the folks who seem to be the mainstays of the congregation.
  17. qwazse

    Scouts BSA Troop Resources Website

    In other words, they didn't do their homework? What a surprise. Nobody wants to do homework! If they can't browse this stuff at a meeting, they won't. I mean you'll get the one scouting wonk who may, but then he has to pitch it to the other guys and their enthusiasm will depend on his communication and salesmanship skills. Here's what to do instead. During a meeting, have the librarian go to the stack of old Boys Life magazines (your librarian does collect them, right?) or MB Pamphlets. Randomly distribute a couple to each patrol. Give each patrol 1/2 hour to find bookmark a page or two or ten that has something cool on it. (At this point, don't even suggest that you all would do that activity.) Give a prize to the patrol who has the most cool things that another patrol also identified as cool and a prize to the patrol who has the most cool things that no other patrol identified as cool. Then ask, "Can we do one of those winning cool things as a troop?" There are dozens of other ways to get the scouts to brainstorm. But, one sure-fire way to keep them from doing it is to tell them to go home and come back with ideas.
  18. qwazse

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    Don't mistake what I'm saying. The scouts who came with my boys to resident camp had a blast. The rain had a blast following me there, and the ensuing mud made it so much better for the boys. And the Cubmaster who arranged an overnight for our scouts did us a solid. But if he didn't, we could have just as well spent the day at the sewage plant and had a grand time. What really prepared my scouts to camp with the troop were the many weekend invites they had as Webelos to camp with different troops in the fall, winter, and spring for two years. And me? Before joining a troop, I did overnights with my church -- lots of them from age 8 forward. We hiked historic trails and had a grand time. I remember vividly one where an older scout took the time to teach me how to connect my bat with a ball. Those church camps got and my buddies used to packing a sleeping bag and our stuff neatly. They sometimes borrowed the troop's tents so that we could experience nights under canvas. Me and my buddies went from zero to sixty the day we joined the troop. Our patrol mates made sure we were comfortable, and taught us what we didn't know. My Pack provided plenty of other opportunities -- fun ones that just don't happen anymore. Our Webelos DL taught us more practical skills ... like how to safely shoot a .38 special. Okay, there were other ones, but that's one I remember. But because he wasn't worrying about tents and check-ins and all the stuff that a troop makes PL's do, he had time to pack more fun into the program than we really deserved to have. And membership was greater in those days when BSA relegated camping to Boy Scouts. So, I get that since the 80's these Pack overnights have become a special exercise for leaders. But, I also don't see it doing a lot for the organization as a whole. It's something you want to do and cherish, fine. But, is an 18 year old really gonna say "Gee, my cub experience was ruined because my Pack could only camp out Saturday night."? Thus, my ambivalence toward long weekends for Cubs. I'm not stumping for it. But I also have no reason to stump against it until someone tells me what "risk" these little gompers are being subjected to.
  19. qwazse

    CO emblem on neckercheif

    @karunamom3, bringing back old designs is definitely the way to go. A little color adjustment or a small change in symbols is all you need to make a great item. The only think I'd make sure to adjust is the size of the necker if the old one was less than 36 inches on the short. The World Scout Jamboree neckerchiefs were impressive. They actually felt like something you could splint an arm with!
  20. And that is why we call it scouting and not browsing! I've mentioned this elsewhere. If you've got a unique group (as I did with my co-ed crew). It really is worth your while to call the directors of the bases that you are most interested in. They have an idea of what works and doesn't work for younger kids. Sometimes, knowing your concern, they will make sure you have staff who are sensitive to your situation.
  21. qwazse

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    I never camped as a cub. Only took my boys to resident cub camp. Camped with mine (and perhaps one other) family for a week every year. Although I supported a Cubmaster who would take the trouble to have a family camping weekend, for me that was not central. So, I think I'm pretty neutral. If BSA says don't camp as a pack for two nights in a row without council approval, suck it up. It ain't killing your program. But, once again, here's where Risk Management's mumbo-jumbo goes off the rails ... Name the risks. What is the relative risk to a Tiger/Wolf/Bear/Webelo whose pack does two consecutive nights versus one? Is it 1.01 times as many deaths? 1.2 times as many trips to the hospital? 3 times as many assaults? 10 times the damage to public property? 2.4 times as many bug juice overdoses? How much bad stuff does BSA think it's preventing by restricting this? How much litigation does BSA think councils have been spared? What were the palpable events (surely there wasn't just one) that drove the rule?
  22. It's a big country. So yes, there are troops of boys with two female adult leaders. One could argue that allowing that was a step on the way to how we got to where we are today. I doubt that the criminology of predation has clearly shown that that a girl in a troop with two male leaders is at greater risk for abuse than a boy in a troop with two female leaders. Rather, I bet the damages that BSA would incur from abuse perpetuated by a male leader on a female scout while dodging his male co-leader will be far greater than from abuse perpetuated by a female leader on a male scout while dodging her female co-leader. This isn't about how safe our scouts are. It's about how deeply the organization's pockets can be gouged.
  23. qwazse

    Fooled to want foil?

    Expanding is not a problem. That's the dough raising. As it expands, it becomes a thermal barrier to the center of the dough. So the real problem is judging when the blob is done all the way through. You have to be willing to accept a blackened crust. The paper tube does not behave like tin cans, which have to build extreme internal pressures before giving way at the seams -- unless you do the boring thing and poke a couple of holes in the lid. You may have tapped one of those tubes on the table before and noted that dough doesn't go flying everywhere.
  24. Sounds like they might by syncing up with your state's laws. Five years ago, we in PA had to turn in clearances from the state. Those clearances now need to be renewed. It's a nasty business considering that I always keep forgetting the password for the system.
  25. qwazse

    He Struck Again

    I agree. Often there is "nowhere to run" in a small community. No matter where you go, there you are. Now, when it comes to bad habits, I am a little more relaxed than others. Thanks to the occupations of my dad and uncles, I was in every bar in the county by age 11. Plenty of quality second hand smoke for all. Add to that, gramps would send me down to the general store to by his favorite cigars. Neither I nor my brothers became smokers. My SM was very self-disciplined. That included never smoking. But I don't think it influenced the boys as much as everyone thinks it would. I eventually met scouts whose SMs were chain smokers. Those boys never necessarily became smokers. Be they cousins or friends, it seemed to me that if parents were smokers, the kids would be. Vaping is a somewhat different animal. But we have much more open space with clean air than we did in the 70s. So, it's unlikely to be the 2nd hand monster that tobacco can be. So, that trait would not be a deal breaker in a DL who would otherwise make good on the promise of scouting. But, here it sounds like the parents in this den are beginning to realize that by not stepping up, they let someone who won't deliver shortchange their kids. Encourage those parents. Be kind to the DL and gently encourage him to let the folks who can make it to meetings lead them. If he's sincere -- in spite of this rough start -- he can probably help with set-up or clean-up as he's available.