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Everything posted by raisinemright

  1. raisinemright

    May 23rd predictions and post-vote plans

    Yea, I worked with a guy like that. He wasn't too obnoxious about being gay, then he ended up in jail for pederasty. According to the an article in the archives of Sexual Behavior entitled Behavior Patterns of Child Molesters, 86% of pedophiles are self-described homosexuals. While I firmly agree that not all homosexuals are child molesters, I'm not willing to take that chance with any Scouts under my charge.
  2. raisinemright

    Troop Bus? To Have or not to Have.

    I've got no experience with Scout buses but I work with a Christian Camp that has a bus program. Our buses a diesel coaches (retired Greyhounds) and I'm one of the drivers. You need an annual DOT inspection and they require frequent maintenance. The only reason they are worthwhile to us is that the camp is 500 miles from the starting point and the buses that take kids to camp are used during the week. If the short bus is over 15 passenger, drivers must have a commercial driver license with passenger endorsement and take a semi-annual DOT physical. You need to have at least 1-2 parents/leaders committed to maintenance and a good secure storage area. On the flip side, if you have a large vehicle ready at a moments notice, it puts you in very good shape for trips and outings. I'm also a mentor for a FIRST robotics team. We just traveled from Maryland to St. Louis, MO for the World Championships. We borrowed a 15 passenger van and towed a trailer and rented another van. (plus some lucky team members flew) You cannot tow trailers with rental vans and we have to pay excess mileage fees. And even though I'm licensed to drive a full size coach, it's not possible to rent a bus for a week. Tough decision
  3. raisinemright

    Is your troop/pack in danger?

    I haven't had any serious converstions with our CO yet. We may continue with the program but our troop will not participate in any council activites. No camp, camporees of FOS campaigns. It really won't matter because BSA will be a mere shadow of itself in ten years, if it exists at all. Does anyone really believe that there will be a massive influx of new members because of this? Look to Scouts in Canada as a reference. As I understand, their membership declined by 50% after they made the decision.
  4. My new title will be FORMER SCOUTMASTER.
  5. raisinemright

    switch unit commish?

    We "fired" our UC when they became too involved and tried to run the pack. In the middle of the pack meeting, I was stopped and told to provide a list of cubs who had participated in an event years before. Our treasurer was then told she would be written up for not having the budget at her back and call. THis UC was a very nice and dedicated person but not cut out for that position.
  6. raisinemright

    Philly bound...

    Since you've come so far, I cannot recommend enough a day at Gettybsurg. You can literally fell the history. Hire a guide and follow the Billy Yank trial (9-10 miles) along the battlefield that was so pivotal to our nation. Feel free to refer to it as the War of Northern Aggression. Both sides are well represented there. You might want to get a video called Drive Through History (it's on Netflix) The historial is a little nuts and appeals to younger viewers. His only mistake was going to Pat's Steaks instead of Geno's (across the street) If you have the time, a 75 mile drive to Baltimore will get you a great tour of Fort McHenry where our Banner yet waves. Francis Scott Key penned the words to our National Anthem about a mile from where I'm sitting at my office right now. Sounds like it will be a great trip. BTW, I know of a good cabin owned by a troop in Gettysburg if you need. PM me.
  7. raisinemright

    Independent Summer Camp

    We did this two years ago. We had just started the troop, most boys were new to scouting and we couldn't put a week together where even a majority of boys could go to camp. Our goal was to do a first year program to teach scout skills. We rented a camp site at a local scout camp, arranged for the camp Ranger to do a merit badge (first aid) rented the pool two afternoons and did a lot of cool stuff. The scouts had a great time. The five mile hike was memorable. I invited a State Senator to visit one afternoon to speak with the boys about their duties as citizens. She even ate with us and the boys cooked. The pool part was really cool because the boys had the opportunity to do the water rescue stuff repeatedly instead of just once. I highly recommend doing your own program on occasion. As far as food, one of the families lived nearby and brought refrigeraterables out every couple days.
  8. raisinemright

    Firearms in Scouting

    I'm going to refrain from using the words in my head as a response other than to say that you're not using rational thought. Just like these mental midgets in government and the media want to make drastic changes to make the actions of one lunatic affect the lives of 360,000,000 others, your idea to destroy 100 years of scouting tradition is just as non-sensical. None of the gun control laws in the world can stop someone bent on doing damage. How many laws did he who will not be named break before even entering the school? Let's see. Murder-Check, Burglary-Check, carrying a concealed weapon without a license-Check, carrying a loaded firearm-check, possession of a handgun while under 21-check. I'm sure there are others. If the Bushmaster was actually used in the crime, even the old "assault weapons" ban would not have prevented this. That gun was not considered an "asault weapon" using their terminology. Of course, A knife, baseball bat, hammer, hockey stick, etc can be classed as an assault weapon when used as a weapon during an assault. When used properly, the Bushmaster is just a rifle. Using your logic, the next time some idiot kills someone with an axe, we need to ban axe and hatchet use in scouting. Knives will be next. I'm sure people can be killed with tent stakes. Shovel control? Of course, we need to stop canoing because people can drown. Please use logic and facts in your arguments. The Governor of my state was quoted the other day as saying "I THINK we have too many guns" Like the good liberal he is, he doesn't do things based on facts, just emotion. The fact is, this guy was a deeply troubled individual who stole guns. News flash-the Sheriff in CT said on CNN the other day that the guns were locked and properly stored. Haven't heard that one repeated too much, have you? That's because it goes against the popular narrative.
  9. raisinemright

    Firearms in Scouting

    Absolutely not. The shooting sports are extrememly safe activities, mostly because of programs like Scouts that teach safe use. The tragedy in Connecticut was NOT BECAUSE OF THE GUN. (emphasis, not yelling)
  10. raisinemright

    Is Boy scouting Family scouting????

    I believe if you look at BSA duties for committee members, one of the duties of the troop secretary is to organize a family campout. Personally, I see no problem with having an occasional (annual) family campout. Certainly not every time though. I moved to a new state about 3 years ago. Last summer, our old troop and new troop met in Gettysburg and rented a huge cabin. We opened it up to families from both troops although the scouts handled much of the meal preparations. That was a tough deal. Most of the boys didn't know each other on Friday. My boys knew virtualy everyone and had to work to not just hang with their old friends. (one of whom my son literally met in the nursery at the hospital the day they were born) Pls that, no one, adults or kids had any real experience cooking for 50. Set some parameters and note that certain trips are for families and certain ones are scouts and leaders only.
  11. raisinemright

    Cold Weather Camping tips.

    Good lists. Our key points-No cotton, especially socks. Bring extra socks too. Depending on where in the country you are, cold can be quite different. I used to live in Michigan and once camped at -7. Where I live now, I don't think it's ever gotten colder than that. But here is a more humid cold that bites through you. Sleep in a stocking cap. Have a pair of gloves nearby. If it's super cold, I like to wear ski goggles too. Keeps my face warmer. Use at least one foam sleeping pad, not an air mattress, unless it's cold rated and insulated Definitely keep tents ventilated. Our SPL, my son, taught his troop a great idea. When ya gotta go in the middle of the night, an empty Gatorade bottle is your best friend. But, make sure your aim is good. Spend a couple meetings teaching the scouts about winter camping. Don't spend too much time too close to the fire, you start to sweat and get cold. Oatmeal is good food for winter camp. Stays warm in the bowl for a while and is easy to cook. Eggs cool off immediately. Don't use metal plates. The aluminum is a heat sink and sucks the warmth right out of the food. Inspect footwear before leaving. Improper footwear means no trip. No exceptions. On a couple of occasions, I wea rainpants on the exterior. Not insulated but keeps dry. Sunglasses are recommended if there is snow. If it's a 4 man tent, put 4 men in it. Body heat means comfort. Leave gear bags outside in large trashbags Have the scouts bring something to do in the tents beofre they go to bed. Gets dark quicker so sometimes they just hit the tents early Winter camping is an adventure that probably 90% of campers never do. Celebrate that and their accomplishment.
  12. raisinemright

    Totin Chip / Firemn Chit

    In our former troop that we moved away from, we actually had a kid reach Eagle who never formally earned his Totin Chip. It was a new troop and everyone was learning together, plus this young man really did not enjoy camping so he went on the minimum trips he needed to. Otherwise, he was really good.
  13. Good problem to have. The pack and boots are most important. REI does rent packs pretty reasonably. as far as stoves, 4 or 5 to one is a good ratio. Weights not as big of a factor then so a Coleman propane or white gas stove is good and cheap-especially used. We've done several trips with the patrol using one large thin aluminum pot for everything from cooking, boiling to sterilize water and cleanup. It's big enough that a sleeping bag can slide inside it so the pot takes up virtually zero space. Sleeping bags will probably be an issue because department store bags simply don't compress. That's OK with an external frame of carrying system. DEMAND that the scouts use compressin bags for their sleeping bags and nylon straps to tie the bag to the pack. Our guys have been known to take a four man tent and just split the pieces up so no one is carrying too much weight. Do some shakedowns and have fun. You may want to meet with a backpacking merit badge counselor yourself to get some tips to pass on to the scouts.
  14. OK Guys, As Scout Leaders, representatives and parents, what should our response be? Do we get out in front of it, meet with committee and COR to reinforce the values of the scouting system and the importance of YP? Do we make it the topic of the Scoutmaster Minute (or Minutes)? Do we ignore it? The whole thing is bad press for Scouts. Not to sound callous, but statistically, the numbers involved are low for such a large and influential organization. I haven't read the files but the bit I've heard sounds like there's lots of cherrypicking going on and a true analysis is overdue. What are the thoughts of the Forum?
  15. raisinemright

    Cooking MB required!

    I told my wife and she said "So? It ain't Eagle required but it's Mom required right now."
  16. raisinemright

    Quality Unit.

    As a Pack Leader several years ago, we set a high metric for Gold of something like 90% retention. We had 100%, but that wasn't good enough because they counted the 6 Webelos II who all moved on to a troop as lost scouts that put us below our goal. At that point, I decided to skip the whole Quality Unit charade.
  17. raisinemright

    Two deep and driving

    I had a similar situation. We normally drive two scouts home sfter meetings. One's dad works a really weird shift and is in bed very early, the other's father is deployed. The boys live about 2 miles apart. A few weeks ago, the rest of my family was away for a couple weeks visiting family and I was faced with a dilemna. I could follow YP while dropping off the first boy, but not the second. (Boy 2 is a family friend for many years) I contacted my UC to get his advice. His response was in such a case to use common sense, get written parental permission and do what needed to be done for scouting. I took that as sometimes situations overrule guidelines, but in this case, only with forethought. I think the week in question, both boys got sick so I never had to do it. While Boy 2's dad was gone, I did drive him alone to teach him how to check and add oil to their car. I told his mom we were going as friends and not scouts.
  18. raisinemright

    Home schooled scouts

    Well, 2/3 of our troop is home schooled. 100% of our last troop was home schooled, 100% of our pack was home schooled. I think I've got some experience. Can I say we've never had any issues? No. Are the kids just normal boys? Yes. Of interest, we have a boy in our troop who is not home schooled who exhibits all the behaviour you mentioned. To a T. Is he a bad kid? No. What you see has nothing to do with home schooling, it has to do with parental choices. Many parents would rather be a friend than a parent. Now, on the flip side, we constantly receive compliments on the behaviour of our rapidly growing troop. Last year was our first year. Only 3 kids had any Boy Scout experience and only one other was a Cub Scout. I've been told by our DE that he uses our brand new troop of brand new boys as an example. Our popcorn sales were huge, in total and certainly for our size. Something that is starting to happen a lot is what I've eard called Home School Refugees. The regular schools can't handle a kid, or in some cases, the kid is always getting sick and missing school, so the administrator says "oh, I know, you should home school, yea, that's the ticket." THose are the ones where it doesn't work and end up in some sort of trouble. Like scouts, home education is a lifestyle choice, and like scouts, those who do best go all-in. No offense, but you must get over your prejudice. It will poison your relationship with this scout. I don't know if this would be helpful, but NHERI.org has some good home education research and statistics form some long term studies.
  19. raisinemright

    New boy scout orientation resource

    With our former troop, I developed a welcome kit. When we moved out fo state and had the opportunity to start a new troop, I updated it and we've used that. I was meeting with a new scout and his dad last night and realized that it could use some editing to add a few things. It basically discusses Scouts, the meetings, campouts, what uniform and gear is needed, where to get it, dues, the committee process, leadership training etc. About 3 pages. I think someone wrote an entire book about scouts and all the buzzwords, traditions etc.
  20. raisinemright


    Great News Howarthe. Get another parent or two to help out and remember to step back. One of FIRST's abiding principles is just like Scouts Learn, Try, Fail, Try Again.
  21. raisinemright


    My son is on a FIRST FRC team and I'm one of the coaches (like I don't have enough to do) Be careful, once you get sucked into the FIRST vortex, it's hard to get out. FIRST is a Grade A organization. I've got no experience with FIRST Lego League but our team is part of a consortium of FIRST teams under the same banner. Check out www.techbrick.com for lots of good info. FLL is pretty reasonable in cost compared to FRC. I think our budget pushed $40K last year. We won Rookie of the Year and went to the World Championships. Lots of scouts are involved with FIRST. Work on corporate sponsorships. Local technical type companies are often ready to help with cash, gear and sometimes people. We charge a fee to join. It's $100 which defrays some monor costs with FRC but goes a long way with FLL. Hook up with other teams, they are glad to help. Now, for a story. Today, we were at robot and there was a new boy. I was near the tool bench and he asked for a razor knife. I couldn't find it so I was going to hand him my pocketknife. First, I asked if he had used pocketknives before and he said "Yes, I'm a Boy Scout." Music to my ears. I asked his rank and he said First Class. I told him I was a SM and our troop number and gave him my knife. Of course, he said "thank you."
  22. raisinemright

    What makes the best pack meeting ever, real or imagined.

    One year, I came across some souvineirs from a guy I met who races every year in the Iditarod. So, for our pack meeting, we hald a Pack Scoutitarod. We zip tied a Klondike sled made from a Flexible Flyer to a mechanics creeper, made a lead line from some rope and made teams of scouts. They scout dogs had to pull the mucher around the gym. The musher had to use verbal musher signals to lead the dogs around the course. The musher had to stop at a checkpoint and feed his dogs a cracker before feeding himself. Then move on for a timed lap. It was so over the top I was certain we'd never do better. I was right.
  23. raisinemright

    Adventures for Pack Campouts

    Just ask me to plan it. You'll have an adventure all right. Rain and lots of it. I planned four pack family campouts. Yep, all four had rain of drought ending Great Flood proportions. We were looking for animals pairing up and heading toward the big boat.
  24. raisinemright

    SM assign MBC

    Darn. I was hoping to get one of those really long and obnoxious argument threads going but it turns out we agree. (Insert smiley face here cause I don't feel like trying to figure out how to add a real one) We homeschool and have recommended the Merit Badge books to non scouts. I never thought any would expect a MBC to give a free class to their kids. Since they are not scouts, they cetainly can and should learn the skills but they cannot earn the badge.
  25. raisinemright

    SM assign MBC

    Fred, I don't understand your homeschooler comment. Do you mean that a homeschooled scout may not take a merit badge because it may also count toward his education? If so, prepare to lose an argument. (Sorry, my twisted sense of humor just came through) Seriously, what did you mean by that. To answer the original comment, I pust print off the names and numbers of all MBC's in the scouts community. Our troop is gepgraphically spread out, most of us are relatively new to the community and don't have years of knowing people and most importantly, the list, although current has a whole lot of people who have moved or no longer MBC's. My son recently called 7-8 MBC's on the list before hitting a live human.