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Spiney Norman

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About Spiney Norman

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Illinois
  • Occupation
    Spreadsheet Warrior
  • Interests
    Scouting, Bicycle riding, camping, beermaking
  • Biography
    It's me, poker of bears, pusher of envelopes, knower of things things that should be left alone.
  1. Spiney Norman

    From National: Official Name

    Now if we can just get them to get a program together for us at that level, oh I don't know like what we already have in Venturing. What is so hard about this?
  2. Spiney Norman

    Merit Badge Worksheets

    As a MB counselor I used to rely heavily on those worksheets. I never required them but would steer scouts to get hold of and use them. It seemed a way to help them get the requirements done quicker and with less fuss. Full disclosure I am a counselor for Family Life, Communications and Personal Management. The subject matter can be pretty dry and some of it does seem like schoolwork. What I found over time is that their mastery of the subject matter began to slip until it almost became a fill in the blank type situation. I've since changed my focus, required that the scout get hold of the MB pamphlet, READ IT, and fulfill the requirements as written, i.e. discuss, write, show. I have also challenged the scouts to "Wow" me and they have. I guess it all comes down to expectations. Perhaps before I was just looking for completion rather than mastery. The worksheets certainly are a good teaching aid , but by no means are they a complete package to a scout completing a merit badge. Ken
  3. Spiney Norman

    GSUSA going down the IT trail

    I was just looking at the "20 skills that are dying out" thread and thought to myself, yes; a lot of these skills are dying out, but what about the technology skills young people have nowadays that we couldn't even imagine. Are IT skills a replacement for those or rather an addition to the list of things a well rounded person needs to know? I like to think myself fairly computer literate, but still find myself asking those 30 something adults in my troop how to solve some of my trickier IT issues. To many of them it is just second nature.
  4. I am looking in to some different high adventure trips for 2015 and came across this place. Anyone have any experience paddling this river? From the NPS website it looks to be rife with multi-day possibilities.
  5. Spiney Norman

    FOS Presentation

    Our council tells us the cost for one scout is $260. The will accept any donation and are happy to have it. I was corralled to do a few presentations this year and it is decidedly not a high pressure pitch. You do get a special FOS council patch if yoou donate the asked for donation though.
  6. Spiney Norman

    Is there a LIMIT imposed by National on Den Chiefs?

    I have den chiefs placed with our feeder pack. Sometimes 2 to 3 per den, but then they have 10-23 boys per den and that's a different story, and these boys earn their chops. Firstly they are placed for the cub scouting year, many go on to staff summer day camp, and most continue on for 2 years or more. These boys get great exposure to leading a group and receive fantastic support and mentoring from the den leaders. We truly do have a really good pack! Every Den Chief is expected to complete the training and all do. These are the boys who become our best PL's. I know of no restriction on the number of den chiefs per pack or den. And everything that Stosh said, ditto, diito and ditto!
  7. Spiney Norman

    Tent vs Hammock

    I have a just converted to hammock camping in the last year or so. They work really great for backpacking and when you are moving each day or even for a day or two plop camp when you are travelling light. The cold can be an issue but I have taken to using my big agnes thermal air mattress below me for insulation. I have found that even at 50F and below you need insulation below you to be truly warm and comfortable. I spent my week at summer camp in the hammock and rigged up a backpacking fly to act as an additional roof and also as a privacy screen of sorts. Summer camp means I pack a lot of stuff, heck I'm there all week and want to be comfortable. I'm still working on storing this stuff neatly and safely but I'm not about to give it up.
  8. Spiney Norman

    Council with provisional Charter.

    We are actually a merged council already. About 15-20 years ago, we were merged with a smaller council. Council kept both camps, one dining hall and one patrol based. both are located a good 3-4 hour drive from council. council also recently sold off their 'close in' camp ( a 40 minute drive) and partnered with an adjacent council in developing a cub scout focused camp about an hour away. The partnership is working out well and the camp is always busy. Not so much can be said for the summer camps. Both are not well attended and have what I have heard are weak programs. The scuttlebutt is that the recently retired CE was not really on top of fundraising on the corporate end. I would tend to agree. We have several major world wide corporations (ahem, Big Mac) located within our council boundaries and I never heard of any attempts to solicit support from them. we have a Regional guy here part time now and I have not heard of a search for a replacement, so perhaps this is a fait accompli.
  9. Spiney Norman

    Removing summer camp focus from merit badges

    What a great idea.I'm with you on this but good luck selling this to council let alone parents. We have all been trained to look upon advancement and MB's as a gauge of a troop or program's success. This is a lie, the true measure of success is more subtle and harder to gauge. Sometimes you may not see it for months or years. I once spent a few days at a camp in northern Wisconsin near Rhinelander after having to get off Lake Superior because of weather. This was a full blown, high energy, high program dining hall camp. Everything was on a BIG scale. Kids were encouraged to bring their bicycles so they could get to "class" on time. Meals in the dining hall were high energy, loud raucous affairs. My scouts and I were truly blown away. Two days later we were of a different opinion. To us it seemed like a Webelos 3 and 4 camp with no challenges for older or even 3rd and 4th year scouts. We realised that everyone's time was very programmed. It wasn't camp it was a small town. Our troop is very adamant about attending a patrol based cooking camp. The unfortunate thing about it is patrol identity seems to begin and end at the activities centered around meal times. Cooking, cleaning and gathering wood for the stoves. I would like to see our camp change it's Campwide troop competition to a patrol based competition. Granted you may have those troop that can only muster enough scouts for one patrol, but wouldn't that even the playing field when going up against larger troops? The advancement end of camp seems to have taken over and becomes what drives the activities as opposed to the other way around. Activities should drive the advancement. I really like your ideas. They would really help the boys "get it" as opposed to the one and done attitude that programmed camps engender.
  10. Spiney Norman

    Council with provisional Charter.

    After our CE retired after 18 years and several changes on the board we were informed via an on-line post from our Council President that their charter is in a provisional status. We are a small council with 1 too many summer camps, two total, that between the both of them are open only 5 weeks. Anybody ever been through this? what can we expect. I've heard from some folks on the inside that a merger is in the works.
  11. Spiney Norman

    ILTS/TLT in Your Troop. Who does it?

    While TLT is not required for NYLT it is part of the ILST/NYLT/Nayle continuum. NYLT covers a lot of material quickly, I would think sending a scout that is not familiar with some of the concepts and could inhibit how much they retain. Take a look at the new ILST course. It may just change your mind...................
  12. Spiney Norman

    ILTS/TLT in Your Troop. Who does it?

    WELL THAT DIDN'T WORK VERY WELL...............
  13. I had a short conversation with the course director for NYLT in our council last night. He seemed to be very surprised that we conducted ILST/TLT in our troop and had been doing so for years. So here's my question, I'm trying to get an idea of where folks are at on this subject. Oh, sure! let's try this poll option.
  14. Spiney Norman

    Sad news...OldGreyEagle has passed away

    Godspeed, Old Grey Eagle, your sage advice and level headed attitude will be surely missed.
  15. Spiney Norman

    PLC Campout

    Seems like our troops ran a similar path. we rewrote the old TLT and amazingly it come out a lot like the new curriculum. Though in my opinion it looks like they took a lot of the practical games and exercises from the old JLT video course and added them in to the theory heavy TLT. I do like the new course though and we too have added an entire session just on meal planning and cooking. I like your idea of a cook off. Alos, have you documented your communication module. It looks interesting and if you could forward me a copy I would really appreciate it. Thanks, Ken/Spiney Norman
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