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Tampa Turtle

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Everything posted by Tampa Turtle

  1. Tampa Turtle

    Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge

    I am interested in this as well. I signed up MB-C as well. as E-Prep I am involved in Emergency Operations as part of my work duties. We live in Hurricane Country and 90% of our scouts live in early evacuation zones. I know the big picture but am not sure how to translate the individual activity to a boy level. I know where there is a lot of FEMA, etc guidance and am sure I can contact/pull-in Fire/Rescue types if needed. I think the Troop emergency plan would be useful. For real. I think it might be good to roll some of the requirements into a drill. In Tampa they always have some really good disaster scenarios (two airliners collide over the city, one crashed into the stadium during Superbowl, the other attempts to land clipping and overturning a chemical truck next to a neighborhood before crashing intact upside down in 20 feet underwater.) I also think this is one of those "be prepared" activities that SHOULD be interesting/exciting to a boy like Wilderness Survival should. I think it is a cool topic. Be. Prepared. Mazzuca. Learn. Proper. Punctuation.
  2. Tampa Turtle

    Camp IN!

    When I was cubbing I really struggled with the Summer Activities (outside of Day Camp). In 6 den/patrols only had 1 that really did stuff and that was 1 or 2 laid-back activities during the summer. One year my boys did the Outdoor Activity Award and were often the only participants. I was a newbie and made them do almost ALL the requirements not picking SOME. So they really earned it that year. It was a pretty cool pocket patch and they hated seeing it go when they became Boy Scouts. I think the main thing during the summer is the parents want the break.
  3. Tampa Turtle

    It stinks being a leaders son

    I would think it would stink if you really did not want to be there. I am usually one of the regular campers but sometimes don't attend just so my boy can do activities without me around.
  4. Tampa Turtle

    Lesson in summer dehydration

    I know this is a no-brainer but I found the wet necker against the carotids quite good at keeping me cooler.
  5. Tampa Turtle

    Lesson in summer dehydration

    My 12 year old son went on a camping trip after having the flu earlier in the week. He was feeling much better by Wednesday before after losing fluids out ...well multiple openings let us say. I stupidly let him go. While he did drink he started out dehydrated and our 5 mile hike turned into an 8 miler in a shade-less scrub when the Troop got lost. I gave him some of my water and he seemed OK. After we got back Sunday night he was peeing blood. Found out later he had sustained some (hopefully temporary)kidney damage from cumulative dehydration.
  6. Tampa Turtle

    Cheeses and Backpacking

    I have used the wax coated Bonbel semisoft cheeses. So much my boys call it "camping cheese".
  7. Tampa Turtle

    Camp IN!

    How about one of those fake indoor campfires with newspaper logs and lights. Do a talent show around it. Can also make edible fires. Maybe a compass game, you know directions/headings. Balloon stomp is great indoors. Puppet show with some sort of camping theme. I would break out the cub-scout how-to books. While I no longer have cubs I still use it for parties and school ideas.
  8. Tampa Turtle

    What are the causes of the Eagle Mill?

    Beavah, Thank's for reminder of the broad view. Need to keep the main thing the main thing. I have a boy who loves to come to to camp-outs and cook for everyone, do service, is cheerful, and does it for fun not for the "advancement opportunities". Heck he would be grubmaster everytime if we let him. Loves scouts, loves camping, loves the camaraderie. Gotta another boy, newbie, never a cub scout, roaring through the requirements. He is just on fire. I quiz 'em he knows his stuff forward and backwards. Never did much camping before; he must practice his fire-starting and knots 'round the clock. Knows his stuff --not right to hold 'em back. He is happy as can be. Scouts is his favorite thing. Different boys, different attitudes toward advancement. Both great scouts, doing the program, and having fun. And it is all going to be alright.
  9. Tampa Turtle

    Summer Camp MB mill - as usual

    Sorry mean't 1st class and above not 1st year. Participation in Survivor camp-out was used as an incentive to learn those basic outdoor skills.
  10. Tampa Turtle

    Summer Camp MB mill - as usual

    Kudu, Thanks for your comments. We used to "market" our Survivor campout as an "over the top" experience and it was pretty popular. For 1st year and above -young'uns at base camp. Than we (with the help of some military instructors LOL) made it into a classroom in the woods. Sure they checked off most of the MB requirements but it was not as fun. And oh how the boys complained, and complained. They were right. I think we need to go back to the way we used to do it. Safety of course, but the boys need to have fun. When they are tested than they will take pride in it. Only 1% may be in that situation? I remember talking to a new scout complaining on the 5 mile hike. He said why hike? We have cars, etc. I said what about all those New Yorkers on 9/11? Closed down the subway, roads, etc. Many had to walk 10-15 miles uptown and across the river to get home. May not need to do it often or even ever but it's nice to know you could if you had to. Isn't that part of being prepared?
  11. Tampa Turtle

    Summer Camp MB mill - as usual

    I would think many a boy would think the Wilderness Survival MB as currently required disappointing. They watch Survivorman and Bear Grylls on Cable (heck even my kids have --and we don't even HAVE cable.) While survival training requires a lot of learning the MB is too much like a school class. If you want to do it right, show them edible, distilling water, how to catch critters (even if you don't) you have to ADD a lot of extra material. We had a Wilderness Survival MB campout and had boys trying to tote 30 lbs of gear with them --they did not see the conflict. We do not use the book at all. At least the survival kit leads to discussion and demonstration. We had the boys show us 3 ways to make fire without matches or lighter. We got steel wool and battery, magnifier, flint and steel, and a couple brave souls with a wood drill. The first aid parts got better when we had older scouts and adults act as victims for diagnosis. We also had a few real cases of dehydration and sun burn so they could real practice. One year we had a boy come with just his hatchet (most have read the book by Gary Paulson). Liked his spirit. Seems to me, done right, this is one of those that would really attract boys to scouts!
  12. Tampa Turtle

    Summer Camp MB mill - as usual

    Calico brings up a good point. First, since so many took it have the boys review and practice what they should have learned. They missed a lot of fun; by the popularity of survival type shows boys should eat this stuff up if you present it properly. I hate to think a whole week wasted. Second, complain to the camp. Perhaps they had a bad instructor. It happens. Third, I agree. Bring your concerns to Council. Even within the range of opinions of what should count for MB completion this seems pretty slack.
  13. Tampa Turtle

    Looking for more ideas for Family Camp

    We have done Carnivals where each den ran a game or an Obstacle Course likewise. We have had dessert contest. If the group is not large a night hike is good; kids loved it. Biggest problem is getting the parents to be quiet, turn off phones, and no lights! Opps, I guess you are doing day only. We have had nature hikes that were scavenger hunts (no picking) or history hikes. Human chess was good. Did sponge throwing game, like dodge ball with big sponges and 5 gallon buckets. Once made a catapult (larger PVC pipes with 1/2 a 1/2 gallon jug as a basket). Did a post hole bend it back and fling water balloons. Kids will fight to catch them. Hardest part is filling up all the water balloons. Not to big as they get heavy. Actually flinging anything with the catapult was popular. At one day camp they set up a wall of boxes. Boy Scouts on one side had super splasher "guns" and the other side a row of catapults and water balloons. It was pretty cool.
  14. Tampa Turtle

    Summer Camp MB mill - as usual

    Not even the make the 3 fires or stay out all night in your shelter yopu made yourself? That's the manly fun stuff! My son was passed at the Wilderness MB class he took even though nobody started a fire (it rained but they "passed" him--we are going to make him demonstrate anyway). I know he made a shelter of old boughs and tried to sleep in it all night (it was neither warm nor wet). And he thought that was a bad class!
  15. Tampa Turtle

    What are the causes of the Eagle Mill?

    Basement, I saw one of those Trailers on the way to camp for the first time. An Atlanta Troop I believe. "Where Eagles Dare to Soar" or something. No ages just years. Had 15 last year. What is wrong with the traditional plaque in the scout hut or church lobby? In my old single digit Troop I used to like to see the odd congressman or ministers name in there... Eagles sure seem more common these days. I do not think they have the same prestige. My two first cousins were Eagles in a traditional Troop in the early 70's. Older one waited for his brother had same COH. Folks flew in from all over, major newspaper coverage. Has anyone seen the growing emphasis on Eagle Palms in their Troop? I wonder if the awards "arms race" is spreading.
  16. Tampa Turtle

    Opinions on Showman Activity Pin

    Don't rush through Showman. I did not think I would like this one, One of our parents, a broadcaster, took this one over. Once the boys warmed up to performing they had a blast and were really, really funny. Don't make them short cut it just to get it done. One act can still have characters and props come and go. For some boys singing or performing in front of others is the equivalent of a mile swim or COPE for others. In front of boys and parents that they know they are more likely to try and build confidence. I think for the shy guys it is a biggie. Of course some are real HAM's! They need control. They are usually the leaders' kid. If creativity is a problem tell them to take a familiar story and make a new twist. Hollywood does it all the time. Our boys did 3 little pigs with the Wolf as a Ninja. It was a puppet show. The ultra slow motion recap of the fight scene was hilarious.
  17. Tampa Turtle

    What are the causes of the Eagle Mill?

    Sad but true but I would add a subset of (2) parents is Eagle Dads. I would say 70% of our problem parents has an Eagle Dad or Maternal Grandpa. Some of these kids didn't even want to get into scouts and still don't seem to enjoy it in spite of our best efforts. The program promotes Eagle too much, I hear too many adults say "I was only a Life". Only a Life! A Life Scout should have been pretty accomplished. I always ask "were you the best scout you could be? Did you have fun?" That is what is important. There is HUGE pressure on our boys from their parents that an Eagle and Lacrosse and a huge number of service hours will grease them into a great college program and the career of their choice. I see this start in Elementary School. I see it at church. I see it at non-profits. Look at the Arrow of Light inflation. Now it is a rarity for kid not to get it. I had an irate parent in Webes whose boy missed a lot of meetings and make-ups and was probably miss AOL say "He really needs his AOL so he can get his Eagle; it is so important!" Sometimes it is the kids. My special needs son was a Tiger saw a presentation by a Boy Scout on canoeing (yes we took Tigers on a canoe trip -the infamous "river of death" fiasco) and asked what the badge was. The boy proudly explained what the Eagle was. My son said "I want to get that" and has been very competitive in scouts because that is his goal. Of course he wants to get in the Military (again since 1st grade) and sees the Eagle as proof that he can meet a challenge. Who am I to discourage him? His younger brother wants it to; I think it is a sibling rivalry thing. But he LOVES scouts so if it keeps him motivated. In our Troop we have had better luck in the last year explaining to parents that Eagle Scout is not the goal, but character development and independence is. If a boy is an active participant and stays focused he can get that Eagle around 16; that is our informal goal that a boy could be within striking distance. That gives a year for project and a buffer year for distractions/family emergencies. We also have had some excellent Life to Eagle coordinators in our Troop -really nice and tough ladies that challenge the boys that have stated they want Eagle to have a plan. I personally tell the boys to have fun. Some of these kids are wound really tight.
  18. Tampa Turtle

    10 Things to Revitalize a Troop

    Thanks everybody. We have a lot of folks on the same page so I think we will be OK. I think more Patrol activities will work on the intimacy issue; we have 2-3 ASM assigned to each Patrol to facilitate smaller level activities. The older dads are aging out as their sons hit 17-18; some are working on committee, a couple not happy with size of Troop and things not being the way they ran it. New dads have some great material and we got them trained up fast. Like I said we lost some of the middle dads (and also the most outdoors one) to a run of bad luck - a company moving, military reassignment, and two life threatening illnesses. Some good ideas I will give them to my sons and see if they can push for what they like up through the boy leadership.
  19. Tampa Turtle

    Summer Camp lessons learned list

    I would add from our trip: (1) Check 1st Aid kit BEFORE going and throw out all medicines and items (gloves) that degrade in our un-air conditioned scout hut. Missing a medical item is tougher on a week trip than a weekend. (2) Bring a sewing kit. (3) Bring a repair kit for repairing camp chairs, stools. (Sewing Awl, heavy needle, dental floss.) (4)Make sure all PL and ASM's are consistent on dealing with a severe homesick cases. Had one ASM and one PL have boy call home without us knowing it--make things a lot worse. Have one adult assigned to learn up on best way to deal with it before trip. (5)If the SM is busy at check-in make sure the other adults don't hog all the good tents/tent sites.
  20. Tampa Turtle

    10 Things to Revitalize a Troop

    I agree on the Patrol size...we will see how it works out. We have a lot of jobs at the Patrol level now so almost all boys but newbies should have something they need to do.
  21. Tampa Turtle

    10 Things to Revitalize a Troop

    Some great ideas! Keep them coming. Moosie-Hah! I am almost 50. By Sophomore, I mean I am in my 2nd year of being an ASM! Sorry. I should have used 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year...I mean't that the first year as ASM I made lots of mistakes but now guide some of other newbie adults. If you used to be a DL it is a big shift. Like the idea of a hike with a purpose. I led one of the 5 miler "make up" hikes and ended up doing a lot of nature and history lecturing along the way. It was well received by some boys --though I had to cram. A lot of boys always act the hike is a race. By my handle you can tell I am not a fast hiker but slow and steady. I also like the EMT training and dumping the boys out for Orienteering. Also the SERE hike--we have some special forces types who could plan that. I have commented on my MB frustrations many times. Boys have gone on Camporees but were not too impressed. Parents see MB Acadmies put on by Council -- we cannot stop them from going even if we do not announce them. Like the fun or more adventurous ideas. I think at times the Troop uses the metrics of MB earned and Advancements instead of retention and fun.
  22. Tampa Turtle

    10 Things to Revitalize a Troop

    Camping tends to be at same locations. Boys are involved in planning the schedule. Not many games, when we did some they were popular. Leaning toward one Troop level activity and one Patrol campout a month.
  23. Tampa Turtle

    Running Elections

    I know our SM did talk to the parents of our 3 SPL candidates over the additional time requirements, driving required of the SPL position. We had a pretty big problem with am AWOL SPL due to mom insisting he always do band first, etc. If nothing else some guys are just too busy.
  24. Tampa Turtle

    Trail to First Class

    We have been leaning pretty hard on Eagles to "give back" to the Troop for leadership and training. The best ones do. We try to stroke their egos that the younger boys look up to you and Eagle Scout means more to others inside scouting than out. Also a few comments at COH to parents that this not the place for your boy to pad his college application and that there is a very nice Eagle Factory right down the road, thank you very much. Another problem with "Eagle Dropouts" is that the parent often drops out about the same time and if they were a treasurer or key committee member you got another hole to fill.
  25. Tampa Turtle

    Running Elections

    John-in-KC A lot of boys ran up to get a form, including many who had never gone for a leadership position before. Yeah forms, but modern day BSA is nothing but paperwork. Want to join fill out a form. Medical forms. Camping Trip forms. We give them planning forms for menu planning, camping trip planning, year planning. Don't lose your rank card. Eagle project paperwork. If it were not for Troopmaster we would have many more paper forms. I work for the government and am astounded by how much paperwork is in BSA. Bad solution, probably. It seemed to work; boys took it more seriously and felt it was fair. As for our poor SM we are a large Troop I am not sure how easily he could mentor that many boys (aside from the SPL which was not really our problem)
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