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About bmcdonald138

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    Tobaccoville, NC

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  1. bmcdonald138

    Scout teaching Merit Badge

    Any Scout who has worked on Camp Staff as an instructor or has the required experience level/expertise to instruct the MB is ok with me. For example, I've had Scouts that were highly ranked athletes in Wrestling and Cross Country/Track and Field where they placed high in their sport at the State High School Tournament/Meet level....Those guys were very qualified to instruct Physical Fitness MB. I also had Scout that was a highly ranked amateur Bicycle Racer. Who better than this kid to instruct Cycling MB? I like to ride and run, but these kids were phenomenal, gifted athletes...None worked on camp staff since summer was their primary racing season etc....Young scouts really looked up to this stellar athletes.
  2. bmcdonald138

    EBOR - Appeal Loophole?

    I serve as a Troop Eagle Coordinator and run the EBOR. I always select EBOR members from the community, usually military Eagle Scouts and of course our District Rep(retired military officer). Early in my tenure I dealt with a very difficult EBOR. Young man was brought back into the troop by the SM. Young man had a few issues, trouble at school, family issues, moved to CA for 10months then moved back to NC with Stepmom where he rejoined the troop. SM brought him back into the troop on a few conditions which I heard spelled out to young man by the SM. In my mind as the EBOR Chairman, the young man met all stipulations laid out by the SM. SM resigned, moved on to a District position. Time running out for the young man, 18 fast approaching. New SM will not SM Conference him, doesn't know the kid or support the issue. New SM departs 3 months later, next SM agrees to SM Conference with young man. EBOR scheduled, conducted. Original SM wants to attend, to layout why youth should not become an Eagle. I would not let him attend EBOR. He submits a letter to the EBOR stating why he thought the youth was undeserving. District Rep had been SM of this troop several years earlier, was close friend with 1st SM. This was a very difficult EBOR. I lost alot of sleep and sought guidance from many friends, Eagles on how to run this EBOR. Board was held, some voted for the young man, some voted against. Young man was told why he had failed and his options. Young man appealed the decision of the EBOR and a District Board was called to discuss the denial of an Eagle. District team interivewed all the EBOR members, asked how we conducted the first EBOR. They then interviewed the Eagle Candidate, not a Board, but a few questions. It seems my original Board did not have him focus on his Project. We asked a few questions about the project, lots of other questions, many of them pretty personal and this kid basically was interrogated. I did not like the way my EBOR conducted themselves. I was glad it was appealed, the kid was not given a fair shake. The District Review Board overruled my EBOR and granted the young man his Eagle. I learned on that EBOR, haven't made those mistakes again. I didn't personally like this young man, but from what I observed for the time he was back in the troop he had lived up to his end of the agreement with the SM, held his leadership position, did everything he was supposed to, but I felt the deck had been stacked against him for his EBOR. He prevailed, I learned and pray I don't have another difficult EBOR anytime soon.
  3. bmcdonald138

    Eagle Advisors

    I've been the Eagle Coordinator in two troops for the past 3 years. I think it's a great job! I'm military and my wife and kids live to far away to go home to every night, but that's where my eldest got his Eagle, and my other son will earn his Eagle this fall. I get to a few troop meeting and campouts a year with that Troop. Going to Philmont with them this year. My Troop at Ft. Bragg gets me Monday through Thursday but seldom for campouts. Both troops come together at Ft Bragg for two combined campouts in Dec and Jan....SO I get to have fun with two Scout Troops and work with older boys in both Troops. As for Eagle Coordinator, I really enjoy it and and have helped nearly a bunch of Life Scouts worktheir way through that last tough part, their Project and BOR. I built a CD that goes to every young man when he becomes a Life Scout. I hold an initial meeting with each Life Scout, give them a CD that has two folders, one for Eagle Project Planning and one for Eagle Courts of Honor. We talk and discuss what a project is, when they can start it etc...They receive a copy of the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook, and checklist that takes them step by step through the process. Next the Scout develops his idea, we meet again and polish his plan, brief the SM on the plan then send him out to discuss with the recepient of the potential project, gain their approval. The Scout then writes up his plan, we polish it somemore, get SM approval, submit it to Council/District. Once Council/District approves the plan the young man is off to the races. Once the project is complete we polish the writeup, prepare the packet for submission to COuncil, prepare his Eagle Rank Application, do a uniform inspection and talk about what to expect for his Eagle BOR. I really enjoy helping Life Scouts with what is usually their last big push for Eagle. It's no fun with the young man is turning 18 in a few months adn time is his enemy. Some win, some lose that race. Now I have been involved with Eagle BOR where one member of the EBOR trys to be the keeper of the gate and that's wrong. Unfortuantely there are those out there with that trait. I see me as the counterbalance to that person. I still have vivid memories of my EBOR and how nervous I was before that Board. Managed to scrape by that board, wish I had somebody to help guide me through the process back then. Now I give back by helping potential Eagles.
  4. Twice a year our troop will hold non-traditional car camping trips that families or friends can attend. One is to a lake with sailboats/motorboats/tubing in May. Nice campfire in the evening, usually group/troop cookout for the meals....In August before school starts back in session we go white water rafting in the Great Smokies. Saturday is spent tubing in the Deep Creek campground, part of the Great Smokies National Park. Sunday we all head to the Natahala for a white water raft trip. Again family and friends are invited. Both tend to be well attended, especially the white water trip, a great send off from summer back to school. It also serves us well in recruiting friends and younger siblings into the Troop or Cub Pack.
  5. bmcdonald138

    A Trip Down Memory Lane

    I had one, purchased in 1971 and it sucked. Broke apart often and was a waste of money. I quickly moved, at my Aunts suggestion, to Kelty. Have been a loyal Kelty fan ever since buying my first Kelty in 1973. My wife bought a High Country in the early 80's and used it for several camping trips and overnighters. We still have it down in the barn with the other camping gear; it only sees the light of day if it's blocking a piece of equipment that's fallen behind the High Country....or a really, really desperate Scout needs a pack for a weekend....
  6. bmcdonald138

    looking for a daypack

    A medium Army/Marine ALICE is a great day pack. Big enough to carry more than what you need for a day hike/overnighter. 3 nice external pockets, one internal small pocket and top flap/map pocket.... On the other hand my favorite commerical day ruck is the North Face Kletter. Huge internal pocket, ont top flap pocket, two external cargo loops....Great Ruck!
  7. Hammocks and trails don't mix for me. Great for a nap or short lounging session, but to sleep, I'm on the ground on my side or belly. As a kid on a 50miler along the Appalachian Trail in 1975 I took a hammock and after trying to get good sleep for 2-3 nights I gave up on the hammock and went back to the ground. I will not carry one, although my fellow SM and ASM in our troop both carry a tarp and hammock and like them, cold weather and all. They will not be taking them to Philmont with us this summer, but want to....
  8. I like Red Ledge gear. I stay nice and dry and it doesn't break the bank account. Goretex is ok unless it's a steady downpour that lasts more than 2 hours....Campmor is my store of choice for much of my gear. REI is also pretty good but alot more expensive....
  9. I'm a huge fan of the North Face Cat's Meow 20 degree bag and or the Mountain Hardware Switch 20 bag. Great for 3 seasons, I've had my Cat's Meow down into the low teens numerous times and been comfortable, but that was really pushing the limits. Anything above 20 it was great....
  10. Kelty, Kelty, oh and did I say Kelty? I love Kelty packs, still using the one I bought new in 1973, a BB5 with the extended frame. My son has a Kelty Super Tioga. I also have a Kelty Internal Frame El Capitan circa 1982, and a smaller Kelty Internal Frame Tornado since about 2001. I've used them all extensively, but still keep coming back to the BB5 External Frame. That's what I'm carrying at Philmont this summer. My son will be carrying his Super Tioga. Kelty offers lifetime warranty's on bag and frames. I've had to return the BB5 to Kelty a couple of times for repairs, always comes back good as new. Now my favorite day pack is the North Face Kletter.
  11. bmcdonald138

    Need Recomendations on Hiking Boots

    We just bought a pair of Vasque Wasatch GTX for our Philmont Trek this summer for my son. I on the other hand wear a pair of Asolo Goretex lined boots. I don't remember the model #, but Uncle Sam issued them to me while I was in Afghanistan and they are great. I've been wear Vasque for years and also had good luck with Raichele, but it has been a few years since I replaced boots. For what your description of general camping and camporees makes it sound like...Go with the Wasatch. Medium weight, good support, quick to break in. A good boot overall.
  12. bmcdonald138

    Sleeping Bag - Synthetic or Down?

    I've been camping/hiking/climbing seriously since the early 70's. I've owned and used both down and synthetic bags multiple times. I keep returning to synthetic, especially when dealing with younger Scouts. Down = moisture = cold, wet and miserable! I've been in all kinds of weather, at elevation, harsh desert, no tropics, but just about everything else and I own one down bag, a North Face that I found in a yard sale that was in great condition. My favorite bags are Synthetic and I never carry down on any trips. My first bag of Choice is the North Face Cat's Meow. My second choice bag for colder weather is the North Face Bigfoot. Both are synthetic and I've been using them for years. Finally had to replace the Cat's Meow and am currently using a Mountain Hardware Switch +20. The Army uses a double synthetic bag system that is also pretty good, you can find lots of them on ebay. I've got a lot of experience with that system too. I typically left the Army system at home and carried one of my North Face bags. But I did carry the Goretex bivy sack....Go synthetic, especially if you camp in a wet climate and are supplying younger Scouts.
  13. My favorite Day Pack is a North Face Kletter. Had mine for about 7 years and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. It's a great, huge, single compartment ruck with a top pocket flap. Plenty of tie down points, two ice axe/trekking pole loops, nice padded shoulder pads, unpadded waist belt, chest strap. Indestructable ruck! Lots and lots of trail miles, used during bike hikes, climbing, spent a year in Korea wearing it daily. I'll be very upset whenit finally wears out or has tobe retired.
  14. bmcdonald138

    BSA Lifeguard Examination

    Now that I've stopped laughing at GernBlansten earlier post about Speedos....I too am not as young and skinny as I was when I earned my Scout Lifeguard in 1973, I also got ARC about the same time, then WSI as a College PE class....I always thought YMCA lifesaving was a joke. The kids and adults I worked with just didn't quit stack up. After earning Scout Lifeguard I spent 6 summers on Camp Staff as a Waterfront guy. Instructed, Rowing and Lifesaving, oversaw the Lifeguard program. As others have stated, having ARC and WSI truly helped with college funding and pool lifeguarding employment. I never worked at a pool, too boring after working at a Scout Camp waterfront. But my buddy, who was also a Scout Lifeguard with me at Scout Camp is the City/County Parks and Recreation Aquatic Director. When he's hiring kids for pool lifeguard during the summer, he keeps his eye open for BSA Lifeguards. Economics requires ARC, but my trust and confidence in their abilities goes to those who have earned BSA Lifeguard. in my humble opinion goes to BSA Lifeguards.
  15. bmcdonald138

    Philmont Treks

    Thanks all for your information and support. Our Crew got the trek we reqeusted, #32! We're all pretty stoked and ready to go. We are flying out of Charlotte, NC directly to Denver. In Denver we got a great deal on two minivans for our crew of 12. Nobody will be crunched together with Scouts and rucksacks for the 5 hour drive to Philmont. We're spending two days at the US Air Force Academy, then another night at Trinidad State Park before driving into Philmont. We've conducted one major equipment shakedown, are taking all our own Crew gear, with exception of food strainer, bear bag stuff. We've completed a couple of Crew shakedown overnight hikes to work out the kinks in our Crew SOP, practice map, compass and GPS skills. Got our Crew patches on the uniforms, Crew wicking Tshirts ordered and everybody has their boots and have at least started breaking them in. One more major shakedown trip the weekend of 24-26April at Grayson Highlands/Mt. Rogers area of Southwestern, VA, about a two drive from home, at elevation above 5200ft. We're ready. Last minute illness or injury are about all that will stop us at this point. Kids much more resilent to altitude than the 3 old farts. This old fart is doing major cardio daily with 3-5 mile runs in the morning and rucking in the afternoon/evening. Elevation sucks, but who cares when you're having a great time with a good Crew on the Trek we selected in beautiful country. Besides, that's what Motrin is for, Airborne Candy! Thanks again for all who have given their advise and experience.