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Bob Russell

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Everything posted by Bob Russell

  1. In contemplating PETA's request of Boy Scouting, I seriously reflected upon all other groups critical of us, and concluded that I must do as requested and celebrate diversity. The diversity that I will celebrate is to honor the other PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals). The fishing merit badge will need to be emphasized at our independent summer camp this year. New Dutch oven menus will be explored. And our traditional stop at a Dairy Queen on our return from Scout outings will now require the purchase of a cheeseburger (need both beef and dairy products!). Celebrating diversity is tough, but we need to do it "for the children." Because of my commitment to celebrating diversity, I look forward to receiving an ACLU award in the coming year.
  2. Just tried my daily search for usscouts.org and it came up. Looks like the US Scouting Service Project, MacScouter, etc are back with us.
  3. Jmcquillan has a good status report on all of the usscouts websites under the forum entitled usscouts.org. He will let us know when new email status reports are received. I as a matter of habit enter usscouts.org each morning to see if it's back on yet.
  4. Eisely, I'm glad you and your scout came out of this incident okay. Each time we scouters experience such an event we and our scouts need to reflect on the lessons learned, share them with others, and remind ourselves that the rules imposed upon us by BSA are there for a reason. I am reminded of a canoe incident our troop experienced last year on the John Day River in Oregon. The trip was open to all ages, and we had scouts from ages 11 to 18. We required each to have earned the swimming merit badge prior to the trip, and to participate in 2 one-day outings on white-water rivers prior to the trip. The youngest scouts were paired with adults. On one of the prep trips, I and another adult managed to put my new canoe up against a logjam, with the canoe then swamping and getting trapped. After the trip, we talked of what we had done wrong, by getting up against the jam, and what we did right, which was to immediately jump up onto the logs, leaving the canoe and gear to be sorted later. The primary lesson to the scouts was to never risk your safety for things you can replace. Anyway, on the John Day, halfway through the trip we encountered a father and son alone, with the son looking rather miserable. The son was also a scout, so they paddled with us for companionship. Soon they dumped their canoe, and we all helped in a rescue and then to reload their canoe. It turns out that this pair came alone after others dropped out, and had previously flipped their canoe, lost one paddle, and without a spare, sat for a day. The father then hiked downriver and found the paddle, and they resumed, well behind schedule. Their training consisted of one trip on a slow river, the Willamette. Luckily, a rancher happened to drive by and took them out by truck. We then discussed this with our scouts as to the lessons learned. They then appreciated the training we had put them through prior to the trip, and the spare equipment we had. Often it is only when you see someone's misfortune do you learn of the value of your training and the reason for BSA safety rules.
  5. I guess I disagree with the comments here, in that I don't think prices of uniforms are out of line. Expensive, yes, but to compare uniform costs to general production clothing such as jeans is not realistic. BSA uniforms are somewhat limited production/limited market items, and I'm not aware of any type of uniform clothing that does not have a cost penalty. Beside limited in production, I would guess that there is a longer shelf life in the stores, and this will effect the price. As far as quality, I've worn the same shirt for my 10 years as a Scouter, giving great thanks and appreciation to my wife who keeps switching patches as necessary. In this time, I have had only one pocket stitch start to come undone. I do not have any other article of clothing that old, except army surplus gear. I do treat the shirt more as a dress shirt, for meetings and such, as I do not wear it on high adventure outings. To me the BSA uniform is not suitable for that purpose. I would think it would be hard to create a uniform that looks good for ceremonies and meetings and also works well in the outdoors.
  6. The Pack I was involved with for 9 years (2 sons - both now Boy Scouts) did things differently. We never awarded trophies or had runoffs. Our Pinewood Derby was a casual free-for-all. Every scout could race as often as he wanted. Because most scouts made new cars each year, they would bring their old cars for brothers and sisters and friends to race. I often worked the repair station, replacing wheels, adding weights and adding graphite to axles. Every scout had a good time, and it seemed that each scout would announce to me as I fixed their cars or lubed them up that they had won 2 out of 3 races at a minimum. With a 3-lane track, this was obviously not possible. But each scout would have his own definition of winning. If his car was ahead before it flew off the track, he felt he was the winner. This allowed for several "winners" each race. Since I remember my Cub Scout days at Pinewood Derby as "lose one race and sit" with the scouts whose dads made the best cars being the winners, I truly think our Pack's approach was the correct one for us. No scouts won a trophy, but they all had a great time.
  7. When I read your message about Sears, I immediately sent an email inquiry to Sears asking if there was a corporate policy regarding the Boy Scouts, or whether individual stores could create a policy. I received the following voicemail this morning, which I have transcribed: "This is Sears national customer relations calling . . . There was an article in the Wall Street Journal about companies who have withdrawn their support of the Boy Scouts. Sears however did not withdraw any support. Sears has never supported the Boy Scouts on a corporate level. Individual stores have made financial donations as well as donated equipment from time to time. Sears has no plans at this time to prohibit individual stores from supporting their local troops as they choose." Corporate phone # 800 549-4505 The caller was obviously reading from a script, and she emphasized the phrases "at this time" and "as they choose." I interpret the message to mean that Sears is not at this time prepared to take a tough stand on either side, and instead is trying to walk the middle of the road. I remember someone once saying that the only thing you find in the middle of the road are yellow streaks and dead possums.
  8. The John Day was attractive to us because of the relative solitude and beauty of the area, and the whitewater aspects. Good fishing for bass also. However, the river levels drop quickly, and we began the trip the day after most of our scouts were out of school. Even then, we were scraping bottom by the end of the trip. Another couple of days could have been a problem. I will get more specific info, including internet site for water level history, from the parent who planned the trip. As far as the Willamette, we never cosidered it. It is a medium size river, but slow moving, and runs through towns and farm areas. It just didn't compare to either the John Day or the Columbia. When it looked like we might not be able to do the John Day this past year because of rapidly dropping water levels, we did not give the Willamette serious thought, but instead looked at the Columbia as our backup. Luckily, the levels held on the John Day and we were able to make the trip.
  9. Our troop has done several trips in Oregon you may be interested in. This last summer we did the John Day, and several years ago we canoed the Columbia River, from Ranier, Oregon to Astoria. This trip followed a portion of the Lewis & Clark expedition. The Columbia can be challenging because of the size of the river and the weather effects. The John Day has some whitewater experience, but not too challenging. Let me know what information you would like, and I will help where I can.
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