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About WA_Scoutmaster

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  1. WA_Scoutmaster

    Who carries a pocket knife?

    Leatherman mini-tool, unless I'm going to a school or through an airport. Sad commentary on our times. I still have a certificate I received as a young lad (a year or two ago...) for starting a shooting club in my high school. Yep, we actually brought rifles to school, left them in the principal's office during the day, and gathered at the range in the afternoon. We didn't have fights, we didn't shoot each other (unless it was with paper clips and rubber bands!), and didn't try to carve each other up. Oh, our parents also knew, in the vast majority of cases, where their kids were going, what they were doing, and who they were with. Foul language meant an immediate trip to the principal's office. Utopia? Nope, we still had kids with issues. But they weren't threatening the lives of others. Thank goodness scouting still exists to rescue some of the boys that need help, and reinforce the standards of those who are already pretty much on the right path.
  2. WA_Scoutmaster

    Caring for troop gear

    Your point on unpacking to clean is well-taken. There are some items, though, that need a final cleaning at home station - i.e., we sometimes need to put up the EZ-ups to dry (this IS Washington), tents need to be dried and cleaned (tough to clean off mud in the rain), etc.
  3. WA_Scoutmaster

    Caring for troop gear

    Patrol equipment is marked, and patrol QM's sign for the gear from the Troop QM prior to use. When we return from a campout, the entire troop stays at the hut to help clean (although the person that dirties gear is the primary cleaner, a Scout is helpful). The QM (a scout) inspects all equipment before he accepts it for storage. The SPL is responsible for quality control of the QM - he will conduct a spot-check, and the QM is responsible for cleaning anything the SPL finds dirty. SM conducts spot-checks after everything is turned in. If anything is still dirty, the SPL cleans it. This keeps gear clean, serviceable, and teaches the boys responsibility. There is also a consequence (SPL washes!) for cutting corners. We also have an adult equipment coordinator that accepts orders for mantles, globes, propane stove parts, etc.
  4. WA_Scoutmaster

    switched troops

    Thanks, kwc57, and I couldn't agree more. Our younger boys show when they are interested in showing (which, I'm happy to say, is quite often). We require attendance of the leadership, though. How can you lead if you don't show? Granted, grandma comes to visit, scouts get sick, and other common-sense exceptions rise up. I can't in good conscience, though, grant credit of office to a patrol leader that shows up for 20% of the campouts and attends two PLCs in six months. It's time to teach boys how to set priorities. I had to teach my own son that, despite his enthusiasm, he couldn't do it all.
  5. WA_Scoutmaster

    Those darn parents

    Even better - looked across the campsite to see an adult lighting a lighter at the junction of the propane tank and the propane tree because he "smelled propane and wanted to find the leak". This was done, of course, with a sizeable audience of boys. I was able to run over & extinguish the flame before the tank erupted.
  6. WA_Scoutmaster

    How are patrols picked?

    Changing the names was just wordsmithing among the ASMs. We decided to get away from the "venture" label just so they aren't confused with a venture crew, and "experienced patrol" is, from the boy's perspective, a snazzier label that emphasizes their extended exposure to scouting. I always tell the parents that I'm not the best Scoutmaster there is, but I'm the best one in the Troop! OK, so I'm the ONLY one in the troop, but let's not get mired in details...
  7. WA_Scoutmaster

    Summer Camp

    We issue a custom-color hat to the boys. True, it's not official BSA headgear, but it sure helps me find my own guys quickly in a crowd of several hundred at summer camp.
  8. WA_Scoutmaster

    How are patrols picked?

    In our troop of 52 boys we divide them into three groups: New Scout patrols, Experienced Patrols, and a High Adventure Patrol. Any scout who has not yet achieved First Class goes into the New Scout patrol, since their meetings concentrate on First Class requirements. Since we tend to receive new scouts en masse from two Packs, we generally keep Webelos dens intact as a new patrol. Any Scout who is First Class or above, but not yet 14 years old, transfers into the Experienced Scout Patrol, which focuses on more adventuresome outings. Once he reaches 14 a Scout may transfer to the High Adventure patrol, which goes on the types of outings that are better suited to boys who can work with minimal supervision and who's physical development allows them to participate in more strenous activities (like hiking to the 10,000-foot level of Mount Rainier). The boys seem to enjoy the grouping. Older boys who are new to scouting tend to advance to First Class more rapidly so they can join their peers in what they see as the more "fun stuff". Our system isn't right for everybody, but it works well for us.
  9. WA_Scoutmaster

    Bear Canisters

    For anyone interested in the article, go to : http://www.tribnet.com/cgi-bin/makeframes.plx?http://search.tribnet.com/ Search for Norwest Trek, and it should take you to it. Believe they keep articles posted for 30 days.
  10. WA_Scoutmaster

    Bear Canisters

    Nope, guess he was just very hungry. Here's a quote from the article: The 900-pound male grizzly went straight for the bear-resistant canister placed in his Northwest Trek enclosure. The foo-long plastic cylinder resisted as best it could. But after about 10 minutes, the curious griz had popped open the canister's screw-on top and chewed through its polymer construction to get at the salmon inside. End quote.
  11. WA_Scoutmaster

    Moving at different speeds

    Mike, I completely agree with your views on electronics. They do provide a false sense of security, turn into toys, and don't belong on the trail. I will carry a cell phone [if we are in range of coverage], (for emergencies only which means injury to a scout that requires medevac, for example), but that's it. One thing we promote in the troop quite heavily is the concept of teamwork. On our hike there's at least one adult in the lead and one at the back - the boys put the slowest hiker in front and use the "extra" time on the trail to identify plants, animal trails, cloud formations, etc. Although the destination is the prime objective, we are also out to learn and have fun.
  12. WA_Scoutmaster

    Stretch pantsfor longest use

    I agree with the posters that argue scout uniforms are exceptionally (and unnecessarily) expensive. Since we are stuck with paying the prices for now, I'm always on the lookout for ways to make uniforms last as long as possible. Here's a suggestion for the pants: buy them long (unhemmed, if you get them new). Instead of hemming them, tack velcro strips along the inside of the pant leg. As the boy grows, simply velcro the leg farther down. Since legs generally grow faster than waists, this can add years to the life of a boy's pants.
  13. WA_Scoutmaster

    Bear Canisters

    BPC's are great, but be careful not to use them as a solution to all of your storage needs. There's an article in today's (June 14, 2001) Tacoma News Tribune about BPCs that describes how a bear tore into one. The best solution is to follow standard camping practices, even if you use a BPC - string it up on a bear wire. When we camp in bear country, everything goes up on a wire/rope. An added inconvenience, but one we must put up with to protect nature and ourselves. A fed bear is definitely a dead bear.