Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by wffarrell

  1. Hello All, After a long absence from this forum I am pleased to see that is alive and well. Certainly, this group helped me as a new SM and I am eternally grateful for the help I received here. That said, yes, as SM I did sway one or two elections and definitely it's a judgement call. In both cases the boys felt good about voting for the successful candidate and the troop was strengthened as a result. In one case the candidate was very quiet, but turned out to be a great administrator and his quiet demeanor was quite different and appreciated by the boys from his predecessor w
  2. I was cook for the Adult Patrol. Eight adults signed up for the campout and eight "forgot" to sign up but showed up. I bought food for 8-10 and 16 were in the camp. I was cutting bananas in half, tearing tortillas into little pieces and adding many cups of water into the chili. However, far from a disaster we all ate well, did not overindulge, and I think I ended up with an onion and a can of sardines left over!
  3. Every troop is unique. Every troop has it's own history and style. I think that if a troop has "Lawyer" as a committee position, they've gone too far. Some troops operate using the Scout Oath and Law as their bylaws. Hat tip to them, I assure you! For the rest of us there needs to be further clarification. Fees and camping policies, for example, can be codified in bylaws. Reimbursement for travel, or not, how to submit expenses. Scoutmaster evaluation and succession policies may be important to some troops and not others. Whatever the bylaws or policies a troop decides
  4. I'm a Roundtable Commissioner and this is an excellent question! In two words: cooking themes In another word: competition The boys will rise to the occasion given a theme and a contest. We've had great success with box ovens made out of a cardboard box and foil. They actually work and the boys cook everything from pizzas to pot roast. Cooking themes push the boys to trying new stuff and new foods. We were successful with an unlikely theme of Grilled Vegetables, but the boys really got into grilling zucchini, carrots, onions and even eggplant! And, they ate it. As ad
  5. Hello Scouters, I haven't been here for a while, at least as a contributor, but I have been lurking in the shadows. I decided that some thanks were in order for the help I received when I became a Scoutmaster over 3 years ago. It was a rough time for me and the advice and support that I received from Scouters here on this forum helped me find my groove, so to speak. During my tenure I graduated 22 Eagles and had countless moments that only a Scoutmaster can have. Now, I am still active in my troop but also serve as Roundtable Commissioner and Vice-Chair Program for the distric
  6. Yes, many, many, many years ago my wife and I went on a ski trip to New Mexico and stayed in a lodge with 6 other people. There was a large fireplace and split oak, but no newspaper or gas jet. None of the other adults could figure out how to start the fire and I disuaded one guy from trying to get gasoline from his car! With only my Swiss army knife and my Scout training, I had a roaring fire going in no time. Hold the applause, just throw money.
  7. Hello Korea Dude, I switched to the campout method of TJLT last year and have run three sessions. I created a program using the JLT material, NJLTC from Philmont and Wood Badge. It's been successful for our troop. Here's the basic blueprint. The whole weekend is planned out minute by minute. The SPL is given a peek at the "next event" only a little before it happens, much like in Wood Badge. The Leadership is divided into patrols, and with my troop it's been two patrols: North and South. On Friday night after arriving at camp the patrols are created, a leader elected and they
  8. Hello All, It's been a while since I posted, but this is an interesting topic. Yes, an axe can be used safely. Also true, modern camping may rely upon propane stoves that makes an axe somewhat of an historical tool. As a young Scout myself I was comfortable using an axe because I used one around the home. Not so modern city boys. I set up an axe yard whenever possible and encourage the boys to use an axe to prepare for campfires, etc. The shock of my life was a Life Scout who could not figure out how to make a tent peg out of a piece of wood. But, unlike me as a young Scou
  9. I'm 52 closing in on 53. By the time I was 16 I had spent half my life in Scouting. I took a 25-year nap during college/grad school/early married life and returned to active duty when my son became a Tiger. Now, I'm a Scoutmaster, my son is Life and we both went to Philmont for the first time this summer. Each year is better than the previous one. I can't wait! bill
  10. I think that in the future Scouting will have something like the video game The Sims. Let's call it The Scouts. Real Scouts will have virtual Scouts that they manipulate through advancement. There won't be any camping and troop meetings will be a bunch of Real Scouts at their laptops networked into the National Scout Simulation. As the Virtual Scouts earn their ranks, the badges will be ordered automatically through Amazon.com and FedEx'ed directly to the Scout's home. Courts of Honor will be on-line, that is, virtually. Just imagine, no heat, no humidity, no bugs, no dirt, n
  11. I love Houston. No, I haven't been out in the sun without my hat again. It's true. Houston is a great place to live because of its multicultural society. Our troop is very diverse representing at least 10 nationalities if not more. As SM I should know this stuff; if only I had another hour a week. Our campout cooking themes have been a lot of fun. We've had Curry Weekend, Vegetarian Weekend, and, my personal favorite, Iron Chef where I pick the theme ingredient. At our Luau campout I chose pineapple. Several patrols brought fresh pineapple. I demonstrated several dishes includin
  12. Web developer for a major oil company in Houston, Texas. Yippee! Scouting was a big part of my youth and I achieved Eagle with palms and Vigil Honor in the OA. I was fortunate to attend the National Jamboree in 1964 and the World Jamboree in 1967. I had a 25 year nap during college, graduate school and early married life until my son was Tiger Cub age. I should have said "I'll be back." and I would have been famous. Now, my son and I are on the trail to Eagle together and it's even more fun. I can't wait to get laid off so I can do this full time! I'm off to Philmont for the fi
  13. In our troop we conducted a traditional JLT, whatever that is, over a weekend as a lock-in arrangement. We showed the videos, went through the script, did the games and discussions and concluded with a long range planning session. After doing this a few years even I dreaded JLT because it was just so boring. So, when I became SM I decided to shake things up a bit. I combined the elements from JLT, NJLT (philmont) and Wood Badge into a customized program for our troop. I know where we are weak and I put special emphasis on those parts. Instead of the lock-in we did a weekend campout m
  14. Swiss Army Tool. The Victorinox version of a Leatherman. I never knew I needed it until I bought it. All tools accessible without opening it. Pliers are the most useful camp tool. Granted, I coped just fine without it and I once fixed, er, "fixed" a coffee pot with a rock but the SAT does a much more "refined" job. The saw is great. I cut a great red maple hiking staff from a fallen tree using the saw. I'd take it to Philmont, except I'd rather carry the two liters of water it weighs instead! For weekend camping, though, I can't beat it.
  15. Raised in Arizona; live in Houston. Love the dry heat and the wet heat. Yes, I think that living in air conditioning sort of ruins you for the outside. I try to run every day outside at lunchtime. Just for an hour or so. I find that I can go to soccer games, camp and do outdoor things without the heat bothering me. Many of my friends wilt in the heat because they're not used to it. Also, I've learned to stay hydrated, seek the shelter of live oak trees, and to be truthful, I'm not a big fan of the beach because of lack of shade. A big part of it is attitude. I live in a hot place
  16. I am a skeptic. When my son built one of these water rockets as a cub scout and brought it home, I looked at it and thought "right, this is going to be a non-event". You know the rest of the story! I was out in the front yard launching 2-liter bottles a hundred yards up! For hours. Couldn't get enough of launching. It was a blast. Oh, yeah! Our launcher got stepped on during a frost and broke, but I still have the pieces and maybe I'll just repair it this weekend and give our new neighbors something to talk about! regards, bill
  17. Dan hit it on the head, there, with the Saturday games. That really makes a difference. Also, it's quite common on these competitive teams that if you miss so many practices or games you're either benched or you don't make the team next time. In our soccer leagues, for example, there are only so many slots and kids who don't make the team play in the recreational league. So, Scouts often takes a "back seat" because we don't bench kids. However, I've been successful in talking with coaches about Scout/players and it's often possible to strike a balance. Kids miss practices for a
  18. OK, don't laugh. I read the articles about how the Army has used a combination of duct tape and an "over the counter wart remedy" (Compound W) to eliminate planters warts from soldier's feet. Well, I've got a planters and it's just started to bug me when I run. So....I've got a roll of tape, a vial of Compound W and the experiment is on. Yeah, yeah, I can hear you guys giggling all the way down here in Houston...
  19. Hello Scouters, What's happened to the website www.philmont.com? They're off the net "for the forseeable future". What's going on? They had an active message board and it's just gone. Anyone know? Regards, Bill
  20. Hello All, Thanks for all the great replies and ideas. I'm all pumped up, now! We have some work ahead of us to solve this "boring" problem. As a major objective we need to teach the Scouts how to plan and execute troop meetings and have fun. So, all of our behind the scenes work will be directed to teaching. Yes, obvious, but sometimes we lose sight of the objective. We need to do better planning and that includes execution. We need to make sure the Scouts have the resources they need and guide them in this process. We will use Troop Meeting planning guides, meeting
  21. Hello all, I'm completely revitalized by this discussion! To ASM 7, actually we did just about the opposite about a year ago. The Scouts said "Meetings are boring" in a PLC so we did a brainstorming and all that and the Scouts wrote their own program. Yes, we helped carry it out, but (and this was a mistake) we didn't guide them very well in what they chose to do. They chose to have more games at meetings and in retrospect we should have used competitions, etc, but we didn't. As a result, after about two months of games attendance really dropped off, and the refrain was "Why shou
  22. To all, Thanks for the great replies! And in a single day, too. This is like the World's Biggest Roundtable. I read my own posting and pretended that someone had sent it to me. How would I answer? If I had to pick one word to summarize our main problem I would pick: planning. We have 9 patrols. Each patrol has two ASM's as advisors. Currently, we put our new Scouts in their own patrols, usually 3 patrols created in January with some shuffling and reorganizing of the other patrols. New Scout patrols also get 1-2 Troop Guides to work with them through their first summe
  23. Hello All, For me it was learning to identify and use resources. You know, you don't have to do it all yourself. That was a hard, but valuable, lesson for me. I'm much better, not perfect, but much better at identifying my resources and using them; both in Scouting and at work. It's a powerful tool. Regards, bill
  24. I was an Armadillo in my BSALT training. We won best flag. On the obverse it was an armadillo in profile with a Texas flag superimposed with the eye a star. On the reverse it was a flattened armadillo with a tire track across it and the motto "Don't Tread On Me". Our flag is in the BSALT Hall of Fame. I used to be an Armadillo, a good old Armadillo, too, but now I've finished Armadilloing I don't know what to do. I'm growing old and feeble and I can Armadillo no more but I'm going to work my ticket if I can. I'm sure BP had that in mind. YIS, bill a good
  25. Hello Scouters, I need help, advice and stories of success. This is the blueprint: We have a large troop of nearly 100 boys. (Yeah, a bunch of you are saying that's the problem, but, hey, this is Texas, what do you expect???) We have a real hard time with troop meetings. We generally get 30-50 attendance. We've tried all sorts of things: conduct multiple merit badge classes, speakers like the police dog handlers, patrol meetings, contests and other ideas we've gotten from the Internet, other troops, and the ton of Scout literature available at the scout shop. We are not ne
  • Create New...