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Everything posted by dedkad

  1. dedkad

    What's In Your Water?

    I use the Katadyn filter and haven't had any problems, but I do my backpacking in the high Sierras where the lake water is probably pristine enough to drink without being filtered at all.
  2. dedkad

    LED Lanterns

    I no longer use gas or battery-powered lanterns. I felt like it was not only a big drain on my budget, but also on the environment. I now use the Luci solar-powered blow-up lanterns that blw2 linked in his post. For their size, they put off a lot of light. One is fine for general lighting, but two are better if you need task lighting. I'll strap one on my backpack while we're hiking and it's ready to go once it gets dark. I'm not sure how long a fully-charged lantern will last, but I've had them run for hours in the evening and have never once run out of light. When they first came out, they were only $9 each, so I bought a bunch. I keep two in my tent trailer, one in my backpack, several in my house in case of power outage, and I even have one in my glove compartment in my car for emergencies.
  3. Since none of the active Scouts in our troop have driver's licenses and families are so busy nowadays, communicating with the parents is essential to ensure that there will be no conflict in getting a Scout to a meeting or activity. To answer your two specific questions: Yes, I would pass along the message. When things are running smoothly in the troop, he should have already heard something about the event at one of the meetings, but maybe not all the details. Yes. For the two instance you provided, I would make him go because my son has not yet mastered the skill of being helpful and if given a choice, he would choose to not help.
  4. dedkad

    Do we really need summer camps?

    If you're asking this question, then your scouts are attending the wrong summer camp. There is so much more to summer camp than earning MB's. Different summer camps have different "feels" and offer different activities. Shop around. You know you've found the right camp when the boys want to go back there year after year, like our troop does.
  5. I know you stated in a different thread that your nephew is not on the Spectrum, but from all the traits you've described, I think he might be. You said the dyslexic special education teacher would have mentioned something, but that isn't necessarily the case. Not sure about your state, but in California most school districts try their hardest to not identify the special needs that some kids have because then they are forced to spend a boatload of money and resources to help the child. Especially when it comes to autism. I know of parents who even had to sue the school district to get the help their autistic child needed. Children on the spectrum need special attention. Not everyone is up to that task, especially not a volunteer Boy Scout leader. The challenge becomes trying to educate yourself and others in the troop on how best to understand and deal with your nephew's quirks rather than just labeling him as weird and ostracizing him. Dropping him off at meetings and expecting things to work themselves out is not going to happen. You are going to need to do some research and work with your nephew to improve his social skills. Without outside intervention, these issues aren't going to go away on their own.
  6. Adults pay for their own registration fees and pay the same costs for outings. They get reimbursed for gas, but that is it.
  7. dedkad

    New leader in California!

    Welcome! Love your enthusiasm! I don't think there are a lot of us Californians on this forum.
  8. Our troop alternates each year between a camp that is expensive ($700 including travel) and one that is closer and cheaper but not as good ($400). If they had their choice, they'd go to the expensive camp every year, but it's tough on the pocketbook. The boys did not have a good experience at the cheaper camp this past time around, so I am encouraging them to consider another alternative.
  9. The medical forms are good for one year and Parts A and B with insurance cards are required for most every outing/campout. Are you telling us that summer camp is the only outing your troop does ALL YEAR LONG that requires medical forms? Getting medical forms should not be a last minute effort prior to summer camp. It is an all year effort to make sure every scout and adult has a current form on file prior to attending any campout. Maybe you should consider having one person in charge of the medical forms all year long. I volunteered to handle this for our troop. I created a spreadsheet with the dates that everyone's medical forms expire. I get a list of who is attending each outing from the leaders of that outing. I then make sure I have a current form for those scouts and give all the relevant medical forms to the leader when they leave for their outing. It then just comes down to Part C for summer camp. I remind parents throughout the year that if their scout has an annual appointment scheduled with their doctor, then bring the Part C with them to the doctor's office. We also have a physician come in and do the physicals for those scouts who need them about a month before camp. I collect the completed Part C's right then and there. That cuts down a lot on last minute paperwork. I leave it up to the outing leader to collect the permission slips and file the tour permit.
  10. The fact that you are there has already interrupted my solitude, regardless of what you are wearing. Try as hard as you want, but you will not go unnoticed. Might as well wear bright colors in case of emergency. I usually save my bright-colored shirts for the hike in and out, and wear whatever I feel like on my layover days.
  11. Every year at Scout O Rama our troop hosts an event that I find to be pretty boring. They make fire starters out of wax. They don't even let people who come to the booth touch anything because of the hot wax. You look at our booth and the lack of people stopping by and you see other booths from other troops and how much fun people are having at those booths and it makes me sad. Our scouts tend to sit in our booth the whole time, so they don't get out to see the other booths and see what exciting things the other troops are doing. I am encouraging them to do something a little more exciting this year and would like to present them with a few ideas. What are some great Scout O Rama or Scout Skills activities that you've seen that would attract a crowd?
  12. dedkad

    Scout O Rama ideas

    Thanks for the great ideas! Unfortunately, some of them are already taken by other troops. I should have mentioned that this year they are holding the Scout O Rama outdoors at a public park. Our troop would pay for supplies, so some of the other ideas are a little too pricey for us. The water rocket idea sounds fun. I wonder if the Council would allow that. I have the leatherworking tools, so that's an option too, if we can find cheap strips of leather. Catapults are good too. Keep the ideas coming. I want to give the scouts some choices.
  13. dedkad

    Can I bring my younger son to scout campouts?

    Krampus, you have a very smart PL.
  14. dedkad

    Can I bring my younger son to scout campouts?

    Sometimes there's nothing wrong with posting to a Lazarus thread. Many issues that were relevant years ago are still relevant today. The discussion years ago was dominated by a few individuals, so it's nice to get some more opinions from others. I've been off this site for awhile, but I came on tonight to specifically look for this topic because I had a run-in with a new crossover's mom. The mom has some trust issues and won't leave her son unless he's supervised by the other parent. The mom wanted to bring not just the younger sibling to Camporee but the husband too. They wanted it to be a family campout where the older son would participate in Camporee while the rest of them took turns going out mountain biking and coming back to supervise the older son. Poor kid can't even go to summer camp because they can't afford to bring the whole family along.
  15. Our troop doesn't pay registration costs for the adults to register as leaders. Is that deductible too?
  16. I've researched further and now I'm thinking that maybe $3,500 is a bargain. Los Angeles charges $4,800 to $6,000 depending on which added tour you want to attend, Oregon is $3,500, which also includes an east coast tour.... Every one I looked at included an east coast tour except Sacramento, which you could choose to just do the Summit only or the tour too, but even the Summit only cost was around $3,000.
  17. dedkad

    Scout Leader Ethics

    See, this is how you should present the issue to your CM.
  18. dedkad

    Arrow of Light Ceremony

    Yes. Probably same for all the OA units, but ours wears the full Indian garb and bangs on a drum and everything. Very cool ceremony. When my den got their AOL, I didn't use a script. Instead, we took a journey down memory lane. I walked the audience through my boys' Cub Scout years starting with the first recruitment meeting my son and another boy attended as 1st graders. I briefly went through each year and had each boy come up and stand with me when I got to the year they joined. I talked about some of the fun things they did as Cubs and the growth that I saw in them as a group. When I got to the end of their journey, I talked about how they were now ready to receive the highest honor in Cub Scouts, and on that signal we turned off the lights, the OA started banging their drum, entered the room, and took it from there.
  19. dedkad

    Need help with Go See It planning

    Yes, TV stations do that sort of thing. You and your parents need to get over your fear of asking. I found that most businesses are eager to help. And it's not like you'd be the first person ever to contact the TV station to ask for a tour. Our TV station does tours all the time. My Cubs even got to be on the evening news. Calling would be best.
  20. To kick-off the PWD "season", our pack holds a Lego derby on the evening that the blocks of wood are handed out. Kids can build their cars ahead of time at home, or use spare Legos provided by other kids. We purchased special Lego axles so they can race on the PWD track. There are no winners or losers, just kids having fun racing cars. The kids are definitely capable of building their own Lego cars and it helps build anticipation for the PWD, which is much more structured. We also have a sibling race after.
  21. My son's troop pretty much plays dodgeball every meeting, if there is time.
  22. dedkad

    What do you do?

    That's what our troop does.
  23. dedkad

    Camping when cold

    I had a cousin die from running a propane heater in his tent. Don't do it.