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Everything posted by Hedgehog

  1. That's what got me. I've been approached by several parents and girls who are interested in starting a unit. Talked to the COR who talked to the head of our Chartered Organization who gave approval. Working with the Pack Committee and Cubmaster to start there and working with the COR to lay the groundwork with Scouts BSA in 2019. I can't be SM (due to being SM of current Troop and the Advisor of the Venturing Crew) but I'm going to do everything I can to see the new Troop succeed. The powers that be are in agreement the Troop will be Youth Led and patrol based That solves all the problems. The youth leaders from the new Troop can coordinate with the current Troops youth leaders and decide what level of interaction the youth want. Our current QM, who is in the Venturing Crew, has ideas of how to share gear (the Troop and Crew currently share gear). The incoming SPL as well as the outgoing SPLs and ASPLs of the Troop are all on board with inviting the Crew and potential female recruits for the New Troop over age 14 to the Troop's Leadership Development campout in the fall. As for adults, our former Crew President has agreed to be an ASM when she turns 18. We have several Assistant Scoutmasters who have daughters who are interested and we expect them to shift their primary registration over to the new Troop. We have someone who we think will step up to be the Scoutmaster and we have several woman who are willing to provide leadership on the Committee and on outings. So it isn't a "stand-alone" Troop but I'm not sure that makes a difference. It will meet on a different night and have different youth leadership and different adults. The key is getting enough members. Those of us working to get this going will be doing some marketing later this summer having the local weekly paper do a profile on the Pack, current Troop, Crew and future Troop. We will also reach to the other Troops in the area and see if there are Scout aged sisters and the Packs in the area to see if they are going co-ed in September. We hope to have multiple trained youth leaders by February so that whoever is elected as SPL and PL know what they are doing. Our leadership training focuses on youth-led, patrol method and servant leadership and we are adding a "project management and planning" segment (drawn from the Venturing materials). We have the first meeting, they form patrols, they elect leaders and then the Troop is off. Train them, trust them and let them lead.
  2. Our Troop only does popcorn sales. Last year it was badly managed because the Popcorn Chair didn't return the show and sell popcorn and we ended up with a significant inventory that we are still trying to sell. We typically make around $1,000 from popcorn. We charge $100 per Scout for annual registration with $25 going to Council and $75 to the Troop to cover merit badges, awards, rank patches, POR patches and the cost of food at three Courts of Honor and a holiday party. We have been running outings at pretty much break even by charging for food ($3 for breakfast, $3 for lunch, $5 dinner), camping ($2 to $4 per person determined by dividing cost by 25 scouts / adults which is our typical attendance) plus the cost of activities. The Troop of the son of someone I work with told me that they fund their entire program through fundraising. As I embark as a Venturing Advisor, I'd love any ideas of what people do for fundraising and how it goes.
  3. Hedgehog

    Keep an eye on your scouts!

    I've seen more ticks this year than ever in the past. My son and I were helping out on an Eagle project and found 10 ticks that hitched a ride -- including finding two in my car three days later.
  4. Hedgehog

    Female Sibling on Campout?

    Look at the joining requirements for Boy Scout Troops. That is all you need. The daughter is functioning as a member of the Troop and that is not allowed. Also, from your posts, it sounds like the Troop is violating YPT guidelines which require a male and female leader on any overnight activity where there are youth of both genders. I suspect that there may be insurance issues. I was told by Council that insurance covers registered Scouts and potential members -- she is not a potential member and therefore may not be covered. We started our Venturing Crew with three friends. By the first meeting we were up to 8. After 9 months we are around 14 (I've lost count) with absolutely no recruiting but word of mouth. It sounds like you know the answer and are just looking for something to point to. I'd go with membership standards and youth protection (requireing a female leader on outings).
  5. Hedgehog

    Female Sibling on Campout?

    I think that I come down on the side that the daughter shouldn't be on the campout. The program is for the boys. We have a bunch of daughters of SMs and ASMs in our Venturing Crew. Although the Crew has done some outings with Boy Scout units, they think that it is much more fun to be in the middle of the wildnerness by themselves.
  6. Hedgehog

    Female SPL

    Interesting discussion. I would say our Crew does the patrol method better than our Troop. I've told them that "in Venturing everyone is a leader" and that means each of them have roles they are responsible for in helping the Crew suceed. They work together, take care of each other and have each other's backs. The best evidence that it is working is that they don't want to leave after meetings and would prefer to hang out together. I think two of my female Crew members will be doing NYLT this year with one of my male members on staff for a neighboring council. To me, that means that the Crew will only get better. Moving the troop more toward the Patrol Method is another (long) post.
  7. Hedgehog

    Backpacking and camping in New England

    Fear is heavy, knowledge is light. I have a 3 liter Platypus - full is 6 pounds. Two liters will get me from after breakfast up to dinner even on a really hot day. If you know where you are getting water from and how far it is, you can carry less. Good planning puts you at a water source right before dinner so you don't have to carry a full load all day or better yet, you can take a short hike from camp to get water once you put your pack down. We typically pass a water source at least once during the day and are near one at night. The Scouts typically carry 2 liters or less. We've never run out of water. Oops... that should have been 1 pound, 7 ounces. That is for a Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 with footprint split between two people (total weight 2 pounds, 14 ounces). You can leave the inner tent at home and just go with the fly and footprint for a total weight of 1 pound 4 ounces. Or I have a BearPaw Designs tarp with flaps that uses my hiking poles and a sheet of Tyvek - around 1 pound 8 ounces for two people which only cost around $150. A Kelty Salida 2 tent is only 4 pounds 9 ounces or 2 pounds 5 ounces per Scout and retails at $149 (before an easily found 20% off coupon). How about 8.5 pounds? https://backpackinglight.com/philmont/ The key is a lightweight mindset. If you start with the premise that 30 pounds is the lowest, you've already lost. If you start with the idea that you base weight (before food and water) should be below 20 pounds and take every opportunity to reduce your base weight -- you will suceed. Also, it doesn't have to be more expensive to be ultralight. My 2 pound 2 ounce pack costs as much a a 4 pound 4 ounce pack. The key is educating Scouts and their parents BEFORE they go out and purchase gear. i do a backpacking gear presentation every year for the new Scouts and their parents with the goal of educating them how to spend their money wisely so that their sons ENJOY backpacking.
  8. Hedgehog

    Backpacking and camping in New England

    NOBODY should be carrying a 40 pound pack, especially not youth. The maximum anyone needs is 28 pounds. You can easily drop some weight in the various catagories and get to 25 pounds (my numbers are in parenthesis after each entry) 4.0 Pack (2 pounds 2 ounces) 3.0 Sleeping Bag (2 pounds 2 ounces) 1.0 Sleeping Pad (1 pound 11 ounces - ok, so I'm over on this one...) 2.5 Tent (1 pound 8 ounces) 3.5 Clothes 2.0 Cooking Gear 1.5 Water Carring and Filtration 2.5 Rest of the Gear (2 pounds 1 ounce) 2.0 Water 6.0 Food ----------------- 28 pounds (my weight 25 pounds)
  9. Hedgehog

    Obscure Summer Camp Must Haves

    In that line of thought - DON'T BRING cotton underwear. Ex-officio underwear is great for Scout camping and for any summer camp where kids (and adults) will be exercising in the outdoors.
  10. Hedgehog

    unfortunately we have to walk away

    Also, there is no reason your son can't start LEARNIING about the merit badge topics he is interested in on his own this summer. I love it when a Scout comes to me and says, "i've worked through all the requirements on my own and I'd like to meet with you to discuss them." Granted, there are parts of merit badges that require approval by the counselor and parts that require doing things once you started the merit badge, but a large amount of the learning can (and should) be done independently. As a side note, get your son a copy of the BSA Fieldbook -- great summer reading. Focus on knowledge, not just patches.
  11. Hedgehog

    Backpacking and camping in New England

    Additionally, we do a number of "shakedown" hikes before going backpacking. They are 4 to 5 mile hikes where the scouts pack their backpacks and take them on the hike. Our backpacking treks are pretty much 4 of those hikes over three days (4 to 5 on Friday, 4 to 5 on Saturday before lunch, 4 to 5 on Saturday after lunch, 4 to 5 on Sunday). The shakedown hikes allow scouts to evaluate the gear they have - and to shake down the weight of their pack by eliminating unnecessary items. It also gives them the confidence to go on the trip -- they know they can do 4 to 5 miles at a time because they have done it. After pack weight, the second most important factor is footwear. No work boots, rubber boots, etc. Everyone should have hiking boots, hiking shoes or trail runners. The thicker soles make a difference when going over rocky terrain with 25 pounds on your back. I prefer the low cut (vs. Mid or High cut) hiking boots - my whole family replaced their mids with low cuts and will never go back. Boots should be a half to a whole size bigger than their regular shoe size (buy a size bigger so they last longer). First, you don't want your toes hitting the front of the boots going downhill and second, your feet will swell a half a size on the second day. Make sure their shoes are tied tightly - loose shoes rub against the backs of heels and cause blisters and worse. Socks MUST be wool. Cotton socks WILL cause bilsters. I wear silk liner socks because my feet tend to sweat. I've never gotten a blister since I'm wearing those socks (as opposed to being plagued with them before). The shakedown also helps to make sure that the boots work well.
  12. Hedgehog

    Backpacking and camping in New England

    Why do you need the trailer? All you need is one backpacking stove per three boys to boil some water and some freeze-dried (Mountain House / Backpacker's Pantry / etc.) or FBC (freezer-bag cooking - see trailcooking.com for recipes) meals. You could also make meals from things you find at the grocery store that you just add hot water - mashed potatoes (add precooked bacon and cheddar cheese), couscous (add some Romano cheese), Instant Polenta (add Parmesan cheese -- do you see a pattern?) or even Kraft Mac & Cheese (you could add more cheese if you would like). Add a "One-Egg Wonder" frying pan (like $5 at Target) and you can have bacon and eggs, sausage and pancakes or some really good breakfast buritos. Second, 10 miles a day is pretty difficult for Scouts who have never been backpacking before. I've found that 4-5 the first day, 6-8 the second day and 4-5 the third day works well (it also is enough to count toward the 15 miles for a 3 day trip for the Backpacking merit badge). We did the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail in New Hampshire two summers ago, but that was around 54 miles over 6 days and was pretty remote. My recommendation is to look at the Appalachian Trail because that has frequent intersections with roads where you can get a gear truck in if necessary. Finally, please make sure you Scouts know what to pack. Their packs should weigh no more than 25% of their body weight or 30 pounds whichever is LESS - including food and water. Send me a private message with your e-mail address if you would like me to send you a copy of the "articles" I've written for our Troop (and shared with other Troops and our Crew) on gear and cooking.
  13. Hedgehog

    Obscure Summer Camp Must Haves

    For your husband: Comfortable Camp Chair Big Coffee Cup Shirt that says "Do I Look Like a Boy Scout?" on the front and "Ask Your Patrol Leader" on the back A Hammock - making sure to have taken Nap On Safely" training
  14. Hedgehog

    Last ditch retention one-liners

    How about using this one liner well before they think about quitting: "Are you having fun?"
  15. Hedgehog

    We Didn't Start the Fire

    My favorite is the wax wrapper of a Baby Bel cheese and a piece of cotton string. Makes a nice candle. Teaching how to make the candle it is a great way to demonstrate the EDGE method, especially because eating the cheese is one step in the process. For practical use, I always carry cotton balls with Vaseline and keep a Zippo emergency sparker with tinder in my pack. What the Scouts have termed my "pyro bag" includes Cotton Balls with Vaseline, Chapstick, fatwood, pine cones, cat-o-nine tails, natural fiber rope, paper birch bark and magnesium. I've never had luck with dryer lint - I guess i don't wear enough cotton. Despite all that, I think all they need is a pocket knife to make a pile of wood shavings. Not too glamorous, but gets the job done.
  16. Please don't judge this group by @@David CO's response. He always sides with the adult leaders because they were appointed by the Chartered Organization. There are those of us who understand that BSA Advancement is guided by the rules and that a Scoutmaster or Committee cannot change or add requirements. It is the BSA's program, not the Adults, not the CO's. The adult leaders are there to implement the program and help the boys. Best of luck to you Eagle. Congratulate him for me.
  17. Hedgehog

    Personal Safety Awareness Training

    According to the research, the percentage of times that the sexual assault victim in a college situation knows the attacker is 75% (although that number may be skewed due to the broad definition of sexual assault used as discussed above). As I teach Scouts when I'm doing Wilderness Survival Merit Badge, the best way to make it out of a difficult situation is not to get in the difficult situation in the first place. Stay Mentally Awake - pay attention to your surroundings and don't do anything to impair your judgment. Stay Morally Straight - have a strong moral compass and use it to avoid potentially harmful situations. Use the Buddy System - two minds are better than one. Be Brave - that means telling a friend that he or she is not using good judgment and encouraging them to avoid a potentially harmful situations. Being Brave also means telling a friend that it isn't right to take advantage of someone who has been drinking. Be Courteous in your relationships, that means making sure both people affirmatively consent to any romantic or sexual activity. Be Trustworthy - your friends trust you to be there for them. Be Friendly and Helpful, if you see someone who is acting in a way that endangers another person, don't leave those two people alone or if you see someone who is intoxicated make sure he or she safely finds their way home. Be Physically and Mentally Strong - stand up for what you believe.
  18. Hedgehog

    Figit spinners

    If the scouts are distracted by the spinners, that just tells me that what is going on in the meeting isn't that interesting.
  19. Hedgehog

    Personal Safety Awareness Training

    @@MerleneMir - If you dig deeper into a lot of the statistics on campus assaults, you find a lot of interesting information. The major studies have used a very broad definition of "sexual assault" to include unwanted touching or kissing and forced oral sex, attempted rape and rape. Althought the unwanted touching and kissing is wrong, I have a problem in grouping it in the same catagory as the later actions which involve force, coercion or a person unable to consent. As a result, some of the numbers are misleading without further breakdown. Nonetheless, most of the later catagory isn't a result of an attacker hiding in a bush, but rather the attacker being someone the victim knows or meet in social situations typically involving significant amounts of alcohol. Nonetheless, everything they need to know can be found in the Scout Oath, Scout Law and basic safety principles. What does being mentally awake mean? What does being morally straight mean? How about being "obedient" when it comes to alcohol use? What does it mean to be "friendly, courteous and kind" mean? What does it mean to be "helpful" or "brave"? How about the buddy system? You can pull a lot of the stories from the headlines and use Scouting principles to analyze the behavior of the person doing the assault, the person being assaulted, the friend of the person being assaulted and other people who observe the situation. The discussion in my Crew was enlightening. I got the sense the each of them had a strong moral compass that included not putting themselves in dangerous situations but also taking care of others so that they don't end up in a dangerous situation. There also was a great sense of respect for the opposite sex and a strong sense of equality -- both male and female crew members objected to the videos having different messages for woman and men.
  20. Hedgehog

    Camping By the River - LNT Toilet

    I'm curious, where is the flood plain rule? I've never heard of that one and it isn't on the LNT website that I could find. The plastic bag, kitty litter and white PVC Tube with endcaps works well.
  21. That is not an official BSA publication and based on reading it, it seems to be VERY outdated. Wow. I guess even talking to the opposite sex should be banned because you can't get to holding hands without talking. As @@qwazse said, there is a difference between affection and sexual conduct. You could conclude that even if they weren't holding hands. And, if they are drawing that inference, it is a lot better for them to infer sexual relations as part of a consecrated, legally-sanctioned, committed, loving and monogomous relationship which includes affection and respect rather than the way sex is portraited on television as a carnal, one-night stand without any love or committment.
  22. I've never seen anything in regards to Crews except for prohibiting relationships which span the various ages (I don't recall if it is over/under 18 or over/under 21). If those types of relationships are banned, you could infer that other relationships are permitted. My understanding is that crews set their own guidelines on that issue. Can you provide a reference for your statement on Crews? Also, I don't see ANYWHERE where it says that holding hands with, putting an arm around, hugging or kissing your spouse is PROHIBITED.
  23. Hedgehog

    Pinning down volunteers

    That was a council level issue with CNJ. The units were all doing fine and very little changed on the ground except the shoulder patches and lodge flaps. If you ever find yourself in New Jersey... we'd love to have you. This is some of the best advice given on this forum. I've spent the last four years getting buy in from adult leaders and parents. As I'm poised to take over as SM for the Troop, I have the the backing of the other current adult leaders which allows me to go forward with my vision.
  24. Strange, I was actually thinking that there wasn't nearly enough lawyers. There is a difference between the issued in the original post and what @@Stosh is talking about. I agree with the responses to the original post that the actions of the unmarried couple seem inappropriate. Similarly, I agree with @@Stosh that the typical displays of affection among married couples are helpful in setting a good example for the Scouts. Was on a shakedown hike on Thursday holding the hand of my wife of almost 25 years. Will kiss, hug and give back rubs in the presence of Scouts and will share a tent when camping. Do we have make-out sessions or grope each other in front of scouts -- of course not. Scouts can learn a lot through seeing examples of healthy adult relationships.
  25. I've always figured it was a matter of time. Last year, on the way back from our 50 miler my son and his best friend were texting two of their girl friends and talking about how the four of them should do a backpacking trek. A couple of weeks ago, my son and one of the girls were over our house and she started talking about how Girl Scouts really lacked adventure. I mentioned Venturing and her eyes lit up. She mentioned a couple of other names, one of which is the daughter of another ASM in our Troop. The next week, I mentioned Venturing at the end of an e-mail to that ASM. His response was that his daughter would be very interested and that he also was interested in helping out. Add two more friends of the girls, the daughter of our IH, my son's best friend and my son's buddy he did NYLT with and we have five girls and three boys that are interested. It would be easy to add a couple of boys from the troop to and a couple more friends of friends to round out the crew. I told my son and his friends that if they want to do this, then they need to take the lead and make a presentation to the IH and COR to get approval (should be easy because CO already sponsors a Pack and a Troop). We've got an Advisor (me) and three more adults (my wife, the ASM and his wife) interested in helping out. I can easily recruit some other parents to be the CC and Committee Members. Our only challenge is finding a female adult to do the high adventure -- my wife will camp and hike, but is hesitant to go anywhere there isn't at least a latrine. I've spent the last couple of week reading everything I could find on Venturing (Advisor Training Manual, Crew Leadership Training Manual, Award Requirements, etc.) and have ordered the Advisor Guide and Venturer Guide. I even found a really cool joining ceremony on the BSA website. Any advice to a soon to be Venturing Advisor (other than training myself to say "youth-led" rather than "boy-led")?