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Posts posted by Hedgehog

  1. Thanks for all the replies.  I think I have been misinterpreting; I was requiring five hot meals, two of them on backpacking stoves.  I think the requirement can be met by cooking three meals, either over a fire or on a camp stove, using three different specified methods.


    This means on a normal weekend a scout cooking for his patrol should be able to complete the requirement.



    Don't feel bad.... I had the same question when I started as a MBC for cooking.  It took me a while to figure out that what I consider a "lightweight" stove (i.e. an MSR Pocket Rocket) is not the same as the BSA's definition (i.e. a Coleman two burner) because a "lightweight" stove has to be different than an "approved trail stove" used for the backpacking or trail meals.

  2. Now one final thing that yeh need to be aware of.  In da broad world of Boy Scoutin' there are sort of two versions of MB counseling.  In one version, yeh proceed sort of like school, eh?  There's a scheduled "class" or bigger group of boys.  The lads have worksheets, they might expect powerpoints, yeh teach to the requirements, yeh often test/check off things as a group.   Yeh can finish in a Saturday morning or in 4 hours at camp.    Some boys, and some adults/parents will be used to this system and expect it, eh?  If yeh try to do anything else they'll consider yeh a bad counselor who is "adding to the requirements" or somesuch. 


    In da second version, counselin' is a relationship where the boy gets the full benefit of the attention and expertise of the counselor.  He and a buddy make their own appointments with yeh, you share all sorts of things about the discipline and have a lot of fun with it.  Along da way they just happen to meet da requirements individually while they really get excited by the field and learn some good stuff.  Some kids and units expect this sort of approach, and if yeh are offerin' the class thing they won't come/won't allow their kids to come to you.


    Da second one is da traditional way MBs are done, and actually reflects da official policy of the BSA.  The first way has become the more common way things are done in da real world.   It requires less commitment by both da counselor and da boys.   Yeh might be able to tell I'm an old traditionalist.  :D   


    I think there is an "in-between" third way.  For example, I do Personal Management during four one-hour session over four weeks which are mostly discussion.  In between the classes the boys are supposed to prepare for the requirments discussed at the next session.  Then, the boys are expected to meet with me separately when the get the various "doing" activities done and then to have a final discussion of what they learned for the badge.  Camping is one four hour session on a Friday night with pizza, backpack show and tell and a tent setting up contest.  The guys need to have at least 12 nights camping to attend.  They already know the stuff, so it is a lot of discussion and everyone learns from each other.  When they get the required nights of camping and required adventures, I have an individual conversation witht he scout.  Cooking is a 1 hour meeting where they plan the menus, a full day of cooking (with discussions interspersed between meals) and a one hour follow up meeting where they do a lot of the paper work.  They show they know the requirements by doing the actual cooking.  Then there is one more separate meeting where they talk about cooking for their family and we review what they learned in the badge.  I've actually done the learning requirements for backpacking merit badge as a series of conversations on a backpacking trek.  No power points and no worksheets used.


    That being said, I am working on a powerpoint presentation for Wilderness Survival mainly because there is a lot of information that needs to be conveyed and I think the merit badge pamphlet is lacking in many areas.  Also, it allows me to use video clips, music and other gimicks to keep the boys attention.  The 3 hour presentation is followed the next day by a campout where the boys make their survival kits, build their shelters, start their fires, filter their water, etc.  The day after the campout is a group debriefing asking what did you learn?

  3. I'll echo the sentiments provided by others.  You don't need to be an expert, just willing to put the effort into the merit badge to become an expert.  


    I've always loved cooking (taught myself to cook in law school to save money).  My wife and I used to spend weekends cooking gourmet meals -- before we had a kid and our jobs became increasingly demanding.  However, I've never really cooked in the outdoors other than using a barbarque.  Fast forward three years -- I have cooked everything in a dutch oven including babyback ribs, roast beef, baked ziti, Italian spareribs, chicken caccitore, chili, stew, corn bread, hot pretzels, dump cakes, two layer chocolate cakes, cheesecake and more.  I've learned about foil cooking and learned to barbarque over a fire (we had some delicious marinated skirt steak on the last campout).  I've started dehydrating my own food and jerky for backpacking treks.  The safety and diet requirements were easy to learn.  Now, I know more about camp cooking that most long time scouters.


    I've always loved camping as a kid, but wasn't in scouts.  When my son crossed over, I read everything I could find on camping and backpacking gear and talked to everyone I could.  Got a subscription to Backpacker magazine.  I studied everything I could find on survival skills.  Started "doing" it.  Three years later, I've camped out around 70 nights and hiked or backpacked around 250 miles (with another 50 planned this summer).  I've taken Wilderness First Aid training twice.  Now I'm an MBC for Camping, Backpacking and Wildnerness Survival.


    I'm a lawyer and in college I majored in International Relations and Speech Communications.  Being a MBC for Law, Citizenship in the World and Public Speaking is easy.  I'm a dad and work in the tax field, so being an MBC for Family Life and Personal Management also was easy.  I've been playing chess since I was around 6.  I've never learned the history, the nomenclature or the various "scenarios" that need to be taught, but it just took a weekend of research to fill in what I didn't know (most of it I knew but didn't know what it was called).


    So, you really just need to be interested in a subject and have some experience.  A reasonably smart person can fill in the gaps.


    @@blw2 is correct.  The MBC typically isn't supposed to be a "teacher" but a mentor.  I find myself somewhere in between -- maybe a "guide."  I find that I provide the base knowledge, we have a discussion about the "why" and then it is up to the scouts to show they know it by doing.  

  4. Thank you for your input.  I have told my nephew to do just as you say - to concentrate on the outdoors and fun.  He is worried about all the merit badges, but I told him they will come.


    To tell the truth I do not see how camping and hiking will help him get all those citizenship badges, but you could fill libraries with all the material I do not understand.  In the long run all that matters is that he have fun.


    I'll be honest, the merit badges aren't that hard, especially for someone like your nephew.  We've got guys who are earning every imaginable merit badge because the love learning the stuff.  The outdoors and fun stuff is what your nephew NEEDS because it is a different experience from book learning.  The BSA Fieldbook would be a great resource to bridge that gap.


    The camping and hiking won't get him the citizenship merit badges.  However, my son is volunteering at the local watershed conservation organization for his Citizenship in the Community merit badge -- learning about nature while learning about citizenship.  When I do Citizenship in the World, the boys will go into New York to visit the United Nations - we can call that an urban hike.  For Citizenship in the Nation, you have to visit a national monument - we did the Statute of Liberty and a camping trip to D.C.  However, it will give him experience for rank advancement (Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class) other badges like Camping, Cooking, Hiking, Backpacking, Orienteering, etc.

  5. I have never done the pole business.  Always just tied off inside the tent.  Never torn my netting, I have 2 and they've been around for 20+ years.  One useful knot I learned as a kid that doesn't get enough play time in scouting today is the sheet bend.

    Our summer camp doesn't permit anything to be tied to the inside of the tents -- even if you tie it to the poles.

  6. That would really be a feather in their cap.  Maybe BSA should create a new award for successfully destroying a scout unit.



    Who is "their"?  In this thread, "their" would refer to the SM and the Chartered Organization who have created their own version of scouting which doesn't follow the rules of the BSA and puts additional burdens, if not roadblocks, on boys earning advancement.


    If my reccollection is correct, you work with a Catholic School.  The school is under a Diocese.  What would happen if a teacher failed a student who had earned 80s and above on all his work because the teacher felt "the student didn't really deserve a B" because he didn't do the extra credit assignments that the teacher had developed but never gave to the students? What if the teacher took the student's final exam when he handed it in and said he wouldn't grade it because he thought the student should fail?  That is the situation here.  The Scout did everything that was required in to earn Eagle, but the SM is refusing to sign his Eagle workbook (like refusing to grade the final exam).  The SM also is adding requirements (an additional 10+ nights of camping) that were not previously explained to the student (the extra credit projects) and that are not required.  Let's throw in that failing this class will prevent him from graduating.  What would you tell that kid?  What should the principal do?  What would happen if the principal said, I'm backing the teacher beause it is his class and it's only one student out of a couple hundered and one class out of more than 50, so it isn't significant (that is what you said about scouting for your CO)?  Would you advise the boy to go to the Diocese to protest his treatment or tell him, it's only one grade, don't worry about it (it's not your life's work)?  If you were the person in charge at the Diocease would you be "loyal" to the school in that instance or would you stand up for the student?


    That example is pretty much what is happening in this troop.  The BSA's guide to advancement provides that adults cannot add requirements to attain ranks.  The Camping Merit Badge which is required for Eagle requires 20 nights of camping.  It appears that this scout has a lot more than 20 nights BUT the SM is requiring more than 10 additional nights.  The Scout completed his active participation requriements a long time ago, but the SM is requiring additional months of those requirements.  The Scout has completed his Eagle project and the SM is refusing to sign off on it because he thinks the boy should not be an Eagle.  The SM is refusing to give a Scoutmaster conference when BSA rules do not provide any justification for denying such a conference.  The SM is refusing to schedule a Board of Review despite his job being to schedule that (the Guide to Advancement specifically says it the SM and CC's responsibility and not the parents).


    Assuming the facts are as the original poster laid out:


    1)  Do you think that the SM and CC are following BSA policies and proceedures?

    2)  Do you think this boy should be denied Eagle based on the SM and CC's subjective judgment?

    3)  Do you think that the Chartered Organization should support the SM and CC even though they are not following BSA policies and proceedures?

    4)  Do you think that the Council should intervene to make sure that the SM and CC follow BSA policies and procedures?

    5) Or would you advise this Scout and his parents to accept that despite meeting the BSA's requirements for Eagle, the boy will never make Eagle because of the subjective judgment of the SM and CC?

  7. Our dues are $125 (including BSA dues) per year.  Those cover awards, three courts of honor, a holiday party and replacing troop gear.  Our Troop earns around $40 per scout from popcorn (around 50 scouts x $40 = $2,000).  The Troop is saving money currently to replace the Troop tents with some that are more suitable for backpacking.


    Each campout costs $14 for food ($3 breakfast, $3 lunch, $5 dinner and dessert and $3 breakfast), $1 for supplies (propane, firewood, paper towels), the cost of the campsite divided by 20 (25 tends to be the average number of guys on a campout) plus the cost of the activity (kayak rentals, horseback riding, canoe rentals, etc.).  We break even on campouts.

  8. We use this: http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12697317with a PVC poles that form a T lashed to either end of the bed.  The cross section forming the T supports the ends of the net nicely.   It is a lot easier to travel with then the frames that Krampus's Troop makes because it compacts down into two poles (the cross section making the T fits inside the upright section of the pole for travel.  


    I'd be glad to e-mail the design to anyone who is interested (can't figure out how to post the pictures here).

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  9. Thanks KC for setting up the new topic. A follow up question, if three meals is the minimum number, would anyone consider a two burner Coleman a "lightweight stove?"  Normally I would not, but looking at the MB Pamphlet and at the requirements for 6. Trail and Backpacking Meals, there seems to be a distinction between "lightweight" stoves and "trail" stoves. 



    The Coleman two burner stove is a lightweight stove (when compared to the four burner electric Kennmore version with the oven below it).  The trail stoves are the MSRs or Snow Peak stoves that are 4 inches by 2 inches.

  10. Some people overestimate the amount of influence a council has over a Chartered Organization.  From the point of view of the Chartered Organization, the Boy Scout program is probably their smallest and least popular activity.  This doesn't give the council a great deal of leverage.



    Then it becomes simple, revoke the charter.  A scout is obedient and if the SM isn't following the BSA rules and making it up as he goes along he should be removed.  If the chartered organization will not remove a SM that is blatenly disregarding the BSA rules and making his own, then the charter should be revoked.  

  11. Was nominated to OA this year.  As it was explained to me at the Ordeal, "you have been nominated not because of what you have done, but what we hope you will do in the future."


    My son was also elected this year.  I'm actually surprised at his level of excitement.  He signed up for Conclave, he wants to go to the monthly chapter meetings (which are at the same time as the Roundtable).  He loves the idea of doing OA high adventure for Philmont.  Best of all, last week he was commenting on how other guys didn't help out with a project.  He acknowledged that he used to be that way and then said, "but OA taught me that the service part of servant leadership means actually doing something to be helpful."  Priceless.


    I'll let my role be determined by my son's level of activities.  At the very least, I can provide transportation for him and some other guys and promote OA within the troop. I suspect I'll also be a resource at the chapter level to beging with -- but that will have to be balanced with my changing role in the troop.

  12. But my overall question is:  Are other cross over situations showing such large numbers of Webelos not going into Boy Scouts or is it just something in our drinking water here in my neck of the woods?  This isn't the first time we've had such losses during the cross over.



    @@Stosh, your numbers seem to be typical of my experience.  In my son's den, it was 50% even with a lot of adult involvement and a lot of fun.  We knew the guys that would cross over -- three of them earned the Webelos Super Achiever award, one of them loved camping and the other was really into all the activities.  The guys who didn't were not a surprise - they didn't like to camp, weren't that into it, had other interests and you could tell they were just seeing Cub Scouts through to the end.  Over the past two years, I've seen a similar trend -- I know a lot of the boys from being the former CM and I could tell you who was really into the program and who was just doing it to finish up.  I'm really happy that we picked up one specific kid this year -- his mom said he said that he wasn't interested in joining Boy Scouts until he visited our Troop (two other boys from his den went to the Troop with the same unit number as the pack).  He's been on two outings so far and has loved both of them.  I'm pretty sure my son is close to adopting him as a little brother.  


    It will be interesting to see what happens next year.  The Webelos 2 Den has a great leader (an Eagle who was involved as a Scouter well before his son joined as a Tiger) and my son is the Den Leader (providing a great link to our troop).  My son and I were talking about how he could run the Scouting Adventure and about how he could possibly do the Castaway Adventure on the same weekend the Troop is doing the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge (my son is working with me to develop the teaching materials for wilderness survival and will teach it with me for our Troop as well as for some neighboring Troops).  

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  13. Thank you for your response.


    Your son sounds like an outstanding young man, and hopeful my nephew will meet someone like him in scouts.


    I was just concerned about all the schoolwork merit badges, because I think that is what my nephew needs to get away from (books, computers, TV...) and into the real world.


    Your nephew will meet a lot of guys like my son in scouts.  How do I know, because our Troop has a lot of guys like your nephew and at least one adult leader that was like your nephew growing up. 


    None of us really like the schoolwork merit badges.  However, each of those involves him doing something -- attending a public meeting, visiting a national park or monument, volunteering at a local community organization, etc.  The schoolwork really is a small part of it..



    Thank you for your response, and the input about the merit badges that I did not understand.


    You made some very good suggestions.  I have already told my nephew that I will buy he uniform and books he needs, that way his mother cannot complain about "spending all that money".  A job is difficult because his parents only want him to go to school and be quiet.  Also, whenever he gets any money his old sister either steals it, or his mother makes him spend it on her to show how much he "appreciates all she has done for him". 


    Unfortunately, the only friends my nephew has are his dog and his computer.  That is why I want him to be in a situation where he can work on his social skills.


    I will do whatever I can to support him, while trying to guard against dong too much.


    Helping him with the costs seems to be a good way for you to be a positive influence.  One additional book I would reccomend is the BSA Fieldbook.  It covers all of the outdoor activities he can do as a scout and goes over all of the skills he needs.  It is like an instruction manual for the outdoors.  It will spark his imagination and give him the knowledge he needs to feel confident in doing those activities.  As I expained it to my then 11 year old son, its like one of those video game guidebooks, except it is for real life. :D


    Thank you for your response.  Some of your comments were scarily prescient.  I think to a certain extent my nephew is already lost to my sister and her husband, and its their fault not his.  As for his older sister, a cousin of mine said almost the exact same thing about her having no limits.  I do not like to be too judgmental, because show is still young.  I think my nephew inside knows that he will never please his parents, but just cannot admit it.   


    This is where the Adult Association method of scouting comes into play.  I hope he is in a troop that has an adult leader that engages him.  There are a bunch of boys in our Troop that I "get."  You should see the looks on their faces when I catch them doing something right or tell them they did a good job.  My favorite phrase is "Your OK in my book."  The adult leaders need to establish a relationship based on trust - the boys trust us to make sure they are OK and we trust them to follow the Scout Oath and Law.


    Thank you for your response.


    The leadership and "Patrol Method" is something I think my nephew will have problems with.  He is a total loner, and very bright but solitary.  I think being outdoors though may spark something positive in him.  He loves animals and likes open spaces.


    I personally could never understand the cult of "leadership" thing.  I worked for and with many organizations, and they more they talk about leadership, the worse the organization performs.  From my experiences the nature of work is changing so much, that "leadership" is kind of obsolete.  But maybe something will spark in my nephew - still waters run deep.


    @@Stosh is right about servant leadership.  My son has a couple of catagories of leaders - the ones that yell at other people to do things, the ones that do nothing, the ones that do it themselves because they don't trust anyone else and the ones who work with the other scouts in their patrol to help them get the job done.  He's working to move from the third catagory to the fourth.  


    In the leadershp training course I"m developing for our scout leaders, I ask them to do a living organization chart, showing who reports to who.  Typically, everyone has the scouts reporting to the patol leaders who report to the senior patrol leaders.  I then tell them to turn around.  The senior patrol leader's job is to help the patrol leaders, the patrol leader's job is to help the guys in their patrol. 


    Some of my best leaders are not the guys out in front.  They are the guys that put a pot of water to boil on the stove and set up the cleaning basins without anyone telling to.  They are the ones who go pull an extra sweatshirt out of their tent for the new guy who only packed t-shirts.  They are the one put all the food in the plastic tub so that critters don't get the food after the rest of the guys have gone to do something else.



    Thank your for your response and your kind words.


    I am going to do whatever I can to support my nephew.  I am not a parent myself, but it has always amazed me how some people treat their kids. 


    As I said before my nephew is the one pushing the Eagle rank, because he hopes it will make a positive change in his life.  I support him, but tell him that being happy and healthy is the most important thing.  I even once joked with him that if he wants to get back with parents and older sister, he should relax and enjoy as much as possible.  The sight of it would drive them crazy.  However, he is always just so tense.



    Getting the rank won't make a change in his life, but the way he earns it will.  I remember talking to my son on the last day of a 50 mile hike.  Everyone of us on the hike had hit a wall at some point.  His was on the last day -- so close yet still 6 miles to go up hill, exhausted with the end in sight but still very far.  I told him that anytime in life where he feels like he can't finish something, he can't fight on - to remember this trek and remember that he was able to finish what he started.  He dug deep and finished strong.


    None of us here have a problem with him earning Eagle based on his own drive and his own desires.  We just want it to be his and we want him to have the experiences that will make him an Eagle.  There is something special about a true Eagle - earning the award the right way instills a sense of purpose, a sense of worth and a sense of service in the boy.  Those values become part of who they are for the rest of their lives.


    Wish your nephew good luck from all of us here.  He would be very welomed in our Troop and I hope that his Troop recognizes his potential

    • Upvote 1
  14. Awesome clip.  The Troop (along with the two Cub Scout Packs and two other troops) are marching in the Memorial Day parade.  Last Tuesday, the boys put American Flags on the graves of veterans in our CO's cemetery.  


    I've always thought that it would be cool to have a public campfire where the boys do a ceremony for retiring flags (we do it on campouts, but never as a public demonstration).  That would be something interesting to do on Sunday night before memorial day.

  15. My 65L pack weighs under 4 pounds.  Have more than enough room for a 6 day trek.  Go lighter if you can.


    80L = just under 3200 cubic inches.


    A pretty standard school pack is 1800 cubic inches


    Kelty "Kids" pack has just over 2000 cubic inches. (torso 9-14") WHICH IS GOOD A 3 POUNDS, 6 OUNCES

    Kelty Yukon 48 pack (13-19" torso) is 2900 cubic inches WHICH WEIGHS A WHOPPING 5 POUNDS, 1 OUNCE

    Kelty  Yukon Trekker 65 (16-22" torso) is 3950 cubic inches AND WEIGHS 5 POUNDS, 5 OUNCES

    All external frame so items can go below and above the pack.


    The Eureka 30 degree Lone Pine sleeping bag is slightly over 1000 cubic inches


    In contrast, the Osprey Ace 50 weighs 2 POUNDS 15 OUNCES and the Granite Gear V.C. 60 weighs 2 POUNDS, 4 OUNCES


    I tell my scouts to think in terms of pound miles.  The difference between the Kelty Kids pack and the Osprey Ace on a 20 mile trek is over 8 pound miles.  The difference between the Grantie Gear V.C. 60 and the Kelty Trekker 65 is 61 pound miles.  

  16. Thank you for your response (honestly).


    I appreciate the point that you were trying to make, and as I said in my response above, my nephew is the one pushing it.  To be honest, I do not know if scouting is even right for him, and he does not need anymore bad experiences.  He is academically brilliant, and does not really need to get three different badges in citizenship(?).  All he does is school work right now.


    My nephew is trying to do a good thing, improve his lot in life by doing something constructive.  I sincerely believe that scouting is a worthwhile endeavor, but I am not certain it is right for him.  In my opinion, what he needs is 1) good memories, 2) better social skills (I am not even talking about friends just the ability to deal with people), and 3) an outlet for his energy rather than yard work to impress the marijuana scented neighbors.  Scouting might provide that for some boys, but I do not know if it is right for him. 


    But he wants to try it, and I just want to do what I can to help.  I told him that just trying is a victory in itself, and not to expect too much from other people.


    PS - I am just curious, I wanted to know why so many merit badges for citizenship, family, communication....?  I thought scouting was meant to be all camping, hiking, boating...  I realize this may be an unfair question or one that has an answer to complicated to discuss.



    I think Scouting might just be exactly what your nephew needs.  Our troop is a bunch of misfits and goofballs -- the best type of guys around.  It ranges from the kids who talk about video games on hikes to the kids who bring books along on campouts.  The boys that join our troop become part of it.  I've picked up @@Stosh's advice to teach the boys that what is important in scouting is to take care of each other.  I've seen lots of boys find self confidence and independence in going to summer camp for a week.  I'll never forget the look on one kids face when his mom picked him up from his first boy scout campout.  The mom, all worrried about her son doing a campout without mom or dad (they had been in Cub Scouts) saw her son and asked him how it went.  He got the biggest ear to ear grin and said "awesome."   We had a 12 year old last summer accompany us on a 50 mile backpacking trek.  The boy struggled but by the end he had a tremendous sense of self accomplishment.  I've seen my son grow tremendously in the last three years (and I'm not just talking the 24 inches in height because his mom still insists on feeding him).  Last week, in reflecting on what went wrong at a meeting, he became frustrated because the other boys weren't doing the work.  He told me that and then paused and said, "I know I used to be that way, but now I get it."  


    My son just got his life rank after three years at the end of 8th grade.  Three of his buddies just got Star.  A couple of his buddies are finishing up First Class.  At this point, he has four Merit Badges left for Eagle -- Communications, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the World and Personal Management.  His choice is to finish those off in the next year (as a Freshman) and the work on his Eagle Project the following year (as a Sophmore).  His progress has been more of taking advantage of merit badge opportunities than a conscious plan.  He was able to get First Class within a year.  Most of the skills were covered his first year at summer camp and what wasn't covered there, he was able to cover through our Troop's regular and outdoor program.  He picked up one merit badge the first summer at camp which was Swimming.  He picked up a couple more over the next two summers including First Aid and Emergency Preparedness.  The rest were electives that he was interested in -- archery (took two years at summer camp), kayaking, sailing, horseback riding and a couple of others that I don't remember.  Our Troop does group merit badge sessions and he picked up Cooking, Family Life, Personal Fitness, Sustainability and Citizenship in the Nation through the Troop.  I think that our Troop does those merit badges well because the Counselors actually know what they care doing (e.g. a High School Social Studies Teacher for Citizenship, an Environmental Engineer for Sustainability, going to a gym for Personal Fitness and me for Cooking and Family Life).  Along the way, he picked up Camping and Backpacking (I'm an MB Counselor for both).  I've seen the work he has put into merit badges -- he really tries to master the material rather than just get it checked off.  He is very active in out Troop's outdoor program - having camped over 70 nights and hiked over 225 miles in three years.  He has served as a Den Chief for the last two years and had the patch of an assistant patrol leader this year (he actually acted more like the patrol leader, but that is another issue).  I suspect he will be a Patrol Leader next year.  Due to patrol leaders not going on outings, he has served as a patrol leader on most of our campouts this past year and naturally leads on the backpacking treks.  This summer he is going to camp and picking up additional merit badges based on what is requried for the National Outdoor Medal (e.g. orienteering, soil and water, etc.).  He also is spending a week at National Youth Leadership Training this summer.  He was elected to the Order of the Arrow, did his Ordeal and is exciting about participating going forward (he is going to Conclave in two weeks). He and I are working together to develop a plan to present the Wilderness Survival merit badge to his troop as well as a couple of others in our District.


    The reason for that long explanation is to show that a boy can, with minimal guidance from adults, progress toward Eagle relatively quickly in a boy-led troop that is not an "Eagle Mill" and can actually learn the necessary skills along the way.  I've told him that attaining Eagle is not what is important but HOW he attains Eagle -- what he learns both substantively and in terms of character and self-reliance.  He has picked up some of the terms used on these boards from me such as "Paper Eagles" -- the guys who just check the boxes without learning the skills and "Parlor Scouts" -- the guys who never go camping. He is working toward being a "real Eagle."   I've also emphasized that it is his journey and that I'm there to support him along the way.  It also has to be fun.  It was his idea to go horseback riding and sailing as part of our Troop's outdoor program.  


    As for all of the Citizenship Merit Badges, I agree it is a lot of schoolwork.  Add in Personal Management, Communications and Family Life to that category.  Although I agree these are things a boy should know, they aren't the most exciting.  Citizenship in the Nation is relateively easy since it is very similar to what my son learned in 8th Grade.  Citizenship in the Community is good because it causes the boys to actually get out there and volunteer for an organization.  Citizenship in the World is great for the ever increasing global economy (I'm planning on taking the boys to the UN in NYC for that one).


    As with @@desertrat77, I encourage you to have your nephew make his own plan.  As with @@Stosh, I encourage your nephew to have advancement be part of the adventure of scouting, to be something that happens naturally as part of being a scout rather than a goal in an of itself.  Your nephew deserves to learn what it is to be an Eagle, to enjoy and learn from the journey not just shoot for the rank by checking off the boxes.  Eagle should't be another participation trophy that goes on the dresser, Eagle should be something that defines the rest of the Scout's life.  As we say at our Troop's Eagle Courts of Honor, by becoming Eagle you have become a marked man, everything you do from now on will be judged based on how it comports with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, everything you do from now on will reflect on every Eagle that has gone before you and every Eagle that comes after you.

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  17. Finally, @@Stosh, what would you do in this situation?  The boys had a luncheon in a hotel with a speaker as part of an urban hike in D.C.  A couple of older boys packed up extra food to take with them because "that way we won't have to help with cooking or the clean-up for dinner."  What would you do or say?


    It would seem that my reference to you in my post meant the whole post was aimed as a negative judgment against you.  It wasn't I only mentioned you in the post as one of those that wasn't a problem  My apologies for the misunderstanding.  I couldn't figure out where you were going with your post until I realize how it was misunderstood. 


    As far as the last tag scenario at the end.  I might ask the PL if there was "anything I could do to help" with his boy's not  figuring out the teamwork leadership necessary to run smoothly in the patrol.  I would expect he would say he had it handled and noticed the issue too.  That would be the end of the conversation unless the PL brought it up again.  Otherwise if one of the patrol members had a non-patrol luncheon he attended, I would assume the PL excused him from the meal to attend to the business at hand.   I wouldn't say anything.




    @@Stosh, I did misunderstand.  It seemed to me that you were challenging a requirement that patols cook and eat as patrols as being an unnecessary adult rule.  In your response, we seem to be agreeing.  We don't cook as patrol's on backpacking trips because it is too difficult with the backpacking stoves to cook for more than two or three people.  When we do plop camping, the boys are required to cook and eat as patrols.  The younger boys serve as grubmasters to fulfill the advancement requirements.  The patrols craft the menu together and the patrol leaders make sure that everyone is taken care of (with no adult intervention).  


    As for my scenario - I didn't explain it well.  The patrols all had a luncheon buffet with a speaker.  A couple of older boys took extra food with them when they left (with permission) to have for dinner so they didn't have to cook or clean-up with their patrols.  My solution was to remind them that as leaders their job is to help the boys in their patrol and that while I didn't care what they ate for dinner, I expected them to make sure their patrol members were all taken care of.

  18. The most recent posts are very similar to the discussions that I hear among the scouts.  I try to turn them away from the politics of personality, blame and attacks toward the politics of values and ideals.  Sometimes, simple questions of "what should we do?" and "how would that work?" and "what do you think the other side values?" generates some critical thinking.


    I know, it's a losing battle but maybe, just maybe, the next generation will vote not based on personality but based on policy and ideals.

  19. I do not have any problem with the boys doing what they want to do as a patrol.  The problem arises in what the adults dictate as to what they can and cannot do.  If the leader of the patrol is taking care of his boys, what business is it of the adults to interfere with extra rules, regulations and mandates.


    Okay, the boys are having a Dutch oven broccoli bake for supper.  No bacon involved at all.  :(  Okay one of the boys REEEALY hates broccoli so he makes himself a PBJ.  Does that condemn him as not being a team player?  He is rebelling against the authority of his PL?  Is he not loyal to his buddies?  Is his not learning anything about how the patrol method works?  Let's put it this way, why are the adults stepping in or even hovering over these kinds of petty issues and declaring them anti-patrol method?


    It's been my experience that a lot of dynamics that move small groups beyond their comfort zone is an occasional anomaly that offers an alternative or improvement over what is currently being done.  Yes, the boys all eat the same food, clean up the same with the three bucket wash system as has been taught.... except at Philmont when all things change.  Gee, they don't have Dutch ovens at Philmont or on the AT.  What now?  The boys have all been taught to cook for a group of 6-8 boys, but they don't know how to effectively feed just themselves.


    This line of thinking on the part of the adults is limiting to the patrols and what works for them.  Like people, no two patrols have the same personality, the lessons cannot be "one-size-fits-all".  The policy of: "If one doesn't like what's being served, there's PBJ in the chuck box."  Standard operating procedure for every patrol in the country, except the patrol where one of it's members is deadly allergic to peanuts.  He doesn't like broccoli and he's allergic to peanuts, now the poor kid has doubled down on his inability to be a team player in the patrol.  Time for a SMC!


    If one is going to expect the PL to take care of his boys, then get out of the way and let him do it and do it HIS way, not what some adult says has to happen. 


    @@Hedgehog, I think it boils down to something far more destructive than the boys not following the patrol method rules, or wearing the uniform, or ignoring the safety of the Totin' Chip as adult nonsense.  What it really means that these boys have been taught the correct protocol and yet up until they turn 18 years of age they cannot be trusted with what they have been taught.  A PL who is taking care of his boys will make sure there is no peanut butter in the chuck box if he has a boys that's allergic to it.  He will make sure the safety rules of the Totin' Chip are followed, etc.  He DOESN"T need an adult hovering over his shoulder 24/7 making sure all the i's are dotted and t's crossed when it comes to scouting and troop rules. 


    If the patrol method is to work, the boys have to be trustworthy.  How does one know if a boy can be trusted if they are all held on a very short leash?  All boys are trustworthy if an adult is hovering 2' away.



    So in our Troop the only adult dictates regarding cooking are that: 1) you need to cook and eat as a patrol; 2) there needs to be some "cooking" (except for lunch) and 3) the boy leaders "take care of their boys."  The boys discuss the menu and the boy leaders make sure that everyone has enough to eat taking into account preferences, religious prohibitions and allergies.  The result is the boys make sure there is enough for the vegetarians to eat, there is an alternative for those allergic to gluten and the rest of the boys like what is cooked (including one boy taking his pasta before the motzarella cheese is put on).  They understand helpful, courteous and servant leadership.  There is no necessity for any boy to go off on their own and cook something different.  Do you consider this to be adults dictating unnecessary rules, regulations and mandates?  If so, what would you do differently?


    As for effectively feeding themselves, our boys learn that while backpacking.  None of them are dumb enough to bring a dutch oven backpacking and they cook individually or in self selected groups of 2 or 3.  They also learn to cook at home during the cooking merit badge. 


    What in my post indicates that we don't trust the boys to follow the above instructions?  Our guys do really well in planning the menus and taking care of your boys.  Also, where did I mention an adult hovering over the patrol.


    Finally, @@Stosh, what would you do in this situation?  The boys had a luncheon in a hotel with a speaker as part of an urban hike in D.C.  A couple of older boys packed up extra food to take with them because "that way we won't have to help with cooking or the clean-up for dinner."  What would you do or say?

  20. For cooking good foil meals, there are two requirements:


    1.  Sufficient moisture.  In the foil hobo burgers, you need carrots, canned potatoes, some butter, salt, pepper and some water.  The moisture helps it cook and keeps it from burning.


    2.  Proper folding.  The folds need to be so that no moisture escapes even if the packet is turned upside down.  You need to have a piece of foil that is substantially longer and wider then the final size of the packet.  Bring the side pieces up to the top and make a 1/2 inch fold, continue to fold until you can fold no more -- at least 4 folds.  Then take the sides, bring them together in the middle and fold them down in a similar manner.


    Having heavy duty foil or using two layers also helps.  Make sure you flip the packet a couple of times.  We don't do the hobo burgers too often, but when we do, they come out really good.  Our guys typically use foil to cook green beans and to make garlic bread -- using the same coals that are on the dutch ovens.

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