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Posts posted by Hedgehog

  1. The Guide to Safe Scouting Provides:
    • Tenting
    When camping, no one is permitted to sleep with a person of the opposite sex or an adult other than his or her own spouse, parent, or guardian. Assigning youth members more than two years apart in age to sleep in the same tent should be avoided unless the youth are relatives.
    Q: For sleeping and bathroom arrangements, would units now have 6 classification zones? (Under 18 male, under 18 female, 18-20 male, 18-20 female, over 21 male, and over 21 female)
    A: There will just be 4 zones, under 18 male, under 18 female, over 18 male, over 18 female.



    The question is what "no one" in the Guide to Safe Scouting refers to.  If it means "no scout under age 18", then it appears to indicate that the over 18 but not over 21 Venturer can share a tent with an adult leader of the same sex.  If no one means no one, then two over 21 year old adults can't share a tent.


    My solution, like yours, is that everyone gets a lightweight tent or hammock or tarp.  Heck, most of the guys over 14 in my Troop would tent alone if given the opportunity.

  2. We charge $100 a year. That includes $24 registration, $1 insurance, registration and insurance costs for the adults, registration costs for the Troop, advancement awards (rank and MBs) and PoR patches.  Popcorn fundraising typically goes to purchasing equipment (the Troop equipment was in poor shape when the current SM took over). 


    A typical trip is $16 for food and consumables ($3 breakfast, $3 lunch, $5 dinner $3 breakfast and $1 consumables) and $4 camping costs (around $50 a night, for two nights and 25 scouts).  Backpacking treks don't cost anything because the boys bring their own food.  I would suspect that a weekends worth of backpacking food would be around $15 to $20.  We don't charge for gas, but figure 100 miles each way is around 6 gallons of gas with 4 to 5 scouts and adults in a car would be around $5 per person.  So call it $25 per person.


    Summer Camp is around $400 for the week.


    $100  Registration

    $250  Ten Months Outdoor Program at $25 Per Trip 

    $400  Summer Camp


    $750  Total


    However, using my camping formula, a Troop can do its own weeklong camp for $14 a day ($11 food, $2 camping, $1 consumable) or around $98 for the week.  


    $125  Uniform (including Shirt, patches, switchback pants, socks)

    $15     Book

    $15    Class B Uniform


    As for gear, we tell folks to get a sleeping bag, sleeping pad and mess kit to start off with:


    $120   Sleeping Bag -30 degrees, lightweight (around 3 pounds)

    $  30   Thermarest Sleeping Pad

    $  20   Mess Kit (GSI Plate, Bowl, Cultlery and Backpacking Mug)

    We advise parents as they buy new clothes for their kids to purchase non-cotton shirts, non-cotton sweatshirts and non-cotton underwear.  We drill in that Cotton is Rotten from the moment they join the Troop.
  3.  Maybe the closest I have ever come to sleeping in a hotel on a Scouting trip, just to show how far it was from sleeping in a hotel, was when we went to the Battleship New Jersey (now a museum ship in Camden NJ) and we slept in the same spacious accommodations the sailors used back in the day:  Bunks stacked three high, three or four stacks of bunks in a room.  I think my face was about 6 inches below the bottom of the bunk above me, and there wasn't room to sleep on my side, so comments about my snoring were heard from some of the other men the next morning.



    Wait, that was you snoring?   :eek: My head still hurts from being startled and trying to sit up in the middle of the night.   :wub:

  4. Our Council dissolved back in 2015 and our district merged into a nearby Council.  The chapters merged also.  Although I wasn't in OA at the time, the comment I heard was that the youth Arrowman leadership were better at navigating the merger than the adults leading the districts and council.

  5. Somehow, I keep thinking that this is something the BSA got right.  Between 11 and 14, boys tend to be less emotionally mature and are typically uncomfortable around girls.  Boy Scouts gives the boys something of their own at that age. The advancement through First Class provides them with something to accomplish.  For girls of that age, they tend to be a little less adventurous.  Actually, who am I kidding, the boys are less adventurous but only do it to keep up with the older boys.  I think the girls need to get to the point where they are tired of Girl Scouts and want the adventure.  By age 14, it all evens out.  OK, at least that is what I'm hoping as I embark on Venturing with a co-ed Crew of 14 and 15 year olds. :p

    • Upvote 1
  6. Our troop has a canoe trip this weekend and we have been getting lots of rain.  What amount of river flow would you consider safe for a paddling for scouts?



    Anything above Class II requires a guide or specialized training under Safety Afloat guidelines: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/OutdoorProgram/Aquatics/safety-afloat.aspx.  Ratings of rapids see here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Scale_of_River_Difficulty


    Depending on the river, a lot of rain will increase the speed of the current.  That typically isn't a problem.  However, the rain will also raise the water level which will make rocks that were just above the surface and visible now just below the surface and invisible.  In those conditions, the scouts should try to keep the canoe in the middle of the river.  The other issue is fallen trees and floating debris.  They just need to be watching the water.  Most of the aluminum canoes are strong enough to survive hitting submerged rocks and branches.


    All that being said, we've canoed in Class II conditions caused by heavy rains and rising currents without any problems (well, except the two scouts in a canoe that got out in front, weren't paying attention and missed the island where we were camping.

  7. Is there such a form?



    Here is a Boy's Life article with Trip Plans and Emergency Response Plan: http://boyslife.org/outdoors/outdoorarticles/14567/forms-for-planning-a-backpacking-trip/  I used these for the Backpacking Merit Badge.


    Additionally, BSA provides this for Venturing Crews: http://www.scouting.org/filestore/venturing/pdf/510-022_Fillable.pdf



    Is something like this a good idea?


    Yes, but have the boys sit down and develop the form.  Don't make it an adult implemented paperwork requirement.

  8. Who's to say the S->FC requirements might be good for the Venturing gals to get them up to speed on outdoor skills.  Just because the gals can't get the diploma doesn't mean they can't get the education.



    @@Stosh, much of the Scout through First Class requirements are included in the Ranger award as are the core requirements for the outdoor merit badges.  Just looking at the requirements, I'd put a Venturer with the Ranger Award up against any First Class Scout any day.

  9. I have expressed my views before that there is nothing wrong with having separate programs for boys and girls at that age group. I would not have a problem with girls earning Eagle, if a way can be found to do that.



    As someone starting a Venturing Crew that will be mostly girls, I agree.  From age 11 through 13, boys need their own program.  At age 14, the boys have the maturity to work in a co-ed environment.


    Also, any Boy Scout advancement for Crew members in our Crew will continue be done through the Troop.  I see Boy Scout advancement as a distraction to the Venturing program.  The Venturing program is designed with an emphasis on Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth and Service.  Those four components are what the Venturers design their program around.  The Venturing rank advancement focuses on those four areas without the specific skill requirements of Tenderfoot through First Class and without checking off a specific number of merit badges.  


    The Venturing Summit award requires the same level of leadership, activity and service as the Eagle Scout Award.   Based on what I know about Venturing, I would give more weight to the Summit Award than to Eagle.  It requires 60 hours of service plus a project.  It requires a year of actual leadership as well as training in leadership, mentoring, goal setting, etc.  The Venturing Ranger award reflects a greater level of outdoor ability than one can get with Eagle (14 nights camping and a week at summer camp with no backpacking, no hiking, no wilderness survival, no canoing, kayaking or sailing required).  

  10. I'm in the process of working with a group of youth starting up a co-ed Venturing Crew.  Most of the young woman are in the exact same place as the young woman you reference.  Based on word of mouth we are up to 7 young woman and four young men that are interested.  


    You've gotten two good answers so far.


    The Venturer's Handbook is one of the best BSA publications out there.  It appears to have been written by one person who actually understood what they were writing about.  As mentioned above, there is rank advancement. You can download the requirements from the link @@qwazse provided.  There also are the Ranger, Trust and Quest awards.  Ranger is the equivelant of 12 merit badges. Quest focuses on sports and fitness and Trust focuses on faith.  There are other BSA awards that apply to venturers such as the National Outdoor Award.   

  11. The troop does pick up summer camp fees for adults.  Generally that boils down to one or two of the adults who are going to camp because the camp throws in some (I don't know how many these days) adult registrations.   One year I noticed that there were something like 6 adults registered for camp to go with about 20 Scouts, and the troop was probably paying for 4 of those adults at more than $300 per.  I questioned whether we really needed to be doing that, and the rest of the troop committee looked at me like I was the Grinch.  I think this year we only had 3 adults at camp so the troop probably paid for 1, which is fine.  



    We do the same for summer camp.  Fortunately, the camp we go to has a limit on the number of adults.  I think they allow us to have 4 adults for 25 scouts and to pay for up to one additional adult.

  12. 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.

  13. The title is pretty much self explanatory.  What does it cost for aduts in your unit?


    For our Troop, the Troop covers the $25 BSA /Council annual registration fee.  That doesn't add a lot to the kids cost because the troop is around 50 boys, but even so, with 10 adults at $25 that is $250 or $5 per boy.  Adults pay the same as Scouts to go on outings -- that is they pay the same for food ($3 breakfast, $3 lunch, $5 dinner and $1 for consumables like propane), the same for camping (typically $2 to $4 per person determined by the total cost for the campsite by our typical attendance of 25 people) plus the cost of any activity.


    For the Venturing Crew we are forming, I'd like to do the same.  The initial cost is $33 per adult.  Fortunately, we have a lot of adults already registered with BSA and there is no additional charge for them.  However, we are looking like we have 3 new adult registrations or around $99.  For a crew of 10, that is $10 per scout.  My sense is to have that absorbed by the Crew in the youth registration.  My sense also is to have the adults pay as they go on outings just like the youth.  My advice for the Crew is to plan fundraising so that next year any costs for youth and adults are paid for.


    What do your units do?

  14. Keep building your depth chart.  That may mean nudging the "day" moms a little into enduring some challenges. That may also mean getting to know other crews in your area, or recruiting other women you trust. Get to know the advisors of your council/district VOA.


    Agreed. My other concern is the long term viability of the crew. The backcountry-experienced mom has a daughter in 10th grade.  In three years, the daughter will be off to college and we may lose the mom.  Finding a backountry experienced mom of a younger Venturer this year or next would be great.  But so far, off to a good start.

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  15. Can confirm that. Our challenge now is for our Scouts to plan things beyond the usual same old stuff. Its a tough slog. I'm bored with the Troops program more than any of the Scouts..



    The presumption has to be that every activity or campout should be something new and that you only repeat if it the prior activity was awesome and there are a lot of boys who agree to do it again.  In three years, we've done two repeats.  

  16. A lot of talk out there, but the kids today just aren't ready to sign on the dotted line and go out and find their adventure.   The high schoolers talk about wanting to be grownup, but they pretty much can't or don't want to lift a finger to do more than just talk.


    @@Stosh - I"m trying to prove you wrong this year.  In the past three years, our Troop transitioned from adult ideas, adult decisions, adult planning and adult implementation to youth ideas, youth decisions, adult planning and youth implementation.  The next step this year is to designate one member of the PLC as being responsible for planning the outing with an adult mentoring them.  What is funny is that we decided on this before I learned that is the way Venturing works.  I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes.


    The only thing I'll add:  while it's true that many young folks aren't ready to plan/execute the adventure they desire, there aren't many BSA adults that are willing/able to guide them.  


    Car camping is often the extent of many scouters' idea of adventure.   And the truly adventurous, outdoors-minded folks in our society that could help tend to shy away from the BSA.


    As I've posted before, when my son had joined Boy Scouts I had never been backpacking and had probably camped out 10 times as a youth (mostly back yards) and 10 times in Cub Scouts.  Three years later, I'm up to 100 nights camping and 250 miles hiking or backpacking.  All it takes is being interested in learning and doing something new.


    Our culture holds parents from treating young adults as adults. To do so is working against the trend. But for those bold enough, the rewards are great.



    Train them, trust them and let them lead.  The one skill I've developed is to treat different scouts differently.  For the new crossover, I"m the adult that provides a level of security -- "I'm not really on my own here, Mr. Hedgehog is around."  To the younger leaders - I"m a guide, coach, mentor and sounding board. To the older leaders, I try to treat them as adults.  Their role in the program must change as they grow and how we relate to them also must change as they grow.  

  17. I told him that if he spends years in scouting and never gets beyond tenderfeet but enjoys himself, he has succeeded.  A sense of having some control over his life would do him a world of good.



    I hope he is in a good troop.  As @@qwazse said, your son would fit right in as part of our Troop.  I think I mentioned it before, a similar shy kid joined our Troop this year and I asked him if it was because there was a lot of goofballs like him... he smiled and said "yup."  The guys going into high school seem to have adopted him as a little brother.  He had the biggest smile last month when camp was over and I told his parents that during the week he "really became part of the Troop."  The older boys and SM can find ways to help him.  I would have him go with some other scouts to a Cub Scout Den meeting and talk to the boys about boy scouts and then invite them to visit the Troop.  DONE.  



    I think it is a boring older boy program and making them work. I see a shift to viewing scouts as being a waste of time as they hit those mid teens. 


    The key is to make Scouting MORE FUN than any other activity.  Make it the thing they want to do, rather than have to do.  We have good attendance of the older scouts at our meetings, but less so on outings.  I'm working to change the second little by little.

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  18. I hope you do well.  I had similar numbers lined up and it ended up all smoke and no flame.  Hang in there, it's worth the risk getting started and don't be disappointed if there are bumps along the way.  I'm excited for you!


    I think there will be flames.  At least 7 of the youth are already in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts so they have an interest in scouting.  Most of the young women who are interested are REALLY interested in the focus on adventure and the guys are "hardcore" Boy Scouts who go on every adventure they can.  Also, the way this developed is that the core group are all friends.  I was laughing because four of them got together to watch the fifth perform in a play a couple of weeks back.



    That sounds like a really nice depth chart. How many of your female adult leaders are back-country ready?



    We have one female leader who is very experienced in backpacking and one who is comfortable hiking, boating and camping.  The other female leaders are willing to do day adventures - biking and hiking but I"m not sure about camping.  Three of the female leaders are the wives of the SMs or ASMs from the Troops.  I think we should be fine with two co-ed deep on adventures.

  19. Update: We are up to 7 young woman and 5 young men that are interested. We have two current scoutmasters, two assistant scoutmasters, and two committee members from two area troops volunteering along with two or three other adults for a total of 4 woman and 4 men. I'm meeting the CoR for coffee tomorrow to go over details and he has an appointment with the IH next week to sign the paperwork. Have the first meeting scheduled for late August. Should have a new Crew by September.

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  20. This is the  one I want!





    Now I know what to get my son for Christmas.



    The ultra light purist in me just cringed thinking it.. lol

    Yeah, but that means I don't need a shelter, food or a stove.


    But seriously, I don't carry it on longer treks - if it is 3 days and 6 to 8 miles a day the extra pound isn't a big deal. If it if five days and 12 plus miles a day, the. I just have my Gerber Paraframe.

  21. Begin rant:


    Why try to compete with school and other programs that are much better staffed?  There are STEM programs galore where I am.  You could do robotics camp taught by a college professor, our High School robotics team is coached by someone with 30 years engineering experience; we have multiple summer camps that teach programing, web design, etc.  So now the program isn't working and we think it is bacause it lacks a focus on the Arts?  


    This is a case of being everything to everyone and ending up being nothing special for nobody.  BSA needs to focus on what makes it different and what it does best.  The non-BSA day camp my son has gone to for the last 10 years offers STEAM programing and sports.  They tried to offer an outdoor adventure program this year... my son laughed when we asked him if he wanted to do that program, saying "that is way too basic, I've already done that with the Troop" and then "look, they are actually sleeping in dorms -- that's not outdoors!"


    How about this for a new BSA buzzword:  GO





    As my SM explains it very simply -- Scouts camp.  We are a school for the outdoors.  I'm more than happy to incorporate the study of bugs, trees, plants,dirt, outdoor cooking, etc.  But in my very humble opinion, if you can't do it outside, it doesn't belong in Boy Scouts. When my son tells someone he is a Boy Scout, they ask about camping, hiking and backpacking - "you must go camping a lot?" and not about STEM "wow, a Boy Scout, you must spend a lot of time in the lab or working on a computer?"  


    End of rant.

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  22. Yes.  BUT the Scouter pushing the skills check off weekend didn't sign off on anything for the Scouts in question. And the rest of the adult faction thinks they need review. It may be that he doesn't trust the other adults to sign off. Good thing I have only signed off the BOR requirement  in the 2.5 years I've been with the troop until yesterday.


    What I found ironic is that after so many years working with Boy Scouts and having them do stuff like sharpen axes and saws, build fires, etc for me, I needed some practice. Yes, I can teach those skills, but the Scouts can do it better than me.


    I know this probably won't fly knowing your circumstances, but...


    Why not ask the boys to come up with a solution?  


    There are a number of issues in our Troop that need fixing.  Rather than have the adults come up with a solution, I'm putting it to the boys at their leadership campout.  When we've done this in the past, their solutions are usually better than ours.


    Excuse my ignorance, but could someone provide some detail on this requirement.  



    The requireiment is to tell a friend about scouting and invite them to a meeting.  The requirement doesn't say they have to come to the meeting.  One idea is for him to help out with any activities done with Cub Scouts and talk to the Webelos 2 scouts who will be crossing over in the spring.  All he has to do is tell them about scouting and what he likes and encourage them to visit the troop.  The Webelos 2 scouts are requried to visit a troop as part of getting the Arrow of Light, so it is an easy sell AND he actually might make a difference in a boy joining scouts.  We've found that personal contact with boys in the Troop makes a big difference in how many boys join from the various packs. 

  23. If it was just a class, I would have no problem with it. But the adult faction wants a skills check off weekend before even considering anything else. Maybe I'm old school, but I'm a firm believe that the badge represents what the Scouts can do, not what they have done. If they have the badge they should have the skills to no only do it, but teach it. 


    Didn't an adult sign off on the skill that the adults now think the scouts don't know well enough?  Ooops.

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