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Everything posted by ianwilkins

  1. Just to add, as a side note. In the UK we have wood-beads given when you complete your leader training, and you then become a member of the 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group, which has its own necker you can buy (a fairly drab thick woollen thing, I didn't bother). I'm 90% sure there is no official wood badge woggle in the UK that is restricted to wood badge holders only. I believe the 3 & 4 bead thing was phased out in the late 60s/early 70s in the UK.
  2. ianwilkins

    What constitutes an "Eagle Factory"?

    Surely an Eagle Scout Factory is any troop that's producing more Eagle Scouts than yours. I mean, how can they possibly do that? 😇
  3. ianwilkins

    Traditionally American camp fire dishes

    We've already got Bonfire/Guy Faulkes Night. Or "burn an effigy of that catholic that tried to blow up parliament" night. Though the details are mostly lost in a hazy mess of low quality meat, drinking, sparklers, and fireworks.
  4. ianwilkins

    Traditionally American camp fire dishes

    Can't think why the UK doesn't* celebrate American Independence Day. 😇 All friends now though eh? * Well, some shops and pubs try and milk it for commercial gain, like St. Patrick's day but less green and Guinness, and more stars and stripes and hot dogs.
  5. ianwilkins

    St George

    Out of curiosity, in the UK we're told that St George is the patron saint of Scouting. This is handy for a good number of us in England, as he doubles up as the National saint too. Quite often there's church parades, or fun days, we have a weekend family camp at our local site, there's also a parade for Queen's Scout Award (Eagle equiv. basically) holders at Windsor Castle. Basically, lots of things are going on around St. George's day. My question is...does anything like that happen in the US? I can't remember seeing anything, so here I am wondering if it's something that didn't end up in Scouting "lore" on your side of the pond.
  6. ianwilkins

    Hello From North Cackalacky

    Are you lot really making references to British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances? I say! And then the briefest research suggests it's one of the BBC's most popular exports...well every day's a school day. Hi Onslow. Ian (UK scouter)
  7. ianwilkins

    Need a Cot or...?

    Sorry, diverging from advice... Tsh...5 in a tent? I see you five and raise you to 11, to start with... We went on a Jamboree on the Canary Islands a couple of years back, it was an experience. They supplied tents. To be fair, I'm sure they were doing their best, and it was only for a week and no one died so....anyway...we turn up at the site a few days after everyone else, and there are some people in "our" tents. The scouts with us were supposed to be somewhere else on site...there was some more people in their tents too. We went and had dinner, at about midnight, while they had a bit of a re-arrange. We came back, we had 15'x15' (maybe) army tents, massive outside frame with the canvas hung from it. Inside were triple deck bunks, the top bunk must have been 6' off the ground. There were three, that's all we had for the night, and the scouts and leaders needed to bunk in with us Explorers for the night. Three tents, so girls in one, boys in another, leaders in the third. Our leader's tent had three triple bunks in. We had 11 leaders. Luckily two had brought their own mats. They got the floor. I was on a top bunk, about 12" from the roof. The female leader below me had to put up with me climbing up and down the creakiest bunk in Christendom (and us all making childish jokes about me being "on top", to be fair, she gave as good as she got). At least two of the leaders were inveterate snorers, so that was fun. Then 3am the local donkey woke up and wanted to tell us all about it. The next night was luxury as the 5 scout leaders decamped to their tent and left us to it in our bunks. Just as we got used to this we went to another island for a couple of days, and had to sleep on the floor of a school gym, all three hundred of us, boys, girls, leaders, one room...yeah, you know those pictures from disaster relief efforts...just like that. Let's call it an adventure. An experience. Never to be forgotten. I slept well on the plane home I tell you that.
  8. ianwilkins

    Need a Cot or...?

    Take your own tent. Or start hammocking. Go to bed when you want. Sort your sleep issues at home, and camp will probably follow. Mind you, camp is always a battle, I usually go to bed and am mulling over the days events and pondering tomorrow's. Never a great combo for sleep. Ian (48)
  9. I'm not surprised they aren't happy! That's terrible. I'd guess this will be difficult to resolve with the organisers without one or more of them taking umbrage, but I do think such blatant gaming needs nipping in the bud. And apologies @Eagledad it's clearly more as you suspected/stated than I argued. I was wrong.
  10. And maybe the girls were smart enough to realise there would be people that think like this and would re-double their efforts and be extra motivated to do well to prove them wrong. As it turns out, even if they did prove them wrong, those people belittling them would find another reason why it wasn't actually the girls efforts that got them where they are. Handy tip: If you're ever standing with my Explorers Scouts, don't ever refer to the girls as the weaker sex, they would...not be impressed.
  11. ianwilkins

    My new Scout's going to camp but freaking out

    Start with an overnight? Or a weekend nearby?
  12. ianwilkins

    They are MY Scouts.

    Yup, they are "mine". I was at a leader day the other week and I knew one of the leaders there, I told the others she was one of "my" Venture Scouts, which then made us both feel old, as Venture Scouts was replaced in 2002 in the UK.
  13. I had a great day the other week, a leaders only skills day. Basically for newer leaders to have a go at stuff, without having to worry about small people in their charge. We had people doing archery and shooting, back woods cooking, rafting, and me, I was "teaching" hammock skills. I say "teaching" in quotes, because I'm not really that much of an expert myself, I'm not writing books on the subject, I haven't even read books on the subject. Thing is, I think a lot of experts like to make things seem more complicated than they really are, or maybe rather go into a whole lot of bewildering depth as it's their specialist subject. Me? I fancied a day at the local campsite playing with hammocks. Anyhow...my tip? Learn a tension knot. Something like a prussick knot*, a taut line hitch*, midshipman's hitch*, or similar. It seems, in the UK at least, this is not top of the list when teaching knots. So I had leaders putting up a tarp and needing guy-lines. The simple joy of learning a new knot that was clearly going to be useful was great to behold. They attached one end to the tarp, put the other round a peg, then tied a knot you could move up to tighten it up, and it stayed there under tension. Job done. It's not even a tricky knot/hitch to learn. And knowing you can now always make a guy-line if you don't have one, or your silly bit of plastic breaks. * Your names might differ.
  14. ianwilkins

    How tight are your scouts?

    Urgh! Under the collar? What's wrong with you people?
  15. ianwilkins

    Neckerchief Slide

    A turks head knot, made with anything from string to old charging cables to light up glo wire. A nice bit of wood bored through and polished up The aforementioned 1" plastic pipe with a lego minifigure stuck to it Beads threaded together One of my Explorers going to the Jamboree is selling a 3D printed woggle but it won't be a cheap option ;). A rectangular patch or two sewn together into a tube I would guess pinterest would have...[goes and looks] yes, pinterest has hundreds, possibly thousands, of ideas too. Would it be beyond the pale to tie a friendship knot in it instead?
  16. ianwilkins

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    Were video games even a thing when you were a kid? When everything was sepia? I'm not being funny, but I'd guess they'd pick up on your negativity, and wouldn't want to talk about their enjoyment of video games and risk further scorn or disbelief. Of course they enjoy them, otherwise, why would you do them? Maybe they enjoy the dopamine if that's what you think, but it's still the end result. Video games can be fun, can be social, can be a way of testing yourself against others, testing yourself. Yes, not the same as the outdoors, obviously, but there it is.
  17. Nail hit right on the head there.
  18. The interesting thing for me is that as you go through the UK sections, the proportion of girls goes up 2018 census gender ratios: Beavers (aged 6-8) it's 81:19 Cubs (aged 8-10) it's 80:20 Scouts (10-14) it's 75:25 Explorers (14-18) it's 68:32 Network (18-25) it's 63:37 I don't know what to read into that, but my gut feel is boys are sent to Beavers, and as girls find their voice, say "I want to go to Cubs/Scouts/Explorers/Network" increasingly. Last year we had 18 girls and 24 boys on our Explorer summer camp.
  19. ianwilkins

    Bear Grylls is new World Scout Ambassador

    A knight of the realm not a good role model? Personally anointed by her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II? Blimey guv'nor you've got some high standards ain'tcha? Ian P.s. 😉 (just in case)
  20. ianwilkins

    Bear Grylls is new World Scout Ambassador

    I would guess he's probably been poorly served by his production company, and maybe the Bulgarian authorities. I wouldn't be surprised if the first he heard of it was shortly before it hit the press. Someone in an office, some fixer somewhere, had to get permission to film there, it wouldn't have been Grylls, that person or persons either missed the national park restrictions, or chose to ignore them, or maybe even bunged officialdom a few lev. Who knows? I don't. But I'd guess by the time Bear got briefed before the trip it was like "we're off for the usual schtick in Bulgaria with celebrity X, see you on the 14th, bring one of your branded knives". At some point a minion should have gone "wait, we can't do x y z here, will that be okay?" so they could then either change the location, or not do it, or yes, I suppose, choose to ignore it. I mean, if they're filming it, they're hardly going to get away with it. Of course, the cynic in me wouldn't be surprised if the frog killing bit was done outwith the National Park (ok, yeah, or just done anyway) at a different time, all is actually by the book, and all this is just free publicity. The actual truth is probably lost in the murky grey fog.
  21. ianwilkins

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    Ah HAAA! Nobody expects the Cookie Inquisition! Our Chief weapon is Samoas! Samoas and Thin Mints! Thin Mints and Samoas! Our two weapons are...
  22. Some people aren't very good at communicating. Some aren't very good at putting themselves in others shoes and seeing how someone else might view things, or be so wrapped up in the excitement of what they see as a good thing that they never see someone else might have qualms and reservations. Into this vacuum, people will talk, assume, jump to conclusions, fret, worry. Maybe it's all in hand, maybe none of it is, maybe the powers that be don't understand there's a groundswell of concern, worry, which could easily, if not already, morph into frustration, anger, resentment, etc. The answer is jaw jaw not war war, as ever. Are the boys genuinely concerned? Or is it just the parents getting het up? I would suggest talking calmly to the ScoutMaster or the ASMs about some of your concerns. Probably little point talking about the poor communication as that would probably come across as critical when what you should probably focus on the practical concerns of what you're most worried about. So if it's popcorn money and cancelled campouts, focus on those in the first instance. A long list will just be tiresome, and doesn't usually end well, in my experience (memories of one parent answering every answer I gave with "but what about this?....and what about this?" getting more and more shrill. (I'm NOT saying that's like you by the way) It wasn't pleasant. That's my recommendation as a UK Scouter that has been a leader since before the UK went fully co-ed, and heard very similar worries to yours, and who also got blindsided by a presentation we all had to attend where I thought a new programme was coming, but it was a new programme, in new sections, new age ranges, and had to get busy allaying fears of kids that thought they might be split from their older friends, and ensuring I spoke in the right ears to ensure that didn't happen, while realising my current role had been done away with. We got through it!
  23. ianwilkins

    2019 World Jamboree

    Not sure what you mean by "toy" guns. If you mean, literal kids toys, I don't see why not, but they're not firing projectiles. We can use nerf guns, that use foam "bullets", we just need to risk assess it. We can use water pistols, squirt guns, for summer water fights. We can play laserquest. We can go and play paintball (though generally the sites restrict it to over 14 years old for normal power guns). Clay pigeon shooting is expensive, well, I don't know anyone with a shotgun license and land enough to shoot on, we probably could, with a bit of work, sort something out cheaper than going commercial, but I'd guess the cartridges and the clays would still soon add up. Anyway, back to WSJ...
  24. ianwilkins

    Girls in the BSA

    I think a previous reply has put one side of the picture and so... As I understand it, there's a range of options. The scale goes from 1: A CO that has a Boys and Girls Troop that share everything except an SM. They might meet same place same time and share the same gear ASMs committee etc. This walks like a co-ed duck, and quacks like a co-ed duck to 50: A CO that only has a Boys troop, or indeed only has a Girls Troop. They may never go on any big campouts anywhere that ever have any opposite gender Troops at it. There will be every shade in between. All points on the scale are allowed under the rules. No point railing against 1, when if what you want is a 50, go find it, or go make it happen.
  25. ianwilkins

    2019 World Jamboree

    Small point of order...some of our leaders have just got qualified to teach air pistol as well as air rifle. No snickering at the back. Not regularly, but ours have had the opportunity to go to Bisley and shoot all sorts of things, .303 rifles, 300yrd ranges. We could take them clay pigeon shooting, but it's very expensive. Oh, and paintball, and nerf guns, and water squirt guns 😛 Yes, I saw that and thought...oooohhhh, yes....then thought...awww, no. Would drop my other leaders in it for our explorers summer camp, and don't have enough leave for near three weeks, and it may put a little grit into the familial wheels, so on balance... it's a no from me.