Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by jjlash

  1. jjlash

    Philmont Trek Questions

    A few "pearls" from my treks: * The chuckwagon dinner is a great change from freeze dried but dont expect too much. The two times Ive had it, it is commercial-size (boil in the bag) dinty moore beef stew and dutch over cobbler. As I said, a nice change of pace but it is really easy to over eat and get sick (dont ask how I know). * We did cowboy action shooting the first year it was offered so things may have changed since then. We used 22cal revolvers loaded a single shot at a time. It was fun because it was pistols but it was really pretty "meh" if you have done much shooting. * They never seemed to get tired of tomahawks. * Burro packing is an interesting experience. Both times we had a youth who has horses so he knew how to get the animal moving. I have read stories of people who were not so fortunate. * I am not aware of any cabins available to sleep in. Yes there are some to tour, we like Hunting Lodge. There is one place where you sleep in a lean-to type shelter on a platform on the side of the hill. Dont recall the camp but it is in the SW part of the ranch. * Our guys really liked the sweat lodge and the burro racing * It was so-so for the guys but the adults all really enjoyed the re-dedication to Scouting program (and the cabin) at Zastrow camp * Dry camps are not bad, you just have to plan ahead a bit. YOu've probably heard about eating dinner for lunch that day. * How much down time you have is very dependent on how organized and efficient the crew is. If they take 2 hours to get out of camp in the morning and have a long hike they are likely to miss program at the next camp. If you know they are slow to get on the trail and/or slow to hike, you may want to encourage low miles so they dont miss activities. * If you do Baldy, I suggest having it later in the trek so you have your "trail legs" under you. I have only done it on a layover day - just enough packs for essentials and to pick up food on the way back down. Hope that helps....
  2. jjlash

    Yet another change...

    Just received my council newsletter. It had this interesting tidbit. In general I am a huge fan of tools that let me do things myself. In this case, despite what it says, I think it is about reducing costs for the council by shifting the cost and effort to volunteers. Now somebody at the unit has to buy the DIY business card stock or has to cut apart all the membership cards (assuming they even print multiple per page). And if nobody in the unit has a nice color printer then you get whatever you get. Not a big cost. Not a big effort. Just another thing to push onto the volunteers.
  3. jjlash

    Yet another change...

    I think there are two reasons to have the actual card - around here some of the outdoor stores give you a discount but require the card. Arguably more important for the younger kids - having their own stuff, stuff with their name on it etc, is kind of a big deal, kind of like getting mail addressed to them. The charter certificate is different - it is a ceremonial thing. I like to attend a meeting of my CO and present the certificate. I know some CO's that frame them and hang them in the fellowship hall.
  4. Naturally the material is the same regardless where you take WB. And, of course, no two WB experiences are the same because they are run by different staff at different location etc. The big benefit to attending in your own council is that you will meet and become friends with other Scouters in your own council - the people you will cross paths with at roundtable and at summer camp, on a district committee or an OA event.
  5. Just got the email - we got a 12-day slot arriving on 7/18/2020. Who else got a spot?
  6. If the language is from an individual (or a couple individuals) there are probably others thinking the same as you. I would address much the same way I would address it with the Scouts - a simple "that kind of language is not appropriate", "that kind of language is not necessary", "we can do better than that" or "we're supposed to be setting the example". If it is used by most of the group you'll have a tougher time.
  7. jjlash

    Tent recommendation needed

    Welcome to the campfire @JohnMiller I agree with your comment for people to consider when and how they will use the tent, but I have to disagree with the rest of your recommendation. Telling people to only camp when the weather forecast is sunny is a disservice - not only will that limit the amount of time they even consider going out, but it will leave them unprepared if they do encounter weather. Much better to help them understand their equipment and recommend a tent that will keep them safe (dry == warm and not hypothermic). In that regard, I would recommend them a tent with a full rain fly and teach that they can leave the doors open, or take the rain fly off while the weather is nice. And to that end, I could never in good conscious recommend a Coleman (or Ozark Trail or Wenzel) brand tent. The only advantage they have is that they are cheap you can pick them up on a moment notice at any big-box store. In my experience their quality is on-par with their price (low) and they fail on the one feature that I look for in a tent - how well does it protect me against the elements. While it will cost a little more, there are entry-level brands such as Alps Mountaineering that offer tents in comparable sizes that not only perform better in the weather but are backed by outstanding customer service. Better performance will result in more comfort and a better overall experience - that is what will keep them coming back. Just my $0.02 worth
  8. What sounds easy for you may be a stretch for them. Just like an Eagle project, the goal is not the project but the planning and leadership (and related) skills they put to use in accomplishing the project.
  9. jjlash

    High Adventure Ideas for 2020

    I understand the desire to get them thinking big but I would suggest that you not present any ideas. Rather - challenge them to come up with ideas by asking what they want to do. Do they want to canoe? hike? fish? raft? bike? swim? sail? You could say something like "Ive heard great things about XYZ" or "I know of a Troop that did THIS and had a great time" to give them someplace to start. But in my experience, if you present some ideas they will pick one of those because it is easy. Another approach is to set some limits first - usually cost or duration (how much vacation time adults can take). Then research to find cool things within those bounds. That said - boundary waters is a great trek. One of my favorites for hiking was Isle Royale.
  10. jjlash

    WFA: Required or not?

    <shrug> - good question.
  11. jjlash

    WFA: Required or not?

    I agree it is useless for an end user to locate a trainer. But that is not really their model. Their model is to provide materials for the trainers or training organizations and assume that those people will make their services known to the people wanting to be trained. As for collecting fees - they dont do that either. The only cost I have to be an ECSI instructor is the book/certification card I purchase for each student. And those are less expensive than the comparable American Heart Assn materials (Im also AHA instructor) materials.
  12. Wood Badge teaches leadership skills. Things like techniques for effective listening and giving/receiving feedback and embracing diversity and handling conflict. It gives an introduction to the "others first" or "servant" style of leadership but it does a very cursory job at that. If you have had other leadership training, such as in the military or business world, you may or may not get a lot from it. I had never had any leadership training and Wood Badge was a turning point. Not because the material in Wood Badge is so great but because it set me on a path to learn about (study) leadership. On that path I have taken other training and met other people and read other authors that have truly changed my approach to everything.
  13. jjlash

    WFA: Required or not?

    If you go to ecsinstitute.org there is a "Find A Center" link top-center. You can enter info to search for an "education center" in your area. The Education Center is the organization which puts on trainings. You will have to contact each one - it doesnt show what classes they offer. In fact, many of them dont offer classes to the public, they are organizations such as schools or camps that provide training internally. But it is someplace to start.
  14. Dates and Course Directors have been announced for next year's Philmont Leadership Challenge. I have had the pleasure of working with both of these folks and know that their courses will raise the bar on what is already an amazing experience. PTC Week 4: June 30 - July 6. David Broekers from Crossroads of America council (central Indiana) is course director PTC Week 11: Sept 15 - 21. April Bethea from Grand Canyon council (Pheonix area) is course director Philmont Leadership Challenge is a 6 day session where crews practice their Wood Badge leadership skills through hands-on activities in the Philmont backcountry. Activities include challenge events, geocaching, wilderness first aid and search and rescue. Are there any other PLC alumni hanging out here?
  15. Does "will work for backpacking" mean that they backpack frequently so bulk/weight are pretty important? Or does it mean that they (might) backpack once in a while so you dont want to spend the extra on a super small/light bag that really wont be carried that much? Alps Mountaineering stuff is generally a good value when purchased with their Hiker Direct discount prices. THat is - stuff is reasonably priced and holds up well to the heavy use but is heavier and bulkier than I would want for frequent backpacking. In addition to suggestions here, I suggest you talk to the adults and older Scouts in the Troop he will be joining. They know best what kind of camping they do and what temperatures they will encounter at the places they go to frequently.
  16. jjlash

    Online Grocery Orders

    Understand - for Cubs it is great to help busy leaders be efficient. And, Im not opposed to it for Scouts either - if they come up with it on their own, in response to a challenge that they have identified. Very often we adults apply our standards to their world - that is, we like online ordering because we are busy and it saves us time. And since we like it we think they should use it. But maybe they dont really care how long it takes because they are not so busy and it really doesnt take that long and they get to goof around with their buddies. Thus - they dont face a challenge (have a problem) that needs solving. Sure, a patrol could have a meeting to do the planning and all sit around a computer to do the ordering online. That would be great, but I know in my Troop it would not happen that way - one person would end up doing it by themselves.
  17. jjlash

    Online Grocery Orders

    While I like the convenience of ordering online, I suggest you not teach this to the Scouts. I suggest you teach them the skills of planning, pricing and buying "the old fashioned way" for a few reasons. Partly so they know how to do it without the aid of the computer/website and spreadsheets that calculate everything for them. But also because preparing for a campout should be a patrol activity. It is an opportunity for a couple guys to spend time working together to achieve a goal. It is interesting and often funny to watch a few 13 year olds shopping for a menu they prepared. This often involves someone lobbying to add chips or cookies that were not on the menu and someone else realizing that they have not collected enough money for chips or cookies. And if that doesnt convince you, please consider this quote often attributed to Baden Powell - the Scoutmaster should 'never do for a boy what the boy can do for himself'. In this case, it seems like you are solving a problem that doesnt yet exist and that may or may not actually be a problem for the Scouts. If they find meal planning and grocery shopping to be a hassle they will find a way to improve it. And knowing teenagers that way will surely involve technology.
  18. How are you trying to attach them @Haukehaien? Like others, I sew them by hand - though I dont bother with keeping the pocket usable. If it is going to be there very temporarily, I'll staple them and leave it at that.
  19. jjlash

    YPT2 deadline

    Wow - just got the materials last month, that makes it tough to really help people get udpated. We got the materials in early April.
  20. jjlash

    YPT2 deadline

    I dont understand the issues some folks have reported with getting in person training. My training team has been doing a session about once a week for several weeks. National has provided all of the materials to hold the session. The only "thing" is - the material specifically says that a) the material should not be posted to any online locations and b) the sessions should only be presented by members of the council/district training team. That is - they dont want units holding the sessions for themselves. My only insight as to why so restrictive comes from another statement in the material - it says that the material in the session could bring up strong feelings for someone who has been through an abuse situation. It offers guidance to the trainers about how to warn people at the start and how to be supportive of someone who needs to leave the room etc. The ironic part is that the training team has received no extra training about how to hold this session so I dont know what makes us more qualified than any other leader.
  21. jjlash

    Scout trailer and gear

    Go to a local sign shop - they can do custom designs in vinyl. BE AWARE HOWEVER - the sign shop must be licensed by the BSA if they use any of the BSA's protected logos or phrases. Info about licensing is here http://licensingbsa.org/ - the shop will go to the "Apply" then "License Types" and look at the "Local Council Product License" Here are some pics of what our shop did for us.
  22. Sorry folks, I missed all of the requests. Also sorry that I cannot post the gazettes - I found the link when I was researching and, like others have noted, it seems to be gone now. I didnt think to download copies while they were available.
  23. jjlash

    Qualities of Your Best Troop Committee Chair

    I spent 7 years as CC and have now been ASM for 3 years so have a good perspective on both sides. My thoughts, in no particular order: Get trained. Get everyone else trained. People do a better job when the know that their job is (and is not). Follow the program - this is the BSA's program, do it the way they say even if you dont agree with it. Insist on the same from everyone else Be fully engaged. My successor started out well but then life got busy and she rarely attended a Troop meeting and rarely held a committee meeting. She had no goals for the committee or the Troop. Have (or develop) a great working relationship with the SM. Do not tolerate drama Communicate well. Let your team know what is going on, when and why. Get input Dont be afraid to have the hard conversations. In particular, dont hesitate to let someone know that their service is no longer needed if that is appropriate Build a team - dont get into a mode of doing it yourself because that is easier. You're not doing yourself or the Troop any favors by doing it yourself.
  24. jjlash

    Scouting Mentor: James McKellar, 1909-1998

    A nice remembrance. Thanks for sharing.
  25. It doesnt change your point, but WB is for all levels. Leadership and Mentoring skills are needed at every level of Scouting (and most every other organization). District and Council level volunteers (and professionals too) face the same challenges that unit leaders face: they need to build teams and get people working together to accomplish goals and complete projects. I agree with your feeling about the word "management" however I would not take offense unless it actually shows up in the syllabus and staff guide. Otherwise I chalk it up to @C7Scouterchoice of words rather than an official description.