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Everything posted by jjlash

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. jjlash

    Scouting Mentor: James McKellar, 1909-1998

    A nice remembrance. Thanks for sharing.
  11. 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.
  12. I sent a couple of folks to the Philmont pilot this spring. Since they had not been to WB before, they had nothing to compare with. Between conversations with them and other things Ive seen/read.... We know the Win All You Can is gone. I had heard that the movie was gone and not replaced. I had also heard that the patrol project was gone. And finally, that they were dropping an entire day from the course. In searching just now to see if I could confirm any of these, I ran across this page which has the Gilwell Gazettes from the Philmont pilot: http://centennialwoodbadge.com/philmont-scout-ranch-pilot/resources/ Notice right away that there are only 5 gazettes. Much of the content is the same as we all use but the daily schedules give some insight to what the new course has or doesnt have. I noticed some new/different presentation names. I especially noticed one called "Patrol Leadership Quest" on D4 and "Patrol Leadership Quest Presentations" on D5. Has the patrol project been replaced with something more like NYLT's quest?
  13. Ive heard from a friend who is there that they received a good amount of rain late last week and that NAYLE has been allowed to return to Rayado Ridge Leadership Camp. YEAH!
  14. jjlash

    Tent Numbering - Help

    Numbers on a tent are an adult construct - the kids have no need for a number. With that in mind, I would ask the purpose for numbering them to begin with? And why make it so complicated that it needs instruction? Yes, we number our tents. We do it it so that we (okay, I) can keep track of how long they last. This helps inform the decision of what kind to buy next time. Since we tend to buy them in batches and never more than a couple per year, I use a simple Year-Number format, i.e. "2018-1", "2018-2" etc. I write the number on the tent, fly and bag with a sharpie. My rule of thumb is to number them on the corner to the right of each door for the tent body, and adjacent to the manufacturer logo for the fly.
  15. Lots of good info about the course and its delivery. I'll add another perspective - I enjoyed my WB experience but (with much hindsight and additional perspective) I can say that I did not get much from WB in the way of real, tangible skills. What I did get is a "spark" - one of my ticket goals was to join the district training team. This led to lots more involvement at the district and council level, attending PTC, staffing WB / NYLT / PTC. In short Ive met a boatload of amazing people, and helped them become better leaders so they can in turn help more youth become better people.
  16. jjlash


    Spoke to a neighboring SM last night - he called to get suggestions for where else they could go on such short notice. I gave him some suggestions of places Ive been (and thus can provide info/research Ive already done) but they are not ideal. Big challenges that are outside of his control are weather and permits. In the west - northern locations and higher altitudes are still snowed in and permits may be very tough to get for places that are more open.
  17. jjlash


    There is very little overlap in IOLS and BALOO. Even if they teach the same outdoor skills they do so with different purpose. We usually run them at the same camp on the same weekend (because we have the facilities anyhow) but they are very different courses. BALOO is now a blended course (part online and part in person) with a required overnight. It is the only outdoor skills course for the Cub program. My read on the language is that it is actually required for all outdoor Cub activities, not just overnights. As mentioned, the focus is on very new campers and on campers that are new to Scouts - in addition to the camping skills there are also modules on group health/safety, BSA rules etc. IOLS is outdoor skills for Scouts BSA level folks. It teaches the same skills as a Scout will learn on the trail to first class. It is also meant to reinforce the patrol method - participants are grouped into patrols which must plan their meals and gear in advance. THe syllabus for both courses are available on scouting.org if you want to see what topics each cover.
  18. Another tidbit from my ASM Troop Guides time. This is what I told them at one of our TG meetings - I think it was about mid way through staff development, when they were probably going through some internal storming. Without a doubt, the Troop Guide has the toughest job on a Wood Badge staff. This is your first time on staff so you may be a little bit lost. You are probably a bit overwhelmed to as you begin to realize that you must be presenter, coach, mentor, teacher, facilitator, ticket counselor and all-around helper. You have more presentations than any other staffer and you will practice them until you can give them in your sleep. You will have long days and you will do a lot of walking. You are the “face” of Wood Badge for your patrol; all eyes are on you; you set the example. But – you also have the best job on the staff. You get to truly connect with those six people. You get to see their “ah ha” moments and watch as they come together as a team. You will be the difference between a “mountain top” experience and just another training session. You will also learn the Wood Badge material inside-out and may find things that you don’t remember covering as a participant (you did). And at the end, I hope you will be able to say that being on Wood Badge staff was one of the best things you have done in Scouting. I hope that you have enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of our Wood Badge team. That you have learned the leadership skills to a higher level; and that you see the value in helping yourself, and others, to be better leaders.
  19. Im going through some notes from a previous WB course and came across my lessons learned document. I always intended to post this info for others to learn from my experiences, so - here you go... Set expectations to read and understand the whole syllabus. Doing so provides context to each session and helps understand how all of the sessions fit together to deliver the overall message. Had one TG who only read portions of the syllabus that specifically said they were a TG presentation. i.e. problem solving round robin section says to understand the points of the problem solving session (just prior). This TG only studied his assigned problem solving station – he had not read the rest of the round robin section/material and had not read the problem solving presentation that setup the round robin Set expectations about preparation – had one who was constantly behind, by staff dev 3 she still had not given a presentation. CD and I discussed, based on registration numbers we were going to drop a patrol so the TG was told her services were no longer needed. Problem Solving round robin • Rotation order based on physical arrangement within camp grounds • Desire patrols to end with station that their TG facilitates so that they can go straight into the managing conflict presentation • To end with their TG, patrols will start at the station immediately following their TG’s station in the rotation • Patrols can be assigned starting stations in advance so that a map of the station locations (including which patrol starts at which station) can be printed in advance • Allowing TGs to choose their preferred station means that the list of patrol starting stations cannot be finalized until TGs have been assigned to a patrol. Be prepared – truly prepared – to be backup for your team. Give the TG presentations just as much time and effort as any others you have. If you still have slides/notes from when you were a TG, dust them off; update them for syllabus changes; practice them. Double check technology – we used a set of shared folders on a google drive for distributing things. I found out 3 days before the course began that the TGs did not have access to the folder where the updated schedule was being put. They had printed copies that were distributed at staff dev meetings but they did not have immediate access to the latest version. AND – they didn’t realize that they should have had access but didn’t. Remember – making sure the TGs are prepared to put on the course is only part of your job. The other part is to develop them as leaders; to help them gain a better overall understanding of the WB material; to help them grow so that they can take on bigger leadership roles in all aspects of their life. Some specific things I did toward this end: • have TG meetings before or after each staff dev meeting • have some “sharing time” at each TG meeting, let people get to know each other • encourage them to go to each other, not just to the ASM TG, for answers • remind them that their job is not just to deliver the material, but also to build/guide the patrol team and to develop the patrol members as leaders More TG meeting time – 30 minutes or so before/after the staff dev meetings was not enough time to review and practice everything. Would like to have been more prepared prior to Day 0 (the walk-through day before course starts) Make time to see at least one presentation practice session for each TG. Looking back, I realize that there were a couple of TGs who I didnt ever see present. This was partly because a couple were consistently not prepared and thus I spent my staff dev time working with them while admin staff listened to the other TGs. During day one TG had a last-minute work conflict and missed the first weekend so I was giving presentations and did not have opportunity to circulate and watch the other TGs. During staff dev, send TGs a ticket from past course and ask them to review it. Have a group discussion about the content of the ticket and what feedback they might give the writer. Lets you get a sense of what they are looking at, lets you coach them and should ease some of their anxiety about ticket reviews.
  20. THe "Unread Content" link and the "Show unread since last visit" dont seem to be working. Both show me no new messages, but if I set the filter for "last 3 days" it shows me messages with activity that is minutes/hours old - much more recent than my last true visit. It could be because I leave the tab open and Chrome does something to make the site think Im "visiting". If so - that is new behavior since the update.
  21. jjlash

    Is WFA worth it?

    The curriculum is standardized (available here: https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/training/wilderness-fa/). I have taken it through both ARC and ECSI and their courses both (mostly) follow that document. The delivery can vary significantly due to instructors though. One time we mostly sat at the table and talked through everything - very minimal hands-on practice. Another time it was put on by a Crew who specializes in wilderness medicine. Most everything was a hands-on scenario.
  22. jjlash

    You CAN Take it with you . . .

    Hardback copy of one of the Harry Potter novels - on a one-night backpacking trip.
  23. jjlash


    No - you're supposed to round up the whole Troop and get someplace safe. At our camp we now have concrete, wind-rated storm shelters near each campsite. Prior to building these, the rule was "hit the ditch". In fact, I would never go to our dining hall for a severe storm because it has high ceilings and lots of glass.
  24. jjlash

    High adventure photos

    Looks like an amazing trip. Thanks for sharing!
  25. jjlash

    Obsolete Parches/Belt Loops

    Maybe take them to a roundtable and let folks take what they want. There are likely some collectors in the council - probably someone at the office can put you in touch. Check with someone from the OA lodge. This also seems like a good opportunity to bump this thread: