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Everything posted by Zaphod

  1. Zaphod

    how are your first years advancing?

    My son does not have his Scout rank yet. He earned his Arrow of Light, has been to a couple camp-outs, and went to summer camp a few week ago but his Troop is so active I don't think the older boys have much time to work with the younger boys. I overheard a boy last night working with him exclaim, "Man you have a lot more to do than we did.... This is going to take a long time." And Cyberchip is hard to finish if none of the other boys need it. It has these group exercises but my son is the only one who crossed over so no one else needs to do them. Maybe I am misunderstanding... but that is what I gather based on what he is telling me and what he shows me from his book. I am trying very hard to let him navigate his own way, but it's such a change for him (from Cub Scouts). The magic or novelty is wearing off though and he is struggling a bit.
  2. Zaphod

    Pokemon Go

    I think we found a workaround for the security issues.... My son just now downloaded the app onto his Kindle Fire because I didn't want to give him access to my phone. He used a Pokemon Trainer account to set it up (instead of gmail). He does have a gmail account that he uses for nothing important (whereas I use my google account and google drive for everything). Of course he is just catching Pokemons in range of our WiFi (he's got 3 already). But if we go out and about I will let him tether to my phone so he can still access the network. We'll see how that does.
  3. Zaphod

    Neglected Eagle Projects

    I guess it never occurred to me to separate long-term and impact planning from leadership. To me, leadership is more than just organizing a group of people to accomplish a task.... Although it is the most visible part. And if that's all we want to require from our kids at this stage of the game, I see nothing wrong with that. After all, I know nothing about scouting beyond Cub Scouts so I am still learning what it takes to be an Eagle or what should be required of one! I wasn't trying to imply that Eagles should be responsible long term; that's why I asked what Troops do (not individual Eagles). It never even occurred to me until I read that article that Eagle projects often add to the maintenance responsibilities of our communities. But now that I know, I would like to help alleviate that burden whether it's in an official capacity as a scouter or just a parent with scouts. On a side note, I am glad that the definition of modern leadership has evolved to include considering sustainability and long-term impact. Organizations (both private and public) are being pressured to consider their footprint and conduct business in a more responsible manner. It's good for me to know what I should and should not expect from scouting so I know what to focus on at home.
  4. Zaphod

    Ceremonies, Do You Use Them?

    I think people just have no idea how long things actually take and don't plan or practice them in advance to know any better. A couple days ago my son was invited along with 17 other kids to talk to an astronaut on the International Space Station at our public library. We were told that we would have a 20 minute window in which the space station would be in range so timing was crucial. They had the kids practice ahead of time walking up to the mic, handing it off to the next person, and then exiting the platform quickly. All good. The day of the event, the person invited to open and introduce the astronaut rambled on for like 4 whole minutes with the astronaut just floating up there on screen listening and watching. Five kids did not get to ask their questions because time ran out. She had note cards and obviously planned her remarks ahead of time... but could not possibly have practiced them out loud and timed herself or she never would have gone on that long. I noticed that all the time in my grad school classes. People think a 5 minute presentation is soooo long, but once you get going it flies by. Almost no one ever gave "5 min" presentations in less than 10 minutes and some took 20 or more!
  5. Zaphod

    Pirate Bandanas as Troop Headgear for Camp

    Another vet here and I concur -- I wouldn't take offense. Plus, from what I've read, the scout uniform is specifically not meant to emulate the military uniform. So the rules military members must observe during flag ceremonies should not be used as a guide. Taking off your hat when the flag passes by is a courtesy that is considered appropriate for everyone (in or out of uniform). So my only concern is that once the bandanna is removed (when the flag is being brought out) it is not quickly or easily put back on. So if it's going to come off anyway and you are concerned it won't be considered respectful at the ceremony, then just take it off 5 minutes earlier. Otherwise, I don't see any problems with them wearing them during activities. At our last Camporee they did a knight theme and gave extra points if the boys donned a piece of armor during events. Kids all were wearing plastic breastplates, helmets, or carrying shields. How is this any different?
  6. Zaphod

    Got the phone call from camp....

    He's home and still alive! He had a good time and had lots of stories to tell. Some things he thought he'd hate (horseback riding) he loved. When asked if he wanted to do it again next year he said, "ummmm probably." lol That's pretty good from him. Oh and he is doing his best to catch up with his missed electronics time today! Especially since their bus was 5 hours late picking them up yesterday and then had to make an extra stop putting him home at 9pm instead of 1pm. I'll give him today....
  7. Zaphod

    Got the phone call from camp....

    I agree with that! I am not really a picture/video person... other than taking close-ups of plants or wildlife I want to look up more about later. After I kayaked yesterday we took my 9 year old out on my dad's motorboat to teach him how to boogie board. He managed to get up on his knees the very first time and stayed on quite awhile! My dad wanted to film every second of it and since he was driving, I got stuck with the camera. For me, one picture is all it takes to remember the moment and then I can just watch and enjoy.... I can't imagine ever wanting to go back and watch that video! Unless he had fallen off spectacularly or something. But my parents do pore over those movies from my childhood and especially those of the grandkids, so I sigh and accommodate them. Maybe I will be thankful for them when I am old and the kids are spread out all over the country. But I have long regretted that my grandfathers passed away before passing on their knowledge of the outdoors to me (my father is not such a great teacher in that respect). I don't have any friends nearby into the outdoors so I am very thankful for the internet... and a phone that talks to me when I ask it questions (I don't even have to pick it up or look at it). But yes, it is tempting to lose focus and it can be a distraction, so everything in moderation, a time and a place, and all that. Speaking of... it's another lovely day and I need to put down this computer now that I am done with my work for the morning. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend everyone!
  8. Zaphod

    How much is too much?

    I also love having the phone along to identify wildlife. I had a little bird book but it's at the bottom of the river after I dumped my kayak leaning over too far to pick up trash. My phone is still usable through it's waterproof pouch. Book... not so much! Plus I only need one little phone and I can look up birds, their eggs, animals, flowers, and fish and narrow searches down to my exact area. I can also listen to samples of bird calls. The more I go out on the river, the more curious I become about these things but forget exactly what I was seeing or hearing by the time I get home.
  9. Zaphod

    Got the phone call from camp....

    Yesterday I was out kayaking by myself and saw a blue heron. I thought to myself, "Is that really a blue heron? Or is it a crane? How can I tell?" So I said, "Okay Google, what is the difference between a heron and a crane." Then Google told me and now I know. I think that made my outdoor experience better in the moment. On the other hand, I was paddling up a creek and got a text from my dad. It was not time sensitive but I took the time to reply anyway and dropped my paddle... NO just kidding! [Get it.... Up a creek without a.... okay sorry, bad joke, never mind]. But I did look up just in time to see a furry brown head disappear under the water. It was probably a muskrat, but maybe it was an otter. And if it was, I missed out because otters have become very rare in my neck of the woods. I wish I would have looked up sooner. So that was a lesson to me to put down the phone and be in the moment. Technology has it's uses but can definitely distract. I say let's mentor the boys and teach them exactly this sort of thing.
  10. Zaphod

    Got the phone call from camp....

    For those of you who asked I am hoping "no news is good news." We'll be picking him up tomorrow and I'll report back after I talk to him. As far as tech use... yes, he loves electronics no doubt about it. But we have been camping at least once a year as a family since he could toddle. Electronics are always verboten on those trips so it's not his first experience with withdrawal. My real reason for bringing it up is my boy has a really heightened sense of fairness (perhaps all 11 year olds do?). Of course he is going to learn that life is not fair in the cruel, hard world, but having that lesson at camp compounded the homesickness. BUT (big but time).... I don't have all the details and only spoke to him on the second day. It's very possible his Troop-mates started sharing and that his leaders gave him a little screen time or that he forgot all about it by the next morning. I have no idea. At least he go to call us on his leader's phone. That Bryan on Scouting article was excellent, BTW and I agree 100% that we can definitely incorporate tech wisely into outdoor activities. Also his take on using this as an opportunity to teach Scout Law as it pertains to electronics and social media is brilliant. I loved that. Thanks @krikkitbot for sharing that.
  11. Zaphod

    Got the phone call from camp....

    It seems like every conversation turns controversial at some point, so by all means follow those rabbit trails! Besides, I have not been here that long, but long enough to know mentioning tech use at camp would not be completely benign....
  12. Zaphod

    Got the phone call from camp....

    I just realized there's a separate summer camp forum... this should probably be there. So many forums!
  13. Zaphod

    Got the phone call from camp....

    There's a reading MB?! Well that will make him happy. He's covered as far as the wilderness Kindle though -- he brought about 1,500 pages of reading material and 3 mini-flashlights. I think his back-pack was heavier than him. He just has to figure out the old fashioned pleasure of hiding your light under your sleeping bag.
  14. Zaphod

    Got the phone call from camp....

    I told him that... it would be a short lived pleasure. But he said there were places to charge things after all. I didn't quite understand how that worked but I didn't think it was wise to dwell on it....
  15. Zaphod

    Cost of Class B T-shirts

    They be like, "Oh, that Gucci - that's hella tight." I'm like, "Yo - that's fifty dollars for a T-shirt."
  16. Zaphod

    Scout skipping a grade...

    We had a large percentage of homeschoolers in our Pack and this caused issues sometimes. Grades are very fluid in homeschooling and parents sometimes think because their 6 year old is doing 3rd grade math and reading that makes them able to skip ahead. This is most common for Tigers when parents decide it's easier to skip to Wolf than have to attend every den meeting. I homeschool myself so I know it's very often the case that these kids are advanced for their grade level, but it doesn't automatically make them a good fit maturity-wise. Plus, homeschoolers often have very different motivations for joining Cubs than school parents. After being with their kids all day they want to give them a chance to learn from someone else, learn how to behave in a group setting, and socialize with other kids without their parents hanging around. We don't tell parents what to do with their kids but we put in a rule that these parents must be involved in some other way if their son is Tiger age (although they are used to that and generally don't mind helping out in other ways). Also we always explained the possible difficulties that might arise when joining Boy Scouts but that hasn't made anyone think twice yet.... Update: I didn't realize how old this thread was but the idea still applies!! Let parents decide!
  17. Zaphod

    VA Newbie

    Looks like that opened up waaaay after my time! If I ever make it back out that way, I'll check it out. I see there's a Macado's across the street from there now. I loved eating at the one in Radford... great sandwiches.
  18. Zaphod

    VA Newbie

    I went to school in Christiansburg. Love that area and the Blue Ridge Mountains! I am originally from the Midwest so being in such beautiful country for several years was wonderful.... I sure do miss it.
  19. Zaphod

    Cost of Class B T-shirts

    $20 is for the standard cotton Gildan variety... they are offering all kinds of other options but the prices only go up from there. Also kid sizes weren't even an option, only adult. My 11 year old still wears a youth M! That was another reason I decided to pass this time around. Makes me wonder though if they are only ordering exact amounts what they do for new troops when they ask that these shirts be worn at lots of events. Our Pack always kept some of every size on hand and re-ordered when common sizes ran out. This Troop orders new shirts every year and only for those that request one. So this will be a recurring problem. BTW... got an email tonight that they want us to buy another commemorative shirt for an anniversary celebration this weekend! Not buying that one either! lol
  20. Zaphod

    Cub Scouts Lasts Too Long

    I couldn't agree more! My son was really dragging his feet this last year about going to meetings and Pack events. He had always loved scouts so I couldn't figure out why. He did NOT want to join Boy Scouts but we convinced him to just give it a try. He went to one meeting and came out saying, "It's so much quieter than Cub Scouts!" Turns out scouting had just gotten too rambunctious and childish for him. We just didn't realize it because he didn't know how to articulate why he stopped liking it.
  21. Zaphod

    Cub Scouts and Facebook

    We have a district scouter who makes a habit of getting judge-y with parents/adult volunteers if she thinks they are violating the scout oath/law even in personal matters. Personally, I am teaching my kids how to recognize bad rules and laws, make informed choices, and be prepared to face consequences (slowly as they are old enough to recognize these difficult concepts, of course). I think that lesson will serve them better than an obey-all-laws-without-question stance. I don't need some ASM or district rep getting all up in my business about Social Media and website TOS's. Plus I guarantee many of us have violated FB's TOS and not even realized it. Participated in that children's book exchange that went around last year? Use a cutesy name instead of your real name? Have more than one account (to keep work and home friends separate perhaps)? All violations. While my kids don't have FB accounts they have Google+ accounts and I had to put in a credit card number and add 10 years to their ages to do it. I did it to preserve some blogs they had been keeping for years that Google cut us off from after my kids initially accepted their Google+ invitations. I explained to them the reasons behind the choice and thus began our introduction to the concept of bad rules, bad laws, and civil disobedience. That's some rich American history right there! Ever see someone comment "the law is the law" when it comes to a law they support but then claim that we need to fight oppression/big government/discrimination/[insert issue here] when it comes to laws they don't like? Google "dumb laws" and I am sure you will find out all kinds of ways you are breaking the law and don't even know it. Bad rules/laws need to be questioned and sometimes disobeyed. None of you have to agree with that but Scouters have no business telling or judging parents for making different choices.
  22. Zaphod

    Facebook page/group?

    We started using closed group Facebook as a tool to share pics and last minute event info. I wouldn't want to share pics of the kids along with event info. on a public page. I suppose a Scout could join this group, but it is not like we have to be FB friends for them to do it. If the kid sees our announcements and reminders and stuff then that's probably a good thing. Facebook is not perfect, but it's the best tool we have access to. Scoutlander is waaaaaay too slow with pics, file sharing software has space limitations (as I found out the hard way when another group completely hosed my Dropbox access by filling a shared folder up with tons of pics). Honestly, Facebook is where most of our parents already are anyway. I will say the the number of parents posting pics has gone up about 1,000% since switching to FB. And that sure is helpful come recruitment time or at events when we make posters or slide shows. Now admittedly, I am more likely to post on FB than communicate some other way (e-mails are ALWAYS ignored and I don't make phone calls). I post links to local events, our pack flyers, or tips for new parents. My biggest pet peeve is the parents who refuse to use FB but feel entitled to access the information I post. For example last Feb I posted, "The kids will be painting center-pieces for B&G, remember to wear your Pack Ts". This information had been announced at the previous Pack meeting but I I thought a reminder would be helpful. After the meeting, I had a mom (an assistant den leader no less) yell at me for not reminding her some other way. Why do people think other people owe them something? I am really glad to have crossed over and be done with that for awhile!
  23. That played a big factor in me sending my brand new scout. He joined a Troop of 12 boys and ALL 12 of them are going to camp! It's hard enough being new, but imagine being new and missing the biggest bonding experience of the year? I didn't want that for him so even though he is pensive about it, he is going.
  24. That's good advice... makes sense. My son is probably too young right now but best to get in the habit. Thanks.
  25. I am working on this now too.... for regular boy scout camps (Ma-ka-ja-wan in WI), do we need to print and carry around the part D and/or bring it to the doctor's office? Thanks!