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Everything posted by swilliams

  1. Well, we didn't cook in mess kits. We made scrambled eggs in a pot of boiling water with Ziplocs.  LOL.

  2. swilliams

    Mess kit cooking

    So, I just gave an 'I love it' rep to a post from 2010, lol. We still have three metal mess kits, but I can't remember the last time anything was cooked in them. For me, personally, I cook a fair amount over the fire, but not in the mess kit since it's usually for my family of five. My daughter does take a metal cup along with her plastic mess kit, so she can heat water for hot chocolate over the backpacking stove. Our crew and troop does a lot of cooking in the Dutch oven, but again, not the same. Now I'm going to have to throw this out there as a challenge for some of the older scouts who are starting to think they know it all.
  3. swilliams

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    My daughter's Venture Crew (all girl) is led by three dads who started the crew for their daughters. There are three women on the committee now (we're called 'Associate Advisors' ), but the main leaders are still men.
  4. swilliams

    I need a "shiny" red numeral 1.

    Ask a few scout shops as well. Sometimes they get old uniforms, and occasionally some of the less sentimental patches are left on.
  5. swilliams

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    One of our all-girl Venture crew leaders recently created a new web page. Under the 'Who We Are' tab, these are the first sentences: "Simply put, we are Boy Scouts... who are girls! Why? Well, because we love being outdoors!" None of our girls has any issue being referred to as Boy Scouts. Shame the name couldn't have been left alone.
  6. swilliams

    Lone Scout Questions

    I tried that with the last pack - not taking over, but splitting the den, as we had 14 Webelos. Was told 'no'. Long story. Suffice to say it didn't work out I had kind of forgotten this, to be honest. I guess because I'm mainly involved with the older kids in Boy Scouts now, it didn't register. Getting old and slow.
  7. swilliams

    Lone Scout Questions

    I realize the OP posted this in September, but I'm chiming in now to share what I've found in the last couple days If you look at my post history, you'll see we've had some difficulties in pack structure and leadership, and our den meetings at our local pack had deteriorated. Much more to the story, but it's a tl:dr. We switched packs at the end of the school year. With our new pack, we did all kinds of summer events, and my son was having a great time, but we didn't meet his den leader until very end of the summer. That was the first warning bell. So... fast-forward, and we've only had one den meeting so far this entire year. This is the entire reason we changed packs: my son really wants to earn his Arrow of Light, like his brother did, but it wasn't and isn't happening with either of these dens. I called council to see if we could set him up as a lone scout just so he can finish his last few requirements. Their first question/suggestion was that we join another pack. Ugh. It's not exactly easy for many boys to fit into an existing group, and I don't really want to put my son through that again. I suppose I could go through what I did with the last pack - offering to plan and host den meetings, track the boys' progress, etc., but by the time things get sorted, I'm afraid it will be too late. I had only talked to the person in charge of registration, and he gave me our DE's number. I left a message and haven't received a call back. Pretty much what I expected. No one likes to deal with this stuff. Now what? I don't know. It seems like council and/or the DE is hoping that if they ignore me, I'll go away. At this point, it's really freaking tempting to have my son do the requirements and hand him the Arrow patch whether it's officially recognized, or not.
  8. swilliams

    Where did you go to summer camp?

    Trefoil Ranch in Utah, for a week with the Girl Scouts. I hated it, though I'm sure that was through no fault of the camp. I had no friends in Girl Scouts, so I'm not sure why my parents sent me, other than maybe to get me out of their hair, lol. The vast majority of my camping experience was with my family. Dad is an outdoorsman, so we camped a LOT. Most vivid memories are him hiding our Easter baskets up in some scrub oak one year, and having the back of our (the kids) tent collapse on us due to a heavy snow, while dad slept soundly in the truck/camper.
  9. swilliams

    Lawnmower Parents

    Had to trophy your post for this comment. Our schools have a FaceBook page for each grade. For the last week, every post from the parents has been about a particular assignment that there is no way the kids can complete on their own. Some of the comments are hysterical, but the underlying issue is not.
  10. swilliams

    Targeting Boy with False Allegations

    My boys are still on the young side, 12 and 10, so I've not brought this up. It's too tempting to stick my head in the sand, rather than try to wade into the murk that is the current #metoo. It's sad to think that it's no longer enough to talk to them about treating girls with respect, but to have to add in precautions about making sure they can't be accused of inappropriate behavior. As for my daughters, one was groped in the hallway of middle school - early 2000's, plenty of witnesses. She immediately went to the school director, told him what had happened and pointed out the boy, who ended up being suspended for three days. When he came back to school, he was determined to exact revenge. Being in NYC, the school building didn't have room for the 7th and 8th grade kids to eat lunch in the cafeteria, so they were allowed out for lunch. He followed her and a group of friends to the local deli, pushed their food off the table, then shoved my daughter into the street as she was walking back to school. Luckily the oncoming car was able to brake in time. While you never want a girl to feel she can't speak up, it never occurred to her that she would end up in a far more difficult situation because of it, and she expressed frustration and some regret for having come forward. What an awful, muddled mess. Can we just separate them all until they're in their 20's?
  11. swilliams

    Dorky Patch Placement Questions

    I wish I had a picture to share. I worked in a local scout shop, and a grown man brought in his old merit badge sash. One of the merit badges had fallen off. He wanted me to sew it back on, but "make it look like the rest of them - like they way I did it when I was 16, using my mom's old machine". It was one of the most heartwarming things I've ever seen; with black, uneven stitching showing all around the insides of the badges.
  12. swilliams

    Only six months till girls in Scouts BSA.

    This pretty much sums up where we are, too. Our CO is okay with it, and they charter a few different packs/troops, but we've seen very little interest. My daughter (13) joined an all-girl Venture crew and is happy as a clam. It was started in 2016 by a couple dads who wanted something for their daughters. They decided to keep it all girl, with the thought that the boys already had two troop in towns to choose from. The crew now has girls from at least seven of the surrounding towns - mine is one of them. I think for those who are early to get started, there's a better chance that they'll draw from a larger area than there is the chance that most districts will have multiple troops.
  13. swilliams

    Scoutmaster drowns while rescuing scout (UT)

    What a tragedy. I feel for this troop and its leadership. My younger son's Cub pack just had an overnight trip to the Absecon Lighthouse in NJ. One of the things the lighthouse keeper told us was that the rescue crew when the lighthouse was first built had a saying, "You have to go out, but you don't have to come back", which the Coast Guard still uses. Apparently more of these brave men lost their lives practicing rescues than they did while performing actual rescues. Yes, dangerous. A tragedy happened, now we only hope that lessons will be taken from it.
  14. swilliams

    Another Committee Chair Resignation...

    That's such a difficult situation. I was all ready to step up as CC when our current said she was stepping down. Then she didn't, and the pack is really limping along without strong leadership from either her or the Cubmaster. I tried to find various ways to help, but there's some kind of weird power struggle going on, and the two of them aren't open to any suggestions. One of our best den leaders offered to be Assistant Cubmaster, and was told 'no'. A little while later, that position was taken off the list of open positions, but no one can (or will) say who filled it. In the end, we switched to another pack when it became clear that the COR wasn't going to get involved.
  15. swilliams

    Just curious about background

    This is a big reason for my hope that troops can actually be kept separate. Even when things are equal, it's human nature to see inequality. My husband was laid off last fall, and through the role reversal of him being home with the kids while I'm working over 40 hours a week, we've gotten a pretty good laugh at ourselves and our perceptions of how hard (or not) the other was working. My very first reaction on hearing the news about adding girls was excitement, but that has been tempered quite a bit in the time since. Initial excitement was because I'd seen what a great program scouting is; leadership, teamwork, outdoor skills... who wouldn't want that same thing for their daughters? Then the terrible (imho) way national has handled this, combined with indications that there will actually be changes to the program, has me worried. It's also been discouraging to see the divide that has sprung up even among individuals in our troop. Oh, background. Scouting family. I tried Girl Scouts for a year, but hated every second of it despite our local troop doing a lot of outdoor activities. It was due more to lack of friends in the troop than anything else. Told my own sons that scouting is a family tradition and they have to do it, lol. I stepped in as acting Den Leader for a bit when our actual DL's son got very sick, and did advancement for the pack, as well as various other non-position positions. I'm on the Troop Committee and will be taking over advancement sometime in the next year, as the current Advancement Chair's son will likely be making Eagle. I'm also an adult female for our Crew's activities - something they've struggled with when it comes to outdoor/overnight activities, and will be going with them to Philmont next year. Which brings up a logistical issue for girl troops. There's no escaping the reality that many females have no interest in the relative hardships of many of the things that makes scouting great. I grew up camping and hiking, then later mountain biking and kayaking, so to me it's fun, but there aren't many other moms/females in our Troop or Crew who feel the same way. (Thanks, Dad, for Easter camping weekends and hiding our baskets up in the trees, making us hike for hours through the Utah woods looking for the perfect natural-grown Christmas tree, and taking us with you when you hunted. Even if an early snow did collapse the tent on us while you slept in the camper!)
  16. swilliams

    Sudden Push for Venturing

    We've only been part of our crew for three months now, but here's what I'd like to see, plus something you could suggest for your crews. Advertise, advertise, advertise. Very few families have ever heard of Venturing. When I talked to the mothers of my daughter's two best friends about signing their kids up, they had no idea what Venturing is, and were surprised to find out that the BSA has been running a co-ed program for years. With all the conversation about allowing girls into the Cub and Boy Scouts, this is a great opportunity to let folks know that this isn't the first time girls have had opportunities within the BSA. As to how to advertise... I'm no expert on communications or marketing, but something as simple as getting permission to set up recruiting before high school sports events would at least reach your target audience. Maybe find ways to help the Crew publicize what they've been doing; look into which local media sources would be willing to run stories. In addition to media, here's what our Crew did recently. We have green and yellow Class B's that are nice and bold, and when we're out sometimes people will ask about us based on how the girls are dressed (all girl crew). In addition, we were doing trail work and a trash clean up in an area where there is a lot of passing traffic. Our Crew advisor set up a sign saying something like 'Community Service Courtesy of Crew 28'. A LOT of people were asking what the Crew was. Maybe help your crews get some sort of weather-resistant, portable signage? Lastly, our Crew advisor is an old pro, with sons having gone through Cub and Boy Scouts, so he has a really good idea of how to structure the program in a way that will keep the girls engaged. If your advisors and parents are less experienced, make sure there are plenty of suggestions and examples for them to follow. Some of this material will be available already, but they may not know about it. Until recently, because I'm not our DL, I didn't know there was a Leader Guide available to help structure meetings. In leafing through it, I found one or two good ideas that I'm implementing for our den. I found a couple others online from random sites where DLs and parents have shared their ideas.
  17. swilliams

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    My brothers' experience was pretty good, from what they've expressed. Given that I'm 15 years older than the first of my brothers and we were in a different ward when I grew up, though, I remember friends of mine strongly disliking scouts and complaining about it. It was only when I met a boyfriend years later, who'd been involved in a different troop, that I got a good look for myself into what scouting could be when the troop is run well. I debated posting, because I don't want my comments to be taken as being a negative reflection on the church, but it's hard to ignore the fact that there can be some really major differences in experiences if you were in a small ward where the Scoutmaster didn't really like his calling vs. in a troop where all the volunteers (limited though they may be) are there and committed because they want to be. I hope whatever the LDS program becomes, that it will inspire those who lead it.
  18. swilliams

    Trouble With Den Meetings

    Our den leader's son has been having health issues for quite a while now. I stepped up in January and started planning and hosting den meetings at our house. Note: I'm not formally an assistant den leader, but just wanted to try and help out during a tough time. After a bit, I was able to arrange for meetings at our elementary school, and our den leader said he was ready to take the reins again. During this same time period, we've added four new Webelos scouts, and one 5th grader who is hoping to get his Arrow of Light (our pack doesn't have an AOL den) before crossing over to the troop. In addition, none of our regular boys has earned their Webelos rank yet. The handful of den meetings the DL has arranged have been last-minute and completely ineffective. We needed to get Building a Better World done for the AOL, and the DL showed up with nothing prepared, then told the scouts to go outside and find a 3 foot stick. When we asked him what that was for, he said, "To give them something to do." We had a parent meeting at the pack level a couple weeks ago, and I was 'put in my place' when I told our Cubmaster (whose son is a Webelos scout) that we needed to have a couple more den meetings this year to get everyone where they needed to be. I was told that this was too busy a time of year to have meetings, and it wasn't my place to be running things. Now we have the school for only one more night, and the AOL scout turns 11 in another two weeks. Den leader won't commit to a meeting because his son now has to undergo a surgery, but won't give me the go ahead to hold it, and I don't have the Cubmaster's support. I'm wondering what the protocol is (other than pizzing people off) if I were to let families know that I'm going to be doing x,y.z at our house, and they're welcome to join us? I'm doing a handful of requirements with my son regardless because I won't wait any longer for the last three things he needs to earn his Webelos rank.
  19. swilliams

    Trouble With Den Meetings

    Thanks, all. This has been a tough year. Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what exactly it is we're teaching the scouts by example. Good responses here, that help me remember to try and make sure whatever gets done, is done in a way that you wouldn't be disappointed with, should it be a scout's actions, rather than my own.
  20. swilliams

    Scout BSA Uniform Survey (Girls)

    Wonder what 'Expert Fitter' means. That wasn't a option for a degree in fashion, patternmaking OR merchandising when I was in school. Maybe it is now, and I'm just too damned old, lol. Not sure how I feel about the whole untucked thing. I have to admit, tucking in the shirt and wearing a belt is a pain, but at the same time, untucked just seems wrong - too undisciplined, maybe, as much as I'd rather not do it.
  21. swilliams

    Scout BSA Uniform Survey (Girls)

    I have a background in fashion design and patternmaking. Can I tell you.... there is nothing more aggravating than BSA uniforms - particularly the fit of the pants. Is this my opportunity to rant a little? First, though, I hate that new shirt. It's odd-looking and a side opening on a pocket is not a great idea. I don't like the placket over the buttons. It may look 'cleaner', but it makes fastening and unfastening the buttons harder. The pocket on the pants looks too high, and I'd miss having the depth that the current cargo pockets have. Unlike with other pants, I actually carry things in these pockets - cell phone, knife, wallet, sometimes a piece of trash picked up on the trail; all kind of things. Really not liking the roll-up part of the pants, either. All that does is create a handy spot for dirt and pine needles to collect, and add bulk that could start chafing if you're on a long hike. The Cub Scout pants are cut way too wide for any but the chubbiest of scouts, and at that young an age, most kids are not yet significantly overweight. I've been working in a scout shop for the last three months, and we've only sold two pair of those pants. It hardly seems worth the trouble to produce them. The micro-poly youth and adult pants aren't too terrible, but why is the fit and sizing between those and the canvas pants so far apart? The legs on the canvas pants are also a bit too wide, and look almost like culottes when you try to wear them as shorts. The elastic area of the canvas pants at the waist is a nice touch, though; forgiving without adding bulk. My biggest complaint is the Venturing uniforms. If Venturing is supposed to be for youth beginning at age 14, why, why, why do the uniforms only come in adult sizes?! And HUGE adult sizes at that. I'm 5'7" and weigh somewhere around 125 lbs. (I think, no scale). The XS ladies pants are too big. If I can't wear them, how on earth is my 14 year-old daughter supposed to wear them? My son is in Boy Scouts, not in Venturing, but the men's XS pants come nearly to his armpits, and he's very tall for his age. The shirts are also really big on him.
  22. Not quite sure how it happened, but we're missing one of our 2017 Scout Sunday patches. Anyone have an extra? I don't really have much to trade, but might be able to come up with something cool.
  23. Bugleson is a Tenderfoot, and has been an APL for a month now. He went to the training event, then attended the first PLC. Afterward, in the car going home, he told me he wasn't sure he was supposed to be there. I told him to ask his SPL at the next troop meeting, but for my own curiosity, is this something that varies according to the troop you're in? He wouldn't (or couldn't) tell me exactly what it was that made him think he wasn't supposed to be at the PLC. He did tell me that no one specifically told him he shouldn't be. Ah, eleven year-olds.
  24. Our pack still hasn't had more than one, or maybe two, inquiries from girls. This whole issue is, for now, a moot point for us. I'm following the issue through this forum, though, so that if/when it does come up I'll have seen what has been working for others.
  25. I have a number of issues with that article, lol. It pretty much sounds like Girl Scouts being bitter, more than the magazine not being in on the whole idea. Although, on reflection, maybe they're not, since they published this. This part is funny to me. "Even with Cub Scout dens remaining single-gender, Girl Scouts leaders are not confident the Boy Scouts will be able to offer adequate programming for girls. According to Archibald, BSA has made no public statement that indicates that they intend to alter their programming in any way to serve girls." The whole reason my daughter didn't want to be involved with Girl Scouts was because she didn't like the program. She just joined a Venturing Crew, and is looking forward to following the outdoor-based program offered - something we couldn't find through our local Girl Scouts. Interestingly, there are two crews near us; one co-ed and one all-girl and when she found out there was an all-girl option, she didn't want to even visit the co-ed group.