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oldbuzzard last won the day on March 4 2018

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  1. Fair enough... but none of that matches my anecdotal experience as a scout, adult, or scouter. As a Scout in the 80s we did backpacking trips on the Uwharrie Trail and at Grayson Highlands in VA. Uwharrie is definitely not magazine cover material but was under an hour away. Mt Rogers and the wild horses were on the AT and closer to 2 1/2hrs away; along with Roan mountain, it is one of my favorite spots on the AT outside of New England. Both were backcountry. As an adult, I have never seen scouts backpacking in the type of areas you describe. I've seen and talked to scouts on the PCT, Superior Hiking Trail, and in the Porkies but all of them were backpacking for the experience not training. Most of those groups had smaller/younger scouts along. I've read plenty of trail registers of scout groups in the White and Green Mtns. The only scout groups I've seen doing "backpacking" training hikes in Seattle, NC, and MN were groups training for Philmont. As a scouter, our scouts have done less backpacking than some of the adults would prefer but they seem to mirror my view that backpacking is a method to do things you couldn't do otherwise, not a goal in and of its self. We run our own 2 week summer camp with a 3 day 2 night out of camp trip. The trip rotates between a river canoe trip, a 100 miles bike trip, and a backpacking/hiking trip. All the scouts regardless of age do the trip. This year is backpacking, due to LNT we will probably need 3 crews. The newly crossed over scouts may base camp hike. The other 2 crews will be backpacking. So far I've loaned the PLC my SHT maps, we'll see what the plan is after the CoH on Monday. I'm curious since I'm "leading" one of the groups. As to backcountry and extraction...I think that "majority of trails are within a couple hours of extraction" statement is *very* questionable. My wife has done medical support for trail races on the SHT, which while more rugged has more roads/logging roads/4WD driveable snowmobile trails than either the AT or probably many portions of the Laurel Highlands Trail.In a medical emergency it took six hours to evacuate someone 2 miles.Running in a local county park it took 2 hours to evacuate someone under a mile with a broken arm. I think that the most useful element of a good WFA/WFR course is the field experience to show how slow and difficult rescues are. This realization helps folks grasp why the front/backcountry lines are so close together.
  2. Well the 2nd(gold) document lists multi night backpacking as an approved activity for younger Scouts while the GTSS explicitly lacks a "backcountry/wilderness" check for younger Scouts. Everywhere except outpost camping at council camps, backpacking is a backcountry activity. Hence the tendency to ignore gtss and go with the other doc.
  3. One downside is bamboo is slicker and the lower friction makes them harder to lash...not impossible just slightly harder.
  4. Here, I think there are three models 1) Specialty crews like the SCUBA crews are chartered by subject experts and only do that activity. 2) We have a crew chartered by an outdoor store that is nominally a climbing crew. They also backpack and canoe depending on scout interest. I would call this and similar crews high adventure crews. 3) We have standard CO chartered crew who do whatever that cohort of scouts wants.
  5. Sadly yes. The vast majority of families in our troop are either outdoorsy or scouting heritage families. So camping, knots, and cooking are a given. Map skills, first aid, and LNT are more uneven. Pioneering and lashing are weak. Among our under 16 scouts everyone has at least one BSA, GS, Scout Association, or Scouts Canada parent.
  6. My 12yo picked up a unadorned red wool West German army beret at a church clothing swap. He's received quite a few compliments when he wears it at scout events. Any adults who are Scouts Canada alums seem particularly impressed... maybe berets lasted longer there...
  7. Our main local Ship tries to sail at most weekly meetings between May and October and work on advancement and certifications the rest of the year. They sail on a local park lake in optis and 420s. They also have access to a larger boat for trips on the Great Lakes.
  8. Locally, looking at programs with a large outdoors component, I see two separate differences in outcomes. For our local Loppet program, they have XC skiing, trail running, orienteering, and MTB as focuses. They vastly outperform the Scouts on skill development but are weak on leadership. Though Jesse Diggins' work with the XC ski folks on climate change is positive sign. Scouts is clearly better at leadership. Personal growth will depend. On the other hand our 2 local high adventure Y camps, Menogyn and Widji, both do a great job on leadership and growth. They are on par with NOLS and Outward Bound. The Widji progression exceeds anything Northern Tier offers( https://www.ymcamn.org/camps/camp_widjiwagan/parents/the_widji_progression ). This a huge personal growth and leadership opportunity. The huge benefit Scouts offers is the patrol method. I truly believe that our kids planning their own trips and working the details is more worthwhile regardless of any lesser scope. This same philosophy is why I prefer troop trips to BSA packaged HA. You can get the forming/storming/norming/performing on either type of trip but the patrol method "laboratory of democracy" benefits only in patrols.
  9. Here in MN, we are also around 8 days, mostly for cold. Lots of districts are asking the Governor to waive instruction hour mandates for make up days beyond those built in to the calendar.
  10. All things being equal in terms of patrol method and relative resources, competition/inspiration is a multi-patrol troop's key advantage. GBB and others talk about using occasional inter-patrol competitions to drive both patrol identity and excellence. Even more important, for me, is the role of inspiration. Seeing another patrol eating an excellent meal, dealing with the weather, pulling off a cool activity should give you something to aspire to. If your patrols are balanced, each patrol should be able to regularly find inspiration from the others.
  11. The boilerplate is clearly damage control, but I disagree about separating from National. All the boilerplate releases say the local council is financially strong and "stands ready to help" National. Compare that to our councils statement. Clearly off the same boilerplate document. But the last sentence I bolded is less open ended in its support for National.
  12. I wouldn't count your example. Our scouts usually get snow on our November campout and at least some camp in the snow in Dec/Jan. I wouldn't count those either since it is incidental and not really any different than other camping trips(no planning windbreaks/snow structures/what have you) However, it is easy for us since we do an out of camp trip at Summer camp that rotates between a canoe trip/100 mile bike trip/backpacking so meeting that requirement is never really an issue. Here in MN, 9b1, hike up a mountain and gain 1000ft from where you started is impossible. Like snow camping is impossible for you. If you go to a council camp the rappeling should be a gimme... Anyway, having the long list to pick 2 from should balance this all out. It is all about having a variety of camping experiences, not doing any particular one.
  13. We camped last weekend,Nov 9-11, in WI on our troop's camp property .It was 10 degrees with 2-3 inches of snow on Friday night. We got another inch or so on Saturday night. The scouts really liked hanging out in the falling snow around a roaring fire. All the scouts were outside in tents. The Webelos slept in a storage building with a wood stove. Our December campout is always a joint campout with 3-4 other troops at another troop's cabin. All our scouts will camp out side and there should be sledding and the creek will be frozen and maybe the river. January is uncertain. Our camp has unmaintained sand and grass roads. If we can get in, in cars, we will camp there, otherwise we'll camp at a council camp. We do Eagle Cave every other year, so no February campout for us this year. March isn't planned yet. Last year we camped at a council camp and the scouts and webelos camped in the snow. The past 2-3 winters have been frustrating for us. We have older scouts who want to do hard core winter camping, quinzees and such, but the weather is fickle. It will be too warm or 0 degrees without much snow on our scheduled weekends and then later dump a foot of snow when we can't use it. *I* would love to send a couple of scout(er)s to CWLT at Northern Tier and then do a regular January trip to the North Shore or Boundary Waters, but thats a long term plan. In terms of planning, we don't do much. Scouts know how to layer already. The 2 main things we do are 1) unlike warmer campouts where scouts use their own tents, in the winter all the younger scouts have to tent together, having 2 or 3 scouts in a tent keeps every one warmer and provides a safety margin if anyone gets too cold 2) we make sure folks have an extra sleeping bag, most of our scouts have 20/30 degree bags but we have extra huge uncompressable 80's era sleeping bags that scouts can use a a quilt or as a ground cloth or as an over bag; Its big and bulky and heavy but warm and cheap. If we ever move to more extreme back country camping we'll have to up our game but it works for now.
  14. Our chartering church has experience fighting with National. Our home family church is the same denomination. We have had gay/trans leaders and scouts forever. We opted out of the gay ban and were a major force pushing our council to also opt out of the gay ban. For that I am grateful. My wife's church in NH just dropped their BSA charter. Our early 2000's outdoorsy church in Seattle had no scouts since 2 of our 4 ministers would be banned from contact with scouts for being gay. I am glad some liberal churches pushed through that culture war to allow a more inclusive movement.. But none of the CA or PNW councils chose to defy national, while Northern Star did. I suppose that could be a concern. But being a Scouting family, I can feel qualified to judge these things. I'm not making any troop decisions but I can recognize traditional scouting when I see it. Would I have made the same decisions...maybe... probably. But I can see YPT is being followed. We have emeritus SMs being written up in Scouting mag. We have camp volunteers in their 50th year at camp. When our younger 11-13yo scouts were planning their BWCA trip this year, we had another emeritus spry fit looking SM come in to talk about canoe trips and he started his talk out talking to the the younger scouts and the Webelos who we visiting by saying "I was sitting right where you were, I joined this troop as a Cub Scout in 1947..." While he went on to talk about staffing the Region X canoe base based solely on his troop canoeing experience, you could see the kids slowly doing the math and having their jaws drop. Maybe our troop is pushing things too much, but in 6 months it won't matter, and the question was what is your troop doing to prepare for coed Scouts BSA. That's what we're doing.
  15. Our troop has a "patrol" of girls at summer camp for the past 2 weeks. We run our own camp with usually one other troop. We've regularly had 1 or 2 associated Venture crews that are majority female doing all camp activities . Our girl patrol sent in registrations as Scouts which were rejected. We refused to take the apps back. I *think* council converted them to Venture apps and we refused to take the cards. Anyway, all the females are over 14 but we invited younger girls and would have allowed them if they wanted to attend. This is the female scouts' first troop activity, some of them did a entirely mom/daughter BWCA trip this summer at the same time the troop was sending 3 crews to the BWCA. The biggest issue has been how we are going to recognize them at the closing campfire since we can't give them merit badges. I'll see what they've come up with tomorrow night. So yes. We have a committee. We have female scouters. Half the girls at camp will age out before girls are "allowed" in February, so we also have a younger group of female ASMs or ad hoc volunteers from our venture crew, which has been defunct but is spinning back up for an existing group of senior scouts who will age out during their senior year and want to do some more high adventure. Our CO has encouraged us to push the boundaries as much as possible. We are planning to run linked troops which will look like a single troop with single sex patrols. We're just hoping to get enough new girls to have viable patrols. ETA: Our Cub Scout troop is planning to run coed dens.. Council knows this. We are a designated referral pack for girls who can't form a viable den in other packs. When we told council they gritted their teeth and said they'd *strongly* prefer we not do that. We told them we were doing it anyway and they ignored it.
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