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Everything posted by oldbuzzard

  1. oldbuzzard

    Only six months till girls in Scouts BSA.

    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.
  2. oldbuzzard

    Only six months till girls in Scouts BSA.

    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.
  3. oldbuzzard

    UT Second time in two weeks, a missing scout ...

    Looking at this incident and g2ss is interesting. In this case the scout fell behind and then went off the trail. The buddy system should help with this but bikers get strung out so even with better buddy system you might not notice for a few minutes, certainly not the 45 minutes in the article. However, the big safety issue I would cite here was that there was no one riding sweep. That seems to me to be the way to quickly catch lagging, lost, equipment failure, etc. Interestingly, I see no mention of best group riding practices in the cycling section and no mention of sweepers anywhere in g2ss. I don't think needs to be an adult role, but some language like, "When hiking or riding in a group patrol size or larger, it is recommended that each group have a designated responsible scout(er) in the rear in a sweep role to quickly identify any problem with lagging participants." Maybe this is somewhere in BSA docs but it wasn't easily findable. If g2ss is going to be a prescriptive as the current versions are, it would be nice if the activity sections actually included the useful info.
  4. oldbuzzard

    NATIONAL POLICY: AOL and Crossover Ceremonies

    I'll take a stab at it... Looking at antecedents OA borrowed from, why would an adult join a service organization without the Masons' "mystical" mumbo jumbo? And yet, Rotary and Kiwanis and Jaycees etc seem to do OK. Ignoring solely adult concerns like the grail and networking and business opportunities, the 2 factors youth and adults are looking for in a group are the chance to do meaningful stuff and the opportunity to associate with others they find admirable. So for OA... The ceremony teams are one opportunity to do both meaningful stuff and be admired. But is that really the best example of either OA's or Scouts' mission. I'm not sure. The uniform method is about being a visible force for good in the community not impressing folks for its own sake. Despite its tradition as a quasi-religious secret society, I don't see much about that aspect of the OA in either the aims or the methods. On the other hand the new formulation of OA as a camping/service honor society has lots of untapped potential. Why hide your light under a bushel, only displaying it for ceremonies and helping out at camporees and camp maintenance. These are Scouting's best, let them help more widely. I happen to think the quintessential OA experience isn't ceremony team but rather trail crew. That seems to be a more public facing role for Scouting's best. Let OA take that ethos of service and bring it to the wider scouting community and the general public. For instance have OA lead a Scout's wide conservation service day, on say Teddy Roosevelt;s birthday in October. Scouts want to emulate older role models. Let OA members demonstrate this in a very public way.If Cubs see these Scouts leading on a yearly basis, they will be suitably impressed if these Scouts come in a regular uniform to give them a charge at Crossing Over. My wife and 9yo son are going up to volunteer at a trail race tomorrow. I'm getting 11yo son off to camp. We volunteer with various trail crews on the SHT. We have plenty of friends who do similar work. The combination of supporting something you love and working with people you like is way more powerful than some borrowed mythology.
  5. oldbuzzard

    Eight scouts sent home from Scotland Jamboree

    I can't rule anything out at the Constitution-free zone that is our modern border, but this shouldn't be any different than someone who smokes dope in Amsterdam, has a beer at Oktoberfest, or eats some raw milk cheese in France. Besides taxation the US doesn't typically try to enforce laws outside their jurisdiction for US citizens.
  6. oldbuzzard

    Scoutmaster drowns while rescuing scout (UT)

    I assume many of us got the Lifesaving merit badge back when this was the case and usually the teenage camp counselor tried to kick, punch, and drown you on the rescues. Unfortunately this didn't typically highlight the threats of GO rescues, rather it tended to instill a dangerous "illusion of competence".
  7. oldbuzzard

    Is this the new normal?

    Much like with 22s, the "bounce and ricochet" is why they recommend against hunting moose with a F150. Brake for Moose, it will save your life.
  8. oldbuzzard

    Is this the new normal?

    Maybe our council just isn't good at following directions, regardless of the liberal/conservative bias, but it has had hunter education programs running on council camp sites for at least 15 years. In previous years it has been pitched as a semi-official collaborative effort between them and the Deer Hunter Assoc., https://scoutingevent.com/?forkhorn2015 More recently it hasn't been mentioned on the council site but is still running at council camps, as well as Y camps and others. https://www.mndeerhunters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Deer-Hunters-FH-Brochure-1.9.18.pdf ETA: I agree hunter ed probably shouldn't be a troop activity... but council or run with DNR or other groups with certs seems fine to me.
  9. oldbuzzard

    GS Camp and Construction Trades

    Here is an interesting article. https://www.minnpost.com/education/2018/07/new-approach-sparking-interest-construction-trades-girl-scouts-building-tiny-homes Power tools, scaffolds... oh my! Looks like a good learning opportunity for the scouts.
  10. oldbuzzard

    Son is at YMCA camp this week.

    For us Cub day camp is $185 + $35 for busing from a single site 30 minutes away + aftercare. The Y is $240 for camp with free busing from a dozen sites, one of which is 2 blocks from our house.. Traditional week long camp for BS age is $615 for the Y vs $302 for council camp vs <$400 for our troop 2 week camp. So BSA is a huge win here... depending on how you amortize out troop dues. High Adventure trips. Y BWCA trips for 6th graders $550; BSA unavailable High Adventure trips. Y BWCA trips 7-8th grader $890; BSA unavialable High Adventure. Y BWCA 12 day $1470; BSA NTier 12 day (760 / 8 ) * 12 = $1140 -or - with 2 deep (760 /6 ) *12=$1520 High Adventure Y Quetico 19 day $2410;BSA NTier Atikokan (810/8) * 12 = $1923 -or- with 2 deep (810/6) * 19= $2562 High Adventure Y Arctic Rivers 29-52 days customs prices; BS Bisset equivalent-ish for early trrips. No equivalent for later trips. Now going as a patrol/crew has advantages over tripping with the Y. But for Cub day camp and HA the Y is quality and cost competetive. For traditional Summer Camp, Scouts is a steal compared to the Y or most other groups.(Though my niece is going to a $400 a week overnight camping climbing camp at Acadia).
  11. oldbuzzard

    Is this the new normal?

    I agree this is the problem. The G2SS has become a club to beat well meaning Scouters on issues orthogonal to safety. No where is this more apparent than on the gun related issues. The first parts of the guns restrictions are entirely reasonable but unrelated to safety. The ban on shooting at silhouettes isn't primarily a safety ban it is mostly philosophical. Now *I* strongly support this. I think having folks in the liberal church be willing to learn gun safety under the guise of marksmanship is a huge win. Having more Americans familiar with guns and gun safety as a tools, independent of the political debates is worthwhile. But the latter sections of the ban on pointing *"guns"* at humanoid targets is a natural philosophical follow on not safety driven. Claiming otherwise is disingenuous., Likewise with the ban on fighting/boxing/martial arts. This is clearly a terrible idea. Scouts shouldn't fight one another. This is a huge vector for hazing. Lots of badness here. But is the issue fundamentally safety or philosophical... You could argue it either way; a ban is clearly in order. This becomes even more clear when considering allowed activities. ATVs are a prime example of suspected pay2play. Here is a activity that is whitewashed based on industry money and kid interest. American Academy of Pediatrics and others recommends a ban on <16kids sinces ATVs are unsafe. My wife has never done autopsies on kids shooting nerf/water guns or even more problematic paintball guns but has done several autopsies on ATV riders. I think National needs to explain which restrictions are philosophically driven and which are data driven safety concerns and that would at least focus these arguments properly.
  12. oldbuzzard

    Son is at YMCA camp this week.

    My 9 yo has been at Y Day camp in MN and a family reunion at a Y camp colocated with a Y resident camp in MO this summer. In comparison to Cub camp, for age limited activities he has sailed and canoed on rivers, zip lined, and done a high ropes course. Among banned activities he has zorb balled and had sanctioned water fights with water cannons. The Y camp limited him to crappy air rifles instead of 22s just like Scouts. Overall the Y camps have been cheaper and better than the Scout offerings.
  13. I think Lake Superior is North America's secret inland ocean. The Superior Hiking Trail is a gem ad could support longer treks. The Porkies are great since you can camp right on Gitchi Gami. We went there last fall with my 9yo and 11yo. It would be hard to create a 12 day trek there. The SHT and the Porkies have plenty of rocks, waterfalls, and bluff side hiking. Those Ontario parks, and Sleeping Giant, are intriguing to me since they seem to resemble the West Coast Trail up Vancouver Island, without the ladders, cable cars, and "crowds". However from Minneapolis they are a similar distance to Denver. The West Coast Trail is an unforgettable experience. These Ontario trails look similar. The only other options outside on Alaska I know about are a trail up the North Coast of California. and Gros Morne in New Foundland.
  14. How so? Plenty of scouts don't change clothes on campouts or change in sleeping bags. Other issues could go to known adult leaders. From a PL perspective, I need to talk to SM/ASM X should always be honored. The adult leader can always push back on frivolous requests, regardless of cause. Yes in a hypothetical emergency situation it could be an issue but in every day situations where is the surprise?
  15. Back to practicality and away from the culture war.... This one really is easy. The scout tents with their patrol. They are in a patrol based on the gender checked on their registration form. I've known a couple of trans scouts over the last 10+ years. They all camped with their male Boy Scout patrols. Except for select leadership, on a need to know basis, the fact these kids are trans isn't even disclosed(So maybe I've known more than I think). Tenting was never an issue. Our camp showers and latrines are stalled these days. Outings like the city pool with communal showers and locker rooms could be an issue, but all the kids shower in swim suits and plenty of kids including the oldest "manliest" ones change in bathroom stalls for modesty reasons so it has never been an issue. I view the trans issue the same way I view gay scouts. It is a non-issue practically. I have no idea how many gay scouts I've known over the years because it isn't relevant to the program. Often the best clue is during the Eagle COHs when the parents get misty eyed about what a blessing this or that troop was for their son and how great it is to be with an open and affirming church. I think trans scouts will be the same way.
  16. oldbuzzard

    Cost of Being a Scout

    Troop. Our camp predates any of the council camps and in fact the first Camp Director for our biggest/earliest Council camp was CD at our camp previously so there is weird overlap in traditions.
  17. oldbuzzard

    2 scouts, 2 scouters rescued Mt. Baker (WA)

    Based on the sketchy facts available I wholly agree that they were not prepared. The one thing I give the group credit for is sheltering in place instead of trying to self rescue. Yes they risked the rescuers' lives, etc etc... but if they hadn't done that I think there is a reasonable chance there would be dead scouts instead of injured scouts. I think in these cases it is easy to point to outrageous root causes of the incident but it is important to highlight the good as well as bad decisions once you are trapped in the incident pit. I also like to remember: "There are old climbers; There are bold climbers; There are no old. bold climbers."
  18. No. Our CO is very clear they want us to be as close to coed as the rules allow. My wife has been a WDL for the last 2 years but is waiting to see how this shakes out before choosing her leadership role next year.... Maybe girl WDL, maybe female ASM looikng towards Feb. '19. So starting a stand alone girl troop is a non-starter for us.
  19. I agree its brilliant for the camp to raise money by sponsoring this group. I just don't quite understand its purpose. Isn't that what CAP is for? Military planes, EEA ride alongs, etc isn't that the point of Summer Encampment. Is this for STEM kids who can't tolerate the military side of things?
  20. oldbuzzard

    North Face to develop GS outdoor adventure program

    You must have missed the all girl qualifier on that expertise. On a national basis their only real competition would be the YMCA. The Girl Scout Canoe base started in the 60's in a rented building at Northern Tier. My wife, did bike touring trips across both VT and Cape Cod as a GS. The GS offer a lot of "high adventure" trips and in contrast to Scouting BSA these are open to either individual girls or troops as a matter of course. To take the Boundary Waters as an example. Northern Tier runs something like 750 crews into the BWCA, a few years ago when I talked to the GS at our outdoor expo they were running a 100+, and YMCA Camp Widji was running around 150 crew evenly divided between genders. YMCA Camp Menogyn runs plenty of single sex canoe and backpacking treks from the North Shore. YMCA Camp Manitowish runs plenty of girl canoe and backpack treks from within 6 miles of the old Region 7 Canoe Base.. Presumably YMCA camps have similar gender divided stuff else where, but they are the only national competition for the GS and I can completely believe that the GS have a much stronger national portfolio.
  21. oldbuzzard

    Cost of Being a Scout

    We shoot for monthly camping during the school year and Summer Camp. This year we missed that target and had 6 instead of 9 camp outs, so 12 nights. Any given campout has a bit less than 50% participation which isn't great. In terms of funding all camping out of Troop funds, there are two warring principles. 1) "A Scout pays his own way" and 2) "A member of a community supports that community". We focus on number 2. Just as you wouldn't only support your church on a transactional basis, likewise with Scouts. Everyone needs to contribute through dues or fundraising regardless of whether they attend every event. This removes any financial pressure for the basic program, especially since the troop or our alumni will cover the needy. Yes, our 2 week camp is $400. We have owned our camp since the 40's. It is quite primitive. No running water, no electricity, no walled buildings except the newish concrete storm bunker. But we have archery, rifle, and shotgun ranges and a shifting primitive waterfront for swimming or canoeing on a national wild and scenic river. Maintaining it is a shocking amount of work but also helps build that sense of community and has probably contributed to the troops longevity.
  22. oldbuzzard

    Cost of Being a Scout

    Our troop is way under $1000. Here is my sons break down for the 2017-2018 Council/National dues: ~$150 Troop Dues:($100 Fall/$100 Spring) All waived this year due to fundraising. Fall has been waived for at least the last 10 years. Necker/Book: Troop provided at crossover Uniform Shirt: $8 from uniform exchange closet. Camping/Food: Covered by troop dues. Summer Camp: 2 weeks for ~$400 . I just paid $260 with fundraising discount. 4 day BWCA canoe trip: ~$200 pp so since I was a paying leader ~$400 Gear: Old family gear. So all told under $850 for everyone. Our troops basic fundraising is a pancake breakfast, spag dinner, and wreath sale. The kids doing bigger HA like Seabase or whatever usually end up with another $600-900 of fees depending on how well their supplemental fundraising goes.
  23. oldbuzzard

    Unit milestone anniversary - What to do?

    Our troop provides all the default neckers(folks can use Gray Wolf or Eagle neckers if they want). We have red neckers for scouts crossing over, blue for after certain conditions, and green for leadership. All of these neckers still have a pentagonal patch on the point celebrating the troops 75th anniversary in 2004.
  24. oldbuzzard

    New Cooking Subforum

    You just need to rebrand that as "Expedition Cooking". If the cooking and backpacking MB books with debranded generic Kroger and other grocery store supplies isn't convincing enough, get the "NOLS Cookery" book out of the library. It details how they plan all their trips, including the 30 day+ trips in Patagonia, using bulk grocery store supplies.
  25. oldbuzzard

    Arrow of Light Scouts Crossing Over

    We're getting ready to go through round 2 of this with our kids. We are in a school district with a *very* firm Sept 1 cutoff for K. My kids both have early Sept birthdays so they can crossover in March as AOL with 6mos in their dens since turning 10 or ~9months total as Webelos and as 4th Graders. For older son this was a great option. The other choice wasn't waiting a whole year, it was to join BS in the Fall as an 11yo with or without AOL. Instead, he's been to summer camp and every monthly camp out. Tomorrow he'll finished 5th grade as a 11yo and Saturday we head off for his crew's Boundary Waters trip. While he'll be the youngest, he won't be the weakest kid on that trip by a good stretch. Younger son will be a 4th grader and cross over next year. His best friend is 6 months younger and in his den so that'll be awkward but he is so ready it is the only viable choice. His buddy will join many of the Scout campouts as a Webelos, but it is not yet clear whether he will cross over the following Fall or Spring. Either way my son will be able to attend camp next Summer. For older kids the age vs grade requirements may be the best way to keep them in the program. PS: For Scouts the situation may be reversed. Our troop is spinning back up its venture crew solely to serve the 4 or 5 kids who turn 18 during senior year who want to do Seabase SCUBA next Spring. If I were in charge I would have more age flexibility for Cub Scouts while allowing Scouts to stay active until HS graduation regardless of age.