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Posts posted by oldbuzzard

  1. 2 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

    Electric Chair

    An indoor game good for killing a few minutes. Whole troop forms a circle and joins hands. In the middle is a chair. Object of the game is to drag other scouts so that they touch the chair in which case they are out. Also out is anyone that breaks the circle.

    I've played that game as a kid and it was lots of fun but you can't use that name in the US. In the UK it is harmless, but here that name would be seen as referencing capital punishment and at least at our CO , pretty quickly get the COR and IH involved as violating  our churches moral principles.


    Edit: I don't  remember what we called it but it should be easy to rename... flaming tree, bottomless pit whatever....

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  2. Hindsight from my youth in the 80s.... My non-scouting sister went to GS sleep away camp a couple of years. It was more like Y camps than BSA camps. Maybe that allowed them to serve more girls and create a recruitment pipeline or maybe that was  a distraction from the "core" mission... I really couldn't say.


  3. 1 hour ago, Cubber said:

    Well, that's a really good point. I've got a lot of camping experienced dads and moms but no shooting experienced dads or moms. Only three fishing experts-including a couple. 


    Camping is at the core of the Scouting program. Shooting and Fishing have *never* been core scouting skills. Camping, hiking, and cooking are Eagle badges. Orienteering and Pioneering are linked to 1st Class requirements. High Adventure usually requires Backpacking, Canoeing, Sailing etc. Besides the MBs and the Venturing Shooting Sports Medal there is not a real pathway for shooting within Scouts. I see a lot of value in kids getting comfortable with guns and gun safety at camp and Leopold very eloquently defends fishing and hunting as a key element in his land ethic. But, given a choice I'd rather have camping, backpacking, canoeing parents over shooting ones to support the core program.

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  4. On 5/19/2015 at 9:38 PM, Stosh said:

    First time I saw it I thought it stood for Not Yet Litter Trained.

    Maybe thats why we still go with Grey Wolf :)

    On 5/19/2015 at 11:29 PM, Gone said:

    If the NYLT strip is not official why put it on at all? Coolness does not make it legit.

    Meh. I like local traditions. Our troop has been giving lanyards as a summer camp thing since the 30s. If you earn rank at camp you get a cool lanyard. Other lanyards are given for other reasons serious or not. The scouts all wear them at CoHs etc... The Eagle Scout lanyards take quite a while to make and the most impressive bit of decorative knotwork I've ever seen . Every summer when lanyards are being given out at the closing campfire, any troop Eagles with lanyards(usually alums who are counselors or camp director and any active scouts) get to show off thee works of art as part of our "official" uniform.  

  5. 1 hour ago, fred johnson said:

    I'm not sure we connected on the idea, etc.  It's not about access or 3rd party on-line distributors.  It's about visibility in stores people visit anyway.  It's about putting BSA stuff in stores that parents visit so they see BSA uniforms and stuff BEFORE deciding to have their kids in scouts.  Right now, parents have to decide for their kids to be in scouts before they see scouting merchandise. 

    So, what merchandise is so exciting that seeing it will have any effect. I remember going to Belk department store in the 80s as a scout to buy books and uniforms. It was a dinky section way in the back. If BSA got REI or Cabelas or Dicks or whatever as distributors, it would be the same. There isn't enough money there to get them to put up high profile displays in the stores and most of the gear isn't in and of itself cool.

    If you want parents to see the uniforms and such as a recruitment tool then you need to be active in the community where they'll see it(which is part of the uniform method).  Have some cool posters and flyers at Scout Sunday and anywhere else you volunteer. Not my kids troop but our church's troop, marches every year in the neighborhood 4th of July parade with 2 12ft pioneering towers on casters. At the picnic afterwards they have the towers set up and a ~25ft bridge. Every kid who goes by gets enthusiastically asked if they want to climb the towers by a 13-14yo scout. You see toddlers and up going across the bridge... I wish our troop and all troops had something as visible, way more useful to get the uniform seen in public than  merchandising from national.


  6. 7 hours ago, Stosh said:

    While we in the upper Midwest are jealous over our southern friends because we're still looking at dead grass and dirt.

    Here in the Twin Cities, Mother Nature has been very gracious about allowing our troop campouts the illusion of Winter.

    Our early November campout at our troop camp had an inch of snow when we arrived. The kids got to pitch tents in a decent snow squall and wake up with 3+inches of snow. Just enough snow for snowball fights and good animal tracking. We got tracks of coyotes spooking a flock of turkeys and mice snow tunnels among other things. By Sunday, it was back in the 40s and 50s later in the month.

    This past weekend the boys got ~3inches in time for their multi-troop campout. So, at least it was cold and felt Wintery. Not much real sledding but plenty of stomping around on the frozen creek and such.

    Overall we have just enough snow to make it pretty without it actually being winter. Hopefully we'll get quinzhee levels of snow before the January campout.



  7. 6 minutes ago, David CO said:

    It is not nice to say stupid. I don't think my Church is stupid.

    It is not micromanagement for the CO to have the final approval or disapproval of decisions. My Church has always done it that way for all of its programs, not just the scout unit. 

    Most of our boys join our unit expressly because it is a church-based unit with an active Chartered Organization. 

    I agree with Back Pack, stupid or not... thats not scouts. 

    Restrict membership by gender, religion, whatever on the front end and then let the kids be...

    Chartering school says leaders must have at least 3.5 GPA... not cool.

    Church says leaders must have gone through confirmation... not cool.

    Church says only boys can be leaders in coed troop... not cool.

    The CO can direct the program but not change it. If they don't like the leaders they can of course expel them(for valid religious/other reasons) but I don't think that gives them carte blanche to meddle in the internal affairs of the  troop otherwise. Any eligible scout should  be able to be a leader without CO meddling.


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  8. 2 hours ago, JoeBob said:

    If your are more interested in the experience of the  BWCA than the Northern Tier patch, it's more affordable and enjoyable to use a private outfitter.



    Our troop is going on an independent BWCA trip this summer... the adults and the PLC viewed the greater planning as a huge plus not a con. More control for the older kids, more growth opportunities for the younger and cheaper. We're using our own camping and cooking gear, planning and prepping our own food, and hopefully can rustle up enough dry bags and duluth packs(though we may end up renting some of those).

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  9. 43 minutes ago, MattR said:

     Hiking or canoeing for a week is a challenge. It's memories and proving to yourself that you can do it. This does more for a kid then anything else I've seen. It doesn't matter what the challenge is. It just has to be a real challenge. And when mom is asking for something easier that's proof to every kid that it's a perfect challenge. If you want to prove you're ready to be an adult then do something they can't.


    I think this perfectly encapsulates some aspects of the women/girls in scouting issue of the original unsplit  parent post. I strongly agree with everything you are saying about challenge, but the yardstick should be much more internal than external. Setting it up as a matter of whether you are better than women or younger scouts or some "other" misses the whole point. It is rather am I better/strong/more competent than my younger self. No need to denigrate others. There are always higher peaks to climb.


    The whole better than a girl thing doesn't work if mom is waiting for the kids to be older so she can add the training time to go from 50mile trail races to 100s. My 11yos ~70yo grandmother is talking about through-hiking the Long Trail with him in a year or 2. In our extended family, it is less about I'm stronger than Mom and more about now I can also do all the epic stuff.


    I think  that is the whole point of your post and TampaTurtles post. The kids don't want to be better than others, they just want to do objectively challenging stuff. That's why they asked a dad to lead a "real" trip outside of scouts. 


    Now it is an open question what the best way to do the  objectively challenging stuff(high adventure) is. You can use the prevailing BSA model that it is a reward for 14yos who have stuck with the program as a gateway/capstone experience -or- You can add in high adventure elements earlier with more supports. Regardless, you need to have a progression of more challenging activities for older scouts.


    For instance, our troop is doing an independent Boundary  Waters trip this Summer. The PLC initiated the idea since a number of kids have family experience and want to do it as a troop. They decided it should be open to everyone but the older kids want to push themselves.So... we're taking three crews(max BWCA crew size 9).


    Crew 1 is the new scouts. This group will need the most help. They have to show First Class skills and do the troop portage races before the event. This group will have a couple parents and one experienced scouter. The parents will need folks with WFA, Safety Afloat, Safe Swim, Defense, Weather, etc... Overall this group probably has the most growth opportunities for kids and adults, despite shorter routes and portages. Even at 3:5-or-6 adult to scout ratio this should be a real crash course in backcountry adventure.


    Crew 2 will be middle scouts who will have 7 scouts to 2 scouters and have an experience typical of the Northern Tier program.


    Crew 3 will be older scouts. They are going to plan their entire trip and help prepare the younger kids. This group won't have any "adults". None of the normal SM/ASMs are going with them. We run our own summer camp, so we have an active alumni group.The adult supervision on this trip will all be under 25. That said they will be the most trained. They'll have more WFA/WFR, camp directors, waterfront directors, lifeguards, etc etc than the other crews.


    Having an excess of parents with the younger kids won't interfere with the older kids adventure. Would it be better to have older kids providing more support for the younger crew... probably. Do we have to do that this time... no. Is it better to allow the younger kids to go with more parent support (they're still doing the portages on their own ;) )if needed vs waiting a few years... that is a philosophical issue for your troop.


    I think the key thing is if you want to push younger kids into high adventure you *must*  provide higher levels of challenge for the older kids.



  10. 52 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

    Wisconsin, the problem is that the Troop cannot support two different hikes logistically up to the AT each summer. (we have had two crews a hard/easy before but it has proved harder in recent years to pull it off) The newer/weaker hikers want to scab on to the more ambitious program because they just do not have the skills/confidence to do it themselves but instead of planning to work up to it lobby to water down the entire hike to the point that the hard core hikers loose interest.



    I think there are 2 different issues here, a logistics issue and a culture issue.


    For logistics, you need to figure out how to run multiple crews. LNT crew limit is 10. Philmont, the Porkies etc have a backcountry limit of 12. If the moms want an easier trip then you need a crew with one experienced scouter and them and the younger kids. Then you have the older crew that goes more hardcore. So 2 scouters for hard core group. 1 scouter and moms for beginners. Moms drive and get whatever training you desire as part of making this happen.


    Now culture is a little harder. If it was me, no way the younger scouts hike on the AT. Yes this is entirely arbitrary and artificial. There's plenty of good hiking around Asheville, on the  Black Mountain Crest, in the National Forests, etc etc...Let the younger kids do a real challenging backpacking trip. But, respect the unique nature of the AT hike in your troop. Don't have easy AT hikes for now. Make a big deal of it at COHs. Give AT patches or AMC has a AT bandana or some signifier the PLC comes up with. The younger kids/moms get to backpack but the special nature of the AT hike isn't violated for the older scouts.


    If logistics has been an issue, then I can't see turning away eager volunteers. Its a tricky matter of doing that in a way that is respectful of your troop traditions.



  11. I agree with Stosh.


    Our older scouts did Seabase last Spring. We are doing an independent BWCA trip this summer so we can bring younger scouts than NT allows. We have 11 and 12 yos who did a two night canoe trip on the St Croix at camp last Summer. BWCA will be a BIG jump, but manageable with planning. Philmont would be beyond their abilities just based on the sustained exertion.


    That said, the bases have plenty of experience taking trained 14yos successfully through either Philmont or NT. So while NT has more manageable options, either it or Philmont should be a good choice for your scouts.

  12. If you are going to be snarky at least make some basis for the snark. Comparing Reagan's "diss" of Jamboree to Obama's is apples and oranges. Reagan had legitimate health and security reasons. Obama had NOTHING!



     NOTHING, except that in 2013 National BSA was still a discriminatory organization. Look, in 2012 both presidential candidates, Romney and Obama, opposed the ban on gay scouts. Shortly thereafter, Robert Gates, Bush's Defense Secretary, overturned it. Coming from a council that allowed gay scouts and leaders since ~2000 and a troop/pack that has had gay kids and leaders and IH clergy in that time... You can disagree with that, but you can't call it nothing.

  13. I have a different objection than any I've seen here. 


    The insta-palm thing bothers me not at all. I think the non-eagle required merit badges are sufficiently weak and inconsistent that they should be entirely interest not reward driven. Having a young Eagle going to a monthly MBU to get 5 MBs in 3 month to meet the palm schedule sounds misguided. 


    My objection is getting rid of the BOR requirement. I don't think you need a strict 3mo BOR for each palm but I think requiring a periodic BOR is still worthwhile. Why not require a BOR within the last 6 months for any palm. BORs are clearly stated to be needed periodically, not just for advancement. Without a requirement is that likely to happen.


    BORs are useful to keep kids interested. I know a couple of Eagles through my homeschooling circles who earned all the merit badges. They were exemplary scouts.... camping, camping staff, OA, troop involvement, ROTC/service academies,etc, etc... but how common is that...Beyond/instead of palms I would want BORs to point kids towards more holistic meaningful awards such as Hornady Badge/Medal, National Outdoor Medal, Congressional Gold Award, Venturing awards, or outside activities, Eagle should be a gateway to doing bigger stuff within and without scouts and that should be the personal growth focus after Eagle.


    With that in mind, I think Girl Scout Gold Award, Congressional Gold, Duke of Edinburgh, National Outdoor Medal, Venturing, Ranger,etc etc... should have adult square knots just like Eagle and Hornady, Kids asking what that is for should have the full scope of scouting and affiliated awards available for inspiration.

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  14. Interestingly, one of the vintage kid's historical fiction books from '62 has 3 characters who are scouts. John Tunis's "Silence Over Dunkerque" is about a sergeant trying to get his men back to England after losing the rest of his company. He's from Dover or Deal or Ramsgate and as a very minor plot point his 2 scout sons go over on one of the tiny ships with a neighbor, without their mothers knowledge, and bring back a load of soldiers before being scared witless in retrospect at the danger and going back home. The heroine of the novel is a girl scout/guide in France who manages to smuggle the soldier out at great personal risk. She is originally identified as a scout and her motivations shown when he recognizes her necker.

  15. Son's troop didn't do anything so we marched with our church in a neighborhood parade.


    Our church's troop showed up in force, as always. They had 2 signal towers they mounted on platforms on casters and pushed through the parade. Afterward they had the 2 signal towers and a 3 tower suspension bridge set up in the park during the community picnic. The signal towers were not g2ss compliant but were really solid. Lots of community kids were climbing them. Even kids too young for the towers were having fun on the bridge. This troop has been doing this every 4th for the last 15-20yrs depending on how you count.

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  16. "agencies across the nation brace for a particularly high-population tick season"


    Anecdotally this seems to be true around here. Our troop maintains its own camp on the St Croix in northern WI. In late April/early May, they planted ~1500 pines on a campout with another troop, so lots of walking around in the grass and brush. Kids got on average like 1-3 ticks. Last weekend we had a dozen or so kids and adults up for a work weekend to paint the cook shack and do other camp maintenance. Everyone there pulled off 15-20 ticks over the weekend and the mosquitoes were legendary. Both ticks and other bugs are better by camp in late July/August but more long pants and some permethrin spray have definitely moved on to my shopping list.

  17. Maybe to political for BSA, but I think this is what B-P meant by "peace scouts", http://i.imgur.com/9UKDt6W.jpg


    I couldn't scale the image so you'll just have to click through... a female scout in a tan uniform and necker standing up to Czech Nazis trying to march through a Roma neighborhood. It brought a tear to my eye and I thought y'all might appreciate it too. I would be proud to have her as a patrol leader in out troop.

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