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Frostbyte

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Everything posted by Frostbyte

  1. Some months back, I was tapped for taking over as our troop's Scoutmaster. The biggest top of mind I had was bringing fun back to the meetings. I happened to be in a World Market store and saw a $7 iron squirrel doorstop, and picked it up because I thought I could use it at some point as the trophy for some games we were kicking around. It has since become one of the mainstays in our troop monthly program, now dubbed the "Iron Squirrel Competition." Each month the adult leaders come up with a challenge that all the scouts participate in. These should combine some type of useful training/skill with the competition. This has become the boy's favorite monthly program piece and has heightened the fun and competition in the troop. This taught me a few things: Making sure to keep it fun. Fun covers a lot of flaws! Create something that is your own. While Iron Squirrel Competition is now a part of our Troop DNA, finding something that your troop "owns" would be fun. Not just the award, but the flavor. Go cheap and tawdry. Don't have to put a lot into this. Find something unique though that is funny. I am interested in what you other folks have done that are unique to your troop that is keeping it fun. Here is a link to our "Iron Squirrel" webpage.
  2. Frostbyte

    What an Iron Squirrel Taught Me

    That is a dang good idea right off the bat! I am going to do an Iron Squirrel Chef event for sure. Thanks!
  3. Frostbyte

    What an Iron Squirrel Taught Me

    Thanks both of you, really nice of you to say that. What I am really interested in is great ideas others have had so I can shamelessly steal them and use them as we build our troop program back up. There are so many good ideas that get sprinkled in a bunch of thread on here. Not so much theory, but very granular examples of what you all have seen work well!
  4. Each troop has its own flavor; spiced with the experiences and maturity and knowledge levels of both the boys and leaders. I have seen troops that are run with military precision and discipline. I have seen troops that lean a bit more to "Lord of the Flies." I think the hope would be to accept and learn from both sides of the spectrum. I think it is more difficult for a more precision oriented troop to accept the more "slack" troops you sometimes find. For example, our troop uses its own mess kits, but not standardized or anything. Also, we don't have any problem leaving way late. (I am not in any rush to get back to the grind after the fun of camping! . I think asking the boys to keep an eye out and see what they can learn from the other troop is a good idea as well, and have them report back during a gathering time. It not only shifts the focus from "we're right and they're wrong" but gets them thinking about what they are doing and how they can do it better. It is tough though, when alternating something like latrine duty at summer camp and the other troop did not do their day, making it harder on my troop. But a friendly word to the Scoutmaster was all that was needed. He was embarrassed for his boys and started to get fired up and was going to give them a chewing out, but I let him know it would probably happen with my troop at some point during the week so he should not sweat it. I let him know to just pass it along to the SPL and step back and see what happened, good or bad. That same troop, btw, had a really good idea for fulfilling the lashing requirements. There was some bamboo poles lying around. A couple of scouts lashed them to make a fishing rod rack for all the rods the boys brought. I had not seen that before and thought it was a pretty good idea. So we learned from them on that piece.
  5. What has worked best for me (both as a Scoutmaster and an LNT Advocate) is speaking to the benefits of getting a scout involved in the outdoors and contrasting it will some of the problems we are currently facing with youth being disconnected from nature. Letting them know that a huge part of Scouting is being in the outdoors and that we are counting on them to help reinforce it at home, whether or not they participate. There are a ton of great resources online to help with the argument. Here is a search link and an article I like about it: https://www.google.com/search?q=reasons+to+get+kids+outdoors&oq=reasons+to+get+kids+outdoors https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-21017/7-sciencebacked-reasons-to-get-your-kids-outside.html Richard Louv tags the current lack of kids as Nature Deficit Disorder. While I am not a fan of everything getting tagged as a "syndrome" or "disorder," his book Last Child in the Woods is a really good read. Having said all that, sometimes hard to get parents to sit still. Having a new parent session to go over how to save them $$$ on camping gear and what to buy is a good opportunity to share the "why" with them and not just the "how."
  6. Frostbyte

    How Adding Girls Will Work

    Like many things, there will be rough edges at first on the implementation of this. But, I am super happy to see this direction. The rollout of this may not be optimal, with committing to the idea and then scrambling to make it work. But the fact that we are not debating whether it will happen, but "how" to make it happen is a positive thing IMHO. Look, much of the rest of the scouting world has figured out how to make it work. I believe we here in the US will be able to do that as well. To Helpful's point, if you have enough girls interested in starting a unit, you should be able to get the corresponding leaders. I do think the silliness of having to have two separate troops will dissipate pretty quickly though, as it is not efficient in time, money, and other resources.
  7. Frostbyte

    Jobs For Those Under 16

    Very interesting that this topic comes up right now. At our Scout meeting last Tuesday, my youngest son (13) and two buddies from school were talking about being able to work at a local grocery store at 14. They were excited about the possibility of earning some scratch on their own, but were a little bummed at having to wait and lose the summer. (ha, would that I could "lose" a summer being a 13 year old boy again!). I let them know there was an alternative. Since they all liked hanging around each other and it is fun to work with friends, why don't they consider being entrepreneurs and start their own business? Does not have to be a Silicon Valley start up by any means, but starting a small lawn care business or clearing out stuff or whatever they decide on would be a great learning experience and get them out of the "I have to work fast food if I'm a teen" mentality. I told them that being your own boss has a lot of great benefits, and the money goes to you based on your efforts, hard work, and luck. My oldest son Alex (just turned 17, working on Eagle) is a musician and taught himself to play the organ. There is such a lack of organists that he started subbing at local churches. One offered him a music minister position (part time due to school) and he is pulling in $600-$800 a month doing that. He found a niche and has made it work for him, making pretty good money for his age without all the pain in the butt stuff that I experienced with my first jobs. I hope all my kids will start their own businesses, but we will see. Funny what paths come up in life, and I am interested in how they handle the working world. I just think the entrepreneurship option teaches a LOT of great lessons. Check out this kid: http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/20/smallbusiness/hoopswagg-brennan-agranoff-socks/index.html.
  8. I heard one of the wolves had a hook instead of a paw!
  9. I know in our council, informally at the last roundtable, I would have to say it was about 50-50 on this change, and I am in a fairly conservative state. I was a bit surprised by that, as I expected a much more negative reaction, but I was happy to see it. As a father of two sons and two daughters, I embrace this change. Whether my girls choose to be in the program, I would like them to have an opportunity to experience the fun times I have had with my sons in Scouting and learn the leadership and skills my sons learned. I don't at all consider that there is some vast conspiracy of the minority opinion to force it's way on this. The "vast majority" statements are not valid without some proof. And even then they will smack of Argumentum ad populum. Just because a majority agree on something does not make it the right thing to do. Majority rule is all fun and good until 5 wolves and 4 sheep are trying to decide what to eat for lunch. Sometimes you do the right thing in spite of the majority. I think the fear of change drives more of this type of conversation than the reality that will prove out over time.
  10. Frostbyte

    Alcohol Stoves

    Yep, agreed Stosh. One of the leaders in my Troop made a couple of homemade wood fuel stoves out of some cans welded together (Youtube: How To Make A Wood Gas Stove - Compact & Efficient!). I was surprised at the thermal output of this, though I have seen a woodgas truck running before in an article in Mother Earth News. I think this type of woodgas stove certainly would qualify as "Thrifty" as well as eco friendly. I have not used one for my cooking, so I was interested to read your experience on it getting too hot to quickly. That is the prob with the Jetboil. The flame is concentrated and intense. Good for boiling water, but really have to watch the cooking with anything else. My son just about ruined his trying to make hot chocolate using milk in his. Scalded the milk and burned the bottom. He had fun trying to clean it out, ha. Good cooking lesson for boys who think there are only two cooking temperatures; off and hot as the sun.
  11. Frostbyte

    Alcohol Stoves

    Hello all. First post on the forum. There are pros and cons with alcohol stoves. In my LNT Master Educator course we used them for all meals and it worked out well. One of the main reasons I like them is that the fuel is pretty nature friendly. As Stosh said, they can tip an spill fuel more easily than other stove types, making them a fire hazard. Not being able to see the flame does not help either. It also took a lot longer to boil water. After cooking with them quite a while, I went back to my Jetboil. It was worth the weight, and my alcohol stove was not worth the wait. (See what I did there with that fancy rhyming...)
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