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Posts posted by Treflienne

  1. 3 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

    I think it's okay though for cub meal planning to be done mostly by adults. 

    GSUSA is different from BSA in that it stresses scout-led and scout-planned down to the youngest ages, to the extent possible.   (For the kindergarteners that, in my experience, mainly means choosing between options that adults have suggested,  or else tossing out ideas for the adults to shape into reality.)   But by 3rd and 4th grades, they are capable of doing some of the planning.   Of course,  if the majority of the scouts decides that they don't want to camp,  then they don't camp -- even if the adutls are willing to camp.  (BSA has camping built into the advancemnt, at least at the Scout BSA level, so that they cannot choose not to camp if they want to advance.  GSUSA has nothing at all like this.)

    So I am not saying that cub scouts need to plan their own meals.    I am just saying that it is not crazy for cub-aged scouts to plan their own meals.

    • Upvote 1

  2. 1 minute ago, mrkstvns said:

    The problems posed by cooking as a patrol on any weekend campout are never so severe that the scouts can't be allowed to learn from their experience so they do better next time.

    No scout is going to starve to death on an overnight campout,  even if he consumes nothing but water the whole trip.    If they are somewhat underfed because of poor planning or poor execution of their meal plans, that will give them incentive to do better next time.

    • Upvote 2

  3. 48 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

    Woo-hoo!!  Hershey bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

    I've definitely had 3rd and 4th grade girl scouts planning their own meals.  There is a really nice tool,  the myplate diagram,  and the scouts were reminded what made a balanced meal before they started their planning.   And after they came up with an initial plan they needed to discuss with an adult how it fit the myplate nutrituion guidelines.   (How can you make this a healthier lunch?   The scout decided that it was bye bye potato chips and hello apples as a lunch side.)



    On 1/25/2020 at 2:23 PM, Liz said:

    8 youth planning to go; it's a new, small female unit)

    On 1/25/2020 at 3:21 PM, Liz said:

    I feel quite comfortable with our girls sharing a yurt.


    On 1/25/2020 at 3:50 PM, T2Eagle said:

    Consider the yurt a cabin not a tent.

    I agree with T2Eagle.   Given the number of scouts, and given the size and spaciousness of a yurt (if it is like the yurts I have seen) it is much more like a cabin than a tent.   Very different from the situation in which you have two scouts in a small tent.

    I actually wish that the GTSS would make its distinction by the number of scouts in the space, rather than how much canvas or wood is involved in the structure.

    Also, it is my experience with girls that they tend to like all being together, 3 or 4 or 5 in the same tent,  rather than being divided into two-person small tents.  It would be much simpler for my unit if the tenting allowed a 2.5 year age range (or better yet, a 3-year age range) if there were at least 3 scouts sharing the tent. 

  5. @prof,  the GTA does permit a troop to limit the number of badges a scout can earn from one counselor   (and also the council can limit the number of badges a single counseleor counsels. )

    From the Guide to Advancment   ( https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/the-merit-badge-program/ )



    It is permissible for councils to limit the number of badges that one person counsels.


    The National Council does not place a limit on the number of merit badges a youth may earn from one counselor. However, in situations where a Scout is earning a large number of badges from just one counselor, the unit leader is permitted to place a limit on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor, as long as the same limit applies to all Scouts in the unit.


    • Upvote 2

  6. 1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

    But, I'd rather see 1 troop of 25-30 girls than 5 troops of 5 girls.

    I agree.    Currently we have a little over  a dozen scouts,  drawn from three towns.  And we have reached out to the packs in three more adjacent towns, so that they know that their girl cubs have a troop waiting for them.      Is it great to need to drive 15 minutes to the neighboring town to go to scout meeting?  No, but it sure beats having to start of new troop and then only having 5 girls,   or not being in a troop because you cannot find 5 girls in your town.

    Eventually,  if we grow too big,  a group could split off to start a troop in one of these other towns,  but I think that will be a good while yet.    We are not in as densely populated an area as @Cburkhardt

    On the other hand,   if I lived way out in the country,  and if the local GS/USA troop was, unfortunately, not as terrific as the ones in @qwazse's town,  I would think that a five-scout troop for girls,   supported by the local boy's troop,  might be a lot better than no scout troop at all.

  7. 1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

    ya'll sound as if you've never been on a Boy Scout camp out

    I've heard some stories from the scouters of the boys' troop, about sanitation (or lack thereof) especially surrounding meals and food prep.   And the girls in the girls' troop have heard some of those same stories.  And some of the girls have been quite vocal about being glad they were doing things separately.

    There is really great quote:



    And what do you get when you take a group of girls and drop them into an institution that’s got a century of experience being the boys’ club of boys’ clubs?

    You get a group of girls.


    from this article: https://www.ncregister.com/blog/jenfitz/how-the-boy-scouts-are-teaching-girls-about-true-womanhood

  8. 1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    Hand sanitizer is a quick way around the problem, but it really isn't a substitute for actual washing with soap and water.

    I agree.   I meant have both available.

    1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    provide a way to dry hands, towels are environmentally friendly, but paper towels are more effective at reducing bacteria

    Ok,  I am not familiar with Cubs,  but from my experience with Brownie/Junior girl scouts:

    Paper towels are a problem.  The kids go through a lot rapidly.  And then you have the garbage piling up, and, worse, blowing away.

    Most of the time the kids are fine with waving their hands dry.   (And, in warmer weather, the kids are fine just drying their hands on their shirts, so there is no problem.)

    If you insist on towels  -- each kid can bring his own bandana to dry his hands on.   Another possibility (which I have never actually used with kids, but was promoted at a girl scout leader camp training I attended)  issue each kid a handiwipe at the beginning of the weekend, which they keep, carry with them, and dry their hands on like they would a bandana.


  9. 1)  Hand sanitizer pump bottle located right outside the latrine.

    2) For actualy hand washing, you could use something that will let water trickle out,  but not too fast lest you be needing to refil it too often.     You can improvise homemade stuff (milk jug, with hole poked in side near bottom, with golf-tee plugged into hole) but in my experience those tend to be finicky.     You can also use something like this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005S4LOYY - a beverage dispenser -- this one does not have an air intake, so the water tends to trickle out slowly, which is a plus for the handwahsing. 

    A quick web search turned up a picture of the classic improvised version:



    • Upvote 1

  10. Good.  So I am not crazy to want the scouts involved in the process, and not to want the committee to set a budget and decide spending with no scout input.   (I am still rather uncertain about how many non-BSA ideas I am bringing along from my girl scout background.)

    @qwazse, thanks.

    The rest of you:  any more suggestions for best practises as to how to involved scouts in the process?


  11. Time for a new topic:

    To what extent are scouts involved in making the troop's budget?  To what extent are scouts involved in spending decsions within (pre-made) budget categories?

    What have you seen (and how well has it worked)?
    What do you think is the ideal?
    What have been the major schools of thought on this subject?

    Obviously some expenses are mandatory if you want to be a scout troop (rechartering fees) and ought to be included in any sane budget.   Other expenses I cannot imagine dropping (patches for ranks, merit badges, etc).  

    But there is a lot of stuff that is rather discretionary:  buy cakes for COHs and pizza for PLC meetings (some troops do)?  how much to devote to buying equipment?  

    Do the scouts have a lot of say, or little say, in the budgetting/spending process?   And which scouts?

    Last year the troop had no money and no budget -- so we are starting from scratch here.  Both in terms of building a budget, and in expectations for how much the scouts are involved in the process.  It would be nice to have a broader perspective than simply that of the boys' troop of our same CO.




  12. Slightly different perspective here:  brand new unit,  brand new scouts,  brand new scouters.   The JTE came across as a helpful handy list of things troops should generally be doing.   Even to someone new like me, it was obvious that a high JTE score deesn't guarantee a terrific unit -- but rather that if there are areas in which a unit scores really poorly,  it is worth considering the reasons why.


    • Upvote 3

  13. 2 hours ago, Hystrung said:

    I am on the fence about the new choice of fabric for the ladies shirts.

    Don't forget ebay.  That gives more options of shirts available a few years ago -- such as nylon.  People in my troop tell me that the polyester-microfiber shirt snags too easily.  Of course these particular scouts, who are telling me this, would be capable of snagging almost anything.

    • Like 1

  14. 26 minutes ago, Saltface said:

    But even still, that doesn't make this program unequal. If anything it has done the opposite, the local budgets for boys have been decreased to parity with that of the girls.

    This is a complete aside.  But one of the things that really struck me, coming from GSUSA into BSA was how much more the boy scouts had in the way of resources that the girls scouts.  Money?  Local BSA troops seem to be sitting on back accounts with thousands of dollars in them.  The GSUSA troops start and end each year with no money.  Resources:  The BSA camp has motorboats, kayaks, canoes, new-looking life jackets, bicyles,  rifle range, a fancy archery range, etc, etc, etc.    The GSUSA camp has battered aluminum canoes,  faded old orange life jackets, and a small shed containing a few bows for archery -- and this is one of the premier camps in the council.   I have just been astonished at much money boy scouts appears to have. 

  15. 1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    Interesting ideas here.  I had to do a bit of research to figure out what the heck "Three Sisters" meant, then more research to figure out what the heck "pottage" was, since it's not exactly something that comes natural to my kitchen.

    "Three Sisters" refers to the Native American practice of growing corn, squash, and beans together in the same plot, or mound. "Pottage" was a thick stew made in medieval times, consisting of veggies and grains with little or no meat. 

    I guess that in your part of the country, the schoolkids don't all take field trips to Plimoth Plantation.  Around here its hard *not* to know what the "Three Sisters" and "pottage" are:

    Plimoth Plantation's explanation (for kids) of how the three sisters were grown:


    And see the sobaheg recipe:


  16. 6 minutes ago, Thunderbird said:

    Scouts who take longer than a month to earn Scout rank typically have difficulty with

    For us the sticking points were

    a) patrol identity stuff (name, yell, etc).   When a new patrol is formed it takes the patrol collectively a while to reach consensus on a good name.   So for a number of our scouts this was the sticking point.   (But scouts who joined later had this really easy -- the flag was already made,  the current scouts were really enthusiastic about their yell . . .)

    b) the cyber chip -- scheduling the opporunity to teach other scouts

    c) the cyber chip -- the contract with one's parents about electronics usage. 

    • Upvote 1

  17. 9 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

    Possibly consider limited sign-off authorization for specific types of requirements: for example, let a trained Outdoor Ethics Guide sign off on any of requirements identified as "Outdoor Ethics" (and perhaps those identified as "Nature"). Similarly, it might be that you want to let scouts who earned Lifesaving MB sign off on water rescue requirements, scouts who earned First Aid MB could sign off on first aid requirements, etc.)  Not sure if this is logistically wise or overly complex, but it's a thought I've tossed around. I guess it depends on size of troop, leadership skill level of scouts and adults, etc. 

    I'd like our troop to make the transition to youth doing the sign-offs.  The question is which scouts and how soon?

    None of our scouts are first class yet,  but different scouts have different skills.

    Could the scout who did the Pioneering Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the knots?
    Could the scout who did the Lifesaving Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the swimming?
    Could the scout who completed the LNT trainer course be approved to sign off the LNT-related requriments?
    Could scouts who have done the First Aid Merit Badge (or WRFA) be approved to sign off on the first aid requirements?
    Could the patrol leader sign off on Scout Rank steps 1-5?

    Or does this sound crazy, since none of these scouts are first class yet?

    • Thanks 1

  18. 3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    Back in the 60's, most troops required that scouts earn Tenderfoot as a prerequisite for  their first campout. 


    3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    IMHO, the whole "Scout" rank/non rank is unnecessary confusion for a non-existent problem.

    But the "Tenderfoot" rank of the 1960s is, in content, more similar to the "Scout" rank of today than it is to the "Tenderfoot" rank of today.  That is,  today significantly more is required for the Tenderfoot rank that in former years.  Actually, one can argue that today's "Scout" rank is a marginally more difficult rank than the 1960s "Tenderfoot" rank. The only things in the 1960s Tenderfoot rank that are not in today's Scout Rank are the requirments about the uniform, the flag, and the clove hitch.  And today's scout rank has a number of things not in the 1960s Tenderfoot rank. 

    From the history of rank requirments, http://www.troop97.net/pdfbin/bsa_ranks.pdf helpfully brought to our attentions by @HashTagScoutswe have the 1965-1970 Tenderfoot


    Very minor rearranging & slight adjustments (1965):
    1 Know Scout Oath, Law, Motto, Slogan.
    2 Give Scout sign, salute, & handclasp.
    3 Describe Scout uniform & when to wear it.
    4 Describe Scout Badge & explain its meaning.
    5 Describe US flag & flag history, when to fly it, how to hoist, lower, display,
    fold, salute it. [Pledge of allegiance now assumed as part of Tenderfoot
    6 Whip a rope. Tie square knot, sheet bend, clove hitch, two half hitches,
    bowline, taut-line hitch.
    7 Understand the Outdoor Code.
    8 Give your patrol name & yell; describe the importance of the patrol in your
    Scout activities.
    9 Explain what to do to earn Second Class.


    SCOUT Rank Requirements
        1a.    Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan. In your own words, explain their meaning.
        1b.     Explain what Scout spirit is. Describe some ways you have shown Scout spirit by practicing the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.
        1c.      Demonstrate the Scout sign, salute, and handshake. Explain when they should be used.
        1d.     Describe the First Class Scout badge and tell what each part stands for. Explain the significance of the First Class Scout badge.
        1e.      Repeat from memory the Outdoor Code. In your own words, explain what the Outdoor Code means to you.
        1f.     Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain its meaning.
           2.      After attending at least one Scout troop meeting,do the following:
        2a.      Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership.
        2b.     Describe the four steps of Scout advancement.
        2c.     Describe what the Scouts BSA ranks are and how they are earned.
        2d.     Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned.
        3a.      Explain the patrol method. Describe the types of patrols that are used in your troop.
        3b.     Become familiar with your patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell. Explain how these items create patrol spirit.
        4a.      Show how to tie a square knot, two half-hitches, and a taut-line hitch. Explain how each knot is used.
        4b.     Show the proper care of a rope by learning how to whip and fuse the ends of different kinds of rope.
         5.      Tell what you need to know about pocketknife safety.
         6.      With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide and earn the Cyber Chip Award for your grade.
         7.     Since joining the troop and while working on the Scout rank, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.


  19. 3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    IMHO, the whole "Scout" rank/non rank is unnecessary confusion for a non-existent problem. Every kid who joins is a scout. Skills mastery was demonstrated by doing and not assumed absorbed from x number of campouts/overnights.

    I don't know that the name "Scout" is the best choice.  But the content is a helpful preliminary orientation.  The focus is on understanding how being a scout works:  (scout oath, scout law, "four steps of Scout advancement", what ranks are, what merit badges are, how scouts provide leadership in the troop, the types of patrols in your troop, etc, etc.  And of course going throught the YPT pamphlet with ones parents.)   There is very little in the way of outdoor skills. (3 knots, whip and fuse rope, "tell" about pocketknife safety.)   

    So later on when the scout wants to be signed off the very first time they, with help, stumble through a skill activity,  one can ask them whether they remember the "four steps of Scout advancment" in which "You learn" and "You are tesed" are separate steps.

  20. So I have a scout who hates the name "Tenderfoot".  This scout had a lot of camping experience before joining BSA and does not feel like "Tenderfoot" is an appropriate term -- since using the broader meaning of the term, a "tenderfoot" is someone who is inexperienced in the out-of-doors.

    Thanks to @HashTagScouts for that ready reference to the history of rank requirements.  Back in BSA early days, 1910-1911, "Tenderfoot" was a very basic rank:  Scout Law, signs, salute; a little flag knowledge.; four knots.   If you go further back,  Baden-Powell in Scouting for Boys in 1908 said that “A Tenderfoot is a boy who is not yet a scout”.

    It seems odd, indeed,  that first one becomes a member of BSA, then one becomes a "Scout", and only after that does one become a "Tenderfoot". So I would propose (not that there is any chance in the world that BSA will change) the following:

    1.  Upon paying the registration fee and turning in the required paperwork, the kid becomes a "Tenderfoot", that is someone who has not yet learned those things that even the lowest ranked "Scout" should be expected to know.  No rank badge.
    2.  The first rank to be earned is, as now, "Scout".  All the same requirements and same rank badge as current "Scout" rank.
    3.  The next rank up, while retaining the its requirments and rank badge is renamed to be "3rd class scout", instead of "Tenderfoot"

    This would restore the sense of the tenderfoot being a kid who is not yet a scout, and the tenderfoot being the least knowledgeable kid in the troop.


    • Upvote 2

  21. 1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

    Sure does beat the cost of an EZ-Up

    Spare tarp from someone's garage that they had used a few times for raking leaves.   Spare tent stakes from someone's basement.  Someone else donated some ropes.   All the troop needed to buy was four scout staves -- two lashed together for the front pole and two lashed together for the rear pole.

    And when you don't need the dining fly, the scout staves can be used for other purposes.

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