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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. A long time ago, that was also a required skill here in the USA. I think it was one of the requirements for First Class....skin and cook the rabbit or pluck and cook a chicken.
  2. I don't know how I overlooked a great badge like Circus Skills! Somehow, I can't imagine BSA telling kids it's okay to practice their skills as a trapeze artist.
  3. There are 3 elements to recruiting in any organization: attraction, conversion, and retention. Attraction is the realm of marketing: get the word out and pull people in. Retention is about delivering on your promise and giving value to the members. But conversion....that's where things get interesting because it's all about the vibe in the unit and showing people your energy and passion so they want to be part of the fun. Make newcomers feel welcome and show them the value that can be theirs to share, and you'll have 'em hooked! That's why I was so impressed by Bryan on Scouting's story of a Michigan pack that created "welcome bags". Great way to involve the cubs in their pack's recruitment campaign! Story: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/10/23/the-ingenious-way-this-cub-scout-pack-welcomes-new-members/
  4. mrkstvns

    Hard Merit Badges

    You would hope that would be the case. Some camps that are inhospitable to an activity go ahead and find workarounds. I classify these as "El Lame-O" merit badge programs... For example, Camp Hale in Oklahoma lets kids earn a "Winter Sports" merit badge during summer camp. Never mind that Oklahoma isn't exactly ski country even in the midst of the coldest winter.... How do they do it? Well, they put plastic sheets on a hill and pretend its snow. Here's a photo:
  5. mrkstvns

    Hard Merit Badges

    My son played trumpet, but he still never earned Bugling MB. After all, how many people have ever heard a bugler call "Swimming" ? The number, worldwide, is probably not too terribly much higher than 0... The only 2 calls I've every heard a Boy Scout sound on a bugle are "Taps" and "Reveille". Of course, your mileage may vary...
  6. mrkstvns

    Peace hike to local places of worship.

    The Sam Houston Area Council used to run an annual "Ten Commandments Hike" that would visit various houses of worship along the route. Sadly, the last "good" hike was done around 2015 and it's since been discontinued...I wonder if this is yet another case of 1 or 2 enthusiastic volunteers making past events a success, but when a motivated successor can't be found, the event dies. Stepping up matters....and it's often just 1 person who makes the difference.
  7. mrkstvns

    15 Essentials for a Forest Hike

    Point well taken. I don't think there's a time of year in this corner of the world when bug bites aren't likely to happen. Repellent goes on the list!
  8. mrkstvns

    Boy Scout Service Projects

    In an older neighborhood where many homes lacked smoke alarms or had inoperative alarms, an Eagle scout saw an opportunity for a service project that could save lives... https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/local-boy-scout-installs-smoke-alarms-for-eagle-scout-project/ar-AAJpwTf
  9. Different councils run their Scouting for Food drives at different times of the year. National Capital Area Council usually does theirs in the fall. Ditto Last Frontier Council, which will be passing out flyers Nov 2 and collecting cans Nov 9. Sam Houston Area Council passes out flyers last weekend in January and collects cans first weekend in February. I wonder what month is the MOST effective time to do it....do you rake in more donations early in the fall? Or more in the middle of winter, after the holidays are over and done with? I wonder which council has the BIGGEST Scouting for Food drive....
  10. Fall is in the air, and nothing says "Fall" to me quite like fresh apples. My grandma made tray after tray of apple bars for us to snack on, and my brothers and I would argue endlessley over whether apple pies should have a top crust on them, or should have cinnamon-laced crumbles on top of them. Fortunately, one of the tastiest fall apple treats is also very easy to make in a Dutch oven: Brown Betty. INGREDIENTS 6 cups of cored and peeled, tart apple slices 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup rolled oats 3/4 cup flour 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick) 1 cup chopped pecans 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg DIRECTIONS: Heat charcoal. Core, peel and slice apples. Put apple slices in dutch oven and sprinkle with sugar In a bowl or pot, mix together brown sugar, oats, flour, butter, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Top the apples with this mix. Bake about 25-30 minutes in Dutch oven (place 8 briquets under the dutch oven and 14 briquets on top).
  11. If you want to register your troop for a trek at Philmont for 2021, the lottery opens on Monday... https://www.philmontscoutranch.org/registersection/
  12. Scouters have all heard the oft-repeated quote that in scouting, "the patrol method isn't a method, it's THE method". Okay. So what is a "patrol"? Well, it's a group of scouts. Ideally, a group that can learn to work together and to develop and follow it's own leaders. So, if a group is "good" for helping youth develop their own leadership dynamics via "the patrol method", why are groups of friends viewed as a "bad thing" in other contexts? There was a story today on NPR about a school that is battling "cliques". That made me wonder how those "groups of friends" differed from the "groups of friends" we promote in scouting... Any thoughts? Story: https://www.npr.org/2019/10/23/772560418/wisconsin-school-breaks-up-lunchtime-cliques-with-assigned-seating
  13. mrkstvns

    "Good" Groups vs. "Bad" Groups

    I think I'd call that a "gang". Unless the gang was shunning the new kid because his had a pink ski mask....then the gang could be a "clique" because some people just do NOT belong! While the word "gang" has negative connotations today, it has historically been used by Baden Powell and Green Bar Bill as a term to describe the patrol method. For example, Green Bar Bill was once quoted as saying, "Patrols are gangs of boys led by boys." I guess it really pays not to get too hung up on language, especially language used in earlier, perhaps gentler, times.
  14. mrkstvns

    15 Essentials for a Forest Hike

    Yep. A lunch would be better than packing only trail snacks. Maybe lunch and a smaller amount of trails snacks is the smarter way to go.... I'm not sure what kind of "communication device" other than a cell phone would be practical and useful. As an adult leader, I'd have my cell phone with me, but certainly every scout doesn't need the tempting distraction of having one so they can play Fortnight as they march down the trail. Hence, it has no place on the packing list. For emergency purposes, I think one or two cell phones (held by adults) is good. It gives you some measure of communication if service exists, otherwise, the tried and true method of sending a buddy pair to call for help works just fine.
  15. mrkstvns

    15 Essentials for a Forest Hike

    The BSA lists are "starting points". They're exhaustive and cover a lot of situations that may be irrelevant to your activity. For example, I'm in Texas and most of my hikes take place in warm weather....why on EARTH would I waste space and weight on things like hand warmers or insulated jackets? Things like that may be great for hikes in northern climates, but they're as useful to me as carrying a load of bricks. Your point about the flashlight is well taken. Small maglights and LED headlamps weigh so little that they deserve a place on the list along with the other "just in case" items. Thanks!
  16. mrkstvns

    Haunted House

    Video of a New Jersey troop's haunted house is here: https://www.northjersey.com/media/cinematic/video/4083070002/north-haledon-haunted-house/
  17. mrkstvns

    Haunted House

    Halloween is a great holiday for troops to leverage in their fundraising efforts. Why not create a Haunted House, Spooky Cemetery, or even Ghosts and Goblins in the Churchyard? Scouts love exercising their creative talents and the chance to put on some costumes and entertain friends and neighbors just shouldn't be missed! Here's an example of 2 troops in Los Angeles teaming up to scare some funds into their troops' coffins...errr...coffers! https://antelopevalley.bsa-la.org/haunted-house-fundraiser/
  18. mrkstvns

    What are the BSA priorities??

    Right. IOLS is oriented toward basic outdoor skills. Basically, everything a scout is asked to do as they progress from Scout to Tenderfoot to Second Class to First Class. It includes First Aid, Knots, Map & Compass, Cooking along with values like Citizenship, Outdoor Ethics etc.
  19. mrkstvns

    Haunted House

    Oh. I was only thinking of keeping the haunted house open for a week or two...
  20. mrkstvns

    What are the BSA priorities??

    I'm a pirate. I want to know what the priorities Arrrrggghh!
  21. mrkstvns

    The Lost Art of the Tarp....

    Love this idea! Sure does beat the cost of an EZ-Up (and it's really not that hard to add a couple guy lines with some taut line hitches and have the dining fly up quick as a lick! (Love the re-created Rockwell moment! Awesome!!)
  22. mrkstvns

    Haunted House

    Clicking around on different websites, I see lots of troops doing this. Wonder why I don't hear about it being done by packs or troops around here though (or even hearing buzz about it on this forum). I found a haunted barnyard, and even a haunted greenhouse being put together by scouts in Superior Wisconsin. There's a 14-year old article in Scouting magazine about some of this stuff, along with some good tips if your unit decides to do it....like plan FAR in advance (they say that some units are doing their brainstorming a year before their Halloween event). Here;s the article: https://scoutingmagazine.org/2005/10/a-halloween-tradition/
  23. I think I'd prefer the tick key. It's small, lightweight, and effective. When I'm on a hike, I carry a *SMALL* first aid kit, there is no room for bottles of dishwashing liquid or even fingernail polish, etc. The best approach to ticks, IMHO, is to... 1) stay on the trail as much as possible, 2) keep those pant legs tucked inside socks, 3) use insect repellant, and 4) have a tick key in the event that prevention alone doesn't do the trick.
  24. Generations of scouters have included tweezers in their first aid kits. It's a good general purpose gadget, and at this time of year, is often put to use removing ticks from scout or scouter alike. The only problem with the tweezers is that it's easy to oversqueeze or to pull too quickly, leaving the tick's head embedded under the skin. Small, inexpensive gadgets are available to make tick extraction easier and less prone to leaving head parts behind. See: https://www.amazon.com/Tick-Twister-Remover-Small-Large/dp/B00X7072HY/
  25. mrkstvns

    Jamboree on the Air

    Doing the JOTA could be a great opportunity to also work on Radio merit badge. Sounds like that was what was going on last weekend in northeastern Ohio where 3 local radio clubs helped scouts earn their merit badge. The story doesn't specifically mention JOTA, but it does say the boys communicated with scouts in other states who were "attending a jamboree". Sounds like quite the event! https://www.vindy.com/news/community-news/2019/10/boy-scouts-earn-radio-merit-badges-rapidly/