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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. Hmmm. I see your point. Having such specialists is a GREAT idea! In fact, it is just the BEGINNING of what is possible... I just sent an email to National suggesting that the following positions be created to further "specialize" skills. We need... * New Member Welcoming Smile Chairman - studies and recommends the best strategies for smiling so that it is welcoming and not perceived as a smirk or worse, a gratuitous mask * New Member Welcoming Hearty Handshake Executive Chairman - evangelizes the hearty handshake --- not so tight as to squeeze, but not so weak as to appear timid or effeminate (except female scouters can be effeminate, if there are 2 or more present for each handshake) * New Member High Five Grand Poobah - goes around recommending that units welcome new families with a hand raised up high and a very loud, enthusiastic, "Up High! Down Low! Whoa! Too Slow!" * New Member Good Natured Laugh Executive - stands around to provide laughter and good natured merriment as the new family is welcomed to scouting. Preaches the important distinctions between a chortle, a chuckle, and a guffaw (and provides advice on when to use each) Naturally, these positions need to be duplicated at the District, Council, Regional, National, and International levels because you can never have too many layers of bureaucracy. If any of the volunteers in these positions feel under-utilized, they can follow scouts around town and practice their smiles, handshakes, and high fives whenever somebody buys an overpriced bag of Trails End popcorn.
  2. mrkstvns

    Patrol Method not so much

    That is one of the best ideas I've seen on this forum in a long time! Make it a regular thing...and keep the focus on values. Excellent!
  3. mrkstvns

    Small Space and 35 Scouts

    That is a good problem to have. I would gather the parents for a "welcome meeting" or something of the sort and let them know, straight up, that the troop only works if everybody works. It is EXPECTED that every parent volunteer in some capacity. Those who like working with the boys and being outdoors should be ASMs. Those who aren't comfortable with that should be committee members. Every parent should sign up to be a merit badge counselor. Tell parents that you will help point them to training classes if they have no experience in these roles. Tell them that there is also online training for many of the positions. Tell them they will be supported in their roles, but the troop does need them to support the boys. Well, you're already thinking of ideas. I like outdoor meetings, and maybe a can of Yard Guard shortly before the meeting will help with those gnats. Otherwise, you might want to ask around and see if there is another building you could use that has more space --- outdoor meetings are great some of the time, but some of the time it's raining or too cold for that to be a viable option.
  4. mrkstvns

    parent rank pins

    I've been meaning to talk to you about your flair...
  5. Invite Tim Horton to the meetings, eh?
  6. My kid looks at the comics page.
  7. Mmmm... Maybe just fun things like Motorboating, Shotgun Shooting, or White Water. If he's actually up for a challenge, a Hornaday might be a boast-worthy achievement, or maybe a Supernova...
  8. Got it! Great idea....especially for packs! Soooo....all the people at Council who were already promoting membership or handling training are getting replaced by someone with a new job title? If not, I still fail to see what value a "New Member Coordinator" brings TO DISTRICT OR COUNCIL. I still see no point in having this job title outside of a unit.
  9. Well, my friend, if you think the magazines have too many ads now, just wait until you get them online "for free"... Or haven't you noticed that the "free" apps and web services are the ones that bombard you CONSTANTLY with irrelevant ads and that require you to sign onerous terms of service and that collect your personal data (often illegally) in an effort to not only get you to buy stuff, but to sell your info to anybody in the world who wants it and can pay a price (any price). Haven't noticed that stuff, eh? Well, in the real world, quality of anything costs money. You may feel like only Economist readers deserve well written, factual, professionally edited and produced materials, but in my house, I'd like my kids to start seeing quality content as early in life as possible. Sorry to hear that you would happily settle for less.
  10. It's sometimes easy to forget WHY scouts (and scouters) come to scouts....it's the promise of OUTDOOR ADVENTURE. When we lose sight of that, we lose sight of anything that makes scouting special and that differentiates it from ordinary youth activities. Here are 5 web sites that I think every scouter should visit periodically as they scout their way across the web... Outdoor Project: Excellent resource for ideas for places to explore, things to make the adrenaline rush, and ways to do it efficiently, safely, comfortably, and ethically. https://www.outdoorproject.com/ Outside Online: Outside magazine has been a go-to authority for dependable outdoor adventure information since 1977. Sometimes a bit too enamored of style and travel, its heart is in the right place and there are always solid viewpoints on outdoor adventure places, stuff, tips and more... https://www.outsideonline.com/ The Adventure Plan (BSA): When scouting is done right, everything happens outdoors and adventure is the name of the game that enables everything else to work. Help your troop plan a genuine adventure... https://tap.scouting.org/ National Geographic: I often find that the world becomes a much smaller place when people starting thinking only inside their own little box. If your troop's idea of "adventure" is going to the closest state park then maybe it's time to think about all the possible adventures that exist wayyy outside the box. I might never get to most of the places that National Geographic writers go to, and I might not do most of the things that they do, but I can always dream... https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/ National Park Service: Ever since Congress made Yellowstone the first park back in 1872, America's national park system has been a shining jewel to showcase and preserve America's natural wonders and our collective national heritage. Today's National Park System encompasses some 84 million acres of parkland that generates $35 million annually in direct revenue. Parks include wild rivers, majestic mountain ranges, dense forests, and deserted, uh, deserts... https://www.nps.gov/index.htm
  11. mrkstvns

    The Frugal Camp Menu

    My son's patrol sometimes likes ramen --- especially on backpacking trips. At first glance, that might seem to be a cheaper lunch or dinner, but in practice, it's often not. The reason is because ramen by itself is not particularly satisfying. When the boys have ramen for a meal, they virtually always mix in something: occasionally dried peas, but more often, diced chicken (like Sweet Sue, which sells for about $1.50 per pouch). If you buy a pouch of chicken for every scout and 2 packs of ramen, you're up to about $10 for a patrol of 6 scouts (though the ramen itself is a small fraction of that total). The REAL ramen meal is thus more expensive than other cheap alternatives.
  12. When you were a new scout, you had to explain to your Scoutmaster or ASM why patrols eat together. Do you remember that conversation? Have you ever thought about it since then? When we eat together as a patrol, we unite as a team and a family. We learn to rely on each other and trust each other not to always burn all of the pancakes. When we eat together, we talk, we laugh, we share stories and we know that we belong. All of us like junk food, but we all know it's not good for us and we can't live on junk food alone. When we get together as a patrol to plan our meals, we talk about what foods we all like and sometimes we even mention foods that are healthier. We might not always remember to choose well, but when we have a group, chances are good that at least one of us will remember our pledge to keep ourselves "physically fit and mentally awake" and we'll choose foods that are better for our physical and mental well being. Hopefully... A scout is cheerful....and friendly. When we eat together as a patrol, we enjoy each others company. Meals are fun. They let us relax. After dinner, when we're well fed, we are happier and less stressed. Eating together might also broaden our horizons. We might get a chance to try new foods that we never had before, and we might learn that we really do like foods that we never ate very much simply because somebody in our family didn't choose it. Minds are like parachutes, they only work when they're open. Trying new foods opens our mind to other new experiences... There are a lot of reasons to eat together as a patrol. Have you ever thought about how boring a campout might be if you had to go off and eat by yourself?
  13. Could it be time for the scouts in your unit to earn an International Spirit Award? Maybe....especially since one of the requirements is to participate in Jamboree on the Air or Jamboree on the Internet and both events are coming up in about 6 weeks time...if you want it, now is the time to plan how to make it happen. Requirements and application: https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/International-Spirit-Award-app.130-044.pdf Info about Jamboree on the Air (October 18-19, 2019): https://www.scouting.org/jota/
  14. Now hold on just one second there! I said I wanted QUALITY content, so any cash raised has to go to those who check their facts and write like professionals! The way I see it, y'all owe ME a whole heapin' pile of Benjamins... Please make the check payable to "mrkstvns".
  15. Uh, yeah, sure.... And I'd like free donuts for life and hot swimsuit models to entertain me for free and a free Ferrari to get around town in. There's an old adage that "you get what you pay for<' and as the world has discovered, when information is available for no cost, it also tends to have no value (or even a negative value). I would prefer BSA pay professional writers to actually research their material, and to write it professionally using good communication skills that they paid real money to develop in real universities. I would prefer BSA to pay real fact checkers and editors, just like a professional publisher or a professional news organization does. I would like to think that BSA provides information that reflects all fhe quality standards that every competent publisher has known for centuries. Things like accuracy, completeness, relevance, readability, and so forth. Publications that have those qualities aren't free because professionals need to be paid. If scouting publications "cost zero and are online publications" then they become as worthless as "news" published on social media and they become easy targets for manipulation and abuse (as any human being who has paid attention already knows). I'd rather pay a few bucks for GOOD info than get trash for free...social media already fills that niche.
  16. Helping the boys build stronger patrols is tough work! I know a lot of us bemoan the fact that the patrol method isn't as well understood or as well practiced today as it might have been in the past, but why? Are patrols fundamentally any different today? What are the characteristics of a "strong" patrol? What are some things we might be able to suggest to the boys to help them strengthen their patrols and make them into the kind of group that can exemplify great teamwork and leadership? To get some ideas, I was looking through old scout documents and I came across a description of the National Honor Patrol Award. I've never heard of it before (maybe it doesn't even exist any more...) Some of the requirements give me pause to reflect on how each element strengthens the patrol, and perhaps, to identify possible "points of failure" where today's patrols maybe aren't doing as well as they could, and perhaps might be an area to focus on. Any thoughts? The National Honor Patrol Award The National Honor Patrol Award is presented to patrols whose members have gone all out to build the best patrols possible. Members can earn the award for their patrol by fulfilling the following requirements over a three-month period: 1. Have a patrol name, flag, and yell. Put the patrol design on equipment and use the patrol yell. Keep patrol records up-to-date. 2. Hold two patrol meetings every month. 3. Take part in at least one hike, outdoor activity, or other Scouting event. 4. Complete two Good Turns or service projects approved by the patrol leaders’ council. 5. Help two patrol members advance one rank. 6. Wear the full uniform correctly at troop activities. (To complete this requirement, at least 75 percent of the patrol’s membership must be in uniform.) 7. Have a representative attend at least three patrol leaders’ council meetings. 8. Have eight members in the patrol, or experience an increase in patrol membership.
  17. mrkstvns


    I wouldn't wear one on the uniform, but I would certainly consider wearing it on a hat or jacket while out on the range.
  18. mrkstvns

    Mealtime Question

    ASPLs and SPL with older scout patrol (aka, leadership corps). JASM dines with adults because he is an ASM.
  19. mrkstvns

    possible fee increase coming

    Well, scotteg83 said the current fee is $33, so I would guess that doubling that will cause families to pause. I think more than a $33 increase would be ill-advised.
  20. This is not something I would stock in a first aid kit. I think the likelihood of scouts or scouters being opioid abusers is (thankfully) low, and the naloxone is best left to real emergency response personnel who are trained to recognize the symptoms and use. Our troop's "first" aid kit is already overstocked. It's more like a well equipped hospital pharmacy than a first aid kit. Except that it's chock full of outdated things we never needed (and really never should have had). But some adults just can't help but get carried away by the "be prepared" slogan.....oh my Gosh! What if? What if? What if? The only injectable I think has a place in any troop first aid kit might be an epi-pen *IF* a member of the unit is identified as having significant food allergies. About 2% of the population under age 18 do have food allergies, so the chance of that affecting a good size troop is not insignificant. Youth with juvenile diabetes are a different matter --- they may require regular insulin injections, but they will carry their own insulin and they are trained to self-inject. Opioid overdoses? No, that's not an "emergency" that we should be prepared to deal with in the backcountry, so for practical reasons, I say "ix-nay on the aloxone-nay". Think about real risks, not every possible risk that could ever in a gazillion years possibly, maybe happen...
  21. mrkstvns

    possible fee increase coming

    It's part of Surbaugh's new marketing campaign...."Scout me OUT!"
  22. mrkstvns

    Unit level Financial aid - how is it determined

    Some of our unit's fundraising activities put money into a scout account. Funds in that account can be used for various purposes, such as summer camp, troop activitiy fees, or the annual charter fees. The unit also has a small "training scholarship" fund that goes towards sending scouts to NYLT.
  23. mrkstvns

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    A military veteran will donate a trailer to the scouts to replace their stolen one. The local VFW also threw in a $300 check to use towards replacing camping equipment. Story: https://www.kmov.com/news/veteran-donates-trailer-to-boy-scout-troop-after-theirs-was/article_b65a1248-e0be-11e9-b184-13b39e0ebe0e.html
  24. mrkstvns

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    I think the markings help identify the trailer. It's also a sign of pride in the troop, and it may aid PR/recruitment. I don't think it hurts: after all, according to that article, 12 other trailers were stolen in the area, and I'll bet thieves got much more valuable booty out of those trailers than the tents and camp stoves they got from scouts.
  25. The Washington State Department of Corrections bans several books from their prison libraries. One of these books is "The Boy Scout Handbook".... Here is their entire banned book list: https://www.doc.wa.gov/docs/publications/reports/400-RE003.pdf