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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    Fooled to want foil?

    In the 70s too. I don't believe our troop even OWNED a propane stove. Gathering wood and building a fire was always the first thing we had to do in the morning. I remember one campout we went on where overnight temperatures had gone below 0. We woke up and our dish soap had frozen solid so we had to thaw that out before we could even soap our pots to fix breakfast!
  2. mrkstvns

    Camp Strake

    I get depressed when I hear of councils closing down camps, so it makes me particularly happy to know that Sam Houston Area Council is opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art summer camp next year. The camp is located on the edge of the Sam Houston National Forest, so it will, hopefully, retain its rustic character for generations of scouts to come. The camp is accepting reservations for summer 2020, but already, many sessions are full (everybody wants to experience the new camp smell). I have a feeling this will quickly become the most popular scout camp in Texas. Info about Camp Strake is here: https://www.samhoustonbsa.org/summer-camp
  3. Another good option for you might be the Great Lakes Sailing Adventure offered by Michigan Crossroads Council. Sail the Great Lakes on a 52-foot twin-masted sailing vessel? Yeahhh, that sounds pretty awesome! Looks like they not only allow 13-year olds, but the scout doesn't have to turn 13 until September 1 (which means 12 year olds turning 13 at the end of the summer). (At least that's how I interpret it...) Info: https://scoutingevent.com/attachment/BSA272/document_15205557840_1999.pdf
  4. mrkstvns

    Fooled to want foil?

    Sounds like you're talking about those Pillsbury croissant rolls (or biscuits). If that's what you're cooking, do you ever have a problem with the tube expanding (and maybe even exploding all over the place)??
  5. mrkstvns

    Sea Base Staffer Arrested on Drug Charges

    Hmm. Had to Google that to see if I could find the article y'all are talking about. I assume it's this one: https://www.outsideonline.com/1919191/thrifty-clean-and-brave I don't really see anything too radical going on here, though there's definitely some tales of hi jinx and "boys will be boys". I wouldn't be troubled by the Sea Base guy if he'd just been caught with the reefer, but LSD isn't a substance I want to just dismiss with a wink towards youthful exuberance. If he's into that stuff, I really don't want him working where I send my kids.
  6. You are correct. ...and 13 does seem too young given their program. From the Sea Base eligibility guidelines: Participants must be 13 years of age prior to their arrival at Sea Base. Participants who would turn 13 during their adventure are not eligible to participate. AGE REQUIREMENTS CANNOT BE RELAXED.
  7. mrkstvns

    Country Meats

    We should have a contest: Pale Horse can have a group of kids standing outside a shopping center selling $20 bags of popcorn and I'll have a group of kids right next to 'em selling $1 meat sticks. Whoever makes the most money gets to buy the nicest tents for their troop.
  8. Very few of our campouts are less than 2.5 hour drive (mainly because the campsites that are closest to the city are the lamest --- paved, crowded, overbooked, etc.) We'll occasionally do up to 4 hours, but that's really got to be an exceptional camp. Totally understand your reluctance about the 2 night campout. It's always more fun to go for the 3-night campout, but Columbus Day weekend would require some quick planning since it's almost here.
  9. mrkstvns


    Yes, Eagle, but those BSA fundraisers you cited are for ADULTS, not the scouts. Dodgeball is simply much too fun for children.
  10. mrkstvns

    Country Meats

    I've always liked the Country Meats fundraiser simply because it's such a small ask (just $1 per snack), which makes it astoundingly easy for the kids to sell. (Nobody doesn't have a buck in change lying around....) Scouters who haven't heard about Country Meats can find out more about how it works on the company's web site: https://www.countrymeats.com/
  11. mrkstvns

    Cub Scout Fishing Derby

    How about an award to scouts who can catch and remove invasive species? If you check with your local parks department or fish & wildlife department, you might find that there are some surprising invasive species in your local lakes and streams. Last year, our troop did a fishing activity as part of working on Nature merit badge. The park sent out an angling instructor who showed the boys pictures of the kinds of fish found in the lake we were fishing. He also told the boys that fishermen had recently pulled out some tilapia and armored catfish --- neither of which are native to this region. (And that if they caught those fish, they should definitely NOT "catch and release".) Given how common the problem of invasive species is these days, I wouldn't be surprised if your local waterways had a few of 'em too...
  12. mrkstvns

    Boy Scout Service Projects

    Scouts in Montana are working to fix up a local historic building... https://billingsgazette.com/news/local/boy-scout-service-project-helps-old-mayor-s-home-get/article_ca4b059c-9951-501c-803b-cd330092daf1.html
  13. mrkstvns

    Scouts BSA Troop Resources Website

    Thanks, John! There's some good stuff there. I looked through the section for SM/ASM and was pleased to see so many useful videos about Pioneering (IMHO, this is a skill set that a lot of us aren't particularly good at, but that can be a lot of fun to do as a campout theme / weekend activity).
  14. At most HA camps, the requirement is age 14+ (or 13 and completed 8th grade). Rocky Mountain High Adventure Base in Colorado is a year younger. From their leader's guide: All youth participants must be 13 years old by January 1, or have completed the seventh grade before attending camp. All participants must be registered members of the Boy Scouts of America. It is the responsibility of the crew leader to ensure that all qualifications are met.
  15. In another thread, several scouters said that their typical campout food budget is $10 per person. As an exercise in frugality, I've been thinking about how LOW I could get the cost for a reasonable menu that won't leave anyone hungry. For a patrol of 6 campers, I came up with the following menu that I can buy at my local Aldi (selecting their private labels) for $2.55 per person for 4 meals (2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner). Note: prices vary at different Aldi stores, even within the same market Can any of y'all beat my menu? Breakfast: (this is enough for 2 meals --- both breakfasts) Steel-cut oats, 25oz carton, Millvale (or for another 50 cents, could buy enough Quick Oats to serve the 82nd Airborne Division), $1.88 Cinnamon, 99 cents Dried apples, $2.99 Cook oats: sprinkle with cinnamon and stir in dried apples. Total cost: $5.86, or $2.93 per meal Lunch: Peanut butter, $2.49 Jelly, $1.09 White bread, 79 cents Ranch chips, bag, Clancys, $1.09 Make PB&J sandwiches with chips. Total cost: $5.46 Dinner: Spaghetti, 1 pound, 69 cents Spaghetti sauce, marinara, Reggio, 89 cents medium yellow onion, 40 cents pepperoni slices, Mama Cozi, $1.99 Prepare pasta. Sautee chopped onion in sauce pan. Add quartered pepperoni slices. Add sauce to pan and heat. Serve sauce over pasta. Total cost: $3.97 Total food budget: $15.29 for 6 scouts, which works out to $2.55 per person Am I the king of the frugal camping menu, or can any of y'all ladies knock me down? Lay on, McDuff!
  16. Do any of you have experience with the Messenger of Peace award (which goes around the World Scouting crest)? I'm reading about the program on the BSA web site, and I'm not really sure what projects should and should not be regarded as meeting the criteria. In the requirements section (https://www.scouting.org/international/messengers-of-peace/) , it says... In terms of the MOP initiative, peace encompasses three dimensions: The personal dimension: harmony, justice, and equality The community dimension: peace as opposed to hostility or violent conflict Relationships between humankind and its environment: security, social and economic welfare, and relationship with the environment Any Scout or Scouter who participates in a project that has had a significant impact on the community in any one of the three dimensions above can qualify as a Messenger of Peace. The requirements seem pretty straightforward, and it seems like most troops would have plenty of Eagle projects or Hornaday projects that might qualify....and since the qualification is determined at the unit level, a scout shouldn't have to ask anyone other than his Scoutmaster. But I get confused when I read the FAQ: https://www.scouting.org/international/messengers-of-peace/faqs/ Especially that section about "examples"... Can you give me some examples of qualifying projects? Projects like these inspired the Messengers of Peace initiative: Scouts in El Salvador working to disband violent street gangs Scouts in New Orleans working on the ground to rebuild post-Katrina New Orleans Scouts in the Great Lakes region of Africa running an inter-ethnic peace education project Scouts in Sierra Leone rebuilding their communities following a decade of civil war Scouts in Ireland bringing young Catholics and Protestants together Scouts in Haiti doing work in rescue, relief, and rehabilitation after the deadly earthquake in 2010 Yikes!! Talk about BIG projects! And to think, here I've been encouraging scouts who just want to build another park bench to try thinking bigger. I'll have to point them to this FAQ. Soooo, what I want to know is, what do you think makes a service project qualify for this award? Would just about any Eagle or Hornaday award qualify? Only big ones? Only ones that confound presidents and popes?
  17. Nobody likes mosquitos. They bite, they annoy, and they can spread disease. They are also a persistent problem for scouts and anybody else who enjoys summer camping. Mosquitos are a part of the natural ecosystem and there's no way to completely avoid them. But there are ways to keep them off yourself. Here are a few strategies that scouts and scouters can use to help keep the mosquitos at bay this summer: Repellant / Bug Spray. Spray on mosquito repellant before you leave your tent in the morning and re-apply several times during the day because it will wear off as you sweat. Also be sure to re-apply after swimming. Repellants that contain Deet (such as Deep Woods Off) are good choices for summer camp because they are more effective. Some people recommend natural, organic repellants, such as those containing citronella, cedar, eucalyptus, and similar ingredients. These may be effective, but most scouts will do well to keep some Deet as a backup because there is continuing evidence that the organic products are less effective. Permethrin: Permethrin is different than most repellants because you don't spray it on yourself, you spray it on your tent, your clothes, and any other equipment. Permethrin not only repels mosquitos, it repels ticks, chiggers and other painful pests. An application of Permethrin provides protection for up to 6 weeks. Citronella lamps, torches, or candles: Outdoor stores sell citronella oil and citronella candles. These don't kill any mosquitos, but they do overpower some of the natural scents of humans and other animals that mosquitos hone in on, helping to reduce the number of mosquitos coming into the campsite. Have a campfire. Where there's smoke, there's fewer bugs. Mosquitos don't like smoke, so having a campfire can be a good way to reduce the bug bites. If you have a bumper crop of herbs, you might be able to scent that smoke for even greater bug repellant power. Rosemary, catnip, and sage are among the herbs with reputed bug repellant power. Smell bad. Most scouts don't believe in showering while camping. Believe it or not, mosquitos find the smell of a sweaty, dirty scout almost as repellant as moms do! When bathing is unavoidable, using unscented soaps can be a better choice than those with floral or fruit scents. Use mosquito netting. Sleeping will be much more comfortable if you're not waking up every few minutes to swat at a fresh mosquito bite. Enclose your entire sleeping area in a mosquito net and you'll sleep bite free. Just remember to spray on the Deet before you get out of your tent in the morning. Avoid lanterns. A sure way to attract bugs into your camp site is to set up a big, bright propane lantern. Even the battery-powered LED lanterns will attract flying insects. Lower the light and lower the number of mosquitos and other flying pests buzzing around your camp site. Long sleeves and long pants: Let's face it, you don't want to overdress when the mercury climbs, but if you are at higher elevation or in an area with cool evenings and mornings, then it might be practical to put on a long-sleeve shirt and some long pants. Less exposed skin area means less bites. It's not always practical for summer camping, but it's worth keeping an extra tool in mind for when it might work. Hope these help keep you bite-free and itch-free this summer! See you on the trail!
  18. mrkstvns

    Evolution of merit badge emblems

    The look and feel of merit badges has evolved quite a bit since scouting first began in the early 20th century. In the beginning, merit badges were embroidered on a square piece of cloth. Later, the edges around the embroidery began an inexorible process of shrinking, and being rolled up along the edge. It wasn't until the 1960s that merit badges which looked like the kind we give scouts today started to emerge, with no cloth background apparent and a neat twilled border all the way round. The different stages of merit badge evolution are identified as "Type A" through "Type K". Found this cool image on the 'net that shows how merit badges looked across the decades...
  19. I think a lot of us believe in our hearts that BSA troops camp and GSUSA troops don't. That's the reason why girls bail on the Girl Scout program --- they just want to be outdoors where the fun is. I was completely unaware of this SIG concept where girls can stay in the GSUSA program but still focus on what they most want to do (sounds to me a lot like venturing...) Here's the story that piques my interest... https://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/article/Girls-Scouts-are-crushing-some-old-stereotypes-14298266.php
  20. First Lady Melania Trump went rafting on Wyoming's Snake River with Boy Scouts. Story: https://apnews.com/60d51cc1785f462eaf590fb13134ce64
  21. I'm a white guy who burns pretty easily if I spend too much time outdoors. I live in Texas too, where the summers are even fiercer than in a lot of places with more shade and milder climates. Of course that means I worry about having sun block when I go outside, along with a water bottle and a hat. In recent years, I've added another weapon to my arsenal of sun defense: my shirt. Like most people, casual outdoor attire usually calls for me to wear a T-shirt. When I'm out with the scouts, that usually means I'm wearing a "Class B" T-shirt. The problem with the typical Class B is that it isn't as well suited to the bright sun of a typical Texas day. It provides some protection from the sun --- but not a lot --- and it quickly gets soaked with sweat, making it not just uncomfortable, but less protective than a dry shirt. Today, there are a lot of clothing options, and there are quite a few shirts that provide better sun protection, that dry more quickly, retaining less moisture than your typical cotton blend T-shirts. Outdoor stores, like REI, sell some high-dollar "Sun Protection" clothing, and that's great for those with the dollars to spend on such things, but you can get good, high-tech, sun protecting shirts for quite reasonable prices. My 2 favorite shirts these days are a stylish shirt from Columbia that provides 40 UPF of sun protection, dries completely in just a few minutes on the line, and that looks sharp no matter how many times I crumple it into a roll to stuff in a backpack. The other shirt is one that I love for it's utter simplicity and lack of pretension: it's made by Hanes and I got it at a local Target for about $9 --- it's called the Cool DRI and it protects even better than the Columbia shirt (50 UPV) and also dries in just a few minutes on the line. (I really should suggest to the troop committee that we get our Class B shirts printed on Hanes Cool DRI instead of whatever el-cheapo T-shirt the printing company uses). Sun protection is important. You'll still want to pack the sun block and hat because a shirt isn't going to completely cover you, but it's one more thing you can do to make life outdoors safer and more comfortable. Sun protecting shirts --- pack 'em, wear 'em, love 'em!
  22. Most people have noticed that even the thinnest, cheapest basic cotton T-shirt provides pretty good protection against serious sunburns. (Seriously! When is the last time your chest was burned while wearing a shirt....any shirt?) What might surprise people is that those light cotton T-shirts have a rating of only about 4-5 UPV, and even heavier cotton fabrics, don't go much over 10 UPV. The acid test though isn't whether my skin turns red today, but whether I'm able to dodge a skin cancer bullet 20 years from now....with that perspective in mind, I will continue looking for shirts like that Hanes Cool DRI even if I'm not noticing a big immediate payback in the redness department...
  23. mrkstvns

    Teaching basic overnight camp comfort - Suggestions?

    Staying warm in the tent....Hmmm. Not sure I have a "game" in mind, but I love being out in the snow on a beautiful winter day, and so I do have a few tips: * Remember to dress in layers when going out: wicking base layer, breathable insulation layer, waterproof/windproof outer shell but in the tent, remember that wicking is still important if you're too hot/sweating, and you really want adequate insulation (fleece and down feel warmest) * Pull clothes, hat, jacket into the sleeping bag a half hour or so before you get dressed and it won't feel like such a cold shock * Pack some of those Hot Pack hand warmers, they're good in a pinch if your gloves and/or clothing choices aren't serving you well * Hats On! Remember that much of your body heat loss happens through your head. Hats are important --- even while sleeping. Maybe especially when sleeping since nights are colder than days * Eat more fat. Your body's furnace needs fuel. * Carry spare socks and spare gloves and a spare hat: wetness is the enemy as much as the cold
  24. Over the past several years, my focus in the troop has been to work with newly bridged scouts to help them master basic scouting skills and work towards their First Class rank. The first couple months focus on things that scouts need to complete their Scout rank, and that includes talking about bullying and cyberbullying (as part of Scout requirement 6). We do this as a group discussion, involving parents whenever possible (despite our best efforts, some parents still just want to drop off their kid and come back a couple hours later to pick him up). Every new scout knows about bullying and cyberbullying because they've talked about it at school, if not at home around the dinner table. It might just be that our part of town is fairly affluent and "safe", but the vast majority of scouts tell me they have never actually been bullied and they have never had somebody trying to cyberbully them. Yet, the fear of bullying seems very common among both kids and parents. Is it justified? More info: https://www.10news.com/news/local-news/bullying-a-top-concern-for-generation-z-survey-shows
  25. mrkstvns

    Grace before meals

    I've never been a scout campout where meals didn't begin with a pause to say grace. Some scouts use a standard form of grace followed by their family or church. Some scouts like to make up their own free-form grace, fitting their prayer to the place and moment. Some scouts use standard forms of grace they get from BSA camps. Here are the 5 most common BSA graces heard throughout scouting... Philmont Grace For food, for raiment For life, for opportunity For friendship and fellowship We thank thee, O Lord Sea Base Grace Bless the creatures of the sea. Bless this person I call me. Bless the Keys, You make so grand. Bless the sun that warms the land. Bless the fellowship we feel, As we gather for this meal. Summit Grace For this time and this place, For Your goodness and grace, For each friend we embrace, We thank Thee, Oh Lord. Northern Tier Grace For food, for raiment, For life and opportunity, For sun and rain, For water and portage trails, For friendship and fellow ship, We thank Thee, Oh Lord. OA Grace For night alone that rests our thought For quiet dawn that lights our trail For evening fire that warms and cheers For each repast that fuels our work We give thanks, O Lord.