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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. ASPLs and SPL with older scout patrol (aka, leadership corps). JASM dines with adults because he is an ASM.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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...
  9. It's part of Surbaugh's new marketing campaign...."Scout me OUT!"
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. Unfortunately, removing tires, putting the trailer up on blocks, and locking the tires inside the trailer is a lot of work to put on whoever the adults are who are pulling the trailer to/from campouts. I'll bet the process wouldn't last long.... To be effective, whatever locking solution you use needs to be easy enough that the trailer can be secured within a few minutes of arriving home from a campout, otherwise, your parents won't want to do it.
  14. A Boy Scout troop in Beaverton Oregon had their trailer stolen from a church parking lot... https://www.koin.com/local/washington-county/beaverton-boy-scout-troops-trailer-camping-gear-stolen/
  15. Well, Latin Scot, you're right. That's what the policy says, but don't you think that maybe the policy is the MINIMUM amount of Flair we should put on our uniforms? And maybe some of us might want to express ourselves a little more loudly.... Look at perdidochas over there....he has 37 pieces of Flair on his uniform. No, I'm not saying you need to add lots of blinking lights and clown emblems to your uniform....unless maybe you feel it lets you be you.... Why do I feel like these discussions of rogue uniform practices always sound so much like Jennifer Aniston getting a lecture about her "Flair" in the 90s flick, "Office Space"...
  16. 🙂 Youch! That would be a painful mistake! A few of the funny grubmaster faux pas that I've witnessed include.... * Grubmaster planned a pork chop dinner for his patrol of 7 scouts. Dinner time came and ...ooops! .... looks like there's only 6 pork chops in the package! How did the scouts solve their problem? Well, there's 7 scouts and only 6 pork chops, so obviously, only 6 scouts would eat pork chops. Later, the Scoutmaster found out, and the patrol had a "Scoutmaster conference" about fairness and problem solving... * Grubmaster planned to serve hamburgers for dinner. He went and bought everything a couple days before the campout. When dinner time rolled around, there was no hamburger in the cooler! Did the grubmaster actually buy it? Yep. But in his rush to get out the door Friday afternoon, he'd forgotten that he'd put the meat in his fridge to keep it cold. The patrol dined on plain white buns that night... * No ASM advisor had been assigned to the new scout patrol. Their Troop Guide wasn't there when they planned their first campout menu (5 meals). When we got to the camp site, the other patrols found that the new scouts' grub box contained 5 of those big "family pack" boxes of frosted strawberry Pop Tarts....and nothing else!
  17. Some people might think that McDonalds serves better breakfast food than the classic Egg McMuffin. They're wrong, but they still think it. The key to making an Egg McMuffin that looks like the ones you get at the drive-thru window is RINGS. You need a good ring mold to keep the eggs shaped correctly while it fries and to make sure the egg is the right thickness. Buy that handy little gadget, and you are on the road to fast food breakfast nirvana right there at your camp site! Here's where you can get the egg rings: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/tablecraft-1240-four-4-black-non-stick-egg-rings-with-handle/8081240.html INGREDIENTS: For each Egg McMuffin, you will need... 1 english muffin 1 medium egg 1 slice Canadian bacon, eh? 1 slice American pasteurized over-processed cheese-like food substance (aka, Kraft singles) DIRECTIONS: Split the english muffin and lightly toast it. (Do a bunch at once and set aside). Set egg rink on a griddle and spray insde rings with Pam. Crack an egg into each ring. When cooked nearly to firm, flip over and finish cooking. Heat Canadian bacon on griddle. Place a cooked egg on each english muffin. Top with Canadian bacon and a slice of cheese.
  18. Oh. And here I was thinking that we can't have our convicted felons learning to be "Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly...."
  19. When I was little, my brothers and I engaged in a lot of sibling riflery. I miss my brothers...
  20. A Virginia Scout sold $88,000 worth of popcorn last year, making him the #1 popcorn salesman in BSA. Over the last few years, he's racked up over $200,000 in sales. This year, he's helping other scouts learn how to sell more. The story: https://www.richmond.com/business/goochland-teen-was-nation-s-top-boy-scouts-popcorn-seller/article_68f766f4-f079-55ba-b81a-a90bed803e43.html
  21. When marshmallows are outlawed, only outlaws will have marshmallows.
  22. This is where the beauty of patrol method and scout-leadership come together. Nobody needs to have any penalties for scouts who don't do a good job ---- the scouts will take care of that themselves. They'll make mistakes. Their peers will roast them. They'll learn from the experience and do better next time...
  23. Working with new scouts is a lot of fun --- they have so much excitement and ambition! I've noticed though that a lot of scouts struggle a bit with learning (and especially remembering) how to whip a rope. Bryan on Scouting had a post last week about a method called "West Country Whipping" that is a LOT easier to use than the traditional whipping described in the Scout Handbook. It's so simple and straightforward that it should also be easier to remember a couple years from now. (I suspect most scouts forget how to whip a rope about 7 minutes after the Scoutmaster signs off on the requirement.) The process is: Start by tying a half-knot, the way you would start a square knot, near the rope’s end. Continue by carrying the two ends of the whipping cord around the back of the rope, away from you, and tie another half-knot identical to the first. Keep repeating the half-knots, front and back, pulling each one tight. Form each half-knot the same way, either right over left, or left over right, so they interlock neatly together, and snug against the previous half-knot. Continue the process until the whipping is as wide as the rope’s diameter. Finish off with a tight square knot. Finally, the excess cord is trimmed. The only downside I see to the West Country Whip is that it doesn't look or feel as durable as the traditional whip, so adding a drop or two of Gorilla Glue to "seal" the whip would help it stand up to the test of time. The article is here: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/09/19/try-this-easy-technique-next-time-you-need-to-whip-a-rope/ Anybody else tried whipping a rope the "West Country" way? I'm sold on it and I plan to show new scouts that method from now on...
  24. I would hope they are not even checking or trying to enforce "rules" like that. I think that most experienced scouters already know that cotton has some issues on backcountry canoe trips: if it gets wet, it's just going to make you colder later --- not warmer --- and it's not likely to dry if you just hang it up on a line once you get to camp. I suspect they're telling you to bring a synthetic sleeping bag because they've had too many folks who had to sleep in a wet bag when night time temps can easily drop into the lower 40s or below. Nevertheless, I'm with you. Synthetic sleeping bags don't feel as warm as a good down bag, they're heavier, and they don't compact as well. Even on a canoe trip, I'd rather take responsibility for keeping my bag dry than to be told to use some POS plastic sleeping bag. Same with shirts, socks, underwear, etc. I'll pack a synthetic shirt as a spare, and I'll pack some wool socks because they DO feel good to me, but I am definitely NOT wearing plastic underwear! Nor do I really want a plastic sleeping bag... As always, your mileage may vary...
  25. 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.
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