Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    Ten "Essentials" for the urban hike...

    Nope. Our ink never freezes, but it has been known to boil on a warm summer day.
  2. mrkstvns

    Completed MB?

    Absolutely. There are 2 "worst practices" that I've seen council/district staff do: 1. Far too short time slots. 2. "Double-up" merit badges --- you can't even adequately cover 1 MB in the inadequate time alotted....so let's have you cover *TWO*!
  3. mrkstvns


    Any of you folks have knowledge and experience using Lifestraw ? I've heard a lot of good things about it, but when I look at the specs for it on the REI web site, it only talks about filtering out biological contaminants (like bacteria or parasites). That's great, but how does it do in waters that may have chemical contaminants or heavy metals? I do most of my camping and hiking in Texas where quite a few of the waterways where I like to play are listed by the state's environmental quality commission as contaminated with appropriate health advisories against eating fish caught in those waterways. If the fish can be contaminated with PCB, dioxin, mercury etc., then I assume I don't want to be drinking the water there myself, even with a Lifestraw. Is there a filtration device that can handle chemical contamination?
  4. mrkstvns


    Thank you, perdidochas. I looked at the reviews on that Sawyer Mini and am impressed. While it looks a bit more complicated than the Lifestraw, the increased flexibility of the device coupled with a significantly longer lifespan looks like a winner to me. I see that REI sells the Sawyer Mini as well as Lifestraw, both for the same price. I'll be buying the Sawyer filter....
  5. mrkstvns

    Completed MB?

    I REALLY wish there was a good, effective way to find the short-cutting MBCs and get them out of the scout program. To be fair, sometimes the real culprit isn't the MBC, but the camp director or even worse, the council program staff.
  6. Good news in New York where a Boy Scout was ready to help deliver his new baby brother... https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2019/09/18/boy-scout-helps-deliver-mothers-baby-brother-queens-new-york-city Interesting! That's one emergency case that I never recall being part of any First Aid class in scouting.
  7. mrkstvns

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    Another stolen Boy Scout trailer was recovered, this one parked behind a house where thieves were in the process of repainting it. Interestingly, the trailer still held the scouts' camping equipment, and some "extras"....namely meth paraphernalia. Sounds like Walter White may have moved on from using RVs. Story: https://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/2019/09/17/boy-scout-trailer-recovered-galion-no-arrests-made-yet/2354081001/
  8. mrkstvns

    navigation and piloting

    Do Sea Scouts have any requirements to learn navigation using a sextant? Seems like a cool skill to learn, even if it is unlikely to ever be needed in a world where ships can rely on GPS.
  9. mrkstvns

    Doing away with blue cards?

    Precisely! Same with Scout Handbooks for rank advancement. I can sign off a scout's completed work on any campout, high adventure base, road trip etc. No need to worry about flaky internet, lost cell signals, forgotten wifi passwords, dead batteries or all the myriad complications that can occur when scouting is actually an adventure. Let the advancement chair worry about Scoutbook! I don't want to even see it, myself....it's a messy complication that wastes my time.
  10. mrkstvns

    Doing away with blue cards?

    Most of the summer camps our boys have attended in recent years use some kind of electronic reporting method (sometimes as simple as a spreadsheet emailed to troop). Scoutbook or report, either way it saves you the problems about errors on the cards, unsigned cards, etc. (BTW: Often the unsigned card signals a "partial" --- look at the list of completed requirements). I do still see the blue cards being used at merit badge university workshops and the like. My son's eagle coach told him to have proof he earned his MBs, but that a report from Scoutbook would suffice (which is good, because he only has blue cards on maybe half his badges ---- though he did save all the completion cards that he's received when awarded each MB).
  11. Recognized by Governor, to be honored during a Baltimore Ravens game...story: https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll/news/cc-scouts-pantry-governor-20190917-d6ffrvu2c5hznlu2dnxcv5v3be-story.html
  12. BSA's Sea Base "Bahamas Sailing Adventure" might be imperiled next year due to the destruction of their facilities on Abaco Island, Bahamas. They're trying to recover. There's a story on scoutingmagazine.org about damage: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/09/12/how-you-can-help-sea-base-bahamas-after-devastating-hurricane-dorian/
  13. Yes, booking a trip there would definitely put a vote of confidence in the people trying to recover from all the devastation. Might be wise to have a "Plan B" in mind though, just in case their recovery is slower than they hope...
  14. mrkstvns

    Emergency Prep MB Requirement 7 done right (CT)

    That sounds really cool! I've always like the mock emergencies our troop does, but being able to integrate with pros can really open up a kid's eyes to what "be prepared" might mean to them down the road... Thanks for the links!
  15. mrkstvns

    Got acronyms?

    People on these forums use 1,001 different abbreviations and acronyms. Many are common across scouting. Some are just invented on the spot and assumed to be understandable (but rarely are). BSA publishes a list of common scouting acronyms. The list is here: https://www.scouting.org/resources/los/abbreviations/ As I read through the list, it is obvious that the folks compiling the list missed many, many very common acronyms. Here's my quick and dirty list of additional acronyms.... AC - Advancement Chair BL - Boys Life BOR - Board of Review CC - Committee Chair CM - Cubmaster CO - Charter Organization EBOR - Eagle Board of Review G2SS - Guide to Safe Scouting ILST - Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops JTE - Journey to Excellence LDS - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints MB - merit badge MBU - Merit Badge University NAYLE - National Advenced Youth Leadership Experience NSJ - National Scout Jamboree OE - Outdoor Ethics QM - Quartermaster SM - Scoutmaster SS - Sea Scouts WSJ - World Scout Jamboree YPT - Youth Protection Training Got more acronyms that BSA and me overlooked???
  16. Thanks, Cleveland! I learned a lot from your post,. Never having been a GSUSA leader, I never really knew what kind of rules they followed. "...twice as long as our Guide to Safe Scouting."... Hmmm. I was about to post some snide comment about all the rules BSA scouters have to follow, but for now, I will just be quiet and thank my lucky stars that I don't have to read TWICE as many rules!
  17. mrkstvns

    "Unofficial uniform"

    You and me both. When I see scouters bragging about their slovenly uniform habits and then making stupid statements about "uniform police" and the like, I have to wonder why they ever joined scouting in the first place. The uniform is one of the methods of scouting. Just like patrol method, just like advancements, etc. It contributes to developing strong values in youth. When somebody sees a scout uniform, they know it represents values like "Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Cheerful, Thrifty, Clean and Reverent." The scout uniform has stood for those things for more than a century. Times may change, but those values are still valuable. Perhaps moreso than ever as we live in a society with fewer role models who actually exemplify role models worth emulating. U.S. Marines wear their uniforms with pride because they know that it's not just clothing, it's a symbol of who they are and what they hold dear. That's the same reason that the best scouts and scouters wear their complete, proper uniforms. Thanks Latin Scot for saying what needed to be said!
  18. Just out of curiosity, how restrictive ARE the safety guidelines used in Girl Scouts? Some of the BSA guidelines seem downright stupid to me (like no power tool use by anyone under age 18, or not letting young adults age 18-20 satisfy requirements for "adult supervision"). Anybody have experience using both sets of guidelines?
  19. mrkstvns

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    A troop trailer was stolen from a church parking lot in Ohio, but this time, police were able to recover it... https://fox8.com/2019/09/12/its-unfathomable-local-boy-scouts-troop-says-someone-stole-the-trailer-they-use-for-camp-outs/
  20. mrkstvns

    Back to school night recruitment

    Having known a few of those experienced scouters, I'm much more inclined to be worried about the damage done by a fear mongering gossiper, spreading rumors about good people. Such things constitute defamation and the parents should be quietly advised to keep their fears and ignorance to themselves.
  21. mrkstvns

    Real estate donation

    Donating to the CO sounds like a workable plan. Another possibility is to set up a revocable land trust to hold the title. You might need to get an attorney to do this for you, or you may be able to consult with your local "Bank & Trust". Better to rely on professional advice about this than it is to listen to most of us typical internet users...well intentioned as we might be.
  22. Darn those pesky paywalls! Here's a quote for you and Al... This summer, almost a dozen Houston-area Girl Scouts spent three nights on the trail in Colorado, backpacking 18 miles through rough terrain and demonstrating that the Girl Scouting experience can be pretty intense — more so than the familiar door-to-door cookie sales. The 11 girls are members of the Girl Scout Backpacking special interest group. The young women are in junior high and high school but have outdoor skills that most adults lack. They know how to assemble their packs, prepare and cook meals on the trail, and aren’t afraid to sleep out in the open. They’re also crushing Girl Scout stereotypes. “When I talk to people who don’t know anything about Girl Scouts, they think it’s all about cookies and crafts,” said Heather Solomon, backpacking coordinator. “One thing about San Jacinto Council is we have a huge outdoor department.” Solomon said a lot of people don’t know about the Girl Scouts Outdoor special interest groups, called SIGs, which exemplify one way the organization tries to keep junior high and high school girls engaged in Scouting."
  23. mrkstvns

    How often do you meet?

    Being active is good. IMHO, the "ideal" is one monthly pack meeting and weekly den meetings. Den meetings are scheduled on a day and time convenient to the Den Leader (typically at den leader's house, sometimes at a "go see it" location). Pack meeting is a set day/time/place determined by Cubmaster and Committee Chair, and well-publicized far in advance. Pack campouts (and other pack events, like Pinewood Derby and Blue-n-Gold) also planned by committee and publicized well in advance. I think that if you do something less than this, you're going to get complaints that you aren't doing enough. Don't be surprised that you have light participation in "show and sell". I never let my kids do Trails End and there are lots of parents more jaded about it than me.... Show and sell isn't "the program".
  24. mrkstvns

    First Aid Kit

    Your choice. If you put it together yourself, you can customize it to better meet the needs of your own unit. For us, band aids are what we need most, so I would buy plenty of those. In a year when we're doing a lot of hiking and backpacking, moleskin becomes a "best seller". In this part of the country, it's always hot and sunny, so we need to be ready to handle sunburn because somebody will surely ignore the constant advice to use sunblock. Have you got a kid with severe allergies? You might want to sock away an epi-pen (if allowed in your state). Take a look at the Health forms and see if something jumps out at you as a condition you might want to be prepared for. Of course, the advantage to just going to a friendly neighborhood pharmacy (or a Wal-Mart) and buying a pre-made kit off the shelf is that you have the basics, you have it immediately, and you don't have to think about what to buy. (As long as you're happy with a "one size fits all" solution). Your choice.
  25. Got a spare $90 million laying around? Want your very own BSA summer camp? Well, act now before the "luxury home developers" snap up over 1,000 acres of Nevada backcountry... https://www.reviewjournal.com/homes/real-estate-millions/boy-scouts-camp-in-mount-potosi-marketed-for-future-luxury-development-1842774/