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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    NOAC 2020

    Hands up! Who's going to be in Michigan next August for NOAC 2020? Details: https://oa-bsa.org/noac2020
  2. I've been a counselor for Communication merit badge for over 5 years and I often get scouts asking me to sign off on requirement 5 because they attended a neighborhood homeowners meeting (HOA). I generally tell them, "No. That's not a public meeting, it is a private organization." Do any of you folks who are Communication MBCs count things like HOA meetings? How about counting it towards Citizenship in the Community? REQUIREMENT AS WRITTEN: 5. Attend a public meeting (city council, school board, debate) approved by your counselor where several points of view are given o
  3. "There's more than one way to skin a cat," is an old saying that most people who don't live on the bayous might think refers to some sick kind of feline cruelty. Those of us who do love being out on the bayous for some good canoeing, fishing and all-around outdoor fun will tell you that old saying has nothing to do with furry little pets and everything to do with good, southern eating! On our troop's last fishing adventure in the wetlands of southeast Texas we caught a few good-size catfish --- mostly channel cats. We had a lot of fun out on the water, but when we hauled our catch
  4. Good question. It's often tough to come up with the kind of activities that truly represent an "adventure" for the youth. If you can't do that, the kids won't want whatever it is you're offering. I think BSA's "Powder Horn" training is a good way to find out what some of those "adventures" might look like in your area. Hopefully your local Powder Horn is a good one. Some are not that good and will not give you enough of what you need to keep the youth interested. The challenge for Powder Horn organizers is to keep the boring, lame nonsense out of the program. This is imp
  5. Many thanks to all the scouters who posted suggestions for camps to add to the list and for those who posted comments about how camps implement their "Patrol Cooking". I searched out the web sites for all camps offering some level of "patrol cooking" and foiund quite a lot of variability, from camps doing an outstanding job and fully embracing the patrol method, to camps that do little more than provide some instant oatmeal and tell scouts to heat their own water. I read your comemnts....I read the web pages....I looked on other scouting forums....I downloaded the Leader Guides for all of th
  6. Crossroads of America Council plans to sell Camp Red Wing, which has been used as a BSA summer camp since 1925... https://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2019/09/20/crossroads-america-votes-divest-three-camps/2384372001/
  7. Sounds to me like you're on the right track... Activities would, of course, be the best draw for kids, but if space limits what you can do, perhaps a good video loop showing kids really doing fun things might be the ticket. A pack info sheet is a good idea, but I think having it be short and compact is good with lots of pictures and few words, but with pointers to a pack web site where more complete info can be found. A URL for sure, a QR code might be nice for the folks who know how to use 'em on their smart phones. Make sure some kind of pointer to your pack (like URL) is on all
  8. A Boy Scout in Corvalis Oregon knew what to do when he saw the collapsed man... https://www.kptv.com/news/boy-scout-uses-cpr-training-to-help-save-a-life/article_51eb31e2-db42-11e9-803d-6fa28bfc5f63.html
  9. Nope. Our ink never freezes, but it has been known to boil on a warm summer day.
  10. 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*!
  11. What do you really need to bring with you when you're hiking in a populated area? I'm working with a small group of scouts on the Hiking merit badge. For each of the hikes that the scouts do, they're supposed to prepare a hike plan that includes, among other details, a list of things to carry on the hike. All of the hikes will be day hikes. The group plans to start off fairly easy with a couple of urban hikes, then on to more "rugged" hikes in area forests, rocky hills, etc. We're in Texas, and a very popular urban hike is to go around Lake Lady Bird in downtown Austin. It is a VER
  12. 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....
  13. 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.
  14. 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 t
  15. 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.
  16. 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/
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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, be
  20. 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
  21. 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...
  22. 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!
  23. 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/
  24. 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!
  25. 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 thi
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