Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    Boy Scout Service Projects

    Boy Scout travels to Ghana to distribute first aid kits... https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/winnetka/ct-wtk-winnetka-boy-scouts-volunteer-in-ghana-tl-0822-20190903-vssxprosp5cjpj7x2aissyk2qe-story.html
  2. mrkstvns

    Community Event

    Could be. And that is exactly why they make good subjects for a community booth --- they are things that scouts DO and things that are fun and interesting. (Not so sure I'd do a 10x10 booth around rockets or boats, but if more space were available....
  3. mrkstvns

    Community Event

    Science is cool, and there are SOOOO many fun things you can do that bring science to life. Take a look through the NOVA program guidebook, or just read through the requirements for the Cub Scouting NOVA program: https://www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards/awards/cub-scout/ In almost every award, I can see ideas for doing things that Cub-age kids would get into, and that could make for a very fun activity that would fit within a 10x10 booth. You could.... Do an animal tracking activity (maybe plaster casts?) Make a fog machine Make an erupting volcano model Build a simple bird feeder (or bird house) Do a fake archaeological dig Build a mock wind tunnel and "test" paper airplanes (or models) ...
  4. mrkstvns

    Name on Eagle Project?

    I think a small, tasteful plaque is an excellent idea. It's a way to help keep scouting in the public eye and to let people know that scouting contributes to their local communities. (Not to mention a little ego-boo for the Eagle scout.)
  5. mrkstvns

    Boy Scout Service Projects

    Scout builds beds for kids who have no beds... https://www.kens5.com/article/news/kids-who-make-sa-great-boy-scout-builds-beds-for-the-bed-less/273-8d49d3ec-9b05-48d1-a461-9c1949ed3c40
  6. mrkstvns

    Old Scouter, new to Forum

    Truer words were never spoken.
  7. In its quest to emasculate scouting completely, Philmont now offers a glamping option that completely removes the possibility that participants might actually experience outdoor life. The new tents have permanent, full floors, electricity, queen size tempurpedic mattresses with Egyptian 800-thread count sheets, in-tent maid service, in-tent massage, and big screen canvas wall mount televisions with your choice of Netflix or Hulu. Covered parking is provided with valet service available on demand. The story: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/08/16/with-new-deluxe-tents-philmont-training-center-broadens-appeal-to-more-families/
  8. mrkstvns


    I don't mean to be flippant, but if he's in a group setting, nobody will notice if he lip syncs or hums...
  9. mrkstvns

    Leatherwork Merit Badge

    Wow! I sure do wish the scouts in my troop could do Leatherwork MB with y'all!! Sounds to me like you're really doing it right --- finding meaningful projects and giving scouts enough time to actually appreciate and understand what they're doing.
  10. What motivated Baden-Powell to start the boy scout movement? Was it purely an altruistic desire to see boys grow up with values, confidence, and integrity? Or could it have been a bit darker, reflecting his own shortcomings in battle and a yearning to recapture the innocence of his own youth? Here's one writer's venture into the rabbit hole of conjecture... https://daily.jstor.org/boy-scouts-and-the-phenomenon-of-boyification/
  11. mrkstvns

    Flag help needed

    Thanks, Matt! As you can see, mathematics is not my strong point. STAY IN SCHOOL, kids!
  12. mrkstvns

    Flag help needed

    In my personal opinion, I would not recommend a flag bigger than 4x6' or a pole higher than 5 feet. The reason is simply one of practicality: how big can kids handle? If you go much bigger than 4x6, you're going to have flags being dragged on the ground when they carry the flags. There's been some talk lately about synthetic flags creating noxious fumes when it comes to burn them. Well, if you stick to cotton you can eliminate that problem. There's also been talk about the hypocrisy of buying American flags that are made in China. Well, it's not that hard to find good quality, American-made American flags.... Here's one that I'd buy: https://www.united-states-flag.com/american-flag-4ftx6ft-cotton-best-brand-by-valley-forge.html As always, your mileage may vary...
  13. mrkstvns

    Philmont Gear Review

    I'm kind of surprised to see so many folks embracing the idea of hammock camping. That's great because there are a lot of situations where the size/weight advantage can let you go further or deeper into the wilderness, and there are a lot of situations where hammock camping can help us be "conservation minded" by putting less impact on the environment (hence, more LNT friendly). But it's not always the case.... In many situations, hammock camping is actually a far BIGGER impact than tent camping. It just depends... So what does the experienced and responsible outdoorsman do? Well, the same thing he does for every other outdoor activity. He observes, applies knowledge and wisdom, and relies on the "authority of the resource" to guide him. In some ecosystems, the trees simply aren't plentiful enough or big enough or strong enough to adequately support the stress of a hammock. In other cases, environmental conditions (like drought) might already have stressed the trees far beyond their ability to recover from the relatively short-term stress of a hammock or the relatively limited bark damage of a 1-night hammock stay. It just depends... Scouters who love their hammocks but still want to be responsible outdoorsmen and who embrace the Outdoor Code can educate themselves about how the potential pitfalls of hammock use occur and can become aware of what natural factors affect the decision of whether or where to use a hammock. Here's a good source of basic info that really helps understand just why hammocks can be a problem. https://hammockinformation.com/do-hammocks-hurt-trees/
  14. It's always a good idea to practice a skill and make sure you can do it before it comes time to put it to the test. Work out the kinks before training other scouts. Do a dry run of an event...don't wait until it's too late to find out you're not prepared. Came across this interesting Scoutmaster Minuted on the retired scoutmaster web site.... Practice it First I recently saw a program on TV about President Harry Truman and one event stuck in my mind. When he first ran for office in the early 1920s - it was for something like County Board - some of his army buddies thought it would be impressive for him to arrive for a speech by airplane. Now, this was in the early days of flying and a lot of people had never even seen a plane, much less flown in one. He agreed and at the appointed time the small plane circled the fairgrounds and landed. The candidate got out of the plane, sort of staggered across the field, leaned over a fence, and threw up. This was not the impressive entrance he had planned. But Mr. Truman learned something from this experience. Sometimes ideas that sound good don't work out well when you go to try them. So it's a good idea not to do it for the first time in front of a crowd. Practice it through first to see if this idea is really going to work as well as it sounds or are there some bugs to be worked out.
  15. mrkstvns

    Philmont Gear Review

    Just thought I'd mention that in locations requiring bear-proof food containment operated by National Park Service or US Forest Service, the Ursack is not an approved container. If you're using an Ursack in the back country, you can still get fined for not securing your food --- not sure why since the Ursack does seem effective against bears...
  16. mrkstvns

    Hobo Pizza Boats

    So do flour tortillas. The scouts then call 'em "pizzadillas"
  17. mrkstvns

    Philmont Gear Review

    Are y'all still hanging bear bags? Or have you moved on to bear canisters? The canisters seem to me a better approach to keeping food and smellables safe from our ursine trail companions. https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bear-resistant-canisters.html
  18. In another thread, a discussion of GPS and dementia got me thinking about that GPS "Navigation" requirement for First Class....how the heck are we supposed to test the boys on 4b? It looks to me like the requirement was probably written back when handheld GPS units were still the rage and people had a clue how latitude and longitude coordinates looked. Now that GPS seems to have become an infrastructure item that enables nav apps, the scouts have no idea what GPS is or what coordinates are. Had a scout come to me recently with Waze on his smartphone. I asked him if he could have the app show the coordinates for our current location. Nope. The best he could muster was a street address. He could then enter another address and have the speaker tell me, "turn left in 500 feet..." etc. Is that really "using GPS"? Given the changes in technology, I'm inclined to say "yeah, it is" since the point is really to understand how to navigate, not necessarily to use coordinate systems. Any thoughts?
  19. mrkstvns

    What patches may be worn on red wool Jac-shirt?

    I'm not inclined to sew a bunch of patches on the red wool jackets because the jackets cost so freakin' much. For me, the more appropriate place to sew all those extra patches is on a red patch vest (or maybe on a "brag" blanket). Besides, since I do most of my camping in Texas, I don't really WANT a heavy wool jacket on campouts just to show off a few temporary patches. For me, the flimsy felt vest isn't nearly so stifling hot on those toasty warm January nights around the campfire... https://www.scoutshop.org/cub-scout-adult-patch-adult-vest-red-600538.html
  20. mrkstvns

    Philmont Gear Review

    Many reasons. Banning hammocks is a good idea (and practiced in some of those National Parks you might like visiting). The problem is that hammocks damage trees and if you've got some place that's an established trail site, then you're not just exposing a tree to dynamic stress and friction damage to the bark on a 1-time basis, but rather repeatedly as many crews come along the trail and use the same perfect tree over and over. Some of the damage to bark can be mitigated by using pads (aka, "tree huggers") on the ropes to reduce friction, but the basic laws of physics will still apply and the trees can still suffer stress damage (not dissimilar to repeated exposure to high wind speeds). Outdoor ethics is kind of a fluid concept. The idea isn't always to completely eliminate damage (or "traces"), but to at least be aware of our recreational impacts on the environment so that we can make better decisions. With hammocks, I might use one if I were well off trail in a dense forest with millions of trees, each of which can easily bear the relatively small impact of a hammock, but I would avoid it (and support hammock bans) where there are fewer trees and higher recreational impact.
  21. mrkstvns

    GPS usage may cause dementia

    Real men don't need moss on trees. They can smell which way the wind blows...(acceptable answers for 2nd Class requirement 3d).
  22. mrkstvns

    How to test scout on GPS usage?

    I really like this idea. I might use it for doing requirement 4a (the orienteering course). Making a map to the mugs, root beer, ice cream etc. might work even better than the GPS coordinate thing...making it fun might go a long way towards getting scouts interested in learning what orienteering is really all about.
  23. In the past, BSA had an excellent program that encouraged councils to establish historic trails in their own councils. Sadly, that's gone by the wayside and most of the historic trails that I've heard about were established long ago and many are no longer promoted or no longer have patches and medals available from their local councils. It's only been within the past year or so that BSA put the list of trails back on their website (it had disappeared for much too long). The list is here: https://tap.scouting.org/historic-trails/ Note that some of the trails that have no link in the list *do* in fact have websites and are in fact still supported by their councils. Here in Texas, I know this to be the case with the Fort McKavett, Fort Concho and Fort Stockton trails. (If you hike these and are after the patches, call the local scout center before you do the hike because I got the impression supplies were limited for some historic trails). Info is here: https://www.westtexasscoutinghistory.net/historicaltrails.html Also, some of the most interesting trails don't seem to be on the list, for whatever reason. Last year, my son and I visited Vicksburg National Battlefield in Mississippi and we found 2 excellent trails that took most of a day (each) to explore --- one was 12 miles, the other 14 miles (there's another 7-mile hike we didn't do). Info is on the National Park Service website: https://www.nps.gov/vick/planyourvisit/hiking-walking.htm
  24. mrkstvns

    GPS usage may cause dementia

    Fortunately though, most state highway departments still distribute free maps. (I get 'em at the Info Center / Rest Stops that are located near state lines). For a map of the whole U.S., I use the Rand McNally book-style Road Atlas. I still buy topo maps from USGS (nothing really matches them for doing any kind of map reading exercise).
  25. Thousands of scouts attending the World Jamboree found it to be a very tough place to leave behind. I'm not talking about all the great memories they had of spending time with fellow scouts at the Summit --- I'm talking about American Airlines not staffing their checkin counters adequately and TSA and Charlotte Douglas Airport not having plans in place to adequately handle the number of passengers that they KNEW well in advance were coming to the airport when Jambo was over. Few scouts got checked in on a timely basis and 3/4 of the flights ended up with delayed departure as scouts were herded outdoors in the summer heat to wait. The story is here: https://www.wcnc.com/article/travel/boy-scouts-vocal-about-extremely-challenging-departures-from-charlotte-douglas-airport-after-world-scout-jamboree/275-dcd51598-4c6e-46e1-bc1b-5e770fe63128 Did any of you folks attending Jambo fly out of CLT? Did you encounter problems like those described in the article? Scouts and scouters who had problems getting home should know that air travel complaints can be filed with the DoT here: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint