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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. Interesting article. I followed the links in there to the FAQ and the Fund Raising Application. There, I had to pause at guideline #5... 5. If a commercial product is to be sold, will it be sold on its own merits and without reference to the needs of Scouting? All commercial products must sell on their own merits, not the benefit received by the Boy Scouts. The principle of value received is critical in choosing what to sell. Soooooo, you're telling me that popcorn is actually *WORTH* the ridiculously inflated prices shown in the Trails End catalog? If it weren't for the promised "benefit to the Boy Scouts", would ANYBODY ever buy so much as a kernel of the stuff? Sign me, Skeptical
  2. Yes. It is specifically allowed and no unit or district should be putting in place rules that state otherwise. To do so is to put up obstacles to the scouts advancement and is a disservice to the scouts. From the Guide to Advancement, rule "Approved counselors may work with and pass any member, including their own son, ward, or relative. Nevertheless, we often teach young people the importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with counselors beyond their families and beyond even their own units are doing that. They will benefit from the perspectives of many “teachers” and will learn more as a result. They should be encouraged to reach out." So, yes, it is specifically allowed. But no, it's not really a good idea... The explanation really gets to the heart of why the "adult association" method is so important. As a merit badge counselor, I have twice worked with and passed off my own son --- but in both cases it was in the context of a unit merit badge class in which my son was part of a larger group open to every scout in the unit. In that case, it would have been stupid to have said that if my son was doing exactly the same activities alongside his fellow scouts, and I signed off requirements for all those scouts, that I couldn't also sign off for him. That would make no sense and would be unfair. However, as a rule, I will refer him to another counselor or sign him up for a class at summer camp, even if I am an approved counselor for a badge. By the way, a previous scoutmaster once told me that the reason it was better to work with another counselor wasn't that Dad might be too easy on his own kid, but rather, Dad might be tougher on his own kid than he would on somebody else. I think that is often true.
  3. The Internet Pledge I've used in teaching Cyber Chip is the one that's printed on the back of the cards you hand to scouts when they complete the requirements...
  4. It's good that BSA is doing something to introduce scouts to the myriad cyber risks that exist today....but I'm not convinced that the Netsmartz materials ever treated the topics as broadly or deeply as they should have. It's also bothered me that many of the Netsmartz materials appear outdated with few new videos that adequately explain the ever-involving risks of using social media, smart phones, downloading apps, etc. Scouters who want to do a good job talking to scouts (and parents) about cyber risks can educate themselves by looking at sites beyond Netsmartz. There are quite a few that I visit regularly, and one of my current favorites is GetCyberSafe, which is run by the Canadian government: https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/index-en.aspx
  5. Yeah, I think that enlisting older scouts as the Outdoor Ethics Guide (new POR name) is a tough sell, although it really is the most mature scouts who are able to "own" that role and make it sing. (Most troops never fill that POR and many that do never train their OE Guide. VERY few troops have any adults who really understand OE either.) I think it may have been a Center for Outdoor Ethics guideline that suggested age 16+ for LNT training. I'm seeing councils nowadays opening up their LNT Trainer courses to youth 14+ (which I think is good, since the training costs $$$ and is a significant time investment at 16 hours for the Trainer course). A trained 14-year old can potentially provide OE leadership to the troop for up to 4 years, whereas a lot of those 16-17 year olds were going to age out in only a year or so.
  6. 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
  7. 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....
  8. 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) ...
  9. 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.)
  10. 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
  11. I don't mean to be flippant, but if he's in a group setting, nobody will notice if he lip syncs or hums...
  12. 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.
  13. Thanks, Matt! As you can see, mathematics is not my strong point. STAY IN SCHOOL, kids!
  14. 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...
  15. 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/
  16. 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/
  17. 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.
  18. 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...
  19. So do flour tortillas. The scouts then call 'em "pizzadillas"
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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.
  23. Real men don't need moss on trees. They can smell which way the wind blows...(acceptable answers for 2nd Class requirement 3d).
  24. 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.
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