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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. 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
  2. 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 app
  3. Real men don't need moss on trees. They can smell which way the wind blows...(acceptable answers for 2nd Class requirement 3d).
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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).
  8. 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-t
  9. Folks who find scout uniforms expensive should be aware that Scout Shops are offering a 25% off sale. (https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/08/19/unprecedented-scout-shop-sale-on-uniform-shirts-is-too-cool-to-miss/) I went to the 25% off sale and it was great. I got a pair of khaki pants with one long leg and one short leg.
  10. The way we do it is that the boys brainstorm and select their top "themes" --- backpacking, climbing, shooting, etc., and they can suggest locations if they have had good experiences someplace. We have a "camping coordinator", who is a committee member with lists of state parks, BSA camps, ACE properties, national forests etc. and he/she will then start calling around for reservations. If a location that the scouts suggested is available for the kind of activity they suggested, it's booked. If it's unavailable, another site is found that enables the type of activity. Only after the
  11. A scout troop camping in the Willamette National Forest found a campfire that had been left burning by inconsiderate campers. The fire had already spread beyond the fire ring. It took the scouts about 2 hours to put out all the smoldering embers. Scouts are credited with preventing a forest fire. Story: https://www.koin.com/news/human-interest/boy-scouts-put-out-campfire-that-was-spreading/
  12. Y'all are making some good points about why the staff might deserve tips for a job well done....but is that a judgment call that the adults are making themselves? Is it something that the boys should be aware of? Do you ask the boys to chip in? Seems like the practice might vary by camp (based on Tatung42's comment that he was told "no tips" by Northern Tier staff).
  13. Irrelevant. Infrastructure was evidently fine for getting scouts out of the Summit and down the road to Charlotte --- one of America's biggest, busiest hub airports. An airport that routinely handles hundreds of flights per day and more than 20 million passengers annually. For CLT and American Airlines to have problems getting a few thousand scouts checked in is simply inexcusible.
  14. In all fairness to the airline and airport, they are incompetent twits. In today's modern airline industry, they have these things called "computers". Amazing devices! They are capable of millions of calculations per second, can maintain databases, analyze data, and produce these things called "reports." Given that the airline and airport were caught off-guard, I can only assume that none of the scouts had made reservations for their flights and they all just showed up out of the blue, ready to pay cash for their walk-up tickets. If that weren't the case, the scouts would have plann
  15. In addition to complaining, be sure you ask for compensation if your flight was excessively delayed or cancelled. There is a website that can help you understand how that works and that says they can help you with claims: https://www.airhelp.com/en/
  16. Interesting question. The Participant Guide is completely silent on the question of tips and I've always assumed that the fees paid by a scout were "all inclusive". The only mentions of cash I find in the book are a section about how to make payments, and a bullet point that boys should bring $125-175 (presumably for souvenirs and snacks....but not for tips).
  17. Interesting perspective. For many boys, that last few months of Webelos is tough to get through. The boys are getting tired of the pack program and are itching for new challenges and a ramped up outdoor program. They WANT to be done with Webelos and starting a new chapter in a troop... The issue was discussed in a "Bryan on Scouting" article here... https://scoutingmagazine.org/2018/10/how-to-avoid-a-final-year-webelos-burnout/ I suppose this will vary from boy to boy and unit to unit, and if you are getting a 100% retention, then I wouldn't mess with your recipe....but for a lot o
  18. 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 w
  19. Let's see now, they raised $100,000 selling 600 bottles....that works out to about $167 per bottle. Yikes! I could almost afford to buy a bag of Trails End popcorn for that much money!
  20. I would be particularly interested in knowing the costs for scouts in Indonesia. According to the Wikipedia page listing all those 170 members, it appears Indonesia is the country with the most active scouts at over 21 million (about 10 times more than BSA). I don't believe Indonesia is a particularly rich country, so how the heck do that many young people afford uniforms?
  21. Another stolen troop trailer....this time in Kansas City: https://fox4kc.com/2019/08/16/thieves-steal-boy-scout-trailer-and-gear-worth-thousands-of-dollars-from-south-kc-church/
  22. I read an article today about a Boy Scout whose Eagle project proposal was turned down, because it didn't seem to involve leadership of others. The project was to advocate for a local ordinance involving plastic handling. (Despite not getting it approved as an Eagle project, he believed in the concept and did it anyway.) His proposed project was certainly a lot different in focus than the vast majority of Eagle projects I've seen. I wonder what I would advise a scout who wanted to do something like that....What would you tell the scout? If you were that scout's Scoutmaster or Committee
  23. Okay, I'll compare scouting vs. sports... Sports teams take their names very seriously: the Tigers, the Marauders, the Yankees... Boy Scouts take their patrol names with good humor: the Muffin Men, the Green Janitors... Baseball fans sing during the seventh inning stretch. Boy Scouts sing when they're happy and they know it. When Houston Texans fans go to a game, they can pay over $20 for a stale hot dog and a sugary drink. Thrifty Boy Scout grubmasters can feed a fellow scout 5 meals for $10 (no extra charge for the dirt and bugs). Football fans love their tailgate
  24. I like the idea of scouts doing something to preserve their local historic heritage. Like this scout, erecting a good-looking sign to mark a historic cemetery... https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/aug/15/boy-scout-installs-sign-at-douglass-memorial-cemet/
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