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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. Well said, Sentinel. I apologize to Tahawk if my comments were perceived as any kind of personal statement. My intent is not to insult a fellow forum member. However, the crux of my post stands. Snide comments about the press are not useful and are not appreciated. Too many folks these days seem to think its cool to cast stones at hard-working people who do the heavy lifting of bringing us high quality information each and every day. Journalists, scientists, academics, etc....they are all generally much better equipped than the average internet user to get accurate, relevant details. In the realm of current events, journalists are the unsung heroes of quality information. They dig for facts and they present them responsibly: the writers don't put things in their articles that they can't corroborate. The organizations don't publish articles without having them reviewed for accuracy by fact checkers and reviewed for balance and relevance by editors. Of course, all these people are human, and the occasional error might slip by...in which case the professional news organization prints a retraction. As you point out, a look at the publication date shows that the Post really did not make any error...
  2. I'm one of the many, many scouters who really never think much about Sea Scouts. Out of sight, out of mind. Glad to hear they have such a long and colorful past... What's the significance of this particular date though?
  3. Hehehe....I wonder how I'd respond if a scout came in and told me how he did his "Duty to God" by praising the mighty Zeus who rules from the heights of Mt Olympus...
  4. Like much of the world, the answer to the question of when scouting began is "it depends". B-P's first Brownsea gathering was 1907. 1908 is typically identified as the first troops in Britain. The date most commonly used as the beginning of BSA is 1910. Picking out just one date from the entire podcast puts on blinders to the overall essay. Good to hear that you have personally done much more extensive original research and had your facts double-checked and edited much more thoroughly than the professional journalists at one of America's foremost news organizations. It's no wonder you have earned more Pulitzers than the Post...
  5. Well Alex, haven't you heard the old saying "Lightning never strikes twice in the same place"? If you believe that, then that Balsam Mountain camp should be safe for you. Or maybe you're already aware that the truth is that lightning tends to strike the same place. We know that lightning is attracted to the tallest objects in an area and that it seeks out an effective path to ground. If a place got struck once because it was the highest and/or most conductive place in an area, then it's a pretty safe bet that it might get struck again. In New York, the Empire State Building gets struck regularly --- as often as 100 times per year. It seems that big metal roof high atop one of the highest points in the city is an irresistable magnet for lightning strikes. Sometimes, the building gets truck multiple times in a single storm! I'm with Alex. I do not want to go back to a place that's been struck by lightning....because lightning always strikes twice in the same place! Source: How Stuff Works (https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/10-lightning-myths1.htm)
  6. The Washington Post did a retrospective history on Boy Scouting. The podcast is available here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/retropod/the-unlikely-start-of-the-boy-scout-movement-1/?utm_term=.2172a214bfaf
  7. Are these summertime events supposed to be organized by and for the pack....or does it count if the pack sends scouts to a council-run day camp?
  8. Came across another outdoors-oriented web site that could be a good resource for scouting webmasters and anyone interested in picking up some new tips, tricks and ideas about outdoor adventures. I especially liked the info about wilderness tracking... Alderleaf Wilderness College: https://www.wildernesscollege.com/
  9. You're bringing back memories! That's exactly the way my troop operated when I was a kid --- every patrol kept and maintained its own set of tents, tarps, axe, saw, cookpots, etc. But that's not the way my son's troop operates: they have an equipment building at the chartering church where all the camping equipment is stored. The troop quartermaster figures out what is needed for a given trip and doles it out to patrols on an event-by-event basis. He has outsize responsibility compared to when I was a kid, when it was the patrol QM who shouldered most of the responsibility for gear. The old way seems to tie more strongly to patrol method. (I wonder how most troops do it these days....)
  10. Is Wood Badge a pre-requisite for the course, or can a scouter sign up for the PLC course regardless of prior WB participation?
  11. I'm not sure of the best way to do this, but it's also important that the leaders always keep in mind the need for succession planning. Keep an eye open for scouts who might show good leadership skills and who might be able to step up to a role if needed. Can the ASPLs pinch hit for the SPL? Are there patrol quartermasters who know how to pull all the right troop equipment for a campout if the quartermaster is out sick? Adults need to do this too. Who can step into the scoutmaster's shoes if he keels over from a heart attack tomorrow? Who knows how to do the advancement chair's job? Does everyone in a key position have a known backup? Strong troops will have a strong bench with people who can fill multiple jobs when push comes to shove. Troops that don't cross-train or don't have a succession plan in mind can easily fail in the absence of a key leader.
  12. Saw an article about a boy scout who had an anaphylactic reaction while on a backpacking trip in Colorado. Rescuers carried him over a mile to get to an ambulance. Story: https://www.dailycamera.com/2019/07/04/boy-scout-rescued-in-western-boulder-county/ Makes me wonder....could I recognize the signs of anaphylaxis if the scout weren't able to tell me what was going on? Would I know how to properly respond? Would you? Info about dealing with anaphylaxis: https://www.webmd.com/allergies/anaphylaxis#1
  13. Sometimes, that's exactly what's going on! Take "webmaster", which is an official position of responsibility, but that I've never seen actually done by a youth (there's an adult in our troop who administers the troop website). I wonder how many troops really do have a scout who does that role.... In the case of Historian, there's no adult doing the role....it's just not viewed as important to the troop.
  14. Troops should be aware of their leadership needs and "be prepared" for it. * regular ILST sessions after every election * encourage NYLT participation Personally, I'm not a big fan of having too many "troop requirements" for SPL. I like troops that let boys pick their own leaders, and I like troops that let scouts get a chance to meet a real challenge, whether or not the adults see their "potential".
  15. That raises an interesting point. Some of the positions of "responsibility" really don't involve any responsibility on a practical level and are typically treated by scouts in most troops as mere formalities to get a check-off on their advancement record. In my son's troop, that perfectly describes the roles of Historian, Order of the Arrow Representative, and Outdoor Ethics Guide. Granted, some scouts in some troops someplace in America might have actually done something to fulfill those roles, but in our troop, I have never in the past 5 years seen anyone who held any of those 3 jobs actually take on any meaningful responsibility. Kind of unfair when you think about it. The SPL works hard, attends the vast bulk of troop events, is constantly "on point", and he ends up getting the same amount of credit towards his next rank as the scout who was "Historian", never attended a single campout, and has rarely been seen in uniform at a meeting. Guess that kind of mimics real life though. You have kids, buy them tons of Christmas presents, spend hours wrapping them all, and then some fat guy in a suit gets all the credit.
  16. Yep. A middle school science teacher would make a great Nova counselor. At the Cub level, the goal is really to get the kids exposed to science topics and even a parent with no specific education or experience can make a good Nova counselor. (At the Supernova level, education or expertise in a STEM field is expected). A den leader can easily incorporate Nova into the regular program, and it's at the cub level that Nova has been most embraced. Several years ago, when Nova first rolled out, the pack my son was in had several scouters who were gung ho about the possibilities it offered. Our pack committee chair was a homeschooling mom who loved doing field trips, so she arranged a great 1-day event. The boys watched a 1-hour video about the plight of wolves then everyone jumped in our cars to go to a wolf sanctuary not far from the city. Under the careful watch of sanctuary staff, the boys got to pet a wolf, make plaster casts of wolf tracks, and learn more about the wolves. They earned an activity pin, finished their "Science Everywhere" Nova completely within that one day, plus got an "Akela Award" patch --- the boys still talk about it as one of their most funnest cub scout activities. Just one example of what any pack or den can do...
  17. I know some counselors have rubber stamps with their name, address, phone on them. Some counselors also print info on stickers. Avery makes labels in dozens of sizes and styles. There are templates that can be downloaded for many of these, and they're easy to modify in Word or other apps to handle specific things (like list of requirements done, appropriately spaced for the lines on a blue card). I do like perdidochas' suggestion to let scouts fill in most of it....that works well for me most of the time. The only really bad solution I've experienced is Scoutbook sending me (the MBC) an invite to access some scout's advancement record....especially when he's never even bothered to contact me first to chat about what he's doing. IMHO, Inconvenient and gratuitous use of technology is not a step forward. Seems to me like Scoutbook's developers never actually observed MBCs or real scouts to see how "the process" works in real life...
  18. I'm all for inclusion, but I do want it done in an intelligent, responsible manner that doesn't impose undue burdens on scouters or endanger other scouts. I was reading an article about an autistic scout who was not allowed to shoot rifles at a scout camp in Minnesota. The scouters in charge of the range perceived a potential safety issue that was beyond their experience to confidently handled. For the safety of all on the range (whether real or merely perceived), they didn't let the scout shoot. His parents complained. What do you think? Did the scouters at the range do the right thing? Should they have let the scout shoot even if they felt it endangered others? Should the council apologize? What do you think is the right way to handle this situation? Story: https://kstp.com/news/family-says-boy-scout-was-singled-out-for-being-on-autism-spectrum-northern-minnesota/5409365/
  19. In past discussions, scouters have talked about trying to match velcro to uniform colors (e.g., khaki or forest green). If color concerns you, a solution might be clear velcro (if you can find it). Here's a link to it from Office Depot: https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/636525/VELCRO-Brand-Clear-Hook-Loop-Fastener/;jsessionid=0000TxLKcAE5z0hiZ9EUOfOwFoH:17h4h7ceo?cm_mmc=PLA-_-Bing-_-Tape_Adhesives-_-636525
  20. First Aid is not a bad choice for first year either, but I don't recommend it for our troop because we have a couple of first-rate First Aid counselors, including one who is a nursing professional and one who is certified as a first aid and CPR instructor. These folks put on an in-troop workshop that's at least twice as long as a typical summer camp's First Aid MB class and it's a heck of a lot more fun to do things in troop with your friends and fellow scouts. First Aid merit badge workshops are often readily available in most communities. It's a badge that is easy for the scouts to earn during the school year, so I don't recommend our boys spend their summer camp time on it when they could be out doing canoeing, archery, horseback riding or some other fun badge that is not always available close to home.
  21. Exactly right. I'm the ASM in our troop tasked with guiding the PLC in implementing the First Class program. I've been doing it for a few years now. Things changed quite a lot in 2016. Before that, Scout rank was a slam-dunk that could easily be done in the first meeting or two. The 12-month target was realistic. After 2016, it took more work to get past Scout, and most scouts needed closer to 18 months to reach First Class. Scout rank is still mostly easy, but the new scout patrols typically take a few weeks before they figure out their patrol identity (patrol name, yell, emblem, flag). The real stumbing block for Scout rank though seems to be requirement 6. New scouts coming into our troop struggled particularly with the requirement around reading and doing exercises in the the youth safety brochure in front of the scout handbook (most parents didn't doing it and most scouts were bored to tears by it). Requirement 6 also required Cyber Chip. Less than 10% of incoming scouts had a Cyber Chip from their webelos den, and again, parents had no clue how to guide their kids through it, so the troop started doing a Cyber Chip class every 6 months, 1 geared towards grades 6-8 (for new scouts) and one geared towards grades 9+ (more for those who need it for Star or merit badges). In our troop, we make sure that it is always possible for every scout to earn First Class within a year. Most won't, but it is always possible. I work with the SPL and PLC to make sure we have Guides and Instructors who can teach the skills needed for rank advancement and that we have suitable opportunities to do things built into either the weekly meetings or camping trips. We also have certain events scheduled for the new scout patrol outside of regular meetings and campouts: these include a map/compass session with a 5-mile hike, an orienteering afternoon at a nearby park, and an invited speaker (lawyer, politician, etc) to talk about citizenship. From a typical incoming new scout patrol of about 10 youth, we'll have... * 2 scouts who finish First Class within their first year * 4 scouts who finish First Class in 18 months * 1 scout who just likes activities and takes 2-3 years to reach First Class * 2-3 scouts who drop out, even though the troop is hugely active and always has opportunities for scouts to do anything they want in scouting
  22. Those of us in the Sam Houston Area Council have been awaiting this camp's opening for a couple years now. SHAC is the 4th largest council in the U.S., but has not had a single operating summer camp since 2017, when the council closed El Rancho Cima (the original Camp Strake closed in 2014, and construction of the new Strake commenced). The projected opening of the new Camp Strake has been delayed several times (mostly due to wet weather forcing delays in construction plans). Can't wait to camp at the new Strake! Being an avid outdoorsman, I particularly appreciate the site being adjacent to the Sam Houston National Forest --- the camp might only be 2800 acres, but with all that protected forest right next to it (and the Lone Star Hiking Trail passing nearby), it gives scouts a "virtual" camp of more than 150,000 forested acres). Can't wait!!!
  23. I'm the ASM in our troop who guides the "first year" program and every year many of the new scouts and their parents ask for guidance around merit badge selection. It's not a matter of "telling" anyone what to take, it's a matter of helping guide them towards common-sense choices that really will meet the needs of the scout. Those choices are definitely going to vary from troop to troop and camp to camp. Our troop *does* incorporate much of the Tenderfoot -> First Class skills into its regular program, plus we add in activities specifically geared towards the new scout patrol (like a 5-mile hike, an orienteering event, a Totn Chip class, etc.) Because of that, our younger scouts don't really need the "First Class Emphasis" programs at summer camp. My recommendation to first-year scouts and their parents is what most folks here have said: * avoid the "classroom" merit badges and most eagle-required merit badges, but... * take Swimming MB (cools you off during the day, it's fun, and it prepares you down the road for Lifesaving and many of the aquatic activities the troop does) * focus on FUN, consider.... - a waterfront merit badge: Canoeing, Kayaking, Rowing are all fun and good choices for a first-year scout - a shooting sports merit badge: camp is an ideal setting and Archery and Rifle Shooting are ideal for a first-year scout * focus on something unique that isn't readily available in-troop or in our local community. Consider... - Horsemanship MB - a camp craft, perhaps Leatherwork or Wood Carving * don't overschedule: leave some free time each day to try something new or just goof off with friends
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