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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    Policy on going through scout totes

    Most scoutmasters wouldn't let themselves get into this situation. That's because they would be "Trained" leaders who know about youth leadership and the patrol method and the importance of open, honest, communication in any leadership role. "Contraband" should be defined only based on established policies of the camp, the established policies of the troop, and solutions to problems discussed and agreed upon by the SPL-led PLC. If scoutmasters see an issue that is not an imminent life and death situation, they should raise the issue with the SPL (explaining any valid rationale for the issue, --- like health or policy violations, etc.) and suggest he consult with his PLC to find a suitable solution. When the boys solve their own problems, the scoutmaster doesn't run the risk of appearing untrustworthy or disrespecting any individual scout. It also means that parents don't have any justification for their knee-jerk reactions to situations they never witnessed themselves and only heard about 2nd or 30th hand from their scout...
  2. Looking for service project ideas? How about negotiating with terrorists to release a hostage? Or maybe tracking down cases of the deadly Ebola virus? Such things might not be approved activities in BSA, but according to this story about how scouting helps hold together the country in Central Africa, its par for the course in some parts of the world... See: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/big-in-peacekeeping-boy-scouts/590614/
  3. mrkstvns

    Breakfast is served...

    Many troops over the years have successfully raised money for their unit by hosting a breakfast. Pancake breakfast, omelette breakfast, or even all you can eat feast. Make it your own. Have a few pamphlets around so the event can help recruit new scouts. Here's some news about a troop charging $8 for adults and $5 for kids. Eggs the way you like 'em, bacon, sausage, biscuits, etc. https://fiddleheadfocus.com/2019/05/28/news/community/top-stories/boy-scouts-to-cook-up-breakfast-feast-and-host-silent-auction-fundraiser/
  4. Many scouts think of themselves as "gung ho" outdoorsmen, but few have the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement to speak for them... A scout in Michigan earned one. He is in rare company...I salute his achievement! https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2019/06/ann-arbor-boy-scout-awarded-national-outdoor-achievement-medal.html
  5. Yes, I think you've figured this one out on your own. Parvuli Dei is for 8-10 year old Cub Scouts. Once a scout crosses over to a Scout troop, he's no longer eligible. Ad Altare Dei is for 13-14 year olds who have completed 6th grade. (Info: http://www.nccs-bsa.org/index.php/religious-emblems/ad-altare-dei) Let your son focus on earning his ranks through First Class. He'll then be well situated to handle the (fairly rigourous) Ad Altare Dei program. Good luck!
  6. mrkstvns

    Scouting in Central Africa

    It says that if female scouts are negotiating with the terrorists, there must be at least one female adult terrorist present. Cub scouts are only allowed to negotiate with terrorists armed with BB guns. When terrorists are detonating bombs, the scouts must be accompanied by an NRA-certified Range Safety Officer.
  7. I love tasty foods, and for some reason, that's a rare beast out on the hiking trail. Doesn't have to be though. A spicy wrap can be a great alternative to yet another handful of GORP. INGREDIENTS: For each wrap: 1/3 cup couscous 1 tbsp diced onion 1 tbsp diced celery 1/2 tsp granulated chicken bullion pouch of diced chicken 1 packet buffalo sauce (I save extras from Chik Fil A) 2 tbsp bleu cheese (or shredded hard cheese) 1 large flour tortilla DIRECTIONS At home, prepare couscous mix by adding couscous to a quart freezer bag and then adding 1/3 cup hot water and granulated chicken bullion. Stir in onion and celery. Pack the bag of mixed couscous along with a packet of buffalo hot sauce, a flour tortilla, and some cheese topping (I like bleu cheese in cold weather months, but when warmer weather rolls around, I'll substitute some shredded romano or other hard grating cheese). Making the wrap is easy. Spread the couscous on the tortilla, heap on diced chicken, cheese and hot sauce. Roll it up and savor the flavor!
  8. mrkstvns

    STEM Nova Awards for Cub Scouts

    Some requirements might be particularly easy to meet via school work. As I look at some of "Act like a scientist" requirements, some of the potential experiments look very similar to things I've seen my kids doing as school projects. Again, talk to your Nova counselor to ask if they apply. The answer might be "yes"...
  9. mrkstvns

    religious emblem square knot

    Like a lot of things in scouting, it's often a matter of opportunity. When I was a scout, my troop was chartered by a school PTA. The CO didn't care about religious emblems and nobody in the troop really talked them up. Some scouts kind of sort of knew they were out there, but I don't recall a single one of my friends earning one. My son's troop is chartered by a catholic church. The COR cares a lot about religion and duty to God. The CC and SM (and about 50% of the adult leadership corps) are members of the chartering parish. As a result, not a year goes by that an adult doesn't step forward and offer to lead a religious emblems class. My son earned his religious emblem in the troop. So did a lot of his friends. The difference is simply opportunity. If the religious emblems are important to the scouts in a troop and to the adult leadership, they will happen.
  10. mrkstvns

    STEM Nova Awards for Cub Scouts

    That will be a judgment call by your local Nova Counselor (or Supernova Mentor). If the school work is on point and the scout understands whatever the crux of the requirement might be, then yes, it will probably be accepted. On the other hand, if the den is doing a group activity aimed at completing a Nova award, and the scout is part of the den, then I would expect him to participate in the activity fully regardless of whether he might have done something similar in school. It just depends.
  11. mrkstvns

    STEM Nova Awards for Cub Scouts

    No problem, let's look at one of the NOVA awards as an example (they all work the same way at the same scouting level). Work through the mechanics of an award and you'll see how the NOVA differs from earning "the proper loops": Visit BSA's Cub Scout NOVA page: https://www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards/awards/cub-scout/ Click one award to see the specific requirements. Let's choose "Tech Talk" as a representative example. Notice that Requirement 2 specifies specific "Adventures" for different Cub Scout rank levels (Wolf, Bear, Webelos --- Tigers are generally not supposed to work on NOVA awards). In the past, these referred to belt loops and pins that needed to be earned, but the current Cub Scout Advancement program uses "Adventures", so that's what the current NOVA program requires. Each NOVA award has 5 to 6 requirements. Only requirement 2 of each award can be satisfied by simply earning recognition via the normal Advancement program (e.g., "earning the proper loops"). Requirement 1 requires the scout to watch documentaries, read books, or both. That may or probably won't have any relationship to Adventures (or belt loops or pins). Requirement 4 requires the scout to go visit a place where technology is being used. Again, not necessarily any part of the requirements for a rank advancement. Requirements 3, 5, and maybe 6, work the same way. They're "above and beyond" the belt loop, pin, or adventure requirements outlined in your Cub Scout Handbook for the appropriate rank level.
  12. mrkstvns

    STEM Nova Awards for Cub Scouts

    No, I'm referring to the Cub Scout NOVA program. If the leaders in your unit aren't doing all of the things I described, they're not following BSA's requirements (even in spirit) and they're denying your kids the opportunity for meaningful STEM experience appropriate to their age. Don't take my word for it, though. Visit the official BSA pages that define the NOVA program *FOR CUBS*: https://www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards/awards/cub-scout/
  13. True enough. But encouraging kids to eat lots of grease, salt and sugar leads to obesity, diabetes, etc. I am thankful that I'm not one of the bureaucrats in Washington tasked with solving this kind of dilemma. A single solution that meets all goals for everyone is never easy.
  14. mrkstvns

    What Summertime Activities Does Your Pack Do?

    Scheduling at least 2 activities per summer month is a really good idea....let's all the families have a chance to take part in something. When my son was a cub, his pack reserved a neighborhood pool one evening during the week and had a "pack swim". It was a hit with the boys and easy for the parents to support. Win-win.
  15. Easy to complain about, isn't it? Without the school lunch programs though, many disadvantages kids would find themselves on a NO-cal, NO-fat, NO-salt, NO-fiber....NO-food diet.
  16. mrkstvns

    Buffalo River adventure

    Excellent!! I'm glad to hear that the kids had an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and grow their experience and wisdom.
  17. That's okay. He can content himself with knowing that he's the kind of clergyman who would refuse to help a young parishioner as he grew up to find the cure for cancer leading to his earning the Nobel Prize.
  18. mrkstvns

    Got acronyms?

    Nope. All of those were in the original list published by BSA...
  19. For scouters in the BSA, the area where ticks are a problem is everywhere. There is not a single state in the U.S. that does not have a native population of ticks ready to bite and spread disease. The CDC has a web page about ticks that bite people, and which diseases they most commonly transmit. The page is here: https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html Most common is the Brown Dog Tick, found in every state and known to transmite Rocky Mountain Spotted fever in the southwest U.S. The American Dog Tick is common in the east and in California. The Blacklegged Tick is common in the east and can transmit a smorgasbord of diseases, ranging from Lyme disease to Powassan virus. The Gulf Coast Tick is common along the Gulf Coast (no surprise there), but is also common along the Atlantic coast as far north as Maryland, and in the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Lone Star Tick is also common along the Gulf Coast and in the midwest, the rust belt states, and all states along the Atlantic Coast from Floritda to Maine. The Rocky Mountain Tick is found from the Pacific Northwest southwards to northern Arizona and New Mexico (so you Philmont trekkers might find a few of them). They are known to transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever among other illnesses. Although the Western Blacklegged Tick is most common on the Pacific Coast, it is also common in the state of Utah. It carries Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. In addition to those common ticks, there are also "invasive" tick species that you might find in some locales, such as the Asian Longhorned Tick. Stay safe! Check yourself for ticks each day and carry a tick key, tweezers, or other gadget to remove them when found.
  20. mrkstvns

    Treating injuries

    Point well taken. Many of the adult scouters in our troop are quite weak in basic scouting skills, including first aid, while we have youth who hold Red Cross certifications, Wilderness First Aid, etc. This is particularly true with regard to water rescue skills. Our troop has exactly 1 adult with any real lifeguard experience and BSA Aquatic Supervision training, while most of the rest just have the simplistic Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense. On the other hand, we have several scouts who have earned their Lifesaving merit badges and a couple with BSA Lifeguard and even summer job experience as a lifeguard. Those scouts are much more qualified to actually recognize an incident and respond quickly and correctly than would most of the adult scouters in the troop. Being an adult does not automatically endow one with skills and wisdom.
  21. mrkstvns

    Buffalo River adventure

    Sounds like a great time! I wish my son's troop would do more of these "roll your own" type of adventure trips. How many days did it take you to paddle those 72 miles?
  22. mrkstvns

    Be Prepared

    Who would ever imagine that a group of paddlers would need rescuing at exactly the time and place where a scout troop was learning about river rescue.... Coincidence? I suspect the hand of God was involved here...
  23. I'm curious.... Is it common for a parent to write the "religious letter"? Seems to me that there are an awful lot of families that do not participate regularly in a church...
  24. A 12-year old scout in Maryland earned his Eagle rank... https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/ph-cc-daugherty-eagle-scout-20160311-story.html Hmmm.
  25. mrkstvns

    What Summertime Activities Does Your Pack Do?

    Wow! You sure put a lot of thought into that post, and you have some excellent ideas! A couple thoughts on a few of your ideas.... Attend minor league baseball --- yes, definitely a lot of fun for kids, and a whole lot more family oriented (and affordable) than big league games. I'd just like to add that many teams have specific "Scout Nights" when your kids might be able to sleep out on the field after the game, run bases, or play catch with a player.... Water balloon baseball --- That sounds TOO fun for words! I might change it up to be "Water Balloon Tennis" simply because tennis rackets have more surface area than baseball bats letting the little guys more easily hit the balloon. Theatre night --- Excellent idea! A lot of cities also do free outdoor concerts or theatre during the summer, so this might be cheaper than expected. Outdoor movies ---- Yes. If you don't want to do this yourself, there might be drive-in movies within a reasonable distance. I live in Houston and there is one to the northwest of the city, always a double feature and my kids love bringing friends and lying out in the bed of my pickup truck with the tailgate down and sleeping bags and pillows spread out in the bed. Thanks for all the great tips! (Love your other blog posts too....)