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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. Parents don't always "get it" when it comes to buying Christmas gifts. Mom and Dad seem stuck on this idea that clothing makes good Christmas gifts. Kids of all ages know that's a sure sign of geezing. Clothing is a TERRIBLE gift!! Good gifts are things you don't NEED, but rather things you WANT. Toys are great gifts! Sweaters are lame gifts. Scouting age kids would rather have outdoor gear than boring school clothes wrapped up in colorful paper to disguise their lame-itude. Good gift ideas for the scout... Backpack:($150 to $300) Chances are that your scout already ha
  2. You're showing your grey hairs there, Grandpa. Today, programming skills are more vital than ever. While those languages you named are still around in time-tested legacy code, today's languages focus on small devices and big data. Everything is optimized for a world where data and resources are remote (or more often, unknown, out there in the nebulous "cloud"). Languages like Java or .Net enable many web-based applications, languages like Python are common for interpreted scripting, and languages like R are the choice for many data analytics jobs. We used to introduce kids to b
  3. Do any of y'all do any kind of marketing of your unit during Scout Sabbath activities? (Scout Sabbath / Scout Sunday is the weekend of February 7/8 in 2020 ) Seems to me like it would be a natural opportunity for a little outreach within the CO. Let folks see what their unit does and invite kids who aren't in the program to come on out and see what it's all about. I don't think any kind of intrusive effort would be appropriate, but maybe just have some flyers on a table near the front door....or a small contingent outside the church before or after services to greet parishioners a
  4. When narwhal tusks are outlawed, only outlaws will have narwhal tusks.
  5. The importance of coding skills can not be overestimated in a world where AI, robotics, and big data dominate conversations about the future of work and whether traditional career paths are likely to become obsolete as technology advances accelerate. BSA has some relevant merit badges in these subjects (obviously "Programming", but also "Digital Technology" and "Robotics"), and has some new Nova awards (like "Hello World", "Cub Scouts Can Code", and "Execute") that can be earned by scouts at all levels. For these awards, scouts need to learn the basics of machine logic and how to implem
  6. A Boy Scout in the UK drew the unwanted attention of local police investigating online weapons purchases. The scout had ordered 3 "flick knives" from a Chinese web site, all too happy to ship to the UK. Story: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/scout-illegal-knives-police-trafford-17350475
  7. I tend to view "reports" with a looming fear of impending boredom caused by figures, charts, and tables full of useless mumbo jumbo. The report you cited was nothing like that! It was entertaining and informative, full of real-life stories that showed how to make JOTA participation work in different scenarios. Useful stuff!
  8. Nothing is quite as warming or smells quite as tempting as a slow simmering beef stew. Here's a classic recipe that gives you the basics. You can tweak it as you like. I always add turnips or rutabagas, but kids today aren't familiar with those classic winter veggies, so feel free to stick to the core veggies of potatoes, carrots and onion, if that's what you prefer. INGREDIENTS 1-1/2 pouinds beef cubes 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 4-ounce can tomato paste 2 teaspoons herbes de provence seasoning
  9. I'm not sure you're really making a valid point. When I look around town at all those "other" youth groups, it seems that they're focused on "fun" things like sports, STEM, karate (mostly sports though). It's really camping, hiking, paddling and high adventure outdoor activities that separate scouting from everything else. Sure, the church youth group does camping once a year as part of their retreat ---- but it's never their focus. Sports teams? They NEVER camp. Ditto with all the activities that center around school-related things like STEM or theatre. Camping etc. *IS
  10. Birds today just aren't playing with toys like they did when I was a kid. Today's birds just want to send out Tweets.
  11. Another strategy that might work for you is some kind of DEMO event. The key to making that work is to focus on something FUN and adventurous. Don't hand out your tired old flyers that have a gazillion words saying nothing....just SHOW a sample campsite. Or have a public campfire in a local park, cooking smores for the kids....something like that. There is a great discussion in Bryan on Scouting about Scouting Show and Tell, especially related to holidays. See the article: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/12/03/scouting-show-and-tell-holiday-decor/
  12. "Networking" is the buzzword you hear in marketing circles. Parents probably already have a "network" of fellow parents that they've built up over the years from play dates, little league, soccer camps, school friends, etc. Constantly talking up scouts in a friendly, casual, non-threatening way is a great way to let your friends and neighbors know that you care about scouting and that scouts is fun. Scouts inviting their friends to a scouting event is a classic way to get new members (and is expected as part of First Class requirement 10). An excellent way of leveraging "networking" is
  13. 25,000 Boy Scouts were forced to evacuate their Jamboree due to the impending typhoon Tisoy. Story: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1197543/25000-boy-scouts-evacuated-in-zambales-due-to-tisoy More: https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1834677
  14. Kudos for creativity! A California scout invented his own board game to help teach people about the problems that marine mammals are facing in today's fast-changing environment. I like this project because it is VERY different from the typical Eagle project of "build" something (be it park benches, bookshelves, or whatever). His project shows initiative, involved research, and addresses significant problems. Here's the story: https://www.ocregister.com/2019/12/02/boy-scout-creates-roll-playing-game-to-teach-youth-about-threats-to-marine-mammals/
  15. After a local Boy Scout troop had their trailer full of camping equipment stolen, an 8-year old girl Cub Scout took it upon herself to help the troop earn money to replace their equipment. She delivered $500 to the troop. Story: https://www.wfaa.com/article/life/heartwarming/8-year-old-dallas-girl-raises-money-to-help-duncanville-boy-scout-troop-replace-stolen-camping-equipment/287-bfc1975a-21d3-4f4b-ac5f-e085f434d6fb
  16. What I find saddest is that an organization like GSUSA actually thinks it is okay for them to intrude into family dynamics. They clearly don't think mom and dad are responsible enough to raise kids in a way that protects them and that also strengthens their family bonds. Sad.
  17. In yet another example of irresponsible overreaction, Girls Scouts USA is telling parents to back off on hugging this holiday season. "Hugs could be seen as signs of affection, friendship, and holiday good cheer," a spokeswoman for GSUSA said during a press conference. "We certainly don't want to promote innocent affection in our families." Here is the story: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/girl-scouts-dont-make-your-daughter-hug-relatives-this-holiday/ar-BBXnAfV
  18. A very sad situation. While this article does a lot of finger-pointing at the RR and the government for not having gates, lights, etc., it should be noted that cars don't end up in the path of trains without the driver having abdicated their part of the responsibility equation: Stop, Look, Listen are still the basics that every driver needs to remember ALWAYS when approaching any railroad crossing. Just because there aren't gates or bells or whatever doesn't mean that a train might not be approaching, and in ANY contest between a car and a train, whoever in the car loses: even when it br
  19. I know this thread is kind of crusty and musty, but I had a thought about how to approach the question of which Cyber Chip level is "right" for what kind of scout. This is my opinion, not scripture, and it's based on having taught the Cyber Chip to scouts as a group activity several times over several years. In general, I think the decision becomes more clear when you look at the program overall. There is an obvious progression in what's being taught at each grade/age level and there are differences in the language used in the requirements that kind of clues you in to what ages should b
  20. It's only silly if you haven't bothered to educate yourself about what companies like Facebook and Google are actually doing and if you do not care at all about your own personal privacy. Speak for yourself. There are many of us who do *NOT* use Facebook precisely because we do not agree with their socially irresponsible terms and conditions. Instead, we advocate for government to step up and enact RESPONSIBLE privacy laws and date security laws. In the EU, baby steps in the right direction have taken place, and companies and software professionals talk about how they will respect ne
  21. I love being a scouter, and one of the activities I most enjoy is being a merit badge counselor for subjects that I truly care about....especially Communications (which I regard as the single most important life skill for someone aspiring to a leadership role of any kind). In every class, we've written "letters to the editor" as part of requirement 7a. Normally, that's the end of it. After counseling more than 100 scouts on this MB, I can't recall hearing that the boys' letters actually got published --- or even got read by anybody outside the class. Now, I have an example to
  22. Love those videos that @TAHAWK posted!! I think he's on to something.....we should all be encouraging our scouts to play bagpipes!
  23. Nor should you even worry about doing so. That would be missing the point (rely on the "authority of the resource"). LNT practitioners generally regard snow as a "durable surface". Build those snow shelters! Stomp down a tent platform for the night! It's all good because the next snowfall is going to cover up your traces and when things thaw out, not a trace remains. The only reason to worry about knocking down snow structures is to minimize the aesthetic changes, purely as a courtesy to anyone else who might be passing through.
  24. Oh, come now! You've seen pictures of snow.....it's that white stuff that covers the ground in the frozen tundra of northern climates....like Dallas.
  25. I would hope that most scouts on a winter camping trip would dismantle their snow shelters when breaking camp. Isn't this SOP for your guys?
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