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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. This past weekend I was at University of Scouting and there was a guy there talking about BSA's "Certified Angling Instructor" certification. There is evidently a weekend-long course available that teaches scouters how to teach young scouts to fish and how to counsel Fishing, Fly Fishing, and Fish and Wildlife Mgmt merit badges. Have any of y'all done this course? If so, do you find it helps you out in your unit?
  2. mrkstvns

    Certified Angling Instructor

    Sounds like a great opportunity to tap into some deep knowledge and passion! Scouters who want to build up their fishing and teaching skills might also find support from their local parks or natural resources department. In my area, there are "How to Teach Fishing" workshops that are completely free of charge, put on by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. (They specifically target scout leaders, teachers and camp staff among their audience). https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_br_k0700_1009.pdf
  3. mrkstvns

    What are the BSA priorities??

    Those age breaks are reflected in the scouting program as delivered in other countries. For example, Cambridgeskip recently pointed out that UK activity badges vary by age group (11-14 vs. 15-18). In Cambridgeskip's part of the world, the scouting groups are: - Beavers (6-8) - Cub (8-10) - Scouts (10-14) - Explorers (14-18) In Canada, the age-based programs are: - Beavers (5-7) - Cub (8-10) - Scout (11-14) - Venturer (15-17) - Rover (18-26) Compared to BSA, the age gradations are more narrow, giving a better fit at each level.
  4. Your post is well taken. There are, indeed, good merit badge classes. We should encourage the experienced, knowledgable counselors to keep doing those. The problem is that there are also many merit badge events that are NOT good. They take short cuts. When there are multiple options to meet a requirement, the bad merit badge class always picks the easiest and simplest, not the one that delivers a meaningful experience. The bad merit badge class tries to condense 8 hours worth of requirements into a 2-hour lecture with no real activities and no testing. The document pointed to in the OP identifies many of the bad practices that permeate merit badge events. Discussions like this are good so that scouters realize that we don't have to put up with the really bad merit badge events. We can complain about the bad ones to council and district scouters, we can discourage scouts from participating in the rubber-stamp events or in camps that stuff too many badges into far too little time, we can try to educate our parents that "more and faster is not better". We can also put together better quality merit badge "experiences" that have more hands-on, less classroom, more time, and frankly, are just plain more fun. Do that and the demand for el-lame-O merit badge events will decline. National standards banning too-short classes would be a good first step (except for Fingerprinting, which is really the only merit badge that can be adequately covered in 2 hours). What I would like to see is GOOD merit badge events being the only ones that are supported, encouraged and promoted by scouters.
  5. mrkstvns

    Certified Angling Instructor

    If y'all want to find out more about what a BSA Certified Angling Instructor does and how to find training for the position, you can check out their web site: http://bsacai.org/
  6. mrkstvns

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    In Indianapolis, another troop had their trailer broken into, stuff stolen....but the trailer itself was left behind. Story: https://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/crime/thieves-steal-tents-and-other-supplies-from-indy-boy-scout-troop
  7. mrkstvns

    Winter Camping Quick Tip

    For most of my life, I'd have considered cold weather camping to be nights in the teens. Today, I'm working with scouts in Texas where many of the sports stores sell bags that don't even get you down into the 40s. Our scouts will tell you that 40 is cold and lower than that is INSANE.
  8. mrkstvns

    Winter Camping Quick Tip

    YES!! Keep an empty bottle handy so you don't HAVE to go out in the night.
  9. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    BS about BSA
  10. mrkstvns

    Winter Camping Quick Tip

    Here's another quick tip for winter camping.... Take care of your batteries for lights or emergency cell phones. Just like there's frosty cold days when your car battery won't have enough juice to get you going, if your flashlight batteries get too cold, or your cell phone batteries get to cold, they can lose their pizazz. Charge batteries before you go Lithium batteries hold their charge better than carbon batteries Keeping the flashlight in your sleeping bag with you means you'll have light when nature calls in the middle of the night Don't trust the time on electronic devices when you wake up ---- they have a tendency to lose time as the battery gets cold
  11. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    When you want a thing done, "Don't do it yourself" is a good motto for Scoutmasters. - Robert Baden-Powell
  12. mrkstvns

    Winter Camping Quick Tip

    Now THAT's what I call "Winter Camping"!! Think snow...
  13. mrkstvns

    Information Booth

    Regardless of whether you're putting together a flier, a web site, a video, a pamphlet....whatever, remember the first commandment of effective graphic design: LESS IS MORE If it's hard to just choose a few pictures, ask your son to pick out the *ONE* most exciting picture. Then pick ONE word (or at most a short phrase). Now you've got your whole poster:...Your poster is the really cool picture of a kid rapelling down a cliff --- blown up to fill all the available space, and just the word "ADVENTURE" laid over the top of it, set in 300 point type, bolded, and made red. Now stick a small QR code in the bottom corner (the code can jump to your landing page....but I'll save that discussion for another day). Let the collage of photos and the 2,000 word text bore somebody else....not the new kid you want to attract.
  14. Florida police arrested a 23-year old staff member of BSA's Florida Sea Base. They said he had marijuana and LSD in his car. Story... https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article235891442.html
  15. I like hearing about troops that provide in-house opportunities to help their youth --- after all, we're taught the importance of "servant leadership" so we need to do what the boys need. I like that you're not participating in more than one MB weekend per year, but I would be cautious about going overboard by making such a thing a "rule" or a "policy". Scout leaders should always remember to "remove barriers and open doors". If you implement a rule, you're doing a disservice to the scout who has a right to expect that you are following the "Guide to Advancement" and not just making up unnecessary rules that treat your own scouts differently from scouts in other troops.
  16. Quite right. The core outdoor-focused merit badges being offered at summer camp are great. They give scouts access to resources (rifle ranges, canoes, etc.) and to trained, certified people (lifeguards, rifle instructors, etc.) that few troops have. Summer camp is the time-honored way for scouts to do the outdoor activities they've been promised but that troops back in town just can't be expected to provide. On the other hand, why on earth should summer camps offer classroom-focused classes like Citizenship in the Community or Family Life which are FAR better done back home in the troop or in the community. Having those classes at camp just gives scouts a poor merit badge experience and discourages scouts from getting outdoors and having fun at camp.
  17. mrkstvns

    Don't Widen The Plate

    Thanks SSScout! This story will make for a memorable Scoutmaster minute!
  18. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Many trails lead to common values.
  19. mrkstvns

    Have to find a new Pack... again. :(

    As always though....your mileage may vary. My son was also in a den with over 12 scouts. It's a lot, but the boys were already friends since all were in the same grade in the same elementary school. The den hung together all the way through AoL. The den had a very strong Den Leader (Eagle scout) who had committed to stay with the boy for the 4-5 years it would take to get to AoL ---- and he did. He also had a good Den Chief and supportive parents to back him up. 12+ may not be ideal in most packs, but it worked great in this case.
  20. mrkstvns

    Camps Where SCOUTS Cook Meals

    Mess halls proliferate at BSA summer camps...but that wasn't always the case. At one point, BSA summer camps fostered scouting goals like independence, self-reliance. They trusted scouts to do things for themselves and they let scouts learn by doing. One of the ways they did that was by letting scouts cook their own meals: a practice referred to as "patrol cooking". You can read a bit more about patrol cooking here (https://www.summitbsa.org/patrol-style-cooking-not-your-typical-summer-camp-meal/). Fortunately, there do still exist a handful of outposts where scouts are allowed to have meaningful camp experiences that help them grow into competent, confident young men. An example of this type of outpost is the summer camp where genuine patrol cooking can be done.... Camps that allow patrol cooking include.... Camp Liberty, Heritage Scout Reservation (PA) Rickenbacker Side, Bear Creek Scout Reservation (TX) Camp Dietler, Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch (CO) Camp Waubeeka, Curtis Read Scout Reservation (NY) Camp Freeland Leslie (WI) Soaring Eagle Boy Scout Camp, Ben Delatour Scout Ranch (CO) Camp Marriott, Goshen Scout Reservation (VA) Do you know of another summer camp where patrol cooking lives? Please tell me about it!
  21. mrkstvns

    Iron Chef Food

    That Stuffing with chicken and cranberries sounds like a real winner! You wouldn't happen to have a recipe you could share?
  22. mrkstvns

    Camps Where SCOUTS Cook Meals

    Well, maybe the BRMC needs to hire somebody a bit more creative about promoting their camps and programs. Sounds to me like they've put a lot of work into creating a strong Mountain Man program but are just shooting themselves in the foot with a poor web site and poor videos.
  23. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Scouting matters.
  24. mrkstvns

    Appropriate Insignia UNDER Right Pocket?

    I like the idea that a uniform tells a scouting story. Quite true... In the Bryan on Scouting post about Congressman Elijah Cummings, there's a bit about how he grew up in a working poor family that could ill-afford to pay for "official" BSA uniforms. The article says... None of the Cub Scouts in Elijah Cummings’ pack could afford a full uniform. So, in true Scouting fashion, they improvised — cobbling together uniform pieces at bargain shops and the local Salvation Army. Some boys bought unofficial iron-on patches and cut out the numbers to iron onto their left sleeves. The picture above “shows the only thing I was able to find, which was a belt,” Cummings told the BET in 2014. “As a matter of fact, that’s a Boy Scout belt, and even though I was in the Cub Scouts then, I was so proud of that belt. As you can see, I wasn’t a fashion guru, but we did the best we could with what we had.” IMHO, many of us can learn a lesson in humility from this.
  25. mrkstvns

    Fee increase - observations

    Ahhhh...now I understand why my el-cheap-o brother had his kids in 4H!