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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    Who signs off partial MBs?

    From the Guide to Advancement... Partial Completions A Scout need not pass all the requirements of one merit badge with the same counselor. It may be that due to timing or location issues, etc., he must meet with a different counselor to finish a badge. The Application for Merit Badge has a place to record what has been finished— a “partial.” In the center section on the reverse of the blue card, the counselor initials for each requirement passed. In the case of a partial completion, the counselor does not retain his or her portion of the card. A subsequent counselor may choose not to accept partial work, but this should be rare. A Scout, if he believes he is being treated unfairly, may work with his unit leader to find another counselor. An example for the use of a signed partial would be to take it to camp as proof that the camp’s prerequisites have been met. Partials have no expiration except the Scout’s 18th birthday. Units, districts, or councils shall not establish other expiration dates for partial merit badges.
  2. There are dozens of variations on the classic Mountain Man Breakfast, but the basics have been around for decades. This is a hearty breakfast of eggs, meat and potatoes, topped with cheese and baked for 30-45 minutes in a Dutch oven. It's great for cold weather campouts and any time you have hungry morning appetities to feed. Ingredients: 1 pound roll of pork sausage 5-6 strips of bacon, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 2 pounds frozen hash browns (shredded) 1 dozen eggs, beaten 1 8 oz. package shredded cheddar cheese Directions: Cook sausage, bacon, and onions in cast iron Dutch oven until sausage is browned and onions are transparent. Add red and green bell peppers and hash brown potatos. Cook about 15 minutes. Pour beaten eggs into Dutch oven. Cover and place 6-9 coals underneat and 12 to 18 coals on top. Bake 40 minutes or until eggs are firm. Sprinkle with cheese, cover, and continue cooking about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Variations: Use Ore Ida's O'Brien potatoes instead of 1) hash browns, 2) onion, 3) bell peppers. Use sage, hot or another flavor of sausage Add some chopped linked sausage (I like venison sausage, jalapeno garlic, etc.)
  3. mrkstvns

    Girls in the BSA

    Best of luck, Eagle91! Just curious...does "non-linked" mean that your CO has no boys-only troop under its auspices?
  4. In 2018, BSA rolled out the 6th NOVA award for Boy Scouts. The new "Splash" award focuses on water and its importance to life on this planet. Requirements are on scouting.org and can be viewed here: http://usscouts.org/advance/nova/scout-nova-6.asp Anybody tried doing this award as part of their troop program?
  5. mrkstvns

    Merit badges for Venture and Sea Scouts

    In the case of NOVA awards, Boy Scouts meet certain requirements by earning merit badges, but Venturers and Sea Scouts can earn their NOVA awards by completing "Explorations". See: https://www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards/awards/venturer-supernova-exptopics/
  6. mrkstvns

    Cookie time!

    What happens to all the gluten they take out of the chocolate chips?
  7. mrkstvns

    New NOVA award for Boy Scouts

    There's also a new water-focused award for Venturers called "Wade". Unlike the other Venturer NOVA awards, "Wade" actually has the Venturer delve a little deeper into the subject than the Boy Scout.
  8. mrkstvns

    Outdoor Ethics Action Award #5

    I think a "service project" implies advance planning and likely approvals --- (thinking of "Eagle projects" or "Hornaday projects"...) On the other hand, a "service activity" could be something informal that you do because you see a need and because it's "the right thing". For example, if I'm out fishing with a patrol, we might see lots of monofilament line discarded on the shores, tangling vegetation and presenting a hazard to wildlife. We could clean up the recklessly discarded lines.
  9. mrkstvns

    How should I help my boy?

    Ahhhhh....the truth comes out! Thanks, ValleyBoy! If, indeed, your son was involved in bullying another boy, then he's lucky to have gotten a mere 6-month suspension. That's not something a Scoutmaster should ever tolerate.
  10. mrkstvns

    How should I help my boy?

    I would chat with the Scoutmaster and get a different perspective. If your husband told you that troop leaders didn't want parental involvement, then he almost certainly wasn't paying attention...no successful troop runs without parental support. Also, focus on that 6 month suspension. That's really out of line for a well-run troop, and if it really did occur, then the advice that you look for another troop is more than warranted. No good Scoutmaster supports that kind of draconian discipline (with possible exceptions for very serious issues like reckless endangerment). But again, chat with the Scoutmaster to find out what's really going on before you pass judgment. It does sound like Dad was totally out of the loop. Good luck!
  11. mrkstvns

    New Troop Open House

    I think that emphasizing outdoor adventure is the key to attracting most boys. Camping, canoeing, etc. are obvious places to start. If you've got some older, more experienced scouts at your disposal, a cool "demo" might involve a pioneering project (like a rope bridge). (Assuming you can manage the safety issues, of course.)
  12. Every year, parents of first year scouts ask, "What merit badges should my son sign up for at summer camp?" Every year, I hear different responses from the SM and from the different ASMs. Some of the responses make sense. Some don't. What I usually recommend is a 3-point approach: Swimming merit badge Pick fun, outdoor-oriented merit badges that aren't easy to do back home using local troop merit badge counselors or local merit badge workshops. Good choices include: - Archery - Canoeing (or another boating activity) - Rifle Shooting - Horsemanship - Wood Carving, Basketry, or Leatherwork (or another craft) Avoid classroom-oriented merit badges and most Eagle-required badges. (Only Swimming and First Aid are really good fits for first-year scouts, and we do First Aid as a troop in-house workshop.) I'd like to hear what kind of advice other scouters give to first-year scout parents. Thoughts?
  13. mrkstvns

    Updated uniforms?

    Say not so!!! Can leisure suits and platform shoes be the next "cool" trend???
  14. mrkstvns

    Updated uniforms?

    Personally, I think we should look for historical inspiration by delving even further back in scouting's heritage than the mere 1980s... How about puffy pants? Or hideously ugly red hats...
  15. mrkstvns

    Keeping Older Scouts

    This makes sense. The Advancement method in scouting is great for younger scouts, but it loses its impact as a scout gets to be around 14 and/or Life rank. By then, they've done the "fun" merit badges at summer camp and they've earned most of the merit badges they need for Eagle. Except for High Adventure camps, most summer camps and scouting programs offer nothing beyond very basic skills. I think the key to attracting and retaining high school age youth is, as you say, to let them just hang out in the outdoors with like minded individuals. I'm not sure about the "without any agenda" because advanced skill training could be an enticing carrot to offer them, and advance planning is fundamental to safety in the outdoors as well as to respect for the outdoors (it's an LNT principle...)
  16. Our local council sent out an email that included info about an upcoming Powder Horn event. As I read the announcement, it became clear to me that their Powder Horn event is destined to frustrate more scouts than it will excite. The reason can be summed up in 2 words: BO RING!!! Here's what they're telling folks about their event.... "... Would you like to expose your troop, crew or ship to rock climbing, Dutch oven cooking, geocaching, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, firefighting, search and rescue, trekking in a different countries, mountain biking, fly fishing, canoeing, wilderness first aid, astronomy, shooting sport (e.g., rifle, shotgun, handgun, archery), equestrian, wilderness survival, NYLT, Sea Scouts, the Kodiak Challenge, the Hornaday award, Messenger of Peace, living history, Leave No Trace, vendors, Jamboree, event planning, tying flies, scuba diving, and more? ..." Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree, but I don't think those folks quite "get it". A successful Powder Horn fuels the imagination for older scouts and scouters. It's is about ADVENTURE. It's 100% hands-on. It avoids classes, lectures, boring chit-chat, and topics that used to be interesting at 10 years old, but that are "been there, done that" for a 16-year old. ADVENTURE. THAT is the crux of a GOOD Powder Horn event... Yet, I read SOME of these topics and groan out loud: "event planning"? OMG! Can there be a MORE boring topic in the entire universe? I'd rather discuss differential equations. "Dutch oven cooking"???!!! You call THAT Adventure??? Aye-caray! "Messenger of Peace"? Yeahhh....like that's really going to fire up a thirst for adventures.... "First Aid"? Well, that's always a useful skill, but it's hardly earth shattering to ANY scout, let alone one who is old enough to do Powder Horn... "vendors"???!!!! Yeah. I really want to pay $275 so that businesses can sell me junk I really don't need, or even want... "tying flies"?? That was kind of interesting when I did the Flying Fishing merit badge at age 12, but it's not exactly something that gets the adrenaline pumping.... See my point? The council tells people that Powder Horn is about adding ADVENTURE to the program, but then they go and fill the program with utter BORINGNESS. How about replacing the inevitable boredom with some genuine Adventure topics? For example, don't just cover "kayaking" because most scouts have done that at summer camps. Instead, show how to do a specific advanced skill (like an eskimo roll). Give an intro lesson and let folks try it. Don't just do "canoeing", because everybody's done that too. Instead, delve deeper and make it about multi-day river treks through Class II rivers. Or reading a river....or river rescue techniques... There's lots of stuff that's challenging or untried by most troops that COULD interest an older youth and help keep him in scouting....but yet another boring, dull Dutch oven class and First Aid workshop with a session on event planning or "scouting heritage" is going to do nothing but convince him that he's totally outgrown scouting. And if boredom is, in fact, what his troop and council think scouting should be, then he'd be right. In my very humble opinion, a dull, watered down Powder Horn hurts more than it helps. Anybody have thoughts about the good and bad of a Powder Horn program?
  17. I am in Texas (SHAC). I'm constantly impressed by the programs I see being put on by both Capital Area Council and Longhorn Council. You guys are MUCH more on the ball than the Sam Houston Council (where everyone seems more interested in adult fund-raising activities than in presenting fun, exciting, relevant programs for youth). Maybe I will head out your way in September instead of participating in our own local event... By the way....Longhorn Council has the BEST web site of any council in BSA!!
  18. Thanks mashmaster! I saw the flyer for the Powderhorn you've been involved with (yours is the one they bill as "Texas Powderhorn", right?), and it looks better than our council's program. The approach you describe is exactly the one that can inspire an older kid. "Everything is hands on and you are doing the activity." EXACTLY. That's precisely what it should be. Maybe I am just reading it while in a bad mood ... or maybe, promising me lectures about event planning and messenger of peace bores me to tears at the mere prospect of such dreadful NON-adventure.
  19. Yeah, you're right about the kayaking. It can certainly be fun if somebody with passion and knowledge and a sense of adventure encourages folks to try out some of the "good stuff" while avoiding boring background talk. Powder Horn can be good if it's all about experiencing things hands-on. It can be very, VERY bad if any subject in the program is all talk and no do. Some topics like "Dutch oven cooking" (too fundamental) or "scouting heritage" (too bookish) just will NOT be exciting and adventurous regardless of who does the teaching. Including any boring topics whatsoever in the program is a bad thing (because it's anathema to the concept of "adventure"). My council's program does not look like a good one. Hope yours is better.
  20. mrkstvns

    Keeping Older Scouts

    Totally agree with you about Swamp Base --- which is why I have it in my original list of 4 great council-run high adventures. Unfortunately, Seabase Galveston doesn't look like a good option any more. The place seems to have changed. It's evidently no longer a BSA facility connected to Bay Area Council. In fact, they changed their name from "Sea Scout Base " to "Sea Star Base". Doesn't look like they do any BSA high adventure treks anymore --- instead, it looks like their summer programs are open to all youth anywhere. I did find a link to "Scouting" on their site, but it looks like scouting is now an afterthought with a small number of day programs. Their STEM/NOVA program is now a shadow of what it once was. Whereas they once had one of the strongest STEM/NOVA programs of any council any where, they now offer a small number of NOVA workshops for Cub Scouts only. None at all for Boy Scouts any more (where they're needed most, since few troops have figured out how to run their own NOVA activities, but lots of packs roll 'em all the time). Today, it looks like they care more about hosting your wedding reception than giving boys a high adventure experience... See for yourself: https://www.ssbgalveston.org/
  21. mrkstvns

    Keeping Older Scouts

    I keep a list of cool camps that I can occasionally mention to my son and his friends and let their minds wander and dream. There's cool programs at the 4 established BSA High Adventure camps (like Dog Sledding at Northern Tier, Scuba treks at Sea Base, and Cavalcade horse treks at Philmont), and there are cool, unique high adventure activities offered by various councils. A few of the coolest sounding council-run high adventure activities include.... Sea Kayaking through the Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin (Northern Star Council), see: http://camptomahawk.org/apostles) Canoe or kayak treks through the swamps of the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge (Evangeline Council), see https://www.bsaswampbase.org/ Sailing a keelboat on the Great Lakes (Michigan Crossroads Council), see https://michiganscouting.org/outdooradventures/great-lakes-sailing-adventure/ Mountaineering with U.S. Army Rangers at Camp Frank Merrill (Northeast Georgia Council), see https://www.nega-bsa.org/Ranger There are also some camps that are open to all ages (not just older scouts), but that have cool locations and a lot of programs other camps might not offer. A couple "dream summer camps" are: Camp Emerald Bay, Catalina Island California (Western Los Angeles Council), see http://www.campemeraldbay.org/ Camp Howard Wall, St.Croix Virgin Islands (National Capital Area Council), see https://www.ncacbsa.org/outdoors/camp-howard-m-wall/
  22. Those look suspiciously like requirements I sign off for first-year scouts working on their Scout, Tenderfoot, and Second Class ranks...
  23. Elvis is not dead, he's just left the building. Pity the poor youth of today, never having the opportunity to rock out with the KING of rock n roll... Wellllll, evidently they still CAN. I've recently learned that Elvis Presley's Graceland estate hosts an annual event where they welcome scouts and scouters to visit Graceland and earn some advancement while they do it. Details are here: https://www.graceland.com/scouts-rock-at-graceland
  24. Not really arguing....just discussing. Of course there are camps that have restrictions on certain merit badges for varying reasons. Thankfully, these are generally the exception, not the rule. Just as there might be "better alternatives" for certain scouts and certain merit badges, so too there are often better alternatives than camps that put up too many obstacles for too many scouts (REGARDLESS of the reason/excuse). I'm really looking for general advice that holds true for most scouts/troops/camps --- not hiccups due to exceptions.
  25. mrkstvns

    Sea Base 2019

    In keeping with the Outdoor Code, "...be conservation minded." Many of the eco-systems in the Keys and nearby Caribbean islands are very fragile. Particularly coral reefs. One thing we do as scouters is tell kids to use plenty of sunblock when they're out on the water. Yet most of the sunscreen brands we buy at Wal-Mart contain coral-killing chemicals that aren't appropriate for places like Sea Base (or Hawaii, or Cozumel, or the Virgin Islands, or etc. etc.) Sea Base staff know this and can advise you on acceptable (or unacceptable) brands, or you can find them online. Short article from NPR that explains the problem: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/20/450276158/chemicals-in-sunscreen-are-harming-coral-reefs-says-new-study Some less damaging sunscreen brands (from Travel + Leisure magazine): https://www.travelandleisure.com/style/beauty/reef-safe-sunscreen