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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. Interesting idea! I'm going to have to try these. Looked them up and found that those luci lights are comparable in price to battery lights or candle lanterns, but are generally lighter in weight, so a good choice for backpacking. The only potential downside that I see is that they generally use white or bluish LEDs, which produce a harsher light than the warm, yellowish light of a natural flame.
  2. I'm kind of uncertain about Requirement 2 as well. (Translating a speech.) Is it okay to take an English language speech and translate to another language, or should it be a speech in another language that is being translated TO English. Since the requirement just says to translate a 2-minute speech, I assume the scout can decide for himself which way he wants to go.
  3. I was looking at the requirements for the BSA Interpreter Strip, and requirement 4 says: "Translating 200 words from the written word." What the heck does that mean? I interpret it to mean that a scout can interpret ANYTHING he finds in writing....whether it be from a book, a newspaper, a magazine....whatever. A fellow scouter tells me that it means "from scripture". What's your take? See: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-019_WB.pdf
  4. If you've got 100 scouts, then you have 200 potential merit badge counselors. I would hope you could find lots of potential counselors so the Scoutmaster doesn't feel any need to pinch hit. But for things like Camping, the Scoutmaster is pretty much always THE guy who knows most about being outdoors, plus he's aware of what his scouts have and have not done. He really is THE expert for that badge and none of the other adults come close to matching his expertise. Why would you not want the best possible counselor for your troop's scouts? (Assuming, of course, that the Scoutmaster is willing to do it.)
  5. It's not just high adventure bases that have branding irons: I know of some scout camps that also have their own brands and will brand belts, mugs, or whatever a scout brings to have branded. Don't know about buying specific branding irons, but if you wanted to buy your own custom branding iron, you can do it. Here's a place that sells branding irons: http://www.texasirons.com/cat_brandingirons.cfm Interesting that the site shows branding irons being used to brand steaks on the grill. Think I'll have to buy one with our adult patrol emblem on it...that ought to impress the other scouters in the troop!!
  6. Hmmm. Sure y'all haven't been binge watching that TV series, "Roswell New Mexico" ???
  7. IMHO, a Scoutmaster SHOULD be a merit badge counselor for the badges in which he has skills and knowledge. Although I agree 100% that scouts need to learn to associate with a variety of adults, I see no problem with the scoutmaster being ONE of those adults. Sometimes it's the Scoutmaster who is the best person for the job. I can think nobody better to be merit badge counselor for Camping merit badge (or Hiking or Backpacking) than a Scoutmaster. Who else in the troop camps as often? Probably nobody...so why deny a scout the chance to have a counselor who actually knows what they're talking about? By all means encourage other adults to become merit badge counselors, and by all means encourage the scouts to associate with many different adults....but do give the scouts the best quality experience you can, even if that means the Scoutmaster might have to put on a 2nd hat once in a while.
  8. Quite right. My carrier evidently knows how much I enjoy reading other peoples' mail because he gives me PLENTY of it!!
  9. I'm reluctant to suggest no-cook options because there are always lots of boys who need to cook meals for rank requirements and/or Cooking merit badge. I'm kind of old school, so I'd rather see a boy "cook" to earn his sign-offs for these.
  10. Everybody wants to be cook on a campout, nobody wants to be the dishwasher...well, why not give everybody what they want... Here are 5 time-tested ways to eat hearty on a campout while eliminating the need to scrub messy pots afterwards. SKEWERS Shish kebab by any other name would taste as hearty... Cut chunks of meat and spear on a skewer, interspersed with your choice of veggies. Onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini all work great. Try it with beef, chicken, sausage, or even shrimp. Marinade the meat ahead of time for extra flavor. FOIL PACKS Wrap up some meat and veggies in aluminum foil and put the packs directly in the coals. What could be easier? My son calls these "silver turtles". I always called them "hobo meals". You just might end up calling them "genius"... - Fajita: strips of marinated beef or chicken, sliced bell pepper and slices of onion - BBQ: meat and barbecue sauce with "extras" - tilapia veracruzana (tilapia filets topped with salsa) - cheesy fries STICK Every kid loves putting sticks in the fire....so let 'em! They're going to do it anyway (especially the Cubs), so make 'em cook their dinner that way. Wrap some Pillsbury biscuit dough around the stick and hold it over the fire until done. Of course you can wrap a slice of bacon around the stick just as easily, or you can use a thin stick to skewer a piece of shrimp, a hot dog, or even a marshmallow to make a smore. More: https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/6-foods-you-can-cook-on-a-stick/ BOIL BAG One of the easiest ways to fix a hot dinner or a hot breakfast is to simply boil a big pot of water, mix ingredients together in a heavy, boilable zip-lock bag, seal it, and drop it into the boiling water. Easy breezy. Scramble in a couple of eggs, some chopped mushrooms, diced green onions, bacon bits, and cheddar cheese and you have yourself one fast and easy-to-clean-up omelette! Beans and sliced link sausage is a natural. Try smoked pork chops with sauerkraut for a taste of Germany. Back in the 1980s, Banquet sold these ready-to-boil with such delicacies as sliced turkey and gravy, salisbury steak and gravy, and my favorite, gravy and gravy (just kidding). GRILL Everybody loves grilled meat, and grilling up some pork chops, burgers, or chicken is a sure way to please a hungry palate. Serve it up with some pre-made potato salad and dinner rolls and you've got an easy, no muss dinner. Try challening your grill skills by marinating the meats in a bag ahead of time, or maybe using some zesty rubs.
  11. I think we're in agreement here....it's just that I'm working with a troop of more than 70 boys, so there's ALWAYS a scout working on Communication. But yeah, it's up to the scout to step forward, and if nobody does, then the SPL should either be prepared to do it himself or delegate someone to do it (like that ASPL who never quite outgrew being a chatter box).
  12. Too bad they don't sell Bacon Boullion...
  13. That's too bad... An SPL should NOT be master of ceremony. A well-run troop will give the emcee duty to a scout working on Communication merit badge ( see requirement 8 ). A good Scoutmaster knows that every single youth needs an opportunity to speak up in front of the troop --- even if he will never be SPL himself. Speaking develops confidence and is the most critical skill a leader possesses. Don't short-circuit a chance for other scouts to grow as leaders and to work on their advancement out of some misguided theory that the SPL should be a one-man show. Most SPLs understand that they need to delegate, no just do everything. If they don't understand that, then the SM should help advise them. By the way: Of the 3 possible ways to get their "emcee" credit, most scouts prefer to emcee the Court of Honor. Lots of scouts like leading the campfire too...(another job the SPL shouldn't do unless nobody else wants to). Conversely, I've only seen 2 scouts in the last 4 years volunteer to lead a scouts own service. That's too bad. I hope other troops have more scouts doing the scouts own service.
  14. Yep. Competitions make for MUCH more fun and excitement than yet another skills demonstration... The best I've seen is an annual orienteering event run by the Baltimore Area Council. There is no lame-O classroom boredom and it is NOT a merit badge course for Orienteering. Instead, it's a challenging orienteering course that pits scouts with orienteering skills against other troops throughout the region (not just within the Baltimore Council ---- troops attend from PA, VA, DC, DE etc...) Take a look: http://www.baltimorebsa.org/document/orienteering-flyer/171967 Pretty cool, isn't it?? Yeah, the hundreds of scouts attending each year will tell you it is too...
  15. I'll take your word for it. Since I like adding bacon to my grits, and I weigh about 85kg, and based on a nutrition facts label that tells me 1 medium slice of bacon gives me just under 3 gr of protein....I'm left to conclude that I should add about 28 slices of bacon to my morning grits. Sounds like good advice to me!!!!
  16. I think Salface is referring to this rule (from the "Guide to Safe Scouting": Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized. Scout units may plan or participate in paintball, laser tag or similar events where participants shoot at targets that are neither living nor human representations. Units with council approval may participate in formally organized historical reenactment events, where firearms are used and intentionally aimed over the heads of the reenactment participants. The use of paintball guns, laser guns or similar devices may be utilized in target shooting events with council approval and following the Sweet 16 of BSA Safety.
  17. Maybe not, but grits are mighty tasty when you boost up the calories by adding butter, chese, and crumbled bacon.
  18. No. But not for any petty "like / dislike" reason. The reason I wouldn't want to do that is because the council (and district) has several committees that interest me much MORE than training does. I love the outdoors and have some experience and education in nature and outdoor ethics....so the conservation committee would make better use of those skills. I've also got a degree in computer science and a long career in technology, so the STEM committee would also be a better (and more interesting) use of my time and knowledge. I'm not a teacher and most BSA "training" bores me to tears, but STEM and Conservation always trip my trigger. I'd encourage scouters to take a look at what committees and other volunteer opportunities are available in the district or council and see if one of them fits your own interests.
  19. Most certainly. I also don't buy into the "Family Scouting" theory when girls are in separate troops from boys. Sooooo....let me get this "family scouting" thing straight....my son does camping one weekend with one troop and my daughter does camping on another weekend with an entirely different troop (or maybe the schedule conflicts and I have to decide which kid I'm going to support that weekend). Either way, my family is not scouting together. Instead we have a new potential friction point. If girls and boys can't be integrated in the same troop, it's really not "Family Scouting".
  20. I've noticed a lot of kids packing ramen as their dinner for backpacking trips. It doesn't strike me as very nutritionally rich nor calorie dense (but it sure is light, easy, and cheap...and for 1 or 2 nights, the shortcomings aren't particularly earth shattering). I think there are more options out there that I'd like to encourage boys to consider. Here are 2 lightweight, inexpensive dinner options for backpacking... 1) Knorr sides (plus): there's a variety of flavors, most based on rice or pasta. Most cost only about $1. There's more flavors than with ramen, and the sauces tend to be more calorie-dense than a simple salt-water broth. Boys can add tuna or chicken pouches, but a good alternative to those is diced summer sausage. Summer sausage has about 120 calories per ounce with a fair amount of fat content, so it's a great calorie source when you're burning 5,000 or so calories per day. The diced sausage works well with Knorr's Dirty Rice and with their Taco Rice. 2) Backpackers Shepherds Pie: Okay, so it's not as good as making a real Shepherds Pie at home (or at camp in a Dutch Oven). But for backpacking food, it's downright gourmet! Use instant potato flakes, freeze-dried peas or green beans, and pre-cooked hamburger. Before leaving on your trip, cook the hamburger, put it in a zip-loc bag and freeze it solid. It will keep a day by itself during cold weather months, or use an insulated bag during warmer weather. It will thaw as you hike and be ready to use by the time you set up camp. Show all your low-rent buddies how good you're eating as they settle for mere ramen...
  21. All this talk about rifts between BSA and Girl Scouts, and the uncertainty about girls joining Boy Scouts has me wondering... What the HECK ever happened to Camp Fire Girls? Are they still a thing? Why didn't BSA simply nudge girls towards that organization if the girls thought Girl Scouts was too indoorsy? Just curious....
  22. I wanted to visit this place one time. Couldn't find it...
  23. Breakfast has to be the easiest and least expensive meal for a scout to do while backpacking. No need for the expensive freeze-dried meals because every grocery store in America sells instant oatmeal for about $2 for 10 packages. Add some raisins and nuts to improve the calories and add some flavor. A great option is to add freeze-dried strawberries or other fruit. This can be expensive at most stores, but our local Dollar Tree has .7 ounce packs of freeze-dried strawberries for their usual price of $1. There's much nutritional value to these, but it does add another 60 calories to the oatmeal. Great in the Strawberries and Cream flavor...
  24. That really does sound like an outstanding experience. My son is talking about how he thinks the military might be a good career path....too bad we don't have an event like this in Texas (not that I've ever heard of anyway....) Do you know of similar weekend immersion programs like the one you're doing in WI??
  25. NPR ran a story today about girls officially becoming part of the new "Scouts BSA": https://www.npr.org/2019/02/01/690024261/welcoming-girls-of-all-ages-boy-scouts-of-america-is-now-scouts-bsa
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