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mrkstvns

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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. 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.
  2. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Scouting matters.
  3. 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.
  4. mrkstvns

    Fee increase - observations

    Ahhhh...now I understand why my el-cheap-o brother had his kids in 4H!
  5. Scouter.com has been cheerfully sharing wisdom about scouting for almost 2 decades. That's a lot of wisdom to sift through when you're looking for "take aways". Luckily for y'all, I was curious about some of the different ways a scout unit might make money, or maybe ways a scout can fund his Eagle project. Here are 50 useful and interesting approaches that have been discussed here through the years, along with links you can click on to see the pros and cons that scouters have talked about. In my quest to be maximully helpful, I left off Captain Obvious's favorite choices like Trails End popcorn sales or Camp Cards. Have no fears, Council will tell you about these (and tell you, and tell you....) Fair Warning! Ideas always come in 2 flavors: good ideas and bad ideas. Not all of these are good ideas. Read the posts to find out what "gotchas" were discovered by intrepid scouters who went before you. Some are not practical. Some might end up being money losers instead of money earners. Some will not meet BSA fundraising guidelines. Some will incur the wrath of your charter org or your local scout executive. Some might not work in your part of the country. But some of them will work for you and some of them will make money for you. It's up to you to separate the "good" from the "bad" ideas... 50 Ways to Make Some Troop Bucks Spaghetti Dinner https://www.scouter.com/topic/21571-spagetti-diner/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21617-spaghetti-dinners/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21713-conducting-a-successful-spaghetti-dinner/ Pancake Breakfast https://www.scouter.com/topic/24749-pancakes-versus-spaghetti/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/31226-breakfast-is-served/ Troop Cookbook https://www.scouter.com/topic/21565-cookbook-fundraiser/ Bottled Water (at community events) https://www.scouter.com/topic/21570-bottled-water/ Pictures with Santa https://www.scouter.com/topic/21560-we-are-trying-something-new/ Hanging Flower Baskets https://www.scouter.com/topic/21559-consignment-how-to/ Sno Cone Stand https://www.scouter.com/topic/21581-sno-cones/ 5K/10K Race https://www.scouter.com/topic/21596-510k-race-as-a-fundraiser/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21758-has-anyone-tried-a-race/ Pro Wrestling https://www.scouter.com/topic/21590-pro-wrestling-fundraisers/ Bake Sale https://www.scouter.com/topic/21583-question-about-a-pack-bake-sale/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21791-any-bake-sales-done/ Dessert Raffle https://www.scouter.com/topic/21604-desert-raffle-at-the-court-of-honor/ Cake Auction https://www.scouter.com/topic/26100-last-nights-cake-auction/ Candles https://www.scouter.com/topic/21631-candle-fundraiser/ Drive-In Movie Night https://www.scouter.com/topic/21638-drive-in-movie-nights/ Rent a Scout https://www.scouter.com/topic/21665-rent-a-scout/ Calendar / Dish Cloth https://www.scouter.com/topic/21679-calendar-dish-cloth/ Flag Service https://www.scouter.com/topic/21592-flag-fundraisers/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21704-want-an-american-flag-delivered-to-your-door/ Hamburgers https://www.scouter.com/topic/21694-hamburgers-at-the-home-depot/ Used Book Sale https://www.scouter.com/topic/21685-has-anyone-tried-a-used-book-sale/ Hoagies https://www.scouter.com/topic/21698-successful-fundraiser-this-past-weekend/ Park Cars https://www.scouter.com/topic/21728-parking-cars-for-a-fundraiser/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21802-fundraiserparking-cars/ Yard Sale https://www.scouter.com/topic/21721-yardrummage-sale/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21740-successful-yard-sale/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/31549-community-yard-sale/ Candy Bars https://www.scouter.com/topic/21716-so-the-scouts-want-to-sell-candy-bars-yippee/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21800-candybar-funraisers-in-leu-of-popcorn/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/26266-candy-bars/ Craft Fair https://www.scouter.com/topic/21754-hosting-a-craft-fair/ Motorcycle Rides https://www.scouter.com/topic/21752-motorcycle-fund-raising-ride/ Raffle https://www.scouter.com/topic/21749-raffle-work-around/ Pizza https://www.scouter.com/topic/21763-joe-corbi-pizza-fundraiser/ Pizza Cards https://www.scouter.com/topic/21792-anyone-ever-sell-pizza-cards/ Parents Night Out https://www.scouter.com/topic/21760-parents-night-out/ Pie In the Face https://www.scouter.com/topic/21784-another-fundraising-idea/ Christmas Gift Wrapping https://www.scouter.com/topic/21779-saw-a-good-funraiser-before-christmas/ Christmas Trees https://www.scouter.com/topic/25578-christmas-trees/ Christmas Wreaths https://www.scouter.com/topic/21839-debating-selling-wreaths-recommendations-other-fundraisers/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/31446-wreath-company-recommendations/ Poinsettias https://www.scouter.com/topic/26658-poinsettias/ Fireworks https://www.scouter.com/topic/21776-fundraising-with-a-fireworks-tent/ Citrus Fruit https://www.scouter.com/topic/21790-anyone-ever-sell-fl-citrus-fruit/ Silent Auction https://www.scouter.com/topic/21720-fundraisers-silent-auction/ Batteries https://www.scouter.com/topic/21807-interstate-battery-sale-anyone-done-this/ First Aid Kits https://www.scouter.com/topic/26435-reputable-first-aid-kit-companies-for-fundraising/ Car Wash https://www.scouter.com/topic/21805-carwash-season-is-almost-here/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/21832-car-wash-fundraiser-issue/ Percent of Sales Night at Restaurant (Red Robin, Pizza Hut) https://www.scouter.com/topic/21816-redrobin-fundraiser/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/27893-pizza-hut-night/ Kickball Tournament https://www.scouter.com/topic/24846-kickball-tournament/ Recycling https://www.scouter.com/topic/27341-is-recycling-as-a-fundraiser-sustainable/ Gofundme https://www.scouter.com/topic/27535-gofundme-accounts/ Eat Ghost Peppers https://www.scouter.com/topic/28724-texas-asm-eats-23-ghost-peppers-for-troop-fundraiser/ Drink Machine https://www.scouter.com/topic/31258-automatic-drink-machine-fund-raiser/ Pick Blueberries https://www.scouter.com/topic/30398-blueberry-project-nh/ Haunted House https://www.scouter.com/topic/31670-haunted-house/ Meat Sticks / Jerky https://www.scouter.com/topic/31626-country-meats/ Donuts https://www.scouter.com/topic/31363-donuts/ BONUS GRAB BAG: Various Ideas for More Fundraisers... https://www.scouter.com/topic/21772-non-selling-fundraisers/ https://www.scouter.com/topic/29339-fundraising-ideas-for-troops-easy/
  6. I had a lot of fun doing a short urban hike a few weeks ago, and now we're planning our next great hike. This one will be a little longer (a bit over 10 miles) and will be in a forest (Davy Crockett National Forest). Step one in planning is to have an idea what we're doing, where, when, and what kind of conditions we expect. Davy Crockett National Forest is in East Texas and it's typical of low-land southeastern forests (i.e., fairly flat with only moderate elevation changes, lots of pine trees with a smattering of sweetgum, white oak, and a few other hardwoods, unimproved dirt trails that are not particularly rocky.) I'm continuing to stress that we plan for OUR activity, not somebody else's, so we take canonical packing lists with a grain of salt. We look at the items on the list and we THINK about them. Does the weight of each and every item justify carrying them? A forest hike has more variables than an urban hike, so my "essential" list is expanded to 15 items instead of 10. What do you guys think? Bring: Very small, light, comfortable day pack Map Compass Light first aid kit (be prepared for blisters, cuts, scrapes and possible twisted ankles / fall injuries) 2 Liters of water (assuming no potable sources en route) Lifestraw or other compact filter (backup use only...could be a "Leave at Home" item...) 12 ounces of trail mix or other snacks Poncho (bring a good one if over 30% chance of rain, else the el cheap-o emergency poncho is okay) Knife (not the jumbo multi-tool) Lighter and/or matches Wad of toilet paper (not a whole roll...when ya gotta go, ya gotta go!) Small lightweight trowel (for cat holes, cuz when ya gotta go, ya gotta go) Walking stick (unimproved woodland trails have rocks, tree roots, gullies, be prepared!) Tick remover (we're in the woods, ticks abound) Spare clothing if weather/season justify it Leave at Home: Sunblock (we're in the woods, it's shady) Sunglasses (we're in the woods, it's shady) Cash (we're in the woods, deer don't run 7-11s) Flashlight (10 miles should take us 4 hours, we're starting at 8am, it's unlikely we'll be out in the dark, but if you have an overabundance of caution, pack the lightest light you own) Bottom Line... Be realistic. Consider your location, the weather conditions, etc. Pack for your hike, not somebody else's.
  7. mrkstvns

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    What I like about this is that it shows you are enabling your scouts to succeed. You aren't just saying, "OK, these kinds of scouts can sign off." You're giving them some guidance on HOW to do it and what to consider. That's what mentoring is all about.
  8. mrkstvns

    15 Essentials for a Forest Hike

    Sigh. It never ceases to amaze me how many excuses a scouter can make for turning "Be Prepared" into "Pack So Freakin' Heavy You Need a Semi to Carry Everything". OMIGOSH! Somebody might spill their water. OMIGOSH! What if I need to use the water to wash a car out there on the trail? OMIGOSH! What if Global Warming suddenly hits us right in the middle of our hike? OMIGOSH! OMIGOSH! IMHO, overpacking is not "Be Prepared". It's more like "Poor Planning".
  9. mrkstvns

    Community Event

    That's a good idea! Building bird houses is fun, and it can be cheaper and easier than you might think. Last summer, I did an all-day Nature merit badge workshop. For requirement 4a, we built birdhouses. The materials cost me about $1 per birdhouse. I used the following design, based around a fence picket. I could make 2 birdhouses out of a single 6-foot high picket.
  10. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Make Scouting Great Again
  11. mrkstvns

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    The key here is really to match up the people in the troop who have the most knowledge of an area with the requirements they know the most about so that you can bootstrap your way up to developing a reasonable level of competency among the future "older" scouts (i.e., your leadership corps). Since you have a younger troop with nobody who is yet up to First Class, that might take a while....but it will happen. Meanwhile... Could the scout who did the Pioneering Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the knots? That sounds like a reasonable match. I might also enlist his help in actually teaching the knots and lashings. Could the scout who did the Lifesaving Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the swimming? Hmm. I don't know about that one, chief. I think I'd do something like go down to the YMCA and ask if one of their lifeguards can administer the BSA Swim Test, then I'd have the SM or ASM sign off on SC-5b and FC-6a. The scout who did Lifesaving could then sign off on SC 5a, 5c, 5d. Could the scout who completed the LNT trainer course be approved to sign off the LNT-related requriments? You have one of those scouts? That's pretty astounding since it's usually older, higher-rank scouts who get the training...most councils have a minimum age for LNT Trainer courses (formerly 16, now its often open to 14 year olds). If you have a scout with LNT Trainer certification, definitely use him. I would have him teach LNT Awareness course to the adults, to your troop leadership corps, and to offer it to all interested scouts (perhaps together with the Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award and/or Outdoor Ethics Action Award. I would also have him sign off on ALL Outdoor Ethics requirements because he knows more about TREAD and other BSA OE initiatives than all your adults combined, more about conservation, etc. Have him teach skills to others and let him sign off on: Scout-1e, TF-1c, SC-1b, FC-1b, FC-9b and 9c. Could scouts who have done the First Aid Merit Badge (or WRFA) be approved to sign off on the first aid requirements? Sounds reasonable. Could the patrol leader sign off on Scout Rank steps 1-5? Well, as SM, you can make that judgment call, but if you go that route, I would use this as an opportunity to build troop leadership, so advise/mentor your PL ahead of time and help him do a good job of it. Or does this sound crazy, since none of these scouts are first class yet? I like that you want to enable your scouts, so I'd probably give it a try....but do mentor your scouts, help them understand how to teach skills and accept their responsibilities with a modicum of seriousness, and make adjustments based on how it pans out with your troop. Once you get a good experience base, get scouts up into the higher ranks, and get scouts with experience in Positions of Responsibility, you might want to revisit the sign-off policies to make it simpler and better aligned with more typical BSA practices.
  12. Last week's news was full of articles about the passing of Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, an upstanding, ethical, highly respected legislator. Although I couldn't avoid seeing all the clips about his body lying in state in the US Capitol, or about the myriad accolades extolling his virtues, I did miss any mention of the fact that he was a former scout and a long-time advocate for BSA. That perspective is in a recent Bryan on Scouting post... https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/10/29/remembering-rep-elijah-cummings-a-passionate-advocate-for-inner-city-scouting/ Now I feel sad. Scouting needs all the champions it can get these days...
  13. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Building better scout leaders.
  14. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Experience. Wisdom. Inspiration.
  15. mrkstvns

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    That's too bad. It should have. Here's a description of IOLS that I got off the web site for Baltimore Area Council ... it pretty much sums up what IOLS is intended to be: Four Rivers DistrictAbout 4RProgramTrainingIOLS IOLS (Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills) This course is designed for Boy Scout Leaders: focusing on the basic outdoor skills needed for the Tenderfoot through First Class ranks. The weekend camping course builds confidence in leaders new to the Boy Scout outdoor program and is a great refresher for experienced campers taking Scouts to the field. This is the required outdoor portion of Leader Specific Training for Scoutmasters and their Assistants. This is also great supplemental training for Committee Members and Crew Advisors. IOLS provides great additional training for Webelos Leaders taking their boys camping and anticipating their boys bridging to Boy Scouts. All the basic skills are found in the Boy Scout Handbook. Participants will camp out for two nights and need to bring a sleeping bag and tent.
  16. I try not to wash my sleeping bag very often because it's kind of a pain, and it always seems to feel a bit lumpy afterwards. Still, there are plenty of times where a good wash and dry is the only thing to do, short of buying a new one. GENERALLY... After each campout, I open it up, spray it with Febreze and hang it over the rail of my deck to air out. WHEN IT GETS TO SMELLY/WET/SWEATY/DIRTY... I hand-wash it in a tub using laundry soap, then I lay it out on the deck to dry. Usually, I wash it in the morning and leave it out all day in the sun. I NEVER... Wash it in a washing machine and I never dry it in a clothes dryer. I don't take it to a cleaners. What do you do to keep the sleeping bag clean and fresh and lasting as long as possible?
  17. mrkstvns

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    Just a few thoughts.... See "Guide to Advancement" (G2A) for guidance on this (section 4.2.1.2 is very short, and there are other places in the guide that expand on discussion, or may outline other considerations (such as wrt. merit badges). Allowing youth to sign off can be a good thing, but I wouldn't automatically let anyone of a certain rank or age sign off ---- I'd link it to the Positions of Responsibility so that scouts take responsibility for teaching and for quality. My suggestion would be: JASM, SPL, Instructor, and perhaps Troop Guide. G2A lists PL, but I don't recommend that because (especially in new scout patrols) the PL may be a very inexperienced scout with no knowledge of the subject he should be "testing". Limit adults signing off as only the SM and Trained ASMs (other adults typically have limited knowledge of the BSA program, and requiring the training means any adult signing off has gone through IOLS, which teaches adults the fundamental outdoor skills that scouts are expected to demonstrate on all ranks up to First Class). Parents should not sign off rank requirements for their own son, regardless of position. Only the Scoutmaster should sign off on Eagle requirements and requirements that involve Scoutmaster discretion (like using a leadership project in lieu of a Position of Responsibility) Possibly consider limited sign-off authorization for specific types of requirements: for example, let a trained Outdoor Ethics Guide sign off on any of requirements identified as "Outdoor Ethics" (and perhaps those identified as "Nature"). Similarly, it might be that you want to let scouts who earned Lifesaving MB sign off on water rescue requirements, scouts who earned First Aid MB could sign off on first aid requirements, etc.) Not sure if this is logistically wise or overly complex, but it's a thought I've tossed around. I guess it depends on size of troop, leadership skill level of scouts and adults, etc.
  18. mrkstvns

    Appropriate Insignia UNDER Right Pocket?

    Darn it Steve, you made me laugh so hard that I spewed coffee all over my keyboard and monitor! I kinda feel guilty being critical of any youth's decisions about how to wear his uniform, but I gotta agree with you. That mess really puts the UGH into UGLY.
  19. mrkstvns

    Troop t-shirts for summer camp

    I've got a few event T-shirts, but not a lot. Part of the reason is because my local council is lame: very few "events" to speak of. In fact, the only T-shirts I've gotten from my local coiuncil have been ones given to event staff. So when I volunteered to run an activity at Cub Day Camp, I got a "staff" T-shirt. When I volunteered to run a merit badge class at Winter Camp, I got a "staff" T-shirt. In neither case did the youth get a shirt. Some districts in our council are very active with lots of program activities that are very well run. Those districts sometimes offer other swag, like hats, mugs or tote bags. A neighboring council is much better run than our local council. They have more training, better training, and most importantly, FAR more program activities for the youth. I've gotten T-shirts at some of their events. I'm getting long-winded so I'll be quiet now: bottom line is "it varies".
  20. mrkstvns

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    Yes, they SHOULD. In my experience, they usually DON'T. Also, what they do for AOL requirement 3 doesn't necessarily carry over to the new troop. We have Webelos bridging into the troop from multiple packs. Sometimes a bunch come from one pack, more often, the new scout patrol has no more than 2 scouts coming from a given pack/webelos den. So the scouts develop their own patrol identity: new patrol name, new emblem, new flag, new yell. That generally doesn't happen at the first meeting.
  21. mrkstvns

    Burnout - Its Hit Me

    This is what I periodically ask myself....it's basically the question "Why?" For me, it's a realization that every parent in the unit needs to pitch in as a team to really make it work. Parents can't sit on the sidelines and magically expect a wonderful program to just happen. So I pitch in and do my part so that my SON has a functioning unit in which to grow his leadership skills and personal values. It helps that I see his friends' parents chipping in and filling other roles, overseeing different activities, helping to make things work. It's still a lot of work. For the "key 3", good leadership skills make the difference. Develop a vision. Communicate. Delegate. If all 3 of these things aren't there, don't expect the parents to fall in line. Many parents need to be asked (or perhaps informed that "they are expected to do " --- sometimes referred to as, "voluntold"). 1 person CAN make the difference, but he/she does that by building a team. Good leadership is why you sometimes see troops doing amazingly ambitious things.
  22. Michigan Crossroads Council plans to close a camp that was popular with Cub Scout packs. Story... https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2019/10/boy-scouts-announce-end-of-rota-kiwan-camp-near-kalamazoo.html
  23. mrkstvns

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    One would hope. Over the past several years, I've been the ASM who was tagged as the "First Class Emphasis" guy, so I work with the incoming scouts for the first year or so. With about 10 scouts per year, I guess that makes about 50 scouts I've helped on their initial ranks. I always ask if they did Cyber Chip in their Webelos den. So far, I'm all the way up to about 3 scouts who had done so and knew what it was. I keep dreaming that one year, we'll get a whole new scout patrol where everybody has a Cyber Chip card....it remains a dream. We run a Cyber Chip class for the new scouts because of this.
  24. mrkstvns

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    It takes about a month. Most of Scout rank is for the scout to learn basic scouting things like the Law, the Motto, the Outdoor Code, the Patrol Method, etc., and to be able to explain these things. Scouts who are gung-ho can read the Scout Handbook and knock these things out in an evening (assuming they can get the attention of someone to sign him off). Two requirements seem to be speed bumps for a scout working on Scout rank: * 3b. For a new scout patrol, the patrol members need to get together and talk about who they want to be. They need to pick a patrol name, decide on an emblem (patch), come up with a yell, and make a flag. This generally does not happen immediately, though we'll try to set aside time for the boys to do it within their first month or so. * 6: There's 2 parts to this:1) the "Protecting from Abuse" pamphlet and 2) the Cyber Chip. As a troop, we do a Cyber Chip class in which we watch the NetSmartz videos, have roundtable discussions, and do a learning activitiy, so Cyber Chip isn't the speed bump in our troop. But we expect parents to help the boys complete the requirement, parents and scouts together need to look at that pamphlet, discuss how it applies in their family, mom and dad should help the scout work through the exercises, etc. As an ASM, I'll ask the boys if they looked at the pamphlet, talked to their parents, and did the activities. I will raise a couple of light questions about bullying or neighborhood safety, but just to make sure the boys do look at it and/or talk to their parents about it. It surprises me how many scouts drag their feet on getting this signed off because they haven't read the pamphlet and their parents haven't discussed the personal safety issues with them. Other troops might do it faster if they are proactive about discussing the abuse pamphlet. I'd be interested to hear experiences from others who have helped young scouts earn their Scout rank.
  25. mrkstvns

    Troop t-shirts for summer camp

    If I were feeling especially masochistic, I'd put up my hand in the next committee meeting and offer to make the T-shirts happen....sounds like fun! What I might do is... Ask the scouts if they wanted to design it themselves, then have a contest to pick the best design Let the scouts vote on colors Check the BSA branding guide to be sure I was using logos, wording, colors, etc. in a manner that didn't run afoul of official rules (the guide is here: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/310-0231.pdf) Compare apples to apples. Shop the job around to see if I could get a good shirt at a good price ---- be aware that "$5 shirts" might mean: a) lightweight material and flimsy construction, b) pre-canned design only, c) limited shirt and/or ink colors, d) 1-side printing (do you want printing on both sides? on sleeves?), e) extremely large quantities, f) very long lead times
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