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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    Thanksgiving at Camp...

    Very cool! Though, I have to admit, it took me some effort to understand what your message meant, never having heard of "Bean Holes" or "Green Corn Ceremonies"...once I looked 'em up on Wikipedia, I gained a bit of educated appreciation. I had no idea that native Americans had such a wide-ranging tradition. Interesting that it not only reflects gratitude, but also forgiveness. Now if only I could figure out what those Native Americans might have been cooking over their campfires...
  2. mrkstvns

    Girl Scout program youth protection training

    My understanding is that GS leaders need to do a comprehensive safety course that includes awareness of sexual abuse situations, as well as things like cyber safety, being safe at fundraisers, etc. Yes, GS leaders are also mandated reporters (that is usually required by state laws, so mandated reporting will apply regardless of what kind of youth program you are dealing with).
  3. mrkstvns

    Restoring Camp woodlands with different species (MT)

    This is, indeed, a very interesting (and complicated) issue. Tree planting used to be a simple thing to do. If you find an area that's been de-forested, you plant whatever kinds of trees have historically thrived in that area. Global warming and the pervasive threats to habitat and native species make that a harder effort. Naturalists have been dealing with invasive insects decimating native species. Trees that once thrived in an area are often dying out. Naturalists are also observing that changing temperatures mean that tree bands in mountainous areas are changing. Lower elevations are becoming too hot for some plant species, and "moving up the mountain" isn't always naturally easy. Similarly, as lower latitudes become too warm or moist (or dry), the trees that once thrived are dying out because they can't naturally move north fast enough to avoid their own demise. When do a tree planting project, you can consult with a local expert (like a botanist at your local agricultural extension office). They may be able to suggest an alternative tree species for you, or may suggest an alternative location where your newly planted trees might have better odds of survival. Good luck!
  4. mrkstvns

    Outdoor Ethics for Winter Activities

    Nope. Not a new concept....but it might be a radical idea for scouters accustomed to warm weather camping in state parks with flush toilets and other luxuries. "Pack it out" is definitely the rule among climbers....and among whitewater rafters too where nobody really wants to go overboard in a river you've been dumping waste in. For weekend activities, I can "pack it out" using zip-loc plastic bags. Outdoor stores smell profits in human waste, so they offer lots of stuff you can buy, like disposal bottles, deodorizers, enzymes to break down waste, etc. REI sells a bunch of things with names like Biffy-Bag, Pocket Loo, etc. IMHO, a regular Zip-Loc works fine and costs far less. By the way, getting back to the winter-specific theme, enzymes don't break down bio-matter as quickly in cold weather as they do in warm weather. Just sayin'....
  5. Mt. Diablo Council in California teamed up with local vineyards to earn over $132,000 in a wine auction. Story: https://napavalleyregister.com/community/star/news/wine-auction-at-st-helena-s-charles-krug-winery-benefits/article_f253dce9-736b-5cb7-9936-e254cf4d56ca.html
  6. mrkstvns

    Substance Abuse training from pharmacy university (IL)

    If the material is targeted towards youth in 5th through 8th grade, it might be good for scouts working on Second Class. Requirement 7c is for them to take part in a program about the dangers of drugs.
  7. mrkstvns

    Older Tiger Cub Immediate Recognition Kit

    I'm scratchin' my head wondering what exactly it is that you're looking for.... Care to explain?
  8. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Adult scouters need a buddy system too.
  9. 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?
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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/
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. mrkstvns

    Winter Camping Quick Tip

    YES!! Keep an empty bottle handy so you don't HAVE to go out in the night.
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. mrkstvns

    Winter Camping Quick Tip

    Now THAT's what I call "Winter Camping"!! Think snow...
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. mrkstvns

    Don't Widen The Plate

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