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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Building better scout leaders.
  2. mrkstvns

    Scouter.com Slogan Contest

    Experience. Wisdom. Inspiration.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. mrkstvns

    on the trail to ... Scout?

    Just a few thoughts.... See "Guide to Advancement" (G2A) for guidance on this (section 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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".
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. mrkstvns

    15 Essentials for a Forest Hike

    Hmmm.... That seems like more water than I'd want to carry. I use a rule of thumb of 1 liter per 5 miles (which equates to 1 liter per 2 hours). For a 10-mile hike, 2 liters would be what I'd carry, unless I knew there were potable sources en route, in which case I might go lower. A hike should be more like a walk than a backpacking trek: the more you carry, the less casual and fun it is. (3 liters is 6.6 pounds of weight that you're adding)
  15. Are you getting to NT by flying? If you are, then carrying ANY tent is "duplication" because NT has tents available that you can use. Yours might be lighter, but it's unnecessary added weight when you check in for your flight. I would be most worried about weight in order to avoid charges for excess baggage. NT might suggest a chair....but is ANY chair really that necessary? I've canoed BWCA area before and, believe it or not, lived to tell the tail even though I didn't pack a chair. There is not one single piece of electronic paraphernalia that I consider necessary for a canoe trek. All of it creates headaches. You can justify it in your own mind as much as you want, but the fact remains that any electronic is subject to problems like dead batteries, getting wet, screen breakage, etc.,, etc., etc. IMHO, "getting away from it all" definitely includes getting away from everything tech. BTW: NT is not Philmont. Weight matters less on canoe treks than backpacking. Obsession over weight isn't really warranted. Yes, it matters a little bit. A heavier canoe might be a bit harder to paddle, and yes, you will likely have a couple portages to deal with, but the weight doesn't have to be all on your back all the time, and it can be distributed across multiple Duluth packs (which often get tossed --- another reason not to pack fragile stuff like a Kindle).
  16. I hate to be critical, but I can't help but laugh at the irony of this statement given the rest of your post. You claim to want to "save some weight and bulk" and then follow it up with a wash list of practically every unnecessary piece of overpriced outdoor techno-trash that an imaginitive huckster could dream up to sell you. To really make a NT trip enjoyable, I'd suggest 2 things: Simplify. Most of your "extras" are nowhere close to be necessary. Do you really need a Kindle on a backwoods trip? Aside from inviting problems caused by lack of charging, WiFi, etc., why on earth would you risk losing an overpriced piece of fragile technology when a used paperback will serve you just as well (plus you won't cry if a paperback goes overboard). Ditto with the fancy-schmancy Helinox chair. When I camp in the backwoods, I sit on a log. Don't duplicate. If NT already has tents you could use, why on earth would you bother lugging a personal tent all the way there? One of the best places to be thrifty is in the weight of your luggage if you're flying to Northern Tier. I already paid too much for my personal tent....why should I add to the financial pain by lugging it with me to a place that already has tents available? My advice is to leave home EVERYTHING that you mentioned and use the kit provided by NT staff (though if you really have delicate hands, a simple pair of cotton gloves from the Dollar Tree might not be too wasteful).
  17. mrkstvns

    Camps Where SCOUTS Cook Meals

    Thanks, le Voyageur! I'm always grateful for any info about GOOD camps that let scouts cook their own meals. I'm not sure I'd recommend these for folks emphasizing patrol method though. Both seem to be high adventure programs, and the vast bulk of these have scouts cook meals on treks. Maine High Adventure's says their program has scouts cooking on fires or on stoves. IMHO, it would better meet their promise of "adventure" if the stoves were left back in a storage unit someplace... The Blue Ridge program seems to be an afterthought program (and their council web site is terrible --- it just doesn't promote anything that really makes their council stand out --- that BRSR is a BIG facility at over 17,000 acres ---- yet their "Camping" tab doesn't even link to it....nor to their Mountain Man program. Lame web site!
  18. How else would a Dragon Slayer get to the dragon if he didn't have a Dragon Boat to get him there? Seriously though, I had to go Google "Dragon Boat" to figure out what the heck this was. Found out it's essentially a large canoe with lots of paddlers... A look at the requirements for the Dragon Boating activity badge say that you can also use a "bell boat" to meet requirements. A bell boat is a bit different in that it's like 2 canoes strapped together to form a twin-hull vessel (like a catamaran without sails). BSA may not have a Dragon Boating badge like British scouts do, but it sure does look like it would be a heckuva lotta FUN!
  19. Just taking the troop to a place like Tanzania is far more "high adventure" than most scouts ever experience, but one troop from Connecticut has not only done it once, but twice, and they also climbed to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro --- 19,341 feet. Now that's what I call a troop with an appetite for "high adventure"!!! Story: https://www.courant.com/community/simsbury/hc-va-simsbury-boy-scouts-mount-kilimanjaro-20191031-20191029-3t4wrtft5bfjlcrxvi2qzdrd3a-story.html
  20. The 160-acre camp was evidently popular with troops in the Duluth-Superior area, but not popular enough to make money, so it is up for sale. Anyone have a spare $300K to drop on a Boy Scout camp that includes its own private lake?? Story: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/community/nonprofits/4742419-Sale-pending-on-Boy-Scout-camp-in-Superior
  21. mrkstvns

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    Here's a story about a troop that had their trailer broken into. The tents and other troop equipment were stolen, flags were thrown on the ground and stomped on, but the trailer was left behind... https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/thief-steals-boy-scout-equipment-stomps-on-american-flags/article_8584a443-dd03-5f21-8aeb-3c6fd12c9628.html
  22. Browing around on the Scouting Magazine website (scoutingmagazine.org), I came across a post about how to set up a dining fly. Very simple: if you've got a tarp and some rope, you've got the makings of a group shelter. Nothing to it. For some of us old timers, it's simply the way we setup our camps on each and every campout. But as I was reading the article, it occurred to me, never once in the past 10 years have I seen my son or his friends set up a patrol dining fly that way. The troop has several of these EZ-Up canopy shelters, and the boys just pop those up when we're at a campsite taht doesn't already have a permanent pavilion on site (as too many over-developed "camping sites" seem to do). The tarp is an amazingly simple thing, so it can be used in myriad ways to adapt to whatever conditions you find yourself camping in... 1. Bring some poles (or find appropriate length sticks) and you can set it up free standing. - 2 poles is good, 6 poles is even better (2 8' high poles and 4 6' high poles), but 1 is possible too... 2. If you're in dense woods, just find a few stout and heart trees, and tie a ridgeline between the trees, then tie some lines to stakes to keep it taut. (remember that the ridgeline should also be tied with taut line hitches inside so you can tighten it up if it starts to go slack. Here's a few pictures of how the tarps can be set up to make a patrol dining shelter: 6 POLES, FREE STANDING: 1 POLE IN FRONT, TREE IN BACK: NO POLES - JUST TREES:
  23. A hearty handshake and profound congratulations on joining the BEST troop in the whole darn council!
  24. A lot of people still catch fish and eat them. Scouts who learn to clean and eat what they catch fulfill requirement 10 for Fishing MB (and possibly requirement 7c of Fish and Wildlife Management MB if they take the time to study the contents of the fish's stomach to learn what they eat in the wild. Yeah, I know what you mean. I heard a news report recently about protests against an Orthodox Jewish community that was planning a Kaporos ceremony as part of their Rosh Hashanah celebration. Evidently, the idea is that they transfer sins to live chickens, then kill the chickens. The meat is donated to the poor.
  25. mrkstvns


    The new NOVA award for Scouts BSA that incorporates the iFly indoor skydiving is called "Up and Away". You can see requirements for the award here: https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/STEMNovaUPANDAWAYscoutsbsa_final.pdf