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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. I think that 40% could buy a lot of beer too. But since we're talking backpacking, it will have to be Lite beer so it's easier to pack into the backcountry.
  2. mrkstvns


    Are Venturers allowed to skydive? I thought this was a prohibited activity for every level of scouting, but I see a very interesting article about the 10 best places to skydive in the online Venturing Magazine: http://www.venturingmag.org/
  3. This morning, I read an article about a New Jersey troop that's suffered dwindling numbers. They blame their problem on "scouts getting Eagle". Hmmm. Methinks they haven't done enough self-examination. Getting scouts to Eagle doesn't cause the implosion of a troop. Poor recruiting does. The New Jersey troop's story should be a warning to scouters that they need to be aware that there are a lot of factors that can make scouts choose not to join a particular troop....and few prospective scouts would cite "successfully helping scouts earn Eagle" as one of the reasons. In my opinion, the troop needs to... * focus on building relationships with Cub Scout packs so Webelos will want to bridge into a troop - invite Webelos to meetings and activities - have leaders attend Roundtables to meet leaders from Cub Scout units - participate in events like Webelos Weekend * promote the unit within the charter organization - are parishioners/members invited to visit troop meetings? - does the unit participate in charter org events? (church picnic, Sunday socials, etc. * raise visitibility of unit in the community - blurbs in community papers - offer service to community groups / HOAs, etc. * make sure leaders are not complacent about membership (sometimes, even if you build it, they will not come....if not invited, encouraged, welcomed) Here's the story about the NJ troop: https://patch.com/new-jersey/brick/brick-man-mission-build-eagle-rich-boy-scout-troop
  4. If ever a scout deserved his merit badge for Personal Management, it's gotta be the kid who literally "wrote the book" on how to invest... Story: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/glenview/ct-gla-shout-out-jiwani-tl-0123-20200117-tuibovg7xjdhrj3ckmc3r24ata-story.html
  5. I wish I could call that a stupid statement. I wish I could jump up and down in rage. I wish there was no way that such a thing would be allowed to happen. Sadly though, I shake my head and worry that you just might be right...
  6. Hmm. That doesn't sound like much of a weight saving. Yeah, 2 pounds is pretty light, but what's the advantage of "trek poles" if I'm only going to save a measely 1 ounce? (Last I checked, the difference between 2lb and 1lb 15 oz was exactly 1 ounce...
  7. mrkstvns

    Book recommend; adults

    Curious about this, I went looking for quality reviews. Found out more about the story in a New York Times Book Review. Now I'm intrigued. Will have to give this one a read. Thanks for the recommendation, skeptic! Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/08/books/review/hearts-of-men-nickolas-butler.html
  8. The International Scout Organization (scout.org) has a membership report that lists numbers of registered scouts in each country with a national scouting organization. The report (as of December 31, 2016), shows six countries had a scouting organization with more than 1 million registered members. 1. Indonesia: 21,599,748 2. India: 3,647, 843 3. United States (BSA): 2,536,872 4. Philippines: 1,934,255 5. Kenya: 1,312,422 6. Bangladesh: 1,112,293 Source Report: https://www.scout.org/sites/default/files/library_files/Grand Total Membership with Genders at 31 Dec 2016_0.pdf
  9. mrkstvns

    Merit Badge Counselor Registration Renewal

    Please don't put words in other peoples' mouths.
  10. mrkstvns

    Merit Badge Counselor Registration Renewal

    I was disappointed when I looked in to Scoutbook and checked to see if I showed up as MBC for certain badges. I do....but somehow, Scoutbook says I'm "willing to work with any scout in my district". That's no really correct. On the MBC registration form, I actually checked the box saying I would work with ANY scout. To me, "any" means "any". As in, scouts in other districts, scouts in other councils, scouts who are male, scouts who are female, scouts who are christian, scouts who are buddhist, scouts who are gay, scouts who have disabilities, even scouts who are downright ugly.....ANY scout. I'm a scouter because I believe in helping youth grow: I'd have to be a pretty big dirtbag if I said "No" to any scout who asked for my help...
  11. Good sounding call....what would it be used for?
  12. I used to think that "Scouting Professional" would be a dream job: get paid to do things with scouts and go to camporees, summer camps, and other fun things? Awesome! As I read some of the discussions in these forums, it doesn't sound so good. Folks talk about... * low salaries * long hours * boring jobs (meetings, budgeting, marketing with little real hands-on "scouting") In the past, I've been switched off by "Commissioner College" that was nothing of the sort....just really boring topics. Now I see a couple of legit university programs being offered that look like they might be fun, but that seem to focus a whole lot more on boring managerial content than on the real meat of what makes scouting (or any outdoor adventure) fun in the first place. For example: * Scouting degree program offered by WVU * Adventure Recreation Management degree program IMHO, volunteering in scouting is probably a heck of a lot more satisfying than doing it for the money.
  13. mrkstvns

    Hand Washing _ Winter

    They are, indeed. Wasteful and messy. From the perspective of effectiveness in getting hands dry and germ-free, they are not to be beat --- except maybe by shaking hands dry, which can be a problem outdoors in winter where some days, some places (outside Texas), you might shake your hands frozen before they get dry. 😉
  14. Christmas tree projects seem to have more ways to potentially benefit conservation and help scouts in myriad ways: 1) raise funds, 2) earn Eagle rank, and 3) earn Hornaday awards. I've posted her about some of these ways before, including a favorite approach of mine, re-building sand dunes to combat beach erosion. Now, I see an article about a California scout whose Christmas tree recycling project is being used as a way to provide habitat for juvenile fish: https://www.chicoer.com/2020/01/12/boy-scouts-recycle-christmas-trees-to-help-lake-oroville-fish/
  15. Saw an interesting article about scouts in Hawaii who are cutting Norfolk pine trees in their local scout camp and selling the cut trees for Christmas as a fundraiser to help them earn money towards the 2021 National Jamboree. Seems that in Hawaii, Norfolk Pine, IS an invasive species, so cutting the trees helps the camp be more environmentally responsible.... Gotta love a project that delivers multiple benefits! Story: https://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2019/12/scouting-out-the-perfect-tree-at-camp-maluhia/
  16. mrkstvns

    Troop Trailer Stolen

    A Boy Scout troop in San Antonio had their trailer stolen from a church parking lot, despite having had a boot locked to the wheel and chains padlocked. Thieves cut the chains and cut the boot too! (How you "cut" a boot, I don't know...) Here's the story: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/stealing-from-the-boy-scouts-thieves-snag-trailer-from-church-parking-lot/ar-BBYLyQS
  17. Fairly simple, eh? My son was a troop bugler for a while and the only calls he ever played were "Taps" and "Reveille". I'll bet 90%+ of scouts have never heard any of those other myriad calls required by the merit badge. (I never have either). I think there's a reason why Bugling is the least earned merit badge in scouting, and esoteric calls is that reason. Note: that isn't a criticism of Bugling merit badge. Quite the opposite. It's good that there are still some merit badges that can't be earned by simply being present in a classroom for an insignificant classroom activity. When something requires effort, it has value to the scout.
  18. mrkstvns

    Hand Washing _ Winter

    I like Treflienne's suggestions. Hand sanitizer is a quick way around the problem, but it really isn't a substitute for actual washing with soap and water. Washing in a trickle of water, followed by the hand sanitizer can be a good approach. Even if the camp turns off water spigots in the winter, cubs usually car camp and tossing in a couple extra water jugs so you have water for hand washing seems like prudent planning. I would also add 2 points: * provide a way to dry hands, towels are environmentally friendly, but paper towels are more effective at reducing bacteria * consider temperatures: water freezes, wet towels can freeze, wet hands get cold fast, sanitizers sap body heat faster than water
  19. mrkstvns

    January Pack Meeting Ideas

    Cold weather might be a good motivator for one of those myriad "sleep over" events, like a Night at the Museum (if your local museum offers such things). In our area, there are multiple opportunities, including a zoo sleepover, a sleepover on a de-commissioned aircraft carrier, etc.
  20. I looked at the Insignia Guidelines, but the only thing that jumps out at me as belonging under a right pocket is a Recruiter strip. Are there other types of patches that belong there? What would they be? I ask because I saw a picture of a scout working on a service project and he had a very complex set of patches with multiple rings placed under his right pocket. I hadn't seen that done before and had no idea what kind of patches they were. Thoughts? Pointers to "official" uniform practices?
  21. In 1988, Tipper Gore made waves when she published her book, "Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society". Her argument was that with porn and violence and bad role models increasingly easy to come by, that parents needed to remain ever more vigilant and that government should help families in their struggle to raise decent kids. I can only imagine what Tipper thinks of today's society where kids can get access to porn on any smart phone. Few sites require more than a mouse click on an "I am over 18" button in order to download images and videos that would have been scandalous just a few short years ago. "Psychology Today" recently ran an article discussing this problem and its impact on parenting today. How CAN a parent place reasonable controls on what a child can and cannot access? Is it even possible today to keep porn out of the hands of kids? What should parents do? Here's the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/talking-apes/201912/adolescence-in-the-age-internet-porn BTW: Anybody else recognize themselves in the story about discovering nuggets of porn treasure in a Boy Scout paper drive?? Oh, for the innocence of the 1970s...
  22. There's a document out on scouting.org that seems to discourage many of the common practices that enable merit badge events (like fairs, universities, etc.) and that also seems to discourage bad practices that are very common in almost all merit badge summer camps and winter camps. I wonder if this will indicate a trend away from the current merit badge mills that prevail across the country... The document is "Merit Badge Group Instruction Guide" and is available here: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-066_WEB.pdf Some interesting points that appear there... "Group instruction should be focused on those scenarios where the benefits are compelling" "The focus must on the quality of the Scout's counseling experience, and not on the number of Scouts who can take a class or complete a badge." "Simply taking notes, completing a workbook, or listening during a group instruction session does not constitute completing a requirement" "For many badges---perhaps even most of them---partial completion is not only acceptable but expected from a merit badge event." "most classes should be small" "Group tasks do not fulfill requirements..." "...completing a worksheet does not constitute completing a requirement." Thoughts?
  23. mrkstvns

    Girl Scout Cookie Coffee

    Dunkin Donuts will begin selling Girl Scout Cookie coffees beginning January 1. Flavors will include Thin Mints and Cocunut Caramel. Info: https://news.dunkindonuts.com/news/dunkin-brings-back-beloved-girl-scout-cookieTM-inspired-coffee-flavors-coconut-caramel-and-thin-mintsR
  24. Do or do not, there is no try. - Yoda Are expectations lower for Girl Scouts than Boy Scouts? Could they be better motivated to excel with a few small tweaks to their oath and law? One writer thinks that because the Boy Scouts use language like "I will" while the Girl Scouts use language like "I will try" that we're collectively implying that we don't really expect Girl Scouts to succeed, but hey! trying is good too. Here's the story: https://www.nj.com/opinion/2019/12/why-is-it-that-boy-scouts-will-but-girl-scouts-try-change-the-promise-please-opinion.html
  25. You may be right, in which case we should be bracing ourselves for another steep drop off in membership, given the size of this year's cost hike.