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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. mrkstvns

    Council vs. City

    Some of y'all might not remember this, but scouts didn't always wear a council patch on their shoulders....we used to wear our city/town above our unit number...
  2. mrkstvns

    Lot's of questions

    Quite right. It's not fair to the scout. On the other hand, most of us are wise enough to choose our battles because we know full well that if we manage to push our scoutmaster (or other leader) out of the troop, it just might be US that gets tapped to fill his shoes. Not all of us are ready to commit "one hour per week"...
  3. That sounds totally awesome! I wish our council would do something like that. The best I've seen locally is one (out of 27 districts) tacking on one of the Nova awards as an option in their district-sponsored Merit Badge Day program. On the other hand, BIG kudos to scouters in New York City. I wish them utter success on their upcoming Spring Break STEM Camp!! Info: https://www.bsa-gnyc.org/files/13316/Spring-Break-Stem-Camp-PDF
  4. Wow! Are those old fashioned dial-up connections?? I did YPT2 online and everything behaved well. Probably took about 40 minutes total for me to get into compliance with the new material. (And the material WAS an improvement...)
  5. Yes, and by using Facebook you ALSO get the bonus benefits of... Being profiled by FB's data harvesting algorithms so as much personal data as cyberly possible can be gathered about you Having your device privacy settings, internet privacy settings, and even Facebook's own data privacy settings absolutely ignored when it suits Facebook's purposes Having all your personal data sold to marketers, Cambridge Analytics, and Russian spies seeking to manipulate you for political purposes Having your user credentials stolen so that hackers can not only get into your Facebook account, but also into EVERY web site that uses a federated authentication process (i.e., all those sites that "conveniently" tell you you can log in with your Facebook ID) Having your kids exposed to unethical (and illegal in many jurisdictions) smart phone apps designed to profile them for purposes of marketing and political division And many, MANY more risks that are swept under the rug by 99% of Americans who would rather share funny cat memes than think about their family's privacy BTW: If you're going to reply to this, please take a few minutes to educate yourself about the facts of Facebook's MYRIAD privacy breaches from at least the past 12 months. If you don't know about any point I've briefly touched on, at least read the barest tip of the iceberg, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/technology/facebook-privacy.html
  6. mrkstvns

    First Year Scouts Should Parents Attend

    Sounds like you "get it", so I'm sure you'll make the right decision. The first year my scout joined his new troop, he told me straight up that he didn't need me around at summer camp nor on all his campouts. Cool. No need to use up a valuable week of vacation, and I only went on the weekend campouts (maybe 2 all year) where the SM invited me because he needed to provide adequate adult leadership (or he needed more drivers to transport scouts). I was there for the Scoutmaster, not for my kid. The SM was quite experienced and made it clear to all adults on every campout that their job was to enjoy lounging around in the adult campsite and not to supervise the boys' campsite because the SPL already had that covered.
  7. mrkstvns

    poly/rayon/wool shirt?

    A long sleeve shirt or any shirt that requires dry cleaning can be very useful in scouting....as kindling. Of course, cotton would burn much better than rayon, nylon, or any other synthetic because burning plastics can emit noxious fumes.
  8. mrkstvns

    Lot's of questions

    10,000% agree! A scouter of any level who puts up barriers to a scout's advancement is just plain NOT a good scouter. No excuses. No if's and's or but's. The only reason a scouter should refuse to approve work done by scouts is because it doesn't meet the requirements. "No more, no less." works both ways. Scouters should not be putting up barriers by inventing garbage "rules", but by the same token, the scout should not be inventing shortcuts.
  9. mrkstvns


    Interesting idea! The following article has a few other interesting ideas for re-purposing an Altoids tin....including survival kit, firebuilding kit, fishing tackle essentials, and several more. https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/22-manly-ways-to-reuse-an-altoids-tin/
  10. Interesting perspective. I'm a big advocate of BSA STEM/NOVA program, but I wouldn't expect Woodbadge to be the place I'm learning about it. Just curious about how that council operates their "STEM program". Do they actually put on events that help scouts earn Nova awards?? Our council doesn't. They have a STEM committee that holds meetings. And they put on a Nova counselor / Supernova mentor training class as part of a generic University of Scouting....but I really don't see them doing anything *for the scouts*. Lots of talk. Little do. On the other hand, far smaller neighboring councils seem to be doing far more to actually hold events *for scouts*. Events that help them engage in STEM fields, earn STEM-related merit badges, and earn Nova awards. All councils are not created equal.
  11. mrkstvns

    Camp Fire Girls

    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....
  12. Must be the new math... I figure it to be 12 girls troops and 1 boys troop per state.
  13. mrkstvns

    Let us never forget....

    A kid really needs and deserves to have fun while he's a kid. (And it's IMPORTANT!) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/201405/the-importance-play-having-fun-must-be-taken-seriously
  14. For the past few years, I've been teaching the Cyber Chip in our troop. Not necessarily because I like it, not because I think it's a particularly great program, or even because I think I'm uniquely qualified to do it ... I've been doing it simply because nobody else did it. I've taught the class several times --- most often for newly bridged ex-Webelos scouts who wanted to earn Scout rank. A couple times for older scouts working on Star rank or merit badges that required it. THOUGHTS ON MAKING CYBER CHIP WORK FOR A TROOP Here are a few of my experiences and observations: BE PREPARED ... TO EXPLAIN It should go without saying that you should know what you're talking about, but I underestimated the depth of content the first time and my classes get better the more I know. Understand the Cyber Chip requirements, but more importantly, understand the issues. At a minimum, I recommend looking at the links below (CYBER CHIP RESOURCES). The last link, for Media Smarts, was the most useful to me in this regard. NetSmartz has some good resources, but Media Smarts is geared more towards adults and the way we read. I found everything on their "Digital Issues" page to be particularly relevant. BE PREPARED ... TO UNPLUG Murphy's Law, being more like a Law of Physics than like a Municipal Ordinance, doesn't lend itself towards bending or breaking. If you think you'll just bring a laptop and view the required videos online, I can guarantee your class will be a failure. The first time I tried it I discovered that, 1: Nobody in our troop knew the password for the church's Wi-Fi, 2: My laptop's speakers can't be heard further than 2 inches from the screen when you have a group of 12 chatterbox boys in a room, and 3: Giving up on the church's Wi-Fi and connecting via a parents' AT&T Mobile G4 Internet is a great way to watch the NetSmartz actors doing "The Robot" (and taking 12 minutes to watch the 3 and a half minute video). My most recent classes have gone faster and more smoothly because I downloaded the videos as a zip file ahead of time and staged them on my laptop's hard disk. I also bought a pair of powered speakers and we project the screen onto the wall. Figure this stuff out BEFORE the class because Mr. Murphy WILL be lurking... BE PREPARED ... TO ADAPT Take point 4 in the "Announcing Cyber Chip" flier to heart --- adapt the class to your unit. As a matter of fact, take the whole flier to heart --- especially the part about incorporating games. If you STOP lecturing and START doing more games, the scouts will pay attention (and even look forward to re-doing the class in a year or two). The suggestion of "Jeopardy" is a good one. I've also had good luck using a "Family Feud" game ("we surveyed 100 cyberbullies and asked them....") Or you can stick to the "no more, no less" philosophy and just lecture them. Your choice. But the scouts already think Cyber Chip is boring. There's a good reason for this: it is. The material is not anything they really care about --- especially in an organization that sold them on the promise of "adventure". Spice it up and laugh with them and everyone will get through it. BE PREPARED ... TO ASK FOR HELP In another thread on this forum, a well-respected member suggested turning Cyber Chip over to the PLC and let them figure it out. That's a great suggestion! (If your goal is to just treat the Cyber Chip as another rubber-stamped check-off.) Be for real, the PLC members think Cyber Chip is as boring as the new scouts do. There's a reason for that. It is. If you can get older scouts to chip in, help them be successful. Prepare yourself very well in advance, have a lot of suggestions, and work with the teaching scouts to develop some fun approaches and strategies. The NetSmartz Mini-Activities document has some good games that scouts can lead themselves (I've had very good results with "Take a Stand", sometimes good results with "Simon Says", and dismal results with the other activities...your mileage may vary). BE PREPARED ... TO DISCUSS "POLICIES" Schools and school districts have already grappled with some of the issues around electronics and internet use.Take a look at 'em if you can. Cyber "policies" are very common and most make a lot of sense. They provide "rules of the road" for kids to know what is, and what is not, acceptable behavior online. Cyber Chip asks families to also set "rules of the road" and troops to set "rules of the road". - TROOP: Know the troop's Electronics Policy so you can discuss it (requirement 5 or 6, depending on age group). If the troop doesn't have a policy, sit down with the Scoutmaster and SPL and hammer one out --- BEFORE the class, so that nobody asks you to be untrustworthy and just rubber-stamp that you discussed what you know darn well you didn't. - FAMILY: You won't know what policies a family might set (requirement 2), but you can have a low-key group discussion about what rules the boys follow and what they think are useful/reasonable/effective. A good way to do this is to just think about the 6 basic questions a professional journalist asks about ANYTHING...."WHO", "WHAT", "WHEN", "WHERE", "WHY", and "HOW". Think about how those apply to games, apps, devices, content, etc. Keep in mind that all this changes every year. BE PREPARED --- TO RECOGNIZE Get the Cyber Chip cards and patches from the Scout Shop before the class. Have Scoutmaster sign the stack of cards. Hand these out as final step in the class....after all, the boys don't care about the boring material. They care about having the card so they can get a requirement signed off. SAMPLE COURSE OUTLINE Here's how I did my most recent class... ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION (~10 minutes, max --- keep it fast and focused) - Overview - Brief back-and-forth about what is Cyber Chip and what issues we should care about (Steer conversation towards overarching themes of "Stranger Danger" and "Cyberbullying" for younger scouts and about "Privacy" and "Reputation" for older scouts, while reinforcing "Stranger Danger" with room for scouts to introduce other issues of concern to them). Invite Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, or other adult to do this, but be prepared to wing it. - Policies - high-level, "rules of the road", families and troop have policies just like school does Troop electronics policy (invite SPL or Instructor to do this, but be prepared to wing it) Remember troop goal is more about avoiding distraction than safety. Elicit thoughts/feedback from scouts. - Family policies, (did scouts actually sign a document with parents? act shocked when nobody does, so pretend like you're winging it, though you know what kind of rules might be included based on who,what,when,where,why,how...elicit scout thoughts on each others' contributed "rules") VIDEOS (~15 minutes, total) - Format is watch a video then do a quick roundtable discussion: "Thoughts?" - TV / Computer / Projector is pre-setup and staged with appropriate videos from NetSmartz. For new scouts we use Grade 6-8 materials, corresponding to NetSmartz "Teens Talk Back" tag. Staged videos are: - "Friend or Fake" - "Teens Talk Back: Cyberbullying" -"Teens Talk Back: Meeting Offline For Star / older scouts, we use Grade 9-12 materials, corresponding to NetSmartz "Real Life" tag. Staged videos are: - "Survivor Diaries" - "6 Degrees of Information" - "You Can't Take It Back" or "2 Kinds of Stupid" TEACHING ACTIVITY / GAME Use game-oriented approach to teach skills. If you want to see how boring you can make the class, follow the requirement to the letter and let the boys use the EDGE method to teach other something about one of the issues. I did it that way once. Once. Games and fun are really the way to approach this requirement. This is one where you can definitely let the older scouts SPL/Instructors lead (if they want to --- I've had almost 40% success getting them to grab some ownership on this and to lead the games. Use "Jeopardy" or "Family Feud" for maximum fun, or one of the "NetSmartz Mini-Activities" . If you didn't work with the older scouts ahead of time to prepare them, don't count on making this activity work (it won't). WRAP UP Hand out cards and/or patches on the spot. Ask scouts to take turns reading off points of the "Internet Pledge". CYBER CHIP RESOURCES Cyber Chip Requirements https://www.scouting.org/awards/awards-central/cyber-chip/cyber-chip-requirements/ Announcing Cyber Chip https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/youthprotection/pdf/100-053.pdf NetSmartz materials for Cyber Chip https://www.netsmartz.org/Scouting With BSA’s new Cyber Chip, online safety’s the point https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2012/06/04/with-bsas-new-cyber-chip-online-safetys-the-point/ What’s your unit’s electronics policy? https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2012/03/14/electronics-policy/ Media Smarts https://mediasmarts.ca/
  15. mrkstvns

    Scouts' Day 2018

    We will celebrate the fact that this is also the date on which Peter the Great died and was succeeded by his son, Peter the Above Average.
  16. mrkstvns

    Nope. No edits for YOU!!!

    scouting.org has an ancient email address for me in my account settings. I'd love to change it, but there doesn't seem to be any way I can. Does anyone know how to edit an email address for my.scouting???
  17. mrkstvns

    Nope. No edits for YOU!!!

    BTW: I did try to use the "Help Manual" button before posting here. Doesn't work for me. It downloads a bizarrely named file with no file name extension, so Windows doesn't associate it to an application. Tried choosing an application and selecting Adobe Acrobat, which tells me the file is not a PDF, and then aborts. Wonder why BSA doesn't provide a real help application in a functional form. Good thing their business is scouting and not software or IT!!
  18. mrkstvns

    Nope. No edits for YOU!!!

    That works!! Thank you, malraux. I am a happy camper. Amused too now that I see that the site has a record of old emails I used back when my son was a mere Bobcat...
  19. mrkstvns

    Nope. No edits for YOU!!!

    Okay, thanks for the info. Guess I'll just ignore it for ... like, forever. If BSA wants to make updating my own data a royal PITA, then fine, they can keep sending messages into a black hole. Works for me!!
  20. mrkstvns

    New to site

    A warm "Howdy" to you, Ian. I'm sure you'll love Northern Tier...
  21. Roast corn is easy to do without foil, grills or anything. Just peel back the green husks about half way and pull out the silk. Pull the green husks back up. Soak the ears of corn in water and then place them directly on the coals. The corn is best when it's allowed to get slightly charred black. The Mexicans around here call this "Elotes" and smear it with mayonnaise, lime and/or chili paste. Mmmmmm....
  22. 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.
  23. Beans around the campfire have been around ever since Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles" showed guys just how hilarious flatulence could be. Back in the old days, Cookie would soak the beans overnight and the beans would cook most of the day. Scouts today just don't have that much patience! Fortunately, a tasty pot of beans can be made in short order using off-the-shelf ingredients. Here's how... INGREDIENTS: 1 2-lb. can of pork and beans 4 slices of bacon, sliced into squares 1 package Lipton onion soup mix 1/2 cup of brown sugar 1/4 cup of yellow mustard 1/4 cup of ketchup 1/8 cup cider vinegar DIRECTIONS: Mix all ingredients except bacon in Dutch oven. Place bacon on top of the bean mixture, cover as much of the top as possible. Cover. Cook over and under hot coals, for at least an hour.
  24. No collection of Dutch oven camp recipes can ever be complete without at least several recipes for authentic Pan de Campo. What's that? You've never heard of Pan de Campo! Clearly you are not a real Texan. After all, in a rare showing of bipartisan unity, the Texas State Legislature passed a bill in 2005 naming Pan de Campo the "Official State Bread of Texas". Here's how to make it in a Dutch oven. INGREDIENTS 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 cup buttermilk (regular milk would work too) 1/4 cup cooking oil DIRECTIONS Prepare your coals and pre-heat your Dutch oven. Mix all dry ingredients. Mix in buttermilk and oil. Mix. Roll out dough in circle to fit your Dutch oven. Put in Dutch Oven and bake about 7 minutes. Rotate Dutch oven and bake 7 more minutes. Check for doneness. VARIATION Although Pan de Campo has always been made in a Dutch oven, the editors of Texas Monthly magazine figured that a lot of city folk in places like Houston or Dallas might be more comfortable with a GE oven than a Dutch oven, so they published a recipe that lends itself to modern kitchens. Such a thing is heresy, of course, so I won't repeat it, but if you want to see it for yourself, it's here: https://www.texasmonthly.com/food/recipe-for-pan-de-campo/
  25. mrkstvns

    Pan de Campo (Dutch oven)

    You're a tougher man than me then. I tried to smoke a brisket once. It was hard to light and made me cough.