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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. Interesting!

    I'd never heard of Burgess, so went and did a little Googling. You're right. The guy wrote a lot of stories that would make good source material for a Cubmaster or Den Leader looking to come up with some new campfire stories for young scouts.

    I found that, since Burgess did a lot of his writing early in the 20th century, much of his work is now within the public domain. The Project Gutenburg web site has several of his stories online, free for the downloading and reading:


  2. On 8/18/2020 at 2:35 PM, David CO said:

    I'm fine with it so long as they don't require scouts to take a partisan opinion on disputed political issues such as global warming.


    I think what David really meant was "I'm fine with that as long as it requires scouts to understand genuine science and to not get sucked into inane political discussions that encourage ignorance or intolerance of informed scholars."

  3. 11 hours ago, Samuel said:

    My son started a merit badge 2 years ago and finished few requirements and last year the requirements changed. The new councilor is asking him to get another blue card and redo everything. What is the right thing to do? 

    The Guide to Advancement is clear.  A scout who begins working on a merit badge is allowed to complete it using the requirements in effect at the time he begins.  

    Requiring a scout to get a new blue card is *NOT* an acceptable procedure. It sets up an obstacle to the scout.

    Talk to your scoutmaster and see if he can recommend a better MBC for you.  With today's Scoutbook, you can also look it up online and select a nearby counselor. 

    Most MBCs are very good and would never ask a scout to do that.  Remember that you do NOT have to use any specific counselor (this is also spelled out in black and white in the Guide to Advancement).

    • Thanks 1
  4. On 2/24/2020 at 5:04 PM, desertrat77 said:

    The only qualification I've seen for service stars is the word "involved." 


    Maybe I walk around with my eyes half shut, but I very rarely see scouters wearing the service stars.

    I don't wear them myself because....
    a) I'm too apathetic to jog over to the Scout Shop and buy 'em, and
    b) There's no real requirements that might make them significant or meaningful.

  5. On 2/26/2020 at 10:55 AM, yknot said:

    This is a great idea and with a little more context, such as including an educational component, it could be a great project. Insect biomass is plummeting. There is a valid conservation message in a project like this and if some education were provided about what it is, why it's needed, and how it could be replicated on a smaller scale elsewhere, it could be a really cool feature of a local park. 

    It could also be one of those projects that qualifies for "double dipping" as both Eagle project *AND* Hornaday project.  If a scout were interested in doing this, I'd point him to the council's conservation committee so he can talk to a Hornaday Advisor...

  6. On 2/18/2020 at 12:32 PM, Beccachap said:

    What was the markup per dozen? Did you get any discounts from Krispy Kreme that added to your profits?

    Here is a chart from Krispy Kreme that might help you get an idea as to how much profit you could make...


  7. 4 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    Sigh..., I am waiting for a question to the Presidential candidates regarding the future of the BSA.

    Bernie Sanders was in scouts.

    Michael Bloomberg is an Eagle Scout. Here's a 2009 story about Mayor Bloomberg using his scout first aid skills.

    Interesting.  I never realized Bloomberg was an Eagle scout.  Found this recent article about how other candidates might underestimate Bloomberg's "Preparedness" at their own peril...



    • Upvote 2
  8. 11 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

    My only hesitation with letting our scouts do that on their own is the fact that we seem to be snake magnets.  We have not had a trek in the past few years without at least one or two on the trail, usually of the rattlesnake variety.  When the trail gets a little muddy, the pygmy rattlers we have in our area can be tough to spot before you are right on top of them.

    Snakes. Right.  That's why we teach scouts to "Be Prepared".  

    We know snakes live in the woods, so we take common sense steps to prevent bites from ever happening:
    * stay on trails
    * stay away from the snake if you see it
    * wear leather boots
    * wear long pants

    We know that snake bites do happen (some 8,000 per year in the U.S., but only about 12 per year that prove fatal) --- it's not a huge risk, but it exists.  So we do first aid training, and we teach scouts how to call 911, and how to transport an injured buddy.

    Like most every "risk" that people fret about, educating ourselves, taking prudent preventative steps, and being aware of what to do "just in case" makes hiking (and any other scout activity) far safer than the "Adventure" ads might imply.

  9. 14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    Depending on the location of the 20 mile hike, I would argue that adults don't have to be walking with them the whole time. Drop them off on one side of town, pick them up on the other. Or set up your hammock or camp chair at the nexus of a couple of loop trails ... maybe near your favorite fishing hole. (We are quickly approaching opening day in most states.) They can check-in from time to time.

    If they are aiming for an extended hike in a wilderness area, then you might need to consider continuous adult supervision. But, it is very hard to cover 20 wilderness miles in a day ... even over existing trails.

    I'm glad to hear you say this because I've been thinking about letting my son and some of his buddies do a 20-mile hike without adults going along. I was thinking of doing this on an established trail within a National Forest. Adults would drop off, be at a "check-in point" mid-day where the trail crossed a road, and then wait at the trail end for the hikers to return.  I've been hesitant to bring it up with other adults in the troop for fear of being criticized for not helicoptering.  Sometimes it's tough to know what the prudent course is. I don't see a hike in a forest as being particularly risky, but the non-outdoorsy parents might...

  10. 3 minutes ago, le Voyageur said:

    Thoughts on the impact that covid-19 will, or will not have on summer camps

    Interesting question.  Unfortunately, I don't think it's something that scouters are likely to make the "right" call on because we don't know where, or how extensive the spread might be....but it sure does behoove us to start thinking about it and making contingency plans just in case the spread is bad (or if folks succumb to the urge to cry wolf).

  11. Using New Scout Patrols makes it easy for the troop to comply with the YPT rule that scouts tent with other scouts who are within 2 years of age.

    Presuming that scouts who bridge into the troop are about 5th grade age, they will tend to be well within the 2-year range. So they tent together as a patrol.  It becomes harder to have patrols tent together when you assign new scouts to patrols without regard to their ages.

  12. Hmmm.  Hammocks again.  

    Just a reminder to folks that hammocks might be a good solution for some folks, some of the time, but do take the time to think about how you camp and where you camp, because they are definitely not a good solution for everyone.

    As others have mentioned, the hammock can be less comfortable than sleeping on a cot, or even flat out on the ground. Do you like being bent into a taco shape at night?

    We also need to be aware that hammocks damage the environment in many areas. There are places where their use is so short-lived or where the trees see little hammock use and the impact is so little as to be irrelevant. But there are also places (like "front country" state parks) where sites are heavily trafficked and a few good size trees constantly get picked as "perfect hammock trees". Because so many of those trees have been killed by constant stresses of large numbers of hammock campers, you see camps and parks that now have "no hammock" rules. Some state parks have recognized that there are people who enjoy hammocks, but rather than fight them with rules and restrictions, they will provide permanent steel hammock stands. If you find these in a park near you, use them rather than the trees. 

    In scouting, we have an "Outdoor Code" and we promote use of "Leave No Trace" as an outdoor ethics program.  Outdoor ethics is about understanding the places we hike and camp. We observe the conditions and we do things in a way that doesn't damage the resource and that preserves it for the enjoyment of others.  LNT does not have any "rules". It has some guidelines that help us know what to look for and what to consider when we're outdoors so we can apply the "authority of the resource" to guide us.

    That means that if we are in real backcountry in an area with healthy, hearty trees, then the hammock is a great choice for us.  If we are in an area with delicate ground cover, then likewise, the hammock might be an ideal solution to help us protect the resource.  However, if we're in an area where trees are smaller or fragile, or where conditions like drought and wild fire have left them struggling for survival....then any hammock usage at all will damage the environment far more than a tent on the ground.  There are also many areas where tents matting down the ground really aren't an "impact". For example, any camping on a beach, on the snow, or even on a layer of pine needles in a southern forest, will have zero to near-zero impact on "the resource".

    Scouters who love their hammocks but still want to be responsible outdoorsmen can educate themselves about how the potential pitfalls of hammock use occur and can become aware of what natural factors affect the decision of whether or where to use a hammock.

    Here's a good source of basic info that really helps understand just why hammocks can be a problem.

    I'm not saying hammocks are always a problem....they're not. But sometimes they are.  Good outdoor ethics training helps us understand when, where, and how using a hammock is "good". 



    • Upvote 1
  13. On 2/1/2020 at 6:31 AM, qwazse said:

    A 10k budget ain't all that much for a large troop. And those are probably a lot of weekends to get a job done. Even in a small troop, when broken down into scout-hours, it's probably a week of work to pay for one or two big trips.

    Quite right.  

    As my son's troop inches towards 100 scouts, fundraisers that net $10K don't stretch all that far. It will only help defray costs of $100 per scout.  $10K might sound like a lot of cash, but when you have an active troop that sends scouts to summer camp every year, offers a couple of different high adventure treks, and has a very active troop program with monthly campouts, scholarships for things like NYLT training, etc. .... well, we might need something like this project in addition to our other troop fundraisters and in addition to participating in popcorn sales or other types of council-sponsored fundraisers. 

    • Upvote 1
  14. On 1/31/2020 at 3:17 PM, Eagledad said:

    Ignoring that I don't think the proposal would get past the Eagle Project review, I would ask the scout to tell me about the project from how he heard about it to final the completion. I guess I'm looking for a trace of a noble benevolent heart in his motivation. 

    When I re-read the article, it seems apparent that the primary goal here was troop fundraising.

    I have heard about scouts doing similar projects for Eagle or Hornaday....in those cases the "noble benevolence" is a reasonable element to consider. In this specific project though, the elements of community service and conservation turn out to be by-products of a well-planned fundraiser.

  15. 4 minutes ago, skeptic said:

    .. I keep waiting for similar stories to appear about stuff in schools, sports, and youth clubs.  

    It's already happened.

    Remember the flap over USA Gymnastics and their team doctor, Larry Nassar?

    The legal wrangling over that has still been going on even as the media focus moved on to other subjects. 

    Settlement for victims in that case is still up in the air...


  16. Just now, qwazse said:

    Unfortunately for us all, your phrase "more insidious and pernicious in LDS troops" is pure speculation.

    What I'm referring to is the allegations of institutional-level cover-up.

    Most of the previous cases that I've read about have involved accusations against individual scouters, but I haven't heard about the "powers that be" in scouting or the COs doing anything to perpetuate the problem instead of stopping it.  This systematic perpetuation is what I find particularly heinous. It was disgusting when it was reported that certain Catholic bishops were simply moving offenders to new, unsuspecting parishes where they could find new victims. That's the same kind of situation that is being alleged in the article: That LDS leaders told the victims to hush up while they let the offender go back to the camps they came from, able to offend again.

    Sure, it might take a while for things to get sifted through. That doesn't change the crux of what's supposedly been happening...

  17. 2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    That is interesting. But, it raises the question of when the character growth of service crosses over into the motivation for profit. I have to think about this one.

    Yes, I see the gray zone....charity should be done without expectation of an award.

    Let me ask you a question though:  Hypothetically speaking, if you were on an Eagle board of review and the candidate told you that he was able to make some money off the project, which he then turned over to the recipient organization or his troop (i.e., not for personal gain), would it affect how you view the candidate's service project?


  18. We've all seen the stories of abuse accusations against scouters.

    What many of us might not realize is that the problem may be even more insidious and pernicious in LDS troops, where church elders are alleged to have aggressively conspired to cover-up crimes and silence victims.



  19. We've had some previous discussions in these forums about scouts collecting old christmas trees for use in conservation projects like beach dune replenishment or soil erosion control in woodlands or stream beds.  But these discussions were mostly about doing it for the conservation impact, not necessarily to raise funds.

    Yet a well-planned conservation project often CAN be a very effective fund raiser.

    There's a new article in the Bryan on Scouting blog that shows how one troop made this work:

    I thought it was interesting in that the troop seems to be eliciting funds from seaside communities who want their dunes built up so their community can be more resilient against storms.

    That's an interesting approach to the "revenue stream" problem.  When I've thought about how this kind of erosion control project could make money, I'd only thought about asking families to pay a "disposal fee" for the troop to pick up the trees.

    I wonder how much a troop might be able to earn if they charged both for tree pickup and for the project execution...Hmmm.

  20. 54 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

    We will attend a service at our CO for Scout Sunday....

    In my opinion, that's not only a good way to show reverence, it also shows the community that scouting is alive and well and available in the community.  A troop that's really on the ball when it comes to recruiting won't rely just on Webelos bridging into the troop.  Being visible in the CO church lets other kids and parents see an opportunity that they might not have been aware of if they were not themselves webelos.

  21. A Boy Scout troop in Ohio had their trailer stolen nearly 3 years ago.  At the time, it contained only a pinewood derby track. Police were unable to recover the trailer....until now. Turns out an innocent person had bought the trailer off Facebook and only found it had been stolen when he, in turn, had things stolen out of it and called police to report the theft.


  22. On 1/29/2020 at 9:59 AM, Protoclete said:

    Wow, this is an old thread! The question came up in another context and found this looking for insight here. Since the thread was last updated, there have been some developments, at least according to this http://www.scoutinsignia.com/cnclknot.htm:

    Ancient thread, but I appreciate your updated post....very interesting!  I wasn't even aware that councils would approve their own locally worn knots.

    I think that with girls now allowed to participate in the Scouts BSA program, you might have more interest in these knots for the Gold award.  

    How many councils have approved that gold knot?  Just a couple?  Lots?  

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