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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. If you live in an area where woods and fireplaces are commonplace, you might be able to have your troop prepare and sell firewood to raise some $$$ for the troop.  Be aware of any G2SS guidelines that might apply regarding age-appropriate activities and use of chainsaws or other power tools.

    A troop in Michigan has been successful doing this....at least until recently, when thieves stole the troop's log splitter....


  2. 24 minutes ago, 69RoadRunner said:

    That site has some good discussion!

    I like that he gets into situations like how to hard-pack a platform so you can take off skis or snowshoes in the winter, how sand is more of a sterile environment (not biologically rich) so less suitable than a hole in the forest, and how you can "roll a rock" in a hard-baked surface.  

    I was sort of thinking he might discuss the "smear technique", which might be useful in a very rocky, arid area --- you just do your business on top of the rocks, then take a stick and smear it around on the rocks. The idea is that while there's no bio action to break down your waste, there is plenty of sun that can do the job for you.  

  3. From the map, it looks like the park will encompass all of what was the former River Camp.

    Unfortunately, El Rancho Cima was a big place (2,400 acres) so the public land will only be about 20% of the former Boy Scout camp.

    It's better than nothing, I suppose, but to me, much of the magic of El Rancho Cima was all of the rugged hiking trails that really exemplified all that's wonderful about Texas Hill Country.  There were scrubby cacti everywhere, a good chance of spotting a few rattlesnakes out sunning themselves on the sun-baked rocks, and lots of mesquite and sharp elevation changes. Climbing to the top of Sentinel Peak was a joy and let you really get away from "development", if only for a few hours.

    Sure, the river will make for a good swimming hole --- after all, there's a reason why most troops preferred camping in River Camp instead of up in the main camp....but, the real Hill Country magic is in that 80% that will remain undeveloped and in the hands of who knows what private land holders.....

  4. 16 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

    It is not difficult to find a location. I have been to the Quetico (Canadian side of BWCA) numerous times, and locations are easy to find. One has to find them for digging a cat hole anyway.

    Second, if one is only using warm water (no soap), then it is no different from swimming in the lake. 

    Exactly right!

    So if you're thinking you need a shower, go jump in a lake!  (Just don't lather up when you're in or near the water.)

    • Upvote 1

  5. 3 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

    Again, it boils down to whether one CO should dictate to another CO (through their power with BSA) what "values" the other COs must use for membership. I argue no.

    I'm not sure the LDS was really "dictating" their values. It's simply a matter that the values of both organizations aligned well for many years, then they did not.

    It's kind of like a tourist visting NYC. He wanted to walk in Central Park in the morning, but feels no visit to the Big Apple is complete without seeing the Statue of Liberty. He asks a local how to get there. He's told to go to the west side of the park and get on a subway headed south towards South Ferry. He jumps on the first southbound train, and for many miles, all is well: the train is going in the direction he wants to go. But then, the train switches tracks and heads east towards Brooklyn. The train is no longer going the direction the man wants to go. He is forced to make a choice: he can change trains to another continuing south (i.e., find a different youth organization), or he can get off the train and walk the rest of the way to his destination (i.e., develop a new program).  The only irrational thing he could do would be to stay on the train that is no longer going his direction.

    Personally, I think Mr. Ballard is correct.  It's not the LDS church that changed directions, it's BSA. 

    This shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing or as a malicious event. It's simply that the values of each organization now differ whereas they were once well aligned.

  6. On 11/15/2019 at 6:55 PM, DuctTape said:

    For sure. Backpacking having to carry all water sounds like a chore. I tend to go places where water is abundant. 

    Some of those places can present different kinds of challenges...

    If you go to Northern Tier and try a canoe trek through the BWCA, you will find a huge abundance of water. But if you're observing LNT practices, you then want to make sure your waste disposal and shower sites are 200' away from any water source.  With thousands of lakes and streams EVERYWHERE, finding a piece of land that's 200' away from any water source can be as challenging as lugging an extra 9 pounds of water up a mountain!

  7. A Boy Scout designs and builds small wagons as "wheelchairs" for use by special needs kids.

    The article says,

    The carts Friend designed and created are intended to be used by very small children (under age 3) with conditions like Spina Bifida or cerebral palsy, who are too young to be able to use regular wheelchairs. The carts allow the children, who would otherwise only be able to be mobile by rolling on the floor or being carried, to move around their environment and play with their peers. 

    See story:


  8. 1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

    The article states that:  "The American program is the second-largest in the world, with the national organization claiming over 2.4 million members. As of 2012, the Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, or Indonesian Scout Movement, had more than 21 million members, making it by far the largest Scout association worldwide."

    I guess we know where to go for membership recruiting advice.  On the other hand, that was back in 2012.  A lot can happen in a Scouting organization in seven years.

    Yeah, the Indonesians seem to have wholeheartedly embraced the scouting program.

    BTW: I see that for 2012, Indonesia claimed 21.6 million members and in that same year, BSA's membership was 2.9 million. 

    In 2012, the total population of Indonesia was 248.9 million while the US population was 314 million.  Proportionally, the Gerakan Pramuka is kicking BSA's *ss when it comes to recruiting and retention.  

    • Upvote 1

  9. Popular Mechanics magazine ran an interesting article about Scouting a few months back.  Some of their 10 facts about Scouting's history are well known to scouts and scouters, but a few are rather obscure, and may be a bit surprising.  For example, did you know that there were 5 U.S. presidents who were former Boy Scouts, only 1 of whom was an Eagle Scout...and there was 1 president who was a former Scoutmaster.

    Want to know who those Scouting presidents were?  You can read the article....


    • Upvote 1

  10. As everyone here knows by now, the LDS church is discontinuing their participation in the Scouting program as they roll out their own youth development program.

    Motives for the LDS leaving scouting have revolved around whether policy changes in BSA motivated the change, or whether it was simply time for the church to have a program they controlled that was more tightly focused on their core values.  Now a prominent church leader is speaking out, saying that "BSA abandoned us..."



  11. 3 hours ago, ianwilkins said:

    I'm running Jambowlree again this year, and it would be great to get some more teams involved from the ten pin bowling motherland :)
    You'll definitely be taking part in an international competition, check out the website under "global" for maps of where teams have entered from.  

    Sounds like fun!

    Since it's a competition, I assume that fabulous prizes will be awarded...

    • Haha 1

  12. 4 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    ...The nurse thought for a minute and then responded, “I believe a doctor could talk you through a tracheotomy with the crudest of implements … with one very important exception! Unless it is my tracheotomy!”   :laugh:  

    Yep. Sometimes the cure can be worse than the cough.

    That kind of reminds me of a story called "First Aid" by the famous Russian author, Anton Chekhov.

    In the story, everyone in town is hanging out, drinking to excess, and having a grand old time. One man decides to cut the evening short and takes a short-cut back to his house. Unfortunately, he's not on a trail and gets lost in the woods, where he falls into a river. He cries out for help and is rescued by another man. He emerges from the water, shivering and utterly incoherent, but breathing and ambulatory. One of the villagers suggests that since he's so incoherent, the soul must have left his body, and they should all perform "First Aid" on the near-drowned man. They get a big tarp and use it to launch the victim into the air, catching him on the downward trip like he was on a big trampoline. Eventually, the man's neck breaks and the villagers stop their "First Aid" when it's obvious the man is dead.


  13. 15 hours ago, MattR said:

    Once a year we hand deliver an addressed envelope and a flyer to a few thousand homes. We tell them if they put out their old x-mas tree on the curb we'll recycle it. In return we'd appreciate a donation. It's a good fundraiser, completely based on the honor system, and the scouts have a bunch of work to do.

    Sounds like a good project!

    This could also double as an individual or unit Hornaday project, if somebody chose to manage it that way.  There are several ways to turn x-mas tree recycling into an environmental project:

    Read more about Hornaday conservation projects here...

  14. 10 hours ago, DuctTape said:

    Take a "woods shower". A pot of water heated to a nice bath temp, a cup, a bandana, and a private place in the woods. Scoop and  pour cupfuls of warm refreshing water over your head. Use other hand to "scrub" away dirt and grime. Being extra mindful of crotch and armpits. Dry off best you can with bandana. Get dressed.

    If you have a ready water source, that might work just fine, but if you're backpacking and you have to carry everything in, then a few baby wipes for a faux shower will save quite a bit in weight.  Water is heavy!

  15. On 11/13/2019 at 9:13 AM, SteveMM said:

    Since this topic resurfaced, I thought I'd give an update: There was an opportunity for my son to get his Brotherhood last weekend.  Weeks in advance I talked with him, and offered to register him for the lodge weekend as long as he was willing to do the work to prep for Brotherhood.  It was also a big anniversary for our local lodge, which would have made getting Brotherhood that weekend even more special.  After hemming and hawing about it for a while, my son finally said he's just not interested.  I asked why, and he said the pressure from his SM and the SM's son has made him a lot less interested in OA.  That may be an excuse to not want to do the little bit of work that's involved.  However, my son claims that our current SPL is in the exact same situation.

    Hmmm.  What do you think?  Maybe it's time for a little chat about whether your son (and you) actually DO see any value in Brotherhood.

    It would be a shame to reject it simply as a response to SM pressure. After all, it might be a case of "cutting off your nose to spite your face".

    But if you and your son genuinely don't find value in it, then why make him waste his time and effort? Let him make the call though...

  16. 3 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

    * if you're successful with your efforts, you're wasting 10% of your income on an unknown website without the kind of reach and traffic to actually generate real improvement. Cut their website out of the equation and you can pocket that wasted 10%

    Let me explain my reasoning here....it all boils down to understanding "targeted marketing".

    * Your unit is local, focused only on your community (probably within a few mile radius)

    * Raise Craze is NOT a local, community-based info source:  its audience is global, not local.  The site is likely to have a local audience penetration of under 1%.

    * Your unit is likely either a pack chartered by an elementary school or a troop chartered by a church

    * Most schools and churchs have communication methods that reach their members, and those methods almost certainly have many, MANY times better local audience penetration rates than Raise Craze.  Leverage the school or church to reach the local audience.

    * Word-of-mouth and door-to-door campaigns are likely to have many, MANY times better local audience penetration rates than Raise Craze. 

    * Traditional print media (flyers) will certainly  have many, MANY times better local audience penetration rates than Raise Craze. 

    Raisin Craze does nothing new (Rent A Scout has been done for years), and it is a FAR less effective way to reach your local market than traditional low-tech methods.....so promising Raisin Craze 10% of your take is a TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY.  

  17. It's a small detail, but it's been bugging me for weeks.....why doesn't the "NEWEST MEMBER" block on the lower right side of the Forum page update any more?  It's been out of date for over 2 months now.  I know that we've actually HAD new members sign up during that time (in fact, I saw at least 2 new members show up within a few minutes of each other just this morning). Sounds like a bug to me...

  18. "A scout is ... CLEAN" - Scout Law

    "Dispose of waste Properly"  - Leave No Trace Principles

    Wander around in any outdoor store and you'll find plenty of "environmentally responsible" solutions to the perennial problem of staying clean in the backcountry.  Of course we want to keep the weight low so we're not lugging a whole bathroom with us, but we also want to maintain some modicum of hygiene. We don't want to spread germs and we don't want to smell bad. But we're well aware that conservation and outdoor ethics are keystones of the scouting program, so we like finding solutions that not only keep us clean, but that are clean for the environment and that are courteous to other outdoor afficianados.  Cheapskates, like me, especially like doing that on the cheap.

    So here are three thoughts on how I can better embrace Leave No Trace while staying clean and staying cheap...

    1. Wipes are nice.
    My favorite "no trace" solution is not to bring any soaps, sanitizers, or waste products at all. Instead, I can pack any brand of baby wipe, body wipe, or anti-bac wipe that I want in a plastic Zip-Loc bag.  I wipe myself off when I'm dirty, or I wipe down my dishes after I eat, and then I put the used wipes in the Zip_loc to pack out with me.  No fuss, no muss, no trash, no liquids, no expensive specialty products.

    2. 200 feet is 30 steps
    If you must bring liquid soaps, remember that LNT guidelines say to stay away from lakes, rivers, streams, and other water sources by at least 200 feet. Most of us are aware that distance applies to any cat holes we might dig, but it also means we don't throw used dish water close (or in) to a stream. It's easy to know when you're an appropriate distance because 200 feet is approximately 30 paces for a teenager or an adult.

    3. Specialty soaps sure do cost a lot!
    Several brands of "camp soap" can be bought.  They're often marketed as "biodegradable", and they don't always appear too expensive at first glance because some brands cost as little as $3. What makes them expensive is that the bottles are small --- often as little as an ounce. Great for backpacking, right?  Well, not when I can buy an off-the-shelf soap at any grocery or department store and put it into a small bottle myself.  To be "biodegradable", a soap should be free of phosphates, surfactants, and anti-bacterial agents.  Dawn Plus is my favorite for outdoor use because it's more environmentally responsible than most "grocery store" brands, yet I can buy it at my local Target or Food City.  

    Do any of y'all have any other tips for being conservation minded, the clean and cheap way?

  19. BSA has gotten embroiled in various discrimination issues over the past many years.  Most of us remember the flap over whether gay scouts should be allowed. Then it was, well, how about gay adults?  Then we had the gender flaps about girls in troops and whether a transgender was male or female or other....

    We know how most of these have washed out.

    But the general questions still linger in the minds of many in the legal community, and among certain conservatives who regard the issues as "religious questions".

    I'm not taking any stand on any of these issues, but I find it interesting to learn about the reasoning that underlies the various arguments. That's why I enjoyed reading this article about whether or not BSA was within its rights as a private organization to set policies as to who it would or would not associate with.  You may find it interesting as well...