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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. 12 hours ago, prof said:

    Not with Eagle Scouts, but with one group that I work with, the graduates all start a linked in account. That works better to communicate with them and get updates from them than email.

    I like the LinkedIn approach better than the FB approach.

    LinkedIn is a more useful, professional kind of social media site. It's used extensively for professional networking, HR recruiting, college alumni groups, etc.  Although it's not perfect, it does have a better reputation than most social media sites and better embraces "values".  Encouraging use of sites like LinkedIn lets scouts know how responsible adults use the internet.

    On the other hand, Facebook is an insecure site favored by marketers, hucksters, manipulators, hackers, perverts, and criminals. Facebook has been facing a constant barrage of civil lawsuits and criminal investigations over the past several years because they constantly invade user privacy, allow their data to be misused for nefarious purposes, target youth, and ignore privacy laws enacted in multiple countries. 


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  2. 13 minutes ago, karunamom3 said:

    Interesting, but I see 2 potential problems:

    * you are asking for "donations" --- generally that is the domain of councils, not units.   This is not dissimilar from the "rent a scout" fundraiser that other units have done in years past, but rent-a-scout doesn't specifically use the word "donation".

    * 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%

  3. McIver Furman was the first Eagle scout in Corpus Christi TX (the troop was founded by his mother in 1911).  He would go on to become one of the city's leading citizens, earning his medical degree from University of Texas, serving as the city's mayor, and founding a hospital in the city.;  Boy Scouts do great things!   Here is Dr. Furman's story...



  4. On 11/11/2019 at 1:42 PM, MikeS72 said:

    Our council camp allows bikes, helmets are required.  We do have several program areas that would take quite a while to get to from the waterfront or pool areas, so it can be a big help.  I saw a troop this past summer that brought in a whole trailer of bike, and their scouts rode pretty much every where during program hours.

    Hmmm.  Not sure I'm a big fan of the bikes in most cases, but in the case of long distances, I like the idea of bikes better than buses carrying scouts around (which I've seen at some camps).

  5. 5 hours ago, Treflienne said:

    I guess that in your part of the country, the schoolkids don't all take field trips to Plimoth Plantation.  Around here its hard *not* to know what the "Three Sisters" and "pottage" are:

    Plimoth Plantation's explanation (for kids) of how the three sisters were grown:


    And see the sobaheg recipe:


    No, I'm afraid Plimouth Plantation would be well outside the 10-hour driving limit that BSA's G2SS recommends...

    That sobaheg recipe looks interesting!  And the addition of turkey probably makes it a richer, and tastier dish than the veggie-focused pottage.  

    Thanks for the pointers to interesting reads!

  6. With thanks to @le Voyageur


    • 1-1/2 cup frozen corn
    • 1-1/2 cup butternut squash, chopped
    • 14 ounce can pinto beans
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. minced garlic (2-3 cloves, if fresh)
    • 2 quarts vegetable broth 
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 teaspoon sage
    • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
    • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 cup rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup barley

    Peel and chop all vegetables. Add to large soup pot. Add 1/2 cup broth and saute until veggies are soft.  Stir in broth and spices.  Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer 30 minutes.  Add oats and barley. Simmer uncovered 20 minutes or until grains are cooked. Stir in vinegar, adjust seasonings to taste, then serve with a thick and hearty corn bread.

  7. 22 hours ago, le Voyageur said:

    There are a number of water colors done by John White (1584) that can help.  But, suggest starting with a Three Sisters pottage (a stew) ...hundreds of variations, serve with flat bread (easy to make....it's okay to use either APF, or masa harina).  


    Interesting ideas here.  I had to do a bit of research to figure out what the heck "Three Sisters" meant, then more research to figure out what the heck "pottage" was, since it's not exactly something that comes natural to my kitchen.

    "Three Sisters" refers to the Native American practice of growing corn, squash, and beans together in the same plot, or mound. "Pottage" was a thick stew made in medieval times, consisting of veggies and grains with little or no meat.

    I found a couple of "pottage" recipes that were adapted to modern cooking methods, but they were based around other veggies, like turnips, but it's an easy matter to change those out for the "Three Sisters" veggies. I then threw in onion and garlic to add flavor and, well, I just like onions and garlic.  

    I'll post the pottage recipe separately so it stands on its own.  Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Further Reading:



  8. Did your troop do anything special to recognize Veterans Day?

    A small group of boys from our troop participated in setting out wreaths at a nearby National Cemetery.  I heard of another troop that would clean the headstones of military veterans.

    What does your unit do?

  9. As our Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we should think about the meaning of Gratitude. We should think about how we find it, know it, and express it.

    When I think about the meaning of Gratitude, I am reminded of the story of Shukla.

    Long ago, in a long-forgotten land in Africa, there lived a tribal chief and his faithful servant, Shukla. The chief and Shukla developed a great friendship and Shukla was always by the chief's side in every event the tribe experienced.

    The chief loved nothing more than being in the woods, honing his woodcraft by hunting the many types of animals that lived there. 

    One day in the deepest part of the forest, the chief took aim at an enormous deer, and shot it right between the eyes!  "Shalabat!"  exclaimed Shukla, which is the word for "Thank you, Oh Great One!"

    As the chief was removing the arrow from the deer, he sliced off the end of his finger. "Shalabat!", exclaimed Shukla.  This made the chief  very angry, and when they returned to their tribal lands, the chief had Shukla thrown in prison.

    A few days later, the chief went out hunting by himself and went even deeper in the woods than he had before. He was suddenly surrounded by a rival tribe and taken prisoner.  The tribe were preparing to sacrifice the chief to the Gods when they noticed that the chief was missing part of a finger.

    "We can not give God a damaged human," they said, so they let the chief go.

    When the chief returned to town and told his tale, Shukla bowed profusely, saying, "Shalabat! Shalabat! Shalabat!"

    "Why are you so thankful?" the chief asked.

    "Because," Shukla replied, "If I had been with you, they would have sacrificed me."

  10. 43 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    The old Arbor day projects were generally aimed at instant gratification and the notion of forest progression from field to pines to hardwoods. My brother planted firs and spruce in part of our property, and they loomed large in a decade. But there was no plan to bring up maple, oak and sassafras behind it.

    Hardwood plantings are challenging. Deer love rubbing those saplings!

    Reminds me of a personal story. Back in the 1960s, my grandfather was working as a land manager for a large paper company. The company had bought up thousands of acres on which they would plant a "forest".  Rows, upon straight, even rows of uniformly spaced pine trees were planted as far as the eye could see. Pine grew fast and would provide pulp for the company in the 80s. Of course, few native birds, insects, or forbs would grow there and it became a macabre kind of place that never seemed to look, smell, sound, or feel like those pockets of natural forestland that reminded folks of how forests used to be...

  11. UK scouts at the "Explorer" level (ages 14-18) have some additional Activity Badges they can earn.  One of the coolest is "Motor Sports".  Looking at the requirements, I bet it's regarded as a fairly "hard" badge because it requires engaging in a motor sport for a period of 6-12 months.  The requirements don't, however, specify any specific sports, nor does it restrict any sports as inappropriate or too risky.  I assume that motorcycling, ATVs, stock cars, etc. would all be within bounds...

  12. 1 hour ago, le Voyageur said:

    Yes...but with Bean Holes.  However, I've plans to introduce into our MM program the Green Corn Ceremony which predates our Thanksgiving holiday....

    Very cool!  Though, I have to admit, it took me some effort to understand what your message meant, never having heard of "Bean Holes" or "Green Corn Ceremonies"...once I looked 'em up on Wikipedia, I gained a bit of educated appreciation.  I had no idea that native Americans had such a wide-ranging tradition.  Interesting that it not only reflects gratitude, but also forgiveness.  

    Now if only I could figure out what those Native Americans might have been cooking over their campfires...

  13. 16 hours ago, PACAN said:

    Pardon my lack of knowledge but does the GS have a required YPT course like the BSA does?  And are GS leaders mandated reporters?  Thanks.

    My understanding is that GS leaders need to do a comprehensive safety course that includes awareness of sexual abuse situations, as well as things like cyber safety, being safe at fundraisers, etc.    

    Yes, GS leaders are also mandated reporters (that is usually required by state laws, so mandated reporting will apply regardless of what kind of youth program you are dealing with).

  14. This is, indeed, a very interesting (and complicated) issue.

    Tree planting used to be a simple thing to do. If you find an area that's been de-forested, you plant whatever kinds of trees have historically thrived in that area.

    Global warming and the pervasive threats to habitat and native species make that a harder effort.  Naturalists have been dealing with invasive insects decimating native species. Trees that once thrived in an area are often dying out.  

    Naturalists are also observing that changing temperatures mean that tree bands in mountainous areas are changing. Lower elevations are becoming too hot for some plant species, and "moving up the mountain" isn't always naturally easy. Similarly, as lower latitudes become too warm or moist (or dry), the trees that once thrived are dying out because they can't naturally move north fast enough to avoid their own demise.

    When do a tree planting project, you can consult with a local expert (like a botanist at your local agricultural extension office). They may be able to suggest an alternative tree species for you, or may suggest an alternative location where your newly planted trees might have better odds of survival.

    Good luck!

  15. Is it common for scouts to bring their bikes to summer camp?  Do summer camps usually allow that?

    I heard about a summer camp that I will not identify at this time that lets scouts bring their bikes to camp and to use them to ride between their sites and the various program areas.  I have not seen bikes in camp before (other than in program areas, like mountain biking, BMX, etc.)

    Thoughts?  Experiences?

  16. Have you ever tried cooking a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner at camp?  Dutch oven turkey?  Stuffing?  Potatoes?  Yams?  

    I can imagine that back in the days of the Pilgrims, everything was cooked over an open fire.  It doesn't seem like much a stretch then to adapt our favorite holiday recipes to an outdoor kitchen.

    Bryan on Scouting has an article about doing exactly that. Evidently some troops have an annual tradition of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner outdoors.  I know of one troop in our district that has set up big propane burners to deep-fry whole turkeys in peanut oil.  Got any ideas of your own for cooking Thanksgiving favorites outdoors?

    Story:  https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/11/05/its-time-for-campsgiving-a-great-outdoor-thanksgiving-tradition/ 


  17. Nope. Not a new concept....but it might be a radical idea for scouters accustomed to warm weather camping in state parks with flush toilets and other luxuries.

    "Pack it out" is definitely the rule among climbers....and among whitewater rafters too where nobody really wants to go overboard in a river you've been dumping waste in.

    For weekend activities, I can "pack it out" using zip-loc plastic bags.  Outdoor stores smell profits in human waste, so they offer lots of stuff you can buy, like disposal bottles, deodorizers, enzymes to break down waste, etc.  REI sells a bunch of things with names like Biffy-Bag, Pocket Loo, etc.  IMHO, a regular Zip-Loc works fine and costs far less.  By the way, getting back to the winter-specific theme, enzymes don't break down bio-matter as quickly in cold weather as they do in warm weather. Just sayin'....

  18. Winter opens up a wealth of outdoor activities for the adventurous outdoorsman. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice fishing, and cold weather camping are all great opportunities to test our outdoor skill.  They also challenge us to think about how we can stay true to our outdoor ethics while surviving and thriving in cold conditions.

    For each of the 7 Leave No Trace principles, I've gathered a few thoughts about special challenges that winter conditions present and some ideas for how scouts and scouters can integrate Leave No Trace into their winter activities.  I'd love to hear more ideas and thoughts!

    Winter weather can quickly change for the worse. Be prepared for it. Check local weather forecasts before you go and make sure that clothing and sleeping bags are going to be warm enough to handle the lowest expected temperature range. Pack an extra fleece blanket too, and remember to bring a sleeping pad.

    Areas with melting ice or snowpack can be particularly vulnerable to impacts from hikers straying off the trail and forming new cutbacks or parallel tracks. Wear appropriate boots and walk down the middle of the established trail even if it's wet or muddy.

    In snow-covered areas, it's best to travel or camp in deeper snow where impacts on underlying vegetation are minimized.  Snow and ice can be generally regarded as a "durable surface"  --- it's okay to walk or camp in a snow-covered field. Don't try to clear away snow to make an area to setup a tent:  just setup the tent on top of the snow (it's softer than the ground anyway). 

    Pack it out is the way to go during the winter. 

    Do not bury any waste under snow. 

    If you build snow shelters, break them down before you leave.

    Remember that winter is a vulnerable time for many species. Be particularly careful to avoid damaging resources that might be needed for food, water, or shelter. 

    Crowds are less likely to be a problem in winter than summer, but there's less vegetation to hide your activities and sounds tend to travel further in the winter.  Be aware of it.


    As you probably noticed, I skipped a couple LNT guidelines. That's because those seem to apply to winter camping or hiking pretty much the same as they would to summer camping or hiking.  Of course, you might think of a wrinkle I overlooked.  If so, shout it out!