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Everything posted by mrkstvns

  1. I doubt this is news to the more avid members of this forum, but the "Bryan on Scouting" blog is simply indispensible. It's got a great variety of themes and issues, its timely and consistently updated, and it is presented with charm and authority. See https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/
  2. That is really the crux of embracing LNT. (Along with TMSM's comment that "All scouting is local...") LNT has some basic guidelines that we try to teach younger scouts. But that isn't the whole story. It's just the prologue... LNT is really about building a deep understanding of the interconnected natural world and building respect for the natural world so there can be a natural world for tomorrow's boys. The article you pointed to had some good points. There certainly ARE situations when building a traditional fire might create a lesser impact on the planet than using a prop
  3. Winter campouts call for food that warms the mouth, the stomach, and the heart. I can't think of any more warming and satisfying winter meal than a big steaming bowl of genuine Texas chili! It's easy to make on campouts too! Texas Two-Step Chili Ingredients for the pot: 2 pounds ground chuck (or finely cut chunks of steak or roast) 8-ounce can tomato sauce 16-ounce can beef broth 16-ounce can chicken broth Ingredients of spice bag 1: 4 Tablespoons dark or hot chili powder blend (include 2-3 chili powders, such as Mexene or Mild Bill's Dixon Med Hot, avoid brands tha
  4. One of my favorite campouts as a kid was to Camp Rock Enon in Gore, Virginia. What I liked best about that trip was that we didn't sleep in tents --- they had these log-cabin lean-to shelters called Adirondacks and a whole patrol could sleep together in one. Wonder if they still have those Adirondacks....
  5. In our local council's scout shop they do. They also always have an American flag on the sleeve. (You can also get them with or without the council patch already sewn on...)
  6. I agree that scouts (and especially scouters) need training, but most troops don't have any leaders or adult scouters who really understand LNT in the first place. Although "Outdoor Ethics Guide" (formerly known as "Leave No Trace Trainer") is a troop position of responsibility, very few troops actually have such a position. I'd bet that fewer than 5% of troops in the U.S. have an adult scouter who has taken the LNT Trainer course. In our troop, we have a vocal and gung-ho ASM who has zero clue about LNT telling the boys that LNT means we police the grounds to pick up our trash. Uhhhh, not e
  7. Yeah, those are some of the ways we start easing into Leave No Trace....but John-in-KC is right. As you delve in deeper, you start exploring more ways to further reduce your impact on the land, and the things he mentioned are definitely issues that an LNT practitioner worries about. If you're interested in doing a deep dive into LNT, a good way to understand the mindset is to take the LNT Trainer course (16 hours) or the LNT Master Educator course (50 hours). BSA usually offers the LNT Master Educator course at Philmont and Northern Tier... There's also some good books about LNT that get
  8. That's a brilliant idea! Kudos to the police sergeant who came up with that idea....service plus a fundraiser....total win-win situation! It occurs to me that troops in states that have a container deposit law could also make money by cleaning up a local stream, or beach, or roadside. Save all those plastic bottles, aluminum cans, etc. and trade 'em in for the deposit. Wouldn't be much of a money maker here...our state doesn't have a deposit law, but we could still turn in some materials to recycling companies for a small amount of cash.
  9. Wellllll, I don't see the World Scout crest on this....
  10. Good point. National Forests are a GREAT place to camp, hike and paddle. They're generally rustic, so you don't get crowds of people "camping" in their mobile tin cans and killing the ambience of nature with their racket of generators and A/C compressors. By the way, the US Forest Service does generally require campers to practice Leave No Trace principles... If you don't have a National Forest near you, you might still be able to find good, large parcels of open land: In western states, the Bureau of Land Management has public lands that are open to free, dispersed camping.
  11. The ever-shrinking open spaces means that what forests we have left simply can't sustain groups foraging for firewood and cooking over a fire. As John-in-KC mentioned, practices like fire rings and clearing earth leave permanent scars in a camp area. I've been to scout reservations where some sites would have more than 10 obviously visible fire scars, despite the presence of an iron fire ring or even a stone fire pit in the site. These were made by scouts who were never properly trained in Leave No Trace (or who never really internalized the wisdom). Today, it's becoming environmentally i
  12. A small battery-operated fan can make hot sticky nights bearable. I like the idea of a deck of cards --- that was a favorite when I was a scout and my son's friends still never tire of a card game in the evening. Small and easy to pack. Timeless fun!
  13. I wonder if some units might be worried about how much of the scout ranch was damaged by the Ute fire last summer. I'd heard that 26,000 acres of Philmont burned in the fire, but with 140,000 acres there, it seems like they should still be able to find lots of open space for treks to explore. Anybody heard whether the fires caused any lasting impacts to the areas used for their program ??
  14. My son was planning to go on a 12-day Philmont trek this past summer. But then came the wildfires. Philmont cancelled his trek (and lots of other troops too). They guaranteed the troop a slot for 2020...but that seems so far off. For 2019, the troop has 2 crews to Seabase plus 1 crew to the Summit.
  15. Sablanck wrote: "Ahh the wooden toggle experts. I dont trust them either and they bring out my unscoutlike demeanor. Many I have dealt with are not there to help just to point out flaws. If you are not here to help you can pack up your tent and leave. I dont need "experts"" Ahh the voice of the know-it-all. Although I've been camping and hiking all my life, I still marvel at the ingenuity and adaptability of my fellow scouters. Not a campout (or camporee) goes by that I don't learn something new. Sometimes I'm reminded of something I've long ago forgotten. Sometimes a really gre
  16. Unfortunate, but not a particularly dangerous risk, nor one that can be reasonably avoided. Look at info from the CDC and the Mayo Clinic and you'll see that... * Histoplasmosis is not rare, and that most people exposed to it never even realize it * Histoplasmosis is transmitted by breathing in fungal spores that come from bird or bat droppings, so exposure is more likely to happen in local parks, fields, farms, or even your own back yard than at a scout camp (though birds and bats poop there too...) * Most people who get sick from histoplasmosis exposure are farmers and l
  17. What is this "plain white paper" you speak of? Sheesh! Next you're going to ask us to start a fire with a match instead of a butane lighter. Seriously though, thanks for the suggestion!
  18. How do scouters acting as Nova counselors report a scout's progress toward a Nova award --- i.e., *PARTIALS* ??? The FAQ on scouting.org says a counselor can use the advancement report (#34403) to report awards completed, but if a scouter is doing a group activity or a Nova class, it's almost ALWAYS going to be a "partial" that you want documented (because 2 Nova requirements, i.e., "watch 3 hours of video" and "earn a qualifying merit badge", are impractical to do in most class settings). The advancement report doesn't lend itself toward "partials" of anything --- it's oriented only tow
  19. RememberSchiff said: ...and of course, local Snipe hunts. Putting on my Leave No Trace hat, I'd just like to remind folks that one of the LNT principles is "Respect wildlife." So please...when taking part in Snipe hunts, remember to practice catch and release practices.
  20. I grew up in the Washington DC area, and my troop always went to Goshen scout reservation in Virginia. Every year. The place is big, with several different camps around the lake, so the experience was different from year to year. It was a great experience for me. Nothing I've seen so far in or near Texas is as good as Goshen...but then, that might just be because I used to be young and naive, whereas now I'm older and more cynical.
  21. If your Cyber Chip card says "Cub Master" signature, then someone in your unit bought the wrong cards when they went to the scout store. The one you have is the blue Cyber Chip card, used for cub scouts. Boy scout troops use the green card, which has a line for "Unit Leader" signature (and corresponding green pocket patch). Not a big deal though --- the pledge on both is basically the same, though the requirements vary (depending on age/grade). See the requirements on scouting.org More info: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2012/06/04/with-bsas-new-cyber-chip-online-safetys-the-point
  22. I've lurked here for several years but just recently decided to actually engage. I'm an ASM in a troop in Texas. Personal interests in conservation and STEM fields lead me to encourage boys to look at BSA's Hornaday program and Nova program. Few do. I still try... I'm MBC for several merit badges and a Supernova mentor. Also a LNT trainer.
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