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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. 17 hours ago, Proudeagle said:

    There are trade-offs and exceptions to everything.  In the end common sense should prevail, but does not always!

    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 propane stove. There are similar situations where deviating from any of the other guidelines might yield better results. However, MOST people don't make those tradeoffs very well. Hence, we need BSA's Outdoor Ethics program more than ever and we need leaders and scouts to better understand how to make better decisions in the outdoors. 

  2. 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 that contain salt)
    1 Tablespoon dry minced onion flakes
    1 Tablespoon dry minced garlic (not garlic salt)
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1/2 teaspoon paprika

    Ingredients of spice bag 2:
    4 Tablespoons of a lighter chili powder (such as Mild Bill's San Antonio Red, include 1 Tablespoon of Mexene, avoid brands that contain salt)
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 Tablespoon dry parsley

    Night before the campout:
    1. Chop beef, if using steak or roast.
    2. Mix together Spice Bag 1 in a Ziploc bag.
    3. Mix together Spice Bag 2 in another Ziploc bag.
    4. Make sure you have a can opener in the patrol box.

    Cooking Directions:
    Brown the meat in a large pot.  Drain off excess fat.  Add tomato sauce, beef broth, chicken broth, and Spice Bag #1.  Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer one hour. Add Spice Bag #2. Simmer another 30 30 minutes. Watch consistency --- if chili becomes too thick, add more beef broth (bullion and hot water can be used as well). Taste and add salt, chili powder, and Louisiana Hot Sauce (or Tabasco, as you prefer).  

    Avoid asking advice from anyone from Cincinnati --- or anywhere in the Midwest for that matter. Those folks don't know beans about chili because they think there's beans in chili. Worse yet, the Cincinnati crowd tries to throw in cinnamon, chocolate, dirty underwear, and other such flavorings, then they serve it on top of spaghetti and pile on mountains of cheese so orange it must be radioactive. 

    It's enough to make a Texan cry!  So we won't ruin our perfectly good chili that way....stick to the recipe and you'll have genuinely tasty Texas chili.

    • Haha 1
    • Upvote 1
  3. 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....

    • Like 1
  4. 17 minutes ago, shortridge said:

    Shirts don’t typically come with the crest sewn on. 

    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...)

  5. 9 minutes ago, Proudeagle said:

    Again, the Scouts need training and if they are not getting it then the adult leaders are not doing their job.  You are lumping everyone into the "bad boy" category.

    As far as wood, it is ok to use downed, dead wood.  I was talking about cooking fires, which those that have them know they should not be raging bonfires!

    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 exactly....

    LNT is really a mindset and a skill set that can take years of discipline to develop. It comes from having a deep-seated love of the outdoors. It's no one thing...

    And downed, dead wood isn't really "ok" to use for building fires. While it might seem okay, it actually contributes to species reduction in an area because that downed wood can be a food source for some insects, who in turn are food sources for birds and small animals, who in turn are food sources for carnivores, etc., etc. Downed wood (even little twigs) are also used by lots of species to build dens, nests or other habitat. So when you have an over-used outdoor area (like most state parks), you quickly find that campers use all the downed wood and there's not much left for fire building, let alone for the forest critters who might have been able to survive there if only campers would have used stoves instead of wasting resources on cooking fires...

    On the other hand, if it is truly necessary to build a fire, then yes, a small fire built of downed dead wood is preferable to chopping down trees or other practices that were once pretty common, but that are completely unsustainable in today's world.


  6. 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 gets well beyond the basic guidelines that you find in the Scout Handbook.  The BSA Field Book has a better intro to LNT, and you'll find some independently authored books here: https://lnt.org/shop/catalog/books 

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  7. 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. 

  8. 13 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

    Looks like in addition to new fit... covered buttons, smaller front pockets and BSA vs Boy Scouts of America.  Any other changes?   Glad they didn’t go with some of the more drastic changes, but this is definitely more than just size.


    Wellllll,  I don't see the World Scout crest on this....

  9. On 1/16/2019 at 11:10 AM, DuctTape said:

    I believe Wiscinsin has some national forest land. Regs vary (slightly) between areas, but most have free dispersed camping opportunities. Of course this requires backpacking (or paddling) in to make camp and group size regulations  (like a patrol size... which is perfect!)

    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.   (See https://www.blm.gov/)
    • In many states, so does the US Army Corps of Engineers. Here in Texas, the Corps of Engineers have several camping areas near reservoirs, which might also offer opportunities for canoeing, fishing, etc. (See https://www.usace.army.mil/Locations/)

    Now might not be the best time to go to public lands though...  Due to President Trump's government shutdown, permits and services might be unavailable,  roads might be closed, etc. Check before you go...

  10. 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 insensitive to even build campfires using wood that you brought with you. Invasive species is the big problem with doing that. When you bring the wood, you bring bugs (or eggs) with it.  More info about that issue is at www.dontmovefirewood.org

  11. 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 ??

  12. 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.

  13. 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 great idea comes from the "wooden toggle experts"....sometimes it comes from the youngest Tenderfoot. 

    In my experience, if you really think that you "dont need experts", you guarantee that you'll never truly be one.

    And by the way....I've never been to a wood badge course. I just respect those who  do it and then come back to share their knowledge.

  14. 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 landscapers (not people engaged in outdoor recreation)

    * You can't really eliminate risk of exposure to histoplasmosis 

    * It's not something that the scout leaders should or could have avoided or prevented

    * Histoplasmosis is most common in the midwest and the south




    * CDC:  https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/histoplasmosis/index.html 

    * Mayo Clinic:  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/histoplasmosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20373495

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  15. 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 towards *completed* ranks or awards.

    Something equivalent to a blue card would be ideal, but I've never seen such a document used for Nova awards.

    (I've seen a couple of nearby districts offering Nova classes as part of their Merit Badge University, but wonder how their Nova counselors document the scouts' Nova work...)

    Anyone with thoughts on this?

  16. 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.

  17. 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/ 

  18. 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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