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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. 3 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

    BSA's Soccer and Scouting initiative has been around for a while.  The idea was to use soccer to introduce Scouting into the Hispanic community.  


    • Haha 1
  2. 10 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

    The problem with the Soccer and Scouting idea, in my view, is the notion that you can make Scouting more appealing by watering it down and making it look like something it isn't.  I'd put STEM Scouting in that same category.  Soccer is great, and maybe BSA should get into the soccer business, but don't call it Scouting.  STEM is great, and BSA has gotten into the STEM business, but don't call it Scouting.  

    Some STEM is okay....but it needs to avoid conflicts with the core outdoor program. Nothing wrong with a kid being interested in science and going for a Chemistry merit badge and a NOVA award...

    Things go wonky when you take it too far. Like BSA did with the stupid "STEM Scout" program.   (Or like *MANY* organizations do by watering down their STEM focus by stacking art on top of it and making it "STEAM" --- talk about a sure-fire way to guarantee that your program will be a failure!)


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  3. 43 minutes ago, SSScout said:

    Here in the NCAC, White Oak District,  MBCounselors must be registered with the District MBDean, who lists them with the Council.  Council has taken to checking MBC names and dates on Eagle Applications before the Scout may proceed to the Eagle BoR . There has been gnashing of teeth, to be Biblical,  about this.  


    IMHO, the NCAC practice you describe is an excellent demonstration of PITIFUL servant leadership. 

    If the scouters in Council were GOOD leaders, they'd be checking "downstream" --- looking at the blue cards or electronic advancement records *WHEN THE SCOUT EARNS AN AWARD AND THE TROOP BUYS THE BADGE FOR HIM*.  That way the scout has an opportunity to correct himself, and the troop can discover their sloppy advancement processes in time to nip future problems in the bud so they don't end up with a years-long procession of non-compliant sign-offs.

    Waiting until an Eagle BOR to verify that the person signing a blue card is actually a registered MBC is simply unacceptable. Sad.

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  4. 30 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

    ... The only real 2 outdoor badges he worked on was the rifle and archery.   These 2 seem to be badges that seem like summer camp would be the best place to accomplish them, thus his disappointment of the lack of requirements marked as completed.  So unless he finds another opportunity during this year, he will have to repeat those again at next years summer camp in order to earn them.

    There might be ways to get partials done on those anyway. 

    • Our local council has a "Shooting Sports Fulfillment Weekend" where they open up the ranges at a nearby camp and provide certified instructors to help the boys --- any scout from any unit is welcome to come. 
    • The council also provides NRA and USA Archery instructor training periodically for adult scouters. We have several adults in our troop who have taken those classes and are now registered as MBCs. They provide qualified instruction for the troop as a group, but also work with individual scouts to complete merit badge requirements. 
    • The troop regularly has a "Shooting" campout at a council-run camp where we either use our own trained scouters, or arrange with council to have an RSO provided to us. Your troop might be able to do that too...depends on your council.
    • ...and of course, the scout can ask the Scoutmaster or use Scoutbook to find a local counselor willing to work with him individually (the classic method of earning merit badges)

    Our scouts thus have multiple avenues open to them to finish any shooting sports merit badges.  Check with your local council ---- I would not be surprised if there are more opportunities in your area than you might realize.

    • Like 1
  5. I heard that Rainbow Council is thinking about rolling out a program that combines soccer with scouting in the same unit. Instead of scout uniforms, kids wear soccer uniforms. Instead of learning first aid, they learn to roll around on the ground moaning like prima donas.  Here's the story:

    Since Rainbow Council is clearly on the cutting edge of combinatorial youth activities, here are some more ideas for them:

    • Combine karate classes with scouting: kids don't need to chop wood to build fires, they can karate chop those logs!  And if woods tools really ARE called for, they can always use a samurai sword in place of a hatchet (but only if the scout has a Totn Chip).
    • Combine scouting with marching bands.  A bugler playing taps is sooooo "OK Boomer"....let's have 50 kids play reveille with booming bass drums and a few slide trombones!
    • Modern parents like to make up sorry excuses for not going outdoors, pretending that it's the kids who want to stay inside. So let's combine scouting with therapy sessions!  Yeah!  We'll sit around in a circle, holding hands, spouting all kinds of PC BS about feelings and our own personal self worth while doing absolutely nothing of any value to anybody in society.  Then we'll have a big group hug instead of a flag ceremony.  What fun!
    • Haha 1
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  6. Autistic scouts face a number of challenges as they progress through BSA's advancement program. For a scout who is unable to express himself verbally, some of the Eagle badges are particularly difficult because the scout must find ways to communicate without words. How does a non-verbal scout ever manage to earn Communication merit badge if they can not stand up and give a 5-minute speech, or emcee a Court of Honor?  Well, here's a story about one young man with non-verbal autism who found ways to overcome any challenge the Eagle rank could throw his way...


  7. 15 hours ago, mashmaster said:

    In my times at camp, we would get a report on the evening of the night before the last day at camp and they had the counselors available to discuss what is in the report.  If we had any questions, we could talk with them about discrepancies.  

    Not a great solution, but it helped.  I would have preferred to see it daily so I could talk to the scouts throughout the week. 

    Better than no feedback, but no....not great.

    The problem is that the report goes to the scoutmaster, who has 20 or 30 scouts in his care. He scans through the report, and hopefully, big problems like a scout only getting one requirement signed off, will jump out at him so he can raise a question.  But there's a lot of socuts in a unit....and most of 'em are trying to earn 4 or more badges during the week....so there will still be problems that fall through the cracks.

    As TAHAWK says, in many camps, the "counselors" are actually scouts and the camp or council just "cheat" by pretending that a counselor back in the city is "supervising" the camp merit badge classes. Of course they aren't, which is why camps really need to get rid of all the BAD quality classes in their program. One camp my son's troop went to boasted they offered "over 60 merit badges".  Sad...they would be a better camp if they would just do 20 outdoor-focused badges really WELL. 

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  8. 7 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

    I was looking over the 20 questions tonight.  HA HA HA.  Nevermind.  Woodbadge is obviously designed for individuals who have high self worth and are optimists.  I'd just like some additional training.. not a way to further beat myself up.

    The great thing about scouting is that it's a very rich program, full of opportunities for people of diverse interests.

    If Wood Badge isn't the kind of training you want, maybe Powder Horn will be more up your alley.  Or maybe take an NRA class and become a shooting sports guru....or one of the American Canoe Association (ACA) instructor classes ---- there's never enough adults in the troop who really know how to teach paddle sports!  I've heard that BSA is rolling out an Angler Instructor certification class....maybe that would be of more interest. 

    • Like 1
  9. Stick to your guns, you've got it right!

    If the scout does not complete everything with the camp's counselor, then he needs to find another Merit Badge Counselor to complete the requirements.

    The only people authorized to sign off on Merit Badge requirements  are those who register with District/Council as a Merit Badge Counselor - position 42 (MBC is not a unit position) and counselors need to be approved for each badge they will counsel. Some badges require specific training --- for example, Rifle Shooting MBCs must have NRA Instructor training, Archer MBCs must have USAArchery instructor training, Scuba MBCs must have PADI instructor training, etc. 

    If your Life scout argues about it, just point him to BSA's Guide to Advancement. The rule is clear. 

  10. 1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

    There are a few species of moss (I do not know the names) which make fantastic TP. It is like using a wet-wipe. One species in particular my paddling partner and I call "the clean get-a-way"  (from the  commercial). This allows us to not have to burn used TP in areas which require it.

    Very interesting.

    I've always sought out the leaves of sycamore trees because they have a soft, velvety feel. Sycamore leaves are like Charmin Ultra compared to the rougher, thinner leaves of other trees. 

    • Upvote 1
  11. 21 minutes ago, Cambridgeskip said:

    To add to the last one, Neil Armstrong actually took his scout world badge with him to the moon! If memory serves it is on display at world HQ in Geneva.

    You're the only person to bring up the last point, which I think is the best testament of all as to the value of Scouting:   out of the 12 Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon, only *ONE* was never a scout.

  12. 1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

    The "smearing" or "frosting" technique shows a complete understanding of the principles when used appropriately. And a complete misunderstanding when not. I do not include it in my basic LNT instruction as it is suitable only in environments where those new to backcountry camping are not (or should not) be venturing yet. 


    LNT is not "rules". It's about making the right call because you UNDERSTAND the environment around you. The guidelines are starting points for discussion about what to do in different situations. 

    One of the 7 LNT guidelines is "Dispose of waste properly".  That means different things at different times in different places: The challenge is to have appropriate discussions so we think about what we're doing and why it's "right" or "wrong".  You are completely correct that some techniques (like "smearing") are best left until an appropriate situation arises and the participants are of an appropriate skill and experience level.

  13. 7 minutes ago, Saltface said:

    Usually, I bring wet wipes for this purpose. This link got me wondering if packing a peri-bottle or travel bidet would be able to replace toilet paper entirely. They don't weigh much and you obviously don't need to use filtered water. Has anyone tried it?

    Eliminating the TP entirely sounds like a GREAT idea....if your goal is to build up crusty skid marks in your underwear!

  14. On 11/18/2019 at 9:15 AM, mrkstvns said:

    Another Boy Scout troop in Minnesota also had their trailer stolen.  Their trailer was also unmarked...


    Police recovered the troop's trailer and arrested the culprit.

    While their camping gear was AWOL, the troop improvised by having a "cardboard" campout theme to try and understand the plight of the homeless. (I guess this is a case of when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.)  

    The article says....

    "I'm trying to make a shelter for me to sleep in," Gabriel said. The plan for Saturday night for Gabriel and troop 254 was to throw a cardboard camping trip to raise awareness for the homeless population.

    The boys wrestled against the wind with their cardboard boxes to build shelter while collecting food donations for the needy. It was a lesson learned the hard way, much like the one they learned a few weeks ago when their trailer was stolen.





  15. 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....


  16. 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.  

  17. 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.....

  18. 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
  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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:


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