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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. 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.  

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  2. 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
  3. 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..."



  4. 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
  5. 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.


  6. 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...

  7. 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!

  8. 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...

  9. 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.  

  10. 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...

  11. "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?

  12. 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...


  13. 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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  14. 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%

  15. 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...



  16. 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).

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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:



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