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Posts posted by InquisitiveScouter

  1. 56 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    Narrow with plantar fasciitis supports. New balance have been my shoe for decades. They stopped making my number or changed it a lot. I’ll see what I can find.

    I am in a very hilly neighborhood with easy to challenging natural trails nearby. We walked 3 a day in the neighborhood until the colder weather deterred my wife. I used to do the park with my (then living) dogs several times a month. That was a good bit ago. 5 flat for sure. Have to build back in our neighborhood. Good advice, all. I am very competitive and tend to push. With the trauma issues, I’ve battled eating disorders and exercise addiction back in 2010-2012. Wound up with a heart attack. Low carb, low fat and 600+ calorie per day burn on cardio alone. I’m past that now after residential treatment.


    So, you're a late fall or early winter chicken? 😁😁😁

  2. 20 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    I know this is like asking for opinions on the best BBQ and other highly contested subjects, but recommendations for light hikers? I wore Merrills for a while then the last and sizing got off (and my feet bonier) and they became uncomfortable. I’ve given away the last two pair I’ve had. My Gortex boots are well-preserved Montrails and I still like them a lot.

    Your footwear is critically important. Do you currently need arch supports, or have a wide foot?  I do, and use New Balance trail running shoes, as they accommodate my orthopedics.

    Next...crawl, walk, hike, backpack...I'm sure you are past the crawling.  Do you walk a lot?  If not, start there.  Even on a treadmill, if necessary.  Can you walk five miles at a good pace (you have to define this for yourself) with no problems?  If yes, you are ready to do longer days hike.  

    Carry Scout Essentials only, hit a local urban trail, and shoot for 10 miles.  Recuperate, evaluate your footwear and gear, and do it again.  And again.

    Then try a 15er in a day.

    Do those, and then we can talk backpacking and lightweight gear.

    Work up to it please.  You ain't a spring chicken anymore 🤪🤪🤪

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  3. 1 hour ago, GiraffeCamp said:

    I'm totally following. What about keeping your body heat trapped inside the bag?

    I think this works even better to trap heat.  With the bag unzipped and laid on top, it is twice as wide.  Heat wants to go up, so as long as you don't stick your extremeties out from under, it works well...for me at least.  That is sleeping on the ground and not on a cot, though. Give it a try and let us know...

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  4. 59 minutes ago, MattR said:

    Good question! Sleeping bags are worthless where you smash them down. That and the fact that the ground is cold means you'll freeze if you don't have insulation directly under you. So, if you're on an uninsulated blowup mattress you will have very miserable night. Same goes for a cot. You need insulation underneath.

    Not sure you'll need it but I put an army surplus wool blanket on the floor of my tent.

    Also, I wear a hat to bed. If it gets real cold I make sure my neck is covered as well but that's just me. The sleeping bags that tie up close around my face don't quite work. I move around too much.

    I sleep pretty splayed out, and I roll and move a lot.  If I zip up my sleeping bag, it is miserable.  I put down two insulated pads, and then lay a fleece blanket over the top of those.  The sleeping bag lays opened up, on top.  The more loft you can keep in your bag, the warmer it will be.  Rolling over in a sleeping bag flattens out the loft.  Stretching out in a sleeping bag also stretches your sleeping bag and kills the loft.  Basically, an open sleeping bag is like a big comforter.

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  5. Ready for the next round of tips?

    10.  Coolers become warmers:  If temps are below freezing, do not put ice in your coolers to keep food fresh.  Put in full water bottles with water at around 40F in to keep food from freezing overnight.  Limit opening the "warmers" and close the lids quickly.  We use old 1-liter soft drink bottles.  Each patrol gets two.  They work out nicely.  Wash them out at home, and put in potable water.  (Great way to re-use, versus trashing items or wasting money on bags of ice.)  In a pinch, if water bottles or jugs are frozen, you can use the water from your "warmers" for cooking.

    11.  Below about 20F (your taste may vary), do not bother building a fire.  Insulation works both ways :)  I have seen Scouts try to sidle up too close to a fire with all their gear on...they cannot feel the heat, and they wind up burning clothing.  If you have to have a fire, any time you approach, open up all your layers so you can feel where a safe distance is.  But, when you open those layers, you have just lost all that precious heat you just worked so hard to produce.  Whenever we build a fire, it is usually to dry out wet clothing.

    12.  Shift your menus to more fats, starches, and sugars.  Calorie needs almost double.  Have some sugary things on hand for a quick warm up.  My personal favorite is honey.  If I'm feeling a bit cold, I do 20 jumping jacks (don't work up to a sweat!) and then down a tablespoon of honey.  Fats and sugars for breakfast, and have a big starchy meal for dinner...think beef stew with potatoes, rice or noodles, and bread.  Then, a Snickers bar (or a delicious Dutch oven treat) and top off your fluids before brushing your teeth for bed.  You have to keep the old furnace stoked!!

    13.  Be extra vigilant about hydration.  Dehydration degrades your body performance, and can hasten the onset of hypothermia.  If you feel thirsty, you are already behind.  Everyone is still perspiring, even at cold temps...and you lose a lot of moisture through breathing in the cold...you must replace that fluid.  Urine frequency and color is a good indicator of your hydration level.  See the chart in First Aid section of your Scout Handbook around page 138. 

    14.  Have a plan for a warm safe haven.  If someone starts to succumb to the cold, what are you going to do?  If you are car camping, a vehicle works well...  you can warm someone up within 20 minutes.  If you are further afield, do you have some shelter you can set up quickly to get out of the wind?  How quickly can you make a hot cider with the backpacking stove?  BTW, if one Scout begins having hypothermia symptoms, chances are some others are pretty close to the same condition.  Be wary... 

    15.  If you have snow on the ground, learn to make deadman anchors.  Your Fieldbook has a brief discussion.  Here is a demo (even though his taut-line is incorrect, and he doesn't show you placement... ;) )  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKBAVvRVwqY&ab_channel=SurvivalCommonSense  This also works well in the sand when camping on the beach!!  Here's another demo so you can see the principle... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4lDIDpgmdc&ab_channel=CanvasCamp  If you have no snow on the ground, putting stakes in frozen ground (and then getting them out) is a challenge.


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  6. 16 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

    Why? SM conference is one of the most important parts of the SM role. 

    For large Troops (with younger Scouts who advance quickly) it is simply a matter of bandwidth.

    It us perfectly acceptable to delegate SM confrences.


    • Upvote 1
  7. 39 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

    Upstate NY here. We camp in subzero regularly. Here are some layering tips.

    Baselayer: wool or synthetic, don't overdue this. The purpose is to wuck moisture from the body not be your insulation.

    Warm layer: fleece, down, wool. This is a thicker layer with the purpose of providing the majority of your insulation. This should stay dry.

    Top/over layer: Purpose is to keep elements away from insulation layer, whether it is wind, rain or snow (or all three). Some use a top layer to keep fire sparks off their insulation layer.

    Some add additional layers, but this is the basic idea.

    It is likely you have all three layers already. For example, long sleeve synthetic base layer, wool sweater, water resistant coat.

    @DuctTape for National Commissioner!

    Spot on...

    To help you, your Scout Handbook has a pretty good checklist in the Hiking Section (Brown colored textblock fore edge... did you know your Scout Handbook was color-coded??)

    After you read that and gather your gear, go a bit further and check out your Fieldbook, Fifth Editon, Chapter 2, Gearing Up... then follow that with Chapter 18, Cold-Weather Adventuring.  If you don't have a Fieldbook, please get one for your edification.   https://www.scoutshop.org/2014-bsa-fieldbook-perfect-bound-614985.html

    (LOL!!!  My spell check just tried to correct that to "deification"...well, that too, if you have half of the adventures in the Fieldbook!!!)

    We just got back today from camping in the nor-easter  (yes, we camped out this weekend in eastern PA), and used it as a cold-weather training camp.  Official low last night was 8F.  Wind sustained at 22 mph, with gusts up to about 40.  That put us just outside the 30-minute frostbite window on the wind chill chart. (Refer to this chart for your "deification"  https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold-wind-chill-chart )  Know where your conditions are going to put you.  When we are going into 10 minute territory, FULL SKIN COVERAGE is mandatory!!!  No exposed skin, anywhere.)

    We had around six inches of snow.   And these conditions are nothing compared to what, I'm sure, @DuctTape is used to, but for us lowlanders, it is rare.  I taught our Scouts how to build quinzees (see Fieldbook).  They had a blast, and were comfortable and cozy inside at around 30F while the wind was howling outside with single digits.

    Here are some other cold-weather tips...especially if you are not used to working in cold weather...

    1.  Avoid overheating!!!! If you break a sweat, STOP!  Take off your hat, open up all your layers, and cool off a bit.  Damp clothing is hazardous to your health ;)

    2.  EVERYTHING takes more time in the cold.  Plan and set expectations accordingly!  If your Scouts are moving so slowly that, by the time they finish breakfast and cleaning, it is time to start lunch, that's OK!!!  They are learning...  

    3.  If it is electric/electronic, and you think you need it, keep it warm!  Flashlights, smartphones, GPS devices....keep them in a pocket next to your body.  Cold temps severely degrade battery performance.

    4.  If your feet are cold, PUT A HAT ON!!!  Lots of Scouts don't want to wear hats.  Remember who you are dealing with, and gently correct this error of judgment.

    5.  Your "sleeping system" is of CRITCAL importance.  Have a dedicated set of dry underlayer clothing, specifically for sleeping.  DO NOT sleep in the clothes you have been running around in all day.  See #1.  Use two foam pads beneath you...much of your heat goes into the ground vs into the air.  Double up your sleeping bags... do not invest in a 0 degree bag if you won't use it often.  Using two sleeping bags rated at around 30, one nested into the other, will do the trick.  WARNING!  Never breathe inside your sleeping bag.  It will put loads of moisture into your sleeping system.  See #1.  Add a fleece blanket in for extra comfort.  Then do #6.

    6.  Bring two wide-mouth Nalgene-type bottles.  Before bed time, boil water and fill your bottles.  Put them in your sleeping bag (one at your feet, and one up around your torso) for a great night's rest.  And, you'll have liquid water to drink during the night, and liquid water to use for hot drinks in the morning.  Can't do much with a water bottle that is frozen solid...

    7.  Overcome whatever personal aversions you have, and learn to use a pee-bottle.  I have a dedicated bottle to pee in, discretely, of course.  It is well marked to avoid confusion!!!  Put it some place it won't freeze...empty discretely in the morning.

    8.  FIGHT TO STAY DRY!  If you can stay dry, you can stay warm.  If you get damp or wet, and don't deal with it immediately, you will have problems.

    9.  Set an alarm and do a wellness check at about 2 AM.  With another adult go around to each Scout, wake them, and ask if their fingers, toes, and nose are warm.  If not, take corrective action immediately using all the tips above.  I file this in the "due diligence" column.  In the best of worlds, I'd like to have the SPL do this, but if a Scout is having issues with the cold and hypothermia, the SPL ain't gonna take the hit...you are.

    That's enough for now....lots of other tips and tricks available for cold weather.  If you have an appetite for more, post...

    P.S.  I slept under the stars this weekend in those conditions.  Loved it....



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  8. 54 minutes ago, SiouxRanger said:

    Consider, that 238 councils, more or less, all fell in line to contribute to the Settlement Trust the amount that National set as the local councils' contributions. And why was that so?

    "Local Councils are independent corporations," says National.  Who believes that?  If local councils are truly "volunteer run" and independent, in order to obtain a 100% council compliance with National's Settlement Trust contribution "request," a majority of the board members on each and every council board would have to vote to approve the "contribution."


  9. 3 hours ago, FireStone said:

    I don't know why but I'm stuck on this one. It reads more like an individual act than a service project:

    " Under the direction of your parent, guardian, or religious or spiritual leader, do an act of service for someone in your family, neighborhood, or community. Talk about your service with your family. Tell your family how it related to doing your duty to God."

    Any ideas or suggestions for this? I've got a bunch of scouts that need to complete this requirement and not a whole lot of ideas to give them. And I'm interpreting this as something that should be viewed more as an individual act of service than a group   project thing. Not the usual picking up trash at the park kind of thing. Is that a reasonable assessment?

    No, not a reasonable assessment.  Any act of service would fit the bill, as long as the Scout tells "...how it related to doing your duty to God."  For example, if the Scout (and parent or spiritual leader) sees picking up trash not only as a community service, but as an act of stewardship that is also his duty to God, then giddyup...

    Service in a group can fit that bill also. 

    I believe it is written that way to give the ultimate approval to parent or spiritual leader, because you, in no way, are to define those matters for the Scout.  A Scout's duty to God is solely up to him, his parents, and his religious leaders.

    • Upvote 2
  10. 54 minutes ago, sierracharliescouter said:

    Even in these cases, the registrar should be able cancel it after the fact and issue a credit to the unit's account.

    Yes, but it is quite the pain.  The refund has to come from national, and that takes a little more time and effort.

    Any work you put into making your roster right before submission to national helps you and your registrar...and believe me, they appreciate it immensely.

  11. Youth Protection policies do not protect youth.  People who follow YP policies are the ones who protect youth.

    Are the existing YP policies sufficient, IF FOLLOWED?  Yes, I believe so.

    The real issue here is culture, enforcement, transparent reporting, and a lack of swift, severe public consequences.

    1.  Culture.  There is still a mindset in our society (less so in Scouting) of "don't say anything", or "don't get involved."  Although, this has changed for the better over the decades.  We must define the YP culture we want, and then figure out ways to change attitudes to match the desired culture.  

    2.   Enforcement.  There is a major gap in our enforcement, and it lies with parents.  Most parents don't or won't take YP training to learn about the policies in place, and ask or participate in enforcement. (See #1.)  ANy time I am not on an outing, I ask my son about the trip, and gently pry for info on YP measures followed.  I know a lot of parents pencil whip the YP review with their Scout for rank advancement...

    3.  Transparent Reporting.  BSA is horrible at this.  When I asked my SE why we don't see more BSA wide statistics on accidents and child abuse, he told me BSA will never report it for fear of liability.  (See #1)  I think, maybe, if they reported actual numbers and case circumstances, parents would say Scouting is not safe, and their death spiral would continue.  Much like the area of council finances, the professionals see that ignorance of the masses is one of their best assets.

    4.  Swift Severe Public Consequences.  Bring pack the pillory in the public square, rotten fruit, tar and feathering, whatever you want...  Currently, unless you know where to look and actively go looking (sex offender registry), the issue is pretty much off of everyone's radar.  Anytime there is a case in Scouting, everyone goes quiet, and there is just gossip, rumors, whispering, and, unfortunately, inflated lies.  Few people know what happened and what part of our policies were violated, and in what circumstances.   A giant black hole...  Someone gets convicted (I believe in due process)? Lay it bare and have discussions at places like University of Scouting, Roundtables, Council Events, Council Newsletters, etc., about why it occurred and where vigilance was lacking...  I believe this can be done in a way which respects the victim(s).  No, I do not want to re-live my trauma, either, so tell me how you'd approach this??

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  12. 1 hour ago, MattR said:

    Just a couple of observations with pioneering:

    Use rope made from natural fiber rather than nylon, poly, etc. It just sticks better when you have to pull the lashing tight.

    A good lashing is tight. Pull it tight often while you make the lashing. You know it's really tight when you can hear the rope creak.

    Start off by learning just the lashings you need. In the above drawing only a tripod and square lashing are needed (along with a clove hitch and any knots to hold up the pot). So just focus on that.

    There are lots of details about where to put the various parts of the lashing and how to go from, say, wraps to fraps, but as a simple rule, just keep everything close together. That will help the lashing stay tight, the poles standing and the scouts smiling.

    After their first success they, and you, can start looking into finer details and more lashings.

    And it requires a round lashing...

  13. OK, so, from the description, they could use their imagination to come up with something like this



    1.  Use the three six foot poles to build the tripod, with a tripod lashing.  The top of the tripod is the fulcrum.

    2.  Using the two eight foot poles, make the boom with round lashings.

    3.  Attach the two cross braces (blue) with square or Mark II lashings.

    All these lashings are in the Scout Handbook.

    Tie a piece of sturdy rope at the end to attach to the object to be moved.

    Orient the tripod and the cross braces for maximum stability while moving the 25 lbs object. 

    Please see if your Scouts can come up with this solution on their own.  Get all the materials together, tell them the problem as stated above, and see what they come up with.  Part of this problem seems to be imagining and creating a solution.  

    Woodbridge is about an hour away from us, so I'll pass on the visit.  The diagram above is relatively easy to construct.


    P.S. If you put the boom on top of the tripod, the upper part of the tripod staves might interfere with the movement of the boom.  They are asking for only five feet, so that is a relatively small movement.  Anyway, have the Scouts figure it out.  You could put the boom below the tripod lashing and use the cross braces as the fulcrum.  Trial and error...

    And I think this is fitting for my 1000th post!!!  Thanks for the opportunity😝

  14. 1.  Scout Handbook Woods Tools section has an OK discussion of lashings.  The illustrations are inferior, and you have to parse out the meaning from each of the instructions. 

    2.  The Pioneering Merit Badge pamphlet.  1993 version (1998 printing, if you can find it.)  Here's a site https://scoutpioneering.com/older-pioneering-merit-badge-pamphlet/

    3.  Practice.  You tube videos might help.  But, you'll find, there is the right way, the wrong way, and the Scout way 😜

    4.  Even if they do not have the confidence or ability, do not skip the town.  Use their time there to go and ask for a demonstration.  In humility, say exactly what you have said..."We don't know how to do this, and we do not have anyone with the experience to teach us.  Would you please show us how to do it, so we can learn?" 

    5.  Would you please post a description of what the Derby officials are asking for?

    6.  Where are you in NJ?  If close, I might be able to attend one of your meetings to help.

    My 999th post!!!  So long, triple digits!! 😜


    • Upvote 1
  15. 1 hour ago, yknot said:

    My experience with legal proceedings is that corporations, institutions. insurers, and lawyers are looking to offload liability all the time in any way that they can and with anything they can. If they can prove you neglected to have any necessary paperwork in place, it gives them a toehold to work through.  And liability for scouters extends way beyond CSA. 


    This is why I am a stickler for paperwork and following all points of BSA policies for activities...

    I shake my every every year, especially at summer camps, at how many adults just blow off safety provisions...

    Thunder?  Yeah, I heard it, but it sounds really far away, we can continue our activity (smh)

    Jimmy is a Beginner?  That's OK, he can get in the canoe with Johnny the swimmer, who is not an adult (smh)

    Canoe Trek?  Naw, they don't need the three hours of instruction or demonstrate proficiency and recover from a capsize (smh)

    Class II rapids?  Naw, we don't need helmets (smh)

    Scuba?  No, we don't need to get the Scuba agency medical formed signed by a doctor...the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record is good enough (smh)

    and on and on and on...

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