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Everything posted by CalicoPenn

  1. Have you tried checking the dealers listed on the Alps Mountaineering website to see if one of them might have the tent you want with aluminum poles in stock? I'd try to get the aluminum poles, even if I did have to wait. They are stronger and more durable than fiberglass, and tend to be easier to mend in the field (with the proper aluminum pole repair sleeve - every tent should have one). The problem with fiberglass is that once it starts to shatter or crack, the crack can travel up the entire length of the pole segment and that can't be fixed in the field - not even with duct tape (because the tape will make the pole segment rigid rather than flexible for use in the pole sleeves). If the fiberglass cuts it's way through the tape (they can often have sharp points and edges - and the worst splinters in the world are fiberglass), it will slice its way right through the tent. Aluminum poles don't shatter - they might bend or break (if stepped on or some other human error occurs) but the damaged area will be in one place only, and won't travel as the day(s) wear on. CalicoPenn
  2. Trevorum, I'm guessing...Hamhocks. Just because that's exactly the kind of thing I'd throw at the scouts. I have to say I'm envious of you - sounds like a lot of fun. Please follow up after this weekend and tell us the mystery meat and how things went! I'll keep my fingers crossed that the meat doesn't turn out to be Spam or Deviled Ham. CalicoPenn
  3. CalicoPenn

    Why People Post Here - Maybe

    Some of us (guilty as charged!) post here as an opportunity to tell our stories to a whole new set of people - folks who haven't heard them or lived them with us before - and I'd say most of us who do this do it as a way of imparting some kind of knowledge/wisdom learned along the way - and of hearing the stories and ideas of others. I see the forum as a late night, scouts in the sack, have coffee/tea/hot cocoa around the fire bull session (with a very large campfire!) with interested older scouts hanging with the adults and contributing their perspective on things too. Some folks may go off on a rant for a while, but spirited discussion is good at times too - keeps the blood flowing. Now this reminds me of the time.......... CalicoPenn ps. And of course there is the thrill of signing in and seeing the word "Senior" before the words Forum Member.(This message has been edited by CalicoPenn)
  4. CalicoPenn

    way's to recognize a Leader

    Might I suggest a letter from the boy to the leader that tells the story of the incident and response with a thanks at the end for being the person who taught him these skills? CalicoPenn
  5. CalicoPenn

    Historical Trips

    The first thing I thought of for historical trips in the Northeast is Boston. There is more accessible history in Boston then just about anywhere else on the planet. Boston National Historic Park is composed of eight historic sites in Boston. 7 of the 8 BNHP sites are located along the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile walking tour of 16 historic sites in Boston. Some of the sites on the Freedom Trail are Paul Revere's House; the Old North Church (you know - "One if by land, Two if by sea"); the USS Constitution (and what Scout wouldn't love to explore that old ship); Bunker Hill Monument and the Site of the Boston Massacre. Speaking of history trails in Boston, they have more than just the Freedom Trail. You can do the Black Heritage Trail; Boston Immigrant Trail; Irish Heritage Trail; Jewish Friendship Trail; Boston Women's Heritage Trail; Boston Chinatown Heritage Trail; Literary Trail of Greater Boston (lots of "old" authors come from the area); Innovation Trail and a likely favorite: Boston by Sea - The Maritime Trail. Within 5 miles of Boston National Historic Park are the following National Park Service sites: Boston African American National Historic Site; Longfellow National Historic Site (one of those "old" authors); John F Kennedy National Historic Site (birthplace of); Fredrick Law Olmstead National Historic Site ("founder" of Landscape Architecture and the designer of Central Park in NY City) and Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. 10 to 30 miles from Boston proper are 5 more National Park Service sites: Adams National Historic Park (TWO Presidents in one!); Saugus Ironworks National Historic Site; Salem Maritime National Historic Site; Minuteman National Historic Park ("Shot Heard 'Round the World); and Lowell National Historic Park (preserving the history of the Industrial Revolution). And these are just the National Park Service sites. The Boston Minuteman Council BSA operates a year round camp in Milton, MA which is within 15 miles of downtown Boston. I'm sure the council could point you to other nearby camping opportunities. CalicoPenn
  6. CalicoPenn

    Helping Others -VENT.

    I wonder if the payroll checks were even available at the time. Who signs the checks? Was it the Scout Exec who is no longer there? Maybe the checks hadn't been signed and delivered to the camp yet and wouldn't until Saturday morning? Before jumping all over the R/D's case, some more info might be needed. CalicoPenn
  7. CalicoPenn

    Rx for violence: dump on Boy Scouts

    Brent, You misunderstand - I never said that the BSA has no value - my argument is that the issue of the lease the BSA has with the city should stand alone. It should not be conflated with issues it has no real relation to. When the council spokesperson says that with gun violence up in the city it's ironic that the administration trying to "destroy" programming that serves 40,000 youth is the city, the spokesperson is trying to convince the people that if the BSA loses their lease, gun violence will increase. That's a specious argument and not worthy of a spokesperson from the BSA. The only way programming for 40,000 youth in the city will be destroyed is of the Cradle of Liberty Council stops providing the programming - highly unlikely when funding often relies on numbers of people served. The only explanation can be that the BSA can't gain traction by arguing their position on the merits. CalicoPenn
  8. CalicoPenn

    Rx for violence: dump on Boy Scouts

    Just what does the crime rate in Philadelphia have to do with the Boy Scouts and this issue anyway? The Boy Scouts certainly don't seem to be having any affect on crime in the city one way or another as it stands now - this is just another example of intellectual dishonesty in public discourse by using a red herring issue (crime rate) to make a point about an unrelated issue. The sad part is how many people will buy in to the arguments here. Why not a story linking the eviction of the scouts from city property to poverty, or to traffic congestion, or to emergency response times, or to how poor the Fourth of July fireworks were? Why not a story decrying the Mayor's work on development, budgets, and the myriad of other issues that a city must work on to keep functioning because of the crime rate? Cities have a lot of issues they deal with - all at the same time. How would these writers respond if the city were hit with a major flu epidemic and the mayor stated that he was too busy trying to reduce the crime rate as these writers want him to do, to respond to the health crisis? It's time we start calling out the opinion writers for their intellectual dishonesty. If I were the Mayor, I would respond to these criticisms by stating that since the city isn't using this property, the city should sell it to the highest bidder and use the proceeds to beef up the police force to fight crime and let the new owners deal with the BSA - but I'm sure these writers would find some way to criticize that plan CalicoPenn
  9. CalicoPenn

    Dinning Hall vs Patrol Cooking

    I side with dining hall style. Others have mentioned the potential time issues. I'll add that dining hall dining, while not conducive to the patrol method, certainly eliminates a good amount of stress on both the boys and the leaders. There should already be a lot going on at summer camp, adding daily cooking/cleaning up chores takes away from downtime/decompress time, and the boys (and leaders) need to have some time to relax a bit. The number one goal of summer camp shouldn't be advancement, or even strengthening the patrol method (if patrol members are missing, do you really end up strengthening the patrol in the long rum?) - it should be to have fun. For leaders, most adults are taking vacation time from work (and other family members) - why add the stress of making sure cooking/cleanup is done correctly? A good staff uses the time mingling with the units in the dining hall to get a pulse of the state of camp. In camps I attended/staffed, units invited a staff member to sit with them during a meal - and never the same staff member twice. The better staffers use the time with the unit to ask scouts how things are going, what they are experiencing, what they like and don't like. It was't unusual to hear that a scout working on a merit badge was having problems with something but wasn't sure how to tell their counselor, or to hear about a problem with a camp supplied tent, lantern, tent platform, etc. that would be an easy fix if they knew who to talk to. If its miserably hot, humid, buggy, or you're having nasty rainstorms come through - and all of these are possible in any given week of camp - isn't it nice to know you don't have to muster the energy to cook/clean while fighting the elements? Patrol cooking sounds like a great idea until it's 95 degrees out and the menu includes baking potatoes in an open fire. Another thing many don't think of is animal attraction - no matter how well you cleanup, cooking in camp will eventually attract animals that will start to associate a specific campsite with food - not too bad for the first unit in the site, but what about the last unit in 6 to 8 weeks later? As for the quality of the food in the dining hall - that is something that you and your fellow leaders need to take up with the council camping committee - I rarely had poor camp food at the camps I was at (other than corndog night - ughhh). If you're having bad food, its because the camp director isn't paying attention to hiring for the kitchen and just trying to fill up the spots with whoever will say yes. A good camp cook can make or break the experience - and a good camp cook is one that already has the skills to cook for 200+ people at a time. The camping committee should be making a committment to finding a culinary school student or experienced school cook (not a heat and serve school cook either). Good sources of camp cooks can be one of the cooks from a college or university off for the summer, a culinary school student (who already has experience), a cook from the local high school, an ex-military cook or a cook that can prove s/he has the capability to cook large quantities of food without sacrificing the taste. Your chief cook should not be an 18 year old scout with the cooking merit badge. And the only foods served from a powder form should be pancakes and biscuits. Not even Bobbie Flay could make powdered eggs or milk taste good. CalicoPenn
  10. CalicoPenn

    Cable News Viewership

    Actually, Crossfire did very well for quite a long time - then CNN decided to change up the format and the time slot of the show - it failed not long afterwards. CNN had originally tried to emulate network news - offering network news style reporting for most of their viewing day - but they found it was more difficult than they expected, in no small part because network news is about 18 minutes per night with multiple producers having most of the day to put together 1 or 2 minute news pieces. CNN began to get repetitive and came very close to becoming an "ambulance/fire chaser" network. For a brief time, it wasn't unusual to see CNN reporting live from an apartment complex or house fire in Atlanta. CNN's heyday was during the first Gulf War - mainly because they had guys reporting "on the ground" (I'd consider the floor of a hotel room to be ground) from the moment the first bombs were dropped - and no one else did. They could take advantage of being on the air for 24 hours to report continuously from Iraq - networks couldn't (you know people would really pitch a fit if the networks pre-empted ALF or Major Dad for the war). Fox's strength was that it recognized that it couldn't be all news all day (CNN did have a couple of shows that weren't all news - Crossfire was one of them) so tweaked the cable news formula so it offered more of a Sunday morning "news show" feel - lots of opinion and news analysis shows. Of Fox's 24 hour broadcast day, only 7 hours (by my count) are true news shows - the rest of the day is devoted to analysis and opinion shows (with a couple of hours for a netowrk like morning show. They've succeeded well, though, in convincing some people that all of their programming is news. CNN tried, and is still trying, to emulate Fox News - which is unfortunate since they once had a strong news focus - that emulation eventually destroyed Crossfire. Network News, though, still has a commanding presence. Viewership of ABC/NBC/CBS evening news stands at about 21 million per night (though that number has dropped quite a lot over the past few years). Viewership of CNN/Fox/MSNBC when the network's evening news is on stands at about 3-4 million people. Minute for minute, during that half hour, more people are tuned into the network news than into cable news. During the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and aftermath, more people tuned into ABC, NBC and CBS news than in to cable - people felt a connection to Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather that they just didn't (and still don't) have to the cable folks. A big part of that is their journalistic credentials - we remember Jennings, Brokaw and Rather reporting from war zones, disaster zones, sites of significant news events. Another is that they tried dealing with facts, not speculation - they never felt the need to try to fill air time with speculation about things, unlike cable news. Like or hate Rather, he was a comfort to many Americans in times of crisis. It takes a great deal of integrity to take the fall for the sloppy reporting work of others - many love to forget that Rather did not personally gather the information for the news piece that brought him down, but he took the heat because he was the person who disseminated the information - when O'Reilly and Hannity show that same kind of integrity, then they'll earn true respect. CalicoPenn
  11. CalicoPenn

    Tips for trip to Dodgers game?

    How about creating a "Baseball Bingo" game? Make up some "Bingo" cards with different things in the squares that get checked off when it happens - mix some easy and hard things - like Home Run, Base Hit, Strikeout, Walk, Triple, Double, Single, Pop Fly, Foul Ball, Double Play, Grand Slam (very hard), Hit Batter, Bases Loaded, etc. etc. that the boys check as the game goes on with a treat of Crackerjack given to all the boys when someone gets the bingo? CalicoPenn
  12. Beavah's right - there is no such thing as a "partial" - you can't earn a partial merit badge - if you haven't completed the badge by 18, you aren't awarded a merit badge which is partially there (for instance, a swimming merit badge cut in half because you only met half the requirements). Work on merit badges is an ongoing process until the badge is completed - and the only time limit on the badge is aging out at 18. If you haven't completed it by 18, you can no longer earn it. Scouts may work on a merit badge with one, two, three (as many as he wishes) counselors. If a Scout already has some requirements completed and signed off on in his blue card, those requirements have been met and the new counselor can't retest on them - though s/he can spot quiz - but upon spot quizzing, can't remove a requirement from the completion column if the counselor isn't happy with the answers. The approach to take in this instance is to use the opportunity to refresh the Scout's knowledge while not retesting for the requirement - just go over the things learned and move on (a careful look at the requirements of merit badges reveals that later requirements build on knowledge gained from earlier requirements - a Scout isn't required to do the requirements in order, but it sure helps most of the time). While most "so-called partials" are earned at summer camp, it is not unusual for them to be earned outside of camp. Counselors move, become ill, drop out, etc. Would it really be fair for a Scout to have to start a badge over from scratch because his counselor died, or moved out of state? I think we would all agree the answer is no. Same holds true for "so-called partials" earned at summer camp. How many merit badges can really be fully earned in less than a weeks time anyway? There should probably be more "so-called partials" earned at camp than completed merit badges. Keep in mind too, that merit badge counselors are approved by councils - how long do you suppose a merit badge counselor who refused to accept "so-called partials" from summer camp would be allowed to remain a merit badge counselor? I recall a merit badge counselor in my council who was removed from the counseling roster for doing just this. "So-called partials" aside, the main question was just how long do you give a Scout to earn the badge they started working on? BSA regs are clear on this - they have until they are 18 - and councils, districts and troops can't change that rule. That being a given however, there is an opportunity to "encourage" the completion of the badge. The Scoutmaster has to first sign a blue card before the Scout can start working on the badge. A Scout has one or two (even three) "so-called partials"? No big deal - a Scout is allowed to work on as many badges as he wants at the same time. But, a Scoutmaster can use the opportunity to "decline to acquiese to their request" for yet another blue card (temporarily) until he can have a proper Scoutmaster Conference to find out if the Scout has truly lost interest in the previous badges, or is biting off more than he can chew at one time - then gently guide him into completing a couple of outstanding badges. Given that a Scout may work on as many badges as he wants at one time, the Scoutmaster can't require him to complete a badge first and will eventually have to sign the blue card to get the lad started, but holding off for a week or two while arranging a Scoutmaster Conference could be considered an appropriate "spot check". The Scout may very well have some very good reasons for not being able to finish a badge started at this year's camp - How many Scouts would be able to finish common summer camp badges like Archery, Rifle Shooting, Shotgun Shooting, Motorboating, Small Boat Sailing, Climbing, Horsemanship (ok, maybe not so common but I went to a camp with it's own horses that offered this merit badge - and the badge often took two summers to complete), Rowing, Water Skiing, and Forestry back at home? As a Scoutmaster, I would definitely cut a Scout quite a bit of slack if these were the "so-called partials" he was bringing home (and reminding him of these when the next year's summer camp rolls around). He may also have good reasons for not finishing a badge altogether - other than the rank required badges, the Merit Badge program is partly designed to allow the Scout to explore different topics of potential interest - a Scout may start a badge then discover he has no real interest in it and wants to move on - forcing him to earn it turns the badge into a chore, and that defeats the purpose. I started Salesmanship and quickly learned it didn't interest me - I completed two requirements and never did finish it - when my Scoutmaster asked why, I told him it didn't interest me. His response wasn't "real men don't quit" - it was, "Then you've learned something of value about yourself" Isn't that what Merit Badges are all about anyway? Funscout - as "Parent" you have more options anyway. BSA says a Scout can work on as many merit badges at a time as he wants - it doesn't say parents can't tell their children that they have to finish up a badge before you'll drive him to a counselor to start on a new badge. Are they requirements that have to be finished at camp? Then leave the lad's trading post money with the Scoutmaster with instructions that he doesn't get any of it until the last requirement is met. Sneaky, huh? CalicoPenn
  13. CalicoPenn

    Temporary Patches on Merit Badge Sash?

    I don't recall ever seeing a Scout wearing any temporary patches on the back of a merit badge sash before, either. My hunch is that once a Scout earns 7 merit badges, which means he'll need a sash to display them, the Scout has been to, and received patches from, more activities than room on the back of the sash would allow for displaying them all - and who wants to pick and choose which activity patch goes on the back of the sash. However, if it's true that temporary patches can be worn on the back of the sash (and so far, we've only seen informal "unofficial" sources on this) then I can think of no better patches to wear on the back of the sash than the Paul Bunyan Award, Mile Swim, 50-Miler and other National Program patches available to Scouts throughout the nation. Does National make available a Totin Chip and Fireman's Chit patches or are these made by some councils? - I've never seen them). CalicoPenn ps: Congrats to your son, Acco - not everyone sets out to earn the Paul Bunyan Award since it isn't used to help one advance in rank CP(This message has been edited by CalicoPenn)
  14. CalicoPenn

    Should Ducks be Scouts?

    The problem isn't the agitating Ducks. The problem is the entrenched Coots. CalicoPenn
  15. CalicoPenn

    Exclusive City Policy Attacks Civil Rights

    SA - I think many waterfront cities are in the marina business because they own most of the land on their waterfronts. Chicago, for instance, has no privately held land along the waterfront of Lake Michigan as far as I know so if there are going to be any marinas in the City of Chicago, they will be government run (the Chicago Park District has quite a few marinas on the lakefront, and on the rivers leading to the lakefront - the only "private" marina I know of in the city is at a yacht club, but that land is leased from the city and can be taken back pretty much at any time (lease be danged, this is Chicago, home of Da Mayor - Richard "Meig's Field X-er" Daley - and I support his reclamation of Meigs Field)) As for Berkeley, this article was the first one I've seen that states that Berkeley provides/provided free berthing to other organizations - I was fairly sure that only the Sea Scouts was getting free berths. I thought the argument was that other organizations received other in kind services from the city and therefor the Sea Scouts should still be able to get their free berthing priviledges. Does anyone else remember differently? CalicoPenn
  16. CalicoPenn

    Scout Law Acronym

    It's my understanding that acronyms and mnemonics are best used not to help memorize a list of words but to help keep lists of words in a specific order. An example of an acronym usage would be for the color spectrum. The acronym would be roygbiv or Roy G. Biv (Mnemonic Acronym) for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue Indigo, Violet. It doesn't really help one memorize the color names but it sure does help keep one from putting the color Violet before the color Green. An example of a mnemonic would be for keeping the order of zoological (and botanical) classifications: Kings Play Chess On Friday Given Space for Kingom, Phyllum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species (anyone who's had Zoology will likely have had to know the exact order for a test). While King can help one memorize the first classification Kingdom, Play certainly doesn't help one memorize the word Phyllum. The strength of most acronyms and mnemonics for memorization is in keeping proper order rather than names. Some word groupings just don't lend themselves well to such mnemonic devices and the Scout Oath is one of them - the reason is it has too many words that start with the same letter - Trustworthy and Thrifty, Courteous, Cheerful and Clean. Another reason could be too many letters altogether. In these instances, a better solution is either to "musicalize" it - how many people learned their ABC's (all 26 letters) by singing the ABC song (and how many of you just had that song pop into your head) or to just go with repetitive vocalization. Most people are afraid of memorization because they don't believe they can do it. A "trick" I used with Webelos was to use flash cards in order then after a couple of weeks, move one card out of order - someone, if not all of them, will notice it's not in the right place - guess what? If they noticed, they've got it memorized - and the next step is to overcome their performance/test anxiety over the Scout Law. It will soon become second nature. Just as an aside, at my summer camp, the Scout Oath was posted along the top of the wall in the dining hall so that people could read from the wall if they chose. Where many Scouts like to add the word Hungry (as a very old joke that everyone thinks is original when they first do/hear it but is older than dirt) between Clean and Reverent at summer camp, our side of the summer camp (our camp had two sides) put the word Exit between Clean and Reverent. Why? Because that's where the dining hall exit sign just happened to hang - on the wall between Clean and Reverent. You could tell an East Camper from a West Camper based on the summer camp version of the Scout Law they repeated - West Campers used Exit, East Campers used Hungry. CalicoPenn
  17. CalicoPenn

    Passing the test or lighting the fire ?

    SA, Where were you when I was in school? You gave me an idea that would have been even more fun! Ask the instructor to calculate the change of lake level assuming a 5 pound brick and a 90-acre lake with an average depth of 14 feet. It would be interesting to see if s/he had a calculator that would have enough digits after the zero to come up with the answer. Now that would have been wicked fun! Calico
  18. CalicoPenn

    Passing the test or lighting the fire ?

    I always vexed my teachers when they proposed questions like Acco's - I'm often accused of taking things too literally sometimes, rather than hypothetically. For the physics question proposed, I would have looked at all the elements of the question and formulated the following answer: There is no change in the relative lake level. Displacement theories aside, the fact is that you, your boat, and that brick aren't of size enough to affect the displacement level of a lake in the first place. The amount of water displaced by your 200 pounds or so of boat, brick and body is insignificant on a lake - like the amount of air displaced by a flying mosquito. Because you don't affect the lake level from the start, no matter what you do with the brick - drop it overboard, throw it in the air, toss it on to shore - you won't make any difference in the relative level of the lake. CalicoPenn
  19. CalicoPenn

    Passing the test or lighting the fire ?

    I just pulled out my old merit badge sash. Of the 27 badges on my sash, I remember earning just two of them (I earned Dog Care???? - I had a dog growing up - I just don't remember earning the badge but I must have met the requirements - and just what is that badge with a bridge on it anyway? Oh yeah - Engineering). The ones I remember are Landscape Architecture - I spent hours at the dining room table designing and redesigning and redesigning landscapes - turns out I was also one of the few people in my council at the time to even try to earn that badge. The other is...Basketry. The first merit badge I earned at camp. In my troop, earning Basketry was a tradition and everyone earned that badge the first summer at camp. I later learned the reason behind this - my summer camp had an enforced one-hour siesta after lunch when everything shut down - including the trading post - and campers were expected to stay in their cmpsites if the troop was in camp that day (and not out horseback riding or rafting a river) - Boys can only write so many letters back home, and no one wanted to take a snooze - so, the younger lads made their baskets and camp stools, and the older lads were to assist the younger ones in doing so correctly, if they weren't working on a project for their own merit badges. A lot of the older lads would buy their own kits and make a basket. The adults, it turned out, were rather sly about keeping a camp full of boys quiet and occupied during siesta. Our merit badge counselor for basketry was the Camp Commissioner - added that adult relations to the badge as most of the time when the lad came back to the Commissioner's site to show off their completed badge and stool, adult leaders from other units were around sharing their stories and admiring the lads work. If you were lucky, you got to the site just as the Commissioner was doling out some cobbler from a dutch oven. Like SWScouter, I've lost track of my basket, though I remember using it through college as a pen holder, and I can remember the shape of it. I also remember the many varied baskets at the Commissioner's site that had been created over the years which were meant to showcase what could be done. True, basketry merit badge at camp is pretty much the only reason that councils can actually sell basket and stool making kits. When I was on camp staff for my own council's camp (our troop always camped out of council) I was the trading post manager - and basketry merit badge counselor - nothing like making the commerce connection obvious. However, for me, the best parts of that summer were the times I worked with scouts in the morning when the TP was closed on their baskets - yes, many scouts would work on them at the counselor site - even sometimes in the afternoons out under the overhang of the trading post where I could wander outside and help them out. I don't remember a single boy complaining that he was being forced to take the merit badge - heck, I had at least 4 Life Scouts taking the badge because they needed to earn something "easy" towards their Eagle count. Sometimes the older scouts get more enthused than the younger ones - our camp sold not just the kits but basket making supplies so you could make one of your own creation. Knowing I would be the counselor that year, I learned more traditional ways of creating reed baskets (translation - baskets without round wood bottoms). The younger scouts would always buy the kit - the older scouts would watch me demonstrate the traditional way and trade in the kit they bought for loose supplies (I always took in the trade - wasn't "supposed" to but the camp director overlooked that - after all, it was a "trading" post - and the lads were working on a merit badge)and would create a traditional style basket. One lad was working on his traditional basket back at camp and some of the older scouts who had already earned the badge came to me and asked if I would teach them how to make a basket even though they already had the badge (of course I said yes). I even had a Scoutmaster come the second day of camp to learn the traditional method - now that was cool. What I do know is that it's the counselors enthusiasm for the badge, and the manner in which its taught, that makes the difference - my counselor worked on his own baskets while we worked on ours - I did the same - working on a new basket and stool every week, just like the campers. Part of the thing that made it fun though was I started creating a large basketry shield and let every scout working on the badge add their own loops - plenty of missed spokes and double windings but by the end of the summer, the shield was 4-foot across and hung on the trading post wall for 2 years (I hear there was a great deal of cheering when it was finally sacrificed to the fire gods - which was my intention - I just wish I could have been there to see it). I heard plenty of horror stories about bad counselors for the badge - dropping baskets to see if the hold up, standing on stools for the same reason, scrutinizing the basket and/or stool for any flaw and making the lad take it apart and do it again. I saw nothing then (and nothing now) in the requirements that say weave a PERFECT basket. I had one ASM complain to the camp director that I had passed a lad when the basket had a double winding on it (the only flaw in the basket). Granted, too many flaws might lead to a partial, but not one or two. When called into the director's office to explain myself, I pointed out that the book doesn't require perfection and that in the southwest, tradition holds that a flaw be introduced into the basket so as not to offend the gods - even the ASM admitted that maybe he was being too demanding and was glad the camp had a basketry counselor that actually seemed to care about and took the time to know something about the art. Moral of the long story - don't blame the badge - blame the counselor if he's bad, and the camp for looking at it strictly as a moneymaker and and afterthought. CalicoPenn
  20. CalicoPenn

    question : Can we let the boys do this?

    The bridge will be 36" high? That's 3 feet (size of a yard stick). The depth of the water it will be hung over is 2 feet. That leaves a 1 foot gap between the bridge and the water. Not a very big fall (a fall from the average couch is 1 1/2 foot). Your spotter is not likely to be catching a falling lad - more likely to be scooping him up. Sounds like fun - and if the powers that be have already approved, go for it. And maybe bump up the height of the bridge to 4 or 5 feet - I don't think that would be too high for them. I'd be willing to bet (uh, scratch that - no gambling in scouts) that most of the lads are jumping off diving boards that are more than a foot above the water. CalicoPenn
  21. CalicoPenn

    Is Bill O'Rielly losing his mind?

    I remember hearing about that whole O'Reilly - Olberman - Fox Security thing - I heard the clips of it - and I remember thinking that this is the moment that O'Reilly jumped the shark (though there were earlier contender moments - like the time O'Reilly tried to tell a family member of a 911 WTC victim how he should think). O'Reilly heard the name Olberman and snapped - amazing the power that one name had over the man - and as far as we know, the caller could have been about to say how much he disliked Olberman and his ideas - but now we'll never really know. Is O'Reilly losing his mind? My opinion is he's already lost it. CalicoPenn
  22. CalicoPenn

    Trouble with SPL

    In this case you have a young man whose interests in Scouts seems to be waning; who hasn't yet found his niche in a) the program and b) life; whose parents are making his decisions for him; who hasn't developed the confidence to push back yet; and who may have been thrust into a role he just doesn't have the drive for. Given that he is your son's best friend, wouldn't it be possible for you to chat with the lad not as the Scoutmaster ("scary" authority figure) but as Best Friend's Father ("non-judgemental father-figure" authority figure)? I know when I was growing up, my best friend's father was available to me as a non-judgemental adult to talk with if I was ever having problems I didn't want to talk to my own parent's about (and vice-versa for my best friend). Beavah has great advice if you're willing to broach the subject with the boy and be willing to be on his side and encouraging him through it - and that's to consider moving on to Sea Scouts or a Venturing Crew and complete his POR and Eagle work there. My Scoutmaster recognized the signs that I was no longer interested in the Troop at age 15 and encouraged me to move on to Exploring (the old-style Exploring) where I got fired up again, earned my Eagle and became active in OA. 15/16 is the age where you're either going to have a kid committed to the end or you're going to lose him unless you help him find another path. It's better to help the lad find his path, whatever that path is, than to try to force him into some mold that is expected of him (from his parents and Scoutmaster). CalicoPenn
  23. CalicoPenn

    Is this "usual" Troop policy?

    Has anyone else picked up on the implications of Eamonn's post about the lad who has $4,000 in his Scout Account that is about the join his Sea Scout unit? Many units with individual Scout Accounts do have a policy that allows the Scout's account to travel with him to the next unit. In this case, it appears that as a Cub, this lad had a Scout Account that went with him to his Troop, and that account has grown to tremendous proportions while in the Troop and the account is now going to travel with him to his Sea Scout Ship (does the Ship also have individual Scout Accounts?). If the dollars were minimal, say $100 or so, I'd say no biggie - but Four Thousand Dollars? That's a lot of money. The question I have to ask is how likely is it that this Scout will spend $4,000 on Scouting related outings while in the Ship? What happens if this lad decides to leave Scouts when he turns 16? That money becomes the Ships (and technically would become the Ships the moment that it was transferred from the Troop - and if the Ship doesn't have individual accounts?). Yes, the lads father had a great deal to do with his success in fundraising, but its the Troops fundraising (and prior to that the Packs) - not the families. In essence, the Ship is getting the benefit of the Troop's fundraising efforts. I don't know that as a Ship's Treasurer, I'd want that money either - not unless there was an agreement that the money left over after the lad left the Ship went back to the Troop. Granted, this is an extreme example, but it sure does nicely point out the negatives to allowing Scout Accounts to travel from unit to unit. CalicoPenn
  24. CalicoPenn

    Is this "usual" Troop policy?

    I certainly don't envy that Scout Executive - if it were me, I would have taken a pass and encouraged both sides to come to an agreement if possible - I just wouldn't put myself into the middle of the dispute as it's frankly a lose-lose for the Scout Exec - no matter what he decides, someone is going to get angry with him (or her). EagleinKY - I'm curious (in a concerned fashion) about how your unit's individual accounts work - I understand the basics - an individual Scout gets a credit to his account based on his fundraising ability AND a family can deposit funds into the Scout's account. My question (concern) is are these funds then co-mingled in the Scout's account or do you have two separate Scout accounts for each individual that they can choose to draw from? I see a potential problem with co-mingling dollars raised through fundraising and the Scout's own dollars being deposited in the account - if the Scout leaves, how would you determine what funds are his and what funds are the Units? For illustration, suppose a Scout gets a credit for $100 in fundraising bucks and deposits $100 of his own money in the account - then withdraws from the account only $100 for Scout related activities then decides to leave for another unit, or moves, or just plain quits - does he get a check for $100 because he claims he spent the funds that were credited from fundraising or does he get nothing because the Troop claims he spent the money he deposited? Or is the difference split? In theory, I like the idea of a Scout being able to directly deposit money into a Scout Account but I worry about the practice if the money is co-mingled with money that comes from fundraisers. I was thinking it be good to have two Scout Accounts per Scout but then wonder if it would really be worth the bookkeeping hassle - I would think you would have to develop some sort of signed withdrawal slip system that would clearly spell out if the intention of the Scout is to draw down from the fundraising funds or from the deposited funds. Maybe its not really an issue, but I can't help but think that most states would take a very dim view of co-mingling funds if it ever came to their attention. CalicoPenn
  25. CalicoPenn

    Is this "usual" Troop policy?

    Hi Frznpch, As NJCubScouter said, you're likely to get a lot of different opinions on this - and here's one of them. Technically the fundraising was a Troop effort and no matter whether the Troop treats their funds as one large account, or whether the Troop creates "individual Scout accounts" for each Scout, the money raised benefits thatTtroop. If it was one individual Scout that left the unit, I doubt there is a single person who would question the Troop keeping any funds that the lad helped raise - if he left Scouting altogether, there is no way a Troop would be cutting a check to that boy, and under prevailing laws governing non-profits, it would be illegal to do so anyway. They earned that money for the Troop - not for themselves. However, if the understanding in the original Troop was that money raised in the Troop's fundraisers would go into "individual Scout accounts" to be available to the Scout to use for Scouting related expenses (summer camp, weekend camps, Scout Handbooks, uniform parts, etc.), and a group of Scouts left to form a new Troop, you could respectfully ask that the original Troop honor that commitment to the group of Scouts that left. BUT - and its a big one - the original Troop really has no obligation to do so. Given that there appears to be some rancor involved in the split, it's unlikely that the original Troop would agree to this. And its highly unlikely that the District Executive will be able to change their minds, nor should s/he. As for policy, my understanding of BSA Policy is that individual unit funds ultimately belong to the Chartered Organization. If the unit folds, the unit's funds and equipment inure to the benefit of the CO. CalicoPenn ps: Welcome to the Forum