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CalicoPenn

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Everything posted by CalicoPenn

  1. I love my MSR Whisperlite - have used it for many years with great success - but, it might not be as stable for younger scouts - its a pretty lightweight stove with a separate fuel canister. I've heard good things about the Coleman Apex II stove - Its a dual fuel stove which is a plus (can operate on Coleman Fuel/Unleaded Gas or can operate on Kerosene with the addition of an optional generator), has a bit more stability than the Whisperlite, and also has a separate fuel canister. Both of these stoves run around $60. For about $150 dollars, MSR has a multi-fuel stove named the XGK EX - very stable looking, uses a separate fuel canister, burns a number of different fuels (gas, coleman fuel, kerosene, diesel, alcohol). If I were in the market for a new stove, I think I would end up with one of these bad boys. All of the above have one thing in common - they have separate fuel canisters. The canister you use to carry your fuel doubles as the fuel tank for your stove. Some of the Coleman backpacking stoves (like the Feather series) are built a little like the good old Coleman lantern. The fuel tank is right below the burner and you have to fill it from your fuel canister. I prefer not having to mess with filling up a fuel tank on a stove in the field. I'd definitely stay away from any stove that requires the Powermax Cartridge. Those are a specialized cartridge usually not available in a small town hardware store - Coleman fuel can usually be found in most small towns near camping areas. You could make your own alchol stoves, they're nice for simmering foods (not as good for getting water to boil quickly), and easy to light in just about any weather condition. They're really good at sooting up the bottoms of pots and pans though - alcohol doesn't burn as efficiently as Coleman fuel. If you're looking at stoves to buy, I'd suggest you stick with Coleman or MSR - most of the other brands are just as good but both Coleman and MSR have the advantage of being larger players so their stoves are in more shops, and the big plus is the stores that do sell bapckpacking stoves are more likely to carry repair parts for Coleman's and MSR's than of other brands. As for white fuel (or white gas): White gas is another name for (pure)gasoline. Specifically, it usually refers to gas that does not have anti-knock additives added to it. Unleaded gas sold today almost always has some additives added to it. The gas sold in the 50's and 60's would be refered to as white gas nowadays - and that gas is what was once known as leaded gasoline. If you can still find leaded gasoline, chances are its white gas. Now to confuse the matter - Coleman Fuel is also known as white gas. Coleman fuel is petroleum naptha, a low-octane, pure, white gas. Does that mean Coleman Fuel is gasoline? Yes, technically it does - gasolines are a petroleum naptha product. Dual fuel stoves will run on Coleman Fuel or unleaded gasoline or Kerosene (which should be a tri-fuel stove but the kerosene is the 2nd fuel, the listing of fuels is usually written as Coleman Fuel/unleaded gasoline and kerosene. I've heard mentioned before that the the BSA does not want scouts to use white gas but that just doesn't make any sense to me - the most common fuel stoves, whether backpacking or car camping, are white gas stoves. Is it possible it was set out as a rule once and rescinded because too many units had perfectly good Coleman stoves they weren't about to give up? CalicoPenn
  2. Eagle74 - Great info on air matresses and air as an insulator - I gave it short shrift in my post but the intention was that the large pockets of air in a conventional air mattress was not a good insulator but that the smaller pockets of air in clothing and thermarests worked well as insulation and as heat retainers (and we're talking small here - pencil point or smaller). Thanks for the clarification. Dan - I realize its probably a bit too late to help for this weekends campout but it would not hurt to allow your bag to air out for a little while in the morning - I've always made a habit of shaking it out a bit when I woke up, hanging it on a line outside if it was sunny and dry for a little bit or, if its raining, unzipping the bag and letting it lie inside up for a bit, then doing my morning camp chores (cooking, cleanup) - then I put the bag back into its stuff sack - if there is moisture (humidity) in the air, putting the bag back into the stuff sack helps prevent the bag from absorbing excess moisture. Bizzybbb - I know people who swear by the double bag system - stuffing one sleeping bag into another - I'm just very hesitant to suggest it unless the bags are part of a system (in other words, designed to work together or independently of each other). I think it was SR540Beaver who mentioned the Wiggy bag system. I've heard great things about these bags and have always wanted to test one in the field - but, and this is an important but - these bags were designed specifically to work together. Taking two bags not designed to work together may or may not work. I keep thinking about your particular bag - typically with two bag systems, the higher temperature bag goes into the lower temperature bag - your bag won't have the room and you'd have to reverse it - I'm not convinced you would see any benefits. My suggestion instead would be a fleece bag liner as the "second" bag. As for buying a 40 degree bag, if it were me, I'd save my money - you shouldn't overheat in your 15 degree bag if the temperature at night is 70 or below - and you can always open up the bag and use it more like a blanket than a sleeping bag - if you find the bag is too hot and you try using a fleece liner, that liner can also double as a warmer weather bag - and in the summer, when its hot at night, I use a couple of sheets rather than a sleeping bag anyway. Calico
  3. You stated you have a possible charter org on deck, you have lots of trained leaders that all appear willing to support the CM/ACM, and I'll just bet that the parents of the scouts like their DL's/ADL's etc. Sounds to me like you have the highest poker hand - its time to call the bluff and force the issue. Call the COR and find out if s/he has, in fact, told this guy what he's claiming he's been told. If not, then its simple - tell him its time to leave. If so, tell the COR that if the CM and ACM leave, and this guy stays, the rest of you are leaving too and will form a new pack, complete with trained leaders and probably most of the families from the current pack. You'll have to start over on equipment but it might be better than trying to win this battle. Sometimes, the way to win the war is to change the field of operations. The most important thing is not to lose sight of what's really important - and thats delivering a quality program - if you feel you can't rely on this COR to help you deliver that program, then move on. CalicoPenn
  4. I do have a few thoughts though I don't have access to any specific council's policies - your scout executive should be able to network and get some to look at. I've always felt that most scout camps insistence that scouts and scouters return to the campsites was inefficient. Instead, when the emergency siren sounds, the scouts and scouters should converge on a common area, like a field or dining hall. Camp can help this process by having flags with campsite names (my summer camp named their sites) in a nearby quickly accessible area that the units can identify and gather round to take their head counts. My experience with scout camp plans is that the scouts are to return to their camps, a headcount is taken, then a runner is sent to headquarters to make their report. The potential problem I see is that during some parts of the day, the scouts from the unit will be in far flung locations - sure, your site may be 7 minutes from the parade field but you may have a scout that is 10 minutes away from the campsite (and has to pass by the parade field to get there) so now you won't be able to report in for 17 minutes - and how long do you wait for someone to come back to camp - if you know the scout is 10 minutes away, do you panic at 11 minutes or give the scout just a few more minutes? In case of a storm where camp staff is wanting to shelter you in the dining hall, what sense does it make to report to your campsite first then hang on for 10 to 20 minutes to get to shelter? My preference would be everyone converges on the parade field to make their counts - it will likely save time and gives staff the opportunity to recruit help if they need it right away. I see two possible scenarios for lost swimmer - one, a buddy can't find his partner during buddy check. This should instantly require the swimmers to leave the water, get their tag off the board, and stand with their buddy in the hopes that the buddy turns up and was just somewhere on the waterfront and couldn't get to their buddy fast enough. The other scenario is that a tag is left on the board after everyone has left the waterfront. In either case, if the tag holder isn't found, you need to initiate the camp emergency gathering plan to get a head count. In this case, you'll be able to zero in on the unit with the missing buddy/leftover tag. Unfortunately in either scenario, if the tag holder is still in the water somewhere, you are probably looking at a recovery rather than a rescue - and for this, you want your waterfront to be evacuated anyway - the only non-staff person at the waterfront during a recovery effort should be the scoutmaster (or other designated adult) of the unit involved. Unauthorized person could have many meanings - an additional scouter in camp that wasn't registered, a car found on the side of the road that could mean someone is wandering the camp grounds, a visitor that didn't properly check in...I think you need to consider what scenarios you think you're going to face and develop individual policies around them. CalicoPenn
  5. As has been stated a few times and keeps getting lost in the discussion - Tread Carefully here. Everything you know about this case - Everything - even the newspaper article - is Hearsay. The "general knowledge" that this lad is one of the alleged (repeat - ALLEGED) culprits is assumption, speculation and rumor based solely on his friendship with the 18 year old whose name made the paper. Until it is adjucated in court, there is no proof whatsoever that this lad (or any of the other folks involved) actually did what they are being accused of (if, in fact, this lad is one of the alleged culprits - something you do not know for a fact). Going to council, the Scout Executive or their attorney, and even mentioning this boy by name with reference to this incident leaves you wide open to a slander suit for defamation of character if there has been no adjucation of this case in court or if he is found not guilty. The fact that the minor youth's names were not mentioned in the article should be your first big red flag that its not information that can be divulged - not even in open court - it will be adjudicated in closed juvenile court (unless they are charged as adults instead). You cannot ask this boy about this incident directly or indirectly - don't even try it - not only could there be legal ramifications for the boy (if he is, in fact (and again I stress this is something you do not know as a fact) involved), it could have legal ramifications for you - it could potentially be seen as obstruction of justice and interfering with an investigation (that is considered ongoing until it goes to court for adjudication). Bigger picture - what happens if you deny him his Eagle because of what "everyone" thinks happened and you pick up the newspaper 6 months after he turns 18 to read an article that says all charges were dropped against all of the alleged culprits because there was no proof or they charged the wrong guys and caught the real culprits. How will you be able to take back that kind of mistake? If he has completed the work and passes the BOR, he gets the Eagle. Forget trustworthy and scout spirit arguments - those are all subjective arguments - and should weigh far less in a BOR than objective measurements. Judging from some of the other posters comments on subjective measurements, I'm of the opinion that they wouldn't award the Eagle to some kid who got a parking or speeding ticket. If he's met the requirements, pass him onto the Board of Review. As for community reaction to an Eagle being awarded to an alleged culprit of a crime before the case has been adjudicated - the answer is simple - Scouts believe in the standard that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Finally, understand that the rank of Eagle does not mean that one is a citizen of the highest standard - it means that one has completed all of the work required to earn the rank. There have been some high-achievers who have earned the rank of Eagle - we've all heard the tales of astronauts, presidents, senators, baseball players, etc. who were Eagles. The vast majority of Eagles are just your average, everyday folks that no one really hears about outside their circle of friends, workmates and family. And some are despicable criminals like Russell Henderson who beat and left for dead a young man on a fencepost in Wyoming. I would take comfort in knowing that this lad, no matter what happens in the near future with this case, will most likely end up as one of the vast average, everyday folk. CalicoPenn
  6. Much ado about ketchup (or do you say catsup?). Our solution for leftover food was to put the name of each individual food item on a slip of paper and put them in a hat - each scout in the patrol chooses a slip from the hat and they take home whatever food item(s) they choose from the hat - to make sure everyone brought home the same number of items, we would split easily splittable items (like soup packets or hot chocolate packets) into two or three separate piles and put that food name in the hat three times. We never saved food items from one trip to another - our gear storage was provided by our sponsoring institution and they requested that we not leave any food in our kitchen boxes after our trips (to prevent bugs in our locked storage closet - the exterminators could not get in there on a regular basis unlike the kitchen)- the only exception they made was spices in the spice kits (which were supplied and replenished as needed by the troop quartermaster). Some units in our district followed the same no food left in kitchen boxes because experience taught them that most patrols never double check their boxes before menu planning to see what they already had available so when it came time to pack the boxes, shelves were loaded with surplus items from the boxes. Many times, those that did check their boxes ignored what was there anyway and planned menus that didn't use what they already had. One unit was sponsored by a church that ran a weekly soup kitchen for the homeless and they donated their surplus foodstuffs to the soup kitchen - the kitchen was always grateful for what they received, even half empty bottles of jams and ketchup. I suspect this works best if you already have a connection of some kind to the soup kitchen - I just don't know how a local soup kitchen not affiliated with the same sponsor would react to open containers of food. As for the shelf life of ketchup - it is an acidic food often full of preservatives so it takes a while for it to spoil once it is opened. But, it can spoil so opened ketchup should be refrigerated even if the bottle doesn't have the "keep refrigerated after opening" label on it, My bottle of Heinz does not have that label on it but Heinz' website recommends that to retain freshness, it should be refigerated after opening. If you use ketchup a lot, you could be pretty safe keeping it in a cabinet. If you're like me, you might use it once or twice a month - then you should refrigerate it because you won't go through the bottle fast enough to prevent spoilage. All opened food has the potential for bacterial growth which causes spoilage - the acidity in ketchup slows that growth tremendously but doesn't stop it (not that refrigeration stops it either). Scouts face a second obstacle to storing opened ketchup long term - no way to guarantee the storage space will maintain constant temperature, especially those units whose storage units are outside. Another way to avoid the question - there was another thread that talked about hot dogs as meals - my opinion, ban hot dogs and hamburgers from menu planning - there are hundreds of great recipes for foods that can be cooked on campouts - and they don't need ketchups and mustards that are bought as condiments. Challenge your patrols to be more creative - or use the campouts as opportunities for scouts to earn their cooking merit badges. CalicoPenn
  7. I know its not the patrol method but I like the idea of a buddy system for winter campouts - I wouldn't neccessarily call them patrols though. The unit should make sure they plan some kind of events that all the boys can do together - snow shoe races, etc. - if there are only 6 or so lads on the trip and you have enough snow on the ground, they could all work together building a quinzhee shelter (a packed mound of snow that is partially hollowed out to form an igloo like shelter) that all of them could spend the night in (if they do this, make sure they put in sufficient ventilation holes or their combined body heat will warm the interior up enough to start melting the snow - it will "rain" on them while they sleep). Otherwise, the two person teams responsible for their own cooking, cleanup, etc. could very well be a good thing - It keeps all the lads too busy to stand around and "get cold" - I've experienced many a boy standing around while someone was cooking dinner, breakfast, cleaning up, etc. with nothing to do but watch and complain that they were getting cold. My biggest beef is that each team is planning thier own menu - you've stated that this unit has mainly done their camping at district and council events, not much on their own - winter camping - especially in the Northern tier states like Maine, can be downright deadly if not well planned - this is a case where, if I were the leader, would sit down with all the boys attending to plan a menu that they would all follow, even if they were cooking it separately, to make sure it was heavy in carbs and appropriate fats and a good portion of protein and not as much sugar, nutritious, and good for winter camping - frankly, the boys health and safety depend on it. Scrambled eggs for breakfast may sound good but for winter camping, you want heartier fare, oatmeal and pancakes - dinner something with pasta - we did one pot macaroni and cheese in which was added cooked ham and peas or corn. Good breads, fig newtons, cheese, gorp - all good things to eat when wanting the energy to stay warm. CalicoPenn
  8. A couple responses - felt my pad correction was getting a bit too long. ++ In my experience, less really is more - for the reasons I stated. I know that it is counterintuitive, but the more clothes one wears to bed, the colder one will get. Initially, when you first get to bed, it will be a bit chilly, maybe even downright cold, but you will warm up as your body heat warms up the bag. The problem with wearing multiple layers in bed at night is that you aren't awake when its time to strip off a layer. When wearing multiple layers during the day, as you become more active and start generating more heat and sweat, you remove layers to regulate the heat and if you don't begin removing some layers, you'll end up getting colder and colder as the day wears on. At night, when you overheat, you'll start to sweat and if you start taking off layers (asuming you wake up), your sweat will evaporate rapidly causing you to cool down - fast - and then begin shivering, then thinking your cold, you'll put on more clothes, and starting the process over again. If overheating doesn't wake you up, then you're much more likely to wake up cold (and probably early too - when you really start to feel cold). Starting off in your sleeping bag in one layer, letting your body heat warm up the bag, then letting the bags inuslation regulate your heat allows for the majority of people a much better nights sleep. Its the same principle as sleeping in your bed at night, you get in and the bed is cool, then it warms up, you fall asleep, and by morning your snug as a bug in a rug and don't want to leave your nice, toasty warm bed - and I'd be willing to bet you aren't dressed in multiple layers. When I taught winter camping, I recall only one night when I wasn't woken up at 1 or 2 in the morning by kids (and/or adults) that got cold - and that night I was leading an Explorer Post of older lads who actually listened to us and took what we told them seriously. ++ I like the idea of a hot water bottle in the bag with you - just make sure its a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle with a well set cap (and not fancy spouts). The water will help with the initial warming of the bag and keeping the water in the bag with you means you have fresh, unfrozen, and at least lukewarm water to drink in the morning (always drink lukewarm or warmer water while camping in the winter - cold water cools your core down pretty darn fast, lukewarm water is usually at least similar to your body temperature and won't cool you down). ++ For before bed snacks (and FScouter is spot on with this - right before bed is a bad idea - though an hour before bed is ok - digestion has well progressed by bedtime) I loved fig newtons (and strangly, I only like fig newtons in the winter while camping or cross-country skiing) or oatmeal. ++ Yes, the ground is generally a giant heat sink, however, the interesting thing about the ground as a heat sink is that it isn't a quick sink like an air mattress would be - its a slow process - it takes a while for the subsurface to get get cold or freeze up and it takes a long time for the subsurface to warm up - Thats why pads work well to insulate you from the ground, the ground just won't take up all that much heat from your pad - it not an efficient heat sink at all. Also, and again rather counterintuitivly, snow and ice are fairly decent insulators themselves. ++ LisaBob - for your temperature ranges, a fleece sleeping bag liner will work wonders - they're available at most outdoor stores now, but are also easy to make - fleece is available at most fabric shops and if you don't have a fabric shop around, K-mart, Walgreens, Target, and similar stores, sell cheap fleece blankets that can be sewn together to make a bag liner. These liners can serve as a warm weather bag (warm with cool nights - spring and fall - not summer) all on their own. Otherwise, same things apply - don't over layer, etc. - the lads bodies will generate the amount of heat needed to keep them warm in a sleeping bag. They could also stuff their bag with some of the clothes they plan to wear the next morning - the clothes will be warm when they put them on and will act as additional insulation at night. CalicoPenn
  9. GWD-Scouter - by all means, feel free to use anything I typed if you find it useful. I was an Okpik Instructor at Maine National High Adventure Base back in the mid-80's (and majored in Outdoor Recreation/Environmental Education in college) - everything I know about cold weather camping comes from either the scouts or from college courses (which were all practical, hands on, experiential education courses - taught and learned in the field). I need to make a bit of a correction about the information I shared about the pads. The Thermarest Z-rest is a closed cell pad - there is nowhere to blow in any additional air. The Thermarest classic (aka standard) is an open cell pad, with a valve that allows extra air to be blown into the pad - its a "high-tech" air mattress essentially, just with thousands of small, open cells, versus a couple dozen at the most large, open cells of a traditional air mattress. For anyone wondering what the difference between the two pads are, a closed cell pad (say an ensolite pad or a Z-rest) has thousands of tiny, fully formed and sealed "bubbles" packed and compressed together with no air transfer between the bubbles. When you roll up a closed cell pad, it takes up the same amount of space as when laid flat (just in a different form spatially so its not obvious to most people). An open cell pad is composed of a couple dozen (typical air mattress) to thousands (think Thermarest classic or foam rubber) of mostly formed "bubbles" that are not fully sealed against one another (like an O with a small part taken out of the side) which allows air transfer between the bubbles. When these are rolled up, the air within the pad is expelled and the pad takes up less space. One of the early selling points of the Thermarest classics was that you strolled into camp after your long hike, opened up the valve of the pad and left it on the ground while you set up your tent and the rest of your camp and when you got back to your pad it was "fully" inflated. That still works, for the first few times but eventually, especially if, like me, you always blow extra air into it to firm it up, it no londer works very well. I've never found it neccessary to carry two pads with me, not even when camping at below zero temps (though an additional blanket under the pad was always nice then) but if I had to, I would carry a closed cell pad to put under a Thermarest open cell pad. A thinner piece of ensolite would work just as well and serve as additional insulation. Kind of as an aside - when I was teaching winter camping to Scouts up in Maine, staff were outfitted with the same equipment as the units we were leading - that meant that if a unit didn't bring their own Thermarests with them, we didn't get to bring ours out in the field either - it was a rare occurence to be able to head out into the field with our Thermarest strapped to our backpacks and when we got to, we were the envy of the rest of the staff. CalicoPenn
  10. The question becomes warmer than what? Most likely the interior of your tent is going to be warmer than outside - even in your 9x9 Sundome (I used my 9x9 Sundome instead of my smaller tent this weekend - I camped in it alone - I wanted the bigger tent so I could set up a camp chair for reading/relaxing away from the wind). I agree with ScoutNut completely - no heaters in tents - its too dangerous - risk of fire, and of carbon monoxide buildup. Your tent will never be as warm as a hotel room (or your house) and really, as long as your comfortable sleeping (once you get comfortable sleeping) it doesn't matter that the interior of the tent is 40 degrees. The tent is for nominal protection from the elements - wind (especially wind), rain, fog, snow. Beyond that, it doesn't really offer much else. Sure, you can try a smaller tent with a full coverage rain fly - it might make a litle difference - but for your area, its not really needed - the Sundomes are 3 season tents. By the way, in another thread, I think you mentioned using a ground cover for your Sundome? If its a newer Sundome with the "seamless" bottom (the seam is actually about 2 to 3" from the bottom of the floor) then the ground cover isn't really needed and may end up doing more harm then good by pooling water in a rain storm. But there are a couple of things you could do to better insulate the tent if you find it desireable - put fleece blankets down on the tent floor (think Arabian desert nomads) and you could try hanging some blankets along the window and door lines (like drapery in a house). It might help a little bit. CalicoPenn
  11. Your 3-season sleeping bag should have been fine for your camping trip this weekend - its rated to 15 degrees and Marmot is one of the best companies out there for sleeping bags. I was out camping this weekend in the Manistee National Forest (Michigan) with my "3" season North Face and never got cold at all while sleeping - and I never use my sleeping bag in the classic sense (as a bag to crawl or zip in to) - I use my sleeping bag as a blanket (fully zipped open, though the foot box remains closed - its a tapered bag, not a mummy). I slept on my Thermarest classic with a fleece blanket on top of the pad as a sheet. I wore a knit cap, boxers and a long-sleeved t-shirt. Warm as toast all night. Your post describes a few common mistakes made when winter camping. The first is that you wore one too many layers at the outset - stick with one layer only - the capilene is more than sufficient, but if you like the comfort (both physical and psychological) of fleece, then make fleece your one layer (assuming of course that you changed into fresh clothes before bed and weren't wearing what you wore all day. The second is that you added layers when you started getting cold. The sleeping bags insulation works by trapping and keeping your body heat - by wearing more than one layer, you actually worked against your bag by preventing your body heat from warming your bag up - and adding layers of clothing just gave your body even more surface space (in the form of all the extra air pockets - thousands of them) to heat up - which is also, incidently, one of the reasons you started shivering so much - your body was trying to generate extra body heat to heat the space around it. Shivering is the mechanism the body uses to generate additional heat. The third mistake was wearing a hat in your mummy bag with the hood closed - now I know that seems counterintuitive, especially when one of the truisms of winter camping/hiking is that when you're cold, put on a hat. I wore a hat when sleeping but I wasn't wearing the hood of my bag (it was used as a blanket) so my head was exposed. In your case, the hood of the sleeping bag was your hat, and quite sufficient for the job. By wearing a hat under the hood, you can start to overheat, which leads to sweating, which of course leads to feeling even colder as the sweat starts evaporating off your body (we all sweat to some degree at night). Fourth, as you already mentioned and figured out, the air mattress was also a culprit - the air in the air mattress sucked up a lot of heat - the thermarest couldn't ever hope to keep you insulated against a pocket of air that big that was continuously cold. Thermarests are a closed cell pad with many small pockets of air that get warmed up as you lay on them and remain warm because they have little exposure to the outside (thin sides with you on top and the ground on the bottom - the ground can be frozen and you'll still be better insulated with just the Thermarest). Once the first half inch of the ground is warmed up some (by you and your pad laying on it), the pad doesn't need to work as hard to keep you insulated from the ground - unfortunately, that just does not work with big pockets of air. Thermarests, in my experience, are more comfortable than an air mattress anyway - I've slept on hard rock with them and never felt the rock - you can blow extra air into the pad to make it a little thicker - you should really try it without an air mattress sometime - heck, do it on the floor at home as a test - I think you'll find you'll like it (and can leave one more piece of equipment at home). You didn't specifically mention socks but I'm guessing you wore them - again, a counterintuitive thing but don't wear socks - the feet are one of the areas that sweat the most - even at night - socks - no matter what kind, in a sleeping bag, will retain that sweat and will start to cause the chills. Try your bag again on another campout and try the suggestions some of us have posted before giving up on the bag - to summarize those suggestions: 1) Change ALL clothes before bed 2) Wear one layer 3) Don't wear a hat if using your mummy's hood. 4) Don't wear socks 5) Ditch the air mattress - use only the thermarest (and don't use just the air mattress instead of the thermarest - no matter how you slice it, the air mattress is bad for winter camping). 6) Don't lay out your bag until just before use instead of when setting up the tent. A note though: Think of Just Before Use as 1/2 hour before bed time - unstuffing the bag a 1/2 hour before using it gives the insulation in the bag a chance to recover from being stuffed into its sack - the insulation fluffs up which means it will work better - getting in to the bag right after its unstuffed can help to keep the insulation in the bag from working properly. Hope this helps, CalicoPenn
  12. Sorry - this was just too good to pass up so responses: 1) Society supresses behavior the citizens find repulsive: Response: Most citizens find cigarette smoking repulsive but you can still smoke (you may not be able to smoke in a restaurant - and frankly, any restaurant that doesn't voluntarily ban smoking never gets my business - the heck with the health issues - smoking effects the taste of food - but no one is stopping you from smoking on sidewalks, in your house, or even on a trail through a national park) 2. Monogamous heterosexual couples are the bedrock of a stable society: Response: With a divorce rate of 50% the bedrock is crumbling fast. Let gays marry - maybe they can teach the heterosexuals something about long relationships - or maybe they'll just prove their as adept (or not) at relationships as straights. 3.Sexual diseases spread among promiscuous couples more than among monogamous couples: Response: I have to agree with this, and appreciate that it was said in non-judgmental manner - yes, AIDS spread because gay men did not have to worry about birth control, and the known STD's were easy to cure - after the spread of HIV was understood, the gay community began intensive educational efforts and infection rates started declining rather dramatically (while curiously increasing in the heterosexual community who felt they were immune from the disease because it was a "gay" disease). 4. Society, with the exception of the MTV crowd, views sexually promiscuous behavior negatively: Response: Only on Sunday's at church - outside of church statistics on affairs, divorce, serial dating don't bear this out - and why single out gay bars? Most bars full of young people, gay or straight, share the same reputation. 5. Society does not care for public displays of freakish behavior: Response: Since when?? It was public displays of freakish behavior that made rich men out of Ringling, Barnum and Bailey. For the past few years, public displays of freakish behavior have been the biggest ratings winners and moneymakers on national television - Fear Factor, Big Brother, Survivor, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire - all (and their ilk) the penultimate of public displays of freakish behavior - and all the most popular form of TV entertainment over the past few years. As for gay pride parades - Chicago's Gay Pride Parade (June) changes places with the Bud Billiken Parade (September) as the most attended parade in the city from year to year - in 2005, the gay pride parade may have even retained their lead over the Billiken parade - its estimated that well over 300,000 people attended this parade - if your suggestion is that a Gay Pride Parade is a public display of freakish behavior, then the numbers watching the parade argue against the contention that society does not like looking at freakish behavior (on a personal note, I can't help but think that the most freakish behavior I've ever seen in any parades are any of the following: Men wearing fezes riding go-karts, men wearing fezes riding mini-bikes, men in bermuda shorts riding lawn mowers, men wearing black socks with sandals in a lawn mower drill team, women wearing mumuus in a shopping cart drill team). 6. No telling how many deaths have been caused by people coming out of the closet, litigation, etc.: Response: Well maybe if there were less idiots out there who believe that they have some kind of moral right to kill/harm/discriminate against gays and lesbians, there wouldn't be as many deaths, etc. I suppose you blamed Matthew Shepard for his death, instead of the two morons (including an Eagle Scout (and since everyone claims "Once and Eagle, Always and Eagle, I will NOT call this murdering scum bucket an "Ex-Eagle") who beat him up and left him to die. When "society" finally stands up and says enough is enough to discrimination of any kind, when "society" stands up and no longer blames the victims for crimes committed against them, then, and only then, will I be willing to even consider listening to what "society" tells me I have to do. Until then, I'll continue to live with my own personal sense of morality, which so far in my experience is far greater than any organized religion's based viewpoint of morality. CalicoPenn
  13. This is a second reply because I wanted to separate out the issues of Eagle Scout projects with the issues of gay scouts and sexual behavior on campouts. Simply put - there is no place whatsoever for sexual behavior on Boy Scout camping trips - that being said, anyone who believes that there hasn't been or isn't sexual behavior going on at Boy Scout camping trips (both single sex trips and coed trips) is very naive. Any experienced Scoutmaster or Scouter with many campouts and years under their belts is likely to have at least one and probably more tales they can relate. I've worked security at camporees, worked in summer camps, and have been a Scoutmaster - I've interrupted a few trysts between lads and between lads and gals in my time. It happens and there is little we can do to stop it other than being vigilant. Does that mean policing the boys behavior after lights out? YES - thats part of the job of being a Scoutmaster/Adult Leader. Will this prevent anything from going on? Not completely. If gay youth were allowed in Scouting and I knew that 2 of the lads were in a relationship, I would not let them share a tent - period - just as I wouldn't let a boyfriend/girlfriend couple share a tent. I would also sit them down before a campout and spell out what is expected and allowed - just as I would with any couples in a coed Venture crew. As for the example of age differences brought up - most states have what are known as "Romeo and Juliet" laws - they recognize that an 18 year old having consensual sexual relations with someone younger who has not reached the age of consent (its generally 4 years age difference)is technically wiolating sexual morality laws but the offense does not merit the same punishment as someone much older doing the same thing. In the example of the 18 year old/15 year old - they'll just have to cool it (or never get caught). If it was an 18 year old/16 year old and the age of consent is 16, then there would be no violation of any law. As it relates to Scouting, the situation has likely come up numerous times already in the coed Venturing program (as I'm sure it did many times in the coed Exploring program). As for "definitions" - to be accurate, an 18 year old (or anyone older) having sexual relations with anyone who is a teenager under the age of consent (13 to 18, depending on what state you live in) is NOT a pedophile. A pedophile is one who has sex/fantasies about children 12 and under (pre-pubescent children) - By Definition. The correct term you are looking for is Hebephile - By Definition. CalicoPenn
  14. Congrats to Bethanne for earning her Gold Award and congrats to the Girl Scouts for recognizing that community is as diverse as the human race. Could an Eagle project be done for a GLBT organization? I see nothing in the rules that would prevent it, membership policies notwithstanding. Girls can't be members of the BSA but I doubt anyone would prevent a service project that benefited 10-year old girls. As long as the guidelines are followed (no fundraising, no politics, etc.) there should be no hold up on approving a service project for a non-profit GLBT organization. Makes me curious if any projects have ever been done for one of the gay and lesbian community centers or health centers in our larger cities - or even in smaller cities. I would hope that the members of the review boards were able to put away their personal feelings on issues/people/groups when they made their decisions - I for one would not want to see a review board member try to veto a project because it goes against the grain of their own personal feelings and morality. Would the Scouts stand for someone vetoing a blood drive as a service project because that person had moral objections to blood drives (before anyone says "thats a bad example" remember that there are people out there who do not give blood because it is against their religious precepts), or because the project benefits a church of a denomination not one's own, or because they disagree with the politics of an otherwise qualified organization (no service projects for the Sierra Club because they're a bunch of bunny huggers or, on the opposite end of the spectrum - no service projects for the NRA because guns are bad)? Imagine the bad press the scouts would get for something like that. CalicoPenn
  15. Along the east side of the Hudson River lived the Wappinger. The subnation of the Wappinger most likely in the Bronx was the Wecquaesgeek which lived mainly between the Hudson, Bronx and Pocantico rivers, and on Manhattan Island. The Siwanoy subnation of the Wappinger used the area for travel. Most scholars now seem to consider the Manhattan tribe (named after Manhattan Island) to be just another name for the Wecquaesgeek and/or a subdivision of the Wecquaesgeek though some consider the Manhattan to be an additional subnation of the Wappinger. The main village of the Wecquaesgeek was located in what is now present day Yonkers (at least one reference claims this was the main village of the Manhattan). The Manhattan lived chiefly on Manhattan Island. The Siwanoy subnation of the Wappinger used the area for travel. The Wappinger are linguistically Algonkians and so are related to the Delaware (Lenape) and the Mahican. Both the Unami Delaware and the Munsee (a Mahican subnation) had villages in the greater New York area. The Wappinger territory extended into Connecticut. (a little digression): The island of Manhattan was not sold to the Dutch, as many have learned in school, by the Manhattan Indians. It wasn't actually sold to the Dutch at all. What was sold to the Dutch was the "rights" to Manhattan Island over any claim by any other European nation (in modern parlance, we might call this the right of first offer, right to delvelopment, or a purchase option) - and the rights were sold by the Canarsie indians, who never inhabited Manhattan and likely never even set foot on Manhattan. The Dutch weren't about to deal with the Wecquaesgeek's who actually lived in the area because the tribe was rather hostile to the Dutch (and who wouldn't be when you try to kidnap and shoot at people after a friendly visit - an attempt made by the Dutch after the first encounter between the Dutch and Wecquaesgeek that was met with a hail of arrows forcing the Dutch to retreat). The Bronx County Historical Society may have some up to date information about the tribes from your area (though the reference I found listed dated to the 1930's). CalicoPenn
  16. Impractical field wear? The red beret? Not in my experience - the beret is one of the two best hats for field wear (the other being the overseas cap) because of its versatility. The beret could be used as a hot pot holder (can't do that with a baseball cap), emergency pressure bandage (can't do that with a baseball cap), short-term water carrier-bucket (can't do that with a mesh baseball cap), impromptu frisbee (the only other use for the smoky bear hat, by the way, cause you wouldn't want to use it to carry water), baseball/softball base (baseball caps are to tall to use as a base), carrier of nuts and/or berries (about the only other field use for a baseball cap), mini-pillow for leaning one's head back against a tree (rolled or folded up), emergency eye patch (can't do this with a baseball cap), face mask in smokey situations (can't do that with a baseball cap) and other uses limited only by ones imagination. Sure, the beret doesn't have a bill to keep the sun out of one's eyes but that's what sunglasses are for. Sure, some kids look like mushroom heads when wearing the beret, but thats because they haven't done two very important things - break them in (sleep with them, best way to break them in)and learn to wear them. Our troop had the berets in the 70's - we looked sharp in them even on a day to day basis (not formal) because the older scouts taught the new scouts how to break them in, wear them (kids with shoulder length hair or longer gathered the hair in "pony" tails), wash them (never, never, never, never - dry clean only - IF you had to clean them). Admittedly, they don't look as good with the Oscar uniforms as they did with the previous uniforms (and they looked extremely sharp with the deep forest green of the explorer/leadership corp shirt). Berets? I consider them the best piece field gear worn as a piece of clothing. CalicoPenn
  17. With the new year approaching, its time to recap the headlines of War on Christmas 2005: The Elf Liberation Front (ELF) and the Radical Reindeer Brigade accused each other of being responsible for the chimney side bomb that left Santa Claus in a coma. Santa, who lost both legs and one arm in the bombing has a fifty percent chance to recover though a spokeswoman for the Claus family said that he would never be able to drive a sleigh again. None of Mr. Claus' children have any interest in taking over the family business and are expected to close down the North Pole compound, throwing thousands of elves out of work, and will liquidate the assets to pay for the extensive care Santa Claus will need if he wakes up from the coma. The Christan religious right has already announced plans to challenge any attempt to take Mr. Claus off life support; however, the hospital that Mr. Claus is currently housed is located in the Muslim dominated region of Abakhazistan and its unlikely that the courts or government will recognize any petition by the Christian right wing. The ELF reported that the Claus family has already begun layoffs in the North Pole, starting with the stables, which are said to be eerily quiet. When asked what would become of the reindeer, the Claus family spokeswoman mumbled faintly to herself though the words German, Sausage, Makers, and Wisconsin were clearly heard. In a seemingly unrelated story, President Bush received a gift from the Governor of Wisconsin of Blitzen brand bratwurst that is easy to find in a deep fog due to its unique ability to glow red. Meanwhile, the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas reported to local police that someone had circumvented the alarm, broke into the museum, and damaged hundreds of priceless candelabras. Nothing else was touched in the museum, though the director of the museum believes that the perpetrator may have tried on a few of Liberaces famous mink coats. Police are interviewing a man who recently wrote to the local newspaper a ranting screed about the prevalence of menorahs in the city of Las Vegas. The man, a well known bachelor about town that pickets the annual gay pride parade while wearing short-short cutoffs and little else, was recently cited by the city's building inspector for overloading the structural capacity of his roof with plastic Santa's, reindeer, candles, candy canes, and an strangely out of place 12 foot Easter Bunny in the middle of a nativity scene. In Plano, Texas, residents woke up on Christmas morning to find that the color of Lake Lavon changed from its typical greenish blue to Kelly Green and Crimson Red. Townspeople gathered along shore to share what they thought was someones silent protest of the school district's alleged ban on red and green Christmas decorations, paper plates and napkins. Delight turned to horror when hundreds of bloated 2-foot humanoid bodies dressed in bleached white clothing began surfacing. Reports from the local coroner identified the bodies, which were viciously sliced open with serrated cutting tools, as belonging to a rare sub-species of humans known as Leprechauns and that the clothing they were wearing had originally been dyed green and that the dye leached into the water of the lake. Police are investigating the origins of the leprechauns and are working closely with federal authorities who believe that the leprechauns may have been slaughtered by the Elf Liberation Front. Megachurches throughout the United States failed to open their doors on Christmas morning, which fell on a Sunday this year. The churches claimed that they needed to give a break to all the fine people who put on their annual Mega-Christmas pageants. Pope Benedict XVI, after issuing the Catholic Churches 1972nd annual call for Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men (which will be entered into the Guiness Book of World Records as the longest unrealized wish streak in the history of mankind), and not realizing that the microphone was still active, called the pastors of the mega-churches "wimps of the highest order" because "we have 73 year old priests celebrating Midnight Mass (copyright - Vatican) then opening the doors of the churches at 6:00 am the next day." Finally, Walmart, Target, K-Mart, Sears, Macy's and other major retailers declared victory in the Christmas Wars, noting that people in the US were the "good little consumer lackeys" they had brainwashed to believe that the season is really meant for spending billions of dollars on tacky Christmas decorations and on worthless junk to wrap and put under no longer living trees. The CEO of Retail,Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Murder, Inc., is already planning next year's "war on Christmas" diversion and told a trade journal that the Bill O'Reilly diversionary campaign would look like an amateur production of "Our Town" when next year's campaign starts. He once again denied reports that payments to journalists, commentators and "religious" leaders were made in the campaign though in public filings, a suspiciously large expense of 527 million dollars for Fruitcakes has raised the interest of some legislators. When asked if he would investigate the odd expense, the Attorney General of the United States said "Why would we do that? $527 million dollars doesn't seem to be out of line for fruitcake purchases". In 2004, annual fruitcake purchases were reported to account for no more than 37 thousand dollars in spending for the entire year. When asked about the low dollar amounts in 2004, the fruitcake marketing board said it was typical for fruitcake sales and that the numbers are always low because of annual fruitcake re-gifting. Now can we finally end the so-called War on Christmas? At least for another year? CalicoPenn
  18. This could be a great opportunity for you to open up a discussion of alternative energy sources with your scouts. A couple of years back, I purchased a portable solar power charger that I use at campsites to recharge my digital camera batteries and power my laptop computer (I keep my laptop with me to download the pictures I take - I tend to take an enormous amount of photos in one day while on vacation and use the time while my campfire is working its way to a good cooking fire to download and organize the photos). I looked up solar power battery chargers on the web and the technology is advancing even more - now there are lighter weight roll up solar cell rechargers that weren't readily available just two years ago - and even better - daypacks with solar cells and usb charger ports available - just keep the camera plugged in while hiking and you'll always have a charged up battery - and with today's tech savvy kids, don't be surprised if you don't see one (or more) of these at camp. CalicoPenn
  19. None of the hunters I know take pleasure in the kill - and I think most would agree that this is a narrow way of looking at the sport - we take pleasure in the hunt, in the process, in the whole - thats the key - the whole - even if there are some unpleasant parts of the experience. The kill is just one of the parts of the whole experience, a part of the process. I think in most activities, there are things that need to be done that are done matter of factly - without emotion attached (and I don't mean in a Mr. Spock kind of way - just a neutrality about it). The best hunters I know go about "the kill" (which is just a small part of the whole experience anyway, if the experience were to be parsed into separate parts. The actual kill would be the smallest part, taking maybe 5 seconds - the time it takes to aim and fire) and the field dressing of the game afterwards without emotion attached - its just part of the job at hand. We celebrate the result - not the action. Its not guilt that prevents people from talking about it, its that we don't see it as an issue. That being said, I'm sure there are "hunters" out there who do get "pleasure" from the kill - they're the type that say "let's go out and kill something" Note the use of parenthesis - most hunters disavow themselves of these kind of people pretty darn quickly and don't hang out with them - and will never hunt with them (frankly, these kind of people are too dangerous to hunt with). We have a phrase for these people - Slob Hunters. As I've alluded to before, all activities have their slobs - the small minority of people that give us all a bad name. Photographers even have a special word for the slobs that give them a bad name - Paparazzi. A friend of mine played football in college - He enjoyed just about every aspect of it - he got a lot of pleasure playing football but there was one rather unpleasant thing that he didn't like - being tackled and getting hurt - he never took pleasure in being tackled, or getting hurt, or even tackling other people. But he knew its part of the game and he wasn't going to let it take away from the pleasure he got playing. I think thats the same with hunters - we may think that the kill, or the field dressing, or standing in a tree stand for hours in 20 degree weather, or some other part of hunting is unpleasant, but it won't diminish the pleasure we get in the whole activity. Perhaps the best way to sum up is to say that all of us do some activity that other people just don't understand - and its very hard to explain the intangibles to someone who hasn't tried the sport, game, activity, job - we can all try, but we'll never fully "get it" - all we can hope for is that we gain enough understanding to appreciate each others differences. CalicoPenn
  20. Sorry SWScouter, I didn't mean to imply that taking Bison or other thick-skinned animals like Bear was impossible with a Bow - only difficult. Most states have very specific rules about the type of arrow and arrow head one can use to hunt different species, as well as the draw strength of the bow. Somtimes these rules are counterintuitive to what is needed for a successful hunt which adds to the difficulty. CalicoPenn
  21. Based on the description of the events of the campout, it sounds like your son handled it quite well. Sounds like he would be welcomed as a leader in any troop. The newest piece of information though is that your son was SPL for a year and a half. Its time for him to step down from this role anyway and let another lad have an opportunity. The way the Scoutmaster went about it is unfortunate though. Meet with the Scoutmaster and give him the opportunity to "save face". It sounds like he does have good intentions in forming the venture patrol - just went about it rather awkwardly. Sounds like he may have not spoken quite well about what was going on too. I see a couple of good things coming out of this - one is the formation of an active venture patrol with an active schedule that does things the other patrols don't get to do. The other is perhaps a suggestion from your son that the troop change its PLC choosing policies from "whenever the Scoutmaster decides it needs a change" to a regular election every 6 months. I like the suggestion of one in here that perhaps you volunteer to shepard the new Venture Patrol as an ASM to help it get off to a good start. It doesn't sound like the SM or the CC is being unreasonable at all - if either of them were, I have no doubt that your son's Eagle project would have been "postponed indefinitely". Try reaching out to the SM and see what happens. CalicoPenn
  22. The story of the Bison "hunters" trying to use their bows and arrows on full grown adult bison reminds me of one of my previous boss' decision to hunt black bear with a long bow (he owned a fishing/hunting camp in Maine - where people came from all over the country to pay for the privelege of hunting/fishing in the Maine woods). He practiced all summer - on his first day out, a black bear passed his stand - he shot the bear but the arrow just bounced off. Problem - the bear was between him and his truck - and she was not a happy bear at this point. She kept him tree'd for 5 hours before she got hungry (presumably) and wandered away. There is a reason that the first americans tended to hunt bison by driving them off cliffs - those paintings of native americans on horseback hunting bison with bows/arrows come mainly from the imagination of the artists. Bison have a very think hide - even modern bows, with their technological edge, aren't a match for bison. When I was a young lad, I used to hunt pheasant with my father and uncles - they were quite challenging to hit - I didn't actually shoot my first pheasant until my 5th time out - which taught me a great deal about patience and handling frustration. I've since learned that pheasants, which were originally imported from Asia, are a prime reason for the decline of our native fowl - the Prairie Chicken - in the US. Since I'd much rather see a strong population of native species, I'm ready to take up pheasant hunting again. Besides, prepared correctly, pheasant is delicious. I've gone goose hunting in the Horicon Marsh area of Wisconsin - I've taken one goose home in the 6 years I went hunting up there. I'll lead Audubon Society field trips up there during hunting season and have been known to take the group to watch hunters try to shoot geese from the sky - usually because someone says its a real shame that people are hunting the geese - to this day, we have yet to see a hunter successfully take down a goose - then I take the group to the National Wildlife Refuge and explain that the refuge and its maintenance is largely paid for by hunters through the sales of duck stamps and when birders are willing to start paying for annual binocular stamps to help fund refuges, then we'll be able to complain about goose hunting. It never fails, though, that later that winter and the next spring, the people complaining the loudest about the goose hunting are also the people who complain the loudest about goose poop in their parks and lawns because of the increased population of year-round geese in the Chicago area (when you turn your suburban corporate business parks into a replica of the tundra/taiga - the natural habitat of Canada Geese, you get geese staying). I've never been deer hunting but never passed up a gift of venison from a deer hunting friend (who often got a gift of pheasant from me in return). I went to college in rural Maine and it was common to drive onto campus (I lived off campus) on a Monday during deer season and see two or three deer hanging from a dorm room window. Heck, my college's information booklet for prospective students listed as an amenity an on campus game cleaning station - and our security office had gun safes so that students could store their guns and bows/arrows on campus (and they still do - hunting is still a tradition at my alma mater). Yes, some hunters are selective about which animals they will shoot - only selecting the trophies - but this is not a bad thing. It's a myth that the trophies are the key to survival anyway. Hunting season for most large animals takes place after rutting season (aka mating season)- chances are that this years trophies won't be the best choice for mating the next year. Prior to the euro-american settlement of the country, there were more natural predators of the animals we hunt in the wild. The animals most likely killed in the fall by the predators are what we now call the Trophy Animals. Why? Because after rutting season, they were the most successful at fighting to mate with the females, and, having expended most of their energy fighting and mating (usually not taking in much food during this time either), they were also exhausted and thus tended to be weaker than the animals that were not successful - and the predators go after the weak and tired. Since we have removed most of the predators from the wild, its my opinion that its our moral obligation to replace them in the wild. The fact is that animals will overpopulate if the checks and balances provided by predators is not available. Overpopulation then destroys the balance of the ecosystem and eventually leads to death by disease and starvation, as well as long-term damage to an ecosystem that takes years to recover from. I'm practicing with a bow this winter with plans to go turkey hunting in the spring. One reason I plan to hunt is because I feel its my obligation to help maintain a balance for a healthy ecosystem (I saw a flock of approximately 60 wild turkey in a farm field in Kentucky recently - thats way to many turkey for one small area). I also plan to prove to some friends who insist that I must wear full camoflage if I'm going to be successful at getting a turkey that its not the clothes but the knowledge of ones prey and patience that will earn me a turkey by hunting in blue jeans and a sweatshirt. There is also a certain satisfaction in eating meat one has hunted for oneself - its not so distanced as it is when one just buys their food in the store with no thought of where it comes from. I know I shouldn't be by this time but it still never ceases to amaze me that suburban and urban children can't make the connection between the cow in the children's zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo and the McDonalds Hamburger they're going to eat at lunch. There are a lot of reasons to go hunting, just as there are not to go hunting - but it comes down to it being a matter of personal choice. Yes, there are slob hunters - but then again there a slobs of one kind or another in all activities - even in the BSA. One last thought to ponder - in our increasingly urban society (over 60% of us live in urban areas now) where fewer and fewer people know how to work the land and grow or find food, the skills of hunting or fishing or farming/gardening are starting to fade. When it comes right down to it, those are the building block skills needed for our survival and we need to maintain them - even if its just some of us. CalicoPenn
  23. Based on the new info, it sounds like the CO - through the previous IH - was very much aware of this particular long-term unit. Its not a short term, can you help us out with this, unit - its a unit that the CO has had for a long time - possibly even the original unit (true?). Its often the case that when people leave an organization, they forget to impart their knowledge of things to their replacements - we don't know why the original IH left and if he had much contact with the new IH before he did though it sounds like the new IH got very little info from the previous IH but had enough info to start asking questions to get a handle on his/her new responsibilities. From the new information, it looks as if the CC hijacked the unit from the CO - maybe even using the departure of the previous IH as cover hoping no one would notice. That Council did not immediately stand up and take notice that a chartered unit was allowed to lapse and recharter with a new CO without asking any questions of the previous CO shows incompetence, negligence, or both, on Councils part. The IH of the previous CO should go to the Chief Scout Executive of the Council - NOT the District Executive - and demand - not ask, DEMAND - that the units charter and all of the units equipment and funds be returned immediately to the original chartered organization - remind the CSO what the CO has done for them in the past, and let them know just how damaging this could be to the Council if the CO decided to make a really big and public issue out of this whole mess (including the negative press they would get if the CO decided to press criminal charges against the CC and anyone involved in taking the CO's equipment - and it does belong to the CO). CalicoPenn
  24. I can understand the policy that those scouts wanting to go winter camping must have training first. I don't understand why it has to be this particular training. I was a National High Adventure Base Okpik staff member back in 1986/87. Units came from all over New England to go winter camping in the Maine woods. Our "classroom" training took place Friday night - we could teach you everything you needed to know to camp in the winter in just three hours (of course, the rest of the weekend was also all about training opportunities - classroom to practical - the best kind of training in most instances)provided you already had the basic skills of camping down. Winter camping sounds scary, and there is more awareness that needs to take place, but the reality is its all about preparedness and knowing how to adapt your regular camping techniques to winter camping. Examples - how to dress, how to sleep well at night (hint - CHANGE YOUR SOCKS and wear a hat, how to keep your water bottle from freezing over night (use nalgene wide mouth bottles with good tops, take them into your sleeping bag with you) or even during the day (hang around neck under your jacket), how to light a camp stove and keep it lit, how to pitch a tent. This training could be done in one hour sessions over the course of 3 troop meetings (and frankly, this is a better idea anyway - attention spans tend to wander after the first hour. Perhaps your troop could invite the OA in to your meetings prior to the camping trip - it would be a refresher for those that have already taken the course (and probably have forgotten most everything they learned anyway) and would give the others the training the committee requires. Some other thoughts on the second post: With the exception of G2SS (and advancement rules), policies should be flexible enough to make exceptions - heck, if your making exceptions, then the policy isn't a good policy in the first place - so change the policy. Even rules for advancement change - seemingly every year. Changing rules and regulations that already exist by definition happens "after the fact" - its being changed because something has shown, after a fact, that its just not working, or is too strict so it interferes with the program, etc. The two bullet points that really jump out as red flags are: The older scouts aren't prepared or capable of doing the training - Is this true, and if so why? That statements seems to indicate that there is a more serious problem in the troop (though I'm thinking (hoping) its the opinion of one or two people and that the SM Corps might disagrees). The best way to prepare for and be capable of doing training of any kind is to prepare and do the training (learn by doing - or is that an outmoded concept now - I remember learning, and teaching, that concept in Patrol Leader Development training) - if this attitude holds sway, the youths will never be prepared and capable of doing the training because they won't be allowed to spread their wings and start doing some training. If the attitude is based on some truth, then your program should be examined to see if you are really meeting the needs of the boys. Which leads to the troop having more pressing issues right now. What could possibly be more pressing for a scout troop than the program and delivering the program? Camping and other outdoor activities is an important part of the program - its one of the cornerstones of the program. This should rank right up there as one of the most important issues facing any troop - are we doing enough to deliver the program? It'll would be interesting to see what decision is eventually made. CalicoPenn
  25. Ours were a call out/tap out combination at our spring district camporees. Guides dressed in costume would walk through camp gathering all of the units and leading them by torchlight and in silence to the ceremony location. Upon reaching the ceremony ring, the units would stand in a semi circle around three campfires - two campfires that were lit and a larger central fire that was not lit. Once all the units were in place, the ceremony would start with the lighting of the central fire. There wasn't a set ceremony for lighting the fire - one year the ceremony location was along a river bank and the "four chiefs" (A, M, K, & N) holding lit torches came around a bend in the river in canoes paddled by "braves" - they converged on the central fire and lit it by placing and leaving their lit torches in the fire. One year a skilled archer started the fire by shooting a flaming arrow into the fire from a tree stand behind the audience (he practiced for two hours - and was very skilled - he bow hunted deer with his father). One year an electronics wiz created a little device to start spark starting the fire when a foot button was pushed by Mateo (after a little "mumbo-jumbo"). Once the fire was started, the audience was allowed to sit while the dance team performed a dance and while the legend of the Order was read ("In the beginning, in the dim ages...") - we weren't "supposed" to read the legend but no one ever stopped us. One year I was chosen to recite the legend, which I did from the top of a small mound of dirt (about 12(?) foot tall) with a torch bearing brave on either side of me - I found out later that it was much more impressive than we thought it was going to be because of "heat" lightning that was going on behind me. After the preliminaries - Kichkinet and Nutiket would stand at one or the other of the two side fires alternately reading the names of the candidates, including troop number, from stretched leather "tablets" (paper was taped to the leather with the names - that way the tablets could be used from year to year). When the candidates name was called, they were to stand and take two steps forward. Braves, wearing ankle bells of course, and with a softly beating drum, would run to, and around the candidates, choosing one to escort to Allowat and Mateo. Once escorted to A & M (usually at a trot) Mateo would make a mark on the forehead of the candidate with a red greasepen, and Allowat would then tap the candidate out on the shoulder - using three taps. Taps were never to be very hard - they were just symbolic - though I will admit that when my youngest brother was tapped out, I happened to be Allowat and tapped him a little harder then the others. The candidates were then escorted to one side of the ceremony ring to await their instructions/letters. We always tried to give the candidates their letters the night they were tapped out. After the call out/tap out ceremony was completed, we publically recognized any member of the chapter that had been chosen for the Vigil Honor that year and would go through the ceremony that spring. The Vigil candidate would be called up by Allowat and his Brotherhood Sash would be removed and replaced on his shoulder arrow-side in (inside out). The year I was chapter chief (and therefore Allowat)was the year I was chosen for Vigil - we always tried to keep the mystique of the ceremony by not publically identifying the chiefs by anything other than K,N,M or A. To try to keep the mystique intact as much as possible when I was called out for Vigil, after I had turned the sash over for the other Vigil candidate in my chapter, Kichkinet and Nutiket came over and removed my headdress and Mateo called me out, reversing my sash - so that it wasn't Allowat being called out but me as the individual. Once my sash was reversed, K & N replaced my headdress and we completed the ceremony. After this, the guides would lead the units back to their campsites and we would speak with the new Ordeal candidates - this was still done while in full costume - no one would break character until the candidates were led away by guides back to their units. the candidates would be told they shouldn't speak for the rest of the night so that they could reflect on the honor their peers had bestowed upon them. Technically another no-no but it was district/chapter tradition and was never abused. Our call out/tap out ceremonies were always open to the "public" (mothers,sisters, etc.) if they wanted to make the trek out to the campground. One year we had a joint camporee with the Scouts and Webelos and the Webelos were invited to attend as well - As I recall, there were a lot more cross-overs that year than usual. Calico
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