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Chicken Ranch

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  1. There are several cookbooks published on outdoor & dutch oven cooking. I picked most of mine up at the REI store in Denver and at the Bass Pro place at Springfield MO - both along the way when I attended training somewhere or other. There's several that I know of... (for those who don't want to experiment & publish their own books)... Cooking the Dutch Oven Way (Woody Woodruff) in both a first edition and an expanded 2nd edition Lovin' Dutch Ovens (Joan S. Larsen) The Outdoor Dutch Oven Cookbook (Sheila Mills) Camper's Guide to Outdoor Cooking (John G. Ragsdale) in a 1st and 2nd edition Camp Cookery for small groups (BSA) Log Cabin Cooking, pioneer recipes & lore (Barbara Swell) Mom's Camper Cooking (Rita Hewson) The Wilderness Chef, gourmet recipes for the great outdoors (Claudine Martin) I've found that most recipes can be adapted to outdoor cooking - how else would our pioneer ancestors have survived crossing the prairies and mountains. All you have to do is experiment a bit with the fire and the cooking techniques to make them work. The trick is keeping the staples fresh (flour, sugar, etc) and keeping enough spice and seasoning on hand - and of course - keeping the cooking gear clean and well seasoned for use.
  2. Don't let this parent (or CM?) give you a pile of poop over this. BSA policy clearly states that if a youth completes the requirements for the rank and earns the badge, he deserves to have it awarded to him - ON THE SPOT if he completes it at a meeting (assuming a patch has been previously acquired) or at the very next meeting. And, if he has been awarded the patch, he has every right to wear it on his uniform the very next day - as soon as he or his parents can get it sewn on. Nobody - not even the CM - has the right to deprive a youth member of wearing the rank he's earned. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. In this day and age where so many kids suffer from short attention spans, immediate recognition is the key to keeping the kids motivated. A leader who is interested in having motivated kids in his unit will keep a supply of rank patches on hand, along with a blank advancement form, and will present the boy with his rank as soon as he has earned it, saving the badge presentation card and parent pin for the pack ceremony. The sooner the boy gets to wear what he's earned, the happier he will be about continuing in the program, and the slower boys will have better incentive to work harder to catch up. It doesn't make a whit of difference about whether his peers are motivated or not, or have earned a gosh darned thing or not. If a lad does the work, he deserves the credit and the priviledge of wearing the patch. His peers will either motivate themselves when they see the award, or not (as they choose), but that's not anyone's business but theirs. If it's the CM telling you this outrageous tale, maybe the committee should consider replacing him/her with someone more knowledgeable and more giving in their attitude toward the youth members. This person sounds pretty stingy to me. Perhaps this particular parent is to blame for the lack of morale and incentive you see among the other kids.
  3. When I took B.S. Woodbadge in 1999, it was $150 for a WHOLE WEEK of training & I thought it was the best bargain ever (even if I did have to drive 250 to 300 miles to get to the other council). The only 'downer' I experienced was having to find my way to the latrine in the dark over rocks and stuff - flashlight and my knees had issues. I had loads of fun - was put in Beaver patrol (thought that was a form of typecasting... used to be called "beaver" when I was a kid). Oh well... at least beavers are productive critters. For the record, ALL the patrols are great - everyone gets to act like kids again - but Beavers come first (both in the Woodbadge song & in my heart). Answer all your questions - it'll give you a chance to analyze your strengths & weaknesses - take all the gear they tell you you'll need, plus your comfy stuff (good soft bunk pad & pillows & a couple of warm blankets) & get ready to have a good old time. You'll enjoy yourself.
  4. I took both my kids to Philmont when I was there in 1997, 1998, and 1999 for training - the boy got along better than the girl did, but both had a great time. Programs for boys are either troop-type activites with an emphasis on scout skills, camping, & hiking, or they emphasize more general activities for those who are less physically active. The co-ed groups focus on less intensely physical stuff and the groups take short day trips, ride horses, and do crafty things. Son attended Bear/Webelos activities 1st year we were there, Webelos activities 2nd year, & the co-ed program for 11-14 year olds the 3rd year. Daughter attended the co-ed group for the 15-17 year olds the first 2 years, but wasn't with me the 3rd year. The troop activities Philmont offers the kids is so good I'd almost call it spectacular. Staff is wonderful, very good with the kids. They have things for everyone to do from infant to adult, regardless of gender. Yes, I'd go back again... and I'd take my kids along again in a heartbeat if they were the right age and wanted to go. In fact, son is now 18 and says he'd have a dilemma if I went back this summer - he'd have to choose whether to go with me or go work on staff at one of the other camps. Plan on 2-man platform tents - the camp will keep a family together if more than one tent is needed. Cots and a tiny closet are provided. Meals are usually held in shifts.
  5. I don't care for camping much and I can't hike far because I have some physical issues, but I can be easily pursuaded to go on camping trips and summer camp with the troop if there is a need for 2-deep leadership or some additional transportation. I wind up sleeping in my vehicle a lot, and come home stiff and tired, but if I'm needed so that a campout can go off as planned, I'll go along for the kids rather than see it get canceled. It's not worth disappointing them. This unit I've been in has good kids - real good kids - and I hate the idea of leaving them if I move on. They're bright, and at least half of them really want the scouting program - those are the ones that are motivated and will do well in their endeavors. I want them to have the best scouting has to offer. I'm afraid that if I leave, no one else in this troop will really know or understand the advancement process very well. The COR used to do it, before me, but he threw away a lot of documentation on kids who left the troop, and when I took the position over, I had to correct about half the records on the kids who remained in the troop and file corrections on a couple of boys who transferred to other troops, so they could get credited for work they did while with us. I don't want to think of leaving this troop until I absolutely have to, because I have so much time invested - over 6 years. But on the other hand, how much good does it do to stay and be stressed out all the time, worrying all the time about what some adult is going to do to ruin the program for the youth members and deprive them of what the program could ideally offer - or worse, worrying all the time about who's going to crawl down someone else's throat over some imagined slight and disrupt the trust of the entire unit? But perhaps it's time - we are thinking about moving in a few months to a small town near here anyway. If we don't go too far away, and I transfer to another unit, or help some other organization start a new troop, maybe a few of the boys will follow. In a new unit, I'd need to see a good man brought on as scoutmaster - being in the "driver's seat" as a SM type is just not up my alley - I prefer to stay on the sidelines, watch the show, give advice to those who want it, take notes on who attends events & who does his job, and be there to explain the program opportunities so the kids understand what they can do to advance more effectively or offer ideas on how they can fulfill the duties of their job or their position of responsibility so well they are remembered as the *example to strive for* for a long time to come. I've helped charter a pack and a troop before - it's not hard, but the paper trail can be a pain in the posterior. Five youth is what's usually recommended - that rule can be bent if there are 4 kids who are really interested and at least 3 or 4 adults to help start it up, with at least one or more other kids as possible joiners at a later time, especially when it's a re-organization of a defunct unit, or a bad situation in a small community. I think - when I go for refreshers at the next College of Commissioner Science in a few weeks - I'll ask around and see what some of the other leaders and commissioners have to say.
  6. Our troop used to provide an overview of past activities and a list of anticipated ones (when we had youth leaders keeping a calendar), so prospective and new parents knew what kind of things the troop tends to participate in.
  7. Adhesive? You glued them on? (uh-oh) Do you mean they were ironed on using the slick non-fray plastic backing as stickum, or they were applied using some kind of sprayed-on or painted-on glue substance? In either case, check with a dry cleaner to see if there's a method of removal. It might help if you could get information about what was used to adhere the patches. If they don't have a method, see if the troop number sequence can be arranged so that it will cover up the marks. Otherwise, you could be stuck (no pun intended) with the stain or discoloration. The no-fray backing on merit badges, numerals, other types of patches, and on some council strips is not meant to be used as iron-on adhesive. It's a type of plastic that will bond with the fibers and become impossible to remove. Some parents experience this problem when they remove Cub advancement patches from shirt pockets and find the material permantly stained brownish by the patch backing.
  8. Sorry I haven't answered lately - been out of town the last few days. I appreciate all the input from everyone - for awhile, I thought I was just being too picky or something. Answers to the Questions posed - Chartered Org. is a church. COR is a senior deacon in the same church (also holds an elected office). The female minister acts as of she's under CORs thumb, and he seems to pretty much control most of what happens in the church. COR has Type A personality and a correspondingly uptight attitude with hostile overtones. COR possesses a very ugly temper and threatening demeanor when riled, but is otherwise a charmer - sort of like a snake poised to strike. Had trouble for a couple of years finding a CC who knew anything AND was willing to take command. Up until we found someone who really knew what they were doing and understood scouting, COR wasn't interested in intervening; after we found a good man, COR interfered with everything, ran him off. New CC has been out of town for months. COR was a major part of the past problems, was the driving force that resulted in loss of old SM & a contributing force in loss of many scouts in a very short period. At least 7 of the losses resulted in transfers to other troops and are directly attributable to COR & the other 2 out of the Big 3. COR personally kicked out one kid. 10-15 other boys quit scouting and lost interest. COR was the one who threatened to fold the troop, had almost everyone else in the troop so stirred up & intimidated it almost became a troop in name only. The Unit Commissioner assigned to our unit was a guy who apparently existed only on paper for almost 18 months (he rarely showed up) and apparently made his reports based on 2nd hand information from an unknown source. When the district was called in to help, the person on the dist. committee that handled the complaint was the troop's previous SM (the man the old SM was asked to replace) - and after several years he was still mad over being replaced, so he took sides with the COR against the old SM. Didn't matter the COR was wrong - the district guy had it in for the old SM for personal reasons. I understand he's been removed from the district committee now. The next level up is the Council Exec. - he's next on the list of who might help. I'll try that next. JLT hasn't been held since before new SM was appointed. When we had the last one, COR convinced all but 6 or 7 boys to stay away (out of a troop of about 20-25 total boys). I recently recommended to the new SM that it would be wise to hold a general JLT for the benefit of the entire troop later this month or early in March (just prior to troop elections), and then hold individual position training for specific job descriptions right after elections. I pointed out that it would help ALL the guys (so they know how their youth leaders are supposed to operate & be better able to co-operate). I think he's going to go for it.
  9. The question was - how much participation do other troops expect of their junior leaders (green bar corps)? I thank all who give me input on this. To answer some of the comments... I won't go into specifics, but I will say that our troop has had some significant problems with adult interference in troop activities for a LONG time. Too many "Me-me-me" egos, too many "my son first" types, and not enough common sense. The past year and a half has been a lttle better - got a new SM last year - but the C.O.R. and a couple of adult members have presented a series of continuous problems since early 2000. The worst of the bunch constitute what I think of as the Big Three - those three guys who are troublemakers, but think they know it all and aren't willing to hear anything different. The Big Three are personally responsible for causing at least 12 families to leave the troop in a 14 month period (7 went to other troops) and for railroading the old SM out of the troop and attempting to smear his reputation out of no more than sheer spite because he stuck to the policies of the BSA. The new SM is one of those guys whose father was a SM back in the 50's or 60's and ruled with an iron thumb (everyone was under it, and don't you forget it). He thinks that's the way he needs to run things and has no problem with holding 15 minute seminars while everyone is standing at attention after opening flags on what's expected at "tonight's" meeting. We are slowly getting him to come around to the idea that the boys need to be trained to take responsibility as leaders for themselves and run their own show. The C.O.R.'s son is now SPL, and the C.O.R. refuses to allow any talk of replacing the boy with someone willing to perform - he wants his son to have the position, but not have to do the work involved or be required to attend the activities. The ASPL is the kid of one of the Big Three. He is the type who threatens to fold the troop if anyone defies him. The committee chairman took a job out of state and nobody wants to replace him because the family won't say if it's going to be temporary long-term or a permanent position. The most vocal members on the committee are the parents who don't give a good d-a-you-know-what about anyone but their own kids and don't hesitate to stomp on the opinions of others. I have not been informed of committee meetings over the last 6 months because none of the other members wants to hear what I have to say, or do what BSA recommends. Other members of the troop act as if the boys have no brains of their own and insist they don't have the intelligence to select their own camping activities and locations - hence we had a problem with our summer camp selection this year... the adults wanted the kids to go to one place, and the kids voted unanimously in favor of another. I keep having to point out to these so-called leaders that it isn't the adult's troop - the control in making decisions belongs to the boys, and the adults are only there to make sure the boys make responsible choices, or to provide fall-back in the event a choice has adverse consequences so they have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Recently (about 5 or 6 months ago) the C.O.R. convinced the SM that the two of them should invite me to shut up & keep my mouth shut, or get out of the troop - until I pointed out the logic and the BSA guidelines on having the boys make their own rules of operation, and their own choices. To the C.O.R. - an elected official in our community - I said, how will these kids learn how to be leaders, how will they become our community's future, if they aren't taught RIGHT NOW to make their own decisions and allowed to make a few mistakes where it won't hurt anyone (such as where to go camping).
  10. Oh yeah, I also helped charter a pack and a troop in the small town I used to live in.
  11. I'll take the risk of sounding redundant (because I haven't had time to read every response in this thread). If you feel the troop member holding the "responsible position" in the troop isn't doing his job for some reason, or is only doing part of the job and letting the rest slide, try having him write down his own interpretation of the job description and the perception he has of what his duties ought to be. If they differ significantly from what you (as a leader) think they ought to be, then convene an instructional meeting with him. It never hurts to remind someone, or to update their knowledge, or to make suggestions on how they can do better. This meeting can involve the patrol leader, the SPL and ASPL, the SM, and any interested (and informed) committee members or asst scoutmasters, so that others can have some input and lend their own insight into the situation. This gives the youth in question a golden opportunity to learn what others believe he should be doing in his job. It offers the chance for him to change his ways, to figure out what else he can be doing to show his level of responsibility to the troop. For instance: if the Historian has been going to events and has been taking pictures and putting them into a scrapbook, but hasn't been very good about identifying participants and giving the dates and types of events, or noting what happened (good, bad, unexpected) at those activities - or the Librarian knows where the literature box is located and can point out its general location to interested persons, but hasn't a clue about what's in it (hasn't quite caught on to the fact that he needs to be informed of its contents) and hasn't bothered with trying to keep it updated or keeping track of who's borrowing the literature (asking for its return, if necessary - it gives everyone with knowledge and some experience the ability to offer that boy the chance to really shine, really stand out as a good - whatever (position in the troop) - and be an example of what other scouts who may later be appointed to the same position can strive for. I am not the scoutmaster at present, but I have a couple of kids in the troop who like to call me at home to ask questions on what I think. One in particular calls often to pick my brain. He asks me quite regularly what his job should be - because he's never held that job before and wants to be sure he's doing it right, wants to know what he can do to make it better (what a joy this is, and how novel considering how lax some of our guys have been). I've told him that he can read the youth leader handbook that pertains to his position, that he has some leeway in what he can do in terms of personal interpretation, and that the position is whatever he determines it should be (within the written parameters and recommendations given by BSA). And then I give him some ideas he can use to really stand out and be a good example to his fellow scouts. We have had some trouble with our Scribe, when it was recently discovered that the youth holding the post hadn't been doing his job for 8 of the 10 months he'd held the position. We made a deal with him - he could either "catch up" the attendance book (using my records), sit down with the SM to learn what the minimum duties and responsibilites of the job are and learn how to do it right, and then spend an additional 3 months in his rank to correct the impression of having shown no responsibility to the troop - or he could accept a ruling that he has done nothing to show any sort of responsibility in his appointed position as Scribe and take another position, then resolve to conduct its activities for another 6 months in the same rank to prove himself worthy of holding a "position of responsibility". He chose the former option (I also note that his mother wasn't too happy about her son having to actually do any work in this capacity for attaining rank). The Scribe function typically fulfilled in our unit has revolved around taking attendance at meetings and campouts. Our most recent Scribe only took attendance 11 times during 10 months before we caught the deficiency. In our troop, dues are paid annually by the family by check because apparently nobody wants to mess with a whole bunch of quarters every week and it's just easier to write a check. I don't agree with this attitude, but I'm in the minority and it takes time to change a habit of over 10 years. In point of fact, if one takes the job seriously, the Scribe should also be taking note of what happens in meetings, much in the way a secretary takes notes of what happens in committee meetings. Who is present at an activity and who pays dues on time are only two aspects of the job. What happens during troop meetings and campouts - who was there, activities conducted & what was done, rank requirements earned, decisions of future activities or notations of individual merits, reports made as needed to the Historian about activities, or to the Advancements Chairman about someone who achieves a rank requirement - all fall within the Scribe's potential range of activity for showing responsibility, if he chooses to really be a "stand-out Scribe" rather than just another guy holding the job. The bottom line is, the job is what you make of it. If the boy is interested and motivated in scouting, he ought to know who to ask or where to go when he has questions. If the troop operation is muddied up with green leaders who aren't aware of how things ought to be, or uncaring adults who are more interested in just telling the boys what to do and how to do it so that jobs get done (and don't really learn why the job should be done at all in the first place) someone - anyone (SPL, ASPL, PL, whoever) - needs to find out who they can call or where they can go to learn more. If they can't find out who to ask or where the information is in their troop, they can call a district representative for help.
  12. We have an SPL & ASPL who seem either unable or unwilling to do their jobs. The SPL was elected in the Nov. election, and has never held a troop leadership position other than scribe or historian before - never wanted a job like this before. The ASPL was our previous SPL & never did do what he was supposed to do unless he was either told to do it or knew he would be negatively viewed. Since our SM is relatively new and had only basic training at the time, he wasn't aware that the SPL should appoint his own ASPL, so both of these guys were elected to their positions by the other members of the troop. Both individuals are turning out to be real slackers - the only thing they seem interested in is being figureheads insofar as conducting flag ceremonies & courts of honor at troop meetings are concerned. Neither of them like to camp and find all kinds of excuses not to go camping. The new SPL has yet to appoint new positions for scribe and other duties, so the guys filling those posts have been in them since March 04. SM has discussed the problems with both individuals and informed them of what they should be doing, but there has been no change. The SPL was told to either do his job or resign the position - but that was 2 months ago and he still hasn't appointed the lower positions yet. Now both SPL and ASPL have told us they don't intend to go to summer camp with the troop. My question is - What is the general accepted rule for camping attendance where it pertains to the participation expected of the troop's elected youth leaders? I am having trouble finding anything in print in any of the publications that addresses this question.
  13. Hi all. Been in scouting for years - Girl scout as a youth member for 8 years, then joined as Girl scout asst. leader when daughter joined in 1st grade. Became Girl scout leader trainer for outdoor & camping skills before daughter dropped out. Joined Boy scouts with my son in 1992 - been in ever since & love the programs. Have been a tiger partner, Wolf & Bear asst den leader, Bear & Webelos den leader, acting cubmaster (in the 18-month absence of appointed person), advancement & committee chair in the pack, C.O.R. for troop & pack, unit commissioner for troop & pack, and then joined Boy scout troop in late 1997 as asst scoutmaster (acting scoutmaster at summer camp), and committee member. Camping: For girls, taught campfire cooking & other outdoor skills & was a day camp leader. For boys, was a day camp archery & bb instructor, and taught archery and first aid at summer camp & helped on the rifle range - haven't missed a summer camp activity in over 20 years. Worked as a manager (sole employee) of a council scout shop & trading post outlet for 15 months. Now am in role of advancements chair for my son's troop & LOVE what I do. Son made Eagle last August. Oh yah - my nickname? We keep a few chickens at the farm - about a hundred or so laying hens. Also 50 or so roosters in a separate bachelor pen that I'd like to either find homes for or do in.
  14. We did a pumpkin activity when my son was in Webelos and invited the entire pack to participate. We called it "Pumpkin Gutting" and slaughtered over 26 of the poor things, then judged the final products. It was set up as a pumpkin carving night about a week or two before Halloween using those cheap little $2 carving kits with the dull implements. Judging categories included smallest, biggest, scariest, largest eyes, most lop-sided smile, most teeth, least teeth, goofiest face, etc. - tried to figure out special categories so each kid would "win a prize" (a ribbon). We like to never got the kids to leave that night - some of the parents had to drag them out to the cars. They had so darned much fun they wanted to do it again the next meeting.
  15. If your chartered organization is a church, you might check with the pastor or youth education person about setting up a "God & Country" seminar over 2 or 3 meetings. When my son did this about a zillion years ago (1993-97), we did the work independently through the United Methodist Church and sent him to church camp where it was specifically offered.
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