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Chief Decorah

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About Chief Decorah

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    Green Bay, WI
  1. Chief Decorah

    Midwest higher adventure locations

    You might want to add the Bay-Lakes Council's "Wolf River Adventures" program to your roster. Four different week-long treks are available, including river kayaking on the Wolf & Peshtigo Rivers, two of the best whitewater rivers in the midwest, sea kayaking, sailing and bike touring in Wisconsin's mini-version of Cape Cod - Door County, canoe trips on the wild Flambeau River in north central Wisconsin or a trek that includes many of the above activities on a smaller scale. The council, located in Appleton, WI, has two summer camp facilities - Bear Paw and Gardner Dam - that offer these high adventure opportunities for Boy Scouts and Venturers from in-council, as well as all over the midwest. Here's a link to the brochure: http://www.baylakesbsa.org/council/files/UpcomingEventsPDFs/WolfRiverAdventures2010_webv2.pdf
  2. Chief Decorah

    What would you have done...?

    Given the time of your arrival, I think you handled it well, at least for that night. Had my unit been set up in your campsite by accident, I would have been extremely apologetic and suggested swapping campsites in the morning. Since that Scoutmaster didn't make that offer, I think you handled the situation extremely well with your Troop. Revenge is often on the minds of youth (if not the adults) but talking about the situation with the boys probably taught them one of life's lessons and hopefully the lesson sticks with them for a long time. Thankfully, the weather was good and the pavillion wasn't as necessary as it would have been on a rainy weekend. Congrats on handling things appropriately, at least in my opinion.
  3. Chief Decorah

    Back From Northern Tier

    Hol-ry Brent! Glad to hear that you had a great trip. A canoe trip in the Boundary Waters or Quetico is true high adventure, at least as I see it. Nothing there but woods, water and the weather. It's up to you and your crew to make the trip the best it can be. Sounds like you all did just that. Congratulations! As much as people on this site squawk about the need for jungle boots, it's interesting that your female interpreter wore sneakers and out-portaged everyone. So much for the stories of NT-mandating "wear jungle boots or you die". For the record, we had two crews at Sommers in June and those that wore jungle boots had about a 50/50 experience with them. Some boots made it fine and some fell apart. All were new prior to the trip. Unbelievable that, in this day and age, companies continue to make crap.
  4. Chief Decorah

    Canoe/Tent partners

    Buffalo Skipper, To answer your question about groups switching tent partners "on a whim", I don't see that as a problem. I would keep a watchful eye to make sure there isn't someone getting slighted by the constant switching, but all-in-all, I believe it builds patrol or crew comaradarie and you have a stronger group. If they'd rather pick tent partners and stick with them for the trip, that's obviously fine, too.(This message has been edited by Chief Decorah)
  5. Chief Decorah

    Scouts Tenting Alone?

    Thank you for posting that, dzierzak. After reading JBlake's post earlier in this thread about going to Philmont and "being forced" to carry tents but having the boys sleep under the stars anyway, it makes me wonder why he felt their crew could sidestep the rules that apply to 20,000 other Scouts and adults every summer.
  6. Chief Decorah

    Scouts Tenting Alone?

    Anniepoo, Please elaborate... are you saying that if a 9 or 10 year old Webelo needs to get up in the middle of the night to water the bushes behind his tent, he needs to wake up his parent or another Scout to go with him? As for the tenting alone (or not), there should always be a goal of having Scouts tenting together, simply for the comaradarie aspect. If several boys are tenting by themselves, I think the "group" suffers in the fact that you want the Troop or Patrol thinking in terms of "unit first". Having a group of loners does nothing to build that unit cohesiveness. However, there are always exceptions for Scouts tenting alone. Most exceptions have been brought up in this thread - having an odd number of boys, Senior Patrol Leader priveleges (I see no problem with this but I bet it's rare) and others. As adults, I think we need to keep a watchful eye to ensure unit cohesiveness and squash cliques in our units. Waking a buddy in the middle of the night just to go to the latrine isn't a good method, in my humble opinion.
  7. Chief Decorah

    Promoting high adventure with a young troop

    This is way over-simplifying the answer, but just get your Troop "doing" something. Anything. Get them on the trail for a short weekend with less than perfect backpacks, sleeping bags that are too bulky and other gear that isn't perfect for backpacking. Just do it. As time goes on, educate them on what's important for successful backpacking trips (i.e. lightweight and more compact gear, good hiking boots, backpacks that fit, etc.) and show them the way. Over time, you'll find gear that is reasonably priced and better quality than what everyone has currently and slowly upgrade. Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither has any well-equipped Boy Scout Troop or Venturing Crew that does high adventure treks. I can still remember our first REAL high adventure trek - backpacking on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. We were packed heavy, too much food (imagine that), backpacks didn't fit right (although that got corrected along the way) and just a group of Scouts and leaders struggling to learn. We got better as time went along and, to this day, it's still a fond memory for our group. It actually got us started toward a very successful trip to Philmont, complete with good hiking boots, lighter sleeping bags, lighter gear in general and, most importantly, the mental make-up to complete a tough, 10-day backpacking trip in the mountains. I think most will agree the last point is the most important of all. Good luck with your Troop. If you continue doing high adventure treks, your Troop will stay strong for years, and think of how much fun you'll have!
  8. Chief Decorah

    ATTENTION VERY IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ

    Thanks for the info. I've been looking for a news article on this but cannot find one. Can you share more info regarding the accident?
  9. Chief Decorah

    Philmont travel suggestions

    If you're looking for an option, try Blue Sky Adventures. I can't vouch for them personally since I've not yet had the opportunity to use them. However, many crews and council contingents have and they've had great experiences with them. http://www.blueskyadventures.net/BSA/Home_Page.html
  10. Chief Decorah

    Adults staying up nearly all night

    I side with those who say "A Scout is Courteous". It's also hard to fly with Eagles in the morning when you run with the dogs at night. While sitting around the campfire until 3am might not be classified as "running with the dogs", it's still leaving a very short window of sleeping time for the adults. Adults staying up an extra hour or so beyond the boys' bedtime can be an enjoyable, relaxing time of the day. However, yukking it up around the campfire until 3am or so not only lacks courtesy for others, it isn't taking into account the activities coming up the next day and the need for a good night's sleep.
  11. Chief Decorah

    Philmont Equipment Questions

    Each crew brings a shovel (or trowel) for Leave No Trace bathroom techniques when you're on the trail and don't have the luxury (insert big-toothed grin here) of a red roof inn or a latrine box in the woods. As for the type of shovel you need, simply go to an outdoors sporting good store and pick up a plastic spade. They're usually orange and cost less than $5.00. Plus, they're lightweight. http://www.rei.com/product/407146 You will likely get multiple responses on the cooking gear, but we used the Philmont-issued cook set and it worked out fine. Can you go lighter? Of course. Do you need to? That's your call, but the stuff is fine for hundreds of crews each summer. It it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. If you haven't done it yet, check out www.Philsearch.org . I have no vested interest in the site, but it's worth it's weight in gold for trek preparation.
  12. Here would be a place to start your search: http://www.w9fz.com/canoebase/
  13. Chief Decorah

    Summer camp Venturing programs

    The Bay-Lakes Council in eastern Wisconsin has a fantastic summer camp high adventure program for Venturers and Venturing-age youth called Wolf River Adventures. It's run separately from the summer camp program and involves four options: 1) Sea Kayaking and bike touring in Door County, 2) a wilderness canoe trip on the Flambeau River, 3) experience-appropriate river kayaking on the famous Wolf, Peshtigo and Red rivers and a 4th adventure that includes an overnight mountain biking trip, rock climbing and rappelling, COPE, black powder shooting and more. Here's the flyer. http://www.baylakesbsa.org/council/files/UpcomingEventsPDFs/2009VenturingProgramsInsert.pdf
  14. Hi Mike, Congratulations on deciding to take your Troop on a wilderness canoe trip. That, by itself, is a credit to you and your leadership. Scouting needs more leaders like you. I wouldn't have responded unless you had opened it up to comments on Northern Tier. If you've researched this site, you will have found a couple lengthy, very positive posts by me about NT. I stand by those comments now for all the reasons I mentioned. If you haven't found them yet, simply scroll down the high adventure page until you see a thread about NT. I'll say it this way - you don't have to go to Philmont to get your Scouts a backpacking experience, and you don't have to outfit through Northern Tier to get a canoeing experience. However, by doing so, you're doing things the Scouting way with an outfitter run by the BSA. And yes, you and your Scouts earn the trek completion patches that you don't get going on your own or through a private outfitter. NT is a good program run by good people and I strongly recommend them. NOTE: I'm a volunteer Scouter like most of you are and I have no vested interest in the base itself. However, I've lead crews through NT and sent crews to NT as part of our council contingents.
  15. Chief Decorah

    New Venture Crew: girl-only?

    I agree with the others. If you want an all-girl crew, make it an all-girl crew. No problem. Also, remember that it's a "Venturing" Crew, not a "Venture" crew. The more we all use the proper terminology, the more likely Venturing will continue to grow. From the Language of Scouting: http://www.scouting.org/Media/LOS/All/V.aspx
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