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Posts posted by clemlaw

  1. If there's a YMCA in Eau Claire, that might be a good choice.


    If you decide to stay at "Fred C.", you would take I-94 a bit further west, and get off in Hudson (the last exit before Minnesota), and the camp is about 15-20 miles north of the freeway. Then, you would probably want to cut over to I-35 and take that north to Duluth. It would probably be almost the same mileage as your route through Rice Lake.


    Fred C. Anderson has cabins with bunks and a full kitchen, and also has more rustic cabins where you would just sleep on the floor. I think those have a two-burner stove, but no kitchen.


    I'm not normally a fan of "cabin camping", but that would probably be a good choice for a stop on the road.

  2. I'm not sure exactly what your route is from Eau Claire to Rice Lake, but it probably puts you not too far from Fred C. Anderson Scout Camp:




    I have seen out-of-council units pull in for an overnight on the way to somewhere else, so it wouldn't be the first time. They do have cabins as well as camp sites.


    Edited to add: If you definitely need to go through Rice Lake, that's not a good choice, since it would add close to 100 miles to your drive.


    But if you're coming on Interstate 94, you're going to northern Minnesota, and you can modify your route a little bit, it would be a good choice.


    If you're interested in information on Minnesota State Parks that would be along your route, feel free to send me a message. Most of them have group camp sites that would accomodate your group, or else you could get about 3 or 4 sites in the regular campground.


    (This message has been edited by clemlaw)

  3. IMHO, it is ambiguous, and probably intentionally so.


    That sentence might relate to the first sentence, in which case it is implicitly saying "you may not use more than a week" to satisfy the 20 nights. But that's not what it says. In a sense, it's surplussage, since it permits something that the preceeding sentence doesn't prohibit.


    It really makes more sense to group it with the final sentence. If read this way, then the whole paragraph says that up to seven of the nights may be in an already pitched tent, but by jove, the other 13 nights need to be in a tent that you pitched yourself, no matter what.


    Because of the ambiguity, I would say that the counselor can use a little bit of common sense in the interpretation.


    For example, let's say that we have a gung-ho troop that has decided that, instead of merely going camping for one weekend per month, they will go on a week long camping trip every month. The gung-ho members of the troop thus camp 84 nights per year, since every last one of them goes on every last camping trip.


    If you read the rules a little bit too literally, these scouts will never get Camping MB, because they spend too much time camping.


    IMHO, this should rarely be an issue, because most scouts who are even halfway active should have 13 nights of camping under their belts by the time they get around to finishing off the MB. If, by some fluke, one of them only had 12 nights, in addition to a couple of weeks of summer camp, then I would have no qualms about signing him off (assuming he pitched his own tent at least 13 of those nights).

  4. To avoid confusion, it's best to be careful about the language you use.


    Cub Scouts "are" Tigers, Wolves, Bears, or Webelos based upon their grade level. If they are in first grade (e.g., graduated from kindergarten), then they are Tigers. If they are in second grade (e.g., graduated from first grade), then they are Wolves, etc.


    At some point during that year, they will "earn" a particular "badge". So, for example, the first graders _are_ Tigers. In the spring of that year, they will _earn the Tiger badge_. The continue to be Tigers until that summer, at which point they become Wolves.


    Since all Cub Scouts are in one of those four dens (Tigers thru Webelos), they are usually referred to by those names. Therefore, it is very unusual to say that a particular Cub Scout "is a Bobcat". Instead, you would say that he's "finished his Bobcat requirements" or "earned Bobcat" or "has Bobcat". Again, that avoids confusion.


    For example, my son who is in first grade is a Tiger. He earned Bobcat this fall. This spring, he'll earn his Tiger badge. This summer, he'll become a Wolf, and next spring, he'll finish his Wolf badge, etc.

  5. Nope, it was "Growing Together" (at least in Idaho). Here's my card (I was red "O"):




    The handshake patch shown above was, indeed, what I got for completing that card. I have seen them on e-Bay. (I was quite disappointed, since they were going for about $5.95, which dashed my hopes of this patch financing my retirement.)


    I vaguely recall also filling out the flag with various stripes, although I didn't finish that. I don't remember what the reward was for finishing that. IIRC, I was the one of only a few in my troop to get the handshake patch. Also, we were instructed that it went _below_ the Jamboree patch. I must have had uniform police tendencies, since I asked my mom to move the jamboree patch to install the handshake correctly. Most of the other scouts who got it put it above the Jamboree patch, much to the dismay of this aspiring uniform cop. :)

  6. If this is the first camping experience for some of the Scouts, then I would recommend doing it closer to the car. First of all, some of them might not even own a real backpack. And even if they do, that might be a long ways for the first time, especially if they need to carry tents, food, cooking equipment, etc.


    If you want them out of sight of the cars, many state parks around here have "cart" sites, where you park in a parking lot, and they have a cart to haul your gear a few hundred yards back into the wilderness.


    Ease them into it. If their first camping experience is negative, then you run the risk of souring them on the whole camping thing. And even more importantly, you don't want to sour any of the _parents_ on camping.(This message has been edited by clemlaw)

  7. Here are the ones that I ordered:


    --see below


    And here's a hectograph pencil, which I haven't tried:


    --see below


    As you can see, these are still on the market because they are used in the tattoo industry. They are used to trace the designs on paper and then transfer to the skin, as a template for the design. So another alternative might be to go to a local tattoo parlor and see if they will sell you one, a tactic I didn't try. It might be fun to go in uniform. I bet they don't get too many people coming in wearing BSA uniforms. :)


    Edited to add:


    Those links didn't come out very well. I put the links on the following web page:




    When I get a Round Tuit, I'll post some more complete directions, but for now, that link will show where to get the masters.(This message has been edited by clemlaw)

  8. Congratulations, Hillis!


    As noted above, it's one of the most important positions in Scouting. As a youth, I served as Lodge Secretary, and I was always in awe of the Scouts who served as Chiefs, from Chapter, all the way up to National. I took care of some of the irksome tasks, but they all excelled at the weighty responsibilities.

  9. He'll probably have to do what I did after forgetting so much stuff after almost 30 years: Find the correct person to contact in my new lodge, find out where to send in my dues, go to the Fall Fellowship, and buy a copy of the OA Handbook.


    IIRC, that book doesn't actually contain the admonition. But by using the __th word on page __ of that book, you can access the national website where it is found.


    Yes, that procedure is a lot more complicated, but it's a good way to ease back into things. I actually ran into two people I knew back in the day, along with a bunch of new faces.

  10. I think it mostly means dressed appropriately for the weather and activity, so it will vary depending on the time of year and where they're going camping.


    Assuming that it's appropriate for the weather, their uniform would be the best choice.


    As far as the exact equipment, IMHO, you have a lot of discretion. Some kids will not yet own an ideal collection of equipment. When I was a Scout about a hundred years ago, it wasn't uncommon for a new tenderfoot to show up with all of his stuff packed in a suitcase. It's not an ideal way to go, but if you're close to the car, there's really nothing wrong with it.


    Currently, I don't really own a set of boots. (Hanging head in shame). So for me, if I'm camping near the car, being dressed appropriately probably means tennis shoes.


    I'm a few years away from Webelos, but I have to believe that the Webelos book talks about the requirements, so that would be your first resource. Also, this requirement is identical to one of the Tenderfoot Boy Scout requirements, so the Scout Handbook would also have a lot of good information.

  11. We needed somehting for the Tiger Cubs to do last night, so I decided that they could do some printing with a hectograph.


    For those who have never heard of it, a hectograph is a pan filled with gelatine. An inked sheet of paper (using old mimeograph masters, which are available on Amazon) is placed on the surface so that the ink transfers to the gelatine. It is removed, and blank sheets are then placed on the gelatine. When those sheets are removed, they have a copy of the original! "Hecto" means one hundred, and in theory, a hundred copies can be made. A dozen is quite easy, and if you're lucky, you can probably get 50.


    I did a little bit of experimenting, and noticed that some markers we had at home would also work. So if you can't get the mimeograph masters, all hope is not lost. There is also such a thing as a "hectograph pencil", which were available for order on Amazon and other places, although I have never tried one of these.


    They all enjoyed printing it, and the adults were amazed that this simple process made such good copies. For the Cub Scouts who missed the radio station visit, I declared ourselves to be a newspaper for purposes of the newspaper visit requirement.


    The process is described in this 1970 Boys Life article:




    See also:




    To make the gelatine, I used a recipe similar to the one shown at the following link (I made a batch about half the size of this recipe):




    The gelatine is available at any supermarket, and the glycerine was available at Walgreen's (as a special order item, which they happened to have in stock):


    Here's another recipe that calls for boric acid instead of glycerine:




    If you wanted to make a larger quantity, that recipe would be less expensive, since I used the whole bottle of glycerine. Boric acid was also available at Walgreen's as a special order.


    Neither glycerine nor boric acid are toxic or poisonous, although since they are not food, it's probably not a good idea to eat them. Preparing the gelatine beforehand is probably best reserved for adults, since it involves handling what amounts to boiling oil. But once the tray is ready, the Cub Scouts can easily do the entire process with little outside direction. It's not particularly messy, and very little can go wrong. We spent about a half hour with the hectograph (with about half of the den doing another activity at the same time).


    So if you're looking for an activity that your Cub Scouts are never going to see anywhere else, consider a hectograph!

  12. Yes, I realize they have staff to pay. In fact, all of the staff I've seen at day camps has been great, so they're definitely worth whatever they're getting paid.


    I guess my main grumble is the fact that adults pay $90. I understand they have to eat, and they take up floor space in the cabins. But it seems to me that there ought to be a lower price for adults, which would basically cover these costs.


    After I posted above, I realize that the program runs until 3 PM on Sunday, so it looks like it's basically two full days of activities.


    By all accounts from others in our Pack, it's worth the expense. I'm not sure if my family's schedule is going to allow this (since we already have another 5 days of BSA camping planned). But the other Tiger Den Leader looks like he's going, and a few families showed some interest. So if we can make it, we'll try to do so, but it looks like the families who are going will be in good hands. I don't normally like "a la carte" Scouting, but we might need to bow out of this one.


    The more I think about the price, I guess it isn't _too_ unreasonable. But remember, a Scout is Cheap---er, I mean Thrifty. :)

  13. I'm an Eagle Scout, but my wife is in charge of putting up and taking down our family tent.


    Tents have gotten much more complicated since I was a Scout, and she's better at reading directions than I am.


    If she's not around, then I use the "pup tent" that gets set up in an intuitive manner, using straight poles, rope, taut line hitches, tent stakes, and other things that I can figure out on my own.

  14. Yeah, that's the problem. Terminology is not used consistently. Here's what this particular $90 per person program consists of (from my memory of what the flyer said, plus observations from other leaders in our pack):


    Show up at 6:00 PM on Friday. I don't recall whether they feed you on Friday night. Some activities (e.g., campfire) on Friday night. Sleep in Cabin with antsy hyperactive Cub Scouts, most of whom don't want to go to sleep. On Saturday, big program with swimming, boat rides, BB guns, archery, etc., etc., etc. Sleep in Cabin with exhausted Cub Scouts who actually fall asleep. Sunday morning, eat breakfast and go home.


    Since our current Tiger Cubs will be Wolves by the time this camp takes place, in theory, we could have a 2:1 ratio of adults to Cub Scouts. But in practice, it's 1:1 ratio, since one parent always goes.


    Now, here is why I personally think that the value is somewhat lacking:


    1. Our Pack does do overnight family camp, which has the "camping", and some activities (such as hiking belt loop) which can be done easily as a Pack. This is done at a cabin at another Council facility, although most families bring their own tent rather than sleep in the cabin.


    2. The Council has day camp programs, in both the fall and winter, that duplicate some (but not all) of the Saturday activities. In particular, the fall day camp does include archery and BB guns.


    3. Our family has signed up for one week at another kind of BSA "family camp", namely, the family campground at one of our council's summer camp facilities. (This is normally intended for families of troops camping there that week, but it's open to all registered members in the Council if space permits.) The cost for one week, for our entire family, is about $100. This includes the campsite and some organized activities (mostly aquatics and crafts). Obviously, this cost does not include food, or whatever activities we'll be doing on our own.


    So I don't really understand how we're getting $200 of value from this. Call me a cheapskate, but both the pack overnighter and the family camp provide a superior "camping" experience. And almost all of the activities are duplicated by the fall day camp, at a much lower price. The few activities that are not duplicated at day camp (swimming and boat rides) are things that we would do as a family anyway.

  15. Well, it looks like my family holds the scouter.com record for the most serious Scouting-related injury. This incident must have taken place in about 1969 or 1970, and it involved my older brother. I must have been in about third or fourth grade. About all I remember is having a babysitter brought in on short notice while my parents disappeared for most of the next couple of days, and later reading Humpty Dumpty magazines purchased from the hospital gift shop, where we spent a lot of time over the coming days.


    This was during a winter camp, and apparently all of the Scouts were jumping into a snow bank, butt first. Unbeknownst to them, the snowbank contained a branch. When it was my brother's turn to jump into the snowbank, he apparently landed in such a manner that the branch entered his, well, rectum, and punctured a piece of the intestine.


    He was apparently not immediately in pain, but he was brought to the local hospital some time later that day. When my parents arrived, the local doctor had apparently diagnosed the condition as appendicitis, and was getting ready for the appendectomy.


    My mom insisted that they put him in an ambulance and transport him to the big city hospital, approximately 50 miles away, where they correctly diagnosed the condition and did a colostomy, to allow the damaged section of intestine to heal, and after a couple of weeks, he went back to the hospital have things put back together normally.


    I don't know whether it was related, but my brother dropped out of scouts, probably within about a year of that happening, shortly after which I joined. In retrospect, it's a miracle that my mom let me join, but both of my parents were very supportive of my being in Scouts in general, and of the leadership of the troop in particular.


    And even when I sit down on a chair, I do tend to take a close look and make sure there's nothing there. I also tell my kids not to jump in snowbanks butt first.

  16. Yes, I'm aware of that. And before anyone says so, I'm aware that shooting bigfoot is not an authorized activity for Cub Scouts. That comment was what is sometimes known as a "joke". :)


    My son actually already has both the Archery and BB Gun belt loops, which he earned last year as a Kindergartner. (Yes, that is possible in our Council as he was a "Lion Cub" in a pilot program.)


    That's part of why there is such sticker shock for me. These were earned at a Council day camp, which included many (but not all) of the resident camp programs, and it's held in the same places, probably by the same staff. The cost for that day camp program was something like $30 for Cub Scouts and $10 for parents, for a total of about $40.


    So where I sense that the value is lacking is paying an additional $160 (plus a half day off work) for two nights in a cabin and a few dining hall meals.

  17. Actually, I believe that Bill Gates was a Boy Scout, and earned the rank of Life Scout. Presumably, he didn't make Eagle because he was wasting all of his time tinkering with some newfangled "computer" out in the garage. :)


    If someone spends a lot of time serving youth, I doubt if their motivation in doing so is to get a small medal.


    Similarly, if someone gets out the checkbook and writes a large check to the BSA, I doubt if some little medal is part of their motivation. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that Bill Gates had never even heard of the "Silver Beaver" award until after he had written whatever check he wrote.(This message has been edited by clemlaw)

  18. As usual, I got off onto a tangent, and didn't answer the original question. :)


    Back in my day, there were quite a few kids in Scouts just because it was the thing to do, and the parents remotely thought that Scouting was a good thing to do.


    It was just one good activity among many. Many kids were also involved in sports, and during various sports seasons, some of the Scouts came to the Troop meeting late in their sports uniform. Others were involved in band, etc., etc.


    So there were a lot more scouts, but most of them didn't really have any intention of making Eagle. It was still a good program for a few years. Then, at some point during Junior High, they decided that something had to go, and they concentrated on other things.


    There was a always a core of Scouts who were gung-ho about Scouting, and you pretty much knew the day they signed up for Scouts that they would eventually make Eagle.


    These days, little has changed for that gung-ho core group. They're still signing up, and they're still making Eagle. So the numerator is probably about the same as it was in the past.


    But we have a lot less of those who sign up for Scouting as one activity out of many. The kid who is in sports knows by the fifth grade that he's going to concentrate on sports. So he doesn't join Scouts in the 5th or 6th grade, like his counterpart might have in the past. So he's gone from the denominator, which makes the percentage of Eagles increase.

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