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codger

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Everything posted by codger

  1. This really should be a top 5... machined aluminum waterproof match safe Shrade Walden - era sheath knife for longer trips ($8 at flea market in the 1970's) OR Shrade folding lockback pocket knife for overnights microlight nylon hammock candle lantern lightweight nylon fly or tarp - 8' by 8' With those items plus some kind of food, I am good indefinitely
  2. Sorry, folks, I just found this thread, and feel I want to make a contribution with my own story. This is a story about the unseen, unknown fruits of your efforts over a very long time. But please excuse me if this seems like I am boasting, or tooting my own horn - I am typing this with tears in my (middle-aged) eyes, as this story chokes me up when I tell it (which is rarely). Bear with me, it is long: In 1978 I was a young Life Scout in my troop in Central NJ - chartered by a Catholic church in a typical NY suburb. Casting about for a suitable Eagle project, none of the "build a ____ at the park" or "raise awareness by ___" type projects resonated with me. I had already earned my Ad Altari Dei, and as part of that, my troop's advisor had us volunteer periodically at the Woodbridge (NJ ) Home for Boys in their Scout troop, working with boys who had Down's Syndrome and other handicaps. I enjoyed working with them, and felt moved to explore service to people with mental handicaps. I am not sure who brought it to my attention, but I realized that my church had a Sunday school program (called CCD- Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) for regular children, but nothing offered for mentally handicapped kids was available. So for my Eagle project I started a religious education program for these unserved kids. I advertised to families in our parish and surrounding parishes for children who could enroll, recruited volunteer teachers, obtained classroom space in the church school on Saturdays, and with the help of the John Newman society at Rutgers University came up with a curriculum and teacher training materials. We started in September with a dozen students and a 1-1 teacher ratio. I was one of the teachers. by the end of the year in June, we had about 20 students, of which half earned their first communion, and one was confirmed. You see, no one had made the effort to teach these children before. At the end of the year, I wrote that up for my Eagle project, and earned my Eagle rank a year later. I arranged for the nuns who ran the regular CCD program to maintain the program for handicapped children after I left for college. Payoff number one: In 1981 I graduated from high school, and went to college. I wrote my college admission essay about my CCD program. I was accepted to an Ivy-League school, and was placed in a class taught by the president of the college. I found out later that year that I had been admitted (despite only ranking in the top fifth of my high school class) largely on the strength of the CCD program and my essay - when he bragged about me in a letter he sent to our 10,000 alumni. Unexpected dividend! Payoff number two: About ten years later I go to a funeral of a family from church, and one of the parents of a student in my program comes over to my parents and relates how grateful their family was that I started the program (their daughter received her communion in the program). More dividends! Payoff number three: And why I have tears in my eyes as I type this: A long time passes. I go to work at one career, get married, have kids, switch careers, and find myself working back in my home town in 1997. I get introduced around to the new co-workers, nearly all of which are a good deal older than me. None of them do I recognize, nor do they know me. I sit down on a coffee break with a woman in her early sixties who somehow gets on the topic of the Catholic Church and it's shortcomings. She goes on and on, not even asking if I am a churchgoer or Catholic or anything, but then stops, and reconsiders. And she starts telling me that the only thing her church has ever done for her and her family was that many years earlier they started a CCD program for handicapped children - and her son could finally get religious instruction and not feel left out or shunned. Literally, that was the ONLY thing she thought her religion had done for her and she was quite adamant about it. She had no idea that I was the 16 year old kid that did that for her. I was floored, and still am, that something I did in Scouting had an effect on generations to come, and was thought of so warmly over so many years. Big time payoff number three! And a lesson I have never forgot about the power of Scouting to change lives. Thanks for listening.
  3. codger

    Felon?

    I hate to bring this up, but I would not be surprised if the real reason the CM and other committee members are cautious of your boyfriend's involvement is because of your choices, not just his. In your post, you state that A) your ex husband is a violent felon, B) Your father has run afoul of the law, C) your boyfriend of only a few months is divorced with a drug problem, and D)your boyfriend also is a convicted felon for drug possession. The problem here is simply that EVERYONE in this poor boy's life is making "bad choices" with a record of harm to others outside the family. It is clear that the boy desperately needs positive role models that Scouting can provide, but he probably would benefit from LESS involvement with your family, not more, statistically speaking, and the CM is probably not saying THAT but thinking it. Let it go, and cheerfully participate in whatever level the Pack allows, and be grateful for the positivity the Pack can provide.
  4. codger

    Goodbye and Thanks for all the Fish.

    Very nice use of Steely Dan! Tampa, godspeed...
  5. This is not a prediction, but, with the way things are developing, I believe councils and national will be under heavy financial pressures for a good generation (20+ years) until the changes settle down. So, I suggest one model of scouting might become a community-based distributed model, where Amazon or some equivalent vendor is tasked with managing advancement and equipment supplies, and Packs and Troops become islands of Scouting in their communities - without interaction with National or Council involvement. After all, Troops and Packs are now the only organization most SCOUTS NEED - run the program, and recognize achievement. Nothing about the program would be lost if National stopped recording and controlling registrations, and since a lot of councils have trouble keeping a camp running (including my last two iterations of councils) camping facilities could simply be public destinations or privately sourced. Of course, Jamborees would become a thing of the past.....
  6. codger

    Cost of Being a Scout

    My sons are now 18 and 20, but the last year they were both in the troop, and I volunteered as ASM, participating in our troops' activities cost over $3000 for that year. How much over? I can't say. I camped about 6 times that year, and my boys 8-9 times. Summer camp was one week. NJ is expensive - summer camps within 3 hours drive run $400 - 450 per week. Our troop charges $15 per person for food on a campout, so that was $330, plus when the adult volunteers camp, we split cooking and shopping chores for the leader patrol. I cooked one trip that year, and shopping cost me about $75 more than the food budget (we like Angus beef and shrimp!) and if you stumble into our campsite you frequently find 3 dutch ovens baking cobbler for desert. I towed the troop trailer for 4 of the 6 campouts I attended, at an unreimbursed cost of $100 per trip gas money. One trip we hit a metal grate in the road and shredded a tire - cost of $250 for the Suburban.. Registration, $300. Fundraisers - for sure. We bought $75 worth of wreaths - each, $150 worth of popcorn, FOS donation...you get the idea. I am not complaining, but these are the real world figures from a Central NJ troop that tries to camp every month, and what it takes to keep that happening. I would do it again in a heartbeat - my kids are the best chefs in my neighborhood, and guests in my home are impressed they cook, clean up, make their beds, get up on time in the morning without being called, always show up where they are supposed to be, and volunteer to work on our troop's Eagle projects. Are they saints? Not hardly, but they are darn fine young men, and I take credit for only one thing - enrolling them in the BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA. Worth every penny.
  7. codger

    Motivation Quote of the Day

    Also by Tolkien: "All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost"
  8. Interesting side note: My family was the inspiration for the article about the Simon and Kotter families of East Brunswick. When my youngest son, Matthew, earned eagle in 2017, I sent a photo and press release of My 86 year old father, who was a 2nd class Scout , myself (Eagle 1979) and two Eagle brothers, and my Life Scout eldest son and Eagle Scout middle son to the newspapers, and it was published. My high school classmate, Michael Simon, of the family in the East Brunswick article, read my writeup, and played "we can top that", which, of course, they did. We all had great memories of two fun Scouting families growing up in the same town, and competing against each other at camporees, since we were in two different troops. Good Times!
  9. codger

    Linked Troops - What are these?

    I posted these same comments in another thread, but they apply here as well: It is plain to me and many others that there is no need to speculate on whether certain changes will come to pass - that in the immediate or very near future: Packs and then Troops will become FULLY COED, forced into this by a confluence of pressure from: activists: "separate but equal is not equal" , lawyers/lawsuits, and Nationals' desire to minimize bad publicity. This is a given, and to believe otherwise flies in the face of the past 20 years of history of our organization and others. And the PROGRAM WILL MORPH INTO A PALE SHADOW OF ITS PREVIOUS SELF as the presence of girls will inevitably change the nature of the events, merit badges, requirements, styles and more. No ecosystem can remain unchanged once a foreign species is introduced into it.
  10. codger

    Family Scouting Update

    Many volunteers have made the mistake of taking National at their word, when the evidence of National's untrustworthy behavior has frequently been clearly on display. Exhibit A is the survey and how it was handled. The "survey" appears to have been hastily rolled out to a select small group of Scouters to justify a previously-made decision. It is plain to me and many others that there is no need to speculate on whether certain changes will come to pass - that in the immediate or very near future: Packs and then Troops will become FULLY COED, forced into this by a confluence of pressure from: activists: "separate but equal is not equal" , lawyers/lawsuits, and Nationals' desire to minimize bad publicity. This is a given, and to believe otherwise flies in the face of the past 20 years of history of our organization and others. And the PROGRAM WILL MORPH INTO A PALE SHADOW OF ITS PREVIOUS SELF as the presence of girls will inevitably change the nature of the events, merit badges, requirements, styles and more. No ecosystem can remain unchanged once a foreign species is introduced into it. I have tried to live my life according to the Scout Law, but I do not believe National has been trustworthy. Their stated claim that Troops will be separately organized, with separate Scoutmasters, YET WILL BE MEETING AT THE SAME PLACE AND TIME, SHARING CAMPOUTS, COURTS OF HONOR, ETC. can not seriously be taken as anything other than deliberate attempts to assuage our current volunteers that the changes will be minor. It is a clear attempt at deception and misdirection that disappoints me deeply. My Father was a Scout, I and my two brothers are Eagle Scouts, two of my three sons are Eagle Scouts, and the third finished as a Life Scout. Collectively we have over 95 years as Scouts and volunteers, and I am grateful for the tremendous opportunities to learn and grow as men, and to help others enjoy those opportunities. I am saddened that the possibility of my grandchildren and great grandchildren, should I be lucky enough to have them, will be foreclosed from the opportunity to enjoy the same benefits and make the same contributions we made to Boy Scouting.
  11. codger

    FOS Presentation

    By the way, Sentinel - that article you referenced was so misleading as to be criminal. $24 ? that's a joke.
  12. codger

    FOS Presentation

    I can say that my experience with the cost of participation in BSA is similar to that of your marching band example. Our troop charges $35 per scout and scouter per year registration - so far so good. But we have two boys and myself (ASM) that is $105. Plus popcorn $150, plus wreath sale $60 plus trips. We camp 10x per year, and if my boys go on a total of 14 of them (average year is 7 each) plus me on 6 of them that is 20 trips at $12 per for food, or $240, plus two summer camps at $350 each. So far, $1235. Now, I tow the troop trailer on almost all the trips I go on, at an average cost in gas and tolls of $150 per trip x 6 is $2155 per year. Which is cheap for the total amount of hours and entertainment and the comraderie, but it sure is not cheap for the families on a lower middle class income. My involvement so far in scouts as a parent has cost me about $15,000 all together over 12 years for 3 sons. I have given to FOS over the years, but cannot count it up. usually only $50 per year or so. Is it worth it? hope so.
  13. This question came up in my (now disbanded) council last fall - we had approximately 20 boys and 4 adults transfer from their old troop to ours when the old troop was disbanded by their CO (their church). I wanted to have council do one form with the roster of buys transferring, but we were required to get all new applications. Royal pain in the butt. No good reason to do the individual apps there, when we could have had our CC and COR sign a simple list of transferees. I'm with the original poster on this one.
  14. codger

    Central New Jersey Council dissolving

    Respectfully, qwazse, didn't see any comment worthy of the soap-in-mouth cure. And gsdad, perhaps you might think again about your comparisons - in this case, the scouts and scouters of these districts are being jettisoned by their Council leadership, not voluntarily electing to affiliate with a new council. Even the thickest skinned Scouters might just get a little riled up when told, in effect, "we're shipping you off to some new hierarchy that is in another state, whom you don't know, likely has different customs, traditions and practices, and likely is taking you on reluctantly". That would rile up anyone, and that IS what is happening now to a huge group of scouts in Central NJ.
  15. codger

    Central New Jersey Council dissolving

    To add insult to injury, the best option for Matameechen District and Joyce Kilmer District (both southern/eastern geographically) was to join Monmouth Council which adjoins our districts. Unfortunately, Monmouth Council has refused to accept our districts, calling them "not financially viable". My Troop and Pack have one of the highest youth particpation rates in the communties we serve, but our district is not "viable". We may become orphans soon..... and I have been in this district since 1968!
  16. I think the movement could perform best if we treat the Scout Law as aspirational - that we strive to live a person that is trustworthy......etc. This thread alarms me because I see that the Scout law is being used to punish, ban or remove those among us who have failed in this aspiration. Refusing to award an Eagle rank simply because a boy has fathered a child is punitive behavior, which is contrary to the goals of the movement. If you removed all the boys who took a smoke of a cigarette, a drink of alcohol or a kissed another person from the program, the crickets would be the only sound we'd hear at Scout Meetings. Boys need to hear the message of Scouting (become someone who is trustworthy, etc.) over and over in their lives so they can remember this message when in a darker moment they confront challenges in their daily lives. I teach the values of Scouting to boys so that they can overcome their base animalistic impulses, their periods of doubt and indecision, their weaknesses of every sort that defines us ALL as human.
  17. codger

    So you have a CCW......Some food for thought

    One thing that occurred to me - the "armed student" must have known that he or she was really unarmed. After all, they were shown they had paint type ammunition, not real ammunition in their guns. I don't believe any of that video was a reasonable facsimile of real life, because in order to approximate a real life style drill, you would have needed to convince the student they had real ammunition, such as rounds with no primer and powder. In fact, none of the kids could reasonably believe they were actually armed at all. I would have just ducked and never drawn either in that scenario. The whole video may have been preplanned completely. That said, a statistically small proportion of gun owners have taken training in combat style confrontations, and a much smaller proportion of them will prevail against an armed intruder that bursts into a closed room already cocked and locked. Not really a survivable scenario even if one was trained.
  18. Honestly, folks, the BALOO and GTSS rules make things too complicated. Our Pack follows the "overnight at the museum" model of cabin camping - when we stay in a cabin, we stay in a single room lodge with latrines in a separate building. All attendees, men and women leaders, and all children, scouts and siblings, are welcome on a first-come first-served basis until we fill the cabin. All attendees sleep in the one room in cots/bunks. All attendees change clothes (if desired) in the separate latrine facilities. No one disrobes in the cabin, and there are usually 20-30 pairs of eyes watching everything that goes on, so there is zero chance of anything untoward occurring. Never had a problem.
  19. codger

    New Delivery Method recognition - when?

    Thanks for the input, folks!
  20. Hello - We are implementing the New Delivery Method beginning Sept. 1, and would like some of the cub packs that did the pilot program to comment on what they did with awarding recognitions at den meetings? The Resource Guides implies that many of the recognitions are awarded immediately upon completing the requirement. My questions are: How do you inventory enough recognition items ahead of time when you don't know how many boys will earn that award? Seems like we will need to keep surplus recognitions in stock? At Pack night, then we are not handing out the pins or loops, so did you just have the boys stand and be recognized without a presentation?
  21. codger

    bullied... to death

    Love the idea of being around for the next 30 years! Thanks, guys.
  22. codger

    bullied... to death

    Hello. I'm Codger. I'm not a teenager - far from it. I'm pushing 50, but feel like 30. I believe in the Scout Law. All of it. I don't back down to bullies, because I remember a time in my long ago youth when a boy and girl on my bus was bullied, and I felt ashamed I did not have the courage to intervene on their behalf. I won't repeat that mistake. I identify with the old Boy Scouts of America - where kids earned their badges, parents trusted each other, society trusted Scoutmasters, and nearly everyone tried to do the right thing. Today, nearly everyone does the "me" thing - what's in it for me and mine. Bullies thrive in an environment where society views the bully and their target as both "victims" of the "system" - because when everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. The number one cause of the spread of bully behavior is that society punishes the target who fights back or stands up to a bully just as much as the bully. "Zero Tolerance" in many cases equals zero responsibility, because the authority figures do not wish to identify an aggressor.
  23. codger

    bullied... to death

    Well, this thread is interesting for what the posters DIDN'T suggest - that a group, such as Boy Scouts, can add to the dialog about kids that are bullied is this: Membership in a group (Scouts) where the members are made to feel valued and valuable is the best insurance against a child that feels so alone in the world and vulnerable that they consider suicide. Simply put, if a child feels valued by his or her peers and family, they are less likely to consider suicide as a response to the inevitable bully. Almost all of us have been victims of harassment and bullying at one time or another, and how we react depends on our sense of self esteem and belonging. Another factor is peer support - I would encourage Scouts to stand up to bullies AS A GROUP. If a bully picks on a single kid, and the kid fights back, we have the possibility the bully still prevails, or that both bully and victim are punished for fighting (under the assinine "no tolerance" policy). But I have yet to hear of the bully encounter where 4 or 5 friends, scouts, etc. have stood up to the bully and protected the victim where it has not gone well for the victim and poorly for the bully - and I am not talking about a group that beats up the bully, only prevents the altercation.
  24. Boy, I just got burned by my SPL and SM. Last Fall, my troop PLC decided to hold a Wilderness Survival Campout to learn the skills and practice for the merit badge. I (committee member) volunteered the use of 500 acres of woods and fields nearby (Central NJ) that my hunting club uses (in March - after seasons close). I presented in writng and in a personal presentation to the hunting club and received permission to use the property, and even to make primitive shelters using cut or fallen natural materials - can't do that on public land. Got permission. Got club members to volunteer to help out too. So, I developed a plan for our two ASM's and me (the three of us are ex military or Eagles) to teach the boys survival skills, cooking without utensils, making a survival kit, basically showing them how to complete the requirements. None of the boys (and only 2 or 3 of the committee members) were capable of teaching these skills, so I emailed an outline of my plans to my SM and CC two weeks ago, with a program for the weekend that I thought would be fun and memorable. I even incorporated ideas from this forum -see topic "killing for food, not hunting" - but without the killing part, as Central Jerseyans are not comfortable doing that. Our plans did not include any "gung-ho" stuff - just make a primitive shelter, do the requirements, that's it. We are 3 weeks away from the campout, and last night at the meeting my SM informs me the boys decided to cancel the program and instead use the weekend to prepare for another scout cometition later in spring. Apparently, they are no longer interested in wilderness survival. What a waste of time for me, and loss of face among my fellow hunting club members who graciously extended their hospitality. As for my SM, I think he is most comfortable taking the easy way out - just do what the boys want. The SPL is taking the easy way out too - he can just go over the same old fire building, etc. for this other competition and not reach for anything out of the ordinary. The capper was a comment from the SM that they really are not comfortable camping at this site (although I made it clear I would show them the land anytime before the event) because it is not an "official" Scout camp. I guess it doesn't have platforms for their tents, so they might have to sleep in 500 acres of woods on the ground? I cannot believe these guys call themselves Scouts. I see my enthusiasm for volunteering will just be diminished further.
  25. codger

    Got Burned with Cancelled Event

    Here's the final update on the actual campout: We camped Friday evening in beautiful, warmer than seasonal weather, and were delighted to enjoy ham and cheese omelets for breakfast. Then we made 6 quail habitats (large brush piles) on various areas of the property. After lunch we worked with two conservation officers to spread food around the shelters and put out 50 quail, distributed evenly among the shelters to establish coveys in each of the habitat locations. The boys worked hard, and had a great time. They especially enjoyed watching me get hit in the face by two flushing birds as I bobbled a release! It was cool to hear the birds start calling after the release to form up their coveys. After that, the older boys taught scout skills and advancement to the younger ones, and we enjoyed a dinner of ham steaks and my home made biscuits slathered in butter that I baked on a reflector oven. Wow! Everyone hit the rack early, and had a great time!.
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