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Everything posted by danbrew

  1. Some of my best Scouting memories have been helping Scouts to earn the Rifle and Shotgun merit badges.
  2. Amen. I've been a Scoutmaster for three years now and have wholeheartedly supported the OA. I see lots of great things happening with the OA in our area, and the additional friendships & activities that our OA conduct really seem to help our Scouts become better Scouters. I always kind of thought that the Scoutmasters that didn't support the OA were the grouchy old guys that have been around for years and years and years and it was their way or the highway. But... I'm seeing more and more of our senior Scouts choosing OA activities vs. Troop activities... and that kind of bugs me a lit
  3. Some good comments here. Don't buy a pack for OLS. Heck, don't buy a pack for Cub Scout camping. And, really, I'd bet that the camping that 99.99948382% of troops out there conduct won't require you to have a pack. Here's pretty much how it works in our council - you drive to wherever you're doing OLS and you bring a duffle bag or some other bag with your stuff in it. You walk, maybe, 50'. For Cub Scout camping, you car camp at local council properties or maybe a state park. For Boy Scout camping? Maybe you walk 100' for virtually all campouts. Yes, we're a "city" troop - Three Fire
  4. That one in New York sounds nice. You know, if I had $4.5M laying around. But then there's this part: Now I have no idea what that property is really "worth" - but having that kind of easement on it? Pfffttttt. There goes the opportunity to build your dream house on the land you just paid $4.5M for. And, hey, who are those guys down there in my lake? Oh, right, right, there's a public access easement. Pffffftttt again.
  5. We have a group of Scouts do research on area camps and then present the results to the troop, including the promotional videos that each camp offers (most do have these). The Scouts put together a matrix of # of merit badges, # of additional offerings (COPE, ATV, etc.), waterfront activities, etc. and then we distribute this to all of the Scouts and they vote on the camp. We are in the Chicago area and we've gone to Camp Tesomas in Rhinelander several times - excellent camp. We're going to Tomahawk Scout Reservation in 2016, also an excellent camp. Ultimately the Scouts have to deci
  6. I take lots of photos on our trips, being a big believer that photos of Scouts having fun helps to keep the family connected and if mom (and dad) know their sons are having a good time, they'll be more inclined to be supportive of Scouting. Nine times out of ten I put some some thought into the photo/compositions/settings on the camera and try to get good shots (tip - I dig portraits showing a good close up of a smiling Scout - and parents dig 'em too). Anyway, not a whole lot of thought went into this one. It was spur of the moment and turned out great. No retouching to this photo - c
  7. As a district membership chair, I'm thrilled that you guys are doing such a great job on your recruiting events. Fantastic! Kudos to you for doing it and, especially, doing it without losing money. So you made a little extra this year. Would your COR rather you lose just a little bit of money every year? Money that would otherwise be needed to put on a good program? While true that your CO and COR should have some insight into the expenses (and revenue) for the unit, as long as the surplus goes towards the unit, good for you. It would be a different story if somebody said, "Hey, we ma
  8. Somebody else already said this but I think it important to reinforce. The CC (or Treasurer for that matter) does not have the ability to unilaterally decide where to spend the Troop's money. The troop committee and the treasurer make the call. Said again, the Troop's money. Not the CC's money. How were those funds raised? By the boys either through dues or money-earning projects to support the Troop. From the BSA Troop Committee Guidebook for Successful Troop Operation (ISBN 0-8395-4505-3): Troop Finances Proper Management of the troop's finances will allow your troop t
  9. We were cleaning out a room in the church where our Troop stores stuff a few weeks ago and I came across this... I've shared this with a few folks and people either really like it or, ah, are not too enthusiastic about it. I brought it home to show my wife, thinking that she would not like it one bit, and she surprised me. She said "You can fill that out and give it to me and I'm gonna frame it and put it up in my office." Didn't see that coming.
  10. When my son was a bear we started with soap and plastic knives. It was a mess. While we were able to quickly clean up the big slivers of soap we then wiped down the tables and sprayed some general purpose cleaners on the tables. Uh, yeah. Won't do that again. Lots of soapy water and bubbles. lol.
  11. Tesomas ROCKS. We've been there three times and plan on going back next summer as well. The boys all universally made the call to schedule our visit while we were at the camp the prior year. Now, having said that, we're investigating alternatives for 2015 as it would be kind of nice to try something new. We probably will go out of council as the council camps don't have dining halls. We could talk all day long about the patrol method and eating as a patrol, yet we factor in the time required for that. You can easily eat up (ha ha) 3 or more hours per days planning and cleaning up after m
  12. I'm also a fan of the virtus training. The monthly training bulletins are good and easy enough to review/complete. Good discussions on grooming, bullying, social media, etc.
  13. Yep, as others have said, there is required training for each position. I'm the district membership chair and a UC and both positions have training requirements. The UC role also has additional recognition for service above and beyond the additional training - the Commissioners' Arrowhead, etc.
  14. danbrew

    Dual roles

    This is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Agree completely with those that suggestion you can't effectively do both - it will lead to burnout and the program will suffer. It may have to happen for a short period of time, though. If so, a top priority should be putting together an org chart with a succession plan.
  15. I'm guessing here, but would imagine that in most cases "the troop" (or pack or crew) is not a legal entity in the eyes of the Secretary of State of the home state. Given that, "the troop" can't own anything. It is not a legal person or entity in the legal world. Which is undoubtedly where unresolved questions in this area would end up. So... who owns it? IMHO, the Chartered Organization. They're the ones that are going to be on the hook if there is any mishap and people start getting sued. Suppose you lean towards "the troop" as the answer. Ok, who is the troop? The Scoutmaster? Th
  16. Apparently I didn't realize that there was a time limit afforded to relevancy. Mea culpa. I'll just let the comments (and the jury's decision) stand.
  17. You know, there's another perspective as well. Perhaps George Zimmerman was a homeowner that volunteered in his community. A community that had suffered a rash of robberies in the weeks/months leading up to this incident. You said Martin 'brought a snack to a gunfight'. Really? How about the MMA style fighting that he brought to a fight? Had Zimmerman not had that gun he'd be dead instead of Martin. What do you think the likely outcome if Martin had tried that beat down on a cop? Seems pretty clear that Martin was headed for prison or an early grave regardless. As far as I'm concerne
  18. Hi Coldnote, I hope your son has found a pack by now and is getting to know everyone. As some have said, it's tough to find/join a pack in the summer as most everybody is off on vacation, attending camps, relaxing, etc. I realize Illinois is a big state, but I'm in Illinois too and would be happy to point you in the right direction if you haven't made any progress. I'm in the "Three Fires Council", which is the Fox Valley area - 50 miles west of downtown Chicago. Drop me a line if you need help - danbrew@hotmail.com.
  19. I sat on the bus one morning late in the Jamboree next to a nurse from the skateboard park and she told me they had their share of broken bones - mostly sprains, though. And a lot of collar bones. She told me that she had heard there were many more broken bones at BMX. It's on the internet... it must be true! I'm sure there is an after action report put together by the risk management people. Sure would like to see that as I'm a curious busybody. But I'll bet that'll never see the light of day. I'll admit that I was a little concerned about my son participating in the BMX events. I sa
  20. In no particular order, here are some of my thoughts on the Jamboree. I was on staff (high-power rifle range) the entire time and showered most days. I bought a solar shower at the trading post for $25 or so and filled it up and left it in the sun (and rain sometimes) during the day and showered at the end of the day. The first time I used the solar shower the water in the bag was 110 degrees (nifty little thermometer built into the bag) and it was a GREAT shower. I had several days where the water in the bag was 140 degrees. I had to hold the bag under the ambient water shower for a few
  21. Me too. The course itself. I'm pretty much a cynical black and white kind of guy and not much fazes me. However... the experience I described above was life changing - for both me and the boys. Me because it made me a little more aware of how fortunate I am. Them because it may give them different options in life. The positive point I was trying to make is I would have never considered going to spend a year "in the projects" without Wood Badge. Ok, it wasn't a Cabrini-Green or anything, but it also wasn't the nice little suburban life I've carved out for myself either.
  22. lol. Yeah, but things have gotten a lot better here...!
  23. Yeah, it's been an experience... that's for sure. I logged into the dashboard last week for both my medical and my son's medical and the dashboard said there were problems with both - many unanswered questions. I'm positive that I answered the questions when I did it online - and had saved PDF versions of the documents, so I KNOW I did it correctly. Yet, there were missing answers. That's ok, I ran through the medical screens again and answered the questions. The dashboard then said that the medical forms were complete. I got an email this morning that said there were problems with my med
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