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desertrat77 last won the day on October 28 2017

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About desertrat77

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  1. desertrat77

    Sea Scouts

    Otter: "Take it easy, I'm pre-law." Boon: "I thought you were pre-med." Otter: "What's the difference?"
  2. I agree, Perdidochas, excellent point. I wandered by the pit/court a few times each day. Just passing through, listening and observing without being obvious. The scouts picked their own teams, arbitrated as needed, laughed a lot, and went full speed to win everything. From what I could tell, most of teams were a mix of scouts from several troops...teammates they had just met. Rarely was the pit/court empty/quiet. ETA: Many of these scouts were playing all hours of the day, it seemed. Unfortunately, your former ASM's MO is more common today than in years previous--the belief that all scouts, regardless of age, should be treated as cubs. The scouts never get a chance to grow up, lead, have fun, or solve problems if there is always "adult supervision." Then they go to college or join the military--culture shock!
  3. desertrat77

    Advice sought: Starting a Crew

    Shortridge, I wish you the best! I'm on a crew committee and serve on the district staff as well. The more I dig into the Venturing literature, the more I discover that National put some serious brainpower into the Venturing program. The possibilities for motivated youth are endless. Alas, much of this potential has gone untapped in my neck of the woods. Crews are few in number. Crew rosters tend to be small. Most of the crew members have little initiative. The only events they tend to be interested in are those planned/executed by someone else. Finding the right advisors to spark initiative is essential. Excellent advice above my post by our fellow forum Scouters. Please keep us posted!
  4. desertrat77

    New den leader

    Welcome Jillian! Wearing the knots is your decision, but you are certainly authorized to do so if you wish. I don't think it's pretentious...you earned them and it shows others that you have experience on the Scouting Trail. Good luck with your new adventure!
  5. Excellent points re enjoyment (or lack thereof) and burn out. I think about this every time I drive down a certain turnpike in OK. Along the way, on the outskirts of a town, there is a huge youth baseball/soccer complex. Day and night, the parking lot is full. All of the fields are in use. Rarely do I see the place empty. I reflect back to when my kids were young and involved in sports. They wanted to sign up, but I never detected much joy on their part once the season started. Endless practices. Fees up front and then mandatory candy sales and other fundraisers during the season. Long drives in the mini-van to games. Cranky children doing homework and eating fast food in the back. Weekends spent watching the children play half-heartedly. Obnoxious parents. Coaches acting like every game was the World Series/World Cup/etc. You know the scene. I believe many families are realizing that it isn't worth it. When I was at camp a few weeks ago, I noticed that the gaga ball pit and the basketball court were always in use. I found it interesting that the scouts were competing, definitely trying their best to win, but also having fun. And there was zero adult or staff supervision. The scouts were running their own show. Resolving their own conflict. Competing on their own, without parents and coaches orchestrating everything. I'm sure the scouts benefited in many ways.
  6. desertrat77


    [Chasing rabbit....] If we are talking about Camp Rodney, I had the privilege of attending several years ago. Our camp site was near a cliff that overlooked Chesapeake Bay. My tent was right on the edge of the cliff. At night, I kept all of the flaps up, and the most wonderful breeze would waft in from the Bay. Amazing. And a darn good camp, too.
  7. Thanks Shortridge! I agree, there are lessons for the BSA to draw from. - High costs alienating many families - Organizational myopia - De-emphasizing competition
  8. desertrat77


    LOL Oldscout, I'd forgotten about that...the hidden candy bar...the oldest trick in the book! Hence the weather eye during shake down, as you mentioned. I recall taking a ground cloth, sleeping bag (Kmart's best, 8 lbs or so in weight) and a knife.
  9. desertrat77


    It's been a few years, but if memory serves, there will be a gear shake-down when the candidates show up. Right before the ordeal formally starts. So if your son is allowed to take the rain fly, great. If not, he'll be asked to leave it behind. In which case, the ground cloth can be folded over the top of the sleeping bag, providing some shielding from the rain. Re communication or lack thereof, I understand completely. As a youth, I was our lodge's publications chairman (and committee, a one-scout team). Even considering today's technology, I think we were just as well informed back then with mailed memeograph letters once a month and lots of phone calls--perhaps better.
  10. desertrat77

    Uniforms and saluting the flag

    I'm a little confused (my usual condition).... Was the scout addressing a) scouters wearing too many geegaws and gimcracks in an unauthorized or unseemly manner, thus rendering them "out of uniform" in his opinion or b) scouters wearing the camp t-shirts? If it's A, then I'd say leave it be. Truly "slippery slope" time. Are we going to prohibit saluting if someone is wearing incorrect socks but is otherwise in correct uniform? If B, and it's the cub day camp t-shirt, I think a salute is fine. That was their "uniform" for the week. As a retired military guy, I've seen unit morale plummet because of over-strict local uniform policies. And then there is the matter of enforcement. Who is going to walk up to Mr. Long Term Scouter and say "Hey old man, your uniform looks like a Scout Shop threw up on it--no salute for you!"* For the record, I'm definitely in the anti-geegaw category. *I'm sure there are some that would...but not me. I'll go toe to toe on other issues...but not uniforming.
  11. Barry, good estimate, I was 13/14 during the Great Citizenship MB Completion Campaign! You are correct, had I waited a year or two, I might have had a different viewpoint on the whole thing. Still, I think @RememberSchiff 's point is valid, one big Citizenship MB would be more than enough. Regarding family scout/camping, I believe it can work given the right parameters. I saw it in action about 10 years ago, in a small rural council in the Deep South. After a 17 year hiatus from scouting, I volunteered at a spring camporee. The troops were camped in a big field, and conducted their events further away in the woods. Some parents and siblings camped nearby. I didn't see any helicoptering and very little mingling. In fact, the families were quite content to just relax in their neck of the woods and let the scouts do their thing. The only times everyone was together: opening/closing flag ceremonies, closing campfire, and chapel. I was doubtful at first, but later impressed as the weekend went on. It was truly a community event. Small siblings watching the flag being raised and lowered by the Boy Scouts. Parents laughing at the old corny skits. Sisters wearing their Girl Scout vest, saluting during the flag ceremonies. There was a flag retirement ceremony at the closing campfire. And there were a bunch of old flags. Everyone, including the smallest kids, joined in to help. I'm sure these experiences made an impression on those young children.
  12. The Improved Scouting Program required scouts to earn MBs early. I recall having to earn 1 MB for Tenderfoot, 2 for Second Class, and a total of 5 for First Class (two of which had to be First Aid and Citizenship in the Community). Plus some skill awards. While I agree that many schools aren't teaching much these days, I don't think the BSA should feel obligated to pick up the slack. There is already too much time spent scribbling reports and listening to lectures while sitting on benches that would be better spent hiking, canoeing and swinging an axe. Scouts don't sign up for homework. Most want to camp and have fun with their friends. Once they earn First Class and grow up a bit, those homework MBs might be of interest to them. Or maybe not but they'll grit their teeth and earn them anyway. Though it's been 40+ years, my memory of earning the three Citizenship MBs is still unvarnished by nostalgia or fondness. The phrase "pure drudgery" is still apt. Here is a rare bit of praise for the long-departed and not-missed skill awards: the content of the Citizenship and Community Living skill awards was perfectly sufficient.
  13. desertrat77

    As an adult, what do you REALLY wear?

    I'm a minimalist. I have a shirt that I bought new in '85 that finally gave out. (Plus I'm heavier now). Definitely got my money's worth from that one. Now I try to only buy things on sale or used. Slowly working towards fewer patches. "Newer" shirts don't have OA flaps or "Trained" patches (heresy!). One knot instead of four. No service stars. No pins of any kind. No neckerchief. No unit or district excellence patches. Nothing around the world scout emblem.
  14. desertrat77

    Anyone know where I can get Maternity Scout pants???

    Indeed! If my math is right and Joni's newborn was a boy, he's probably an SPL/Life Scout by now.... I hope they are well. Time flies!
  15. desertrat77

    As an adult, what do you REALLY wear?

    Searching the gray cells.... As a Cub in the Panama Canal Zone, I wore the shorts, knee socks and yellow garters. Everyone else did and we didn't think anything of it. Moving to Arizona as a Boy Scout, we wore long pants. A few adults wore shorts, long socks, and green garters. Not many. When I'm roaming the desert, I like the protection that long pants and heavy boots provide. Leadership Corps...I was never a member, but I sure wanted to be. By the time I was eligible, it was already fading away. They wore the dark green shirt with the LC patch where the patrol patch would go. All wore long pants. Both in Arizona, for the reasons mentioned before, and in Alaska, because the mosquito is the State Bird.