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Everything posted by desertrat77

  1. desertrat77

    Recruiting for council training committee

    Fire making and wood tool skills are fast becoming extinct in the BSA, unfortunately.
  2. desertrat77

    Recruiting for council training committee

    I would participate, definitely. Two years ago, I was asked to serve on a council committee. I said yes. I like the idea of asking the old timers. They know a lot and are often overlooked. Requirements may have changed since they were in the game, but they can learn the new ones quickly enough. The qualities that made them successful leaders in the past still translate to today.
  3. Absolutely. I think it's equally important for district/council scouters to receive feedback as well. Not from peers (the mutual admiration society) but from the units they serve. Those outbriefs would be interesting.
  4. desertrat77

    Best comfort items & traditions for summer camp

    For the unit, a game bag...chess, checkers, Uno, etc. Nothing electronic. It's great to see scouts socialize and play the games for hours. For me, a small rug from the dollar store. Good to stand on it in my tent, vice the dirt or old wooden tent platform.
  5. I was a UC several times, several locations. The most common response I received from units was shock. Shock that I actually showed up, visited with them, went camping with them (always offered, a few accepted), and that was a fan of their unit. Some units responded to this, others didn't. The latter usually had a longstanding, intense dislike for all commissioners in general, and nothing I did could shake them from that belief. Not that I blamed them. Rather, I sympathized with them. I recalled my days as an ASM and SM, and I felt the same way about most commissioners. Some were gold, most were all show/no go. Fancy uniforms, active in anything district or council related, pompous know it alls who had zero interest in unit level scouting. For the units that had challenges, I always drove away from each meeting with the thought "If I really wanted to make a difference for this unit, I'd resign as a UC and put in my app to be an ASM or committee member." All said, I believe in the commissioner concept. But the BSA would be better off having 2 squared away commissioners in a district who really care about unit level scouting than 12 who don't.
  6. desertrat77

    Scouts BSA Girls’ Uniform +

    Given my tendency to jump to conclusions, I called my 20 year old Venture Daughter and asked her thoughts on the subject. Also sent her the pdf that @Eagle1993supplied for us. Two different handbooks: "Kind of odd, but having two is fine." The pdf with new stuff: "I'm not into fashion but hey, didn't seem all that bad."
  7. desertrat77

    Scouts BSA Girls’ Uniform +

    Maybe I'm missing the boat myself, but these minor differences between the two books seem like trifles. For most humans, life is coed. Why would the BSA put uniquely female discussions about motherhood in a handbook? I don't recall such discussions from the male perspective in past handbooks. The more I read, the more I think the BSA put itself through a number of unnecessary organizational twists to launch this whole thing.
  8. desertrat77

    Scouts BSA Girls’ Uniform +

    True. But two handbooks? Aside from images, are the handbooks that different? Seems like a lot of heavy lifting on National's part to field two handbooks when one would suffice.
  9. desertrat77

    Scouts BSA Girls’ Uniform +

    I think National missed the boat/canoe/paddleboard on the handbook for girls. If we're going coed, why have two gender specific handbooks?
  10. I went through the bachelors of CS in 1990 (or thereabouts). It was a nice day with a bunch of seminars. I'd certainly never consider it a "degree." Mostly listened to speakers and chatted with other attendees.
  11. desertrat77

    Multiple Bobcat Ceremonies

    John, thank you, your post brought back great memories. My Bobcat pin was presented in 1971, same exact ceremony. Pin worn upside down till we did our first good turn, if I recall. A little bit of ceremony goes a long way. Many ceremonies today, especially for Webelos crossing over and Eagle, are overwrought. Too many words, too many props, too much time expended.
  12. desertrat77

    Words of Wisdom to Youth Chapter Leadership

    Unfortunately, the Scout is in good company. He and many of his peers are asking the same questions. Whatever the OA's woes are today, the key to success is in our storied past. I'd recommend finding old OA literature from decades ago and browsing through (much on ebay). Though some practices and traditions are no longer allowed, there are things, tangible and intangible, that would be helpful today. Having fun and designing patches will only work to a certain point. Recapturing that OA "spirit" is going to take some reflection and research. And yes, work. Granted, it's not for everyone. But that's okay. For those that are committed to the OA's principles, it can be life changing. PS. Please encourage him to not lower the bar. Three dedicated scouts that adhere to the OA's ideals will make much more progress than a large, semi-committed group that is just there for recreational events. (The latter group won't organize the events, but might participate and will definitely leave before clean up.) The three will set a solid foundation for future success.
  13. desertrat77

    Mess kit cooking

    When I see the words "mess kit," "pots and pans" and "fire," my day is made! The great outdoors!
  14. desertrat77

    Canvas Dining Fly

    Sorry to say, the official BSA version is not available any more. I googled "canvas dining fly" and found several non-BSA types for sale. I'm still partial to canvas. I have two BSA canvas tents (Miner and Overnighter) that I use occasionally.
  15. desertrat77

    2005 National Jamboree Rocker patches

    Welcome to the forum!
  16. Symbolism, ceremonies, and shifting societal/cultural values aside, there are two aspects of the OA's successful past that the BSA completely controlled, yet deliberately moved away from: 1. The OA was the society of honor campers (outdoor-minded first and foremost). 2. Inductees were few in number, thus keeping membership exclusive, a true honor to be selected. The first step must be a return to the original criteria--honor campers, few in number.
  17. desertrat77

    Philmont Winter Adventure

    Mash, looks like you all are in for quite an adventure! [As I type, distant memories from my scouting days in Alaska....] Please keep us posted, thoughts/prayers for safe travel and a fantastic experience.
  18. desertrat77

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    Lol, no offense intended, I was just recalling what the old timers discussed around the camp fire. When I was a "career Tenderfoot" for a long spell, I wasn't very good at much, but I'd find a log or big rock at the fire and listen for hours. As a young scout, it seemed to me that many Eagles didn't like the new, wordless patch. It represented everything wrong with "new" scouting. The chicken/mess kit/grease comment was remembered from a campout in the Sonoran desert of Arizona. A new Eagle was on a roll, a true rant, and that was one of things he said. Some troops with military leaders who still had connections with patch makers in the Far East ordered unofficial/copies of traditional Eagle patches for their new Eagles to wear. When I earned Eagle in '77 the design had changed again, a bit of old and new.
  19. desertrat77

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    Eagle, I recall the ISP well. I crossed over from Webelos to my first troop in 1974, right near the start. Ah, the anemic handbook...pajama-like uniforms...scouters and older scouts quitting in disgust...new Eagles upset over the overhaul of the Eagle patch, which went from the traditional design to the stark "chicken in the mess kit with red/white/blue grease".... My camping MB from '76 has the non-required border. I was in four different troops in the '70s. Military family. My various scoutmasters had their foibles but they all believed in getting the troop outdoors as much as possible. Especially our troop in Alaska. Minimum one weekend camping a month, no weather cancellations. Two campouts in December: the regular camping/backpacking trip, and one for the older scouts above the tree line with ice axes, crampons, etc. I'm rambling, but my point is there were enough traditional/outdoor-minded scouters back then to guide us through the ISP until GB Bill was called out of retirement to fix the mess. A troop that camps regularly is a troop that is alive. If there is no hiking, camping, backpacking, boating, and fishing, what is the point of all this? An agenda of exclusively attending meetings and classes and occasional car-camping will not sustain an organization like the BSA for very long.
  20. desertrat77

    videos of scouts cooking

    Can't resist a post script! The video reminded me of patrol camping from yesteryear. (Upon arrival at campsite) SPL: "Okay, Antelope patrol, you are camping over there." The rest of the weekend, the Antelope camped there. Collected wood, chopped it, made fires, cooked food, washed dishes, went on impromptu hikes, fished etc. SPL and SM strolled around now and again, low key, just to ensure everyone was okay. Other than that, the Antelope patrol did their own thing.
  21. desertrat77

    videos of scouts cooking

    Duct Tape, that video rocks! I agree, brought back a lot of memories. What struck me: all of the scouts were fully engaged. Whatever they were doing, they were doing it together. No one standing around, waiting to be told what to do. I also liked the fact that their patrol cooking was not "perfect." They were figuring things out as they went. I got a kick out of their "field expediency." Aluminum mess kit too hot? Run a stick through the holes in the handle. Forgot/lost your mess kit handle? Pair of pliers will do. I especially got a laugh at 6:34, the scout cooking vittles, over a fire, in a smoking cast iron skillet that was about as big as he was. But there he was, cooking confidently. Also got a kick out of the dirt and smoke and ash. The scouts were perfectly comfortable in the outdoors. They seemed happy. They were running their own show and solving their own problems and enjoying their own food. The patrol method!
  22. desertrat77

    Yet another change...

    In addition to being official credentials, those old membership cards and charters used to be nice examples of artistic talent as well. Over the last several years, if/when I actually received a card, it was always a bland product that didn't inspire much pride.
  23. desertrat77

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    True, the BSA does background checks now. But I'd be in favor of independent, CO-level checks as well.
  24. desertrat77

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    I agree, it's addressable. But my sense is that many won't care, particularly if their image of the BSA was already tarnished. Even if a potential CO comprehends the vast YP improvements from yesteryear, they still may not want to be associated with an organization that even countenanced such slipshod tracking and accountability in the past. Add in the insurance companies jettisoning the BSA...I think it's a PR nightmare as of today. The appearance factor is not good.
  25. desertrat77

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    RS, I think that is the ticket. The parents are the ultimate stakeholders when it comes to the safety of their children. Also pondering: is there anything barring a CO, a group of parents, or scouters leaders, from conducting their own background checks on applicant adults? I'm sure there is a legal hoop or two (consent forms, credible security sources, etc). There may be an extra fee. But it would be worth the trouble to catch someone who may have slipped through the net in one background check. It would also show due diligence on the part of the unit, if I'm using that phrase correctly.