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About DonM

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  1. I wanted to chime in my agreement with Chief Decorah as I didn't want my earlier comment to be seen as putting down Northern Tier generally. Three to a canoe is definitely a good idea for the reasons he gave. We found it to be critical paddling into a 20+ mph head wind. In addition to other first aid issues, NT provides radios with each crew, instructions for establishing contact in remote areas, and constant monitoring of the radios. If you go with an outside group, find out how they handle emergency communication. Also, the scouts like working toward the Triple Crown - North
  2. Thank Brent. Great article. Having done Northern Tier and swamp canoeing with scouts, they are both wonderful and totally different. I couldn't say which I (or the scouts) liked more. Probably NT because of the physical challenge as the article suggests. I think the main thing is to try not to go in expecting anything, but instead just experience what happens. To Voyageur's excellent list, I might add: - The probability of a bear visiting at night is inversely proportional to the height of your bear bag. Don
  3. We just took 3 crews to Northern Tier at the Sommers Base this Auguset. It was a fantastic experience for all involved. Even though we could only do a 6 day trip, we all had a great time. It was physically challenging, beautiful, and a growth experience for the boys. The scouts who went gain confidence and really bonded. They are the troop leaders this year. That said, the trip had some limitations. You need to make sure everyone, scouts and adults, are in excellent shape or you won't have much fun. We went at the end of they year (second week of August) and, while the bugs were not a ser
  4. The replies to this thread to address this issue with the scouts and parents have been excellent. Don't forget to document everything you do during this process, though. Having gone through this a couple of times, I found it important to keep a trail of what had been done. Make sure any meeting involving a scout that might eventually result in a suspension or removal are documented in a follow-up email to the parents and CC. Describe what occurred and what steps were taken, and keep a file on the scout. This serves not only to make it clear what has already been done if the parents o
  5. This week in my community, we've learned that a local Eagle Scout was killed and 4 other local teenagers have been arrested, charged with his murder. The story I've copied below describes the situation surrounding the death of Matt Silliman as we know it now. This is an unbelievable tragedy, not just for his family but for all the families involved. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to them. When I went to my first scout training class, they told us that all teenage boys will join 'gangs', peers who will influence them more than their parents. They might be good 'gangs' or they might be
  6. Thanks for the great suggestions. I really believe the WB scouters did come back with the best of intentions. After reading your posts, I think there are a couple of problems that occur. One is that the WB trainee may not understand the issues in the troop - their history and how they are being addressed - as well as they could before setting the ticket. Some of our WBers have only been in the troop a year and might not be aware what can impact the program (scout age distribution, for example). It seems like there needs to be a discussion with the candidate before training, but at t
  7. I'd like to do Woodbadge training but it seems to ruin leaders who go through it. Some of the most active adults in our troop will head off to Woodbadge training, and the cycle seems inevitable. They come back very motivated explaining all the things we can change to make the troop work properly. Then they start working on tickets that have been written seemingly without regard to the priorities of the PLC, SM or committee. They set up training, classes, procedures, forms, campouts and projects that draw adult and youth resources without regard to any other plans, resources or schedules.
  8. The list doesn't seem like it's unreasonable, but the reference book listing with page number is too much. That part is turning an outdoor activity into a research project. Don
  9. It sounds like it should be a fun trip, and two nights is good for a first backpack trip. Just be prepared about the important stuff so the trip isn't miserable or dangerous: - Water is important. Bring about 2 liters per person per day (unless you've got a filter or tablets). Really - you don't want to be short or dring from a stream. You're going to have to boil for about 2 minutes, and the fuel probably makes this not worth it. - Pack as light as you can. It's easy to bring too much food and extra clothes. Get a backpack stove and dehydrated meals (or make your own - lots on the web a
  10. I agree with the other suggestions, especially the training. In addition, if you can get one other adult trained along with you (esp. the SM), get going on monthly campouts. Start with local overnighters close to home - nothing complicated. But this is where the scouts have fun and really get a chance to work on planning (meals, schedules) and leadership. Good luck.
  11. The best recruiting program for Webelos I''ve seen has involved Boy Scouts offering instruction and hands-on training for Webelos activity badges. The Boy Scouts can man a series of booths training different aspects of a single badge and the Webelos rotate between them. The Webelos really like to work with boys just a little older than them, and the Webelos parents get a chance to see how Boy Scouts works. This gives the troop adult leaders a chance to talk to the Webelos parents, as well. And the Webelos den leader appreciates someone else doing the work. If this is part of the den''s wo
  12. Last year I had two new scouts join that couldn't stand each other after years in the same den. As I only had 8 scouts joining, I put them in the same patrol over one of the scout's (and his mother's) objections. I assumed they would learn to get along. Stupid - stupid - stupid. They both had a bad year until one of them dropped out. I won't make that mistake again. DonM
  13. As a parent of a high functioning autistic scout and SM in a troop that has one or two others, I've seen variations of this fairly often. First, it's very easy to be unsure about the diagnosis of high functioning autism as a parent. Even when the doctors and tests confirm it, "autism" is a scary word. It is hard for a parent to accept and very hard to share with others. I'd accept the father's word on this. However, I strongly agree that the adult leadership should work with the other scouts - especially those in his patrol and the scout leadership. You don't need to share the diag
  14. - Organization The leader needs to be organized in his planning to properly understand the people and tasks he is involved with. He needs to be organized in his thinking to communicate effectively, and he needs to be organized in his own life to have time to be available for leadership. Of course, this is in addition to the others. There isn't just one quality of leadership. DonM
  15. It sounds like it could be a good Eagle project. The key question, as raised by your CC, is leadership. The Eagle project is all about leadership - the Boy Scout planning a service project, coordinating others to prepare for the project, organizing funding and materials, and leading others in the successful completion of the project. He doesn't do the work. he leads others in getting it done. Your post mentions things he would do. It should be more about how he would lead a team of Scouts and adults in setting up and manning booths and planting trees. I suspect if he makes this the f
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