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About drhink

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  1. Jay K said: 2. You can buy one that was made by a company, and is the exact same thing! 3. Alcohol IS dangerous: it is very hard to see the flame in conditions of direct sunlight. I've always felt that that fact is balanced by how easy it is to extinguish an alcohol fire with water. --- Regarding #2, that is true, HOWEVER, it is also possible to make an alcohol stove that is basically an open can of burning alcohol and not resemble any commercially made stove. Which directly relates to #3. By the time a Scout realizes the tuna can full of alcohol he knocked over in bright daylight was on fire, there is likely to be substantial damage to person and/or property. You cannot see an alcohol flame in bright daylight. You will not know you are on fire until you feel your skin melt away. Even us NASCAR rednecks know dat. So rather than attempt to define standards for what constitutes safe versus unsafe homemade alcohol stove designs, it is quite frankly simpler to ban them outright. Liquid alcohol commercial stoves are deemed "not recommended" because of the danger of the fuel when used in daylight. But they aren't banned I'm guessing because the manufacturer has liability for any damages caused by an unsafe design.
  2. drhink

    Water guns

    "It might be a fine line, but it's definitely there and it's a big difference." Sure Fred, there's a lot of running around in a dark room with loud music and smoke effects, and that certainly adds to the "fun" of laser tag. But your ultimate objective is aiming "a gun" at a person's vital zone and pulling the trigger. Fred, as an adult, I have no doubt the distinction between laser tag and firearm shooting is clear to you. But I wouldn't be very confident that 100% of 7-18 year old boys could explain what's different. Not trying to sound too harsh, but not everyone believes in the principles of scouting. That's why not everyone is a scout. There's nothing wrong with having interests outside of scouting, but if you have a strong opinion that something in scouting is wrong, dumb, or otherwise negative, nobody is forcing you to stay.
  3. drhink

    Water guns

    Fred, while you have strong personal feelings that the GSS ban on laser tag is misguided, as a long time firearms instructor, I respectfully disagree. Military and LE personnel often train with laser based firearm simulators. It provides excellent training with instant feedback on aim and muzzle control, especially while moving. Recreational laser tag is essentially the same except you can be "killed" repeatably after some short penalty time where your gun is disabled. It is a game that simulates shooting other people, period. And that is why the GSS bans it. If that makes my IQ lower than a rock for understanding the intent of the rule, then what does that say about someone doesn't? At some point with water guns, there's a departure from the simulated shooting of another person to where you are just trying to get the person wet with a spray of water. I guess that's the problem - it's too subjective of a differentiation. And without any mention in the GSS about water guns, I can understand why some CDs would rather error on the side of caution and tell people to leave them at home.
  4. drhink

    Water guns

    If you ask me, any plunger-style water pump/shooter/"gun" that doesn't resemble a firearm should be acceptable for scouts to use at camp. Going back to 1992, first there was the "Dip Stik" -- a big syringe made out of PVC pipe. They are still used today on river trips as bailing pumps and there are numerous plans the Internet on how to make something like them. A few years later in 1994, the straight handle was replaced with a more ergonomic angled handle as is still being sold today as the "Stream Machine Hydrobolic Water Launcher". Works as both a bilge pump and a water gun that can shoot a huge blast of water over 50 feet. Perhaps an easy rule of thumb that BSA could adopt is the "orange tip rule" regarding water guns. If the manufacturer isn't putting an orange safety tip on it, then some federal regulator has decided it isn't a "look-alike or imitation firearm". The orange tip has been a federal requirement since 1988 I for any toy that resembles a firearm, although I cannot find the specific statute or regulation that defines what specific characteristics or criteria are used. Interestingly, the double-barrel Stream Machine model is required to have an orange safety tip but the regular Stream Machine models do not. Supposedly it's because the double barreled model has a fore grip so that makes it look too "gun like". The only caution I'd add is the criteria would need to be based on whether or not the orange tip is present when new in the package. Removing an existing orange safety tip would not make a water gun permissible to use. Might not be a perfect definition, but it seems like it would be fairly easy to decipher what is allowed and what is not. It could possibly be used to help cover unforeseen "toy guns" in the GSS in addition to water guns. Although paint ball guns and laser tag guns aren't required to to have orange tips, those are specifically mentioned in the GSS, so there's no conflict.
  5. drhink

    adult alcohol use

    Getting back to the OP's question, I think the best answers about what needs to be done were those that said it depends on the CO's policies. The whole thing stinks even though it doesn't sound like there was technically a BSA rule violated. The rule specifically says "at any activity", and the word "at" seems to imply some physical proximity. Unless of course the vehicle driver was listed on the tour permit as a driver. If something had happened on their little side trip, it was in connection with the scout camp activity, so there's potentially a real can of worms with your CO's and the BSA's insurance. It doesn't matter if there were scouts in the car at the time. While these two adults may have left the camp site, they were still participants of the unit activity, correct? I do have to wonder: if they were so eager to brag back at camp about finding a bar (and spending enough time there to judge it a "great bar"), I'd be worried about them possibly having complained to the bartender and anyone else within earshot about "gotta be getting back to our scout camp". I have experienced a parent hearing about staff alcohol use months after a camp, and that kid never being allowed to go to camp again. And people being banned from returning as staff. And other bad stuff happening to otherwise good people. The details about whether or not any technical "rules" were violated won't matter months after the fact. All people will hear is "a Boy Scout Camp Out where some of the adults went to a bar". Clearly, you have a couple people that are not aware of the potential negative impact their actions and words might have on your unit and scouting in general. Those are the issues where it doesn't matter if the two adults were ever impaired or not. My advice is you should discuss this with your COR right away. If the driver was listed on your tour permit, you should also discuss it with your DE. Better if both of these people hear about it from you than from someone else. If you were the designated leader for the camp out, there's a chance YOU will be shown the door if you don't talk to your COR and/or head of your CO and they catch wind of it later on. When in doubt, pass the buck up and let them decide what to do.(This message has been edited by drhink)
  6. drhink

    Explorer Uniform

    A few folks mentioned the Scout BSA dark green shirt was dropped in 1979. I know my memory isn't what it used to be, but I'm positive our summer camp staffs at BCMSR (Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in Maryland) were wearing the dark green shirts through the early 80's as the standard staff uniform, and I don't remember anyone every saying they had trouble getting them (with the Scout BSA strip). Maybe the Baltimore Area Council just happened to have a bunch of left over inventory they sold to camp staff? Granted, only newer staff members would have been buying them, but a staff photo from 1982 shows everyone in dark green so we were still getting them somehow after 1979. I think the dark green was used by BCMSR staff at least through 1984. Anyone have any ideas how we might have managed that? Like I said, I don't recall anything unusual being required to obtain them.
  7. Our troop has a 37 page Troop Guidelines document. I'd say 50% of the content is geared toward the new parents and explains things like when we meet, when money is due, the types of gear recommended, etc. We do an bi-annual review to make sure there isn't anything inconsistent with the BSA publications. Or I should say, the scouts review it. Each of the four patrols gets 9 or so pages to review and provide any updates for the next year. I know it's a little sneaky, but each patrol's section get's an Easter egg inserted somewhere in the content. It's not all that sneaky because they know there will be one or two things that are blatantly wrong from the changing of a word so it reads the opposite of what is correct. The patrols get a prize for finding it. Just a little thing to help ensure they read through it all. The committee then does their own final review to make sure they didn't miss something (especially the intentional mistakes), and update anything related to finances that may have changed. The other 50% of the content describes the way the troop is run: how discipline is handled, elections, how to request a BOR, etc. The majority of it was decided by the scouts. The PLC basically "owns" the document, so anything that is in it as a troop "policy", they have the power to change it. The SM is responsible to make sure the PLC doesn't try to make a policy that contradicts something in BSA policy. If our boys end up with a 37 page document that says how the troop is run, I'm not going to tell them it's too long or too short. It may have started out years ago with the help of some adults, but it's all owned and maintained by the scouts now.
  8. drhink

    adult alcohol use

    I used to think if some of the adults drank alcohol but I didn't know about it or it was kept out of sight, then it wasn't a big deal. As eisely said, "I want to be sure that adults are fully capable of responding to any emergency". A funny thing about emergencies: they don't always give you much advanced warning. Once you've had to do an evacuation at 2:30 AM due to sudden severe weather that's ripping trees apart in your campsite, you realize you need every adult on deck and 100% functional. I will not take a chance on someone that cannot put the potential needs of the group above his/her own need for alcohol for just one night.
  9. drhink


    It seems bugling at scout events has gone the way of the sock garter. I still have my nickle plated Rexcraft "Official BSA" bugle along with a Rexcraft brass army "beater" I carried on camp outs as a youth. I don't play them very often any longer, but I won't part with them. Too much sentimental value. There always seem to be scout and army bugles for sale on EBay, so if you can get one in decent shape for say under $50, maybe invest in one for your troop and see if there's any takers to borrow it. I'd avoid some of the newer cheap bugles from China and India - I've heard nothing but bad things about them, like being wildly out of tune between notes. The old "US Regulation" army bugles made in USA are usually a lot less money than the Rexcraft are going for these days, and are pretty close in quality. Just try to find one that doesn't have too many dents and a bell that doesn't look like a taco. Some small dents are inevitable and OK. Many of the army bugles don't have a tuning slide, which is only an issue if you plan on playing in unison with another bugler. Just one less thing to maintain, in my opinion. Once you get a good used bugle, go to a music store and get a trumpet snake brush. Soak the bugle in a tub of warm mildly soapy water and thoroughly scrub the insides with the snake brush. If the brass is severely tarnished, you can soak the bugle in a dilute ammonia solution (1:10 ammonia to water) for 10-15 minutes then scrub the inside with the brush and the outside with a microfiber cloth. If the outside is still badly tarnished, you can try scrubbing with a cloth using a paste of salt and lemon juice. Don't use steel wool or anything abrasive. Thoroughly rinse and dry before using. Brasso at this point can improve the shine and prevent tarnishing, but I don't like the smell it imparts. There's such a shortage of buglers that funeral homes have resorted to playing recordings of taps at military funerals. That's just wrong. Get a boy to learn to play taps if nothing else.
  10. drhink

    Water guns

    Instead of whining about what you can't do, figure out what you can do. Just get a little creative. Ever play soccer with water guns and a beach ball? Works in a pool, in a field, or a parking lot, and shooting water at an inflatable ball is not contrary to GSS. And everybody gets wet, intentional or not. Just make sure you have some rules in place so nobody gets hurt. In the time it takes to read this entire thread, most of you could have invented at least a half dozen games involving water guns where the primary target isn't another person and the probability of staying dry is zero. Some of the best water battles I can recall were at BSA summer camps where we used the Indian Pumps, although it was officially called "staff camp fire safety training".
  11. drhink

    half uniforming

    OGE - "Time to dump the uniform, wear a neckerchief and be done with it" I think if you go around wearing just a neckerchief it would be pretty drafty, not to mention the unwanted attention you'd get from law enforcement...
  12. drhink

    How to promote full uniforms

    ScoutMomma wrote, "I bet it's the parents who either don't have the funds or don't see the point." I think it's more of the latter. I hear some of these families complain about spending money on a scout uniform yet we know they think nothing of plunking down $ 50 - 100 bucks PER SEASON for football or baseball uniforms and gear. Not to mention what we hear is spent on the kid's cell phone, XBox with tons of $50 games for it, ipod, etc. It's all relative. I think that was the part gnawing at the back of my mind when I created this thread: How do you get the parents "on board" and make scouting more of a priority (including the uniform)? BP said Scouting is "A game with a purpose". Just like a boy gets a football, baseball, basketball uniform (etc) to participate in those team games, he should have a scout uniform to play the scouting game.
  13. drhink

    Red Wool Jacket -on sale

    Eagle92 - our store is at council headquarters, run by BSA national employees (yellow loopers), so I'm not sure if that answers your question. I was assured that the red jac-shirts are not going away, but they did transition from the old product numbers to new ones to reflect the new XS thru 5XL sizing. It's possible that someone assumed they were being discontinued when the old product numbers got whacked and re-orders were disabled on them in the supply order system. In this case, there are new product numbers taking there place, but not one-for-one, since there used to be more granular sizes. It appears the red are still made in the USA, while the green are imported, but of course this could change and not be reflected in the product numbers.
  14. drhink

    New to the forum

    Hi - new to the forum, but not new to scouting. Also been involved w/ ARC health & safety instruction with some bouts of aquatics safety as well over the past 20 years. Currently I'm an ASM with my son's troop. I tend to run on the old-school side of things, as you'll see from my posts. I've adopted the ARC philosophy of "Teach to the standard, measure to the objective". I seem to encounter a lot of scouts and scouters that get lost pursuing standards but don't seem to really know the program objectives. I figure if just one person gains some insight from something I say, then my time spent here is worth it. My favorite quote: "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." - Forest E Witcraft
  15. drhink

    Board of Review Question

    NJCubScouter asked: "does anyone actually have any BSA literature that says the Troop Committee CANNOT require a uniform?" Yes. "No council, district, troop, or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from any advancement requirement." (Troop Committee Guidebook) I recall it's also in the advancement policies, but someone 'borrowed' my copy a while ago. The rank requirement simply says "Complete a Board of Review". In the scout handbook, a scout is advised a board of review is simply a "talk" and "review" that he has met the requirements. Throwing in a specific detailed requirement to wear the uniform falls under the "add to" category. As Eagle92 pointed out from the advancement policies and procedures guide, it states the recommended attire for a scout to wear to a BOR is uniform or coat & tie. But it is NOT a REQUIREMENT. The "no add or subtract" rule is my giant flyswatter I seem to pull out a lot for committee members when they get a bug in their pants to make up some new hoops for the boys to jump through. The gray area: as the board reviews that the scout has in fact completed the requirements (but not "retesting"), the requirement "Demonstrate scout spirit [...] in your everyday life." might present a challenge to a scout to explain how he met this requirement if he's not in uniform. If you have a good reason you couldn't wear your uniform to your board of review - a scouting activity - then it better be a darn good one. Like stolen, burned up, or doesn't fit and you can't afford a new one. The point being, the BOR is a formal scouting event, and the scout is expected to approach it in a way that shows respect for the board members. But that being said, if the board members are in shorts and flip flops, they cannot expect better from the scout in front of them. The respect should go both ways. One of the better analogies I've heard explained to scouts is to approach their BOR like a job interview. Of course, few of them will know what that means, so you need to teach them. You might also need to teach some of your committee members... I'm inclined to agree this was probably a troll posting, because I'd like to think a scout would be smart enough to just make a loop of tape (masking tape, duct tape, etc) and stick the badge on for the duration of the BOR. Pin it on? Who carries around pins? Oh wait, I do in my first aid kits. It all just seems like too unlikely of a scenario for a badge to fall off immediately prior to the BOR and there was no way to re-attach it temporarily. Had it fallen off DURING the BOR, now that would have been funny! "See, look, even my uniform thinks I'm ready for the next rank!" How you could argue with that?