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Pushing the envelope?

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Pack's first suggestion could be an amazing opportunity for the camp to offer some different MB options (environmental science, soil and water conservation, etc.) this summer. Yes yes I know, having helped run various camps, that a waterfront is a highly desirable commodity. But you know what? You have to make some trade offs. And I have worked at camps where swimming and boating were not options and somehow the kids still had a great time.

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1) The Scouts would not be supporting a candidate or party.

-Or are all the bill's sponsors all from the same party?

-Is this a push by the Pa. Scout Councils to get the bill passed because they may stand to gain monetarily if passed? They will definitely be getting free publicity and advertising from the plates. So much for no free rides.



2) Hornaday Project (HIJACK # 2)

- One of the project ideas for the award is to have Scouts either come up with proposed legislation relating to conservation and environmental issues and present it to their Rep's or Senators, or help their Rep's or Sen. with a campaign for proposed legislation related to the above. What say yea, Gern & Calico, Yeah or Ney. It's a Scouting award that could mean proposing and or campaigning at the state or federal level for legislation.



3)As for the first hijack, The Dam, what does a dam have to do with plates?

- I see potential for Hornaday projects here.

- Maybe the Council could rebuild the dam to as a hydro-electrical facility supplying the camp with all the electricity they need, work a deal for free electricity for the other Council properties, and sell the rest back to the utilities to cover the cost of the project. The Council will save a fortune on their electric bill, and when the project costs are put to rest, they'll be turning a nice profit. Sounds like another HA project.

- Pack, how about being the Hornaday Advisor for the down stream ecosystem reconstruction and flood control?


4) Hey, OGE, what does an acre of land fetch over there and how many acres are we talking? How much could the Council get if they first timbered it off,

brought in a couple of land developers that probably sit on the Exec. Committee, to develop the land, and then sell it off, compared with just selling it as undeveloped lots? Could Council turn enough of a profit to buy the amount of new acreage needed a new camp?

- Merit Badge opportunities galore for the next Merit Badge Academy, Amer. Business, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Enviro Science, F&WM, Forestry, Geology, Salesmanship, S&WC and Surveying.

- Oh, scratch #4. I forgot about the housing market crunch. So much for the Merit Badge Academy courses.

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I think OGE was noting another issue which scouts and scouters could support through their numbers. At least I saw that connection.


Regarding dam reconstruction, I think the expense was the real problem in OGE's example. My suggestion to remove the dam is a popular idea around the country now. These small dams really do have a large impact on the ecosystem and they have little or no hydropower potential. The idea that a small dam could supply the camp with its electricity may be sound but I would have to see a good engineering analysis of that potential. I know of similar demo projects in which streams have been completely altered at significant expense...to produce less than 100 watts continuous power. I could make a better pitch for a solar installation in each of those cases.


Regarding the downstream ecosystems, dams inevitably have a detrimental effect downstream. This is unavoidable. I would argue that downstream ecosystem reconstruction requires dam removal.


OGE has, I think, noted the essential aspect of this. Property available for sale in the Poconos, close to the financial heart of the world....I predict that money will speak loudly.

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Great!! Waterfront property. The price just went up. LOL. To bad it's not coastal property. Then it wouldn't matter if it was swampy, it would be worth a fortune.



Yep, Solar panels and a reverse meter sounds good. Just think of all the roof space available, especially on camp structures. As for dam removal, over the last 5-10 years, they have been taking down several dams on the Cuyahoga. If they could now remove the three low-head dams and Ohio Edison dam used for the old power-plant, then clean up the muck, we might be able to restore a great picturesque gorge, and reclaim several waterfalls and the caves.

Watch out Ohiopyle!!! We would have a mile drop over a 2-3 mile distance if that. Talk about some wild white water opportunities in Akron.

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Yeah but Ed, I haven't been impressed with the classroom nature of those badges at the summer camps I've seen. Now doing those badges as part of a real project, that would be way cool and the boys would probably learn a whole lot more too.


As for the political aspect - there's a lot to be said about learning the process for voicing opinions. And there's no need for people who also happen to be scouts, to be thoroughly apolitical. Reality is that people who support scouting have to be able to speak up for scouting in a political realm sometimes, because otherwise we're hamstringing our own, best, advocates. However, I would prefer to see the DE's pitch be made to adults only rather than to youth. Adults are better positioned to decide for themselves what the potential conflicts and other sides of "the story" may exist, than are youth. It is all too easy to convince youth that "this is the only way to see things."


And about the license plates - if scouts gain a monetary benefit of $20 per plate (as one poster mentions) then they most certainly are benefiting directly from a gov't-issued license plate. Very few PRIVATE groups have that luxury and I'm really not sure I like that idea at all - existing specialty plates tend to support gov't functions like education or natural resource conservation/clean-up. Are people willing to allow specialty plates for other private entities? How about an ACLU plate where they get $20 per plate? Nope, didn't think so...

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In our state, I think it only takes a petition of signatures to warrent your own plates. I have Pioneer Plates. It means I can trace my ancestors back 100 years here in Colorado. Its cute, got a horse and buggy with the word PIONEER on it. I proved it to the DMV, paid my $35 and got my plates. We have plates from all the state Universities, Knights of Columbus, Remember Columbine, Air Force 50th Anniversity, Breast Cancer, etc. Actually I'm surprised that the BSA doesn't have one yet and that they need state congressional support to get one.


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Our state requires filing a petition with 1,000 signatures for the BMV to develop a specialty license plate for a particular organization. To continue offering the plate each year, the state requires that at least 1,000 plates be sold annually. IMO, Ohio's Eagle Scout plates look pretty nice:



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No, you didn't miss it in the initial bill. Scotteng mentioned that in his area (tampa bay area), a county-issued scouting vanity plate provided revenue of $20/tag to the local council. That would bother me, as it is a gov't function to provide plates, and in this case, is directly resulting in monetary gain for a non-gov't, private club - even though I happen to think the private club in question has a great program. But gov't funding of private religious clubs with exclusive membership policies seems pretty political to me, and probably not defensible if push comes to shove.


As far as I'm aware, other plates (say for state universities or research endeavors) end up channeling the money to PUBLIC (read: "government") entities. My State U is part of the gov't; the BSA is not.


I didn't intend to sidetrack us here - but this is exactly the sort of envelope-pushing issue that I think your initial post raises.

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If Joe Carowner pays an extra $35 for a BSA plate and the state turns over $20 to BSA, that doesn't seem much like any government support of a private entity. It's Joe that paid the money; the state simply handled it, and took a cut in the process.

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The plate itself is a gov't-issued document of sorts and since the gov't has a monopoly on issuing plates (legal ones anyway) then yes, it is a government matter. So when we start allowing private groups (even ones I like) to benefit both indirectly through added publicity and the appearance of gov't support, and directly through kick-backs then I think that's an issue.


The fact that we don't allow most private groups to do this adds another dimension to this. Why would gov't allow some private groups to have a special plate, and not others? I can think of several answers to this and each one raises more questions than it resolves.



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