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Michael DeMar

First Year Tiger Cub Den Leader in Evanston, IL

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bchan,

 

Thanks for the head's up about the Federal Reserve Bank. It's rare to find an institution or organization that has a program for 6 and 7 year-olds.

 

If I recall correctly, visiting a bank is one of the 50 electives in the back of the Tiger Cub Handbook.

 

I am going to look into this.

 

Thanks again for the suggestion.

 

Michael

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It looks like Evanston has quite a party planned for Dec 31! Is your Pack, or Den, planning on attending any of the events?

 

Check out a Wildcat game for your sports achievement! For your communication achievement give WNUR a call to see about a tour. It is a student run station at Northwestern.

 

Most of the museums, nature centers, botanical gardens & what have you in the area, have programs for youth groups or scouts in particular. Look thru their websites for info. River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook has a GREAT Maple Syrup Festival in Spring!

 

BTW - if you think THIS is an "extreme deep freeze" you have some surprises in store for you! LOL!

 

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Two years ago, I organized a group of 150 Girl Scouts and leaders from Skokie and Lincolnwood to attend an overnighter at the Adler Planetarium. I didn't realize until two weeks before that the evening events were not a "lock-in" but were rather part of the open-to-the-public "Far-Out Fridays" (held on the first Friday evening of every month). This meant that it was somewhat crowded since there were already almost 300 participants for the overnight and then there were a number of families and individuals who just attended the evening events. And it meant that I felt like I had to keep an especially close eye on my girls since there were more than just GS and leaders. They had quite a few hands-on activities and the observatory was opened which they said they would not have done for just an overnight. Nevertheless, I would have booked a different date if I had known that the event was not exclusive and I was upset that they never mentioned it and I had to find out for myself by noticing it on their website.

 

Instead of the overnight, I would advise scout groups to just go to one of the "Far-Out Fridays". You get to do almost the same things, it's much cheaper (buy the "family pack" for best value), and you don't have to deal with someone else's undisciplined and out-of-control scouts runnning around noisily at 3am!

 

I just came back from an overnight with my Girl Scout troop at the Notebaert Museum which I liked much better. Only 65 participants and a real "lock-in". A well-organized semi-structured program in which we were split into 4 groups of about 15 participants and rotated through several stations with various led activities (touching a live snake, playing a kind of game show, etc.) and guided explorations of the exhibits (kids were given specific questions they were supposed to find the answers to). There were two staff members at each of the stations. I felt like the program was something special and not just like a visit to the museum on our own.

 

When my troop was annoyed because they couldn't sleep when the other troops were really noisy at midnight an hour after the supposed "lights out" (there was an activity room open until midnight), I complained to the staff and one of them came to our area to enforce the "quiet time". She spent another hour reminding people who started to talk or giggle too loudly to quiet down and slept the night sleeping in our area. I believe a staff member stayed overnight at each area where there were participants sleeping.

 

The butterfly haven in the morning was a really special way to end the event. The butterflies are just waking up in the morning and they released some new butterflies that had just left their cocoons that morning.

 

The Notebaert overnight is also less expensive than overnights at other Chicago museums: $40/child and $25/chaperone.

 

Another overnight I have participated in was at Health World in Barrington. The Skokie/Lincolnwood Service Unit booked an exclusive overnight, so we had the place to ourselves (125-150 participants). I liked the security of a "lock-in" and it was nice that I knew most of the leaders there and knew they were from my area even if I didn't know them well. Unlike the other two overnights described above, Health World did not have any special stations or activities, so troops just did the exhibits as they liked. Health World is a museum best suited to younger children, say those ages 9 and under.

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Since other Chicagoland scouters have joined this forum, I decided to go ahead and post these tips for Notebaert overnights:

 

If you find as we did that the machine for parking payment in the lot across Cannon Dr is broken, just go ahead and park there and tell the Notebaert who will make sure you aren't ticketed. We didn't want to risk a ticket or tow so we parked on the street intending to move after 9pm.

 

Warning about the "snack": it's just goldfish crackers and a granola bar plus juice (compared to pizza at other overnighters) and is served mid-evening (8:30 compared to 10:30pm at other overnighters). They have a microwave in the snack room and you can buy microwave popcorn for a late night snack from the vending machine for $.90 (or rather $1 since the machine didn't give me change) and I'd bring extra drinks since the boys are likely to get thirsty after the salty snacks. But if you have your own microwave popcorn (from CS sales, for example!), I'm sure it's cheaper and you could choose something other than the greasy butter flavor. One of the other troops there brought fixings for nachos (chips, salsa, and cheese whiz).

 

Also note that there are vending machines that sell snacks and drinks that you might prefer that the boys did not consume. I would suggest that you talk to both the boys and any chaperones about buying their own snacks from the machines or else you might have kids buying Mt. Dew (caffeinated!) or candy (to make them hyper from sugar) like some of the girls from other troops did (probably the hyper ones who couldn't calm down until well after midnight). Perhaps I'm too much of a control freak, but I recommend setting a den policy on snacks. Otherwise, you might have some ultra-permissive parent buying his kid Mt. Dew and candy and forcing the other parents to put-up with his hyper kid and their own kids whining "but Joey gets to drink Mt. Dew!" I've experienced problems like that before.

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Last night as I was getting together materials for a recruitment "rally night" (a bust, but that's another story), I was realized that I should let you know about the really great FREE program at the Evanston Home Depot (and I think the program is national, so it's probably available at other Home Depots around the country). Home Depot supplies all the materials and needed tools to make any of several projects---we made a tool/craft supply box. They even give each kid a kid-sized orange apron to keep! And they were accomodating enough to allow us to schedule the workshop for our normal Wednesday night meeting time.

 

It's best if the boys do this workshop next year when they are Wolf cubs and they will be able to complete all of Wolf Achievement 5 ("Tools for Fixing and Building") if they do a few other activities that are easily done at the store. Other advice for the workshop: go to the dollar store at Dempster and Dodge in Evanston and pick up an inexpensive protective goggle for each boy. Also, even though Wolf cubs aren't required to be accompanied by a parent, it is best if each boy has an adult to help them. Most boys will need an adult to help piece the project together correctly and hold it while the boy nails, start the nails, and pull out the nails that get put in crooked.

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GS-CS Leader,

 

Thank you so much for your posts. I agree with you that vending machine candy and caffeinated soda at 9:30 p.m. during an Overnighter is a bad idea. We will bring lots of alternative (i.e., healthier) snacks for our group. We still have plenty of Trail's End popcorn.

 

I didn't know that Home Depot had Cub Scout workshops. We will definitely take advantage of that in the future.

 

Thanks again,

 

Michael

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Both Home Depot & Lowes have Kid's Workshops. Both require a parent to attend with the child.

 

Home Depot has theirs the 1st Sat of every month. They give the kids an orange apron & a pin that coordinates with the project they made. I know a lot of folks who have done these & they have always liked them. Call your local store to find out the project & register.

 

Lowes has theirs the 2nd Sat of every month. I do not know anyone who has done them, but Lowes is fairly new in the Chicago area. You can sign up by calling your local store, or online.

 

Coming up in April, not wood craft, but cool - The Chicago Herpetological Society's, ReptileFest 2006. Touch a tortoise, itch an iguana. April 8-9 at UIC's PE building. If you go as a youth group with leaders the cost is only $7 for adults & $5 for kids 3-11. A GREAT Pack activity!

 

http://www.chicagoherp.org/fest/main.htm

 

 

 

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In response to meredelaire's post mentioning caravaning and tour permits:

 

I've been involved in BSA for less than two years, so I'm certainly no authority, but I've seen other posts in other scouter.com forums about "caravaning". There seems to be some kind of prohibition on that practice by the company that provides insurance to BSA. I guess they think it will increase the chance of rear-end collisions or accidents from people trying to get through lights that change. Anyway, one forum had a story of an accident happening during a BS outing and the insurance company refusing to pay because they claimed the participants were "caravaning". In fact, if I remember correctly, they merely met somewhere before going separately to meet up at their trip site and then had a fender-bender at the parking lot of the trip site.

 

And I believe that for most councils, it is the distance from your usual meeting place that determines the need for a tour permit. Even if each family goes on its own in their own vehicle and independently chaperones their child, if you call it a scout event and it's over some distance (25 miles each way for my council, for example), then you still need to file a tour permit. The way I see it, you might be glad you did the paperwork if there is an accident and the car repair or hospital bills could be paid by BSA. I'm assuming that BSA accident coverage works like that of GSUSA: they will pay your deductible. Even if people have their own car and health insurance, the deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses can be considerable.

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