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BSA Bans Alcohol
- Did you know handmade alcohol stoves are against BSA policy?
- Did you know it is against BSA policy for your OA chapter to use handcrafted smudge pots?
- Did you know that huge closing bonfire at summer camp that springs to life quickly because of the liquid fuel 'starter' is against BSA policy?
These and many more restrictions can be found in the BSA Policy on Use of Chemical Fuels
Also, that way cool cross-over ceremony for Webelos where you burn a neckerchief is against the rules - see this alert
I suppose the troops that still ignore the policy that paintball is prohibited in Scouting
will probably ignore these policies as well.
There are some policies in place that may seem silly, but as long as they are there and we're aware of them, we should follow them. Working towards changing those policies is a better course of action than simply ignoring them.
"If I know it's not right, it must be wrong."
Posted: 20:52 05-28-2010 502
What a Shame
We all know there is an oil spill in the Gulf. We all know it is still not plugged. It's been a month and it's no longer such big news, but more of an ongoing problem. It's sad how we get used to something so quickly.
Don't think oil down south will just mean higher priced gas for you. This disaster is affecting you in many other ways. We have three crews schedule to attend Seabase next month. Their trips may be cancelled if the oil isn't contained.
If you want to see what's actually happening, just take a look at this Live WebCam
of the oil billowing from the break. While you are reading this post, more and more gallons of oil are escaping from underground into the ocean waters.
So, what can be done? Well, there are many ideas being tossed around. Here's a few:
These are ideas for cleaning up the spilled oil. Until the break is stopped, all the clean up in the world won't make a difference. I hope the attempts to stop it work this week - not much more to do but hope right now. But, remember this when it comes time to decide on more stringent prevention requirements in the near future.
Posted: 11:57 05-26-2010 501
Next World Jamborees
Next year will be the 22nd World Scout Jamboree and will be held in Rinkaby, Sweden.
But, do you know where the 23rd and 24th Jambos will be held?
In 2015, the 23rd World Scout Jamboree is scheduled for Kirarahama, Japan.
In 2019, the 24th World Scout Jamboree will be held at The Summit
in West Virginia - BSA's new high adventure base. This was announced by Tico Perez recently, not just that it was being worked on, but that it would happen. Of course, things can change.
Since 2019 is nine years away current Bear, Wolf, and Tiger Cubs are the most probable participants. It's not too early to have a Scoutmaster talk about this global event at one of your year-end Pack meetings and have scouts start saving their nickels and quarters. It's a great far-distant goal that will creep closer while keeping young scouts motivated to progress. A tiger den that makes a pact to attend the World Jambo together nine years from now - wouldn't that be cool?
Posted: 11:17 05-10-2010 500
When I say "Scouts", you Say ...
The next time you are at church, or chatting with friends, or right now at work, ask a few people individually what they think of when you say "Boy Scouts". Then ask them how have they interacted with scouts - that is, when have they ever talked to, worked with, or engaged a scout?
Go ahead, ask someone a few cubicles over if you're at work. Then, post your results here if you have a minute to share.
I did this and the majority of average joes (from my highly scientific study) just interact with scouts when they come around selling something. When you say "Boy Scouts", they think of helping others, good deeds, camping, and all that - but they don't see it in action. What they really see is our fundraising efforts. :-(
Tomorrow, our troop has a couple dozen guys cleaning up the outdoors area of the church. We'll work with other folks in the congregation so that will be good. But we really need to toot our horn more - not for the recognition, but so the community knows we're out here doing good things. AND, we need to do more good things, more often.
We've got a few community service works we do each year: clean the veteran's cemetary, visit with a senior citizens' home, and clean the church. We also do other service as opportunities arise, as well as a handful of eagle projects each year.
Our troop will be lowering the flag at Mt. Rushmore on July 31 this summer. That will be a little bit of exposure, I guess. :-) If you happen to be there, say 'howdy'.
One way our troop tries to promote scouting to the community is to have the Troop Historian submit at least two articles to the local newspapers each 6 months. Including pictures really helps, too.
Do you have any suggestions/ideas/tricks to get scouting recognized in your community?
Posted: 12:25 05-07-2010 499
Auction of Scout Founder's Hat
You can purchase Lord Baden-Powell's scout hat tomorrow only. It's being auctioned in England.
Something nice to go with that Centennial dollar you bought last month.Click Here
Sure wish the dude would stop rubbing the hat so much if he's expecting someone to buy it. :-)
Posted: 9:50 05-05-2010 498
Lost and Found
Another Eagle was recognized last month. I took his fire piston gift along on spring break so I'd get some more whittling done on it. When I got home, it was nowhere to be found. Oh great, it's sitting someplace between here and Switzerland!
I searched everywhere and was nearly resigned to start a new one for him, but I was sure I had packed it for the trip home. The next day, I was gathering my gear for our campout - sleeping bag, pad, pants, hat, boots. Huh, what's that in my boot? Yep, I shoved the fire starter in there so no space was wasted in packing. :-)
Well, that saved me a few blisters of extra knife work.
They say, "It's always in the last place you look." Of course, once you find it, you stop looking. But, there's two reasons it might not be in the last place you look:
- You get greedy and hope to find more of it so you keep looking, but there isn't any more.
- You give up without finding it.
I think we reach both those endpoints often.
We have a success and instead of being satisfied, we try to get more - whether that's money, recognition, awards, high score, or whatever the treasure is that interests us. That's ok as long as we realize that our last attempt will probably be a failure. Very few people actually "go out on top", stop participating when they are in their top form.
Giving up without finding it is more common, I think. Rather than persevering to figure out a great solution, we might do just enough to get something working. Instead of working on that flint-n-steel until finally catching a spark and coaxing the ember to flame, we say that's too much work and not really a needed skill. If the answer, or skill, or reward is not immediately and obviously obtainable, we move on to some other interest.
Perseverence isn't in the Scout Law, but it certainly is necessary to be successful.
Posted: 15:50 05-04-2010 497
Training, Training, Training
I've been offering Red Cross CPR and First Aid training to scout groups for the past four years. I figured it would be a good way to improve my skills and knowledge, make outings safer, and save the units some money since other people were charging a lot
for the training.
The Wilderness First Aid Basics training has gradually gotten more 'popular' as the BSA has increased the requirements for it - both Philmont and Northern Tier now require a trained person in each crew. I expect Sea Base add the requirement for 2011 and The Summit will have the requirement. Even if the training is not required
, having trained or experienced people on your crews and campouts should be a goal in your unit. The cost of training is a poor excuse for taking youth into remote environments without sufficient safety coverage for the most likely problems.
The BSA and ARC (American Red Cross) have teamed up to create a new course - Read Here
- to replace WFAB. It's called Wilderness and Remote First Aid and looks like it will be fun and challenging.
This past weekend, I presented Wilderness First Aid for the 3rd time this year and will do it again in May and June. Every session has been packed full with a waitlist, usually 6 weeks before the session date. I figure it's mostly because I charge about half as much as others since it's not my 'real job'.
If you have a high adventure coming up this summer, it may be too late to get your required training. So, find out FAST what is required and how you can get it.
If you have a 2011 high adventure, it's not too early to start figuring out your training needs.
And, don't forget the Youth Protection, Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat, Climb On Safely, Trek Safely, and Hazardous Weather training which you should require all adults (and why not scouts?) to complete online through OLC.Scouting.org
before going camping.
Then, on Supplemental Training
page, there's about two dozen bits of BSA training that you might find useful.
Posted: 7:46 04-27-2010 496
It shouldn't be too hard to find a Scoutmaster Minute in this story from Idaho. I lived on the Salmon River for a few years as a little kid and this kind of spirit of taking care of yourself and not expecting a handout is what every scout, pioneer, explorer, and adventurer needs to survive.Death of Dugout Dick
newspaper article.YouTube of Dugout Dick
Besides, he looks a lot like most of us old guys after a week of summer camp. :-)
Posted: 16:24 04-23-2010 495
Since 2002, our troop has been gradually growing - from around 20 to 55 scouts. Throughout each year, some drop along the way, some age out, and then each spring we get an influx of new scouts. Pretty typical.
This year, 30 Webelos chose to join the troop - about double the average for the past few years. This has popped us up to 84 scouts.
Fortunately, I've been pushing to move from our cramped meeting area for awhile and we just got that to happen on March 1st. Now, we're overflowing this new, larger area already. :-)
Logistically, adding the new guys has gone very well:
- We have 3 new patrols - fortunately the dividing of new scouts worked out great. They came from 5 Packs.
- We have 3 Troop Guides - and these three are doing an amazing job!
- We have a 2nd Asst. SPL for the first time - just for the Troop Guides and NSPs.
- The Quartermaster created 3 new patrol boxes and got 9 tents assigned.
- I've done 26 scoutmaster conferences for Scout badges - just a couple hold-outs.
But, my feeling is that a troop over 40 or 50 is less healthy and should become two troops:
- The scoutmaster has less time per scout.
- The mob mentality pervades with anonymity allowing for more mischief and less participation.
- The SPL is required to devote more time than is healthy to his duties, negatively impacting school and other commitments.
- Too much structure and control is required to move the entire group along - much like turning a battleship versus a jet ski.
- Simple transportation and parking becomes a big deal.
Just this weekend, a patrol organized a "Bike Rally" campout for the troop. We had over 40 bikes congesting the 20 miles of trail at a local park. They did a great job of having patrols spaced 5 minutes apart so we weren't a huge mass, but I'm sure we disrupted the morning of quite a few people on the trail - much more than 20 bikes would have don.
I realize there are some very large troops that operate in a way that works for them. There are two troops using Troop Kit
that have over 100 scouts. I would love to visit them and see how they have scouts manage the troop.
In my case, I believe a smaller group offers more opportunity to the scouts and allows them a better chance at ongoing success with less stress and frustration. By this time next year I expect to have a plan to divide the troop into two units. Since we have age-based patrols and multiple patrols at most age levels, the actual division is pretty easy. Getting families and the troop committee to support the change will be the challenge. It may be that someone else will be comfortable supporting a group this large and will take over the scoutmaster position. We'll see.
Until then, we've got an exciting summer of hiking, backpacking, sailing, and camping starting up and 50 scouts going to summer camp. It's an exciting time!
Posted: 7:18 04-21-2010 494
I hit the ground running when we returned from spring break in Switzerland and haven't put any time into posting here.
(this is us by Lausanne, Switzerland with France on the far side of Lake Geneva)
But, there's lots to share:
- massive new group of scouts
- great campout
- OA ceremonies
- more Eagle scout projects and ceremonies
- training, training, training
- more merit badges
- sumemr camp prep
I'll get to those over the next few days. :-) But, right now, I have to get the YAMF (Yet Another Medical Form) onto the troop website. Yep, there's a new BSA medical form
- a great, fill-in-able PDF file that was created by the National BSA for consistency and simplicity. You can save your info and just update it next year. What a great idea! See FAQ page
for reasoning to make this new form - first one is to stop the confusion over the 20 plus different med forms being used across the country.
But, for some reason, our council has decided that official, national BSA form is not what they need so they've created YAMF
just for our council.
How's that for some complicated simplification?
Posted: 8:00 04-20-2010 493
Historic Merit Badge Program
The official info is Finally
available on Scouting.org page
- let's do this thing already!
The final completion date is still December 31, 2010.
The page above has links to online info and requirements for each badge.
Posted: 18:22 03-31-2010 492
3-D Eagle Ceremony
We're having our first multiple-Eagle ceremony this afternoon. These three guys in the Sharks patrol have been together since Tiger Cubs and have all earned Eagle over the past six months, so they decided to combine their ceremonies.
They've got another patrolmate who's involved in theater for their MC and they have a theme of "Eagle in 3-D" since there's three of them and a play on all the 3-D movies being offered. It should be a fun time.
For the past few years, I've been carving fire pistons
for scouts that reach Eagle. I carve the troop number on one side and their initials on the other, plus some sort of design. In this case, it's supposed to be waves since the Sharks are in the ocean, but maybe they look more like flames of fire, I don't know. :-)
Anyway, I just finished polishing and testing the pistons this morning after working on them all week - nothing like pushing it to the end. Luckily, the weather has been great so I've been in the sun on the front porch cutting away and remembering some of the fun we've had together.
When reviewed all at once, it's amazing how many adventuers an active scout can have. These guys will have traveled from the bottoms of oceans to the tops of mountains; from dessert heat to arctic cold; from urban congestion to wilderness isolation. It's an amazing collection of memories.
Thinking of their adventures, it reminded me how important it is to prompt the scouts planning our troop outings for next year to stretch their imaginations and not fall back on the old, trusty, safe activities. Those campouts and trips will not only make memories to enjoy years from now, but they will help make young men of character.
(you can click the image for a larger view)
Posted: 9:39 03-28-2010 491
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