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Day 92
Boy Scout Hail Storm
Here's what we had falling from the sky this evening! 1 3/4 inch hail, that's the biggest I've personally collected. Luckily, there wasn't much of it, around here anyway. But, they did let the sirens wail for awhile.

I was inside having a scoutmaster conference at the time. If he is successful at his First Class cooking requirement this weekend, he'll have a board of review on Monday. He's been sitting at Second Class for awhile and has really matured since our last conference months ago. He's ready to take on more leadership in the troop.

Also had the neighbor boy over for his Second Class conference this afternoon. It's rewarding to hear him tell about things he's learned over the past year in scouts and that he can hardly wait to do some high adventures.

Lots of guys want to do cooking requirements for advancement on the upcoming campout. Problem is that many patrols only have a guy or two going so they're scrambling to gather together a 'patrol' to lead. I expect some will have to wait until next month.

Scout On
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Posted: 22:04 05-10-2011 627
Day 91
100 days of scouting
Getting the scouts outside sure makes for a more energetic troop meeting! The SPL had his plan all laid out with skills, patrol time, and troop game all outsite. The weather cooperated, and there was a lot of noisy activity so I'd say it was a success.
The scouts leading the knots, lashing, and physical skills activities got their ropes, spars, and other materials together beforehand. The young scout in charge of the Walking on Mars activity did a most excellent job explaining the game - even though it quickly devolved into chaos. :-)

Lots of scouts talked to me about pursusing the Cooking requirements for rank advancement this weekend. There should be some good meals prepared, I think. I'd just love some clear skies so First Class #1 can be done also - directions at day and night without a compass.

Scout On
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Posted: 21:37 05-09-2011 626
Day 90
100 days of scouting
This past week really got away from me and time to post was lost. Hopefully, it was a burp and not a lingering situation.
This past week, I ...
I met a wonderful fella in the First Aid training that hiked almost all the Appalachian Trail a couple years ago. He and I talked for about 90 minutes about his trek. He has about 300 miles to go to finish it and hopes to get it done 'one of these days'.

The Roundtable commissioner had his buddy give a presentation about his spelunking adventures - that's cave exploring. What an amazing story! About the most interesting talk at a roundtable meeting even though it wasn't very 'scouting-oriented'. He's been all over the world and has explored miles of virgin cave. Some of the photos were unbelievable.

Happy Mother's Day!
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Posted: 20:51 05-08-2011 625
Day 83: Eagles and Hiking
100 days of scouting
This was a VERY Scouty day for me.

Got summer camp info together for the patrol leaders so each patrol can figure out their merit badges and activities at the PLC tomorrow.

Attended the Court of Honor for three Eagle Scouts. The cake was great!

Went on a 10-mile hike for the Hiking merit badge. At least the snow stopped from this morning. Snow on May 1st - sheesh!

Oh, and gave away a Scout gift card in the monthly contest here.

Scout On
Troop Tools
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Posted: 21:07 05-01-2011 624
Eagle Gifts
Eagle fire pistons
Here's what I've been doing this week. :-)

I just finished these three fire pistons for the Eagle court of honor this weekend. I carve the scout's initials and "479" and then make some design on the rest.

After the knifework, I sand with 150, 200, 320, 400, 600 paper, then 0000 steel wool. By then my hands are worn out, I'm covered in dust, and the wood has a nice sheen. I've applied coatings in the past, but it doesn't increase the gloss much and I like the warm feel of the wood.

I tested them to make sure they worked and each one gave up an ember right away, one even on the very first compression!

Scout On
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Posted: 17:34 04-29-2011 623
Day 80
100 days of scouting
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was rain and sleet, but this evening we had a wonderful 5-mile hike for guys preparing for Philmont. I went along just for fun - hiking around town is a great time to chat with scouts about how they're doing. Oh, and to answer questions from dads going to Philmont for the first time about their clothes, pack, boots, raingear, ... and everything else they are worried about. :-)

Today was my youngest's birthday and I always make the birthday cakes. He's totally into Ultimate so he got two frisbee cakes with his team's logo on them. They're getting together tomorrow night so he'll take them there. He had a game and they won so they're now 4-0.

Sent the solution to Clove Hitch on a Tree to someone out there in the world.

Hey, if you haven't entered this month's contest, you have two dates to go.

Scout On
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Posted: 22:19 04-28-2011 622
Day 79: Summer Camp Prep
100 days of scouting
On Sunday, we'll recognize three Eagles from the same patrol at a court of honor. My fingers are a bit sore from whittling their gifts the last few days, but I'm almost done.

Spent a couple hours checking out the summer camp documents and making sure our electronic copies are in sync with any changes. At the PLC, each patrol will be given a packet that they use to figure out merit badges, activities, and duties. Then, they'll work with the SPL to combine their wants and needs and turn it all in. We've found that Word document copies of the paper that council sends us work a lot better - the legibility alone is worth it!

We've got about 45 scouts going to summer camp. Each patrol votes on which troop activities they'd like to do during the week - things like Greased Watermelon, Water Polo, Sailing, Primitive Firebuilding, Dutch Oven Cooking, Climbing, Archery, and the like. Some of this can also be done during their evening 'free time' but afternoon times are set aside for troop events too.
The older scouts have special activities available such as COPE, Kayak, Tree House, and Huck Finn where their patrol gets away from the rest of the troop for an afternoon or overnight.
I've even heard that the camp has jet skis this year - we'll see how well that goes over. I've heard mixed thoughts on the appropriateness of it versus the lure to keep older scouts coming to camp. You can see more info about Camp Many Point.

Had about a dozen units join my link directory today. You can Add your Site.

Scout On
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Posted: 7:07 04-28-2011 621
Add your Site
If you'd like your troop, pack, or crew listed on my directory, here's your chance. I just added a Add Site page so you can do it yourself.

It might get you a little bit more exposure to people looking for a unit in your town, especially if you have a link back to

Of course, I expect to have the largest scouting unit directory in the universe by the end of the week. :-) Well, not really because it's only USA and Canada right now.

Scout On
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Posted: 10:21 04-26-2011 620
Day 77: Troop Meeting
100 days of scouting Day 77: The skills training and big game were done outside at the troop meeting. It's been a long winter, and today it looks like it's not quite finished, but having more daylight and warmer temps means the scouts can spend more of the troop meeting time outside - hopefully the whole meeting.

A scout and his dad let me know that he'd be dropping scouts. I let him know I appreciated that he 'closed the loop' with me and didn't just drift away. And, he's always welcome to drop back in if he finds time.
Some guys are naturally good at leading and Scouts is just an opportunity for them to demonstrate their abilities. Others, like this scout, need the small bits of leadership to nurture and grow their abilities that they've not found yet. We'll miss him.

Distributed BSA membership cards and a pile of blue cards.
Installed Troopmaster on an adult's laptop.
Got rid of a bunch of winter lost&found junk from campouts.
Used Donkey in the Well for my scoutmaster minute.
Also spent a couple hours whittling on three Eagle gifts. I'll post a picture in a few days when they're done.

Scout On
Challenge your Scouts

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Posted: 7:24 04-26-2011 619
Happy Easter
100 days of scouting
He is Risen.
He is Risen, indeed!

I'll be at church this morning, then have the In-Laws visiting us the rest of the day. So, a day off from scouting.

Scout On
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Posted: 6:36 04-24-2011 618
Day 75: Hiking
100 days of scouting Day 75: Two crews preparing for Philmont in June had their first 10-mile hike this morning. I don't get to do Philmont this year because there's a surplus of dads wanting to go, but I get to join them on the hikes since I'm the Hiking merit badge counselor. I've been hiking about 6 miles a day on my own every day so today's walk around town was nice.

The crews have 5-mile hikes scheduled for each Tuesday and Thursday, plus 10-milers each Saturday and a couple Sundays for the next 6 weeks. There're also two 20-milers lined up so enough hike opportunies for anyone doing the Hiking merit badge.

Have you looked at the Hiking merit badge? It's probably about the simplest merit badge to earn but we've only had a couple guys complete the requirements to earn it over the past few years. Lots of guys do all the hiking required, but few take the couple minutes to make the trip plans before a hike and even fewer write the after-hike reports. They don't really need the badge for advancement since most do Swimming at summer camp, but it can still be used as an elective badge.

Scout On
Challenge your Scouts

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Posted: 21:02 04-23-2011 617
Day 70:
100 days of scouting Day 70: You never know where you'll find someone ready to chat about Scouting. Had my dental check this morning and mentioned to the lady doing the check that I had been camping with Scouts this past weekend. She proceeded to tell me all about her time as a Girl Scout leader - my part of the conversation was mostly "Uh-huh" or "Huh" with all her scraping, prodding, and polishing going on. But, it made the time go faster. She had high praise for the Boy Scout program, wishing her Girl Scouts did more outdoors stuff, skills, and real life training. I did mention Venturing.

The BSA is trying to get more Alumni reconnected to bolster the volunteer ranks. I hope some successful strategies are developed so more of these past Scouts become current Scouters sharing their life lessons and skills with the Scouts of today.

I visited the Ashland, WI troop tonight. I gave their scoutmaster a fire piston, their SPL a camping chess/checkers/backgammon game, and everyone else a neckerchief blank to carve from Whittler Bob - he's got tons of different blanks you can buy for your troop.

Scout On
Challenge your Scouts

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Posted: 5:52 04-19-2011 616
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