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Northern Star Council had a facebook app created where you can take an image and recreate it with merit badges.
See the promo video at YouTube.
Make your own image at Badgetize Yourself on Facebook. I tried a few pictures, but didn't have much luck - please holler back here if you try it and like the results.

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Posted: 12:48 05-19-2011 633
Day 100
On this last day of the 100 Days of Scouting,

I guess scouts leave a troop in one of three ways: age out, move away, or decide Scouting is not for them.
I can remember the names of all the scouts that moved away in the past six years - Chris, Jack, Justin, Jack, Bill, and Adit. There aren't many of them. Three of them joined another troop. Two I never heard from again. And, we'll have to see what happens with the last one.

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Posted: 22:29 05-18-2011 632
Day 98: I'm a Tenderfoot
100 days of scouting
Patrol meetings and boards of review this evening.

Waiting outside with a scout's father, he came out of his board of review and said, "I'm a Tenderfoot!" with a huge grin on his face. It will be quite awhile before I forget that smile and the hug his dad gave him. It was a good reminder that every step on the trail is a new one for the person taking it.

Chatted with a scout about his eagle project idea.
Helped a patrol figure out their merit badges to take at summer camp.
Talked with another patrol about possibly merging so they could pursue the National Honor Patrol award they want.
Spent some time whittling yet another Eagle gift this afternoon, after I took our lawnmower apart, fixed a part, re-assembled it, and got it running just in time for my son to get home from school and test it on the yard.

Scout On
Challenge your Scouts
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Posted: 22:41 05-16-2011 631
Day 97: Olympics and Cobblers
scout olympics
Dutch ovens are cleaned and oiled, tensts put away, ropes dried and stored, and its back to normal life.

Mondays can be a real downer after a fun weekend of camping. The patrol that planned the outing laid out a day of competitive games. They kept score and had an awards ceremony on Sunday morning.
Even though it was a wet, muddy day, everyone said they enjoyed it completely. I didn't get to see the games because I was leading Scoutmaster Specific training, but I got to camp just in time for a wonderful jambalaya dinner with the adults on Saturday evening.

The campsite was wonderful! It was all woods with small open areas about 70-100 feet apart connected by trails. Each patrol had its own area so the scouts were spread out a lot more than most of the BSA camp sites we've used. It makes it much easier to see which patrols are performing well and which are struggling with cooking, sanitation, tenting, and anything else that can be a challenge.

Saturday's campfire went well. I was asked to bring ingredients for three simple cobblers. I brought chocolate, yellow, and lemon cake mixes, Coke, Squirt, and Mountain Dew soda, and cherry, apple, and pineapple pie filling. The scouts chose how to combine them and then one scout did all the cooking. This was his first time using dutch ovens but he dug the coals, stacked the ovens, rotated them, and kept the fire going.
dutch oven cooking
The desserts were awesome! I was very surprised at how nice the pineapple/lemon/squirt one smelled and tasted - my favorite.

At the next troop meeting, I've got this spoof merit badge to present to the scout for his extra effort in making the dessert for the troop. Hopefully, it will be a little incentive for others to step up to help when opportunities arise.

Scout On
Challenge your Scouts
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Posted: 7:28 05-16-2011 630
Day 95
100 days of scouting
An ASM stopped by this afternoon and grabbed the adult patrol box, tents, dutch ovens, ropes, and other gear from my garage for this weekend's campout.
Since I'm presenting Scoutmaster Specific training tomorrow, I can't be two places at once so I'm missing camp tonight and tomorrow. I hope they aren't getting too wet. :-) This is the first campout I've missed in over a year, so it feels weird.

But, after training tomorrow an ASM and I are driving to camp for dinner, campfire, and one night in tents and rain.

Spent some time this afternoon reviewing the training materials and making the world's smallest candelabra for the 'Ceremony' part of the training.

Got a handful of last minute phone calls from scouts asking about fuel, dutch ovens, pop-up shelters, and other easy stuff to pass them on to their patrol leader or quartermaster.

Scout On
Challenge your Scouts
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Posted: 20:36 05-13-2011 629
Day 93
100 days of scouting
Stopped in to help with an Eagle Service Project for just a little while. The scout is running the show just fine and in fact ahead of schedule. It wraps up on Saturday.
This guy worked with the local library to redesign how they collect, categorize, store, and sell used books for their bi-annual book sale. I talked with the Friends of the Library ladies and they seem to be very excited about the new system, so we'll see how well it all works at the sale starting tomorrow.

Attended the annual District meeting tonight. Just another meeting, not much to say.

Updated my Red Cross CPR and AED instructor credentials today so I can present the new 2011 curriculum. Shorter classes, less expensive, simpler skills, and no written exams. It's a great change for me since it makes it easier to offer along with the Wilderness & Remote First Aid training.

Hey, here's a free tip - if you're going to any BSA high adventure base next year, don't wait until May to start thinking about getting your MANDATORY Wilderness First Aid certification! Start lining up your training NOW or you may very well find yourself shelling out $$$$$$$$$$$ to get into a last minute session in a far-away location.

And, make sure you understand what the requirements are for your crew attending a high adventure - "I didn't know" doesn't work very well at Philmont, Northern Tier, or SeaBase.

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Posted: 20:51 05-11-2011 628
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.

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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.

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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!

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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
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