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Gregg H. Rox!
Silver Beaver Gregg Hilferding
Gulf Ridge Council presented a Silver Beaver award to Gregg Hilferding who works at in Florida.
The silver beaver is the top recognition a council can present to an adult volunteer, and I wholeheartedly applaud their choice in Gregg. Rather than duplicate it all here, you should check out ClassB's article listing all Gregg's involvement in Scouting. He has certainly set the bar high for volunteers!

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Posted: 16:32 04-22-2014 1086
Without Bugs
SansBug sleeping tent

How bad will the mosquitos be at camp this summer?
When was the last time that bunkhouse mattress was cleaned?
Are there mice running around these floors at night?

Whenever a night is spent at scout camp, these sorts of questions might keep you awake. I've stayed in some pretty nasty places where I would have liked a little protection between me and the insects and vermin sharing the wilds with me. I know of a few young scouts just starting out that missed some great campouts because they were scared of the bugs.

A tent works fine, with mesh screen and floor, to keep the blood suckers at bay but most scout tents are 2, 3, or 4-person varieties. They take up a lot of space, weigh quite a bit, and are cumbersome. I know of a better idea for many situations.

I've just received a SansBug shelter to try out. It's a very cool automatic pop-up bug-free zone so campers can sleep in comfort! Besides being a small, light solution to the "can't sleep worrying about creepy crawlies" problem, it is a ton of fun to set up. All you do is Let Go - it pops itself open and you crawl right in.

The fine mesh of the SansBug lets breezes blow through but prevents bites, disease, and general pestering from all flying and crawling insects - that's mosquitos, spiders, ticks, bedbugs, and all their little friends. Not to mention snakes, scorpions, and lizards.

SansBug at Scout Camp

SansBug can be set up on a floor, tent platform, bunkbed, cot, or inflatable pad - wherever the scouts are spending the night. If your scouts stay in canvas tents at summer camp, the SansBug is a perfect replacement for the hanging mosquito netting you use now. Even if you are sleeping indoors, the SansBug keeps your tender skin completely isolated from whatever's out there.

At less than 2.5 pounds and folding into a flat 20-inch disc, it's very easy to pack - even one for every scout. People have used SansBug shelters in Thailand, Afghanistan, Haiti, and even Scout Camp! A church took 30 SansBug tents to sleep in on their mission trip to West Africa, for example.

So, what are the drawbacks of this nifty little invention? Well, it's not rain protection - but a tarp above it can fix that for outdoor use. If you open it in your living room with candles, flowers, and stuff sitting around your wife mom might get mad at you. It really does POP open.

I'm planning to hike at least half of the Appalachian Trail this summer - anyone want to join me?
I was planning to use my tent and avoid the shelters that have been built about every 10 miles along the trail because they are notorious for mice and other critters. Visiting with all the other hikers that use the shelters would make my hike much more enjoyable, so I would miss that.
With a SansBug available, I now have to rethink that plan. I could save a lot of time every day since I wouldn't be looking for a camping spot every night, setting up my tent, and taking it down in the morning. Just pop up my SansBug, throw in my gear and I'm ready to tell stories around the campfire until the mosquitos swarm - then I just hope into bed. And the mice can scurry around all they want.

Scout On
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Posted: 11:11 04-18-2014 1085
Scout Dies
Boy Scout Killed
Life Scout and his grandfather are two victims in yesterday's Kansas City shootings. It was saddening to find out about the attacks, and even more so when another connection is found.

One Scouter is assembling a package to help the Underwood family here, in case you would like to help.

If your unit would like to send a note of support to his troop, Reat Underwood was a member of Troop 92.

Send any cards to the council headquarters, care of Reatís family.

Reatís Family
Heart of America Council
10210 Holmes Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64131

Any donations need to be designated either for the family, or to a James West Fellowship.

See this page for more.

Scout On
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Posted: 12:16 04-14-2014 1084
Scout Tech
Scout Tech Chip
A BSA executive has posted his opinions on the use of smartphones in Scouting for Bryan @ Scouting magazine.

He presents that smartphones are tools that can be used, or abused, similarly to pocketknives. He touches on the problem of some of us old guys trying to force our fond memories of Scouting as youths onto the youth of today - without realizing their youthful view of the world is not ours.

I'm glad to see words like these from the BSA closely matching my view on the topic. Just yesterday, I was helping with the local high school Robotics team and noticed every single youth had at least one electronic device, most had two. None were playing games on them. They were documenting, communicating, planning, sharing, developing, and on and on. Oh, there were 3 scouts on that robotics team, too.

Sure, if there is nothing better to do, these electronics will provide entertainment. A planned program should carry itself and demand participation so there is no downtime with the need for entertainment. If "free time" is part of the plan, then electronic entertainment is just another form of fun.

The scouts in Troop 479 have been responsibly using electronic devices of all kinds for over 5 years now. Waaaaay back then, the Senior Patrol Leader and his Patrol Leader Council came up with a troop policy regarding electronic devices. Every six months, the newly-elected SPL and his PLC re-adopt the policy and it hasn't changed yet.
To support their policy, a Tech Chip training plan and wallet card were developed and are available for any other Scouting units to use or adopt. The Tech Chip directly addresses use of electronics which the BSA Cyber Chip leaves up to individual units.

The comments on Bryan's blog have been interesting. 4 or 5 years ago, 90%+ would have been against electronics and state that they are banned and taken when found. Now, it appears to be a slight majority allowing scouts and scouters to have electronic devices.

So, how about you? Care to share what your pack/troop/crew does regarding electronics at Scouting activities? It's a good thing to discuss occasionally as the cyber landscape continually changes.

Scout On

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Posted: 13:28 04-09-2014 1083
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