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Monthly Drawing
Boy Scout Contest Last chance to get an entry in for July's random Boy Scout Trail drawing for three prizes. Go to Scout Contest page to enter.


If you're just too busy to enter, don't worry - there's a drawing in August and every month you can enter.

Scout On

PS: A few folks have asked why they never win even though they entered every month for the past year. All the winners are posted on the contest page, but I'll try to explain.
It's all LUCK! :-)
Every month that you enter, it's like getting another ticket in the pot. If you entered 47 months, you have 47 chances to win. So, entering each month helps, but does not mean you'll win.
Each month, there are around 6,000 tickets in the pot so you have about a 1 in 2000 chance of winning some prize if you entered once. If you enter every month for a year, that's about a 1 in 500 chance.
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Posted: 13:59 07-31-2012 879
Easy Scoutmaster Minute
scout water jug Last month, the Scouting magazine blogger, Bryan, asked for slgans to help folks remember to hydrate outside. I think the top 10 entries would be a great, easy, short scoutmaster minute - especially during this hot time of summer.
Maybe have the scouts vote on their favorite. There were over 150 entries and here are the top 10:
Read more at Bryan on Scouting.

Scout On
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Posted: 6:47 07-24-2012 877
Scouting Pen Pals
Scout Pen Pals Volunteer Pen Pals Needed!

About six weeks ago, I blogged about English Beaver Scouts wanting to communicate with some American Cub Scouts. This wasn't the first time someone has asked about this, so I figure there might be some demand to connect with scouts electronically around the globe.

The last couple weeks here have been spent creating a Pen Pal Connection feature on Boy Scout Trail. It's a simple way to get your den, pack, patrol, colony, unit, ... listed and find other groups that want to connect. After you're connected, you decide if you want to exchange messages through the Boy Scout Trail system or use email, text messages, or paper mail.

It's currently at the point of needing a handful of folks to give it a spin and let me know what they think. If you can commit to setting up a test unit and connecting with a few other test groups over the next week or so, please Contact Me and I'll tell you what to do.

Once it looks good enough for the masses, all the test units will be removed and it will be opened to the world.

Scout On
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Posted: 15:42 07-20-2012 875
NZ Socks
possum socks "Hey, see my hiking socks? They're POSSUM!"

Before you get all creeped out about wearing possum clothing, you're missing a very important letter O - that's the difference between opossum and possum.

The possum of New Zealand are native to Australia but were introduced and are now overrunning NZ. They are furry little critters that eat tons of vegetation and protected bird eggs, and are considered a nuisance pest. But their hollow hairs make very good, soft, insulating material. By exterminating the possums and combining their hairs with merino wool, the basis for a unique clothing line of warm, light articles is created.

I think it's pretty cool to turn the problem of an invasive species into a successful business that helps keep the invasion at bay. And that's exactly what a New Zealand clothing company is doing by making possum clothing.

Brian at New Zealand Possum Merino sent me a pair of possum hiking socks to try out. My first impression was "Wow! They're soft and light!" Softer and warmer feeling than heavier socks, I wore them inside for a day and my feet were very happy. They will be great for normal wear during the winter.

Right now, it's quite hot here and I figured they'd be too warm for hiking. But, I've been wearing them on my hikes around town and even a few miles of jogging. They weren't hot and they didn't absorb sweat like cotton socks. The extra softness has been pleasant and they've held up well.

There's been only a tiny bit of piling and they've been washed a few times now. The combination of merino wool with possum hairs makes a sturdy, comfortable, warm cloth. The socks aren't inexpensive, but a couple extra dollars for such a unique conversation starter might be worth it for the hiking scout looking for a nice pair of socks for fall/winter/spring outings.

Scout On
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Posted: 11:29 07-17-2012 874
Quarter Memories
america the beautiful quarters Have you checked your change lately? I'm finding strange coins all the time now - pennies, nickels, quarters, halfs, and dollars - everything except dimes.
Do you have all the 50 state quarters yet? That program raised something like $6 Billion in sales so the government has extended the program to include national parks, forests, and other interesting locations. That's what got my attention.

I received a Grand Canyon quarter in change today. Way cool! I didn't even know there was such a thing so I surfed the web and found that there have been 5 new America the Beautiful quarters released each year starting in 2010. Minnesota gets its quarter showing off the Voyageur National Park in 2018 - we'll wait.

So, what does this have to do with Scouting?
Many of the quarters are places that would be perfect for a Scout high adventure trek. Tossing a handful of quarters from different places onto the table at a PLC meeting could sure get them thinking of new places to visit. Places like Glacier, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mt. Hood, Gettysburg, Acadia, Denali, Olympic, Vicksburg, or Hawaii Volcanoes, and many more coming over the next few years.
Giving a Grand Canyon quarter to every eligible scout in the troop is an inexpensive way to generate interest in a high adventure trip that the PLC has decided to take there. It's a tangible, tactile thing to remind them to talk with their parents.
Or, they are great ways to commemorate a completed trip as part of a ceremony on your last night before getting home.
I've also used them for a quick recall game. Say something like "I have a quarter with a bird on it. Which state or park is it?" Give more clues until someone guesses it and they get the quarter.

Introducing scouts to a few of these national treasures may get them started on their own adventure of visiting every one. How cool would it be to get a postcard in 2021 from a past scout saying he just visited the Tuskagee Airmen site in Alabama and added his final quarter to his wallboard at home?

See detailed images and more info at America Quarters website.

Scout On
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Posted: 10:51 07-13-2012 872
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