2018 - Jan
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Entered the shenandoah park. No bears yet, but saw a huge deer. Coverage is getting worse so I may not be able to get posts out. Met a scout and his dad doing their 50-miler hike. They might make it to the shelter I'm staying tonight.
Oops - here's the pic.
Check out my current location on the map. Here's a nice view for lunch! I'm at Bears Den rock and hope to go 10 more miles this afternoon.
If you've been involved in the new Cub Scout program over the summer, I expect you've probably come up with some neat ideas for some of the adventures. If your Pack's program year starts in a couple weeks with the new school year, then you're getting ready to lead scouts through their adventures on the way to earning ranks.
There are hundreds of other den leaders out there that are also doing their best to make this scouting thing fun, interesting, and fulfilling to the scouts in their charge. They could really benefit from hearing what works for you, what games and activities you did to support an adventure, and any planning tips you have.
I'd like to hear what you've come up with, too! I'll add your ideas to each adventure page so others can use them. To encourage sharing of ideas, each month I'll give a $25 scout shop gift card to one person from those that have shared ideas as described on the Share Ideas page. The first card will be given in October since that's when I'll be getting back from my Appalachian Trail hike.
Share a useful idea, help some fellow volunteers, and maybe win a prize!
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Do you know any scouts that like stickers? My son's water bottle is plastered with layers of stickers!
I have a bunch of these stickers to hand out to scouts I meet on my Appalachian Trail trek starting next week for those lucky ones that track me down.
If you'd like your own, and don't expect to run into me on the trail, you can still get some. The stickers are free, but there's postage, so you can click this Buy Sticker link and get two stickers for $1.
I'd love to get a Selfie of you and your sticker to add to my collection, like these pics.
I'm off on my next hike in a week.
The plan is to hike from Harper's Ferry, WV south on the Appalachian Trail to the terminus on Springer Mountain, GA.
After checking out buses, planes, trains, and automobiles, I've decided to go by rail across the country. Bus was $90, plane was $100, and train was $150. So, why did I choose train?
First off, I will only ride a bus if it's the very last possible option. My Greyhound experience last year was enough to last a loooong time.
Even though the plane was less money, it got me to Washington, DC so I would need to take a commuter train to the trail, and it landed at night so I'd need to pay for a place to stay.
The train takes a bit more than a day and costs more than flying, but I step off the train right onto the trail, I can pack all my food and gear at home, it arrives at mid-day, and I stay on the ground. Plus, I've not been on a long train ride in many years so it will be more of an adventure.
I've looked over the AT Guidebook, set up resupply spots, figured out how far I'll hike each day and where I'll spend each night. Of course, as soon as I set foot on the trail, the plan goes out the window but it's a good exercise to get a general idea of what to expect. You can check out my rough hiking schedule if you're interested. If it all works out, I'll reach the end by Oct. 15, but I can take as long as I need.
If you know someone along the trail that would like to visit with a hiker, send me an email. I'd always prefer a home over a tent or shelter any night on the trail. And, I'm hoping some Scouts might be able to join me hiking for a couple hours or days.
The 23rd World Scout Jamboree is under way right now in Japan. You can even see live streaming videos on this page (but it's 1:00am right now). The 24th will be held in 2019 at the Summit in West Virginia. Scouts from around the world will be visiting our country in just 4 years, and it will be a super opportunity to meet international brothers and sisters. Wouldn't it be cool to already be friends with some of them before they arrive?
The new Tiger Family Stories adventure, the Arrow of Light Building a Better World adventure, and the Citizenship in the World merit badge all have requirements to communicate with scouts in other places. A Webelos or Boy Scout getting to know scouts from other countries now just might meet some of them four years from now at the Jamboree!
Pen Pals are a great way to make international friends. There are over 600 units signed up in the Scout Pen Pals program here on Boy Scout Trail, including scouts from Canada, UK, and Australia. It's a great way to start a relationship between Scouting groups. It can take a little time to get things rolling, so now is a great time to start looking for Pen Pal units that will be ready to swap messages when your scouts are ready. Talking to scouts around the world is exciting and fun, not just to complete requirements.
Check it out today!
The BSA is creating digital versions of more merit badge pamphlets this summer and real scouts are needed to act in a set of instructional videos. Real scouts with real skills are being used - and I think that's a totally awesome idea!
This is a great opportunity for 15 minutes of fame for scouts in your troop, but it requires fast action on your part.
If your troop meets the following needs, then keep reading:
- Located in contiguous U.S.
- Great skills in at least one of these areas: Camping, Cycling, Hiking, Lifesaving, Swimming
- A scenic area where outdoor videos could be shot, like a nice park, lake, trail, or forest
- Scouts interested in acting
Here's a sample video:
Oh, one other cool thing - participating scouts will get a limited patch like the one displayed above.
So, you're interested?
Well, send an email to Kat Medina at the BSA BEFORE June 26 and let her know your troop number, location, and that you're interested!
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One good thing I like about the new Cub Scout program is its stronger push for outdoor activities, including camping. Only a couple years ago, Tigers were finally allowed to camp, now every rank except Tiger requires camping. This may mean a scramble for some Packs to offer the needed camping opportunities over the next few months.
The different kinds of camping available to Cub Scouts are:
- Cub Scout day camp is organized by the council, and is a one- to five-day program for Tigers, Wolves, Bears, Webelos, and Arrow of Light Scouts. It is conducted under certified leadership, with the day camp director and program director trained at BSA National Camping School. Pack leaders often make up the nucleus of the day camp staff. Check with your council and district for day camp staffing and attendance opportunities in your council area.
- Cub Scout family camping events are often organized through the council or district. These are overnight events involving more than one pack, with the local council or district providing many of the elements to enhance the outdoor experience, such as staffing, food service, housing, and program. These are sometimes referred to as parent–pal, dad-and-lad, and mom-and-me activities, or adventure weekends.
- Pack overnighters are events involving more than one family from a single pack. They are focused on age-appropriate Cub Scout activities and conducted at council approved locations. If siblings participate, the event must be structured accordingly to accommodate them. Adults giving leadership to a pack overnighter must complete Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO, No. 34162) and must be present during the campout.
- Webelos and Arrow of Light den overnight camping introduces a boy and his parent to the basics of the Boy Scout camping program. These campouts are conducted under the leadership of a trained Webelos/Arrow of Light den leader and include two to six nights of camping. Webelos dens are encouraged to have several overnight campouts each year. These campouts should be parent–son events under the direction of the Webelos den leader. Webelos and Arrow of Light dens are encouraged to visit Boy Scout camporees, Klondike derbies, and other outdoor overnight Scout events. The purpose of these visits should be for the boys to look ahead with anticipation to their future as Boy Scouts. Webelos and Arrow of Light Scouts should not participate in activities designed for Boy Scouts and should not spend the night at events that are Boy Scout–based.
With this increased emphasis on camping for Cub Scouts at all ranks, I've noticed more talk about 'getting around' the BSA requirements for camping as Cub Scouts. Here are a couple examples:
- We're just going to get a few families from our den together and camp, but not as a den. We'll do a bunch of advancement requirements, but we're not camping as scouts.
- A couple families are going camping, but not filling out a tour plan, so it's not scouting.
- BALOO training is simple, and a waste for anyone with any camping experience, so you don't really need it. You also don't need Hazardous Weather or those water safety classes because they are just online wastes of time.
- Our council never even checks tour plans, so we just camp whenever and wherever we want without them.
- Just don't wear uniforms and there's nothing BSA can do about it.
- Don't sweat all the BSA rules - just call it family camping and do it.
- Just plan an all-day Den outing on Saturday and on Sunday at the same camping location. Families can camp there if they want, but it's not part of your scouting activity.
Age Guidelines for camping are spelled out on this GSS page. In order for Cub Scouts to camp, all the following are needed:
- Youth Protection, and Health and Safety, guidelines are followed. That means all adults in attendance need to know what these guidelines are.
- Under the direction of a BALOO TRAINED pack adult leader. That means a trained person is in attendance at the entire campout.
- Held at a council-approved location, typically a council-run camp but other sites can be approved based on Pack Overnighter Site Approval Form. That means camping doesn't take place at an unapproved, unsafe, inappropriate location.
- Every scout has a specific adult to whom the scout is responsible. This is typically a parent. It should not be a den leader being responsible for a handful of scouts.
- Only age-appropriate Cub Scout activities take place. That means Tigers do not build fires or use knives, for example.
- A completed Tour Plan. See video about online tour plans. A plan may not need to be submitted to council, but completing one for every outing ensures the proper planning is being done.
- Individual scouts and families are prepared to camp. Using a Pack Overnighter Checklist is a good idea.
At your next Pack Leader meeting, start the discussion about properly planning enough camping for the scouts to fulfill their requirements without being tempted to circumvent the correct BSA process. By following the process and doing what is required, you are modeling Trustworthy, Helpful, and Obedient.Scout On!
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The BSA ScoutStrong program is a healthy living initiative, promoting an active lifestyle for youth and their adult guides. So, it makes sense that celebrating Olympic Day fits into the ScoutStrong initiative and is yet another opportunity for you to get your gang out and active.
Olympic Day is officially June 23, but events are being held throughout the month of June. Olympic Day can be used as a theme for your June weekend campout, week at summer camp, picnic, or special community event such as a 5K run/walk or your own mini-olympics. Working on 'active' merit badges or Cub Scout adventures can be part of your event - such as hiking, cycling, or athletics.
It's completely free to register and host an event - and it doesn't need to be a huge extravaganza. By hosting an Olympic Day event, your unit gets the following benefits:
- AN OLYMPIC FLAG - receive an Olympic Day 2015 flag and Team USA stickers when you register.
- OLYMPIC DAY TOOLKIT - tons and tons of event ideas, press release tips, printable certificates, and more.
- HOSTING AN OLYMPIAN - opportunity to host an Olympian or Paralympian, who will be prepared to speak on one of the following topics: fair play, respect, perseverance, and/or sportsmanship.
Visit the official Olympic Day page to register and learn lots more.
So, what will YOUR unit do to celebrate Olympic Day 2015?
The long-awaited Walking merit badge requirements have been released today. Though not an Eagle-required badge, I expect this one will be one of the most popular badges to collect in 2015.
Requirements for the Walking merit badge:
- Do the following:
- Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while walking, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
- Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while walking, including hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite, dehydration, sunburn, sprained ankle, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, hyperventilation, altitude sickness, sudden cardiac arrest, malaria, typhoid, chicken pox, hangnail, ambulophobia, and spontaneous combustion.
- Explain and, where possible, show the points of good walking practices including putting one foot in front of the other, staying upright, courtesy to others, choice of footwear, and proper care of feet and footwear.
- Write a 300-word report about how walking was invented. Share this report with your counselor.
- Make a written plan for a 6-mile walk. Include a map route, equipment list, list of emergency phone numbers, list of food stops along the route, list of homes with dogs or large cats along the route, and list of bus, train, or taxi stops along the route.
- Do FIVE of the following accompanied by a parent, or designated adult:
- Walk and chew gum for at least five minutes without choking.
- Walk on your hands for at least two minutes without falling.
- Walk backwards for at least five minutes without running into any person, animal, or inanimate object.
- Read "A Walk in the Woods" or watch the movie. Report to your counselor about how the book or movie presents the mindset of people that walk. As an alternate, you may watch and report on at least three full seasons of "Walking Dead".
- Memorize, and present at a campfire, at least three "Walks Into a Bar..." jokes. Poll your fellow scouts to find which one was the most popular and report back to your counselor.
- Have a talk with your father or grandfather about how he walked to school. If possible, walk from his childhood home to his old schoolhouse and determine if it actually is uphill both ways or not. Report your findings to your counselor.
- Take a virtual walk on Google Earth or gmap-pedometer.com - the walk must be of at least 100 miles. The walk must start at your home and include at least two state or national parks or monuments, state capitols, national historic locations, or homes of famous people. Save the map of your walk and show it to your counselor.
- On a campout, cook dinner in a wok for your patrol. (This meal may NOT be used for the Cooking merit badge)
- Find out about three career opportunities in walking. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
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Jennifer asked: "Do the 6 merit badges for star rank have to be earned while a 1st class scout, or could they have been earned while a tenderfoot or 2nd class scout?"
All requirements to earn Star rank need to be started and completed after First Class has been earned EXCEPT for the merit badges. Boy Scouts can begin work on any merit badge at any time, once they are registered with a troop. There are no age restrictions on any merit badges, and badges earned before attaining First Class rank DO count towards Star requirements.
The same is true for Life and Eagle ranks - all Life requirements are started and completed after attaining Star rank, and all Eagle requirements are started and completed after attaining Life rank, EXCEPT for the merit badges.
An industrious new scout could complete a couple dozen merit badges in his first few months as a scout and not need to do any others for rank advancement.
See all the merit badges.
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