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Scouting Article has an article on Scouting, including bits about the upcoming Centennial, Good Turn for America, and historic items.

Nice to see some positive press for the BSA. The first reader comment is about the article - from there on, it's just the usual noise about gay/atheist policy.

Scout On.
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Posted: 14:11 06-22-2007 155
Merit Badge Survey
The official BSA national site has a merit badge survey for Scouts and MB Counselors. Please take a few minutes and give them your input.

Check out Merit Badge Survey

I took the counselor survey and read through the scout survey. It sure looks to me, from the wording of the questions, like someone is attempting to justify podcast and video production. Those are cool things, but I don't think they promote the adult interaction concept of scouting. I'd rather have my son converse with a real person than watch a video on the Internet.

Scout On
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Posted: 10:13 06-21-2007 154
Scout Camp CIT
CIT - Counselor in Training

Today I get to drive my oldest son to Many Point Scout Camp for a 5-week session as a CIT. He's been looking forward to this for a long time and hopes to be hired on for the second 5-week session as regular staff.
I see it as a longer-term opportunity to team up with other high-caliber scouts such as he met during his 1-week NYLT camp last summer. It's good to meet and interact with scouts other than those in the same patrol that you've been with for years.
He spent most of yesterday laying out his gear, checking it, and packing it up. I think the most important item he's taking is the small bottle of detergent! :-)

I'm giving rides to 3 other CITs from around the area so that's my Good Deed for the day.

Happy Fathers Day!
Scout On
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Posted: 9:18 06-17-2007 153
Philmont Wilderness First Aid Requirement
Are you going to Philmont in 2008? If so, be sure to read your Philmont 2008 Planning Guide closely and especially notice the requirement on page 3:
Philmont requires that at least one person, preferably two, (either an advisor or a youth participant) in each crew be currently certified in American Red Cross Wilderness First Aid or the equivalent and CPR from the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross or the equivalent. You must present current certification cards upon check in to verify this requirement.

I'm glad to see the requirement. It will ensure each crew has at least some exposure to self-sufficiency in an injury or emergency situation. Unfortunately, the requirement means an additional 16 hours of training at a cost of somewhere between $50 and $200 per certification, depending on where you get the training. So, you might want to plan that additional cost into your trek expenses. Fortunately, the certification is good for 3 years.

I'm an authorized Red Cross instructor of CPR and First Aid and will be authorized to present the Wilderness First Aid at the end of this summer. Hopefully, I can help troops meet this requirement and provide a safer high adventure environment.

Scout On!
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Posted: 20:59 06-15-2007 152
We've had an exchange student from Brazil staying with us the past few months. This past week had us participating in high school graduation ceremonies, graduation open houses, and an all-night senior party at which I got volunteered to help with security in the wee hours of the morning. So, sorry for no blog entries.

We have been doing some hikes for the Hiking merit badge, though. A group of about 6 scouts are working their way through the 5 10-mile hikes and trip plans. On Saturday, we'll do another one. These have been a lot of fun with a new location being explored for each hike.

Hey, if you don't have one yet, I'd recommend asking for a Boy Scout Fieldbook for Father's Day. It expands on information in the Scout Handbook and Passport to High Adventure. I'm asking each scout in our trek crew to read the relevant sections.

Scout On
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Posted: 17:15 06-14-2007 151
New Online Tests
Check out the Online Tests page for another First Aid test, Scout Trivia test, and a couple crossword puzzles.

Scout On
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Posted: 12:52 06-04-2007 150
25th Anniversary
Our troop just celebrated its 25th anniversary. Last fall, a scout wanted a leadership position to advance to Life but all the regular spots were assigned by the new SPL.

So, I got to use the "Scoutmaster assigned leadership project" clause in the advancement requirements. This scout took on the task of organizing the anniversary party while working with an adult volunteer. He found the location, ran a contest for the scouts to design a patch, developed an agenda, and organized the food and activities. About 7 months later, the party was a big success!

The scout did a lot of behind-the-scenes work, but he also got to speak in front of the entire troop a few times. I feel it was a great opportunity for the scout to practice planning and organizing before his Eagle project.

We wound up having a simple but fun lunch of sub sandwiches, ice cream in a rented cart from Culver's, soda, and chips.
We rented three inflatable structures - an obstacle course, bouncing cage, and bungee stretch. They were kept busy the entire 3 hours.
Each patrol organized a game or activity.
We invited Webelos too, but the local Packs already had their picnics planned for the same day.
This was a party and all family members as well as past troop members were invited. There was not really much 'scouting' involved. A few demonstrations or competitions of scouting skills would be an area to add next time, I think.

If your troop is coming up on a 5, 10, ... 75, or 100 year anniversary, don't let your troop committee define the celebration - use it as an opportunity for leadership for a scout or two.

Scout On
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Posted: 10:29 05-30-2007 149
Hiking and Backpacking
We have eight scouts preparing for a 5-day backpacking trek in July. On Monday we met for some skills review. The scout that presented stove use did a great job other than turning on the gas 'before' lighting the match and leaning over the top of the stove to reach the gas valve on the far side. :-) That's the only time I intervened.

We're busy doing practice hikes and getting used to carrying backpacks. Each scout is doing the Hiking merit badge and a couple are also taking on the Backpacking m.b.

The first scout to make a trip plan for a hike used Google and mapped out our route and then saved it as a JPG image and emailed it to everyone. Pretty darn cool! It was 10.3 miles and everyone got to lead part of the way and get 1 of their 5 10-mile hikes completed.

I've added a couple PDFs to the Hiking and Backpacking merit badge pages for a Trip Plan, Time Control Plan, and Backcountry Injury Report. This might be helpful for scouts working on those merit badges.

Scout On
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Posted: 10:50 05-24-2007 148
Scout Advancement Videos
Check out the Boy Scout Advancement videos on the official BSA site.

There's some pretty good insight into the direction BSA is going with the program components. The videos are big downloads and need Quicktime.

Scout On
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Posted: 23:57 05-22-2007 147
High Adventure Directory
Looking for a new adventure? There are about 80 programs listed in the online Council High Adventure Directory segregated by state or region.

If your troop is looking for something new to try next summer, check out these programs including canoeing, backpacking, caving, horseback riding, sailing, whitewater, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
The directory lists all council-operated high-adventure trekking programs that span at least five nights and six days. A few programs of lesser duration are included as specialty adventure programs.

Listings include a point of contact, program description, duration, cost, and directions to site.

If your council's high adventure program is not listed, there's a form for a council representative to enter the program info.

Scout On
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Posted: 9:22 05-20-2007 146
Habitat for Humanity
I've just spent the past two days at a Habitat for Humanity project in our community. Four homes are being built to provide affordable housing in a nice neighborhood for four families. What a terrific time!

It was great to be outside and get dusty, sweaty, and tired while getting to know some people from my church a bit better. I was the youngest there besides the couple of Habitat college-aged guys that are spending a year with the program. Most people were retired since it meant working during the week.

Seems to me Habitat could be a great thing for stronger, more mature scouts to try. I understand they couldn't use power tools, but there's a lot of manual labor work to be done too. I'm going to check and see if there are opportunities for scouts after school gets out.
Have any of you had scouts do Habitat or similar building projects?

Scout On
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Posted: 18:32 05-18-2007 145
BSA Camp Staff
My son will be a Counselor In Training (CIT) at a local council BSA camp the first half of this summer. He's hoping to get hired on for the second half also.

If you've got some guys that just aged out of your troop and are looking for an exciting summer, check out this BSA High Adventure Staff Needed page. The contact info for Philmont, Northern Tier, and Sea Base are listed.

If not this summer, then it's something you can talk to your scouts about for next summer if they are looking for awesome summer work.

Scout On
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Posted: 19:49 05-17-2007 144
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