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Our two Boundary Waters crews of 7 scouts and 2 adults each are on their way this morning. At 6:45am, during a downpour that promised to blow quickly through, I handed off medical forms and a Guide to Safe Scouting book to the trip leader and watched them pack up.
Everyone was ready except for one of the two oldest scouts who had not arrived yet and was holding up departure. The one thing I tell all new scouts and then repeat many times is Don't Be Last!
I think that's a good goal to set since you don't need to be first or the best, but its better to not make others wait on you.
This afternoon, after 6 or so hours on the road, the crews will hit the water for 3 days of excitement and hard paddling. Man, I wish I was with them! :-) The forecast is for 80+ temps and lots of sun so they'll have an awesome time. The worst part will be the traffic for the first hour getting out of the city - that 20 minute delay waiting for one scout will cost about 45 minutes of sitting in traffic.
They have 165 pounds of food so no one should starve. A few scouts took collapsible fishing poles and high hopes. Everything is packed in plastic bags inside plastic liners inside Duluth packs. They are using an outfitter in Ely this year so no canoes are being towed.
Each crew has defined their own canoe route on lakes 1, 2, and 3 but they plan on asking the outfitter for campsite recommendations when they arrive. They'll change their plans as weather and interests demand but remain in the same general area. I can hardly wait to see the pictures.
Posted: 0:00 06-15-2005 19
Time to Breath
From the minute I unlocked the church door at 6:20pm to when I locked it again on the way out into a night of lightning and pouring rain at 9:05, I don't think I took more than 2 or 3 breaths. :-)
I believe every scout, every parent, and every adult leader had a form to turn in, question to ask, point to make, or topic to discuss - sometimes twice. In a troop that has mushroomed this year to 59 scouts, just a small bit of time for each person really adds up. My fear is that someday I'm going to run out of time before assisting everyone that needs something. I've been delegating off lots of responsibilities and the patrol leaders are doing a great job of running their own patrols and funneling items up through the SPL. But even if it is just telling someone they need to go talk to Bob or turn that permission slip in to Jim or download the form from the website, it all adds up. As our group of 20 new scouts gets used to how things run over the next couple more months, I'm hoping the need for these redirections will taper off.
We've got two crews heading off to Boundary Waters tomorrow bright and early and the rest of the troop heading to a local park for our first 'Parents Night' campout this weekend. I'll get some time to relax at the campout and hopefully just chat with a few of the scouts.
Posted: 0:00 06-14-2005 18
A whole weekend with no scouting - feels weird. :-)
The crews are preparing for their Boundary Waters trip so I've been passing out extra tents and backpacking stoves when requested. Other than that, it has been slow with the scouts pretty much ready for their two outings this month.
Our SPL is now at Pine Tree youth leader training camp for the week. When he returns we'll figure out how to implement what he's learned. This gives the ASPL a chance to run the troop meeting tonight so we'll see how that goes.
Posted: 0:00 06-13-2005 17
Old Scout Book
A Tenderfoot scout showed me a book at the troop meeting this week. He had been on vacation in Wisconsin with his dad and stopped in a book store. There, they found a 'Handbook for Boys' from 1949.
It was very cool to hear his excitement about having this old book. Plus, there was a bonus inside. While skimming through the pages, he found a half dozen old BSA cards with James Emmett as the recipient. There was a BSA membership card and a few more that I didn't get to check out much.
Now, this tenderfoot has a mission - he's going to try and track down James Emmett. He has the old troop number and town so he'll try to find them on the Internet and see if their historian can help. What a great project. I'll let you know what he finds.
Posted: 0:00 06-08-2005 16
Another Scoutmaster Conference
With our 21 new scouts in the troop this spring, it's been a lot of fun having the first Scoutmaster conference with each one. The energy and enthusiasm and expectations of adventure are sky high. It's interesting to see how some scouts 'get the program' right away and understand how advancement works while others take a few reminders and prodding to get along. With our Court of Honor coming up the end of this month, I'm hoping that all the boys get through their Scout requirements, but a couple might not get around to it.
When it starts getting tight like it is now, I try to check in with the parents to make sure they understand that their son should be calling me in the next week or two. One of the most entertaining parts of being a scoutmaster is the timid phone calls from new scouts and getting to tell them they did a great job taking the responsibility to call me. Every bit of encouragement and positive feedback makes an impact.
Posted: 0:00 06-07-2005 15
The FEEPs, Indians, Panthers, Alligators, Sharks, Cobras, Roadrunners, and Buffalo Bills patrols each cooked up an entry in the second annual Troop 479 patrol cook-off. Entries ranged from Eggs-in-a-Bag to Chicken Quesadillas to Italian Spaghetti.
We'll find out who won when the SPL and ASPL tally the votes from the impartial judges. Patrols were given points for Taste, Creativity, and Kitchen Cleanliness.
It was a fun event outside on a nice, clear, warm evening - great times!
Posted: 0:00 05-24-2005 14
Hey, that Pom-Pom French Toast was really pretty good. It cooked a bit faster when we replaced the empty propane canister.
It was a bit challenging getting any powdered sugar or cinnamon to actually land on the food with all the wind blowing it away. :-)
Now, I'm on the prowl for something new to try for next month.
Posted: 0:00 05-23-2005 13
Wow! It's amazing how much energy there is in the air around us! Saturday morning, the wind from the south-southeast was gusting to over 40mph driving rain. By mid-day, the rain had stopped but the wind continued. This made for excellent flag etiquette training at the Camporee with those flags just whipping straight out at attention.
By nightfall, the wind had completely stopped, the nearly full moon was out and it was a most excellent night for viewing stars and satellite hunting. A few of us took advantage and slept outside our tents with no bugs, rain, or wind.
Sunday morning, the wind picked up again, but this time almost 180 degrees opposite from the day before. Amazing! So much power. It was entertaining to see a couple scouts from another troop chasing a tent tumbling across a field for 50 yards or so - we were too far away to help. I've got to remember to keep a spool of kite thread in my backpack just for days like these.
Posted: 0:00 05-23-2005 12
God Bless Mini-vans
I'm sure thankful of the guys that evolved the station wagon into the mini-van. Some of the scout leaders in our troop are joking about calling us 'Troop Honda' since we have a caravan of Odysseys wherever we go.
But, I tell ya, they sure are a comfortable, flexible way to get scouts out and back. I put a trailer hitch on our Odyssey as soon as we got it and it can haul 1000 pounds just fine. I bought a trailer kit online, built a wooden fence for it and it works slick. We've also got rails on top so a soft-sided luggage carrier goes up there if it looks like a really full trip.
Of course, its not too macho tooling around in a mini-van, but what the heck - being dressed in a scout uniform I guess I already lost that edge. :-)
I'm off now to load up the adult tents, patrol box, and food. The weatherman says nice weather tomorrow - that's scarey.
Posted: 0:00 05-20-2005 11
my knee. Pretty cool, huh?
Posted: 0:00 05-20-2005 1
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