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Oops, make that 3,197 spots
I filled out the forms for two more scouts in our troop to attend the World Jamboree next summer. So, our little troop has 3 scouts going now!
These two guys will probably be the youngest BSA attendees since their birthdays are right at the cut-off. We spent about 45 minutes talking about the jamboree and their expectations - lots of excitement, that's for sure! They are both first class scouts but will be Star before they leave.
I let them know the troop would appreciate and expect a presentation about their experiences when they get back. We talked about how they would be representing not only their troop but also their country since they'd meet some scouts that have never met USA Boy Scouts before. And, we discussed ways they could raise funds over the next year.
It will be a fun year watching these 3 scouts as the date gets closer and then hearing about the Jamboree when they get home. I can hardly wait. :-)

Scout On!
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Posted: 7:39 06-11-2006 69
Only 3,199 Spots Left
Well, one of the Eagle Scouts in our troop is planning on attending the 2007 World Scout Jamboree next summer. We're very excited for him! He went to the National Scout Jamboree in 2005 and had a great time. The patches, photos, and stories he brought back to share with the troop were super.
He'll be working at a council scout camp all this summer, his older brother is an Eagle scout, and his dad has been a great support to the troop - so you can see scouting is a big part of that family's life.
So, those of you interested in going to England next year had better get busy - only 3,199 spots left for BSA participants! :-)

Scout On
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Posted: 7:06 06-08-2006 68
World Jamboree Anyone?
The 21st World Scout Jamboree happens in July, 2007 in Chelmsford, England. This will be the celebration of the 100th birthday of the World Scout Movement.

The theme for the 21st Jamboree is, "One World, One Promise", and is being held at nearly the same location as the very first World Jamboree in 1920. 301 BSA members attended that first jamboree and 3,200 are invited to the 21st jamboree.

More information for BSA scouts interested in attending can be found at BSA Jamboree Page. If you can raise the $3,975 fee plus travel expenses, it will be a 'once in a century' experience. About 40,000 participants are expected from over 150 countries.

Me? Well, 40,000 people is a bit much for me. I'll be rooting for you all from here at home. :-)

Scout On!
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Posted: 17:45 06-02-2006 67
Free Prizes
Did you notice there's a Monthly Contest on Boy Scout Trail? Each month, you can win a $25 gift card for www.ScoutStuff.org

Besides that, there are some contests running by Boys' Life and Scouting magazines...

Scouting Magazine's Cartoon Caption Contest has scouters come up with captions for 4 cartoons and maybe win gift cards.

Boys' Life's Summer Fun Photo Contest has savings bonds as prizes for scouts.
Boys' Life is also running their 19th Annual Reading Contest where scouts write a report, send it in, and maybe win a gift card.

Good Luck and Scout On!


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Posted: 17:20 05-31-2006 66
Hiking for Food
We have a crew of 8 scouts and 4 adults going on a week-long backpacking trip in Wyoming in July. It is a big undertaking to plan your own high adventure instead of just participating in the canned Philmont or Sea Base programs, but it sure does give the scouts a lot of leadership opportunity. One scout chose a campground for the trip there and back. Two more are working on the menu. Another is designing shirts and finding a vendor. Lots of other duties distributed by the crew leader so everyone has something to accomplish before the trek begins.

Tonight, our crew hiked 3 miles to a local burger joint, had dinner, then hiked back. What a great hike! We even had 3 tag-alongs that aren't going on our trek but are getting in shape for a different backpacking trip. It was fun to see the looks when we all tromped in with our backpacks on. Luckily, this place is run by super people with great attitudes and they serve really good hamburgers. I guess I should give them a plug - it's called Lion's Tap and I'm sure they'd love to have you stop in. One guy eating there said he was an Eagle scout and was looking forward to having his 9 month old son join Scouts. I told him the 6 years would fly be and he'd be a Tiger in no time. :-)

Scout On!
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Posted: 22:16 05-30-2006 65
Hornaday Award
The William T. Hornaday award is a BSA award started in 1917 for service in conservation. There are a bunch of increasingly difficult levels to the award. A troop can earn a certificate by completing a meaningful conservation project. A scout can earn a (very cool) metal badge by completing some merit badges and leading a meaningful conservation project. This could be great practice for an Eagle project. A medal can be earned by completing multiple projects. A Scouter can earn a certificate or medal, but only after a very significant long-term contribution to promoting conservation in Scouting.

For anyone in Minnesota, I found out that MN DNR has over $300,000 funding available for grant proposals for restoring native shoreline vegetation. Possibly other state Natural Resources Departments offer similar funding. If you can think of a shoreline that needs work, you might be able to receive funding to help restore it. If you are looking for a challenge, are interested in conservation, and would like to try for a pretty rare BSA award, consider the Hornaday award.

To learn more about the Hornaday awards: Award Page

To learn more about the DNR funding: MN DNR Page

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Posted: 8:41 05-25-2006 64
Bugs of Summer
Last evening, we went on a conditioning hike for a trip this summer to the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. I got my first mosquito bite of the year - actually 4 of them!

I'm sure mosquitos must do some good in the world, but I'm at a lose to understand just what that is other than be a food source for bats, birds, and fish.

Last summer, I wore a Buzz-Off shirt and pants on most of my camping trips and they worked great. They are impregnated with Permethrin.

But, this year I have something new to try. I just bought some new bug repellent made with Picaridin instead of DEET. DEET in about a 20% mixture works well for me, but I'm anxious to see how well this Picaridin works.

You can buy Buzz-Off clothing online directly from ExOfficio
Buzz Off Insect Repellent Clothing by ExOfficio

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Posted: 10:08 05-10-2006 63
Summer Camp Planning
Looks like we have 39 scouts going to summer camp in July. We're trying something new this year. We have adjacent camp sites and will have 4 patrols in one camp and 3 patrols in the other. The hope is to have some friendly competition for camp cleanliness, good campfire programs, and stuff like that. With some incentive, we might wind up with campsites kept in a little better order than the last couple years.
Plus, the scouts receive twice as many program slots throughout the week - last year, we had a lot of scouts in each program session with a lot of sitting and waiting for their turn.

So, I spent yesterday preparing planning documents for each patrol to start working on at the troop meeting tonight. Each patrol picks the top 10 things they want to do during the week from the camp's program topics. They also decide which merit badges to work on. Scouts going into 8th grade and above also get to choose a few more activities from an additional advanced program. Once all the patrols complete their planning, the SPL and ASPL will figure out the week's program and merit badges.

It's great to pass on as much of the planning to the scouts as possible. I still have the fun of making sure we have enough drivers, how many adult meals are needed each day, tent arrangements for adults, and a hundred other little bits. And, its still two months away! :-)

Scout On

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Posted: 9:00 05-08-2006 62
Ballistas and Bridges
The troop returned from their first campout of the 'summer' yesterday - 50 degrees and 48 hours of drizzling rain doesn't count as summer. The weekend's theme was Pioneering and the Cobra patrol planned the agenda.

New scouts earned their Totin' Chips and spent quite a bit of time hacking, sawing, and whittling with their new-found freedom from having their own cards.

After a session of learning and reviewing lashings, everyone worked on a monkey bridge after lunch. Since some of the work required fewer people, a flagpole with tripod was also lashed together by some scouts needing a 'useful camp gadget' for advancement credit.

A very cool Ballista was also constructed and operated completely by scouts. They made the plans, did all the lashings and supplied the man-power. Pretty cool project! This was the first ballista ever constructed by our troop. Now they're talking about an improved version for next year.

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Posted: 19:39 05-01-2006 61
Moose Patrol

The new scouts chose to be known as the Moose Patrol. It was 'Bruce, the Spruce Moose' for awhile, but that didn't last long. All five of them received their Scout badges at the court of honor after having their scoutmaster conferences with me.
Now, they're excited for the troop's Pioneering campout in April where they'll help build a monkey bridge and hopefully a catapult of some kind. They might also earn their Totin' Chip and Firem'n Chit cards that weekend.

Our new PLC had their first meeting this week, planning the meetings for the next month out. They were amazingly on task so we might just be in for a very productive summer!

Scout On
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Posted: 10:19 03-30-2006 60
Energetic New Scouts
I'm glad cross-over from Webelos is at this time of year. It's a great injection of energy into the troop after a long, cold winter.
Four of our five new scouts have earned their Scout badges already and will be presented at the court of honor on Monday. A super Troop Guide just met with their patrol last night and is helping them with figuring out a patrol name, flag, and yell. So, they are just bursting with energy and getting busy!
I can tell this group of scouts is going to be great fun. As one indication, their Webelos den was a combination of the 'Phat Frogs' and the 'Flaming Arrows' so they became the 'Phat Flaming Frogs' - now that's a good patrol name! I'll let you know what they come up with for their Boy Scout patrol name.

Scout On
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Posted: 21:35 03-21-2006 58
Irish for a Day
As far as I know, I've got no Irish blood in my body. But, today, everyone gets to pretend to be related to Arthur Guiness, Molly Pitcher, or Oscar Wilde. Or, maybe you prefer to be a leprechaun and dance a nifty Irish jig.

Whatever your pleasure, enjoy this last festive day of winter. Spring starts with the vernal equinox on March 20. You wouldn't know it here though - my son and I just built a 10ft by 7ft by 6ft high pile of snow the past two days in the front yard. After school today his plan is to start digging it out, so we're gonna have fun! Maybe I can talk him into camping out in it tonight.

Scout On
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Posted: 13:25 03-17-2006 55
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