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Another Scout-o-rama
We held our annual Scout-o-rama today - another perfect day with sun and rustling leaves. One of these days, we're going to get wiped out by a huge storm - all our outings this year have fallen on wonderful weather. It's just a matter of time and averages.

We had a new twist to the scout-o-rama this year. It was planned by a single patrol as a regular outing rather than by the troop at large and we invited the other four troops in town. Two said they would participate and one actually did. They did an excellent job running a CPR station and Emergency Carries. There were 10 skill stations all together and 25 Webelos, just as in past years.

Our goal is to ultimately make this day a community event where boys that are in 5th grade but have not been in Cubs get a chance to check out Boy Scouts along with the Webelos. It has a way to go, but having the other troops involved is the first step. Next year, we'll start the planning earlier so all the troops have ample time to join in if they want.

Scout On
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Posted: 16:05 10-30-2010 532
Cheap, REALLY cheap, utensils
wooden forks knives spoons 2.5 years ago, I blogged about the silliest ScoutStuff products which included wooden forks, knives, and spoons.

Evidently, I wasn't the only one that thought they were silly and they are now cut in price to only 17 cents a set! For $2.00, you can get 12 forks, knives, and spoons. That's 68 cents per scout for a weekend of four meals.

Now, I still think it's silly, but they do make a fun prize for patrol competitions and that sort of thing. (I've actually used them for that and the scouts got a kick out of it.) How about you help out the ol' BSA and pick up a case or two of these things so ScoutStuff can make room for more fleur-de-lis cookie cutters or grandpa's fireforks.

Scout On
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Posted: 22:28 10-20-2010 531
Hiking Wonderland
boy scout hiking Followed eight scouts on a 5-mile hike yesterday around the town. Each one successfully oriented their map, showed our direction 3 times, and led the gang for over a half mile with at least 3 intersections and changes in direction.
We've got miles and miles of sidewalks, paved trail, and unpaved trail throughout our town and we used them all. We even had a short stretch along a road with no trail, so we use our hiking safety skills.
We also found some big, beautiful, red poison ivy as well as many other plants ranging from wild grape vines to red pine to still gree buckthorn. No one quite identified 10 plants, but some got close.
Animals were more scarce with just a squirrel, Canadian goose, blue jay, and red-wing blackbird being identified. We did see a flock of white pelicans floating high in the bright, clear blue sky but none of the scouts could identify what they were.
As the sun began to set, a couple scouts were getting concerned we wouldn't make it back in time since they hadn't brought flashlights, but they did a great job and we were only 4 minutes late on a 2 hour estimate.

After that, I got to attend a district committee meeting - not nearly as much fun. :-)

If you're in the NorthEast, batton down the hatches. The rest of you guys, get your scouts out to enjoy this great hiking time of year.

Scout On
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Posted: 16:35 10-14-2010 530
Fall Scouting
Cub Scout Nature It's Fall! For the next few weeks, we've got perfect camping and scouting weather - at least up north here. In a couple weeks, we can have snow and that can really limit the opportunity for advancement for T-2-1 rank requirements.

Now is a perfect time for those 5-mile hikes and 1-mile orienteering activities - no bugs, cool weather, and beautiful colors. Well, no bugs here except those crazy boxelder bugs and an occasional suicidal mosquito.

Yesterday, I had four Tenderfoot scouts lead me around our town on a 5-mile hike. It was spectacular! We saw geese, a squished frog, squirrel, crows, birch, poplar, red oak, white oak, and other plants and animals. In a month, it will be a lot more difficult to identify those plants without their leafs and the animals will be less plentiful.

Try to get your scouts out for those few nature requirements now. The first aid, memorization, and 'explain' requirements can more easily be done indoors in the winter.

Scout On
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Posted: 21:36 10-06-2010 529
WD-40 Fan Club

Wd40logofinal3This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of WD-40. All opinions are 100% mine.

There are a few tools and items in every great Scoutmaster's garage. You've probably got a handful of tent stakes, two half-full bottles of camp suds, and at least one can of WD-40. Does anyone really even know what WD-40 is made from? I guess it doesn't really matter much as long as it works. :-) The point is that you have it handy because Scoutmasters are constantly called on to fix this, mend that, and make do. Projects are always popping up and scouts rely on you to help them learn to handle problems themselves. Since scouting gear is out in the elements so much, protecting from rust and getting rid of corrosion are two things that come up occasionally and WD-40 fits the bill.

Well, if you are already a believer in the magic of WD-40, you should Join the fun in the WD-40 Fan Club online. The fan club has just been launched and the WD-40 folks have packed their site with lots of fun and informative tips, videos, and member input. Members of their free club enjoy:

If you're feeling lucky today, how about entering a contest?  All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post, answering the following question:

"How do you inspire others to be leaders and problem solve problems?"

You can read the contest rules but the prize is about $50 worth of WD-40 items, including a "Now & Then Pack", baseball cap, and stainless steel travel mug.

One of the things I use WD-40 for is fishing.  Spray a bit on the lure and for some reason it often increases the hits. Watch the latest WD-40 video release and you'll see why I got a good laugh.

Another use that you may not know of, but could be quite useful for Scouters - WD-40 can take off the sticky residue from using Badge Magic! Now, THAT's a good use.  Protect anything metal from rust and corrosion, lubricate moving parts, dissolve gunk, even catch fish.

Wd-40 is the can with 1000 uses - what's your use?

Scout On

Visit my sponsor: The WD-40 Fan Club
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Posted: 6:27 10-05-2010 528
High Adventure Tenderfeet
Philmont first class rank requirement So, here's a trick question: What rank is required to attend Philmont, Northern Tier, or Sea Base?

You can find many troop websites listing a minimum rank requirement of First Class. You can even find council requirements listing First Class as a requirement. But, those are not BSA high adventure base requirements. They've been set up by that particular unit or council to help ensure the scouting skills of participants.

There actually is no rank requirement at all for any of the national high adventure bases. A 17.5 year old Boy Scout that has yet to earn Tenderfoot can be on your crew!

Would I recommend that? not normally, but if you have a boy experienced in the outdoors join your troop in 10th grade to do exciting camping with his buddies, you don't need to force him through months of sign-offs and three boards of review before doing the high adventures.

What, you still don't believe me? :-)

Scout On
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Posted: 14:42 10-04-2010 527
Searching for Popcorn
Whre does all that popcorn come from that scouts sell?
Well, don't try finding it at any of these places - you'll most likely get lost in your efforts. There are corn mazes across the country this month and many of them have been designed with Boy Scout themes to commemorate the centennial.

There are way too many to list, but here's a few...

Scout On

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Posted: 15:01 10-01-2010 526
Base Camp Open House
Base Camp Climbing Wall An exciting time for Scouting here in Minnesota. The Base Camp open house happens tomorrow (Oct. 2). If you're in the area, or traveling through soon, you really should check it out.

I got to tour the facility earlier this week and it is amazing! I expect it will be heavily used during the winter months when it's too cold for some folks to camp outside. Base Camp has lots of meeting spaces, a library, offices, plus a few real attention-grabbers:

This climbing facility is just too cool for words - you've really got to see it to understand what I mean. There are manual and auto-belays as well as a great bouldering wall and the equipment is stored in a hidden area under the mountain.

The climbing surface is so realistic, you have to touch it. I bet most people that come to climb will say - "Where's the handholds?" - expecting a climbing wall with screwed in holds. This wall is a completely natural textured cliff with handholds whereever you can find purchase.

Even the floor will surprise you - it looks just like pea gravel, but when you walk on it you notice it is shredded, colored rubber.

The coolest thing about the climbing is right outside. Walk just south of the building and look at the rock beside the road - it is exactly like the artificial rockface inside! They've done a super job of making the wall match what you would climb if you were on the rive bluff faces.

If you've followed my blogging much, you've read me criticize some BSA things. I'm usually concerned with how our money gets spent. This Base Camp facility has been a big expense, but it appears to me to be a great investment for the future of scouting in the Northern Star Council. With our bitter cold winters, an indoor facility to practice scouting skills year-round has huge potential.

If you are not based in the area, but your troop makes plans to visit Northern Tier for canoeing, you should consider stopping at Base Camp. It is right at the MSP international airport so you might be able to do a lay-over night right here on your way 'Up North'.

Check out more at the official Base Camp site.

Scout On
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Posted: 8:42 10-01-2010 525
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