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Natl Outdoor Badge Tracking
National Outdoor Badge To help scouts keep track of the various requirements of miles, nights, hours, and adventures for the National Outdoor Badge awards, I've created some documents.

Hopefully, they'll make the broad range of requirements more manageable for your scouts.

See the National Outdoor Badges page for the PDF files.

Scout ON
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Posted: 16:17 09-27-2010 524
Quack Quack
Cub Scout Duck Call There's not a hunting merit badge yet, but that doesn't mean scouts can't excel at hunting skills.

A Webelos scout is the winner of the inaugural duck calling contest at Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge, WI. He completed a 3-day waterfowl course at the refuge and then entered the calling competition.

The course is for 10-15 year old hunter-certified youth to learn waterfowl identification by sight and sound, silhouette, wing beats, flock patterns and behavior.

The contest included these calls: long-distance call, mating call, feeding call and comeback call. The emphasis is on difficulty, accuracy and repetition.

Read More

Scout On
PS: The scout is my nephew. :-)
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Posted: 7:30 09-24-2010 523
BSA Uniforms
BSA Uniforms Somebody at BSA learned Flash programming this summer. The new site takes you on a fun-filled, whirlwind tour of uniforming from Tiger Cub through Scout Leader. Hold onto your hats and watch your little scout spin in circles and walk across your screen. Wow!

Cute, but I don't see the value in weird music, spinning, stumbling scouts, and dragging patches to shirts. The best part of this extravagant, interactive experience is the link to Documents on which has the useful, printable patch placement sheets with pictures AND text.

Can't help but wonder how much we all collectively spent on this one. :-(

Scout On
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Posted: 14:59 09-21-2010 522
Wall Drug Rabbit After every driving trip the troop takes 'out west', I swear to myself that's the LAST time we stop at Wall, South Dakota! But, when it comes round to planning the next long-distance trek Wall Drug always gets listed as a place the scouts decide to stop.

Unfortunately, it winds up usually being a convenient gas stop so I've got no excuses to skip it. But, man, what a zoo! It's the best place to find license plates, it's always the hottest town across the prairies, and all those Black Hills Gold stores are always going out of business. :-)

You've got to admit, there are some places across the country that just are America, good, bad, or just silly. From the world's largest ball of twine to the world's largest potato, from the first McDonald's to the first baseball diamond, when you're traveling through, how can you skip them?

Sure, after the second or third time seeing a run-down, paint-peeling, antlered rabbit it tends to lose its charm. But, remember it's still the first time for some of the guys and it may be one of the silly things they'll talk about a year later...

probably just about the time when the next trip gets planned.

Scout On
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Posted: 22:40 09-10-2010 521
10K Mosquitoes
boy scout mosquitoes Mosquitoes are a bane to all campers. They can carry disease, they itch, they buzz, they squish, they swarm, they even get in your ears and eyes.

I love the first frosts in the fall. Camping in late September and October is my favorite time because the bugs are usually gone. The cold weather takes care of the little pests until the warmth of spring. Plus, humidity and heat tend to be lower.

One would think that at 10,000 feet up a mountain, where trees are sparse, the air is dry, the wind continually blows, and there is frost some mornings in July, a respite from the bloodsuckers could be had. But, no, No, NO!!! The skeeters were thicker and more aggressive than any lowland Minnesota mosquitoes. The only difference is that they were out earlier in the day and laid low once the temperatures dropped with the setting of the sun.

This trek was the first time I've resorted to using mosquito netting, but it did a great job - and what a fashion statement, isn't it?

For thick mosquitoes, wearing long loose-fitting pants and shirt, plus a head net works a lot better than bug repellant. Light nylon pants like the BSA zip-offs work well. Just be careful when you sit and the fabric is pulled tight against your skin because bites can go right through.
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Posted: 16:42 09-09-2010 520
A Helping Hand
boy scout river crossing As scoutmaster, I get to witness the development of young men outside the daily routine. Most of the greatest growth I've seen is during times of trial. This past weekend, we had a 'Wilderness Survival' campout with scouts building shelters and sleeping out rather than in tents. Well, with zero rain and beautiful, cool breezes blowing, there's not much challenge in 'surviving' a night. It was fun building and lashing structures, and teamwork was evident, but no urgency to perform was required.

People are like teabags - you find out how strong they are when they're in hot water. Most of the time, those teabags are a lot stronger than they ever thought they would be and without the hot water, they would never learn how much they could accomplish.

These are two pictures from our backpacking treks. The top is a young scout three years ago(now an ASPL and Junior in high school) struggling across a rain-swollen river. This was 3/4ths of the way through a 15-mile hike in a miserable day of rain. The bottom is another scout doing his first water crossing this summer.

These two scouts thought they needed help crossing, so I made sure I was there with them, lending support as needed. I'm downstream and a step behind so I could grab them, but not be in their way. I'm not leading them or making the way any easier for them than it was for everyone else. And, when we were across, they understood I hadn't really helped them at all - they made it on their own.

Sometimes a helping hand is one that is just ready and willing, not doing anything. The security of knowing someone is with you can be all that is needed for a scout to push himself and reach goals he just wasn't confident enough to reach alone. "Confident" isn't in the Scout Law, but it certainly is a goal I have for each scout.

Scout On

PS: I'm wearing the same pair of BSA zip-off pants in both pictures - 4 years of hard scouting and they still work.
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Posted: 6:46 09-03-2010 519
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