Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CPR Any Time

The American Heart Association has a website for CPR resources,, and has training dummies available for 35 bucks.  At that price, get one for your troop, and get one for your family, too.

From the Website:
CPR Anytime and Infant CPR Anytime bring CPR training into homes, workplaces and communities. The all-in-one kits contain everything you need to learn basic CPR. You can practice while you watch from the comfort of your home or in a group setting - in about 22 minutes.

Each CPR Anytime and Infant CPR Anytime kit includes the most current science from the American Heart Association Guidelines. And, Infant CPR Anytime was created in coordination with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Monday, March 19, 2012

When Properly Carried Out

"Scouting has evolved into an important component of the Church’s youth programs. When properly carried out under the direction of priesthood leaders, Scouting supplements activities of boys and young men ages eight to eighteen. Scouting also assists in accomplishing the eternal purposes of the priesthood and families."

From the publication, "Scouting and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", p.3, published by LDS-BSA Relations, Salt Lake City. emphasis added.

for the entire publication, click here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Calf-Path

One day thru the primeval wood
A calf walked home, as good calves should,
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,
And I infer, the calf is dead;
But still behind he left his trail,
And thereon hangs my mortal tale.

The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way,
And then a wise bell-weather sheep
Sliding into a rut now deep,
Pursued that trail o'er hill and glade;
Thru those old woods a path was made.

And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
and uttered words of righteous wrath
Because “twas such a crooked path”
But still they follow - do not laugh -
The first migrations of that calf.

The forest then became a lane
That bent and turned and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road
where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The village road became a street,
And this, before the men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare.

And soon a central street was this
In a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Followed the wanderings of this calf.

Each day a hundred thousand strong
Followed this zigzag calf along;
And over his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.

A hundred thousand men were led
By one poor calf, three centuries dead.
For just such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.

(A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach.)

For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind;
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.

They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah! many things this tale might teach --
But I am not ordained to preach.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nibley and the Environment

Scouting places a great deal of importance on conservation.  Dr. Hugh W. Nibley, the famed LDS Scholar, had some rather progressive views on the environment, or Creation, often at odds with the prevalent cultural status quo in Utah.  Here's a thought-provoking presentation of his thoughts on the topic. Warning: he's not too admiring of Scouts, nor their leaders.

Monday, March 12, 2012


With beef so expensive lately, between $3.00 and $4.00 a pound for the not-so-lean ground variety, why not make your next batch of tinfoil dinners out of country style pork ribs? I can usually get that for less than two bucks a pound.  Last summer while buying groceries before a camp out, we did a little comparison and the boys selected the less expensive pork ribs (I picked Italian sausage, myself) and managed to have some money left over.

Pork. It's what's for dinner!  (Though if I were still living in Texas, it would be brisket every time.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Effective Youth Leadership

Eighth in a series of ward trainings.

Presidents Preside; Advisers Advise.

In very general terms, the objective of the Aaronic Priesthood is to produce worthy Melchizedek Priesthood bearers who are able and willing to care for themselves and others; the objective of Scouting is to produce good citizens who are able and willing to care for themselves and others. Right arm, meet left arm.

One of the distinguishing aspects of the Scouting program is that of youth leadership - the youth are in charge of their program, and the adults facilitate their decisions. How do we teach leadership to kids who are used to adults always running the show?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Quote - Coasting

"If all you do is coast, eventually you slow down, while others catch up and pass you by."
- Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson,
congressional testimony, March 7, 2012.

I love to hear Dr. Tyson speak, his passion is palpable, his vision infectious. He speaks of greatness as something not just attainable, but something to unashamedly seek after. And his perspective on our place in the cosmos is ennobling: "the universe is in us."

Enter to Win

Win this backpacking stove and kitchen from Scouting magazine. Includes a JetBoil ZIP cooking system, a GSI Bugaboo Backpacker collection of cooking pots and containers, Guyot Designs MicroBites Utensils, and a Backpacker’s Pantry meal (pictured at right). The total prize value is $150. Click the image to enter.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


"The Boy Scouts of America general liability policy provides coverage for a bodily injury or property damage claim that is made and arises out of an Official Scouting Activity. The Guide to Safe Scouting contains a listing of Unauthorized and Restricted Activities. Unauthorized activities are not considered Official Scouting Activities. Volunteers (registered and unregistered), Units, Chartered Organizations and Local Councils are jeopardizing insurance coverage for themselves and their organization by engaging in unauthorized activities. PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOURSELF AT RISK."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quote - Emerson

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wood Gas Stove

I finished my wood gasification stove today.  I got the idea to do this from this video.  A wood gas stove converts wood into flammable gas, then, via a literal afterburner, it burns that gas at high heat. It's essentially smokeless, and super efficient.  This kind of stove also has the advantage of being free, because it's made from stuff I was going to throw away anyway, and the fuel is pencil-sized sticks on the ground. To make it, you'll need a soup can, a large peach can and a tuna can.  Here's my version of the stove, with minor modifications from the video: 

The completed stove.  I skipped drilling holes
in favor of a simple can opener and a nail. 
It was quick, and I didn't have to buy any tools.
Sharp edges may be a concern though.

Eye Roll

I saw this at the Distro Center today. This patch is not authorized. Do yourself a favor and get a REAL Assistant Scoutmaster patch, since THERE IS NOT SUCH BSA POSITION as "Eleven-Year-Old Scout Leader." This is just someone's idea to make a buck off your Church service.

Well, go ahead and buy it, if you have to have one for your collection, but it has no business being on your uniform.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Something to consider

A note I sent to my COR:

I've been in some discussions about fully utilizing Scouting across all age groups. Do we have a "paper" Varsity Team and Venturing Crew, or are those two groups really using the tools that those programs provide?  Seems like a waste of resources to charter both a team and crew, and pay to register all the adults and youth involved, if they're not going to pursue Team and Crew goals. I have no visibility on what's going on at that level, and am probably way off base here, but I'm curious as to whether anyone is working toward earning Varsity pins/letters, and Denali medals, or Venturing bronze/gold/silver and Ranger/TRUST awards, or if anyone even knows that these are options for older boys who are tired of merit badges and are ready for a more age-appropriate kind of challenge.

It seems like that's the case, since nobody older than 13 was recognized at the court of honor last night, and in a year's+ of COHs, I haven't seen anyone recognized for these bigger, better (and more age-relevant) accomplishments.

Here's a nice breakdown of what Varsity and Venturing offer in terms of advancement/recognition goals.  Real quick, Varsity awards are in addition to, and complement, the Eagle trail; Venturing doesn't even include merit badges/advancement to Eagle in its process, unless a boy is already at First Class, but he'll be working on it on his own if he's interested (in this way, Venturing really emphasizes youth leadership as young men develop their independence). 

I understand you're the Troop COR, and the Boy Scout Troop is functioning well (though we do need to work on building a functioning committee), so I'm not sure whom to address Team/Crew issues to (or who the COR(s) for the team/crew is). But a sure sign that Varsity/Venturing is not functioning nor serving the boys is, no advancement.  If the Advancement method is being ignored after age 14, what else are we not providing our Youth?

Once again, it's a matter of the adults being properly trained in the programs they're called to deliver. You can't use a tool very effectively if you haven't read the user's manual.  A great start would be the District training event on Saturday, April 14 at 8:00 at the  Bountiful Tabernacle. (I am of the opinion that being set apart to have the Spirit guide my actions is still not a substitute for learning the processes in the first place; to paraphrase, 'seeking from the best books [and instructors], by study and by faith.' If you'd like to read Trails to Testimony, I can lend you my copy.)

I've thought of a term for not using the Varsity/Venturing programs and methods: Eagle Blinders-
Noun: The phenomenon of concentrating so much on the idea that "every boy should get his Eagle award" that (a) all other Scouting methods are disregarded entirely, or (b) neither the Varsity Advancement method nor the Venturing Recognition method are used, much less the programs' existence acknowledged, after a boy turns 14, in LDS Scouting.
Note: Yes, I know "Advancement" is not a Venturing method, but it's a convenient shorthand for someone who might not be familiar with any methods.