Monday, June 17, 2013

Batteries not needed

Yes, you actually need to know how to read a paper map, even in today's digital .pdf world. It may be a road atlas, a topo, or a street map of your hometown.*  Just the bird's-eye view you get from a state highway map can be beneficial before you follow Betty's sultry instruction to "turn left now."  Knowing where the roads go before getting on them is pretty basic  There is plenty of evidence that an over-reliance on digital/GPS tools can actually be dangerous. So, get your basics down:

  • #5: Explain the rules of safe hiking, both on the highway and cross country, during the day and at night
  • #9: Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood...
Second Class:
  • #1a - Demonstrate how a compass works and how to orient a map.  Explain what map symbols mean
  • #1b - Using a compass and a map together, take a five-mile hike (or 10 miles by bike) approved by your adult leader and your parent or guardian
First Class;
  • #1 - Demonstrate how to find directions during the day and at night without using a compass
  • #2 - Using a map and compass, complete an orienteering course that covers at least one mile and requires measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.)
By learning these skills, as opposed to checking these boxes, GPS becomes another resource, rather than something that does the thinking for you.


I had a thought about setting up a course in the neighborhood, leaving instructions at the meeting place, and cooking up a Dutch oven cobbler or something at the Primary President's place (11YOS, after all).  Dessert is dependent on successfully completing the course. And they get some quality time with their President.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Preparation isn't just for camping.

Re-posted from my Facebook timeline:

If you have to evacuate your home in a hurry, what do you take with you? In 2004, when four hurricanes criss-crossed our county in Florida, I put together a “bug-out book” containing important documents that we could just grab and go in case we had to leave Tampa for Indianapolis to wait out the storm with my brother. The wildfire in Black Forest, CO is forcing evacuations just a short distance from my house in Colorado Springs (the one I still own and pay taxes on, but don't live in), and got me thinking about it again. Here’s what’s in it:
  • Birth certificates for every family member
  • Passports
  • Selective service registration
  • Marriage license
  • SSN cards
  • Shot/medical records for every family member
  • Military/VA records, if applicable
  • Insurance policies
    • Homeowner/renter
    • Automobile
    • Life
    • Etc.
  • Legal docs
    • Powers of Attorney
    • Will
    • Important receipts
    • Etc.
  • Auto title(s)
  • Pet shot/med/other records
  • Checklist of stuff to grab in a hurry*, including
    • Prescriptions
    • Bug-out bags/72-hour kits
    • Back-up hard drive
    • Cell phone charger(s)
    • Pet food
  • Anything else you feel would be appropriate.
An alternative would be to keep digital copies of the above documents in a safe place, where practical. Another piece of an evacuation strategy could be backing up your household data to an online storage service, eliminating the need for a physical drive. Also, make a household inventory, and keep a copy in your Dropbox, or as a draft email to yourself. Include electronics, furniture, jewelry, appliances, books, CDs, movies, tools, bikes, software, artwork, or whatever you want to document; include serial nos. and photos as appropriate.

*Only use this list when you have time to grab a few essentials, not in a “minutes matter” emergency.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Meet your camp chaplain

Chaplain (also, PhD, LDS Bishop and - full disclosure - my uncle) Don Larson discusses the chaplain's unique role. What he doesn't mention among his duties is as important as what he includes.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bill Cosby in his own words

"Stay away from the guys on the corner fighting to be nothing."

Prepared. | For Life.™

Centennial Exhibits

Another piece of LDS-BSA Centennial will be two art exhibits at the Church History Museum, starting July 19. One is an exhibit of Norman Rockwell paintings, The other is about how Scouting has helped young men fulfill their duty to God for 100 years. If you find yourself in SLC this summer...

Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cast Iron Chef

I had an idea at Roundtable tonight for a Stake YM inter-quorum/inter-Scout-group competition: Cast Iron Chef - a Dutch Oven Cook-off.

Basically, each group would have an oven, some ingredients and a time limit. You'd have Ventures compete against Ventures, Varsity against Varsity and so on. The 11YOS could be included with the Troop, or work on their own. Everyone would necessarily need to take a couple of Wednesday nights to bone up on Dutch oven cooking. The only grounds for disqualification would be adult leaders stepping in and interfering with the youth. It would end with dinner - whatever they cooked - and a reflection that could be steered toward discussing communication, teamwork, goals, and more (like say, using unfamiliar ingredients to make something edible, like you'd do on a mission).

The idea is to reinforce the idea of competent cooks, not necessarily great food.

UPDATE: Go ahead and steal this idea. Please.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's finally available

Requirements and image from
After several false starts, the LDS-BSA Relationships office has finally published the Thomas S. Monson Award requirements.  There's no reason why anyone shouldn't be able to do most of this on a "Duty to God Night."
Requirements (do both)
  1. Read “100 Years of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”  With your family or a Scout leader, discuss two things you learned from this history.
  2. Read “Run, Boy, Run,” (same link) and write your feelings about this story in your journal.
Electives (any four)
  1. Complete at least two requirements toward earning the Genealogy merit badge.
  2. Complete at least two requirements toward earning the Family Life merit badge.
  3. Memorize the thirteenth article of faith, and discuss with your family or a leader how this article of faith and the Scout Law support each other.
  4. Meet two youth outside of your area and discuss with them how Scouting has benefited your life or the life of a Scout you know.
  5. Share your feelings about doing your duty to God with your family, a friend of another faith, or a leader.

Prepared. | For Life.™