Thursday, August 29, 2013

What If You Stopped Going Outside?

Another reason to leave the Church building behind.

Prepared. | For Life.™

STEM education and Scouting

For parents of all Scouts*

With school just starting out for the year, here's something to think about: 

Most of us probably don't think of Scouting at the same time we think of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, let alone education in general, but a study published in 2009 by Ohio State University researcher Rachel Sterneman Hintz found that 103 of 121 (now 114 of 133) Merit Badges had at least one requirement meeting the National Science Education Standards.  In a world where US students lag behind their counterparts from other countries in STEM fields, and are less prepared for college-level work than ever, Scouting can be a part of the solution.  This brochure effectively makes the case that Scouting IS relevant to today's youth as part of a whole-person development strategy, and not just until a certain badge gets awarded, or a particular birthday is reached. Scouting can help mold tomorrow's leaders as it has done for over a century. Who will be tomorrow's Neil Armstrong? Jim Lovell? Steven Speilberg? Philo Farnsworth?** It could be the deacon, teacher or priest you see each Sunday, or at your dinner table every day.

So, the next time he says he's bored, send him here to pick something to do.

*Scouts is shorthand for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts and Venturers (i.e., primary, deacons, teachers and priests).
**Eagle Scouts, all.
Disclaimer - the attachment is a brochure from the BSA foundation outlining projects it is trying to fund, to help Scouting and youth organizations across the country with STEM programs. But as stated, it make an excellent case for Scouting as STEM education.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Friday, August 23, 2013

Merit Badge Question

How often do you think this -
  1. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur while camping, including hypothermia, frostbite, heat reactions, dehydration, altitude sickness, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation.
  2. Learn the Leave No Trace principles and the Outdoor Code and explain what they mean. Write a personal plan for implementing these principles on your next outing.
  3. Make a written plan for an overnight trek and show how to get to your camping spot using a topographical map and compass OR a topographical map and a GPS receiver.
  4. Do the following:
    a. Make a duty roster showing how your patrol is organized for an actual overnight campout. List assignments for each member.
    b. Help a Scout patrol or a Webelos Scout unit in your area prepare for an actual campout, including creating the duty roster, menu planning, equipment needs, general planning, and setting up camp.
  5. Do the following:
    a. Prepare a list of clothing you would need for overnight campouts in both warm and cold weather. Explain the term "layering."
    b. Discuss footwear for different kinds of weather and how the right footwear is important for protecting your feet.
    c. Explain the proper care and storage of camping equipment (clothing, footwear, bedding).
    d. List the outdoor essentials necessary for any campout, and explain why each item is needed.
    e. Present yourself to your Scoutmaster with your pack for inspection. Be correctly clothed and equipped for an overnight campout.
  6. Do the following:
    a. Describe the features of four types of tents, when and where they could be used, and how to care for tents. Working with another Scout, pitch a tent.
    b. Discuss the importance of camp sanitation and tell why water treatment is essential. Then demonstrate two ways to treat water.
    c. Describe the factors to be considered in deciding where to pitch your tent.
    d. Tell the difference between internal- and external-frame packs. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
    e. Discuss the types of sleeping bags and what kind would be suitable for different conditions. Explain the proper care of your sleeping bag and how to keep it dry. Make a comfortable ground bed.
  7. Prepare for an overnight campout with your patrol by doing the following:
    a. Make a checklist of personal and patrol gear that will be needed.
    b. Pack your own gear and your share of the patrol equipment and food for proper carrying. Show that your pack is right for quickly getting what is needed first, and that it has been assembled properly for comfort, weight, balance, size, and neatness.
  8. Do the following:
    a. Explain the safety procedures for:
    1. Using a propane or butane/propane stove
    2. Using a liquid fuel stove
    3. Proper storage of extra fuel
    b. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of lightweight cooking stoves.
    c. Prepare a camp menu. Explain how the menu would differ from a menu for a backpacking or float trip. Give recipes and make a food list for your patrol. Plan two breakfasts, three lunches, and two suppers. Discuss how to protect your food against bad weather, animals, and contamination.
    d. Cook at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner for your patrol from the meals you have planned for requirement 8c. At least one of those meals must be a trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove.
  9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:
    a. Camp a total of at least 20 days and 20 nights. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. The 20 days and 20 nights must be at a designated Scouting activity or event. You may use a week of long-term camp toward this requirement. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.
    b. On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision:
    1. Hike up a mountain, gaining at least 1,000 vertical feet.
    2. Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles.
    3. Take a bike trip of at least 15 miles or at least four hours.
    4. Take a nonmotorized trip on the water of at least four hours or 5 miles.
    5. Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience.
    6. Rappel down a rappel route of 30 feet or more.
    c. Perform a conservation project approved by the landowner or land managing agency.
  10. Discuss how the things you did to earn this badge have taught you about personal health and safety, survival, public health, conservation, and good citizenship. In your discussion, tell how Scout spirit and the Scout Oath and Law apply to camping and outdoor ethics.
- gets reduced to, "did you go camping 20 times? You did? Good. You're done then." The same could probably be said about 'most any merit badge.  Talk about raising the bar, I think that too often we raise it just high enough to trip over, and then we wonder why missionaries have such a hard time with obeying mission rules...

 Prepared. | For Life.™

Monday, August 19, 2013

Training audit

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
I had a conversation about personnel issues with a member of the bishopric the other day, and it occurred to me that since we have a clean slate, both with a new bishopric and quite a bit of turnover in the Scouter ranks, it's a good time to see who has been through what training, and whose training has lapsed.  I suggested a training audit to verify that everyone is current and complete for their respective positions. An audit can also serve to educate folks on what's available, what's required for which activities, and for which positions.

So here is a spreadsheet I put together to check the training status of a ward's Scouters. Feel free to use it, critique it, modify it, tear it apart or beat yourself over the head with it when you find out how far out of compliance you've become.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lawn Chair Leadership

This is a re-post of a re-post of a Utah National Parks Council Blog post, brought to my attention by Chad of Varsity Team Coach Huddle. Thanks for linking it. I've added it to my Favorite Posts page, above, it's so good.  Lawn Chair Leadership is just a fun way of saying, "Use the Patrol Method, silly!"
“It’s twice as hard up front as just doing it yourself, but twice as easy when it works. And you have to do it all over again every new batch of boys that become leaders. You only need one single ingredient to get them to show up. But you can destroy it all with a single action.”

“What do you mean?” I questioned.

“Well, you get a new batch of boys in leadership about every six months,” said Dave. “And you start over every single time. Remember, you are growing boys into leaders, that’s what Boy Scouts is all about… Leadership, and service. That’s it!”

“I thought we are teaching them to camp, how to survive in the outdoors, and get merit badges.” I replied earnestly. “And to get an Eagle Scout!”

“That’s what everybody thinks. Those are how we teach, not what we are really teaching!” He looked at me earnestly. “But they are missing the whole point. The point is leadership… and service.”


“...have a special overnight camp, just for the leaders, maybe a sleepover at your home. Make it fun and rewarding to be a junior leader. Teach them about each of their positions so they know exactly what to do.”

“Help them plan the next year's activities. But let it be their activities. You can shadow lead them a bit by asking questions about the wisdom of their plan, but they need to own it or they won’t be motivated to do it,” he warned again.
Click the link above for the whole thing. It's really worth your time.

Prepared. | For Life.™