Monthly Archives: May 2011

Base Camp


Last Sunday, our Troop spent the day at Northern Star Council’s newest camp – Base Camp.  From their website:  “It is designed as a place – “Where expeditions begin” –  to introduce young people from all communities to the type of activities that are core elements of Scouting and our “learning by doing” approach to non-formal education. Young people of all ages and backgrounds can experience the adventures of Scouting right in the heart of the metro area.”

We had 9 boys and 4 adults take part in the day’s fun activities.  So that’s 13 people total, and we had the place to ourselves.  2 staff members with us all day and an extra staffer was with us during the high ropes portion of the day.  We started off with indoor archery.  The first 6 or 8 rounds were your typical archery – just shooting arrows at the targets.  Then they spiced it up a bit and gave us a few different challenges – like trying to get one arrow in each color on the target, and placing paper cups and balloons on the targets to see if we could hit them.

Then it was off to the rock wall.  Seemed to be the most anticipated thing of the day – and many of the older boys ate this up.  I was impressed to see that all of the boys had been climbing already, and they all worked as teams very well together.  Lots of encouragement, and lots of help to find the right hand and foot holds.

Lunch time was pizza – and all but 3 pieces remained.  The Mrs. and I debated on how many to order, and I’m glad we kept it at 6 pizzas (I over-order most of the time).  By this time in the day, the boys were getting a little tired both physically and mentally, so lunch and a breather was a great idea.

After lunch it was time to hit the high ropes course.  This is indoors as well, and during this time is when the tornado hit the Minneapolis area.  Our director for the day, Karl, had this ‘deer in headlights’ look as he approached me to inform me of the weather situation, and if it moved any closer to us, we’d have to get the kids off the course quickly and into the designated storm shelter.  No big whoop, just like summer camp, really.  We wound up not having to do it, but we were ready to just in case.

Finally, it was time for the Space Shuttle simulator.  Being the space geek that I am, I was really looking forward to this.  Sadly, it was the most disappointing thing we did all day.  Very little instruction, and we all came out of it feeling like we didn’t gain a thing from it.  The staff seemed to think the software was goofed up, and I sure hope so for their sake.  But, you live and you learn.  I really doubt if we return to Base Camp that they’ll want to do this part over.

We were then treated to an unplanned bike ride around Fort Snelling.  The weather had cleared up, and it was a beautiful afternoon for a bike ride.  The bikes provided were very nice, and we didn’t really bike all that far.  It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful day, however.

Rock Wall at Base Camp

To recap, I would have to say that Base Camp is definitely worth the cost.  (Cost is based on what activities you want to do, and whether or not you need them to be staffed – see their website for details.)  All of us, including the adults, had a great time.  What’s not to like about it?  You’re basically getting to do most of the things that are the highlights of summer camp, closer to home and anytime of the year.  I think this place is going to wind up on our annual planning agenda in August.  A HUGE thank you to the Mrs. for setting all of this up – I hope you can come with if we go again, I think you’ll love it too.

http://www.explorebasecamp.org/

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Day 100 – Limping Across the Finish Line


100 days ago, I thought it might be ‘neat’ if I tried my hand at writing a Scouting blog.  It just so happened that the 100 Days of Scouting was kicking off for its second year and I found it a great excuse to get it going.

Here we are – and what a long, strange and eventful journey it’s been.  My last post was kinda my wrap up post – so I won’t do it again – but I do have something I’d like to get off my chest.

I think my wife summed up my irritation pretty well:  “I find it amusing and exhausting when people complain and rant about rules and policies in BSA or other youth organizations. Bottom line: if you don’t like it, then volunteer for a different organization. Pretty doubtful that a nationally based group is going to change their ways because you think you’re superior to their rules.”  Thank you dear, you have a way with words sometimes when I’m so frustrated all I can do is sigh.

Today, I also had to deal with a set of parents who tried to get their Scout signed up and paid for this weekends activities.  Sign up for it was due over a month ago so we could plan transportation and such.  What kind of lesson would we be teaching both the Scout and his parents if we let them slide on it?  Not to mention, we already have the tour plan filled out and ready to go.  Yea, I also struggle with excluding a Scout because his parents don’t know how to keep things straight.  But I even reminded 2 weeks ago thinking if they somehow forgot about it, they could take care of it then and it would have been ok.  It’s not fun to play the bad guy, but sometimes you just gotta in order to keep everyone from taking advantage of you.

Well, I kinda just went off for my Day 100.  Sorry.  Wait, no I’m not.  I’ll bet you there’s someone else out there who’s dealing with the same stuff, or worse – and maybe they’ll read this and feel just a wee bit better because they realize that they’re not alone.  That’s one of the lessons I’ve gotten out of this 100 Day of Scouting deal.  I’m not alone in how I feel, or the issues that I have to deal with day in and day out.  So, our Troop is at least sort of ‘normal’.

My last hashtag with #100DaysofScouting for the year…..*sniff*

YIS

K.


Day 93 – good times


Day 93 already?!?  Seems like only yesterday I was just catching wind on Twitter about the #100DaysofScouting movement and deciding that maybe I’d like to try my hat at it.  As we near the end of this interesting and fun journey this year, I have a couple of things I’d like to point out.

First of all, I’m humbled by the sheer number of people who come to this blog and read what I have to say.  I never imagined my words would spark such conversations across the country, and even in my Council and District.  This is all just me, just my opinions and observations as I try to help make the best Troop, District and Council I can.  I can’t believe just how much Scouting shaped who I am today, and I can only hope that I am able to return the favor.

Secondly, I have made several new Scouting friends via Twitter and podcasts.  I’ll mention a few here by name, as their podcasts and blogs have brought me new ideas and taught me that I need to really let the Scouts lead the Troop versus me being the heavy handed Scoutmaster that I didn’t realize I was kind of being.  Scoutmaster Jerry and Clarke Green have awesome podcasts – and if you’re an adult leader of a Troop I would strongly recommend you subscribe to both of these podcasts and start listening.  SMPhil has helped me along my Roundtable Commissioner route and I would like to thank him yet again.  I think things are going to be different around here come next fall when Roundtables start up again.  There are lots of others, you know who you are – and I will continue to interact with you even when the 100 days are done and over.  You all have been entertaining and a very valuable asset to me this year so far.

Now that I’ve said that – on to what I’ve been up to (only 8 more days of updates like this!):

Monday we held a PLC.  Second one where I’ve let the SPL run the show, and it went much better than the first.  I think they’re starting to realize that it’s their Troop, their program, and they have the final say in what they do.  Of course, I’m there along with others to ensure they follow the BSA guidelines and maybe to nudge ’em once in a while – but for the most part, they’re starting to talk to each other and not to me about what they need to do and want to do.  It’s really neat to see this happening for me , as I’ve always headed up the PLC meetings in the past.

Tuesday and today I had Scouting lunch meetings with different Scouters.  Yesterday I listened as an old friend of mine kinda ‘vented’ about the Troop his son just crossed over into, and was asking me several very good questions about how Troops ‘should’ operate and things of that nature.  I answered his questions, and offered what advice I could.  It will be interesting to see if he’s able to make some positive change in that Troop.

Today I met with our District Executive and talked about the future of Roundtables.  I think there’s some great ideas out there (that if they are implemented and work, I will share).  I was also asked to attend this weekend’s Spring Camporee even though our Troop isn’t going because the votes are in and the District name I submitted was selected.  In a way, I kind of left a legacy there – the new name of our new District was mine.  Cool, huh?  I’m planning on attending the campfire on Saturday now, and am very excited about the whole thing!

I hope you all have had a great Scouting day/week/month/100 days!  Keep on Scouting!

YIS

K.


Day 88 – Uff Da!


10289866-dealing-with-stressI’m busy. VERY busy. I’m sure you all are too. Lots has happened since I had the time to sit down and write here. I’ll do my best to recap. I’ll get into other things that have come up in more detail at a later date.

So last Thursday I attended our District Commissioners meeting and our District meeting. I presented the report I generated from the online survey that was distributed about roundtables. It generated some great discussion that took up almost the entire hour we had for the meeting (sorry, Margi!). I think we’ve got some good ideas going forward – and once those things are in place a little more, I’ll share them with you (translation: I could write a book on roundtable at this point, but I have some catching up to do first).

Friday night I was in the role of Cub Scout Dad. I spent the night at the Lake Superior Zoo for their ‘Zoo Snooze’. We had pizza, pop, learned about polar bears, took a night hike through the zoo, made t-shirts, held frogs and hissing cockroaches and petted an albino python named Monty (har har). We then laid down and watched How to Train Your Dragon and fell asleep. The next morning we got up, packed up and had a light breakfast before having the zoo to ourselves for a few hours. It was an excellent program, and I enjoyed just being a Scouting Dad.

Monday was our Troop meeting. Kinda pulled a fast one on our SPL, as I realized we didn’t have any idea of what was in our Troop trailer since the winter, and we had 2 campouts coming up that we were gonna need to know what to get as far as gear. So, I brought the trailer to the church and we gutted it out and inventoried everything. Then, as though the BP was watching, we had to cancel both campouts because of lack of participation. Totally bummed, but I think there were just too many events going on those weekends (including graduation) that it made it tough for most.

That’s really it for my Scouting week. I am now an assistant baseball coach, and I’m also on the baseball board helping with the website and scheduling fields for practice. So, I have another hat to wear for the summer. That’s ok. I did the same thing last year, and the Troop survived just fine. Especially since I’m letting go of lots of things and putting my faith in the boys to run the show – it’ll all be ok.

That’s all from my neck of the woods for now. Gotta hit the hay soon – need to be at the church tomorrow morning to help with the Cub Scout pancake breakfast. It never ends, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope you all have a great weekend and a Happy Mother’s Day!

Oh and Mom, thanks for everything. Really. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day!