Traveling Scouts

Its a big week this week.  We have several scouts heading up to Camp Strake in Conroe, TX for Winter Camp.  Every year, we have a lot of boys head up that way to have some cold weather fun and earn merit badges.  This year we have a few less though.  We have a second group of scouts on their way to NYLT at Camp Bovay.

I can’t help but think that with all the NYLT Attendees that there will be some changes in the dynamic of the troop.  The last of our past attendees Eagled a couple of years ago so its going to be great for the boys to have newly trained leaders.  Good luck guys!  Don’t forget, this won’t just help in scouts, it will help you in life.


Merry Christmas everyone!  Are you stuck on what to get your favorite scouter to fill his or her stocking?  Here’s a few ideas.  The first one is a very cool item I stumbled upon this morning while picking up spices for pumpkin pie.

#1 – McCormick Recipe Inspirations – This very awesome item is a quick grab of the exact spices (sans salt, oil, etc) that one would need to prepare the recipe on the back of the card.  Talk about a life saver on campouts!  At only .39 ounces, several could be carried in the backpack on the long  hikes at Philmont or the Northern Tier.

#2 – GPS – If you didn’t put one in their stocking last year, you should this year.  That, and a membership to geocaching.com will endless hours of bonding time and family fun.

#3 – Carabiners – You never can have too many.

#4 – Gift card  – Get one for REI, Academy, or wherever your scouter loves to shop.

#5 – Hand warmers – If you haven’t camped in the cold, we don’t expect you to understand.

Its been over three years since I became an Assistant Scout Master in our troop.  That entire time I have been effectively stalked to go to Wood Badge.  Each time it came up, there was something always in the way; which didn’t entirely disappoint me.  You see… Whether those who know me realize it or not, I’m quite shy by nature.  When I actively greet new parents, its to try and lessen that burden on them.  I don’t want them to ever feel like an outsider.  My chosen career (human resources) has forced me to put on a mask of confidence because I have to be the outspoken one when I coach owners of businesses on how to manage their human capital.  Still, inside, I’m shy.

Why is this important?  Because I am absolutely freaking out, as a few leaders who are close to me have seen, about going to Wood Badge.  Having never moved as a child, I went to 3 year old pre-K with a large number of kids I  that I also graduated high school with.  Starting college caused me great anxiety because I had never dealt with me being the new student.  In the same vane, going to Wood Badge is causing me great anxiety.  The idea of hanging out with 60 people who I don’t know stresses me out!

So, in reading the material again for Wood Badge, I just had an epiphany.  Wood Badge is supposed to simulate a troop.  So if I truly put myself into the role of a boy scout, my anxiety may not be too far off.  How is my concern over whether I will fit in, make a fool of myself, that I will say the wrong thing, or that they won’t like me any different at all than what the 10.5 / 11 year old boy feels when he enters a boy scout troop?

I am going to take these feelings and use them to benefit scouting.  I am going to learn what it is like to be a boy scout and ways I can, as a leader, work to make their transition easier.

Awesome New Patrols!!

So the boys all got together a few weeks ago in their re-formed patrols and voted on how they wanted to be identified.  We were really excited because a visiting scout, who has now since joined our troop, joined in on the fun.

The patrols are!!!

Snipe   Thundercats   Cyber Zombies

The first patrol competition was to come up with a patrol name and yell and then do their yell for the adults and committee.  Since there was a danger of multiple patrols wanting the same name, then they had to work fast and as a team to get theirs done before the others.

As we get new scouts this fall, we will continue to have the Pioneer patrol for the first year emphasis boys, but then they will merge in with the other patrols and the boys will vote on new patrol names as needed.

When Older Scouts Eagle

When older scouts Eagle, it can leave a hole in the Troop. With a gap between older scouts and younger ones, with mixed ages in between, the troop faces some leadership challanges. Lucky for us we have two new Eagle’s who have decided to become ASM’s.
As with life, sometimes we all get in a rut, stagnate, or however you want to discribe it. The Scoutmasters have decided to do a little reorganizing, but not re-inventing the wheel. We have come up with a plan to make the meetings more interesting, fun, and challenging for the boys. We are still boy run, but with more involvement between Scoutmasters and Scouts.
Getting the Scouts back on track with patrol method, Scout Skills, patrol competitions, troop projects, and more. It’s time to get out of our rut and back to Scouting. We have realized that we have to change things up from time to time to keep every ones interest, scouts and adults alike.
To start with the patrols have gotten uneven, so we have reorganized from five patrols to three, and will let the scouts rename their patrols to form unitity, with new patrol yells and flags.
Tomorrow night we will have a PLC with the newly elected and discuss the changes. We also have plans for parents to get them more involved in the Troop meetings.
All the Scoutmasters and our Committee Chair are excited about making our Troop strong and full of scout spirit again.

Genealogy Merit Badge

Tonight, our Troop Committee Chair presented a talk to the scout leaders who attended the Boy Scout Round Table on Genealogy.  Unfortunately I missed it but I am eager to get the details from him.  Buffalo Eagle gave me a list of the links he presented so they could be added at the bottom of this entry.  You’ll find many of the usuals, but there are a few that aren’t mainstream.

I have a huge desire to spark our troops interest in this merit badge.  As with any counselor, it is largely because I personally partake in this research for my own family.  I also think that in this era of kids who don’t seem to think too far past the last text to come into their phone, that they need a gentle reminder of how hard their ancestors worked to get them the technology and lives they enjoy.

While I’m personally more than happy to do the leg work and walk though cemeteries, I’m not sure how much they will want to do.  I would love to have those of you who read this reply with how you have approached this merit badge.

Clayton Geneaological Library of Houston-www.sparc.hpl.lib.tex.us/hpl/clayton.html
Library of Congress- chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/
Royal and Nobal genealogical data- www3.dcs.hull.ac.uk/genealogy/GEDCOM.html

Illustration by Jamie Givens

It’s this simple: sore feet and neglected shoes lead to poor performance. Climbing your best means paying attention to footwork before the rubber touches rock. Revive your footwork in three steps: get the right rock shoes, treat those shoes like your firstborn, and give your feet some TLC along the way. See? Your edging is looking better already.

Choosing rock shoes is about as easy as getting up 5.14. Every company uses different lasts (the molds used to give rock shoes their fi nal shape), as well as different sizing. Some shoes will stretch and conform to your foot over time, while others won’t. Add to that the array of fi ts for the various types of climbing, and you have quite a puzzle on your hands… er, feet. Before shopping, first decide what type of climbing you plan to do most in the shoes. Then, get a good night’s sleep, hydrate thoroughly, and prepare to spend an afternoon trying on numerous pairs and brands of shoes, while asking the store rep many questions. For crack climbing or all-day routes, fit on the comfy side and pick a shoe designed to let your toes lie relatively flat. For hard face climbing on short routes, go for a tighter fit and a shoe that coaxes your toes into a crunched position, which will give you more power to push off small edges and pockets. Color sometimes matters, too: If you climb long routes in the hot sun, think twice before buying a dark-colored shoe. And “cut your damn toenails before you try on rock shoes,” says Winston Voigt of Neptune Mountaineering. In fact, carefully trimmed toenails always make climbing feet happier.

Once you’ve picked the perfect rock shoes, don’t stand around in the dirt in them. Dirty rubber soles lose their stickiness and wear fast, so, at the very least, give your shoes a wipe between burns. Tote a hand towel or carpet scrap in your pack to lay out like a doormat below routes. At home, wipe down the soles with rubbing alcohol on a rag to revive the rubber’s grip.

“A rotten, nasty smell can be an indication that the leather is actually decaying,” says Eric Pauwels, owner of Rock & Resole in Boulder, explaining that this often happens when moisture builds up under the rand. Don’t stow sweaty shoes in your pack when you get home. At the crag, take off your shoes between climbs to let feet and shoes dry. You can even take off shoes at belays on multi-pitch climbs (clip them in!). If it’s hot, don’t leave shoes out in the sun, and keep your feet shaded while belaying. Cool feet are comfortable feet

Before your next crack attack, Pauwels suggests painting a bit of “rubber putty” onto worn spots of your shoes. Made of liquid urethane and rubber particles, the putty (such as Five Ten Stealth Paint) helps shoes weather the shredding that crack climbing unleashes. The same product can be used on the shoe’s upper; keep some putty in your pack to doctor impromptu blowouts.

Despite your best efforts, the repeated act of forcing your feet into tight shoes may take its toll. “The biggest foot problems climbers have are associated with compression and friction,” says Dr. Thomas Shonka, attending podiatrist at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Spot-stretching can help climbers with these and other issues (such as swollen nerves caused by repetitive movement) made worse by restrictive shoes. Any shoe-repair or ski-boot shop should be able to make the modifi cations. Dr. Shonka also recommends silicone pads to alleviate pain caused by hot spots. “You want to be sure to put more pressure around a pressure point than over it,” he says. In other words, encircle problem spots in little doughnuts of relief.

It’s only natural that hot feet stuffed into airtight rubber tombs will start to smell like dead animals, but having your $150 rock shoes turn into a potential health hazard is no fun. Rock & Resole, which deals with stinky rock shoes on a daily basis, uses an odorcide spray to make less-than-pleasant shoes bearable. Anne-Worley Moelter, owner of Movement Climbing + Fitness, relies on an antifungal powder spray to keep the rock gym’s rental shoes sanitary. For shoes with really bad odor problems, Moelter runs them through the washing machine. Moelter’s final tip is to stick dryer sheets in your shoes to keep them smelling Downy fresh. Your friends will thank you, and maybe they’ll start climbing with you again.

Kate Nelson, a Boulder-based freelance writer, used to have a foot fetish until she started hanging out with climbers.
By Kate Nelson / Illustration by Jamie Givens

Think Outside the Cache

If you have done any amount of geo caching at all, you are familiar with finding cache in  film canisters, prescription bottles, snap top or screw lid containers, and disguised with tan, black or camo duct tape.  They’re in the hole at the base of the tree, dangling off the limb, stuffed behind the post, or under the lamp post cover.

Occasionally though, you come across a really tough one.  A couple of examples are one that was hidden in the pine straw in a pine forest with no clues.  Another was one I found just yesterday, very cleverly disguised as the lock on a metal door.  Brilliant!  Don’t get me wrong, any find is a fun find, but those you have to search harder for are the ones you remember.  Right?

I challenge you to take it up a notch when you go to place your cache.  Look around on the web for ideas.  There are cache stores as well as some only found on ebay.  One such site, I had a fun time on today, was the Caching Containers store.  I started off looking at a bid they had on ebay and from there, I spent an hour browsing their selections.   They have your traditional stock as well as several natural looking containers that will make even the most experienced seekers scratch their head.

WAY TO GO GUYS!!!  The obvious thing I couldn’t help but notice was that he had two sets of water and two first aid kits.

Geocachers Save Two Women Stranded in Desert

Imagery ©2010 TerraMetrics, Map data ©2010 Europa Technologies, Google – Terms of Use

Geocachers Roy Joseph (Rojo464) and Paul Fox (Pauleefox) drove through the rugged desert of Eastern Utah searching for five geocaches on Tuesday the 17th of August.  But they never made it past their second find.  What they encountered instead led to grateful tears and news headlines.

Roy and Paul had finished finding their second geocache and were looping around for a third – called “Bugy Softwear” (GCGMJT). The area of the desert that they searched is referred to as the Dolores Triangle.  It’s one of the most barren regions of the United States. The average temperature in August bakes the cracked ground at nearly 100 degrees F (38 C).    Bumping along in Roy’s jeep the two men stopped.  Just head of them, a mini-van sat wedged into the sandy soil.

Desert rescue

Paul says, “We saw the van in the gully from the road above it. Out here a vehicle in that position is either abandoned or there is somebody in need of help. Either way we needed to check it out.”

Roy adds, “When we first saw the car we could tell it was stuck. But it looked odd with the towels over the sun visors.  We were concerned with who might be in the van.  With it being in such a remote area we knew we had to make sure the occupants could get back to town.”

They drove the jeep next to the stranded vehicle.  Two women looked out. Roy says, “When we stopped beside the van the daughter said ‘Thank God’ and then started crying.”  A mother and daughter had been stranded in the van for two days.

Roy says he’s prepared for geocaching in the desert and they were able to offer immediate help: “I have a backpack I carry with water, snacks, SWAG, a first aid kit, a short rope, and batteries.  In the Jeep I carry tools, spare parts, a tow strap, a first aid kit,  a fire extinguisher, extra water and some blankets.”

This wasn’t his first encounter with someone needing help, but never before has the situation been this dire. “We have helped strangers get unstuck, hauled a bicyclist to the hospital, given water to hikers, but this was different – both these two women could have died.” After the rescue, the mother and daughter will be okay.

Paul says the situation is a first for him: “In my 64 years I don’t believe I have ever been in a position to rescue damsels in distress before.”