Saturday, October 6, 2012

Troop Trailer Round-Up 2012

This past fall was our third Troop Trailer Round-Up and our best attended yet, with 10 troops participating. Not every troop had a trailer, but everyone showed off how they transport gear to campouts and other events.
Roundtable Scouters visiting ten troop trailers in the parking lot.
So much can fit into this van.
Troop supplies
Trailer storage and drop-down door
Patrol boxes, shared propane, tents
Patrol boxes have a spray finish to increase friction
Gear for multiple patrols to share one large propane tank
Extra storage at the end of the tent cabinet.
Extra storage in the side door.
Troop logo and double swinging doors
A web of bungie cord holds items in place but moves aside for easy removal.
White board to check out numbered tents and tarps.
A web of bungie cord holds items in place but moves aside for easy removal.
Troop trailer with double swinging doors.
Trailer storage.
Yes, this troop trailer has a freezer chest.  A spare tire is also a good idea.
Troop logo
This trailer includes a four-drawer filing cabinet
One of the drawers holds important files, others hold a number of small items.
Troop logo and drop down door
Side door access
Rear door access
Troop storage with double swinging doors
Troop logo and double swinging doors
Troop storage and double swinging doors
Side door access and again, a spare tire is important.
Trailer storage
Bungies hold back tables.
Pick-up truck with a topper

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Webelos on Troop Visits

In order to earn the Arrow of Light, a Webelos Scout must visit with Boy Scout troop:
4. With your Webelos den, visit at least
  • one Boy Scout troop meeting and
  • one Boy Scout-oriented outdoor activity.
(If you have already done this when you earned your Outdoorsman activity badge, you may not use the same outing to fulfill requirements for your Arrow of Light Award.)
6. After you have completed all five of the above requirements, and after a talk with your Webelos den leader, arrange to visit, with your parent or guardian, a meeting of a Boy Scout troop you think you might like to join. Have a conference with the Scoutmaster. 
It is best for all involved if the boy can visit more than one troop.  Many small towns can only support one troop, and many leaders in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts believe in "feeder Packs."  This is not the Boy Scout way.  It is certainly convenient if a charter organization hosts both a Pack and a Troop, but boys need to know that they have options and can make their own choice.

Every troop has its own culture, its own strengths and weaknesses.  What is a great fit for one boy would be uncomfortable for another.  

My own son wanted a smaller troop - there were around nine boys when we joined.  He liked the activities that he did on a campout with them.  He didn't like the "talk-talk-talk" he encountered with a different troop.  He didn't like the "you can do this... once you turn 13" speech from a troop of most older boys.

My own Webelos den visited three troops. One Scoutmaster recruited our den.  Another troop was where one of our Webelos had cousins already involved.  Our "feeder" Troop Scoutmaster never answered my calls for when we could visit.

My own den of six Webelos had them joining three different troops across the city.  One dropped right away. One moved away after a few years.  Two had sports demands that wouldn't work with Scouts.  Two stay with it until high school.  One of them didn't advance beyond Second Class, but he told me about how much fun they have.  And one is working on finishing his requirements to earn his Eagle rank.

Another factor is friends and older brothers.  If a family already has one son in a troop, it's a strong pull for the younger one to join too.  Then, if his buddies want to stay with him, they join as well.  My own den had no older brother Scouts to contend with.

Parents also need to fell a connection with the troop.  Even if the troop doesn't currently need adult leaders, parents need to consider driving time and how well the troop communicates with parents outside of the weekly meeting.

Below are links to some evaluation tools for both the boy and his parents to capture their first impressions of each troop.

National's timeline for troops seeking Webelos:

Guidelines and sample questions for evaluating troops: 

A Parent's Guide, created by the Potawatomi Area Council and the Longs Peak Council.

Another parent's guide:

Checklists to use during troop visits:

Forum discussion about seeking a troop:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Roundtable Breakout Topics for 2012-13

This is our initial plan for Roundtable Breakout Topics this year.  As always, we may need to make changes due to availability of speakers, new information to share, or cancellations.  We will do our best to announce the changes prior to the meeting.  Click on the image to see it larger.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Conservation Good Turn

The purpose of this award is to encourage Packs, Troops, Teams, and Crews to join with conservation or environmental organizations (federal, state, county, local, or private) to carry out a Conservation Good Turn in their home communities. 

The award is earned by any youth and adult members.

Once a unit has completed a meaningful conservation project, unit leadership fills out an application form and submits it to Council.  

Participants earn a Conservation Good Turn patch (00149) and the unit receives a Conservation Good Turn Award certificate (21-389).  The patch is a temporary patch and is worn centered on the right pocket of the uniform.

Conservation Good Turn Info

Conservation Good Turn Certificate Application

Red Cedar District – Area County Parks

Wickiup Hill Learning Center
Wickiup Hill is likely the best Linn County site for Cub Scouts, as it is designed with young children in mind.

Removing invasive garlic mustard is an on-going project in many sites in Iowa, including at Wickiup Hill.
Garlic Mustard photos and explanation of threat

City of Cedar Rapids – Parks

Please contact the Parks Department first, rather than just showing up and cleaning a park.
  • The City will provide black garbage bags at the site and will pick up the bags afterwards if they are left in an agreed-upon location, especially for Saturday projects.
  • Parks staff will be able to match their project needs to your Pack’s range of ages and number of participants.
  • The Parks Department tracks the number of volunteer hours each year served in city parks, for their records.
  • If any park neighbors call about your Pack’s “suspicious behavior” in the park, the Parks Department will have a record of your presence.

Indian Creek Nature Center
Contact Jean Wiedenheft, who will have a wish list of ICNC projects available.  She can discuss your Pack’s abilities and match them to a project.  She is also open to ideas your Scouts have in mind

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Advencement Record Keeping

Guide to Advancement 2011 - the most recent updates to advancements for all levels of Scouting.

Cub Scout Advancement policies

Den Leaders need to track their Scouts' achievements, but for most packs, it is best to involve one other adult to coordinate the advancements and make the awards purchases for the entire pack.

Advancement Chair responsibilities

Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures

Advancement suggestions

ScoutNet: National BSA Internet Advancement

Record Keeping programs, software or web-based

Excel or Open Office Spreadsheets

Cub Scout Trax by Frank Steele:

US Scouting Service Project by Richard Diesslin:
Paper forms
Collection of National BSA tracking sheets

Unit Advancement form with fill-in-the-blanks

Unit Leadership Enhancements

Tucked away in Chapter 28 of the Cub Scout Leader Book are 15 Unit Leadership Enhancement Outlines.  These are short reviews of Training Topics.  It is intended that one of these be reviewed at every pack committee meeting.  In a few minutes you can review an entire facet of Scouting (e.g. Pack Meetings or Cub Scout Camping) and get answers you need.

These help the committee understand the program, how to work together, and improve the program for the boys.  This is a valuable source of supplemental training especially for those leaders that do not get to roundtable.  These can give valuable insights and ah-ha moments for the little time that is invested.

Cub Scout Leader Book on-line (also linked in the Cub Scouter links in the sidebar)
Unit Leadership Enhancements are found on pages 201-209 in the online document and on pages 28-1 through 28-9 in the paper book.

    Annual Program Planning
    Character Development
    Cub Scout Camping
    Family Involvement
    Leadership Training
    National Awards
    Pack Budget Plan
    Pack Committee
    Pack Meetings
    Planning Special Events
    Policies of the BSA
    Program Evaluation
    Youth Protection