Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Architecture Merit Badge resources

Dr. Architecture contacted me a while ago with more resources for those pursuing the Architecture merit badge.

Here are his recommended resources:

Original post on "Merit Badge of the Week: Architecture"

Monday, December 22, 2008

Architecture Merit Badge Overnighter

[Scouters in Dallas-Ft. Worth TX area--please share in Comments if you have any more data!]

OK, this requires some explaining.

I saw a comment posted related to "Boy Scouts" and "Architecture".

I've tried multiple times on separate occasions to get a link to work for the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas TX. Maybe it isn't working properly, maybe it is me. I use IE and a modern laptop.

Finally I searched for "Boy Scouts Dallas Architecture" in Google, and then selected the "Cached" link.

With some more trial and error, this is what I learned. The Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas is having an Architecture merit badge overnighter for Boy Scouts. (Yes, the link provided in Google is the one I used here, but I've had no luck.)

But in the interest of increasing the number of Architecture merit badges, here is the cached info.

Event is 31 JAN 2009, a Saturday night. Deposit is due 5 weeks in advance (27 DEC!), so hurry. Full paperwork and fees are due 3 weeks in advance, so there is still plenty of time to get your Scouts signed up.

Contact information from the cache copy: Contact Reservations at 214-428-5555 X 8 for more information.

Good luck, and let me know how the event goes. If only I lived 1238 miles closer...

Merry Christmas..No, really!

Injury, illness, troop ski trip, 3 family trips, shopping for 8 kids and 4 grandkids, pack meeting, troop "cookie and hot chocolate" meeting, and my employer's super-helpful idea that the holidays are a great time for the finance people (me) to accelerate the end-of-year close and processing (but we "can still be off by 5 on Christmas Eve").

Oh, and don't forget to use your "use it or lose it" vacation time before New Year's Day.

Makes for a busy Christmas season.

I have a few short posts to make prior to the end of the year, but wanted to thank everyone for their support of this blog during 2008. It is a learning experience, as regular readers probably can tell.

Watch for more in 2009.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Merit Badge of the Week: Athletics


One of the strongest American passions is sports. Exercise, games, magazines, blogs, websites, television and more feed this driving need.

And when that isn't enough, we invent sports like "professional" wrestling and roller-derby.

We are also a nation growing a bit hefty about the middle. [I'm raising my hand. How about you?]

How do we tie these two facts together? Surprisingly, only 5959 of these were earned in 2007. (BSA Fact Sheet)

Let me challenge you this month, both Scout and Scouter--let's begin to earn this merit badge today.

I know, Scouters can't earn merit badges, but no one said you couldn't fulfill all the requirements anyway. Then, maybe pick up an extra to tuck away in your memorabilia...



The latest Athletics merit badge requirements from the BSA:

1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while participating in athletic events, including sprains, strains, contusions, abrasions, blisters, dehydration, and heat reactions.

2. Explain the following:
a. The importance of the physical exam
b. The importance of maintaining good health habits, especially during training
c. The importance of maintaining a healthy diet

3. Select an athletic activity to participate in for one season (or four months). Then do the following:
a. With guidance from your counselor, establish a personal training program suited to the activity you have chosen.
b. Organize a chart for this activity and monitor your progress during this time.
c. Explain to your counselor the equipment necessary to participate in this activity, and the appropriate clothing for the season and the locale.
d. At the end of the season, discuss with your counselor the progress you have made during training and competition and how your development has affected you mentally and physically.

4. Do the following:
a. Give the rules for two athletic activities, one of which is the activity you chose for requirement 3.
b. Discuss the importance of warming up and cooling down.
c. Explain to your counselor what an amateur athlete is and the differences between an amateur and a professional athlete.
d. Discuss the traits and importance of good sportsmanship. Tell what role sportsmanship plays in both individual and group athletic activities.

5. Complete the activities in FOUR of the following groups and show improvement over a three-month period:

Group 1: Sprinting
a. 100-meter dash
b. 200-meter dash
Group 2: Long-Distance Running
c. 3k run
d. 5k run
Group 3: Long Jump OR High Jump
e. Running long jump OR running high jump (best of three tries)
f. Standing long jump OR standing high jump (best of three tries)
Group 4: Swimming
g. 100-meter swim
h. 200-meter swim
Group 5: Pull-Ups AND Push-Ups
i. Pull-ups in two minutes
j. Push-ups in two minutes
Group 6: Baseball Throw
k. Baseball throw for accuracy, 10 throws
l. Baseball throw for distance, five throws (total distance)
Group 7: Basketball Shooting
m. Basketball shot for accuracy, 10 free-throw shots
n. Basketball throw for skill and agility, the following shots as shown on the diagram:



1. Left-side layup
2. Right-side layup
3. Left side of hoop, along the key line
4. Right side of hoop, along the key line
5. Where key line and free-throw line meet, left side
6. Where key line and free-throw line meet, right side
7. Top of the key
8. Anywhere along the three-point line
Group 8: Football Kick OR Soccer Kick
i. Goals from the 10-yard line, eight kicks
j. Football kick or soccer kick for distance, five kicks (total distance)
Group 9: Weight Training
k. Chest/bench press, two sets of 15 repetitions each
l. Leg curls, two sets of 15 repetitions each

6. Do the following:
a. Prepare plans for conducting a sports meet or field day that includes 10 activities, at least five of which must come from the groups mentioned in requirement 5. Outline the duties of each official needed and list the equipment the meet will require.
b. With your parent's and counselor's approval, serve as an official or volunteer at a sports meet to observe officials in action. Tell your counselor about your responsibilities at the meet and discuss what you learned.

Resource List:

  1. Always start with Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge.
  2. Worksheet on Athletics from usscouts.org. This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
  3. Basic first aid from BSA videos (use your manual, too).
  4. Start with the basics--walking. 10 weeks to better health by walking, via email. (The program is via email--you have to do the actual walking!)
  5. Try the "100 Pushups Training Program"--can you do it? You will in 6 weeks.
  6. Get Fit Slowly--good advice and a good blog.
  7. Participate in the President's Challenge: kids, teens, and adults--it isn't just for kids any more. Earn the awards, too!
  8. BL Gym videos (as in Boys' Life)--16 videos to help with basic weight training on the BL Get Fit Workout. Workout log, too.
  9. Education World has a great section on planning field days, including 15 different relay races and 20 other activities you can use.
  10. After you do the other 9 resource items, you've earned this.

Related BSA merit badges: Archery, Backpacking, Canoeing, Climbing, Cycling, Fishing, Fly-Fishing, Gardening, Golf, Hiking, Horsemanship, Lifesaving, Personal Fitness, Rifle Shooting, Rowing, Shotgun Shooting, Skating, Small-Boat Sailing, Snow Sports, Sports, Swimming, Water Sports, and Whitewater.

Do you have a resource for the Athletics merit badge? Please let me know via email or the comments below.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Weekend Patrol Box #12

After Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and a weekend full of leftovers coming up, the Weekend Patrol Box is here to give your hands something to do that doesn't involve a fork. But I'll keep it light.

Turkey, sausage stuffing, pecan pie, frozen pumpkin pie, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy all have their place. On a plate!

I hope you and your families and friends all have a great weekend.

What a great holiday to remember duty to God, family and country.

Please pass the sweet potatoes...

  1. Get in a walk and a little fun--try letterboxing!
  2. Keep your dog healthy on the trail, from Backpacker.com
  3. A great Scout skill: pick a campsite.
  4. And a Backpacker video to round it out: hiking sand dunes.
  5. Good weekend to get in a little astronomy--hide Venus, Jupiter and the Moon behind your thumb at arm's length. Thanks NASA.
  6. Speaking of Astronomy--Scoutsigns' Merit Badge of the Week.
  7. Need new Scouting blogs to read? Try Halfeagle.com.
  8. Cook your turkey in a trash can. Really.
  9. Enjoy a joke at Boys' Life online.
  10. Black Friday--at Scoutstuff.org.

Coffee would go good with that pie... ;-)

See anything you like, or that you think should be here? Email me and let me know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Merit Badge of the Week: Astronomy



Space, the final frontier.

And we have a new Star Trek movie to remind us!

We continue to learn new things all the time. Want to see a new planet in our solar system? Or one in another solar system?

Amazing, especially since we have just found Nicolaus Copernicus's final resting place right here on Earth. (He figured out that the Earth orbits the Sun, and not the other way around. Kind of important.)

An "out of this world" 10,087 Astronomy merit badges were earned in 2007. (BSA Fact Sheet)

In the Astronomy merit badge, you will cover first aid and safety; understand the impact of light pollution; explain astronomical tools; identify stars and constellations; demonstrate knowledge of planetary movement; sketch astronomical data; participate in observation or other astronomy project; and discuss the educational requirements and career opportunities in astronomy.



The latest Astronomy merit badge requirements from the BSA:

1. Describe the proper clothing and other precautions for safely making observations at night and in cold weather. Tell how to safely observe the Sun, objects near the Sun, and the Moon. Explain first aid for injuries or illnesses such as heat and cold reactions, dehydration, bites and stings, and damage to your eyes that could occur during observation.

2. Explain what light pollution is and how it and air pollution affect astronomy.

3. With the aid of diagrams (or real telescopes if available), do each of the following:
a. Explain why binoculars and telescopes are important astronomical tools. Demonstrate or explain how these tools are used.
b. Describe the similarities and differences of several types of astronomical telescopes.
c. Explain the purposes of at least three instruments used with astronomical telescopes.

4. Do the following:
a. Identify in the sky at least 10 constellations, at least four of which are in the zodiac.
b. Identify at least eight conspicuous stars, five of which are of magnitude 1 or brighter.
c. Make two sketches of the Big Dipper. In one sketch, show the Big Dipper's orientation in the early evening sky. In another sketch, show its position several hours later. In both sketches, show the North Star and the horizon. Record the date and time each sketch was made.
d. Explain what we see when we look at the Milky Way.

5. Do the following:
a. List the names of the five most visible planets. Explain which ones can appear in phases similar to lunar phases and which ones cannot, and explain why.
b. Find out when each of the five most visible planets that you identified in requirement 5a will be observable in the evening sky during the next 12 months, then compile this information in the form of a chart or table. Update your chart monthly to show whether each planet will be visible during the early morning or in the evening sky.

6. At approximately weekly intervals, sketch the position of Venus, Mars, or Jupiter in relation to the stars. Do this for at least four weeks and at the same time of night. On your sketch, record the date and time next to the planet's position. Use your sketch to explain how planets move.

7. Do the following:
a. Sketch the face of the Moon and indicate at least five seas and five craters. Label these landmarks.
b. Sketch the phase and the daily position of the Moon, at the same hour and place, for a week. Include landmarks on the horizon such as hills, trees, and buildings. Explain the changes you observe.
c. List the factors that keep the Moon in orbit around Earth.
d. With the aid of diagrams, explain the relative positions of the Sun, Earth, and the Moon at the times of lunar and solar eclipses, and at the times of new, first-quarter, full, and last-quarter phases of the Moon.

8. Do the following:
a. Describe the composition of the Sun, its relationship to other stars, and some effects of its radiation on Earth's weather. Define sunspots and describe some of the effects they may have on solar radiation.
b. Identify at least one red star, one blue star, and one yellow star (other than the Sun). Explain the meaning of these colors.

9. With your counselor's approval and guidance, do ONE of the following:
a. Visit a planetarium or astronomical observatory. Submit a written report, a scrapbook, or a video presentation afterward to your counselor that includes the following information:
1. Activities occurring there
2. Exhibits and displays you saw
3. Telescopes and other instruments being used
4. Celestial objects you observed
b. Plan and participate in a three-hour observation session that includes using binoculars or a telescope. List the celestial objects you want to observe, and find each on a star chart or in a guidebook. Prepare an observing log or notebook. Show your plan, charts, and log or notebook to your counselor before making your observations. Review your log or notebook with your counselor afterward.
c. Plan and host a star party for your Scout troop or other group such as your class at school. Use binoculars or a telescope to show and explain celestial objects to the group.
d. Help an astronomy club in your community hold a star party that is open to the public.
e. Personally take a series of photographs or digital images of the movement of the Moon, a planet, an asteroid or meteoroid, or a comet. In your visual display, label each image and include the date and time it was taken. Show all positions on a star chart or map. Show your display at school or at a troop meeting. Explain the changes you observed.

10. List at least three different career opportunities in astronomy. Pick the one in which you are most interested and explain how to prepare for such a career. Discuss with your counselor what courses might be useful for such a career.

Resource List:

  1. Always start with Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge.
  2. Worksheet on Astronomy from usscouts.org. This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
  3. Dress for astronomical success! Stay warm!
  4. Basic first aid from BSA videos (use your manual, too).
  5. Observe the Sun safely at Sky and Telescope. Don't miss the tiny link at the bottom for page two.
  6. Lots of space news, multimedia links at space.com.
  7. Great resource on the Hubble telescope.
  8. Skywatch podcast--almost 200 episodes.
  9. The constellations--lots of good information.
  10. National Air and Space Administration website has video, TV, links, space mission updates and more. Also, a section for students.
  11. Backyard Astronomy for Amateur Astronomers
  12. The American Association of Amateur Astronomers online.
  13. Light pollution from Wikipedia--broad coverage of the subject.

Related BSA merit badges: Art, Photography, and Space Exploration.

Do you have a resource for the Astronomy merit badge? Please let me know via email or the comments below.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend Patrol Box #11

The snow is beginning outside my window. Lows this weekend in the teens--but a whole lot warmer than my years growing up on Eielson AFB, Alaska!

Yep, I'm still in t-shirts. And loving the cool weather.

I do try to encourage my Scouts to mentally fight the cold. A little toughness can go a long way with the weather. You learn a few tricks walking to school at 40 below zero!

Like how to hustle.

(By the way, if any Scout or Scouter from the Fairbanks or Eielson area see this, I'd love to hear about the troop on base!)

This week's Patrol Box will help you think about something besides the cold, too.
  1. Going somewhere? Use boyscouttrail.com's Online Tour Permit--you can edit it online, save it to your system, and not have to hunt down the information each time.
  2. Maybe we could feature a recipe from their site, too: Train Wreck
  3. Let the cold motivate you to earn a merit badge indoors: Art is online at Scoutsigns and will keep you busy.
  4. In case you missed it, Architecture was posted. Dr. Architecture wants to help spread the word to your Scouts, too.
  5. Go to Iceland! Roverway registration for Scouts 16 and up, per boyandgirlscouts.com. It should be warmer that time of the year...
  6. Probably a good time to review hypothermia with backpacker.com, a part of their Survival 101 program.
  7. Free BSA basketball: spend $75 at Scoutstuff.org (until 31 DEC or until they run out of basketballs!) Use Promo Code BB24108 at checkout.
  8. Autumn is a great time to collect things for a nature table, courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation. We have had one in our house for decades now. Kids love it!
  9. A Scoutmaster's Blog has a number of good things this week, but I'm partial to the manual collection.
  10. Christmas ornament from Hallmark (in store only): Snoopy and troop on Beagle Scout Day Out.
  11. Does anyone else wish we could order these ornaments (not just on cards)?
  12. The last Patrol Box mentioned woodworking--Bell Forest Products have an inexpensive assortment of exotic woods your Scouts might like to see (think Craftsman, Wood Carving and Woodwork).
  13. Kismif.org reminds us that the Pinewood Derby is just around the corner...thanks...
  14. OK, Scoutsigns isn't listed, but I'm sure it was an oversight: 30 Links for Cub Scouters
  15. A random click at Ropes and Poles brought me to "Fun with Ropes and Spars" at The Dump.
  16. Mike Rowe, Eagle Scout, just in case you are the last Scouter in America to see this letter.
  17. Do you need a copy sent to your Scout? From the bottom of the page:
    All you have to do is mail a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Eagle Scout Letter, Pilgrim Films and Television, 6180 Laurel Canyon Blvd., #350, No. Hollywood, CA 91606. Please allow 12+ weeks for Mike to fill it out, sign it and get it in the mail to you. And folks - this is an offer, a nice thing, a volunteer deal Mike wants to do for you - please don't complain if it takes a while to get to you, OK?

See anything you like, or didn't and you think should be here? Email me and let me know.

Now off to add Mike's show to my DVR...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Merit Badge of the Week: Art

Art merit badge has the distinction of being the shortest named merit badge.

Since I cannot draw a straight line, even with a ruler, let us say I never considered this one when I was a Scout.

Many Scouts can tell you that there are 8 basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and white . "Brown" is a fancy name for "dirt". Any 8 pack of Crayolas is more than sufficient.

Despite this limited selection, art surrounds us. From pictures posted to your refrigerator, to movies, to comic books, to photography, to music, to a limitless list of things crafted out of other things, art is everywhere.

Artists even help design products so we will want to buy them--think iPod.

Despite my efforts to personally avoid the Art merit badge, it remains wildly popular. It has a lifetime total of 1.1 million, and 27,112 new badges issued in 2007. (BSA Fact Sheet)

In the Art merit badge, you will tell a story with a picture; design a logo or something useful; create 4 different images of the same thing with different mediums; visit art; and learn about careers in art.



The latest Art merit badge requirements from the BSA:

1. Tell a story with a picture or pictures or using a 3-D rendering.

2. Do ONE of the following:
a. Design something useful. Make a sketch or model of your design and get your counselor's approval before you proceed. Then create a promotional piece for the item using a picture or pictures.
b. Design a logo. Share your design with your counselor and explain the significance of your logo. Then, with your parent's permission and your counselor's approval, put your logo on Scout equipment, furniture, ceramics, or fabric.

3. Render a subject of your choice in FOUR of these ways:
a. Pen and ink
b. Watercolors
c. Pencil
d. Pastels
e. Oil paints
f. Tempera
g. Acrylics
h. Charcoal
i. Computer drawing or painting

4. With your parent's permission and your counselor's approval, visit a museum, art exhibit, art gallery, artists' co-op, or artist's workshop. Find out about the art displayed or created there. Discuss what you learn with your counselor.

5. Find out about three career opportunities in art. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

Resource List:

  1. Always start with Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge.
  2. Worksheet on Art from usscouts.org. This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
  3. How to write a comic strip.
  4. Google helps you with free 3-D software: SketchUp
  5. USScouts.org has good notes on storytelling.
  6. About painting with acrylics--lots of links.
  7. About painting with watercolors--tons of links.
  8. About painting with oils--scads of links.
  9. About painting with pastels--more links.
  10. Artist's magazine online.
  11. How to draw with charcoal and pencil. Um, the piece of paper is drawn, too...
  12. Details behind careers in art--U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Related BSA merit badges: Architecture, Basketry, Cinematography, Photography, Pottery, Sculpture, Theatre, Wood Carving, and Woodwork.

Do you have a resource for the Art merit badge? Please let me know via email or the comments below.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend Patrol Box #10

Cold and blustery are coming your way.

Make sure that your patrol box is stocked with plenty of coffee (sugar and cream, if you like that) and hot chocolate mix to get through the weekend. And extra cups. Why do some of the Scouts always forget to bring a cup?

Oh, and plenty of spoons or coffee stirrers.

  1. The cool weather is making me think of indoor work, like woodworking. My Scout work would improve if I had the tools and space to make some projects happen. This is the winter...
  2. We signed up a new Cub Scout, fresh from Mexico. He speaks very little English right now, but is very excited. Our Bear Den Leader and I are rapidly learning about Spanish resources for the BSA online. Tip: we ordered a Spanish version of the Bear manual through our Scout office (for the parents) and an English version for him. Spanish edition was $2 cheaper! Scoutstuff pricing was the same though.
  3. Adult application in Spanish.
  4. Youth application in Spanish.
  5. Scouting...Vale la Pena! And in English!
  6. BSA Innovation Engine--lots of new ideas for Scouting. After the first of the year, you can contribute, too. Vote! C'mon Robotics Merit Badge!
  7. 0 (Zero) degree sleeping bags at scoutdirect.com for $30. Quick, while they last.
    "We recently received some Crescent Lake 0 Regular mummy sleeping bags which arrived to us with a minor cosmetic mistake. Our factory embroidered Crescent Lake 20 instead of Crescent Lake 0 on the outside of the bag."
  8. Don't forget to log your "Scouting for Food" into Good Turn for America.
  9. And read up on your BSA Good Turns. 100 train carloads of peach pits, really?
  10. Backpacker.com brings us good advice on surviving disasters in the wild.
  11. Advanced Buddy System: Stay or Go?
  12. Hammock camping is a great way to be mobile in the woods--Backpacker.com video.
  13. Signal miror--can you use one properly? Do you own one? Image.
  14. Veterans Day is a good time to bring up the US Heritage Awards: Silver for Cub Scouts, Gold for Boy Scouts. Our Cub Scouts earn them while working on Citizen activity badge for Webelos rank.
  15. Boyandgirlscouts.com shared info on an ArrowCorps5 documentary coming.
  16. Webelos to BSA transition--great questions to know the answers to before you are asked.
  17. And those new Scouts are ready for the National Honor Patrol award over at boyscouttrail.com.

Lots to work and and think about this weekend. If there is anything you'd like to see on here, please let me know.

What do you like to read about for Scouting?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Merit Badge of the Week: Architecture


Architecture brings to mind images of great churches, ancient buildings like the Acropolis, and the Taj Mahal.

It should also bring to mind your post office, where you live and go to school.

Architecture is about the structure and construction of buildings.

Everywhere you look, an architect has helped to create the places you live and work.

This is a short merit badge, and yet still only 2104 were issued in 2007. (BSA Fact Sheet)

In the Architecture merit badge, you will list the types of buildings in your community and sketch one; meet with an architect and discuss career and education options; visit a construction site; learn how building plans and materials are related; interview and understand client needs; and draw a scale representation of your bedroom.

The latest Architecture merit badge requirements from the BSA:

1. Tour your community and list the different building types you see. Try to identify buildings that can be associated with a specific period of history. Make a sketch of the building you most admire.

2. Arrange to meet with an architect. Ask to see the architect's office and to talk about the following:
a. Careers in architecture
b. Educational requirements
c. Tools an architect uses
d. Processes involved in a building project

3. Arrange to visit a construction project with the project's architect. Ask to see the construction drawings so that you can compare how the project is drawn on paper to how it is actually built. Notice the different building materials. Find out how they are to be used, why they were selected, and what determines how they are being put together.

4. Interview the owner or occupant of a home or other building (your "client"). Find out what your client's requirements would be for designing a new home or business facility. Write down all of your client's requirements that you think would affect layout or design of the new facility.

5. Measure your bedroom. Make an accurately scaled drawing of the floor plan indicating walls, doors, windows, and furniture. Neatly label your drawing, including your name and the date. (Drawing scale: 1/4 inch=1 foot)


Resource List:
  1. Always start with Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge.
  2. Worksheet on Architecture from usscouts.org. This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
  3. An overview of architecture from Wikipedia.
  4. Wikipedia also has a basic list of architecture topics--very informative.
  5. Find an architect in your area
  6. Learn about careers in architecture at ArchCareers.
  7. Be an architect in high school--summer opportunities to investigate at a college near you.
  8. If you lucky enough to be in the area, participate in programs at Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio.
  9. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a great place to run into architecture.
  10. Don't know how to draw to scale? Now you do.
  11. If you can't find the information you need, just Ask Dr. Architecture.

Related BSA merit badges: Citizenship in the Community, Drafting, Electricity, Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Model Design and Building, Plumbing and Surveying.

Do you have a resource for the Architecture merit badge? Please let me know via email or the comments below.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekend Patrol Box #9

Happy Halloween! And many of you will be remembering All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

Trick-or-treating on a Friday night is a busy way to start the weekend. Going to be chilly tonight, and I'm taking my grandkids out with my younger children to scare up some candy from the neighbors.

If you see a guy with a blindingly bright headlamp herding seven kids (five of which are under 3) down a dark neighborhood road, that would be me!

Please drive safely tonight!

The Patrol Box this week will warm you up when you get home, and after you've sorted candy and survived the subsequent sugar high and sugar crash. Grab a warm hot chocolate and read away.

  1. Boy-Scout-Talk is a free resource with excellent contributors. I read in "digest" format, and it is very manageable that way. Join! You will learn a lot!
  2. Cub-Scout-Talk is the same way, just for the younger at heart.
  3. Bat Conservation International has a new newsletter out. My Webelos Scouts have built their basic bat house before--good project!
  4. Scouting News: National Eagle Scout Association college scholarship info--get started!
  5. Free shipping Halloween Day only! Scoutstuff.org.
  6. Blister information from Scoutmaster.
  7. ...and a patrol box wash station, too. A Scout is clean.
  8. Backpacking Tip of the Week--good idea to keep it all organized. [Wish I'd thought of that column idea...;-) ]
  9. Commissioner's Corner has some thoughts on why we lose boys.
  10. ...and boyandgirlscouts.com has more to say about it.
  11. Great time of the year to try out letterboxing or geocaching.
  12. A Scoutmaster's Blog has a good list of "outdoor skill" Scout trivia for you and your Scouts to try.

If there is a blog or website that you think Scouts and Scouters would like to know about, please post a comment below or email me.

Everyone have a BOO-tiful night!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Merit Badge of the Week: Archery


Archery. Let's get to the point.

I've just finished a very good series of novels that take place in the 14th century, following an English archer (not Robin Hood). Seems that English archers were widely feared due to their prowess with the longbow in the Hundred Years War. England had a culture of archery, whereas the French did not. Big mistake.

Alphabetically, this is the first athletic merit badge. Blood and sweat will be spent in earning it. Practice is required, and a lot of it. Some Scouts will have a natural ability, and the rest of us will work hard at it.

Visions of William Tell and Robin Hood will fill your head.

This is a wildly popular merit badge: 46,550 were earned in 2007, just edging out Rifle Shooting for 12th place. (BSA Fact Sheet)

In the Archery merit badge, you will explain the safety rules; know the terms related to equipment; make an arrow and a bowstring; explain proper care of equipment; demonstrate knowledge of the rules of scoring and operation of a range; and show proficiency with either a recurve bow, longbow or compound bow.

The latest Archery merit badge requirements from the BSA:

1. Do the following:
A. State and explain the Range Safety Rules:
i. Three safety rules when on the shooting line
ii. Three safety rules when retrieving arrows
iii. The four range whistle commands and their related verbal commands
B. State and explain the general safety rules for archery. Demonstrate how to safely carry arrows in your hands.
C. Tell about your local and state laws for owning and using archery tackle.

2. Do the following:
A. Name and point to the parts of an arrow.
B. Describe three or more different types of arrows.
C. Name the four principle materials for making arrow shafts.
D. Make a complete arrow from a bare shaft.
E. Explain how to properly care for and store arrows.

3. Do the following:
A. Explain how to properly care for and store tabs, arm guards, shooting gloves, and quivers.
B. Explain the following terms: cast, draw weight, string height (fistmele), aiming, spine, mechanical release, freestyle, and barebow.
C. Make a bowstring.

4. Explain the following:
A. The importance of obedience to a range officer or other person in charge of a range
B. The difference between an end and a round
C. The differences among field, target, and 3-D archery
D. How the five-color National Archery Association (NAA) or Federation Internationale de Tir a l'Arc (FITA) target is scored
E. How the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) black-and-white field targets and blue indoor targets are scored
F. The elimination system used in Olympic archery competition

5. Do ONE of the following options:

Option A: Using a Recurve Bow or Longbow
A. Name and point to the parts of the recurve or longbow you are shooting.
B. Explain how to properly care for and store recurve bows and longbows.
C. Show the nine steps of good shooting for the recurve bow or longbow you are shooting.
D. Demonstrate the proper way to string a recurve bow or longbow.
E. Locate and mark with dental floss, crimp-on, or other method, the nocking point on the bowstring of the bow that you are using.
F. Do ONE of the following:
1. Using a recurve or longbow and arrows with a finger release, shoot a single round of ONE of the following BSA, NAA, or NFAA rounds:
a. An NFAA field round of 14 targets and make a score of 60 points
b. A BSA Scout field round of 14 targets and make a score of 80 points
c. A FITA/NAA Olympic (outdoor) round and make a score of 80 points
d. A Junior indoor* round and make a score of 180 points
e. A FITA/NAA indoor* round I and make a score of 80 points
f. An NFAA indoor* round and make a score of 50 points
OR
2. Shooting 30 arrows in five-arrow ends at an 80-centimeter (32-inch) five-color target at 10 yards and using the 10 scoring regions, make a score of 150.
OR
3. As a member of the NAA's Junior Olympic Development Program (JOAD), qualify as a Yeoman, Junior Bowman, and Bowman.
OR
4. As a member of the NFAA's Junior Division, earn a Cub or Youth 100-score Progression Patch.

Option B: Using a Compound Bow
A. Name and point to the parts of the compound bow you are shooting.
B. Explain how to properly care for and store compound bows.
C. Show the nine steps of good shooting for the compound bow you are shooting.
D. Explain why it is necessary to have the string on a compound bow replaced at an archery shop.
E. Locate and mark with dental floss, crimp-on, or other method, the nocking point on the bowstring of the bow that you are using.
F. Do ONE of the following:
1. Using a compound bow and arrows with a finger release, shoot a single round of one of the following BSA, NAA, or NFAA rounds:
2. An NFAA field round of 14 targets and make a score of 70 points
3. A BSA Scout field round of 14 targets and make a score of 90 points
4. A Junior 900 round and make a score of 200 points
5. A FITA/NAA Olympic (outdoor) round and make a score of 90 points
6. A FITA/NAA indoor* round I and make a score of 90 points
7. An NFAA indoor* round and make a score of 60 points
OR
G. Shooting 30 arrows in five-arrow ends at an 80-centimeter (32-inch) five-color target at 10 yards and using the 10 scoring regions, make a score of 170.
OR
H. As a member of the NAA's Junior Olympic Development Program (JOAD), qualify as a Yeoman, Junior Bowman, and Bowman.
OR
I. As a member of the NFAA's Junior Division, earn a Cub or Youth 100-score Progression Patch.
* The indoor rounds can be shot outdoors if this is more convenient.

Resource List:

  1. Always start with Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge.
  2. Worksheet on Archery from usscouts.org. This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
  3. Guide to Safe Scouting: Archery
  4. Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) from National Archery Association.
  5. Getting started in Archery: Minnesota State Archery Association has a good page of information.
  6. Archery safety rules.
  7. National Archery Association (NAA)
  8. National Field Archery Association (NFAA)
  9. Federation Internationale de Tir a l'Arc (FITA)
  10. Archery Range Whistle Commands
  11. Making a bowstring--tutorial
  12. Archery "how to make" videos from 3Rivers Archery (YouTube)

Related BSA merit badges: Rifle Shooting, Shotgun Shooting

Do you have a resource for the Archery merit badge? Please let me know via email or the comments below.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekend Patrol Box #8

This is the last weekend before Hallowe'en, and then the holiday rush begins.

Our regular meeting times are on Wednesday nights, so Thanksgiving rushes our month a bit. The same thing happens in December, with Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve falling on a meeting night.

I hate to cancel meetings, but a Scout's (and Scouter's) first duty is home and family so we cancel on the "eves".

For some of us fundraising is ending, and for others that sell Christmas trees and other holiday items, it is just getting underway.

This just adds to the joy of the season!

Enjoy the Patrol Box, and have a great weekend.
  1. To lead the Patrol Box off this weekend, how about a little online fun--carve a virtual pumpkin!
  2. Tuesday is "Free Taco" Day! Don't miss it!
  3. Did you participate in JOTA/JOTI this year? Ropes and Poles brings scoutcraft to the 51st JOTA and 12th JOTI this year.
  4. Popcorn season is finally...in the bag (couldn't resist!).
  5. Boy Scout Radio, for and by Boy Scouts, every Saturday at Radio Sandy Springs in Atlanta. Shows are archived and can be heard online.
  6. 121 merit badges, and Coleman Carter has them all! [Maybe skip the "comments" section for amarillo.com, as they don't appear to be filtered.]
  7. Archaeology is one that he has, too.
  8. Merit badge commentary from The Scoutmaster Minute.
  9. The Scoutmaster Minute also brings a Backpacking Tip of the Week. A timely discussion on layering in this column.
  10. Girl Scout Stew with a side of Thin Mints...courtesy of boyscouttrail.com.
  11. Or maybe dutch oven Caramel Pineapple Rolls from Lone Star Scouter (Troop 483 blog).
  12. Who knew that Scouting's favorite burro has a blog? Pedro's Weblog from boyslife.org.

Hope you enjoyed the Weekend Patrol Box--if you have any sites worth seeing, please leave a comment or email me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Scout is hungry...


Many of you will be familiar with this small addition to the Scout Law: A Scout is hungry.

Anyone who has been camping with them surely knows it.

Next Tuesday (28 OCT), Major League Baseball and Taco Bell are here to help you out.

More at Steal A Base Steal A Taco. Slide on in!

Merit Badge of the Week: Archaeology

Archaeology.

Visions range from digging in the endless heat and sand of the desert, to the swashbuckling adventures of Indiana Jones.

Dinosaur bones, ancient sea beds, pottery shards near a riverside, Egypt, giant ants that carry you off into the ground...OK, that was the last Indiana Jones movie.

This is definitely a more popular merit badge, too: 5522 were earned in 2007. (BSA Fact Sheet)

In the Archaeology merit badge, you will learn how archaeology is different from other related fields of study; describe how archaeology is performed; visit an archaeological site; present your findings to a group; explain why preserving the past is important; participate in an archaeology project; research the American Indians or settlers from your area; and discover the career options in archaeology.

Oh, and learn to spell "archaeology".


The latest Archaeology merit badge requirements from the BSA:

1. Tell what archaeology is and explain how it differs from anthropology, geology, paleontology, and history.

2. Describe each of the following steps of the archaeological process: site location, site excavation, artifact identification and examination, interpretation, preservation, and information sharing.

3. Describe at least two ways in which archaeologists determine the age of sites, structures, or artifacts. Explain what relative dating is.

4. Do TWO of the following:
a. Learn about three archaeological sites located outside the United States.
b. Learn about three archaeological sites located within the United States.
c. Visit an archaeological site and learn about it.
For EACH site you research for options a, b, or c, point it out on a map and explain how it was discovered. Describe some of the information about the past that has been found at each site. Explain how the information gained from the study of these sites answers questions that archaeologists are asking and how the information may be important to modern people. Compare the relative ages of the sites you research.

5. Choose ONE of the sites you picked for requirement 4 and give a short presentation about your findings to a Cub Scout pack, your Scout troop, your school class, or another group.

6. Do the following:
a. Explain why it is important to protect archaeological sites.
b. Explain what people should do if they think they have found an artifact.
c. Describe the ways in which you can be a protector of the past.

7. Do ONE of the following:
a. Make a list of items you would include in a time capsule. Discuss with your merit badge counselor what archaeologists a thousand years from now might learn from the contents of your capsule about you and the culture in which you live.
b. Make a list of the trash your family throws out during one week. Discuss with your counselor what archaeologists finding that trash a thousand years from now might learn from it about you and your family.

8. Do ONE of the following:
a. Under the supervision of a qualified archaeologist, spend at least eight hours helping to excavate an archaeological site.
b. Under the supervision of a qualified archaeologist, spend at least eight hours in an archaeological laboratory helping to prepare artifacts for analysis, storage, or display.
c. If you are unable to work in the field or in a laboratory under the supervision of a qualified archaeologist, you may substitute a mock dig. To find out how to make a mock dig, talk with a professional archaeologist, trained avocational archaeologist, museum school instructor, junior high or high school science teacher, adviser from a local archaeology society, or other qualified instructor. Plan what you will bury in your artificial site to show use of your "site" during two time periods.

9. Under the supervision of a qualified archaeologist or instructor, do ONE of the following:
a. Help prepare an archaeological exhibit for display in a museum, visitor center, school, or other public area.
b. Use the methods of experimental archaeology to re-create an item or to practice a skill from the past. Write a brief report explaining the experiment and its results.

10. Do ONE of the following:
a. Research American Indians who live or once lived in your area. Find out about traditional lifeways, dwellings, clothing styles, arts and crafts, and methods of food gathering, preparation, and storage. Describe what you would expect to find at an archaeological site for these people.
b. Research settlers or soldiers who were in your area at least 100 years ago. Find out about the houses or forts, ways of life, clothing styles, arts and crafts, and dietary habits of the early settlers, farmers, ranchers, soldiers, or townspeople who once lived in the area where your community now stands. Describe what you would expect to find at an archaeological site for these people.

11. Identify three career opportunities in archaeology. Pick one and explain how to prepare for such a career. Discuss with your counselor what education and training are required, and tell why this profession might interest you.

Resource List:

1) Always start with Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge.
2) Worksheet on Archaeology from usscouts.org. This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
3) DIG—the archaeology magazine for kids with a lot of great links.
4) Archaeological parks in the United States—go dig! Sites are listed by state.
5) Historic Jamestown in Virginia: if you travel in the area, visit the ongoing archaeology sites at Virginia’s 400 year old community.
6) Online audio and video research: the Archaeology Channel.
7) Need a project? The National Forest Service has the Passport in Time to offer. Some of these project involve backcountry camping.
8) The National Park Service has an archaeology program, too. There is a section for youth, but the main site has the most to offer.
9) Trash can dig fits right in with requirement 7B.
10) National Geographic brings archaeology news from all over the world.

Related BSA merit badges: American Heritage, Basketry, Genealogy, Indian Lore, and Pottery.

Do you have a resource for the Archaeology merit badge? Please let me know via email or the comments below.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Popcorn Tip--Week #9: Is it really over?


Well, nothing left to sell.

You are just waiting for the final delivery so you can pass out your popcorn and collect the money to turn in on time.

A few folks might want to reorder, or add to their order.

You have a couple of options:

1) Contact the council office to see if they have any left. Often, the council office will have a few extra cans to help you out.

2) Folks can order year round from Trails End via the Internet. You will need an identification number (order key), which you can get from your popcorn chairman.

Remember, during the coming year you will benefit from the money you helped to raise from popcorn. Maybe it will help you pay for summer camp, a new backpack, pieces for your uniform or a big trip. Maybe you just got a great new pocketknife for a prize.

Maybe you earned the Salesmanship merit badge!

Be proud of what you did, and think about all of the hard work you accomplished.

In only 8 more months, you can help start it all over again!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Patrol Box #7

Wow, the fall colors are out in great form this weekend.

I just returned from a trip, and need to get the Patrol Box out before the weekend fades into the sunset. We have a Patrol Leaders Council at my house tonight, so there is a lot to get packed in quickly.

Next month's theme for the Boy Scouts is "High Adventure"; for the Cub Scouts, it is "Seeds of Kindness". Our troop will have their semi-annual elections, followed by a Court of Honor. Both the pack and the troop have Scouting for Food projects, too.

OK, let's get to the patrol box.

For Cub Scouts: Seeds of Kindness Program Helps from the BSA.

Boy Scouts have "High Adventure" in mind, pages 66-75. Note--this is a step in the right direction for the BSA, to put the Troop Program Features online. Now they just need to split the 3 volumes up!

BSA: Scouting Safely--lots of links from here regarding all aspects of safety, including the Guide to Safe Scouting, Age-Appropriate Guidelines, Safe Swim Defense, and a lot more.

One more thing this week from BSA: the American Red Cross and BSA Training Agreement--are you taking advantage of it?

Christmas and other holiday seasons are right around the corner--Scoutstuff.org has the new catalog out.

Safely cross a river without a bridge--Backpacker.com.

Or cross a river with Ropes and Poles' pontoon ferry.

The Scoutmaster Minute has some advice on Jamboree interviews. Good things to think about in general, too.

Incarcerated Scouts? Idea for a new unit in your council?

Building a camp flag pole from the Chairman's Chat blog.

Merit Badge of the Week: Animal Science

Almost the end: Popcorn tip #8

Webelos Crossover: KISMIF.org wants to know when your Webelos move on. Vote to see when most units do it.

So, what are you doing this weekend to help move Scouting along? Leave a comment!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Merit Badge of the Week: Animal Science

"Animal Science" merit badge covers a subject near and dear to many a carnivore's heart: where our agricultural meat comes from. OK, maybe not the "Horse Option", but everything else looks like farm food that walks.

A century ago, most Americans were tied to the land somehow, raising their food to either support themselves or their communities.

2007's merit badge count says it all now: 2608 for the whole year. Even in rural county like mine, I would be hard pressed to find a Scout who has earned this one. (BSA Fact Sheet)

Local agriculture is making a comeback though--more and more people are interested in where their food comes from. Many are taking the steps to buy it locally from local producers. So this information is still valuable to understand the quality of our food products.

Moo.

In the Animal Science merit badge, you will identify multiple breeds of livestock and where they come from; list and know the symptoms of their diseases; explain their digestive systems; tell how to manage a type of large animal; understand the value of animal breeding programs; within one of six animal groups, address the agricultural issues that group; and finally investigate three career options in this field.


1. Name four breeds of livestock in each of the following classifications: horses, dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, hogs. Tell their principal uses and merits. Tell where the breeds originated.

2. List five diseases that afflict the animals in each of the classifications in requirement 1. Also list five diseases of poultry. Describe the symptoms of each disease and explain how each is contracted and how it could be prevented.

3. Explain the major differences in the digestive systems of ruminants, horses, pigs, and poultry. Explain how the differences in structure and function among these four types of digestive tracts affect the nutritional management of these species.

4. Select one type of animal--beef cow, dairy cow, horse, sheep, goat, or hog, or a poultry flock--and tell how you would properly manage it. Include in your discussion nutritional (feeding) concerns, housing, disease prevention, waste control/removal, and breeding programs if appropriate.

5. Explain the importance of setting clear goals for any animal breeding program. Tell how purebred lines of animals are produced. Explain the practice of crossbreeding and the value of this practice.

6. Complete ONE of the following options:

Beef Cattle Option
A) Visit a farm or ranch where beef cattle are produced under any of these systems:
i) Feeding market cattle for harvest
ii) Cow/calf operation, producing cattle for sale to commercial feeders
iii) Producing purebred cattle for sale as breeding stock to others.
Talk with the operator to learn how the cattle were handled, fed, weighed, and shipped. Describe what you saw and explain what you learned. If you cannot visit a cattle ranch or farm, view a video from a breed association, or research the Internet (with your parent's permission) for information on beef cattle production. Tell about your findings.
B) Sketch a plan of a feedlot to include its forage and grain storage facilities, and loading chute for 30 or more fattening steers; or sketch a corral plan with cutting and loading chutes for handling 50 or more beef cows and their calves at one time.
C) Make a sketch showing the principal wholesale and retail cuts of beef. Tell about the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dual grading system of beef. Tell the basis of each grade in each system.
D) Define the following terms: bull, steer, bullock, cow, heifer, freemartin, heiferette, calf.

Dairying Option
A) Tell how a cow or a goat converts forage and grain into milk. Explain the differences in feeds typically used for dairy cows versus those fed to beef cows.
B) Make a chart showing the components in cow's milk or goat's milk. Chart the amount of each component.
C) Explain the requirements for producing grade A milk. Tell how and why milk is pasteurized.
D) Tell about the kinds of equipment used for milking and the sanitation standards that must be met on dairy farms.
E) Define the following terms: bull, cow, steer, heifer, springer; buck, doe, kid.
F) Visit a dairy farm or a milk processing plant. Describe what you saw and explain what you learned. If you cannot visit a dairy farm or processing plant, view a video from a breed or dairy association, or research the Internet (with your parent's permission) for information on dairying. Tell about your findings.

Horse Option
A) Make a sketch of a useful saddle horse barn and exercise yard.
B) Tell about the history of the horse and the benefits it has brought to people. Using the four breeds of horses you chose in requirement 1, discuss the different special uses of each breed.
C) Define the following terms: mare, stallion, gelding, foal, colt, filly; mustang, quarter horse, draft horse, pacer, trotter; pinto, calico, palomino, roan, overo, tobiano.
D) Visit a horse farm. Describe what you saw and explain what you learned. If you cannot visit a horse farm, view a video from a breed association, or research the Internet (with your parent's permission) for information on horses. Tell about your findings.
E) Outline the proper feeding of a horse doing light work. Explain why the amount and kind of feed will change according to the kind of horse and the work it does. Describe what colic is, what can cause it, and its symptoms.

Sheep Option
A) Make a sketch of a live lamb. Show the location of the various wholesale and retail cuts.
B Discuss how wools are sorted and graded.
C) Do ONE of the following:
i) Raise a lamb from weaning to market weight. Keep records of feed intake, weight gains, medication, vaccination, and mortality. Present your records for review by your counselor.
ii) Visit a farm or ranch where sheep are raised. Describe what you saw and explain what you learned. If you cannot visit a sheep farm or ranch, view a video from a breed association, or research the Internet (with your parent's permission) for information on sheep. Tell about your findings.
D) Describe some differences between the production of purebred and commercial lambs. Then select two breeds that would be appropriate for the production of crossbred market lambs in your region. Identify which breed the ram should be.
E) Define the following terms: wether, ewe, ram, lamb.

Hog Option
A) Make a sketch showing the principal wholesale and retail cuts of pork. Tell about the recommended USDA grades of pork. Tell the basis for each grade.
B) utline in writing the proper feeding programs used from the breeding of a gilt or sow through the weaning of the litter. Discuss the feeding programs for the growth and finishing periods.
C) Do ONE of the following:
i) Raise a feeder pig from weaning to market weight. Keep records of feed intake, weight gains, medication, vaccination, and mortality. Present your records for review by your counselor.
ii) Visit a farm where hogs are produced, or visit a packing plant handling hogs. Describe what you saw and explain what you learned. If you cannot visit a hog production unit or packing plant, view a video from a packer or processor, or research the Internet (with your parent's permission) for information on hogs. Tell about your findings.
E) Define the following terms: gilt, sow, barrow, boar.
Avian Option
A) Make a sketch of a layer house or broiler house showing nests, roosts, feeders, waterers, and means of ventilation. Explain how insulation, ventilation, temperature controls, automatic lights, and other environmental controls are used to protect birds from heat, cold, and bad weather.
B) Explain why overcrowding is dangerous for poultry flocks.
C) Tell about the grading of eggs. Tell how broilers (fryers) are graded. Describe the classes of chicken meat.
D) Do ONE of the following:
i) Manage an egg-producing flock for five months. Keep records of feed purchased, eggs sold, medication, vaccination, and mortality. Present your records for review by your counselor.
ii) Raise 20 chicks from hatching. Keep records of feed intake, weight gains, medication, vaccination, and mortality. Present your records for review by your counselor.
iii) Visit a commercial avian production facility. Describe what you saw and explain what you learned. If you cannot visit a commercial facility, view a video from a poultry association, or research the Internet (with your parent's permission) for information on poultry production. Tell about your findings.
E) Define the following terms: hen, rooster, chick, capon; tom, poult.
7. Find out about three career opportunities in animal science. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

Resource List:

1) Always start with Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge.
2) Worksheet on Animal Science from usscouts.org. This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
3) LocalHarvest is a great place to look for locally produced food: beef, turkey, pork, lamb, and chicken. And veggies. And lots more.
4) More on local eating and food sources--100milediet.org. Can you really get all of your food in under 100 miles from home? For Thanksgiving?
5) Wikipedia: Horse meat is a food source in much of Europe and Asia.
6) Breeds of Livestock: Under "Cattle", the letter A by itself has 26 different kinds listed.
8) Food Safety and Inspection Service: Inspection and grading of meat


Do you have a resource for the Animal Science merit badge? Please let me know via email or the comments below.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Generating Individual Scout Order Keys for OrderPopcorn.com

This is a great way to encourage incremental sales throughout the year, or to extend your popcorn sales beyond your local area.

Just follow the step below, and you will generate the "order key" your Scouts need to get credit for their work. This looks like a lot of steps, but it is pretty straightforward and quick.

1) Go to http://www.trails-end.com/ .

2) Select the red “Leaders” button at the top of the page.

3) From the list on the far left, select “Popcorn System”. This will bring up the Popcorn System Login Page.

4) Enter last year’s username and password. If your unit has not done this in the past, get the username and password from the council office. The system will prompt you for a new email and password.

5) Next you will get a screen advising you to check the email address you entered for a confirmation code.

6) In that email from Trails End (almost instantly available), click on the link provided. It will verify your login, and allow you to login to the Popcorn System.

7) Enter your username and password, and click on the “Login” button.

8) The next screen will bring up your personal information: name, address, phone numbers. Please complete, and enter the data.

9) After you have confirmed the information, you will receive another email with important details—please read it over.

10) This will launch your unit’s screen, which will say, “Pack XYZ-Unit Home Page” in the upper left.

11) Above the “Pack XYZ-Unit Home Page”, you will see “User”, “Sub-units”, etc.

12) Click on “Scouts”.

13) If someone has used this system for your unit before, there may be a list of Scouts. Please edit as appropriate, and click on the “Save Changes” button in the lower right-hand corner. [A Scout’s Order Key is forever, so please don’t delete active Scouts.]

14) After editing, scroll to the bottom of the screen. Under “Additional Actions in Pack XYZ”, you will see “Scout Transfer Area” and “Add Multiple Scouts”.

15) “Scout Transfer Area” is for transferring existing Scouts into this unit (again, “A Scout’s Order Key is forever”). Use as necessary. I can see where this might be an important function for the Popcorn Chair to use or follow-up on after the Webelos Scouts move on to their new troops.

16) “Add Multiple Scouts” makes your work easier if you have more than one or two Scouts to enter into the Popcorn System. Click on “Add Multiple Scouts”.

17) The next screen asks how many Scouts you need to enter. Put the number in the box. Click on “Generate Multi Form”. [If you guess the wrong number, don’t worry—you’ll be able to add more later, or just leave the rest blank if you guessed too high.]

18) Enter each Scouts information. Do not use last names, per the instructions. Example: “Timmy Webelos” would be entered as “Timmy” in the first box, and “W” in the second box.

19) Complete data for all Scouts, and hit the button.

20) The system will think for a few seconds and then generate a very impressive, alphabetical list. This list will have the Scout’s “First Name & Intial”, “Order Key”, “Goal”, “Login” and “Password”.

IMPORTANT: The Login and Password are for use on www.trails-end.com.

For the "Scout Sign In" link on www.orderpopcorn.com, Scouts should use their Order Key as both their Username and Password.

Once you provide a Scout with his lifetime “Order Key”, it is up to them.

This link will cover the instructions for long distance and after-the-season purchases, credited directly to your Scout:
http://www.trails-end.com/TEPublic/docs/InternetFlyer.pdf

Monday, October 13, 2008

Popcorn Tip--Week #8: Wrap it up!

The popcorn season is almost over.

You still have a few jobs left to do though.

Check with the couple of neighbors that haven’t seemed to be home yet.

Make sure family orders are all written down.

Write out a few “thank you” notes to drop off when you deliver your popcorn. “Military Donations” or large purchases should especially be noted and thanked.

Make sure your paperwork is all filled out properly. Double-check that the math is right.

Select your prizes and write it down for your popcorn chairman.

Make photocopies of your sign-up sheets to help with next year’s sales.

Turn in your paperwork, prize sheet, and funds collected to your popcorn chairman. Get a receipt for the money you turn in!

Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and a great popcorn season! You have really helped to “support Scouting” for yourself, your unit and your council!

Good job, Scout!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekend Patrol Box #6

Hey, six weeks have come and gone now. Hope the Patrol Box is giving you plenty to read and learn from.

Feel free to link to it or send out to your Scouts, too.

Shenrapawa's Mighty Troop 423 is headed out on our Lewis and Clark Fall Camporee this weekend. Tomahawk throwing, canoe races, letterboxing, and spectacular camping weather--what more could you ask for?

How about a good Patrol Box?

Let's help Ropes and Poles celebrate: 3 years of bringing us great Scouting on the web. The pictures on this entry alone will make you green with envy.

Scoutsigns has brought me another benefit: other great websites that I hadn't already known about. Boyandgirlscouts.com has a steady stream of news and updates for you about Scouting.

This one will remind you why we supervise our Scouts when doing fundraising! Dumbfounding video--worth the couple of minutes.

Speaking of fundraising: how is your popcorn season going? New tip!

The Backpacker.com video this week is on treating bloody wounds in the wild. They have a great first aid device, and I can just see all the Scouts running up to Mom for a little help.

Backpacker.com also has great articles: anyone ever have to help a Scout with fears in the woods? Or have them yourself?

This Columbus Day weekend is first annual "Make Tracks Family Trail Weekend" from the National Wildlife Federation. Encourage your Scouts to get out!

KISMIF.org has a great idea for letting Scouts know where to be: den signs. Could be used by Boy Scouts, too, with patrol flags or emblems.

Scoutmaster Musings addresses Demonstrate Scout Spirit in your everyday life. How do YOU handle this? Comment below!

Childcare at about.com has a great list of 10 fun activities for teaching fire safety. This would be easy to work in to a den meeting, or have a Boy Scout teach to a den.

I know everyone's attention is on the economy right now--been quite week. Might be a good time to get your Scouts intersted in American Labor or American Business merit badges. You might want to turn the American Business badge upside down though, this week. ;-)

Well, I've got a van to load up for the weekend. Hope this Patrol Box gave you a lot to think about and share with your Scouts.