Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Funny Words of LNT

I’ve long practiced, as a Scout Leader, the idea of leaving your camp group cleaner than when you found it.  Cathole, Front Country, Microtrash and dispersed meadow crossing, dispersed wood gathering, Hard Surface Camping, Fire Insulation and Bear Bags were concepts and terms new to this old time Scouter.  These terms and simple ideas on how to reduce our impact, during our outdoor adventures, were all part of the Salt Lake Council’s Outdoor Ethics – Leave No Trace training.

Our mountains, canyons and deserts ,once visited infrequently, are welcoming millions of visitors every year.  The increase in visitors is having a dramatic affect on the ability of these natural wonders to recover between visits.  Outdoor Ethics expects and requires that we, the guardians of these natural resources, take an active role in creating outdoor experiences with less impact.  Seven guiding principals can help us “think before we go” so that we can help maintain nature’s natural beauty.

  • Plan ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly (pack it in, pack it out)
  • Leave what you Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

I’ve experienced Microtrash at every camp I’ve ever been on; Those little end pieces that are created when you tear open a larger bag or the biggest culprit; individual candy wrappers. At our successful Klondike camp many of us had to spend time picking up Microtrash thoughout the campsite where over 600 Scouts and Leaders had been camping and participating in the event.  There are easy solutions to this Scouting trash problem.  First, is train the Scouts and Leaders to be aware of the Microtrash and depose of it properly, Second, is for each group to clean their area and help clean common areas of these little trouble makers (trash, not boys J) and finally think about not allowing wrappers to join the trip.  Boys, candy and camps just go together so a dictatorial ban probably won’t be successful.  However, taking a night to train boys to de-wrap their candies before they come to camp can be fun and prevent much of the Microtrash pain.  Candies in a zip lock bag are protected yet don’t have the Microtrash sidekick. 

Beginning at the September 2015 Basic Training, the Western Skies Training Staff will offer a 3 hour Leave No Trace Guide Course.  Come and learn about the fun ways we, as Scouters, can help reduce our impact on our natural resources.

J. Bradley Simons, District Training Chairman

Get Them Outside!

Spring is here and it is time to get outdoors.  Remember that Scouting to a boy includes the promise of outdoor adventure.  There are many wonderful opportunities to get your troops and patrols engaged and outside.  Combine any of these with an overnight campout and a merit badge and you’ll have a program that sizzles!  Here are a few ideas and links:
Hiking – there are many hikes in the Wasatch, Oquirrh, Uinta, and Stansbury Mountains, as well as nearby city and desert options.  Whether it’s the Jordan River Trail or Mount Timpanogos, there are hikes to fit every ability and interest.               

Service – the camping merit badge requires completion of a conservation project.  Consider the spring service Camporee at Hinckley Scout Ranch (East Fork of the Bear) May 29-30.

Bicycling – this takes a little more preparation and gear (please follow Guide to Safe Scouting), but can be super rewarding.  Consider the Rail Trail from Park City to Wanship or the Provo River Trail.

Summer Camp – hopefully you’ve already signed up for camp.  We’ll review a few items at April’s Roundtable that will make summer camp a better experience for all involved.  Leader’s Guides for all Great Salt Lake Council camps are available online and Leader’s Orientation Meetings are coming up soon.

Now, get them outside!

What Makes a Hero? How Can You Be Someone's Hero?

A Japanese Surfer Scuba Dives to Tsunami Victims
By Paul K Pickett July 02, 2013 The "Nobody"

Hideaki Akaiwa was just a regular guy working a regular job when the 2011 Tohoku earthquake shook his world apart. The good news for Akaiwa was that he was several miles inland when the 130-foot tsunami 

The Heroism

When the ocean itself swallows your city, what do you do? Common sense and the 1998 disaster film Deep Impact tell you to make for higher ground as fast as you can and hope that your loved ones do the same. Fortunately for everyone involved, Akaiwa had opted for watching Armageddon instead of Deep Impact. Akaiwa's neighborhood wasn't just wet, it was under 10 feet of water. While everyone else was waiting around for the government or international aid groups to show up, Akaiwa found a wetsuit and scuba gear and started swimming.

Cub Corner April 2015

For those who don’t know, there are changes coming to the Cub Scout program. Beginning in June 2015, all cubs will begin using a new program designed to bring out the adventures in scouting. One of the really big changes is that the Cub Scout program is adopting the Scout Oath and Scout Law. This month, I want to introduce the new Pack Meeting plans that were released on April 2nd that transition Pack Meetings from Core Values to the using the 12 Points of the Scout Law as the theme for the pack meeting.

These plans are great! Each plan shows the Scout Law point and a supplemental theme that can be used for decorating, or activities, etc. All of these things are in the plan. For those who are new leaders, these plans will give you a format with content that you can reproduce exactly in your pack. More experienced leaders can take the ideas and adapt them to the needs of their pack.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The REAL Problem with Scouting in the LDS Church

I’ve been fairly heavily involved in LDS Scouting for about fifteen years now. I’ve served at the unit, district, council, and national level. I’ve worked alongside parents, merit badge counselors, BSA employees, camp staff, senior council and national volunteers, and of course, youth. At this point, I’m ready to make a full declaration of what is wrong with Scouting in the LDS Church.
Let me first make two key observations.
  1. benson
    President Benson greets Jamboree Scouts
    The LDS Church’s involvement in Scouting is not accidental. In fact, the opposite it true. The LDS Church supports Scouting as a result of revelation. President Benson clearly stated in 1978 that Scouting is an inspired program for our time. (Scouting and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, Appendix A)

Cub Corner - March 2015

For those who don’t know, there are changes coming to the Cub Scout program. Beginning in June 2015, all cubs will begin using a new program designed to bring out the adventures in scouting. This month, I want to show off the new adventure pins (for Webelos) and loops (for Tigers, Wolves, and Bears). These are the new immediate recognition awards that cubs will earn. They look really cool!

Here’s the adventure loops for the Tiger Rank. (Tigers are getting a new image also) Notice the six adventure loops across the top of the rank badge—those are the loops for the required adventures.  And all those below are the electives.

All the adventure loops shown have orange bands of color across the top and the bottom. That orange band indicates that they are for Tiger Adventures. Only the six required adventures will get a multicolored image on the loop.  The images on the other thirteen elective adventure loops are just orange.

All the adventures for each rank and the specific requirements for each adventure loop are already online for you to download, and/or print. Adventure Rank and Insignia. You can also get a closer look at each image that will be on the adventure loops.

The same coloring system holds true for each rank.  Multicolored loops for required adventures and monochromatic (one color) loops for elective adventures. Each rank has its own dedicated color.  Here are pictures of the Wolf and Bear adventure loops.  You can see the band colors match the background color of each rank badge. (Wolf and Bear ranks also have 6 required adventures) 

Once a boy joins the Webelos den, he will now be awarded with adventure pins in place of adventure loops upon completion of an adventure. The 5 Webelos required adventure pins are diamond shaped, have a green border and multi colored images.  The 4 Arrow of Light required adventure pins are in the shape of an arrow point, with a brown border and are also multi colored images.  The elective adventures get an oval shaped pin.  The elective adventures are shared between the two ranks so they all get the same shape and monochromatic color scheme.  There are currently 18 elective adventures. (National has indicated that there may be more elective adventures added in the future)

These new adventure pins will be worn on the Webelos colors or on the front panel of the Webelos hat just like the Webelos activity badges are worn currently.

So there you have it.  Boys complete Adventures and are awarded adventure loops or pins.  This is going to be SO much simpler for the parents, den leaders and of course for the pack advancement coordinator and Cubmaster too.

Q – If these are the “Immediate Recognition” devices, when will they be awarded to the boys?
A – From the Den Leader Guide Sampler available online- “Upon completion of the ________ adventure, your ____ Scouts will have earned the adventure loop shown here. Make sure they are recognized for their completion by presenting the adventure loop, to be worn on their belt, as soon as possible according to your pack’s tradition.” and “Upon completion of the _______ Adventure, your Webelos Scouts will have earned the adventure pin shown here. Make sure they are recognized for their completion by presenting the adventure pin, to be worn on their Webelos colors or the front of their cap, as soon as possible according to your pack’s tradition.”

So the answer seems to be – As soon as possible according to your pack’s tradition.  It’s your pack, your boys, your decision!

I plan to highlight parts of the changes each month in my Cub Corner. This is going to be a fun new adventure for all of us. Let’s get on board!

Upcoming Events
·       Cub Camp registration is now open!
·       3/12/15 – Special NEW CUB PROGRAM Roundtable @13768 S 6400 W
·       3/14/15 – Utah Scout Expo ticket sales kickoff
·       3/21/15 – Cubs only NEW PROGRAM Basic Training @5562 W 13680 S
·       4/9/15 – Roundtable @13768 S 6400 W
·       5/2/15 – Utah Scout Expo @South Towne Expo Center
·       5/5/15 – Scout Day at Wendy’s
·       5/14/15 – Roundtable @13768 S 6400 W
·       5/16/15 – OWL (Outdoor Skills for Webelos Leaders) and BALOO (Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation) @Camp Tracy

·       Sign up for email reminders and information. 

Klondike - Huge Success Again

The Western Skies Klondike Derby was held on February 20-21, 2015 at Soldier Hollow, with over 650 boys and leaders attending the event.  Tubing at the Soldier Hollow tubing hill was the highlight Friday evening, with hundreds enjoying several runs down the hill.  Rumors are that the speeds picked up as the night went on!  The weather cooperated with light snow overnight, making it a winter wonderland on Saturday morning. 

Saturday morning started off with a campfire program by the Order of the Arrow with help from several troops.  Donuts were provided by one of the zones.  Klondike events on Saturday included fire starting, log saw, smoosh board, first aid/rescue, tomahawk/knife throw, and sled races (each manned by one or several zones).  A good time was had by all who participated.  Winners for each event were chosen based on time (or points for the tomahawk throw).  Times were adjusted based on how well prepared the troops were.  First, second, and third place prizes were awarded, as follows

First Place
Second Place
Third Place
Fire Starting
Troop 000
Troop 114
Troop 1305
Log Saw (teams of 2)
Troop 1205 (Stump and Stump)
Troop 1631 (? and ?)
Troop 7676 (Caleb and Russell)
Smoosh Board
Troop 820
Troop 1232
Troop 1205
First Aid/Rescue
Troop 1520
Troop 000
Troop 120
Tomahawk Throw
Troop 1292
Troop 0274
Troop 1368
Sled Races
Troop 1631
Troop 1676
Troop 1653
Overall Winner
Troop 000

Father Judge Spirit of the Klondike
Troop 1520
Troop 820
Troop 1444
If you didn’t claim your award, it will be available at March Roundtable.

The Father Judge Spirit of the Klondike awards were tallied from a combination of points for preparedness, uniforms, troop yells, and sportsmanship.  The award is named after Father William Henry Judge, a Jesuit priest who was living and working among the native people in Alaska when gold was discovered on Rabbit Creek (renamed Bonanza Creek), a tributary to the Klondike River.
In May 1897, Father Judge went to Dawson, acquired 3 acres of land, and built a hospital, church, and residences. He spent hours cheering and comforting the sick and consoling the dying.  He sacrificed his life in the service of others.  He fell ill with pneumonia in January 1899 and died a few days later.  The entire town of Dawson turned out for his funeral and he became known as the Saint of Dawson.  In his life he embodied elements of what would later be found in the Scout oath, even duty to God and his fellow man.   Thus the Spirit of the Klondike is truly Scout Spirit!
Thanks to all who attended and participated in any way!