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Sunscreen Kerchief Slide July 28, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

The Cub Scout theme for August is “Fun in the Sun”. But who can have Sunscreenfun in the sun if you get sunburned? Since it’s easy to forget to bring sunscreen or reapply it, here’s a kerchief slide that will guarantee sunscreen is always close by (at least while your Scout is in his Class-A field uniform).

This is nothing more than a small tube of sunscreen with a PVC sprinkler riser section hot glued to the back. To prevent accidental spillage if the cap isn’t fully closed, I put the kerchief slide ring closer to the cap so that the cap would be pointed up. And since it has some weight to it, I put a little extra glue around the ring to give a better bond between the sunscreen tube and ring.

So next time you have an outing in your Class-A field uniform, you can have sunscreen close by.

Have fun in the sun, and be safe!

In Scouting,

 - Scouter Jeff <><

Scouting on Vacation June 29, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

Now that it’s summer, it’s time for many of us to go on BaseballHOFvacation. I’m sure that there are many who would want to get away from Scouting when on a family vacation, which is OK. But for those who don’t mind a Scouting activity while traveling with the family, don’t forget to look at the area you are going and see if there is anything Scouting-related you can do there.

BSA councils and vacation attractions sometimes have local Scout patches or awards that can be earned. Before you go, call ahead or check the website of your vacation destination and see if there’s a Scout activity. Or check with the BSA council that covers the area you are going, and see if there are any local patches. Many councils have patches for attending local historical places or local points of interest – but be sure to call first and ask if they have anything that can be earned with the family, apart from the den or pack. (Click on the “Find Local Council” link at www.scouting.org to find individual council information).

If you are a patch or Scouting memorabilia collector, this is a great way to get some really cool patches for your collection. And if your son has a brag vest, having an out-of-the-area patch or pin is, well, something to brag about.

In 2007, my family took my dream vacation – we went to Cooperstown, NY, to see Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripkin get inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For someone that lives in Southern California, it was a big deal to get there. While I was looking at the HOF’s web site, I noticed that they had a Scout patch, offered through the wonderful Otschodela council. So me and my boys completed the requirements (it was an information scavenger hunt through the museum) and we received the HOF Scout patch. My son was excited to place a patch no one we know has on his brag vest.

So if you are a patch collector or enjoy working on fun Scouting activities, check out your vacation destination and see if there is something Scouting-related you can do. It can be a fun part of your vacation!

In Scouting,

 - Scouter Jeff <><

Pack First Aid Kit May 6, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

Does your pack have a first aid kit? It’s a good idea to have one firstaiddisplayed prominently at each pack meeting or pack outing. You should also consider having a first aid kit at your den meetings. Unfortunately I had a Scout injured at a den meeting once, and I’m glad I had my first aid kit near by!

Now that we are enjoying the spring weather, springtime is a good time to go through your first aid kit and check for expired medicine, supplies that need refilling, etc. You can never have enough Band-Aids, so it’s a good idea to keep a good stock of those. (I was always partial to Hot Wheels or Spiderman bandages).

Hopefully you will never use one. But as Scouts we desire to “Be Prepared”, and a first aid kit should be stocked and ready to go as we go outside and enjoy our spring or summertime activities.

In Scouting,

 - Scouter Jeff <><

Start Planning Your Summertime Program March 12, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

By now, most of you are past your Blue and Gold banquets summertimepackand Pinewood Derby races. You’ve worked hard up to this point, and this is the time of year that we often begin to coast. But don’t forget one important item. If you haven’t already, you should start planning your summertime program.

Many packs shut down in the summer, with no den or pack meetings. For those that shut down, a summertime program is vital to keep some level of Scouting activity going on. This helps with retention by keeping people connected to Scouting and your pack.

National has three awards for summertime activity. The first is the Summertime Pack Award.  To qualify for the Summertime Pack Award, you need to offer 3 summertime events. For this you get a long banner to put on your pack flag. The second award National has is for den participation. If you have 50% of a den attend 3 summertime events, that den gets a ribbon to put on your den flag.

The final award is for individual Scout participation. If a Scout attends 3 summertime events, he gets the National Summertime Award, which is a pin that goes on the right pocket flap. These used tosummertimescout be all gold-colored pins, but beginning last fall they’ve changed and now each rank has a pin, color-coded for that rank.

One thing to note is that it is important to schedule more than three outings. If you only schedule 3 outings, and a scout misses one due to vacations, finances, etc. then he loses the ability to earn the individual Scout award.

It is also important to have a variety of outings. Our pack goes to baseball games (major and minor leagues), participates in parades, has park or beach days, bike rides, campouts, and even Olympics with neighboring packs. We’ve had rain gutter regattas (where we’ve raced the boats then lined the rain gutters with tin foil and had large ice cream sundaes), and belt loop days where we’ve gathered at a park or the beach and worked on a belt loop (like volleyball or ultimate). Being in coastal southern California, our summers are very pleasant, and we have more outdoor options than other climates, so you might not be able to do many outdoor activities.

Another thing to note is that it is also good to have affordable outings, especially during these economic times. As I mentioned above, our pack participates in a 4th of July parade, which costs nothing. Our park/beach sports belt loop days were also at no charge. Some of the items do cost some money (like the professional baseball games) but families have enough options in our summer program that they can skip these and still earn their individual award. There are many other ways to get together and not spend a lot of money. You can have an indoor game night, a marbles tournament, a box car race, an ice cream social, or even have your own parade! You can make it fun without spending a lot of money.

Finally, make sure that you take attendance at these events, so you can track your various summertime awards. In our pack, the Outdoors Chair is given a current roster and we make sure that everyone who attends an event checks in with him when they get there. (In your pack it might be someone different, which is fine, as long as someone has this task).

So as you begin to wind down your Scouting year, make sure you have a fun summer program waiting to go!

If you have any ideas for summertime events, especially inexpensive ones, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

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