Month: December 2007


I had an interesting talk with a coworker today. He asked what kind of “Survival Training” we did in Scouting. I told him beyond the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge, we don’t teach our Scouts to Survive, we teach them skills to live in the outdoors.

Surviving suggests that you were not prepared for, as Baden Powell said “Everything”.
Surviving is something that you do when a plane crashes or a you fall off a train in the middle of nowhere.
Skills that allow you to live in the outdoors are more beneficial. Navigation, fire building, cooking, hiking, packing a backpack properly, gathering water, and first aid. These are all living skills not surviving.

As we prepare for our January Camp out we will not be getting ready to survive the cold. We will be preparing to live in the cold. Everything is planned and prepared according to the plan. Menus, snow shoe rentals, packing lists, shake downs and inspections, and of course the camp out itself. To have fun in the wilderness you need to be prepared… not just survive.

Happy Scouting!

OK… so now a few food tips

Like the article stated; there are a few key points to remember.

1. You need more Carbs. Pasta dishes allow for tasty carbs uploads. That and most pasta dishes are easy to prepare in a One Pot.
Shell noodles and a package of chicken chunks, or rice and chicken or tuna make for easy yummy alternatives to ramen noodles and jerky.
Carbs in morning are important too. breakfast bars, oatmeal, and eggs are good options. Try to eat a warm meal in the morning. This gets your day off to a great start.

2. Timing is everything. The article talked about when you eat. Breakfast about an hour before you start your activity, lunch is great, because you can have many lunches. Little snacks throughout the day, a good cup of soup, and more snacks later. Keeping your body energized by adding fuel is important during activity. Dinner should be a biggy. Even a good one pot meal should fill up the stomach and get you ready for the night ahead.
A little snack before hitting the rack is a good idea too, just to stoke the fire in the belly for a warm sleep.

3. Protein. A variety of protein items are a must. Tuna, and Chicken offer good protein meals while protein bars and drinks are a good idea too.

4. Variety is the spice of life. Get out of the same ole food ruts.. try something new. If you don’t like it… at least you tried it once, you don’t have to do it again. Having a variety will make your camp outs interesting and add to fun of testing skills and trying new things.

Simple rules that will get you or at least your taste buds through the next camp out!

Happy Scouting!

‘I’m Still Hungry!’

This is a real good article that appeared in the May-June 2007 issue of Scouting Magazine.
I thought I would share it with you in its entirety.

Happy Scouting!

I’m Still Hungry!
By Karen Berger
Careful menu planning examines the rigors of high adventure activities and makes sure that calorie and nutrition levels not only meet energy requirements but also leave diners feeling satisfied.

Few things are more frustrating at the end of a long day on the trail than to still feel hungry when all that day’s meals have been consumed. Menu planning for long-distance hiking is especially important because hard exercise increases the appetites and nutrition requirements of Boy Scouts and Venturers.
“You work harder moving over slippery surfaces or uneven ground, traveling uphill versus flat ground, and carrying large loads (like backpacks),” says Suzanne Girard Eberle, a Portland, Ore.-based sports dietitian, speaker, and author of Endurance Sports Nutrition, second edition (Human Kinetics, March 2007).
How much more energy are we talking about? According to Eberle: “Walking your dog around the neighborhood for an hour requires three times the energy, or calories, needed to sit quietly for an hour. Backpacking requires seven times more energy per hour than sitting quietly. And if you’re carrying a heavy load of more than 40 pounds, you are using nine times as much energy as you would be sitting still!
“In cold weather, the clothes and boots that keep you warm are heavy and require more energy to carry. Exercising at altitude also increases the rate at which the body burns fuel,” she adds.
Teens need more caloriesIf you are leading groups of Boy Scouts or Venturers, the issue of menu planning becomes even more important.
“Teens already have high-energy needs,” says Eberle. Those in the midst of a growth spurt, particularly boys who are growing taller and adding muscle, can have a hard time keeping up with their daily energy needs on extended backpacking trips and other adventures.
Teens who are not physically fit or who are newcomers to an outdoor activity may also require more food. “They will be less efficient,” Eberle warns, “and that translates into working harder and burning more calories.”
Eberle stresses the importance of both the quality and timing of meeting caloric needs. “The exact source of the calories isn’t nearly as important as getting in the fuel,” she says regarding the quantity.
“We need carbohydrates for energy, protein to sustain us, and some fat to feel satisfied and help us meet our higher caloric needs.”
When and what to eat But quantity isn’t the only consideration: The time of day you eat also plays a role in keeping your body working at maximum efficiency.
Eberle recommends eating a full breakfast whenever possible, preferably an hour before beginning each day’s hike or other high adventure activity.
“Half of your liver glycogen is used up overnight, and it is liver glycogen that converts back into blood sugar and fuels the brain. It also serves as backup fuel for exercising muscles,” she explains.
Practical breakfast foods include cereals with dried milk and honey, nutrition bars, freeze-dried eggs, pancake mixes, crackers, and packable breads such as pita, bagels, or tortillas.
On the trail Eberle recommends eating several times throughout the day, versus one or two large meals.
“Large amounts of food at one time divert blood to the digestive tract and away from your brain and muscles.”
Nutrition bars and electrolyte-replacement drinks are two outdoor standards that can be consumed throughout the day to keep up energy and electrolytes.
Nutrition bars travel well, come in a variety of flavors, and are intended for use during exercise. Sample a few different kinds before your trip, however, because flavors and textures vary.
Sports drinks are a good idea because people tend to drink more when the beverage is flavored. Eberle recommends you check a drinks nutrition label for 14 to 17 grams of carbohydrates per cup, and electrolytes, especially sodium (at least 70 milligrams per 8 ounces or cup).
Getting enough protein The longer or more intense the outdoor adventure, the more important it is to choose a varied selection of foods, Eberle says.
“Finding enough carbs isn’t usually a problem thanks to sports drinks, energy bars and gels, candy, cookies and breakfast bars, bagels or bread, rice and pasta, fruits, and juices. Fat is available from nuts, chocolate, and other treats. A bigger challenge with longer trips is getting enough quality protein.”
Eberle recommends eggs (which can be powdered, or hard-boiled in advance), canned meats, peanut butter, tuna in foil packets, precooked or no-cook beans, cheese, and dried milk powder.
A one-pot meal that includes a combination of different foods can pack a lot of punch. Try a backcountry tuna casserole, with pasta, cheese (grated Parmesan is fine, but a hunk of cheddar can also be melted in), and foil-packed tuna.
Variety improves appeal Eberle cautions that the stress of outdoor activities, which can include fatigue, cold, and altitude sickness, can make some foods seem unappealing, so a variety is essential. A greater choice of foods on the menu provides a better chance that something will seem appealing—or at least edible—to every member of your group.
Freeze-dried foods can be helpful. While an all-freeze-dried diet can be monotonous (not to mention expensive), having a few on hand offers an array of flavors and the chances for your youth to choose their own favorites. Similarly, just-add-water cups of soups and heat-and-eat noodle dishes offer convenient variety.
Finally, there are practical issues: Does anyone in the group have a food allergy? Can foods be carried without crushing or spoiling? Are they reasonably lightweight? Are they easy to prepare, even when you’re tired and the weather is bad? Will you have enough fuel and water to prepare the foods you bring? Remember, at higher elevations, foods take more time (and hence require more fuel) to cook.
If you’ve spent some time thinking about food choices, you can be certain that dinnertime will be eagerly awaited and enthusiastically enjoyed.
Karen Berger is the author of Backpacking and Hiking (DK Publishing Inc., 2005).

Part 1 – Trustworthy and Loyal

The first two parts of the Scout Law… yeah we all know that right…
But lets talk about it in terms that mean something.

Do you Trust me? Why? Is it because I have earned your trust or because I have a patch on my sleeve that says “Scoutmaster”.
Well, I suppose the answer should be “Both”. But I hope it is the former.
Trust is earned. It is an essential component of any relationship and in the context of Scouting it is the foundation of the Patrol. You have got to trust one another. This breeds respect and friendships. It tells the other members of the patrol that I can be counted on. That I will always be there.

This brings us to Loyalty… Loyalty starts with the leaders and works its way down to the Patrol members. Loyalty means that you will be true to your family, your Patrol and Troop, your School and your Nation. Loyalty is non negotiable. You are either Loyal or you are not.
In a patrol the members count on loyalty to get things done. Coupled with Trust, Loyalty tells the members that you can be counted on and you will never give up. That you will put the team before yourself and that your buddies can depend on you to pull your share of the task.
Loyalty runs deep. That is why I say you either are or you are not. It is not something you can turn on and off.

In terms of the winter cam pout. Trustworthy and Loyal play a big part. You need to count on your patrol mates to watch out for you and keep a vigilant eye out for signs of cold weather injuries. You also should be able to count on the members of your patrol to should their share of the task. If everyone viewed it that way then no one would want to let the other down.

Trust and Loyalty are both earned, and the way in which they are earned are by being Trustworthy and Loyal.

Happy Scouting!

An appreciation for the Outdoors

So much is being said these days about the over all health and physical nature of our youth. National statistics tell us that 15% of Americas youth are obese. The problem is that this 15% will become obese adults. This is a serious health concern. Obesity is the number two cause of preventable death in America.
The Boy Scouts of America have an answer. In its Aims, the Boy Scouts want to attack this with physical fitness.
Which brings me to developing an appreciation for the outdoors. It is through the outdoor program that we really encourage physical fitness. This encompasses the bulk of the BSA program and flows into the daily lives of our Scouts.
We encourage our boys to be active in sports in school and other sport outlets (the YMCA, Pop Warner, Little league etc).
But it is through Scouting that we can tackle multiple issues.

I developed a love for the outdoors when I was a Scout. Now I am sure that Scouting or not, I would have strong love for the woods and being out, that’s just how our family was, but for many the Discovery channel is their gateway to adventure.
Scouting gave me opportunities to get out and see the wonders of the woods. I remember my very first camp out as Boy Scout. We were camped at Manassas Virginia. It was a chilly fall weekend and we were camped in a wood stand next to a big meadow. I woke up in the early hours of the morning and watched the sun rise over the meadow. The dew and fog made for a quiet, soft feeling. I thought this is awesome.
Flash forward 30 years, last month we camped at Camp Cooper. We woke up to a fine dusting of the white stuff. A chilly November morning in Oregon. Looking westward into a beautiful draw filled with Old growth forest, I thought to myself… This is awesome!
My appreciation for the outdoors was sparked. fed, and encouraged to grow through Scouting… and it still is today.

Throwing a Backpack on and trekking into the wilderness, trying to find the path with least amount of footprints is the classroom for this development.
Challenging yourself and being with your friends when you reach an incredible vista can be life changing and the most memorable of experiences.
All of this and it allows the opportunity to breath clean fresh air, eat hearty meals without the guilt of laying around afterwards, exercising not only your body, but your mind as you challenge yourself and each other.
Self esteem and confidence and physical fitness are born out of the outdoor program. There is no better feeling than that of success. Success that you did your best, your met the challenge and completed it, you were part of a team, you were able to see something that most folks may never.

There is a waterfall on Camp Cooper. It is one of the most spectacular things you will ever see. To get to it you have to hike two miles down a switchback laden trail. At the bottom is a small bridge were you are cooled by the mist of the waterfall. To get back you have to climb the two mile trail up. It is a demanding hike, but for those that rise to the challenge the day is one that leaves an indelible mark in your memory. 95% of Oregonians will never see this waterfall. And for most of them it is only 2 hours away from home. Scouting will bring you to it and allow you to appreciate this wonderful part of our land.
Camping, hiking, and being in the outdoors opens those doors to new worlds. This is what sparks explorers and adventurers.
I was talking with my sons the other day while we were watching a show about Mt. Everest. I told them I have no desire to climb Mt. Everest, but I would love to climb to the base camp and hang out there for a week or two. I think the experience would be amazing. Those that have no appreciation for the outdoors would not understand.

Those of us that love the outdoors and consider ourselves outdoors men, campers, Scouts have that appreciation. The appreciation of being in pristine areas surrounded by trees and majestic peaks. Clean air and stillness. Quiet mornings and undisturbed meadows leaves a peaceful healthy calm. Blood pressure goes down, you can think better, your lungs clear and you can enjoy all that God has given us.

A help in the fight of obesity in youth, a way to see the majestic beauty of our world, and a way to stay healthy and fit. The outdoor program of the BSA. It makes us better all around. I can not imagine my life without Scouting and the deep appreciation it developed in me for the outdoors.

Happy Scouting!

As an American, I will do my best to –

Be clean in my outdoor manners.
I will treat the outdoors as a heritage. I will take care of it for myself and others I will keep my trash and garbage out of lakes, streams, fields, woods, and roadways.
Be careful with fire.
I will prevent wildfire. I will build my fires only where they are appropriate. When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out. I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
I will treat public and private property with respect. I will use low-impact methods of hiking and camping.
Be conservation minded.
I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife, and energy. I will urge others to do the same.

The Scoutmaster Conference

The Scoutmaster conference is a critical part of the advancement process. But it is much more than that. The conference is used to evaluate the Scout, it is used to get to know the Scout, and it is a way of communicating the Scouts needs and the needs of the unit to the Scout.

First, it is used to evaluate. Yes evaluate. This is the Scoutmasters opportunity to see the Scout in action, to get an understanding that the Scout knows the skills required. That the Scout has met the requirements for advancements and that he can prove that he has achieved the necessary skills and knowledge. It is also when the Scoutmaster “Signs off” on “Demonstrate scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life.”

To me this is very important. This is the opportunity for us to discuss the meaning of the Scout Oath and law. I ask very pointed questions like, “What did you do yesterday to live the Scout Law?” What I have found is that Scouts do not understand the values expressed in the Scout law, having this discussion educates them, and as a result the better understand the concepts of being “Trustworthy and Loyal” rather than just a definition and a bunch of words said on Monday nights. Once they gain the understanding they can actually live the Law and Oath. This all comes out in the conference.

Second, the conference is a super way to get to know the Scout. Find out what motivates him and makes him tick. His likes and dislikes and his expectations of not only Scouting, but School, home etc. This is a great opportunity for the Scoutmaster to develop the relationship of trust and confidence in the Scout. This part of the Scoutmaster conference does not necessarily need to have anything to do with rank or advancement. I find myself having these discussions on camp outs, after Troop meetings, and on hikes. This is also a great way to demonstrate mentoring and coaching.

Finally, the conference is an effective communication tool. It is a great way to talk one on one with a Scout about his needs and those needs the unit may have of him. As a leader or follower it can be effective in asking for help or communicating expectations.

The important part about the Scoutmaster conference is that it can be held anywhere, anytime, and does not always have to be connected with the next rank. It is of the utmost importance that the Scouts have a feeling of trust and confidence. They need to know that the Scoutmaster is there for them and is willing to listen and act.
A friendly ear, some good advice, and time dedicated one on one to every Scout.

Personally I think the Scoutmaster conference is one of the greatest parts of my job. It is an opportunity for me to learn and a time for the Scouts to develop.

Happy Scouting!

Preventing the Yard Sale

Keeping your gear organized is important. Important for many reasons, but namely to prevent the “Yard Sale”.

Keeping your gear all together helps you in all camping situations. In the cold, knowing where all your gear is can save you from frostbite and having a miserable time.
Keeping your gear packed and together keeps your gear dry and clean. And in a Cold weather environment this is critical to staying warm.

So here are some tips to Prevent the Yard sale.

1. Organize your Pack. Use ditty bags, zip lock bags, or garbage bags, but keep your gear compartmentalized as much as possible. Keep your extra clothing in a separate “Dry” bag, keep your cooking gear together, keep your wet weather gear in bags. The use of ditty bags keeps your part compartmentalized. Everything has a bag and every bag has a place. This make finding gear real easy too.

2. Pack your backpack for the experience. Pack those things you don’t need right away in the bottom and back… pack that which you need right away close to the top and the outside pockets.
Trail mix and water on the outside, extra long johns in the bottom.
Pack your backpack, don’t just shove things in it. If you organize the pack at the start, it will stay that way throughout the cam pout.

3. Take out only what you need. Leave everything else in the pack. When you are in your tent, you do not need the entire contents of your pack with you. Your sleeping bag, your pad, and the clothing for tomorrow.. everything else should be stored away in your pack.

4. Use your zippers. Every zipper on your pack should be zipped. Put stuff away and zip it closed. This way if you have to move your pack, your gear will not fall out.

5. Use a pack cover. A pack cover keeps your gear dry and contained. Critters won’t get into your pack, neither will snow, rain, or dirt. A pack that is covered also presents a neat and tiddy package. It shows that you have packed and kept your gear together.

Finally, keep your gear to a minimum. If you don’t need it, or you have never used, don’t take it. Pack for the occasion. You won’t need sandals on a winter camp out.. so don’t pack them, that is one less thing you have to worry about.

Preventing the “Yard sale” is key. If your gear is scattered all over the place, you are not being a good camper. Your gear is getting lost, dirty, and wet. If you fail to take care of your gear it will fail to take care of you.

These little tips can make your camping experience better, no matter what the weather. Keep your gear organized and your gear will last longer, stay clean and dry and help you have a great Scouting experience.

Happy Scouting!