Month: March 2008

The Credibility of Bloggers

This week on our local Sports talk show the had a discussion about Blogging and Bloggers.
I had to tune in to hear comments and reaction.
The story that prompted the discussion was that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has banned Bloggers from the teams locker room.
In the past, Blog reporters had received press passes from the team. After a blogger wrote some “Opinion” piece, the Mavericks owner had enough and now has banned those reporters that “Blog Only” from the locker room.

So the discussion on the radio debated the value of blogs and bloggers and the credibility of those that blog.

Now I may be a little biased, but I agreed with much of what they suggested. Bloggers have the ability to write anything they want, completely unregulated or scrutinized by a editor or supervisor. Bloggers can voice an opinion or report on something that may or may not be factual, their documentation or sources never challenged.

Part of the discussion also went to regulation of blogs and bloggers. They suggested some validation or test that a Blogger must complete before being allowed to host a blog. I don’t think this can happen and I would suggest that Blogs are regulated or at least validated by those that read it. Enter credibility.

If I wrote on this blog things that were contrary to the mission, values, and aims of Scouting, I am certain that I would get called out on it. While we monitor comments, bloggers can not change that which appears on message boards or other blogs. Those blogs that lend themselves to be credible sources, while not official, still offer good insight and commentary on that which they are blogging, in this case Scouting.

Blogging has opened up new doors, pathways, access points to the world. There are literally blogs on any topic you can imagine. Politics, Sports, Entertainment, and Scouting blogs all have a place at the information super highway table. I think that by and large, discerning readers regulate and validate the blogs.

Happy Scouting!

Ziploc "Zip and Steam" bags

A great new way to make backpacking a bit easier when it comes to meal time.

Check out this product, and no… I do not have stock in Ziploc…
But this is a great way to prepare your meal portions and preparation.
Just another idea to make your camping experience better.

Ziploc Steamer bags

One of the cool features of these bags is they can stand up, they have a spread bottom, so filling the with water or food items is a lot easier.
Makes for a great way to dispose of all your garbage too.

Check out the recipes on this site too… another resource for menu planning.

Happy Scouting!

Backpacking meals

As we started to plan for our next camp out (Backpack), we began to prepare by planning meals.

We have become a bit lazy with this skill. Try something new, here is a cool site that can give you some good ideas for our up coming camp outs.
One of the reasons I like this site is that it incorporates one of my favorite pieces of gear, the zip lock bag!

Check out the Freezer Bag Cooking site.

For those of you that just can not seem to plan a menu without Ramen… try this one that I tried from the Freezer Bag cooking site.

Ramen Pot Pie:
In a quart freezer bag put:
1 package chicken flavored ramen with seasoning packet. Break up the ramen.
1 pouch or can of chicken (3-7 ounces depending on your taste)
A quart freezer bag with instant mashed potatoes. (I would recommend the Idahoan® ones that have everything in them, or use the cup version that has everything in it.)

In camp add 2 cups boiling water to the ramen. Add in the chicken.
Pop in a cozy for 10 minutes or so, then start adding the potatoes till it becomes nice and thick.

Serves 2.

Happy Scouting!

Building your Foundation

If you were to travel across the country and start up a new town, what would you build first?
A city hall? Fire Department? Police station? Water works? Garbage facility? Medical services?
Every town has the same structures or infrastructure to make it a solid town. The ice cream parlor, the barber, and the city park come after a firm foundation has been build and working to keep the town stable.

The same can be said about building our foundation, our Character.
You need to start with a solid foundation from which the rest of your Character can be built and measured.
Your Faith, your Family, and the Scout Law are all foundation stones to build your Character on.
The Scout Law gives you a solid foundation of those things that you should be in your daily lives. It is a list of principles that others can measure you by and 12 characteristics that others expect of you.
Your foundation must be solid. Even the tallest building in your town can crumble in an instant if it does not have a firm foundation. You too, need to build your foundation to withstand the daily bombardment of bad things in our world today. You need a firm foundation to resist temptation to hang with the wrong crown, even if they are popular and “Cool”. Your foundation needs to shine for others to see that you are strong of Character and that you are reliable person that will stand strong against those with less Character.

It all starts with your foundation. Building a solid foundation, made of Faith and Family and the Scout law will make your Character strong and good. It will make you and those around you better and we will all benefit because of your good Character.

Happy Scouting!

Eco Challenge

The Eco Challenge race has always been an event that draws my attention. It is a test of outdoor skills and endurance.

The race in 2008 is right here in my backyard… The HQ for the Challenge is in my hometown of Troutdale, OR. The event will take place from Mt. Hood, Oregon to Astoria, Oregon on both Bike and Kayak.

You can learn more about Eco Challenge, the Race, and competitors here.
This year all of the competitors are women. 3 of them are from the Portland area. They will compete in 2, 4 women teams.

Great quote from the Eco Challenge Website:

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors…we borrow it from OUR children”- native American proverb (courtesy meet the planet)

While I do not agree with EVERYTHING the Eco Challenge organization stands for, I appreciate their zeal for the outdoors and our wilderness areas, I love their passion of outdoor back country skills, and I like that they turn it into a competition.

You can learn more about Adventure Racing here.

Happy Scouting!

BE Prepared… for the morning after

Winter camping is challenging and test your skills. Boy Scouts that learn and develop good camping skills and have a keen sense of what it takes to be a good camper have a great time.

The Scout Motto– Be Prepared takes on a new meaning, aside from “Be Prepared for anything”, the motto speaks to a Scout that thinks two steps ahead while camping. This skill is found in those that really understand good camping.
Whether you are talking about leave no trace principles or camping gear, Being Prepared rings true for all good campers.

In the winter you must be prepared for anything and know how and what to use and when.
Good campers keep their packs packed all the time, only taking out what they need for a task or situation, then back to the pack it goes.
A good camper knows that once the sun goes down and the temperature drops basic skills become more difficult and challenging. Being prepared for those tasks makes them easier. Cooking on a chilly night is made easier by preparing the cooking area before dark, a wind screen, attaching fuel cells, doing the prep work at home can make you dinner meal something to enjoy rather than a laborious task.
Preparing for the next day starts the night before and even earlier than that. Before it gets dark, packs should be packed and stored properly, either in the tent vestibule or under a pack cover in a place that affords easy access. All your gear should be in the pack except for what you need in the tent for sleeping. Your clothing for the next day placed in a stuff sack and used as a pillow will ensure you have warm, dry clothing in the morning. Your boots should be inside the tent, under your sleeping pad. This will keep them warm too, or at least not frozen. They will be there in the morning, ready for you to put on. The laces will not be frozen and you will not have an couple inches of snow in them.
Gloves and damp items can be hung in the tent or placed under the sleeping bag. They may not dry, but they won’t get any more wet. If your gloves are slightly damp, putting them in your sleeping bag may be enough to dry them for the morning.
A quick check around your tent, snow cave or shelter before you call it a night in is a must. Check for shovels, water bottles, and other gear that need to be stored.
Make sure to relieve yourself in the appropriate area before you settle down for the night. Doing it in the middle of the night can be a bit unpleasant.

Being Prepared for the morning after a winter camp starts by being a good camper and knowing how to camp. You need to practice this all the time, develop good habits in good weather and you will enjoy winter camping.

Happy Scouting!