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About raptor_dad

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    Mayor of Crazy Town

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  1. If you have a scout for whom cost is a barrier. Trail crew is only $325 for a 1 week conservation work/ 1 week trip. It used to be only OA but after the fires is now generally available. Even with transport that should be under $1000.
  2. We did a bunch of trip budgeting this Spring with the scouts. Philmont wasn't a finalist so didn't get the full work up, but we bracketed the 12 day trip cost at $1500-1800. Our council 2020 contingent, , is $1850 for the 7 day trek. Adding in the ~$375 difference for 7vs12day treks, that would come out at $2225. $2500+ for Philmont seems insane to me. Our scouts first choice HA was the Sea Base Scuba Live Aboard. Using our Sea Base sailing trip 2 years ago and researching/updating prices, that trip with airfare, van transport, meals, extra hotel days for travel/check-in/checkout mismatches, a bonus day trip to Key West, and **full scuba certification(class and cert dives)** locally beforehand came to ~$2500. For us that just wasn't viable so they're planning a much cheaper Black Hills trip next summer. For $2500-3000+, if it is viable at all, I would be looking at the Alaska HA base or the biannual Scottish jamboree.
  3. Our joint Cub Scout/Scout camp out this weekend was cancelled since it was in the low 40s with 2 inches of rain and steady 20mph winds. The Scouts considered camping anyway but the miserableness combined with possible flooding on the access roads to our camp made the PLC call it off Friday. So DW (Weblos DL), DS10(newly crossed over scout), and DS12 were all warm at home. I on the other hand drove a couple of our scouts and was an adult candidate at our Order of the Arrow Ordeal weekend. Overall it was a great time but I don't think I've been that cold and wet in around 20 years. We had a few female candidates including at least one Summit awardee, but all of our females were dual registered in Scouts BSA. We did get commemorative lodge patches with Scouts, Venturing, and Sea Scouts logos to mark the changes. PS: One of our female inductees was elected a vice-chief which was pretty cool.
  4. DW's job here is marginal and she is being aggressively recruited for a academic medical job in Pittsburgh. DS12 is homeschooled and DS10 is in public school. Our family is only willing to live in the city, so for ds10 we would have to at least live in the Allerdice feeder zone. For DS12, home instruction and the Western PA ARML group is adequate for math; but not as good as UMTYMP and dual enrollment. Cheap CC dual enrollment is fine but not as good as free DE at UMN. If we could game CC to Carnegie Mellon/Pitt cross registration for 1 course per semester that would rock. Being able to access public school clubs for FIRST robotics and stuff is great. The main concern I have is social. Here in MN we have local secular online support groups that organizes field trips, teen park days, teen game days, a teen LARP group,etc.... I don't see that in Pittsburgh. Furthermore, if I wanted to organize math teams, book clubs, whatever... these groups exist to organize folks. Given a widely used local list, I can grudgingly organize whatever DS12 needs, Absent that community, group formation is probably beyond my skills. Looking online, I see lots of explicitly Christian groups that wouldn't fit our family and no inclusive groups. Is there a secular homeschooling community and do they have an online presence.
  5. So out the 10-11 weeks of public school summer, DS10 and DS12 are doing: 2 weeks of 1/2-3/4 day Sailing camp on a public lake, DS10 is in optis and DS12 is moving up to 420s 1 week each at Grandmas with same age cousins. 2 weeks Scout camp with a 3 day backpacking trip together. DS12 is doing a week day camp at the more serious tactical LARP camp. DS10 is doing week of day camp with our Loppet folks doing canoeing, orienteering, and trail running. ETA: and a week of family vacation in late August
  6. DS10 earned Arrow of Light and crossed over to Scouts BSA tonight. He is so thrilled. He has a September birthday and crossed over as a PS 4th grader using the 6mos since turning ten AoL option, but he is so ready. He has 6 camp outs this year; 3 with the Cubs, 3 with the Scouts(2 without a parent). He is so ready.. He'll have 2 troop camp outs before summer camp and should do great.
  7. DS12 was an acolyte in uniform instead of the more typical robe... and as it turned out DS10 also got to acolyte as a Cub since they couldn't round up a GS. This was slightly ironic since our kids aren't in our church's troop but another same denomination church for historical reasons... but the director of acolytes is our church's Scout Master.
  8. I'm in the "where does this deer path/creek/canyon go camp". Leave No Trace doesn't say stay on the trail and don't cut switchbacks.... it says "Travel on durable surfaces". This lets you hike off trail anywhere there won't be impacts. If you live somewhere cold and even better with lots of snow, Winter is a off trail wonderland. Snow, like rock and flood plains, is the ultimate low impact durable surface. Grab your boots or snow shoes and tromp through the woods, across the lake, up the creek, through that frozen solid muddy slough and wetland.
  9. I know it, my kids know it, most english speakers in my urban neighborhood know it since we have a 5000+ bird mega-murder that over-winters here. I think most well read people will be familiar enough with it.
  10. Our troop had its September camp out last weekend. We had around 10 Scouts and another 6 Webelos present. The Scouts were working on the Railroading MB and the Webelos working that into one of the NOVA awards. So on Saturday we all got up at 6:30 for breakfast and then drove an hour down to a scenic railroad an alumni of ours works on.We toured the yard and rode on the train and the Scouts of all ages got to ride for a couple of miles in the engine. It was super cool. Timing was quirky. The train was limited to 10mph since there was a derailed rock train on that section of track. So we were training it up from 8:30-2:00. Lunch was late. After lunch the Cubs and Scouts worked on sawing and lashing some trestles and having races, a standard NYLT demo activity. That was well received but unfortunately two of the teams collided during the race and a few kids were injured. "Luckily" two were mine, Scout DS12 had a superficial,though very painful, abrasion and Webelos DS10 has deep muscle bruise that made it painful to flex his ankle for a few hours, by evening both were fine. Unfortunately, another new scout got mild MCL tear in the crash. After getting back on Sunday around noon, there was an Eagle Court of Honor on Sunday at 5pm. So after showers, meals, naps, etc we reconvened at the church. This had a great turn out.The ceremony has a role for each scout to light or attempt to light a candle for that rank. The injured new scout was there post-MRI in a brace and got to light the "Scout" candle, looking pleased as punch. DS12 lit the "Second Class" candle. Interestingly, this explained many things. I assumed DS12 didn't earn Second Class at camp JUST because he didn't track his book and manage things himself. But after the CoH it was clear the troop had overlooked he wasn't Second Class(Our troop issues rank lanyards at camp and doesn't issue badges until troop CoHs; this is unusual but traditional going back to the '40s). After DS12 pointed this out and referred to his book, with no prompting from us!!!, the troop slotted him in for a SMC and board of review tonight so he will get Second Class as well as his summer camp badges(swimming,cooking,basketry) at the troop CoH next week. On other notes, this was a wildlife rich campout. Our troop has its own camp in northern WI on a national wild and scenic river. As usual we saw plenty of dear, turkeys, red tail hawks, turkey vultures, raccoons, and bald eagles. Less commonly we also saw a 2-3yo black bear and a mature wolf. We know the northern WI wolf pack roams this far south since we hear them, as clearly differentiated from the coyotes, and see prints including last November when we saw clear wolf prints in 3in of snow of them stalking a flock of turkeys. For both bears and wolves, the cause was bear hunting season in WI, which allows both baiting and hunting with dogs. Luckily our SPL and our extremely hunting friendly, like hunting grouse which are also in season last weekend and hunting everything that isn't baited... think Leopoldian Land Ethic, ASPL could explain this without any adult interpretation. Next weekend, DW and I are running a day hiking and cooking activity for the Cub Pack. Then a free week. And then DW is directing a free stage race for our regional trail running group which she is VP off and I'll either be working at our Cub-o-ree of the scout Camporee depending on which is more desperate.
  11. We're GFCF here and pot lucks always suck, so regardless of what we are assigned we always take meat. Our two go to items are either pulled pork/carnitas, pork shoulder slow cooked dry, so not your first choice. Or whole chicken legs, thighs, quarters, whatevers cheap, roasted in the oven. We usually throw these in the crockpot to keep warm but for an hour or so you could serve them otherwise. We never have leftovers. We are also dairy free so various cheesy vegetarian options don't work for us. Vegan options we've liked include baked beans or lentil salads.
  12. Our council has predetermined packs/troops that are enthusiastic about girls in scouting to refer scouts whose first choice can't muster 5 girls. Though of the ~5 troops I 'm most familiar with in Twin Cities and Rural MN, none are worried about having 5 girls. In some ways the rural troops are better off since they already have girl heavy venture crews made up of scouting families and former Girl Scouts whose troops disbanded after cadettes. The committee issue has not been mentioned by anyone I've talked to. Around here most troops are planning on the BSA approved linked troop option. In reality this will look like a coed troop with single sex patrols. We will have separate leadership for a girl and boy Scout troop. These troops will have shared meetings and outings. The shared committee won't have much more work load than if the troop had recruited more boys. The funds and gear all technically belong to the chartering org(church) so if they are supporting the change that shouldn't be an issue. The main issue I hear about is having enough female leadership on outings. We thought we were set with 18+yo females we could convert to ASMs, but the new Scout rules require supervising adults on outings to be 21+yo. I think our troop is OK but others may have problems. Then the question becomes if you don't have female coverage, do you cancel the trip for everyone or do you just cancel for the girls. This is hugely problematic. So for troops I talk to, the key issue is having enough outdoorsy females to avoid that situation and counting on new parents in the first year isn't really tenable.
  13. Like the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Moab(~4000ft) and Canyonlands(max slightly under 6000ft) is at elevation. So yeah it may be hot on average. But, ~20 years ago I was backpacking in the Maze district of Canyonlands in late June; It was near 90 degrees when I went in and snowing(heavy flurries in the mid-high 30s) when I hiked out. Just keep that in mind on the very broad shoulder season.
  14. The quilted flannel ones tend to be thin compared to the old 80s synthetic bags hanging around in folks basements and the scout room. If it doesn't fit... those bags usually fit in the large front loaders at the neighborhood laundromat and likewise in the large commercial dryers.Either way add a couple of tennis balls to the dry cycle to fluff the insulation if it is anything more high tech than poly batting.
  15. We camp a fair bit. Always tents. I've never understood RV's or car camping. For us, camping or backpacking is a means to get to places we couldn't otherwise experience. DS11 had 25 days of tent camping this summer. 4 day Boundary Waters canoe trip with the Scouts; 3 day mountain biking family trip; 14 days summer camp w/ 100 mile bike trip. 4 day family Boundary Waters canoe trip. DS9 had 8 days. The family mountain biking and canoe trips and a night of urban camping at a 24hr road race where he rode 80 miles. I had 16 days. The 4 day scout BWCA trip. 3 days MBing. 4 days backpacking with DW in the Whites in NH. A day at camp pickup. The family BWCA trip. DW had 12 days. The MB trip. NH backpacking. The urban bike race. The family canoe trip. This fall, DS9 is thrilled to be a Webelos and can join the Scouts on some outings and is going to cross over at 10 1/2yo next spring. So at least they boys and I will be on the September and October scout camping trips. We have a 5 day weekend for DS9s fall break which we will probably spend some where in the southwest. In early November, we have a 4 day weekend for DS9s school end of quarter. We will use that for local mountain bike camping, weather permitting. In terms of planning, we tend pretty far towards the throw it together at the last minute end of things. For our family BWCA trip last week, I booked a permit and canoe rentals the Thursday before our Tuesday departure. No permit lottery in February for us. This meant our choices were severely constrained but we still did cool stuff. My original plan was to do river canoeing but water levels were too low. If you are flexible, I've found last minute planning to be fine.
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