Sunday, September 2, 2012

7 Quick Takes


Another great School Sign Up night for Cub Scouts.  Seven more signed up, bringing our total between the two schools to 19!  After cross-over last May we were at 15, so that's a great number for us.  Our last couple of recruiting years had been down a bit, so we're happy.


Went straight from sign-ups to the Troop Annual Planning meeting.  The Scoutmaster brought up the idea of doing an optional mini-Merit Badge Challenge for the troop one Sunday each month.  It's a great idea, and I'm really looking forward to it.  I think the boys will get a lot out of it.


First volleyball match was this Friday.  Won the first set, then dropped two.  Both losses were close, and I can see what we need to work on to fix our mistakes.  I may be the least qualified volleyball coach in America, but this is going to be a fun season!


No soccer for the boys over the Labor Day weekend, but the girls were still in action.  The other team was short on players, so they apparently picked up some other girls, which is entirely against the rules.  No worries. Two of our best players were out of town, we just played through it, and still won 3-1.  Those girls are tough, and they're finally showing some signs of moving the ball better in the midfield and on the attack.  


For what we end up paying in late fees at the library, we might as well just buy more movies.  Generally, we just buy the kid movies that we know we'll watch again and again.


There's a big fireworks show in Cincinnati tonight.  The spot were we used to watch them is now a construction site.  That, and the all-day threat of rain will keep us home tonight. 


However... it didn't keep us away from Coney Island (  We got a pass this year, and only have a couple of more days left in the season.  The world's largest recirculating pool, and there couldn't have been more than 40 people in it!  And to wrap the night, we got on the ferris wheel as it was starting to drizzle.  After two turns, the downpour came.  Best. Ride. Ever.

Hope everyone had a great week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July Pack Meeting - Ultimate Pin

Today was our July pack meeting.   I knew we'd have relatively low numbers, so I let the boys decide which sports belt loop we'd work on.  The choices were Ultimate, Basketball, or Soccer, and Ultimate won in a split decision.  We had five Scouts there, and our Commissioner's daughter, so we decided to work on the Pin.

We started off talking about the rules and laying out the field.  Then we spent time practicing throwing and catching, including the specific catches and throws for the pin requirements.  During a water break we talked about the "flight dynamics" of the disc.  And then it was time for the game.  The kids had 3-on-3, and another leader and I stepped in to give a little height to help the smaller Scouts.

They had a great time!  They got along, and the only real complaints were more about the heat than the game.  At least that was a legitimate complaint!  It's 90 here today.  I was also happy to see them get to earn a pin (with just a little more work at home).  That's not something that's traditionally been a focus in our pack.  I'm hoping to see more of it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


We built a Cubmobile the other day.  It was a pretty simple project, with plenty that the boys could do.  Although it was a little pricier than I'd expected.

I made this cut, but I did let Ethan make a solo cut,
and Henry did one with assistance.

Ethan attaching the seat back.

Test run.

It turns out those steering blocks are supposed to be there for a reason...
Sorry Bud!

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

How a Den Leader gets to be called Captain Awesome

I've been going to Twilight Camp with my boys all week, and have been the "den leader" for my Webelos II's den.  Three nights of stations with 10 boys, going from fishing, to BB's, to archery, to knots, to woodworking, and a bunch of other.

But tonight was special.  Oh yeah.  Tonight was Hike Night!  And what makes it special for the Webelos is that they get to cross the creek, getting far wetter than necessary in the process.  Now, I should mention that before we headed out, we were specifically told that they'd know we had a good time if we came back muddy.  The boys took that to heart...

Ethan and me after the Webelos hike at Twilight Camp.

This is what I brought our den back looking like.  It was an accident.

This is how you get to be called Captain Awesome.
I've had a blast all week with this great group of kids.  I'm looking forward to family night tomorrow, when the kids can show their families all that they've done this week.  And in more good news for the Webelos, they get to camp out overnight.  It's always good to have some one-on-one with Ethan.  

I try to tell people that if their son doesn't go to Camp, he's missing out.  Maybe now they'll believe me!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 49

Today we had our rank advancement ceremony!  Leadership transition has made this a difficult year, but it was great to see the boys recognized for their hard work.  We used the Painted Ranks ceremony, and it went over very well.  The scouts looked great!  Next time I'll try to get some paint on the parents, too.

One of the leaders who was new to our pack this year had the idea to give the boys who earned their rank a copy of the next handbook that they'll start working on.  It gives the boys something to work on over the summer, and saves the parents a 20-mile trip to the Scout Shop.  His other great idea was Mother Pins, which our pack hadn't done before.  Hopefully it will inspire them to continue helping their boys in Scouting.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 48

Made final preparations for the Advancement ceremony tomorrow - making sure we have everything we need, and all ducks are in a row.  We should be all set!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 46

We had our visit to the fire station.  It was scheduled for my Tiger's den, but I had a feeling the Webelos would enjoy it, too, so we invited them to join.

The Tigers and Webelos II's.  That's my two on the left.
  The kids had a great time sitting in the truck, and actually getting to touch things.  It was a bit of a bonus to have a couple of Explorers lead the tour.  They also got to see the meeting rooms, sleeping quarters, and the TV room.  And to ask LOTS of question!  The Explorers did a great job answering everything for them, letting them try things, and generally being patient.  A scouting success!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 45

Not much Scouting today.  Just sent out the reminder email in anticipation of the trip to the fire station tomorrow.  The guys are really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 44

Today I talked with one of the leaders in our pack about the advancement awards.  It seems that one of our Tigers isn't showing up on our roster, which means the Scout Shop wouldn't sell us the rank badge.  We'll get a form turned in and handle his advancement on paper, but it's frustrating to have to make another trip up there for a paperwork issue that I suspect was not our fault to begin with.  But at least that was our biggest issue!  And perseverance is one of the Core Values...

Monday, May 16, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 43

What a day!  Or night, rather.  Today I used the BSA Internet Advancement tool to prepare the pack's advancement report ahead of our rank advancement ceremony next Sunday. Not the simplest process.  But, one of the other leaders was available to go to our Scout Shop today to pick up the awards and badges, so I wanted to get it finished.  I'd rather be up until 1:00am doing the input than driving all the way up there!  I actually do need to get there for a few things, but not sure if my schedule will comfortable allow it before the meeting.  Lots of activity badges, arrow points, and rank badges.  And I was really happy to see how many earned the Outdoor Activity Award.  That's one of my favorites, but in the last few years we hadn't seen many earning it.  Or at least not seeing the parents let the den leaders know that their son had earned it...  Anyway, glad to see the boys going to camp and getting outside to earn that.  Plus it looks awesome on the uniform pocket!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 42

Today was my son's 10th birthday, so not much Scouting activity.  I did updated the records for the boys who went to the Webelos Outdoor Weekend to reflect their achievements.  Other than that, we just made it his day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 41

Woke up to a full day of activities at the Webelos Outdoor Weekend.  Nothing like bacon and eggs over a camp propane fire!  After breakfast, it was time to start rotating through the activity stations.  The boys got the chance to learn some Boy Scout skills from local troops.  They worked on knots, campsite set-up, tent set-up, first aid, and fire-starting.  The rain changed plans for the obstacle course, but it turned out even better when they moved it under the shelter and played some games.  They sat in a circle, feet-in, and passed a coffee container around.  They also divided into two large groups and had to fit everyone onto a tarp.  Then they'd fold it in half and see if they could still fit on it.  Then fold in half again!  It was fun to watch.

Of course, the kids just love to be out camping and practicing their Scouting skills.  Even with a lot of rain, they still had a great time.  Ethan and I left after the campfire program to head home.  His birthday was the next day, and he wanted to be with the whole family for it.  No argument from dad!  We had a great time together!

Friday, May 13, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 40

Today my Webelos son, Ethan, and I arrived at Cub World for the Webelos Outdoor Weekend.  We got off to a great start since we got to stop by Roy Rogers on the way for a Double-R burger!  Ethan led the way on getting out tent set up, and stowing the gear.  We had a great time just throwing a frisbee around!  He has an older sister and a younger brother, so it's nice to get to do something like that, just the two of us.  After lights out, he seemed to drift off with no problem.  I started to, but then remembered the one thing I don't like about camping so close to others - snoring!  And late-talkers.  I thought it was funny to hear some of the "shhh-ing".

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 31

To celebrate the end of the first month of my 100 Days of Scouting (is that a thing?), I'm so happy to report that the pack Hiking Club is official!  Today I sent the message to the parents letting them know what it's about, and when it starts.  I also updated the pack website HERE if anyone is interested in seeing what we're up to.  We'll still need to publish the full recognition schedule, but I'm really excited to finally get this thing off the ground.  I think the kids will have a great time, and I'm looking forward to incorporating things like Leave No Trace, map & compass, belt loops, the Fun for the Family award, and much else.

We're located in Northern Kentucky, in the Greater Cincinnati area, which offers plenty of great places to hike.  We should easily be able to go more than a year before we have to go back to the same place.  Unless we find any pack favorites.  I'm already a big fan of the California Woods Nature Preserve.  Their website doesn't come close to doing it justice, but if you're in the area, check it out.

If you do check out our pack's plan and have any suggestions or feedback, I'd really appreciate if you'd let me know in the comments to this post.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 30

Today I made arrangements for the Tiger den to visit our city's fire station.  They'll go in a couple of weeks, and get it in juuuuust before the advancement ceremony a few days later.  This has been a frustrating year for the Tiger den.  We weren't able to find a leader for them.  At one point we thought we had one.  The grandfather of one of the boys had been a Scoutmaster, and had even gone to Wood Badge.  He agreed to take leadership of the den after a planned vacation to Europe, but that's the last I've heard from him.  One of the other leaders and I each have sons in the den, so we're making sure they at least have the chance to earn their rank (which at the Tiger level is pretty simple).  The other guy's older son crossed over last March, and he said he's willing to take over this den when they start on their Wolf rank.  I'm really looking forward to it, because it's is a great den.  I can see these boys sticking with it long-term, as long we can get a routine going!  We've already lost a couple of boys because of all this.  On the one hand, it's hard to blame those families, but on the other, any one of them could have stepped up into the leadership role.

Our current Wolf den had 3 boys sign up, but no one would step up to be their leader, which frustrates me beyond words.  I understand that there are legitimate reasons why a person couldn't be a den leader, but... oh well.  Hopefully we recruit a new Wolf with a parent willing and able to step up.  Or another volunteer comes from somewhere!

I just don't personally understand it.  I'm a den leader for the Webelos I den, kind of running the Tiger den by default, I've just taken over as Cubmaster, and I'm the head coach for 3 soccer teams.  I take personal offense when someone says they don't have time!  I'm committed to some youth activity or another every day but Tuesday.  I'm happy to do it, it's what I choose to do.  But it just baffles when we have a pool of candidates that size and can't find a single volunteer.  When my daughter was in first grade, I "had" to coach two soccer teams because the other team at her school in her age bracket couldn't find a coach.  The parents of 11 girls were told that if they didn't get a volunteer that the girls wouldn't get to play.  Still nothing.  I felt bad and offered to take that team too.  I'm no hero, but what the heck?!  Where are the volunteers???