Saturday, April 30, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 27

Slow day for Scouting.  We finally got a soccer game in, and I had to cut the grass before we get yet more rain.  And a little mulching for good measure, which I take very little interest in.  However, I'm cheap enough to know that you don't say no to a free pick-up bed full of mulch.

I changed the name on the blog today to the infinitely creative "Cubmaster Eric".  I'd hold a contest for a better blog name, but the only thing I have to give away is mulch and that would be prohibitively expensive to send.  But if you do have a name that you thought of after it was too late to change your own, I'll gladly listen.

Friday, April 29, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 26

Finally getting back in the swing of things.  I did some clean up work on our pack website today (  We want to encourage the parents to check there first as a sort of one-stop-shop.  We're also hoping to add some things to the site that the boys would be interested in.

Also did some research on the Journey to Excellence award for the pack.  This is a goal that the pack has set, and we shouldn't have any trouble achieving it.  I think it's a great guide to make sure a pack is staying on track.  Thankfully we shouldn't require much in the way of change.  We have new leadership in the pack (I've taken over as Cubmaster), but we've been left with a great program.

I'll be announcing our Hiking Club to the pack in the next few days.  I had hoped to start this month, but we'll be hiking (at least) on the first Sunday of the month starting in June.  Thanks to those who offered input, and I'll let you know how it turns out.  I'll also share our pack's "rules" when they're published.  We definitely owe a debt to some other packs who've been kind enough to publish what's worked for them!  If anyone has any advice, I'm still happy to listen.

Finally, after yesterday's post I signed my Webelos son up for the Webelos Outdoor Weekend next month.  They'll have a chance to see what Boy Scouts is all about, and hopefully meet some guys from a few different troops.  He's really looking forward to it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 25

We had our Committee Meeting tonight, but it was just me and one other leader.  Not a problem, though - we got plenty done.  Mainly making sure we're on track for the summer programming.  I think the kids will have a lot of fun this summer!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 24

Getting ready for the pack meeting, and looking ahead to some ways I can help at the District level.  Pretty slow Scouting day today, but it should be picking up soon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 23

The kids had their last day of Easter Break today, so we wen to the Cincinnati Museum Center and explored for awhile.  We focused mostly on 20th century, and as always, The Cave.  I need to check to see what, if any, Scouting requirements they might have met.

Monday, April 25, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 22

Slow day for Scouting.  The kids were off school, so we did some things around the house.  Made some arrangements to accommodate another leader's schedule for our upcoming Committee Meeting.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 20

No real Scouting activity today, except for the usual reading.  Did get to watch the kids dye eggs, which is always fun!

Friday, April 22, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 19

Today I worked with my Webelos on his Handyman activity badge and saw him complete it.  He already had a few things done, and we finished a few today.  Even felt inspired to take him to Lowe's and buy him some tools for the toolbox he made at a den meeting in February.  All it takes is a few screwdrivers, some pliers, and a tape measure to make a boy feel big!  

A blessed Good Friday to all of you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 18

Webelos den meeting tonight.  We were cut a short for church services, so we finished a few Citizenship requirements and did some planning.  As they're wrapping up their first year of Webelos, I'm trying to have the boys take more responsibility for the den.  Looks like we'll be working on a short play, and possibly producing a  stop-motion Lego video!  I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 17

Finished planning for tomorrow's Webelos den meeting.  They need to wrap up a few odds and ends to complete some badge work.  Also enjoyed some really good blog posts from fellow Scouters, and stopped by the bank to take care of some pack business.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 16

Good day today.  Work and soccer rescheduling kept me busy for most of it, but after dinner I got to help the boys put their patches on their new uniform shirts.  My Webelos moved into a khaki shirt.  He tried it on after we got the patches on, and said, "I look like a grown-up."  He's getting there...

And since a Scout(er) keeps himself physically strong, I played basketball for the second night in a row.  Full court is a workout!  We'll see how I feel in a day or two.

Monday, April 18, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 15

Light day today - worked on some documentation for the Hiking Club.  I appreciated the feedback from some fellow Scouters.  And I read up a little on some training requirements.  Just wanted to make sure we weren't missing anything.  Slow day today, but we have a den meeting coming up on Thursday, so plenty of prep before that.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 14

Today was our pack meeting.  Master Fry and some of his students did a Taekwondo demonstration, and taught the Scouts and siblings a few basic things.

Master Fry and some of his students.
One of our own breaks his first board!
Wow!  Nothing to add.

Master Fry did an excellent job of tying the values of Scouting and Taekwondo together.   He talked about discipline, respect, and working toward goals.  He especially focused on keeping yourself safe, and how to react if you find yourself in a dangerous situation.  I don't think I've ever seen the boys sit still for so long!  One of the best non-"event" (derby, etc.) meetings we've ever had.  We were thankful that they shared their time and talent with us.

I'm also putting the finishing touches on our pack's new Hiking Club.  I've seen (via the internet) what some other packs have done, and I'm really looking forward to getting our pack started with monthly hikes (at a minimum) at the end of the month.  I'll share our plan once it's finalized, but we still have a couple of last things to work out.  Mainly, can you only earn miles on a "pack" hike, and will we track family members' miles?  I'm leaning toward "yes" for both - it must be on a pack hike, and we will track everyone's miles - but I want to talk it over with the other leaders to get their input.  I'm afraid that if we count miles on non-pack hikes, things could get out of control.  I also want to encourage more involvement at the pack level.  We have a lot of Scouts who attend den meetings, but not pack meetings.  I'm also thinking that non-Scouts will need to pay for their own recognition items.  What do you think?  Does your pack have a hiking club that tracks miles and gives recognition?  What do you suggest?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 13

This Saturday was a soccer day (despite the rain), so not much Scouting today.  Last minute prep for the pack meeting tomorrow, and some brainstorming for next year's planning.  Read some blog posts and followed the 100 Days of Scouting on Twitter.  So maybe more than I realized.  Just not a lot tangible to show for it!

I'm really liking this 100 Days of Scouting.  I've always at least had Scouting somewhere in the back of mind, but this is helping me focus some of it better.  Definitely helps to hold you accountable!  And I love seeing what other Scouters are up to and how they do things.  It really is inspirational.  I just started the 100 Days on a whim, but I'm really glad I did.  So much ground has already been covered in Scouting, but I always like to hear how others actually do it on a practical level - how well the kids liked it, what they would do differently next time, etc.  I don't feel like I'm really offering that back yet, but it'll get there.  Thanks to all of you for sharing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 12

Reviewed some Scout paperwork and did just a little bit of prep for a new pack activity today.  The bigger thing wasn't directly Scout related, but I think it was indirectly.  I took the day off of work to chaperone  my son and his 4th grade class on field trip to see the Shrine Circus.  I intentionally wore a Cub Scout shirt as a kind of advertising to any kids who might be either thinking about it or missing it.  We watched the circus, and the kids, of course, had a great time.  As we were heading back to the van, I overheard that one of the mom's (a neighbor of ours) had a flat tire.  No offense to the ladies, but being the only guy around, I felt obligated to offer to change it for her.

Before I started, I ran the camera bag back over to our van where my wife, son, and a few of his classmates were waiting.  As I was heading back to her SUV, they asked me why I wasn't coming with them.  When I told them, they asked why I had to do it.  There are several reasons, but I told them it was because I'm a Scout leader.  We set examples.  I'm sorry now that I can't remember whose blog it was, but someone had a post recently along the lines of, if we don't do it, who will.  And that's exactly what I was thinking.  I know I'm not a hero, and it wouldn't have been the end of the world if she had to wait for AAA, but dammit, I'm right there and I'm completely capable.  I couldn't NOT offer to help. Plus, it turned out that today is her birthday, so it was nice to put a little bit of a silver lining on it.  I don't care if my kids grow up to be rich or famous, but I want them to be the kind of people who'll stop to help when they're able.  So that was by big Scout event of the day.

After the circus, the kids actually got a two-for-one field trip day.  They went straight to the Community Center for an Arbor Day presentation.  The forest ranger did a great job helping the kids to understand why trees are so important us.  He even told them that he wasn't worried about having them remember every fact he gave them, but that he'd rather have them come away an appreciation for trees, and a love of nature.  If that guy isn't a Scout already, he just became an honorary one!  Today was a good day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 11

I attended our District Roundtable tonight.  I hadn't been in awhile, so it was good to get back.  They had a nice presentation on Wood Badge, and we got to see one Scouter receive his beads.  Afterward, we broke into separate groups, and the Cub leaders started planning for a leader's campout in July.  If all goes well, they'll combine Outdoor Webelos Leader training into the weekend, along with some presentations on Geocaching, dutch oven cooking, and more.  Something to look forward to!

Other than that, just some administrative stuff.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 10

Today I sent an email to the Webelos parents with some information on the Webelos Outdoor Weekend that the council is offering in May.  Sounds like a great time.  I'll be interested to see how many of them choose to go.  This den hasn't been very strong on taking advantage of camp experiences, but I'm still hopeful that we'll see that turn around.

I also read a little on the web about Wood Badge.  I'm thinking about going this September.  If I do, I'd have to clear the calendar, which is no easy task, but certainly possible.  I need to decide if now if the right time, or if it would be better to wait another year or so.  The good news is that I still have plenty of time to consider it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 9

Excellent Scouting day today!  Took the Tigers to the studios at Sacred Heart Radio, 740AM.  Matt gave us a tour of the studio, explained the basics of how things worked, and let the boys record their voices.  Then he showed them how the clips could be combined and rearranged to form a PSA that sounded pretty good.  The boys had a great time.  We really appreciated that Matt stuck around after work to show us around!

Monday, April 11, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 8

Today I made final preparations for tomorrow's Tiger cub visit to the radio station.  I'm really looking forward to it.  These kids have gotten off to a slow start this year while we struggled to find a leader for them, but they're finally getting on track with a more regular schedule.  This is a good group of boys, and I'd hate to see them leave before they really get to the fun stuff.

We've had the same problem with our Wolf den.  For two years now, we've not been able to get anyone to step up.  Last year, one of the two boys still managed to earn his Tiger rank by working on his own and with another den.  This year, I don't expect that any of the three who signed up will earn their rank.  All for the want of a leader.  I don't understand it.

WHAM-O WHEELIE BAR Tv Commercial 1966

Sunday, April 10, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 7

No Scouting activity today - just a little reading on the web.  Got a little done around the house and played with the kids.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 6

Today I did some research on the National Summertime Pack Award.  This is something our pack will work to earn over the summer.  I can't see us having any trouble earning it.  We're pretty active with summer pack meetings.  The big difference for us will be making the Scouts and parents aware of the award!

Friday, April 8, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 5

I spent some time messing around with the pack website today, and caught up on some scouter blogs.  Also started some planning docs for the pack.  One in particular is going to be a big job.  I'm trying to put together an "Operator's Manual" for our pack to document how we've done things in the past.  We're always open to improvement, but it will hopefully make transitions for new leaders much easier.  We lost our Committee Chair last year when his youngest son crossed over, and it took about a year to get up to speed on all he had done for the pack.  I guess we'd taken him for granted!   Luckily, he was very patient with us, and we finally caught on.  My thinking is that if we can get it in writing, we can take out a lot of the guesswork.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 4

I made up for the slow day yesterday.  I started off by emailing with a fellow Scouter about ways the pack and I can help at the District level.  There are plenty of opportunities, it's just a matter of figuring out which will allow me to best use my "talents".  I'm looking forward to helping out, though.

I also did some unexpected work on our pack website.  I've been using Blogger, but I found a great theme on Dave Metz's site to use in Google Sites. It still needs some work before I can share it, but I think it'll end up looking really nice.

And the big event was the Webelos den meeting.  After the boys caught me up on their progress with their "homework", we went out the clean up litter around the lake and surrounding woods.  I don't think I'll ever cease to be amazed at the amount of trash that can be collected in an hour.  Those boys found everything from empty bottles to toys to umbrellas.  We even hauled out a tire!  On the plus side, I think we have 5 new conservationists.  The volume of trash they hauled out definitely made an impression.

Of course, after the meeting I had to plug in all of their achievements in to the tracking spreadsheet.  Google docs finally allows one worksheet to feed another, which means I was able to upload the Trax form and let their parents access it 24/7.  I've been wanting to do that for a long time!  Now they're never more than a click away from knowing exactly where their Scout stands toward advancement.  I'm really hoping that it encourages them to complete more activities from the handbook.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 3

Not much Scouting today.  Planned a little for the Webelos den meeting tomorrow, and that was about it.  I'll need to follow up with one of the scouts and his parents to see if he'll be attending Twilight Camp this June.  Our pack pays for camp if a Scout sells $600 or more during the popcorn sale, and we're trying to plan ahead.  We have one in our den who's earned it every year, but has never gone.  I'm hoping he'll go this time around.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 2

Worked with my boys on some Webelos and Tiger requirements today.  I had told them last night that we would, so it was cool to see them come home from school asking if we still were.  Love to see that Scout Spirit!

Also refreshed myself on the requirements for the Outdoor Activity Award.  We have a couple of scouts who are really close, and I want to make sure they know what they need to do to earn the award.  Or that it even exists, for that matter.

And as always, catching up on scout blogs...

Monday, April 4, 2011

100 Days of Scouting - Day 1

I just figured out that you can start the 100 days at any time!  So.... for Day 1, I helped my Webelos I complete some requirements for his Citizenship and Fitness activity badges.  He should have both completed in about a week or so, which will also complete his Webelos badge.  He set a goal to earn all 20 activity badges, the Super Achiever.  He's on track as long as he sticks to it!

Also sent an email to the pack letting them know that two of our outgoing leaders had been honored at our District Recognition Dinner last week.  One received the Unit Volunteer of the Year, and the other received the Service to Youth award.  Both were well-deserved.  They both have much to be proud of and leave big shoes to fill.

Start Spring Plants in Citrus Peels

Great idea for a den meeting, via Lifehacker

Start Spring Plants in Citrus Peels [DIY]: "
Start Spring Plants in Citrus Peels
Starting your plants indoors for their eventual outdoor transfer doesn't have to mean buying little pots. Half of a grapefruit or orange can do the trick, too, as one crafty blogger demonstrates.
The blogger at My Roman Apartment was on a year-long kick to buy as few new things as possible, and with planting season fast approaching, this is how she made due. Poke a hole in the bottom for drainage, and your herbs and other small plants can be simply grown on the counter, then brought outside and planted whole in the ground. We're not garden experts, but we've heard compost fans describe citrus peels as being good for the mix. If you've got a similar idea for starting your plants without buying once-a-year equipment, give us the dirt in the comments.