Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Catching Up on my 100 days 9-21

October 6th, Reviewed  my be a scout presentation for tomorrow night.
October 7th, Helped with  info packets for roundtable, Gave a quick present at roundtable for BeAScout.org, Committed troop to teach knots at our Troopadillo Adventure (Webelos Woods like event).
October 8th, Packed and headed out  with a local pack for Family camping at Inks Lake State Park.
October 9th, Helped Webelos I with Fire building and Baked a dutch oven birthday cake. I really wish I had a good picture of it.
October 10th, Came back from Camping, opted to take Hammock nap instead of posting to the blog.
October 11th, Read troop requirements for Journey to Excellence, developed  goals for the PLC. Many have a due date of 12/31/2010. To make sure issues get resolved before recruiting starts.
October 12th, PLC occurred before troop meeting.  I think they covered about half of the goals.  Surprised we have 5 or more boys eligible for NYLT maybe more by June. Council's requirements are 13 and first class having taken part in TLT. This will make who to send a tough decision. I think some really should have gone last year.
October 13th, Purchased a copy of the 1942 Scoutmaster's handbook on Ebay.
October 14th, Drove Son to a local pack meeting, He explained to the Cubmaster that Den Chief training will not happen until January, yet he has read the handbook and is ready to start if  that was OK. I picked up Popcorn for a Saturday show and sell.
October 15th, I took the day off. I really should have posted.
October 16th, Supervised the Show and Sell, Picked up the troop trailer from storage, Washed contents of two chuckboxes for 3 hours... Need to talk to boys about why we do KP before it gets dark. Two adults and one youth almost lost our lunches.
October 17th, worked on figuring out  why trailer brakes locked up. Found I wired  my RV plug backwards while changing from 6 pin to 7 blade RV plug. I discovered 6 pin trailer connections have two possible pinouts. When using the wrong pinout it will lock up the trailer brakes.
October 18th, Took the trailer back to the storage area. Received  my 1942 copy of the Scoutmasters handbook, read section on a new scout master in an established troop. I'll be rereading this often.
October 19th, Today, I have my first Committee Meeting as Scoutmaster and  the third troop meeting of our cooking theme.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Days 7 and 8

Yesterday,  I went to promote powder horn  and  the troop to a pack. I also picked up the keys to the church. Today  I ran to the scout shop  and picked up a copy of the TLT syllabus. I grabbed my son a copy of the Den Chief handbook.  I'm writing an email to a pack that had written off the troop as possible troop for crossover.  And tonight is my first night as  the scoutmaster. I'm wondering what  to do  as my scout master minute.  Maybe a game on participation.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 3-6 Of being a New Scoutmaster

I spent days 3 - 6 at my second weekend of Powderhorn. I now have many new resources and ideas for the troop. COPE was very challenging. Rappelling didn't hold the glamor for me it had in my youth.  although it was cold a couple of nights, cold for South Texas that is.  One of our troops young Assistant Scoutmasters  attended with me.  We  were introduced to  the Diamond H Scout Ranch in Eastern Oklahoma that invites you to choose your own adventure.  Diamond H is a partnership between National and Last Frontier council. I'm exhausted so I'm hitting the rack.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 2 of 100 days as a New Scoutmaster

So while I prepared yesterday, I ended up writing my thoughts and it evolved into my scoutmaster's vision statement. It will take a  while but I hope to get the Scouts to come up with their own vision of our success.

"If I may take just a few moments of your time, I want to share with you my vision for this troop. A vision is a picture of what future success looks like. If we can see it, we can be it.  In the best tradition of Scouting, this will be a boy-run troop. My vision of what success looks like comes in parts.
As Scoutmaster I see myself fulfilling my responsibility for the safety of everyone and the general direction of the troop’s program. I see the troop operating according to the Scout Oath and Law, and following the guidance of the National Council. We are all here to help one another have the best possible experience. The Scout Oath and Law can guide us in that direction throughout our lives.
I see the adult leaders giving responsibility for leading the troop to the senior patrol leader and the troop’s other youth leaders. We will always be available to coach and mentor them, but as much as possible I see us staying on the sidelines while the senior patrol leader and youth leaders plan and carry out a great program for the troop. We will not hide that coaching and mentoring. In fact, now and then we will ask you to watch us doing it.
The Troop will offer boys the opportunity to explore the outdoors and experience new adventures.  The troop will continue to expand the outdoor program. It will be the boys' responsibility to research and discuss new and exciting locations for future outings.
Advancement is a very important part of any Scouting program. Troop 745 is committed to providing boys the experiences and resources necessary for rank advancement. It is the responsibility of the individual scout to set his goals and put into action a plan to achieve those goals. The troop will provide all the necessary support: Troop Guides, Merit Badge counselors, etc. The troop will be a resource for advancement while upholding the integrity of the rank.
A quality troop also must reflect service to others and duty to God. Troop 745 will expand its efforts in community service. We will also continue to do our Duty to God by our renewed commitment to the Scouts Own Program. At this time we have an active Troop Chaplain and Chaplain's Aide. We will work together to start holding Sunday services at all campouts.
My vision of success includes everyone, both youth and adult, seeing himself as here to help each of you learn as much as you can. It is my desire for all the boys to feel this is “Their Troop” and that they have pride in what it stands for. All members are to be treated with respect and dignity. I want all boys to develop a concern for each other's welfare. We are here for you. I see us doing all we can to make it possible for you to enjoy the fellowship of other Scouts."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1 of 100 days as the new Scoutmaster.

In my last post, I laid out that I'm going to become Scoutmaster tonight. I have had a couple of weeks to plan for this, but I really haven't done much to prepare for tonight. The current Scoutmaster hasn't said a word about this to me, that has me a bit on edge. The Committee chair has assured me that the change will happen and the current Scoutmaster is planning a changing of the guard ceremony. I should put together a few words  for tonight.

I have done a bit more to plan for my First 100 days. Although I have gone through all the required training, Am I really prepared to mentor  the scouts? Did Wood Badge prepare me for this? I'm not sure. While this won't help me in my first 100 days, I have volunteered to help with our council's NYLT course. Locally, we call it Cedar Badge.  This should help fine tune my ability to mentor the youth leaders. After watching our last two SPL's, being able to mentor them is a huge concern for me. Both have had to fall into the realm of a dictator or the big boss role too many times. That's the first bit of our culture I feel I have to change.

I have read and reread  a series of blogs from www.thescoutmasterminute.net on "If you build it they will come". Many thanks to Jerry Schleining for writing that blog. I see the value of planning. I have felt the need for and asked the PLC via the scoutmaster for an annual plan for the last year. Jerry's series of posts and a list of questions I found on a Webelos to Scout transition paper have helped me start to wrap my head around a series of goals for my first 100 days. These goals will be goals for me, for the PLC, and for the Troop Committee.

Since everything starts with the PLC. Let me speak a bit about  the PLC that will take office with me. The SPL  is an experienced Eagle Scout. Before the elections I spoke with him briefly, he stated he came back to SPL because he doesn't like the way the troop is heading.  I really appreciate him  taking up the role. His ASPL is a Life Scout  that recently transferred into the troop. He has had some challenges in his life and scouting. I think he has turned his recent challenges around  and will be a great leader in the future. One of the PL's will be in his second term. He is a Star Scout looking to turn 13 soon. The other PL is Second Class Scout in his first term. One  of them is going to try and balance Jr. League football in a championship team with his position. I see that being a big challenge for him. I am looking forward to working with them

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wow was it really May?

Was it really may the last time I posted?  So much has happened in the last few months. I have worked my self out of my real job. The company decide to use me to move their servers to Rackspace managed hosting, a local company from San Antonio.  I've been working on starting my own business. That's pretty much it on the personal side.

On the scout side, I went to summer camp with the troop at Bear Creek Scout Ranch. (http://alamoarea-boyscouts.org/Bear%20Creek/bear%20creek.html) My son went through the 1st year scout program called the Ranger Program. With his troop experiences, that carried him from Scout to Second Class. Another campout and he managed to get First Class in 11 months. Many people in Texas say that Bear Creek have the best new scout program in the state, followed by Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch (BTSR). I'm not prejudiced though, it is our council camp.  At the end of the summer the Troop committee leadership came to me and asked that I take over as Scoutmaster. Two weeks ago  I started  in the Alamo area council's high adventure resource training for troops and crews known as Powder Horn.

I grabbed some interesting  facts  about Powder Horn in my council.  The first course was held in 2003. I am in the 5th course. Our course's normally have a waiting list.  The teaching methodology is based on a Venturing Crew. If you not familiar with Powder Horn, you are probably asking what is Powder Horn? For me, Powder horn so far has been Leave No Trace, COPE, Center-fire, rim-fire, black-powder, shotguns, clay, gear,  SCUBA,Fishing, flies, awesome food, Canoeing, kayaking, Rafting, communications, gear, physical fitness, Climbing, rappelling, Treks, rivers, lakes and scout's own. I still have a weekend left to go.

Back to the troop and the committee though, I have accepted their offer to become Scoutmaster and tomorrow's Court of Honor is to be my installation as Scoutmaster.  The last couple of weeks I've been working on and looking at how to set my tone, my culture for that I'll bring to the troop as the troop's chief mentor and guide. Back at the beginning of the year, I followed a group of bloggers that were writing about 100 days of Scouting. My goal for this blog is now to write about my first 100 days as Scoutmaster. I don't expect to do this daily, but I'll try to do this at least weekly. I started by blocking out time to do that  on my calendar.

Friday, May 21, 2010

(Survival and New foods) Which cacti are the most edible and nutritious?

While this doesn't really answer the question... It does help you to figure out how to harvest and prepare the fruit of our beloved Prickly Pear.  Just don't go hugging any of them.
From Survival Guru Tony Nester
Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia spp.) is the most common cactus found throughout not only the desert but much of the U.S. It is my favorite cactus to harvest, and I usually gather up the red, golf-ball sized fruits in August or September, depending on the elevation.
The surface of the fruit has tiny hairs called glochids which can get into your skin (or tongue!) and cause irritation. When gathering the fruit with my kids, I always bring along Elmer's Glue, which can be poured onto the hairs impaled in the fingertips or skin and later peeled off to remove the glochids. Tongs can be most helpful for picking fruit, but it always seems like you end up with a few hairs in your fingertips.
After obtaining the fruit, we then place them over a grill on the fire for 1-2 minutes to singe off the glochids. They can then be eaten raw or cut in half to dry in the sun to make cactus fruit leather. Like most cacti fruit, prickly pear is 80-percent seed on the inside, and it takes quite a bit to make a meal. Your lips and hands also will be stained purple for the next few days.
As with any edible plant or cacti, make sure you know what you are putting in your mouth as some can be toxic and downright deadly. Take a class at a desert botanical center or with a reputable instructor. One such course that focuses on desert edible and medicinal plants is taught in Arizona by Mike Masek (theforagerspath.com) and provides a hands-on approach to learning how to gather your own wild foods.
Other than prickly pear, there are many desert succulents (another name for cacti and their relatives) that can provide fruit, such as the Saguaro, barrel cactus, and cholla. Some are protected, so you will have to look into state laws when gathering.
An excellent book to get started is Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert, by Wendy C. Hodgson.

Here's a list of nutrients you find in the paddle.
Cactus pads contain beta carotene, iron, some B vitamins, and are good sources of both vitamin C and calcium.
There has been medical interest in the Prickly Pear plant. Some studies have shown that the pectin contained in the Prickly Pear pulp lowers levels of "bad" cholesterol while leaving "good" cholesterol levels unchanged. Another study found that the fibrous pectin in the fruit may lowers diabetics' need for insulin. Both fruits and pads of the prickly pear cactus are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers that help keep blood sugar stable. There are on going studies and at this point there are no proven results on humans. You can make your own study and see if works for you, which is the only test that really counts.
Here's a recipe for a tasty, spicy dish:


2 cups of diced cactus
1 pound of hamburger (cooked and drained)
6 ounces of tomato paste
1 cup of water
1 diced jalapeño pepper
6-1/2 ounces of canned shrimp (drained)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a pan and cook them over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the cactus turns a deep green. Serve hot over noodles, rice, or potatoes . . . or in pita bread or a folded tortilla. It's delicious!

Cactus also tastes great with fish. Here's a recipe for pescado, desert-style:


1/2 cup of cooking oil
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 cup of flour
1 pound of filleted fish
1 cup of diced and boiled cactus
1/2 cup of water (from the boiled cactus)
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a frying pan, sauté the garlic until light brown, and then remove the garlic pieces with a slotted spatula or spoon. Combine the chili powder and flour in a bowl and roll the fish in the mixture. Fry the coated fillets until they're golden brown . . . add the water (be careful to prevent spattering  pour in just a bit at a time). . . reduce the heat . . . and cook the fish for a few minutes longer. When the fish flakes easily, remove it from the pan and serve it smothered in cactus and topped with sliced egg, lemon juice, and salt.