Friday, June 28, 2013

Scout Leadership Training Round Robin

My son is on his second round as SPL for his Troop and early this year was led the Troop leadership training. The entire training was Scout led and had the extra benefit of several NYLT Scouts to help with the process.

One new thing the SPL introduced was a roundtable exercise with the Scouts where he presented a series of scenarios for them to discuss. There were no adults in the room during the this time so that the discussion could be as open and meaningful as possible. The other day I ran across the stack of 3X5 cards he used for this and found the topics to be very interesting:
  • Some Scouts are horse playing around at a Court of Honor where everyone can see. How would you deal with that?
  • You see some Scouts throwing trash in the forest. How do you use this a teachable moment about the outdoor code
  • You walk into your campsite and see a patrol member crying. How would you respond?
  • You notice bullying in the Troop. What is the proper response
  • Your leader gets too abusive with his authority. How to do change this? How would you resolve the issue?
  • One of your patrols’ tents flood. How do you make a compromise
  • A patrol member refuses to do KP even though he was assigned this on the duty roster. How do you deal with this?
  • Leadership gets in an argument. What do you do? How do you prevent this?
  • You’ve asked multiple times for a Scout to put his phone up but he is constantly is on it. What should be addressed and why?
  • A Scout says that his knife was stolen and he can’t find it. What is the best solution?
  • You suspect a Scout of taking illegal drugs. What do you do?
  • No one in your patrol is listening to you. How would you handle and fix that?
  • You lose a Scout and he goes missing. How would you find and make sure it does not happen again?
  • You are walking down a trail and Scout notices a dead animal and wants to touch it. What do you do? Why?
  • An adult is constantly coming into your patrol site for their son. How do you kindly take care of this?
  • You notice a parent taking over the patrol and the patrol leader and his Scouts are not getting a chance to lead on their own. How do you restore order?
  • You have a member in your patrol that the patrol doesn’t like. One day when he is away the Scouts start making fun of him. What do you do as a leader?
  • You notice some of your patrol members not attending meetings and campouts anymore. How would you handle this?
  • Your patrol lost a game this weekend and hasn't worked well together since. Their morale is low. How can you lift their spirits?
  • One scout is homesick at summer camp. How do you lift is spirits and help him?
  • Because of poor planning your patrol members did not buy enough food for a meal. How do you fix this?
  • A Scout is constantly interrupting skill or is talking during skill with no respect towards others. What will you do?
  • An adult is furious and mad. He starts yelling. What is the best response?
  • An adult leader is rude to Scouts and pushing to have his way all the time. How do you handle this?

Based on this extensive list, I am sure it was quite a discussion!  Any of these sound familiar? Interesting to read these and know from his perspective after several years in the Troop most are something he has experienced. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Powering up for Jamboree

The 2013 National Scout Jamboree promises to the most technologically connected event in the BSA’s history.  This is not your father’s Jamboree or even your older brother’s as the Summit is encouraging Scouts to stay connected through the use of smart devices. This includes the introduction of an app that participants can purchase for .99 that at first glance seems to be packed with features. These include interactive maps, event schedules, a social wall, and more.

Will 33,000 teens and adults with devices be a distraction? Of the thousands of teens attending, how many will lose hours of fun time due to texting, twittering, face timing or just plain goofing off thanks having a device along? Heck, will there even be good enough coverage for these devices to work? Especially for us non AT&T customers?

Well that is a different blog post to be pondered.

I plan to stay connected and share images of the fun back home for the parents and families to enjoy. The big problem aside from data access is going to be power. Cameras, phones and tablets all require recharging if they are going to work. The AT&T and BSA solution are solar charging stations placed in sub camps. There was hope that these stations would have lock option to do drop and go charging but unfortunately it does not look like that is going to be the case.

Now picture Scouts and Adults having to hang out near the station for two hours as they wait for the device to charge. Yuck.

So what is my plan?

I plan to Go Big and Get Wild with a huge battery. After some research, I purchased the PowerGen Juice Pack 12000 and after a couple of months have added the PowerGen Juice Pack 13000. These have a huge capacity at 13,000 mAh vs the 2600 mAh of my Samsung Galaxy S 4 and both came through Amazon as a reasonable price.

The Powergen 12000 has three out ports. Out A “best for iPad or any Apple Device. Non-Apple devices will charge at full speed if using the included connectors” This port charges out at a 2Amp maximum which is equal to most phone chargers. The second S port is stated to work best for non-Apple devices and is at 2Amp. The final out port is rated for 1Amp. 

The Powergen 13000 is very similar but with even more capacity and a lower price! I actually like the design of this battery a little better with the main difference being that this battery only has two out ports.
Both devices come with two charging cables and a variety of adaptors. Your device provided USB cord will work well also.

PowerGen 13000 charging device and camera

So what about the capacity? The included information states that at a full charge the approximate recharge rate is:  iPhone 5-6 full charges, iPad 2 1.2 full charges and iPAD 3 65% of one charge. 

My personal experience with heavy usage has been in line with these estimates. Generally I have been getting 4 full charges on my Galaxy S4. So in theory if I leave my device on all the time I should be able to go at least a couple of days before having to recharge the PowerGen. The time before requiring a recharge can be extended even further if I:
  • Turn off all syncing features: Syncing to e-mail, Facebook and others are a huge drain to the battery
  • Keep device off except for a few small set times
  • Keep the device in airplane mode if using as a camera only
  • Keep the device in airplane mode if WiFi is available. The radio signal to connect to cellular is a the primary drain to phone batteries when not in use
  • If planning to upload pictures/video, reduce the quality. This will decrease the file size and will shorten the upload times

My plan is to charge the PowerGen during the day every two days and then use the battery to charge my devices overnight while in the tent.

Awesome plan huh? This plan unfortunately was centered on the hope that there were provisions to secure devices while they charge. These high capacity batteries at 2Amp take 5-6 hours to fully recharge. Foiled again! 

Now I am not so sure about my little plan but am going to give it a try nonetheless.

What is your Jamboree Power Plan? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reaching for Eagle

I will never forget that day way back when my son was in fourth grade and he came home from school with a flyer promoting Join Scouts night at his school. Little did I know at the time that it was the going to be the first step in a great adventure for him and for us as a family.

Now here we are six years later and Conner has reached a milestone as officially becoming an Eagle Scout. I am one of those “Life for Life” guys that was in Boy Scouts as a kid but joined late and then quit later as I entered high school after my best friend had “Eagled out”. Looking back, not following through to Eagle has been one of my great regrets in life.

For Conner, his journey has been one full of adventures through Monday meetings, service projects, weekend campouts, multiple summer camps, 2010 National Jamboree, 2011 Sea Base, 2012 Philmont, 2013 National Jamboree with even more to come.

While having all this fun I have seen him grow as a young man through his Scouting roles including time serving as Chaplin Aid, Troop Guide, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol leader and more. There has been adversity to overcome, relationship skills to learn, leadership skills to sharpen, conflicts to manage and more.

Conner’s project was a complicated one and only successful through the help of many other Scouts and adults that helped as well as mentored him along the way.

I am proud of my son for what he has accomplished and just as importantly I am proud to be part of this incredible and ongoing journey at all began with the little flyer so many years ago. Thank you son for talking me into giving it a try.

Wondering if Scouting is relevant to our society and will have a place in the future? From my perspective it is needed more than ever and this program will continue to make a difference for youth for many decades to come.

Conner—I am absolutely proud to be your dad and I love the man you are growing into now and the man you plan to be in the future. Congratulations on reaching this step in your ongoing journey: Dad