The Man Scout Project

A log of my efforts to become an unofficial Eagle Scout

Second Class Requirements 3, 6c

Posted by Huston on November 2, 2009

From October 28:

3.  Participate in a flag ceremony for your school, religious institution, chartered organization, community, or troop activity.

I started our weekly family home evening this week with one of the younger kids helping me unfold the flag, which we then all saluted as I led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Another little kid helped me fold it back up. 

6c.  Demonstrate first aid for the following:

- Object in the eye
- Bite of a suspected rabid animal
- Puncture wounds from a splinter, nail, and fish hook
- Serious burns (partial thickness, or second degree)
- Heat exhaustion
- Shock
- Heatstroke, dehydration, hypothermia, and hyperventilation

We went through each of these in the handbook as a family, discussing bad advice/outdated methods that we had heard in the past for first aid.  We acted out the handbook’s methods and then had a quick oral quiz.  This is the kind of thing that we think is fun.  My family is awesome. 

Lest you think that October has been fairly unproductive for me, let me assure you that progress is being made.  I have dates set for camping and a service project in November.  I just got a book from the library about local animal life, and a DVD is on hold about drug abuse.  I’ll relate the stories of how each one goes as they come up in the next few weeks.

 

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Second Class Requirements 7 a,b,c

Posted by Huston on October 14, 2009

Second Class Reqiurement 7:

  1. Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.
  2. Demonstrate your ability to jump feet first into water over your head in depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming, then return to your starting place.
  3. Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible, and explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.

I wish I’d looked at this sooner.  Now I have to go swimming in October. 

This afternoon I called a family friend who has a pool.  When I asked if I could come over and jump in for a bit, she said it was fine, but asked if I was sure.  “It’s really cold!” she said.  Yes, even in Las Vegas, pools get cold in October.

I picked my son up from school this afternoon and told him that we were going to make a quick stop to work on one of my Scout activities.  His main reaction was that he wanted to dunk his head in the pool. 

First, I did requirements a and c, which did not make me get in the water.  Yet.  I summarized the handbook’s rules for safe swimming and demonstrated how to rescue a swimmer in trouble. 

Then it was show time.  I regret now just how long I stood at the edge of the pool and hesitated before jumping in.  I was pretty afraid of the cold. 

Finally I did.  The cold didn’t hit me until I broke back up to the surface.  I swam the length of the pool and back with a loud gasp from the chill every time I took a breath. 

I figure if I’m going to follow in the footsteps of Boy Scouts as much as possible, I should probably get used to occasionally getting into very cold water.  It actually felt a lot better as soon as I got out.  In fact, mostly to make up for my sad hesitating before jumping in, I jumped in again and did another lap.  I still hesitated, but not quite as long, which is something, at least.  My son almost missed that second try, as he was busy dunking his head. 

I found out soon after that the water was 62°.  This experience at least let me teach my son by example an important principle that he probably gets tired of hearing me preach: suffering builds character.

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Requirements 4a, 6, 11, 12b, & 13-14 = Tenderfoot Done!

Posted by Huston on September 28, 2009

I ended up doing exactly what I planned NOT to do: I waited until the last week of my scheduled time to finish the requirements for this rank.  I could have done it earlier, and I had wanted to add the extra time to my next rank, but life got the better of me. 

6. Demonstrate how to display, raise, lower, and fold the American flag.  Last week I emailed the principal of my kids’ school and asked if we could use the flagpole for this demonstration tonight, adding that I have my own flag to use.  He wrote back that it was fine, and this was the first activity in my family’s weekly home evening tonight.

As we drove over, I recounted all the material from the handbook about displaying the flag.  When we got there, I showed the kids how to fold and unfold it, then one kid helped me attach it to the line, while the little kids helped me hoist it up and then down again.  While it flew at the top for a minute, we decided to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  Afterwards, the oldest child folded the flag, as I had shown them all, while I held the other end. 

11.  Identify local poisonous plants; tell how to treat for exposure to them.  I went over the handbook’s section on this, adding my own warning about oleander, which are very popular in Las Vegas.  Of course, one kid pointed out that it was unlikely that any of us would ever eat one. 

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Tenderfoot Requirements 8, 10b, and 12a

Posted by Huston on September 14, 2009

Yes, I have been working on my project, but I’ve been very busy with school starting.  Here’s what progress I’ve made recently:

8.  Know your patrol name, give the patrol yell, and describe your patrol flag.

Since my patrol is my family, I figured our patrol name would be “The Huston Family.”  Silly me.  When I discussed this with everyone, we had just watched an old episode of a certain great 80′s show that we’d borrowed from the library, so everybody quickly decided that we would call ourselves “The H-Team.”  Our yell is based on an old inside joke we share–when people ask for comments or feedback from us, we respond with the most random, inane thing we can imagine: “I like pie.”  This is our yell.  “I like pie!”  Inspiring, no?  Surely it will strike fear into the hearts of any opponents that we might meet in some game. 

We brainstormed a list of things that should be on our flag, and I slapped some related clip art together from the list.  We made our list last Monday, but I just made the “flag” today (in Microsoft Paint).  A copy is printed up and “flying” on the wall of our kitchen.  Here it is: Read the rest of this entry »

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Tenderfoot Requirements 4b and 9

Posted by Huston on August 25, 2009

In our weekly family home evening yesterday, I did something that I think the family will have to get used to–I spent a few minutes demonstrating Scout stuff so I could check it off. 

First I explained why we use the buddy system (requirement #9), then I showed how to tie a double half hitch and a taut line hitch.  I used a cheap little nylon rope that came with some camping stuff and which I’d never used. 

As I tied my knots, I told the kids that when we went to Lake Powell with their grandparents last week, I tried to help anchor the boat by tying a couple of ropes together with a square knot.  I did this twice, and one of them came out as soon as it was pulled.  I thought I’d gotten it right, but maybe the ropes were just too big for that to work.  I was a little discouraged by that, but then on Saturday this knot practice really paid off.

We went out to eat with our kids and they were each offered a balloon.  They’re too small to handle balloons reliably on their own without losing them and crying as the colorful toys float away, so I usually just tie the string around their wrists loosely, but in a simple knot that can’t be undone.  This time, for the first time, I was able to do better.  I tied the strings with a taut line hitch, and slipped the loops over their wrists.  They could adjust them, and take them on and off when needed (like in the van), but they stayed on with no problem when we wanted them to. 

As I told my kids about the practical value of knot tying and showed the family what I’d learned, my wife smiled at me.  But then I had to untie my practice rope from the leg of her piano.

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Tenderfoot Requirements 1, 2, 3, and 7

Posted by Huston on August 9, 2009

This weekend we went camping specifically to test the readiness of our family’s 72-hour emergency kits.  We spent 24 hours with little else at the gorgeous Old Mill campground in the Spring Mountains area.  I thought this would be my best opportunity to do the first three requirements for the rank I’m working on.

1.  Present yourself, properly dressed, before going on an overnight camping trip.  Show the gear you will use.  Show the right way to pack  and carry it.  I dressed for warm weather for obvious reasons, with a pair of old work boots I rarely wear, which I now realize are too small and need to be switched out for a real pair of hiking boots.  I’ll check at Deseret Industries for some.  As we packed our backpacks with the relatively sparse supplies that would constitute our emergency kits, we discussed what was essential, including our tent and sleeping bags, our food and water, and our tools.  The packing was difficult and taught us a lot about saving space and making priorities.  I tried to make my bag look like the picture in the handbook.  Good packing is a lot like playing Tetris. 

2.  Spend at least one night on a patrol or troop campout.  Sleep in a tent you have helped pitch.  It was a very enjoyable campout, though since we were trying to skimp on supplies, we didn’t have any padding for our bedding.  I was surprised to wake up not very sore at all.  I pitched the tent myself since my wife was busy preparing lunch and watching the baby.  Did you know that seven people can sleep almost comfortably in a 9′x7′ tent?  It helps when five of them are children, and nobody minds snuggling up.

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Tenderfoot Requirement 10a

Posted by Huston on August 3, 2009

This one requires that I record things now and compare them with my progress a month later, hopefully with improvement.

I belong to a small neighborhood gym, which I go to sporadically, so I went this morning with this requirement in mind.

¼-mile walk/run.  I got on the treadmill and warmed up at a jog for a bit, then I cranked it up as fast as I felt I could go and started keeping track of how long it took me to run a quarter mile.  I did it in 2 min, 5 sec.  It occurs to me that a treadmill really isn’t the best way to do this–it sets up an artificial barrier.  Next time I’ll measure off a quarter mile and just run it, if I can.

Pull-ups.  I did 11, which is actually better than I thought I’d do.  I tried not to hold back on any of these–I want to give it my all now and see if I really get much better in a month, but I’m still pretty sure I could have done a few more of each of these if I’d really tried.  Maybe my improvement over the next 30 days will be more self discipline.

Push-ups.  I only did 15 in a set, but keep in mind that I’d just finished the run and the pull-ups.  No, never mind, that doesn’t make it any better at all.

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Meeting the Boy Scout Joining Requirements

Posted by Huston on August 2, 2009

There are ten:

1.  Meet age requirements.  Wow.  The first thing to do on the first day of this project and I’m already defaulting.  *sigh* 

2.  Complete a Boy Scout application and health history signed by your parent or guardian.  I printed one out from the Scout Web site and filled it out.  Unit type?  One option was “lone Boy Scout.”  I guess that’s me.  After filling in a birthday from the 70′s, I wondered what to put for grade.  I have several courses done beyond a Master’s Degree.  I estimate I’m in grade 19, and put that down.  For school, I put the name of the school at which I work.  I do not check the box to subscribe to Boy’s Life: my Webelos-age son already gets it.  Each month when it comes in the mail, I read it before giving it to him.  Parent or guardian signature?  I go ahead and sign.  I have no health history form, but no health history problems, either.

3.  Find a Scout troop near your home.  I figure that when a requirement says “troop or patrol,” I’ll just substitute “family.”  Check. 

4.  Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Day One: Joining

Posted by Huston on August 1, 2009

I am 31 years old, and I want to be a Boy Scout. 

I’ve been surrounded by Scouts all of my life, and they always seem to have the most exciting lives, full of fun, camaraderie, new experiences, and adventure.  The ones who’ve gone the furthest with it appear to have gotten the most out of it, and are often the most fulfilled people I know. 

Like a lot of people, I wasted my teenage years watching TV, playing video games, obsessing over trendy music, and feeling sorry for myself for no good reason.  I was never very happy, and as amazingly wonderful as my adult life is, I’ve always regretted those years of freedom, strength, and opportunity that I threw away on nonsense.  I admit it: I feel like I need to atone for that great blank canvas that life handed to me and which I only ruined with thoughtless scribbling.  It’s not that I did a lot of terrible things, it’s that I just didn’t do very much at all.  And I hope that I can make up for it a little now–and enjoy life to the fullest–by becoming an Eagle Scout. 

Of course, this isn’t official.  Boy Scouts ends at 18, and nobody older than that can become an Eagle Scout.  I have no illusions about joining a troop of teenagers, or having a Court of Honor, or anything like that.  I simply intend to go through the Boy Scout Handbook and do all of the activities on my own.  I want to have the skills and experiences that an Eagle Scout would have had. 

I’m beginning with the following expectations: Read the rest of this entry »

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