The Man Scout Project

A log of my efforts to become an unofficial Eagle Scout

Archive for August, 2009

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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