Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Boy Scout Troop Committee Member - Neckerchief Slides

During the Troop’s December Court of Honor, it was painfully obvious to me that a number of scouts did not have neckerchief slides. Rubber bands, string and neckerchief ends tied into square knots (or granny knots in some cases) do not constitute neckerchief slides. A number of the more senior scouts have hand-made slides from various craft type merit badges (Wood Carving, Leatherwork, Indian Lore, etc.) from summer camp. The newer scouts have not yet had this opportunity. So, to remedy this situation, I have taken it upon myself to hold “Mr. Kill’s Wonderful and Wacky Neckerchief Slide Craft Night”.  We could just have the scouts buy standard issue neckerchief slides from the scout store for about $4.  That would be too easy.  Anything worth doing is worth turning into a huge production costing hundreds of dollars and dozens of lives.
Your standard, run-of-the-mill BSA Neckerchief Slide.

Mr. Kill is, of course, out of his mind and still has nightmares about the Carpentry Merit Badge. *flashback dream sequence*  Carpentry Merit Badge was an obsolete merit badge that was brought back in 2010 for the Boy Scout's 100th anniversary.  It was only offered for the year, and then retired again.  The troop committee thought it would be cool to have as many boys in  the troop as possible earn this badge because of the historic significance (something to tell your grand kids when they're in scouts).  And yours truly rogered up to conduct the classes and the final project, which was a simple foot stool, shown here: 

Simple, right?  Well the original Carpentry Merit Badge was active from 1910 (when scouting was founded) and discontinued in 1952 (replaced by Woodwork Merit Badge).  The main reason it was replaced - the invention of power tools.  To earn the Carpentry Merit Badge, you had to demonstrate your knowledge and use of such obsolete tools as a hand planer, rip saw and a spiral push drill. No power tools.  The final requirement was "Make a simple article of furniture for practical use in the home or on the home grounds, finished in a workmanlike manner, all work to be done without assistance."  So I had 19 scouts make 19 foot stools without power tools or assistance.  It took us almost 8 months, once a week during the regular scout meetings.   By the end I brought my cordless drill in and "helped" them with some of the holes and screws or we'd still be working on these things.  I had the boys take them home to paint the foot stools and bring them back for final inspection because there was no way I was going to deal with paint.

So with that memory still stuck in my head, I am setting out to hold another troop-wide craft event.  And it WILL last only one day.  To make this as simple (and painless) as possible, I (with the help of my less-than-willing alleged son, The Pudge) will make a bunch of blank neckerchief slides out of PVC Pipe and wooden discs before-hand. They will be pre-painted in black, green or brown (mostly green and brown and they will be available on a first-come, first-served basis). They will consist of either a ¾” long PVC pipe with a flat spot or have a 1 ½” wooden disc glued to the ¾” long PVC pipe with a flat spot. A hot glue gun (operated by an adult) and paint and brushes will be available to finish the slides.

So (and borrowing from an email I sent out to the troop) each scout will be required to bring some sort of object that can be firmly glued to the flat spot or disc. Some suggestions would be:

1. Something from a camping trip or troop activity such as a stone, sea shell or other similar trinkets.

2. Something from home or a family vacation that has meaning for the scout such as an arrowhead, board game piece (get permission from your parents on this one), decal or small figurine.

3. Craft objects that could be made into a design such as dried pasta, beads, buttons or nuts and bolts.

Keeping in mind the item they bring:

1. Will be permanently glued to the slide with a hot glue gun.

2. Must be boy scout appropriate. It has to be something that they will be proud to wear with their uniform and at the same time doesn’t offend anyone.

3. Must be durable. They will be sliding it on and off quite a lot and they don’t want to have to fix it all the time.

This is what the prototype slides look like before the junk the boys bring gets glued to it:

This got blurry, but you get the idea.

I figure I only have to make about 40 more.  Oh, the Scoutmaster has decided to do this in early February when we have the Webelos from one of the local Cub Scout Packs visit.  The last thing the Webelos do before aging out of the pack (at the ripe old age of 11) is visit local Boy Scout Troops to see if they would be interested in "crossing over".  Webelos that decide to continue on with scouting and cross over to a troop earn the "Arrow of Light".

So if they decide to join our troop, they'll already have a neat neckerchief slide.  If they join another troop, they will impress that troop with how prepared they are (the Boy Scout Motto).  If they choose not to continue with scouting, then they will have a neat souvenir that also doubles as a napkin ring or dust collector.

To be continued in February...


sparringK9 said...

im sure the carpentry badge was everybit as fun as the "masonry" badge the scouts earned when they built the patio at school. whats that? there wasnt any badge invloved? sukkas!

grrehahahaha future napkin rings. "but honey, its my scout kerchief slide...whats not to love?"

For my slide, would get a bunch of medals off Ebay and then break them up and reconfigure the symbols to indicate some sort of resistance to the fascist state of Murka but that just me.

Good Luck!

Heff said...

Sheesh ! Back in MY day, you'd get COURT MARTIALED if you didn't wear your neckerchief slide !

moi said...

Or a scarf ring! Hermes charges an arm and a leg for theirs. Just sayin' . . .

Jenny said...

First, I just need to take a moment to picture Heff as a Boy Scout.


I love this idea and applaud your hard work, you're now in production mode, aren't you? Welcome to my world. :-)

I'd probably find old jewlery and use the hell out of that hot glue gun (I love my hot glue gun, btw) to decorate it. I used to make bolo ties when I was in my 20's. I thought I was very cool by wearing them. Yeah, I know. TMI.

Lastly..... I like hearing about your Scout stuff.

Buzz Kill said...

The thing at the school was an eagle project and The Boy was the only one who earned a badge. And we try to keep politics out of scouting as much as posible. The way I run it, scouting is a fascist organization and we don't encourage individualism. Bwahahaha

I know, right? And you had to wear the green socks with the red garters. Kids have no respect for the uniform.

Are you ever going to start blogging again? I miss the Playboy cover bunny searches - as does the rest of the troop.

Oooooooh, you may have given me an idea for a troop fundraiser.

I can picture Heff as a Boy Scout too. A 12 year old with a goatee holding up the devil's horns instead of the scout sign screaming "Be Prepared - TO ROCK YOUR FACE IN"!

I hope to finish production this weekend. I may have to make more than I thought because a 2nd Cub Scout pack is set to visit us (I found out last night). We have the potential to get 24 new scouts this spring. I'm going to have to kill myself.

Bolo ties are an alternative to the neckerchiefs in the scouts. I wore one when I was a scout. So you WERE cool. And believe me when I tell you you'll be sick of hearing about the scouts. Half of my schedule is turning into scout stuff, so that's all the material I'll have.

pamokc said...

Hi Buzzy, I tried to comment last night but Blogger is being a bear lately with me for some reason. Anyway, I think you and your scouts might have a good future ahead of you in the napkin ring business! But I want to thank you for being so involved with the boys and your scouts. It is important.

sparringK9 said...

LOL buzz.

Sharon Rudd said...

This is hysterical, and I look forward to future installments. Reading about your Scout stuff is much more fun than having to do it, no doubt.

P.S. Grumpy Granny has announced the Feb. Smackdown:
And she just posted an update extending the deadline to Feb. 29:

Karl said...

Good evening Buzz Kill,

You may remember, I was kicked out of the Boy Scouts for eating Brownies. But that's another story.

I applaud your efforts. Taking the time to work with and motivate these guys is a great thing. They will not only learn from it, they will remember it.

A suggestion: Try PVC cement. It will chemically weld the 2 pieces together.

Buzz Kill said...

I think Blogger did a software upgrade that hosed a lot of us. I think I'm good now though.

I'm slowly being sucked into the cult known as BSA Adult Leader. I'm one of those guys that feels if your boy is in a club or a sport, it shouldn't be someone else's parent doing all the work. And it gets me out of the house.

Are you laughing with me or at me?

Writing about scout stuff is kind of thereputical for me. And who would believe me if I didn't write it down somewhere? I will checkout the new smackdown and I will probably be in.

That's just like the old "What kind of meat do priests eat on Friday? - nun" joke. But I always laugh.

The glue gun seams to be working fine. I'm not sure how PVC cement would do with the wooden disc. Plus you're supposed to use the purple primer with PVC cement and that's just a mess. It stains my hands for days.