I have been an active Scouter for 65 years, and I believe the May-June issue of Scouting magazine is the best I have ever seen. It has lots of information on what is coming up in Scouting, and the Fuel Up column titled “Caffeinated Camp-Out” was a real eye-opener. Keep up the good work!
Zack T. Russell
I am displeased with the Fuel Up column. I recognize many adult leaders like to drink coffee when they go camping. I was dismayed that the article only focused on the positive effects of drinking coffee and completely ignored much research that shows coffee to be a dangerous drug with side effects that outweigh any positive effects. About 20 percent of Scout units in the BSA are chartered to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), which teaches its members that drinking coffee is bad for their health.
Rex B. Bendixsen
Stamp of Approval
When Scouts go geocaching (“The Real Game Boys,” May-June issue), please make sure that what they find is a “geocache” and not a “letterbox.” A letterbox is found by following a set of clues, much like an old-fashioned treasure map. No electronics or coordinates are involved. The letterbox will contain an inkpad, a logbook, in which you enter your stamp; and a rubber stamp that you use to stamp your own logbook. One important distinction is that nothing leaves the letterbox. The rubber stamps sometimes go missing from letterboxes when they are confused with geocaches. Letterboxing clues can be found at letterboxing.org and at atlasquest.com.
I really enjoyed your Cub Scout Corner article, “Plug Into the Network,” in the March-April issue. We are a homeschooling family and love the Scouting program. We often include Scouting projects in our “school” day.
I appreciate the visibility brought to homeschooled Scouts. We homeschool our son and two daughters. We certainly incorporate many of the Cub Scout achievements, belt loops, and pins into our curriculum. Our strength is our flexibility. This allows us to speed up or slow down according to the needs of each child. We also enjoy many more hands-on field trips and see a practical application of lessons every day. This gives many people the false impression that we have lots of free time. We have a full schedule and must carefully choose our commitments lest we become overextended. In addition, we choose to home school because of the diversity found in exposure to the world, not the homogenous environment of a classroom made up of boys and girls of the same age and generally similar demographics. Choices and decisions to homeschool are as varied as any Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop.
As a homeschooling parent and Webelos den leader, I suggest that your readers might like to know that most homeschooling families look and act just like theirs. My son’s circle of homeschooled friends routinely discusses movies, culture, and video games. It’s absurd to suggest that these concerns would keep a family from joining your Cub Scout pack.
I find it interesting that three merit badge patches have been changed over the years due to erroneous designs (“Bugs in the System,” January-February). One more is in line to be changed—Orienteering. The current patch features a red-and-white semaphore flag rather than an orange-and-white orienteering control marker.
The Price Is Right
After reading the information about geocaching in the May-June issue, it’s something I would like to try with my Cub Scout den and pack. I’ve been looking at handheld GPS units for a couple of months, but before spending $100 (or more) on a unit, I’d like some feedback on two or three “low-priced” models ($100 or less) that are easy for Cub Scouts to use.
A quick survey of Internet sites found several GPS units at $100 or less. The $70 Apisphere Geomate Jr. is a simple handheld unit that comes with preloaded geocache coordinates. It’s best used by Cub Scout-age children. Find info at mygeomate.com. Garmin’s eTrex H GPS receiver is $100 and has more features than the Geomate Jr. A refurbished Delorme PN-20 is available for $100. Look for other used or refurbished models at eBay, Amazon.com, or Buy.com.