Thursdays are a fun day to take a look at some of the older handbooks that I have collected through the years.  This edition is my favorite.  It was my Grandfather's when he was a scout leader and an employee at a Scout Camp in Iowa.

From the 1980 printing of the Boy Scouts of America Handbook

An aquarium, as the wood tells you (aqua is Latin for water), is a watery mini-environment. For this you need a fish tank or bowl with a layer of clean sand on the bottom.  Fill the tank with pond water. Anchor a couple of local aquatic plants in the sand. Then introduce a few water snails and a couple of minnows or other small fish. 

If you can't get pond water, use tap water and let it stand a few days to lose its chlorine. And if you can't collect your own plants and fish, get them from a pet shop. Here you can also buy aquarium fish food. The main point in feeding is: Don't over feed. Feed once a day and only enough to last the day. 

Most aquarists buy exotic fish for their aquaria. You will have more fun if you stick to native fish you have caught yourself. Shiners, minnows, darters, killifish, sunfish, sticklebacks, daces do well. Include a few snails. Snails are scavengers - they will keep your aquarium clean. 

Cub Scout Six Essentials

While doing any outdoor activity with your Cub Scouts, each boy should have the following six essentials.

First Aid Kit

Cub Scouts will only need a small kit of their own. Their kids should have some adhesive bandages, moleskin to prevent blisters, antibiotic ointment (single use packages work great), and insect bite pain reliever.  This is not a comprehensive list, but it will get your Cub Scout started.

Filled Water Bottle

Keeping your Cub Scout hydrated is crucial, especially when it is hot out. Everyone should have a water bottle that will hold enough water for the entire hike. If you're going on a longer hike and need to carry more water, a Camelbak hydration pack is a great solution.


For camping and to have at night.

Trail Food

Trail mix, granola bars, fruit... food that is healthy, energy boosting and does not need to be refrigerated.

Sun Protection

We all know how important sunscreen is - even when its cloudy. Also a hat and lip balm.


There are two things your Cub Scouts need to know about the whistle: 1) It's only for emergencies, and 2) Three blasts of the whistle means "HELP!" I might be a good idea to practice the help signal before the hike or during a den meeting in order for the boys to understand the rules associated with the whistle.

Remember, everyone going on the hike, or camping needs to have their own (this includes parent partners and leaders). Each Cub Scout needs to carry these items in their own backpack.


Types of Boats

One of my favorite things to do is canoeing.  Slicing the still lake water with the paddle and gliding on the lake... ahh, so relaxing. But, there is more to boats than just a canoe.   If you did a search on Wikipedia, you would have a list of over 180 different types of boats!  For requirement 1 of the Tiger Adventure, Floats and Boats, we are going to keep it simple with just 5 different types of boats.


Rowing is the act of propelling a boat using the motion of oars in the water, displacing water, and propelling the boat forward. The difference between paddling and rowing is that rowing requires oars to have a mechanical connection with the boat, while paddles are hand-held and have no mechanical connection.


A canoe is a lightweight narrow boat, typically pointed at both ends and open on top, propelled by one or more seated or kneeling paddlers facing the direction of travel using a single-bladed paddle


A kayak is a small, narrow watercraft which is propelled by means of a double-bladed paddle. The word kayak originates from the Greenlandic language, where it is the word qajaq (pronounced [qajaq]). In the UK the term canoe is often used when referring to a kayak.


A sailboat or sailing boat is a boat propelled partly or entirely by sails smaller than a sailing ship. Distinctions in what constitutes a sailing boat and ship vary by region and maritime culture.


A motorboat, speedboat, or powerboat is a boat which is powered by an engine. Some motorboats are fitted with inboard engines, others have an outboard motor installed on the rear, containing the internal combustion engine, the gearbox and the propeller in one portable unit.

And The Oscar Goes To

Congratulations to all those who received an award at last nights Oscars!

Last week, during a family trip to southern California, we took the kids to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The whole area downtown has stars with actors, producers, directors, and even some animated character's names within the sidewalk.  In front of the Grauman's Chinese Theater, you can see where actors and actresses have signed their names along with imprinting there hands and feet within the concrete.  During our visit, Hollywood Blvd was closed to traffic due to all the scaffolding, lighting, and red carpet being set up for the Oscars that would be held in six days. A few days later on Sunday, it was fun sitting with the the kids and watching the red carpet pre-show as their attention perked up a bit as they realized, "hey! that's where we were!"  


There are so many stars that you could walk along the sidewalk and find in Hollywood. But in reality, it takes an army of people to make that star shine.  All the way from the producers to the best boy. Requirement 4 of the Moviemaking Merit Badge, asks you to find out about some careers in the movie making industry. Have you ever read the whole credits after a movie? There's a ton of jobs!!! No wonder it takes millions of dollars to create a feature film. Below are just a few positions for you to research a little more about.

Some Moviemaking Positions

Producer: Runs the business end of a film project, from finding a script to hiring to finances.

Associate Producer: Assists the producer and communicates with both the production and postproduction crew.

Production Manager: Manages the many business aspects of a production, from getting the right equipment to arranging housing for the cast and crew.

Production Assistant: Handles a variety of small tasks necessary for daily operations on the set.

Postproduction Supervisor: Coordinates the processes and workers involved in finishing the movie after filming has wrapped.

Line Producer: Handles the budget for a film project.

Director: Directs all creative elements of a film, from helping hire actors to choosing locations, and making sure that his/her vision is successfully communicated to the crew.

Assistant Director / First Assistant Director – Helps the director by planning the filming timeline and managing the set, the extras and more.

Location Manager – Scouts locations and obtains permits for filming in those locations.

Art Director – Designs and oversees set construction.

Set Designer – Responsible for executing the construction of the set according to the art director’s instructions.

Cinematographer / Director of Photography: Carries out the director’s vision for the look of a film. Plans and supervises others to achieve the right camera shots, lighting and set design.

Camera Operator: Follows the action with the camera, according to instructions from the director and cinematographer.

Dolly Grip: Sets up the dolly track and operates the dolly, allowing the camera and camera crew to move smoothly as they capture the action.

Key Grip: The head grip in charge of setting up equipment to enable the camera crew to capture the right shots.

Gaffer: Sets up the lighting on set.

Best Boy: The primary assistant to either the gaffer or the key grip.

Production Sound Mixer: Records all production dialogue and other production sounds at optimal levels. May also mix the various tracks for dailies.

Boom Operator: Holds the microphone boom near the action to capture the dialog.

Foley Artist: Creates sound effects that can’t be captured during filming.

Editor: Works with the director to produce the final cut of a film that both flows well and captures the director’s vision for the project.

Negative Cutter: Cuts the actual negative of the film as directed by the editor, director and others.

You could get your own Oscar for only 10 bucks! Not gold plated... plastic.

You could get your own Oscar for only 10 bucks! Not gold plated... plastic.