CacheCrazy.Com: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY ~ Thank You!



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Found It! Then, I Found It?

You never quite know what you're going to find when you go out geocaching.

I recently went out to find a cache.  The cache was GC3N43P- "Wheres the petrow crew #4."  It was newly published, and at the time, sat, without a find, for a week.  I didn't understand why, but it was located relatively close to home, and I had the time, so I figured I would give it a try.

The coordinates brought me to the site of the old White Haven Little League grounds in-you guessed it- White Haven, Pennsylvania.  The ball field, and surrounding area, was overgrown with weeds, but there was a nice are with a pond and gazebo, and thankfully that is where ground zero appeared to be. I honed in on GZ, and it appeared my search was going to be centered around an old set of monkey bars, which too, was overgrown with weeds.  The cache page listed the D/T as a 1/1.5, and the container size as small.  With the abundance of metal at GZ, I was thinking "hide-a-key."

I circled the monkey bars several times, without any success.  I thought, perhaps, the cache could have been placed on the ground, nearby the outer metal banister surrounding the monkey bars, but something told me I needed to climb the bars themselves.  I strategically located my entry point from the outer banister, to the actual monkey bars.  Although it was slight bushwhacking, I found somewhat of an opening in the weeds.  Convinced the cache was located on the monkey bars, I began climbing.  So much for that 1.5 terrain!  I got down on my knees and felt under the metal platform on which I was standing.  No cache there.  I looked on top of the bars.  No cache there.  I looked to the left, and to the right, when suddenly something odd appeared to me.  There were a series of holes in the vertical bars of the structure.  There seemed to be something crammed into one of those holes.  Bingo!  There I found a small Cryotube, painted black, and filled with a log sheet.  Correction-it was filled with a BLANK log sheet!  Elated, I signed and dated the logsheet, and claimed my FTF.

Was this the cache...?


I placed the tube back in the hole, then contemplated my exit strategy.  Carefully, I turned around on the platform, and jumped to the ground.  As I made my landing, I noticed something at my feet.  It was another tube.  This tube was larger, and wrapped in cammo tape.  Could this be another cache, and if so, how is this possible?  I unscrewed the lid and pulled out the paper inside.  What was on the paper?  "Wheres the petrow crew #4."  THIS was the cache, not the other container!  Better yet, as this logsheet was also blank.  I FTF'ed this one, the intended cache, as well!  I signed the log, placed everything back in place, then headed back to the car, puzzled as to what just happened.

...Or was THIS the cache?


Has anyone had a similar experience?  Have you ever searched for a particular geocache, only to find another geocache near that one?  I've heard of cachers dropping temporary caches for cache owners on missing caches, but this was a brand-spanking-new cache.  Well, both were.  I'm thinking, perhaps, someone placed this cache and abandoned it without bothering to get it published.  What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Geocaching at Riverwalk Park in Naperville, IL

 Today is usually Big Al's day but he is having some technical difficulties in our Dalton, PA substation. So ol' Bloodhounded always has an article or two up his sleeve and is always willing to help a friend.

Notes from the author: I was recently in Chicago, IL on business but stayed in Naperville to visit a friend (actually my boss). I had some time to do a little caching and decided to visit a nice little park along the river. Come along for a river walk with me.




Chicago, IL is my all time favorite city. It's so clean and I'm not sure exactly who is responsible but there are parks everywhere and beautiful big old trees. Even when I fly in, from an aerial view you can quickly see what I mean. They built one beautiful city and preserved one billion trees. Enough about Chicago, I'll have a post on some Windy City caching in the future. Today, I want to take you to a beautiful little suburb of Chicago called Naperville. Most people might  know it for being in the upper end of the median, beautiful homes, great schools and listed as one of the top 10 places to live. Its about 28 miles west of Chicago, IL. It's a lovely little city and within it's boundaries is wonderful little park called, Riverwalk Park.

I found five caches within the park that I felt could be done in the few hours that I had to geocache. It was also the first time I used c:geo on my smart phone along with my GPS'r as a back up. I started with GC1N5WH  Zip, Zam, Zowie and Swoosh - Skateboarding and I'm glad I did. This was one freaking tough cache. I don't want to be a spoiler but lets just say it was devious and at first I didn't want to fool with it! I did find it but I chewed up nearly 1/3 of my time doing so.

Moving onto the the actual park area where I started my river walk. What a beautiful place! This nice brick paved walk area was basically all mine during the time and I loved it.There were squirrels frolicking everywhere and all kinds of birds and even ducks. I brought up GCJVR0 Hear The Bells Chime which was only .20 away.  I made this geocache find much harder than it had to be. I was trying to use my smartphone exclusively but found myself back to my GPS'r and back on track. Got it! Only an hour and a half left! I had better get my butt in gear.

I had to walk quickly to my next cache which was GCTBJ4 Paddle Boat Fun which was another tough one! It was "naturally" camouflager and very well placed. So far I was happy about the quality of the caches and the cache containers but I could't find a regular cache to save my life in this park. I eyed up a multi that was archived and thought that if I had the time I would at least check out some of the stages but time was not on my side and I had a good walk ahead of me to the next cache so, away I went.

The walk to the final cache was awesome! I was moving along at good pace and all of a sudden my cell rang, WORK! I hate when work calls come in while I'm doing something as important as seeking a geocache! But, since they were paying for the trip I figured I would at the very least answer and, well and lie! After 4 minutes into the conversation and 340 FT from GZ I said, "I have a call coming in I have to take, bye". Finally, I was at GC26HED Where The River Walk Ends. This for me was another tough one. I had to expand my search and once I did that it was in hand quickly. Now I had exactly ten minutes to get back and get ready for a meeting! I must have looked silly running in dress pants, shoes and shirt but I made it.

In some way that geocaching adventure fueled my fire because I was on top of my collective game and totally nailed that meeting. After dinner I retired for the night while all the other guys went out and got drunk. The next morning I was the only one on time and in any kind of condition to meet our clients but hey, that's what I get paid the big bucks for, lol!

If you are ever in the Naperville area, spend a few hours caching at Riverwalk Park. It was a lot of fun to see new sights and finding micros really isn't my thing but when your 700 miles away from your home turf, any cache will do!

Have Fun and Cache Crazy!


Friday, April 25, 2014

It's Not About The Numbers (Really, It Isn't!)

I'm a big nerd.  I admit it.  In high school, I was the one everyone turned to for answers, during a test, when the teacher left the room.  Although it's not my favorite, I'm a Star Wars fan.  I taught myself computers when I was 16 years old, when people were raving about this thing called the World Wide Web.  Baseball  is my favorite sport, and growing up, I loved figured out batting averages and ERA's for my favorite players.

Geocaching fits in perfectly with my nerdy personality.  One main reason for this:  statistics.

Those who say "it's not about the numbers" don't know what they're talking about.  Now, I'm not talking about attempting to log a find on every cache out there.  I've tried cache runs, and I must say I'm not a fan.  I'd rather find one awesome cache than 15 mediocre ones.  What I'm talking about are the off-the-wall stats that are out there.  Allow me to share a few with you.

On April 27, 2011-found GC1NYCE-Got Trout?..., GCG903-Tri-State Cache & GC13RA1-Treasures and Travel Bugs Westbound.  Three caches, three states, one day!  For added coolness, the Tri-State Cache, located in a cemetery in Port Jervis, NY, is about 50 feet from a benchmark on which you can stand and be in three states at the same time-New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Sweet!

NJ, NY and PA meet here.


August 22, 2011-three FTF's in one day: GC32P7A-HOLY MOTHER OF SORROWS, GC32P0A-OLD FORGE CEMETERY & GC32P0Z-OLD FORGE SLOVIC CEMETERY.  As a self-confessed FTF Hound, I was quite pleased of this accomplishment.

What a beautiful day to go caching!


October 24, 2011-I took a walk in the morning, while in Florida on business, and found GC31FY7-Walk With Snickers.  I flew into Philadelphia later that evening, and picked up GC2VNZD-Philadelphia Airport on the way out of town.  While stopping for a bathroom break, I found GC1F01D-Three Is Company at a rest stop on the turnpike.  For those scoring at home, that's three caches, two states, 1029 miles in distance!

That's a lot of ground to cover.



Most consecutive days with a find?  14.  Most consecutive days without a find?  71.

Distance of caches found: 23159 miles.  That's 0.097 times to the moon! Speaking of which, do you know why there aren't any caches on the moon?  Simple, no lampposts!

So how about you?  Do you have a favorite cache stat?



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Not Wednesday

"That does it Bloodhounded! This time you went too far
with your crazy cache containers!"

Monday, April 21, 2014

GUEST BLOG - Jenny from Jenny Goes Geocaching - Geocaching: More Than A Hobby

You're Monday morning just got much better!


Meet Jenny who owns and operates Jenny Goes Geocaching  a great geocaching blog that contains excellent works. She's a 4th grade teacher in Maine and that keeps her busy but when the time allows, she's off on another adventure geocaching and having fun! She also brings a unique view and I have enjoyed her work and writing style. So enough about that, let's get to some Monday morning geocaching and what it means to Jenny. 
Thanks Jenny!


Geocaching: More Than A Hobby
Many geocachers list the hobby as just that, a hobby.  Admittedly, that’s how it started out for me.  I’ve been caching for almost a year and my attitude about it has changed dramatically since my first find in August of 2010.

Geocaching satisfied two things I was looking for at the time.  One was a hobby.  I’d previously tried knitting, scrapbooking, and other arts and craft type things but I didn’t have the creative chops to keep going after I got started.  The second thing I needed was exercise.  I spent most of my day standing or sitting at the front of a classroom and needed to get my body moving.  I considered it a miracle that I could satisfy both of my needs by picking up geocaching.

jjtuttle and peaceout
I had been at it for about a month when I realized another benefit of geocaching: a social life.  On a hot summer day in August, I was approached by a lady I had been teaching with for a year.  She asked me how geocaching was going.  I was shocked!  Apparently she found my profile on www.geocaching.com.  We soon made a date to go geocaching together.  Since then, we’ve chatted about First to Finds in the hall, sent and received emails about newly published caches, and even gave small gifts related to our shared interest. 


My sister, Lacey
The next year, my husband and I moved to Bangor, about an hour from Lincoln.  I have to thank geocaching for taking me on a tour of my new home base and for helping me meet new friends in the area.  We’ve had two geocaching meet ups at the Bangor City Forest and several smaller get togethers.  Geocaching has helped me fit into a place that I was initially scared of.
My sister, Holly
Not only was I able to build new friendships, but I discovered that I was also strengthening my old relationships.  At Christmas, my entire family went trudging through knee-deep snow to try out my favorite new pastime.  Now, every time we get together, my sister Holly asks if there are any new geocaches that we can find.  Most of my family has been on an adventure or two with me.  


My friends Christy, Jordan, and Derek have been on numerous occasions, often with them initiating the hunt!  Two of the ladies I used to teach with have started their own accounts and one plans to write a murder mystery with a geocaching theme!  My husband Brad has been across Maine and New England in the pursuit of a Bison tube or ammo can.  He and Derek even took me to Pennsylvania on my birthday so I could attend my first ever GeoWoodstock even.


Speaking of GeoWoodstock, there’s another benefit-the travel.  I never realized how many beautiful sights there were to see within 25, 50, or 100 miles of where I live.  Often times after traipsing through the woods, I’ll go to move a branch from my path and stumble across a beautiful lake or the sun sharing its last rays of light on the calm water of the river.  Once I even saw an overturned, rusted out car on the shore of a lake.  I’ve seen grave stones older than the towns they’re mounted in.  You’ve probably heard the saying “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”?  Well that couldn’t be more true than with geocaching.


So if someone were to laugh and say that geocaching is an obsession for me, not a hobby, I’d probably have to agree with them.  

Sounds to me Jenny, that you may have a case of CacheCrazy!


Thanks again Jenny, we really appreciate your contribution I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of Jenny's work in the near future.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why Not Wednesday ~ Hey Bloodhounded, what's for dinner?

Did you know that in addition to my "real job" as a program director for a USDA school lunch subsidy grant, on the weekends I am a saute cook at a popular restaurant? I've done it for years and I really enjoy working with a great team of guys and gals who teach and learn with enthusiasm. I like to add some dishes from my favorites to the specials and always boast how people are ordering my meals. Then I secretly urge the waitstaff to come back and tell how much the customers enjoyed it and gave their compliments to the chef. This gets the cooks all fired up and they try to out do me. It makes for a great working environment and the customers must love it!

At home I am also the primary cook. I do all the kids and Mrs. Bloodhounded's lunches for school, supervise a healthy breakfast and make dinner four of the seven days of the week. Again, I love to cook so it's all good with me. It's relaxing. Hey, some guys grab a beer after work, I grab a knife, you got a problem with that? LOL.....

By looking at these pictures of ingredients, do you know what Bloodhounded's making for dinner? If not, just click on the picture for the entree and my recipe.
Bon Appetit!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Bed Time Story from Ol' Bloodhounded

Just in time to tuck you guys in with a little 
story from one of my Geocache pages.
Nighty-nite......
click on the story to get a better view

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Morning Adventures with MrsMamaHen.com ~ The Grizzlies

While Conni and her family were salmon fishing in Valdez, Alaska USA, they found out right away that they weren't the only fishing family! Check out this post from MrsMamaHen.com, I get goose bumps just thinking about it! Thanks for sharing Conni!

As I mentioned, we weren't the only ones out there fishing for salmon in Valdez. We were joined by many in the animal kingdom, and this one paid a visit that very first night. A mama grizzly bear with....count those cubs!




Your eyes are not deceiving you. This is the mother of 4!


She would mosey on down to the water, effortlessly snag a fish, and munch away with her baby bears right along with her.


I have seen black bears in the wild before, but this was my first grizzly. I couldn't take my eyes off them. It was simply amazing to witness.


And while I couldn't take my eyes off of her...she was keeping her eye on the 2-legged critters as well. After all, she is a mama grizzly, and no one will mess with her!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Outfit your Kayak for FISHING!

How to Outfit Your Angler Kayak

Kayak angling is a fun and proven way to catch fish. Outfitting a kayak for fishing is much like outfitting any other fishing watercraft. The kayaks limited storage capacity does present some challenges, but we have created a guide to help you start customizing your kayak for fishing.
















Seating

The first and foremost thing you should consider when you start to properly outfit your kayak is the seat. This is probably the first thing you thought of, since no one wants to get a sore behind while trying to enjoy their kayak fishing trip. The most simple and obvious solution to improving your seating situation is to add padding to the original seat. You can use a self-adhesive foam pad, most of which include traction for improved control.

Another solution to help you refine your kayak seating is to reposition the seat. The most frequent adjustments made to the seat are to move it up or down. This can increase stability and leg room.

If adjusting the seat position and adding padding just aren’t cutting it for you, you can always replace the existing seat with an aftermarket seat.

Rod Holders

Rod holders are an invaluable aspect when outfitting a kayak because you can’t paddle and hold the fishing rod at the same time (unless you have a pedal powered kayak!). It’s helpful if you bring multiple holders so that you can bring several different rods on your kayak fishing adventure. To optimize space on the kayak it’s good to use a holder that offers multi-positioning for rods, quick release capability, or enables you to store a variety of rods in the same holder.

Flotation Vest

It is paramount that you use a flotation device when you are using any watercraft. However, when kayaking it’s best to purchase a kayak-specific designed vest, as it allows for better upper body movement and does not constrict you while you are paddling and casting.

Fishing Tools

This will vary from person to person, but it’s a good idea to have a multi-tool and various other items including the following: knife, scissors, forceps, clippers, a hook file, and pliers. Be sure to store these items in a place where they are easily accessible, because you will frequently be using them.

Anchor System

It’s important to get an anchor and a kayak anchor trolley kit for those windy days. The anchor allows you to stay put while fishing, and the trolley kit enables you to manipulate the position of the line for optimal positioning.











Safety and First Aid Kit

Be sure to check your state or provinces on-the-water requirements to determine what you are mandated to carry. The bare minimum of what you should bring includes a signal mirror, a whistle, a bilge pump, a bail or sponge, a throw rope and a working flashlight.

Electronics

New electronics are being utilized in the world of fishing, such as a Fish Finder/transducer. You can hang it over the side of the boat or (as most do) glue it inside of the boat. The transducer signal shoots through the plastic of the boat. Just get some really good glue, and glue the transducer to the bottom of the kayak, attach the transducer to a battery and you are ready to go fishing!

Crate System

Something that you can add to the back of your kayak is a “crate system”. You can either buy one that is already made, or you can fashion a milk crate into a carrier for your tackle. The milk crate has been around for a long time. It gives you storage compartments for your gear and enables you to fasten your tackle holder to your boat, ensuring that it will stay securely in place. This is a great option for functionality and for the betterment of the environment because you are recycling.
















Tackle Boxes and Trays

Some kayaks come with tackle tray designated spots. If yours doesn’t then you can always carry small trays in your vest or pants pocket. It’s wise to use airtight containers so that you don’t end up with rusty fishing hooks. A crate system is a great way of keeping all your tackle containers organized.

Kayak fishing is an exciting, inexpensive, simple and healthy sport that can be enjoyed solo or as a bonding experience for two. It is still considered a frontier sport since it is still in the early stages of development. It can be challenging to find viable information about it, and that is why we have created this guide to help you outfit your kayak to its fullest potential. We hope this helps and that you have many fun angling adventures!

Remember that ACK.com stands ready to outfit your next adventure as your Kayak Fishing Headquarters. Click on over and see what we have to offer!



About the Author:

Joseph is an avid kayaker based out of the central Texas area. He has paddled many of central Texas’ waterways and has attended and/or participated in many kayak fishing tournaments, races and paddling festivals. He’s currently employed at Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) and loves that he gets to spend time working with his favorite toys.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Johnnygeo on Geocaching Safety ~ Lamp Post Caches, are they safe?

In the never ending quest to enjoy life to it's fullest, the theme is, "SAFETY FIRST". Today our new friend and safety adviser at CacheCrazy.Com, Johnnygeo tells us very clearly that, skirt lifting may be hazardous to your health! Let's all learn a little and play it safe! 

Disclaimer


Lamp Post Caches, are they safe?

At the end of this post I want you to answer the question... Please take a read...

***In this post I'm refering to the type of lamp post cache that a person needs to lift a skirt or cover to grab the cache. This cover usually protects the bolts of a post and most of the time, but not all, there are no wires exposed. I am NOT talking about a lamp post cache where a cacher would hide a micro inside the opening of the lamp post beside energized wiring. A cache placed inside the opening of a lamp post is a very serious safety concern and should NEVER be created. If a cache is found inside a lamp post, please contact a Geocache.com reviewer to have the cache archived and the local utility company to close the lamp post opening properly.***

Now... let's talk about a micro under a skirt of a LPC...

I "Googled" Lamp Post Caches on my computer and came up with a lot of hits on the subject. I read how they're lame because they're so boring after finding 10 of them in a row. I read that they're on private property and that a cacher needs permission before they hide a cache in the lamp post. I read that a lamp post cache caused a bomb threat.

All of these concerns are valid but from a safety perspective I think we're missing the boat. There needs to be more thought on how a lamp posts electrical equipment fails. It's happening way too much to say.. Ahhh, that never happens...

Remember, everytime you lift a lamp post cover to find a cache, you're trusting that the lampost wiring has not failed from old age or has not been vandelized before you got there.

As I've said in the past, a city, town, etc can have the best electrical maintenance program in the world, and still, the power equipment can fail, like anything else.

For a handful of you that may be asking yourself, "I haven't heard of anyone getting killed by geocaching by a lampost", you're right, and I hope that knowbody ever does. BUT people doing other hobbies, walking their dog, playing around lamposts and other types of electrical equipment are getting killed. 

Here's some proof on what's going on "out there". (please click on the link for the full story)
(1)... The electrified spots were discovered during emergency inspections prompted by Ms. Lane's death...Manhattan had 53 electrified manholes and service-box covers, and 30 charged lampposts. The Bronx had 6 electrified manhole and service-box covers and 25 charged lampposts. READ LINK
(2) The downtown electrocution of a 9-year-old boy was caused by the failure of the insulation in a 480-volt wire in the base of a light post, according to a report from investigators. READ LINK

(3)An ungrounded light pole is being eyed as the possible cause of death of a 9-year-old girl at a self-serve carwash Monday evening, a city official said Wednesday.
(YOU NEED TO SCROLL DOWN A BIT TO FIND THE STORY) READ LINK
These are just a small hand full of incidents that are occuring out there.
Lamp posts are meant to be safe because they're out in the general public but as you have just read, that's not always the case. Lamp posts are meant to give light to an area and to be left alone... not to be played on or in.
Also, if we teach our children it's okay to lift up covers to this equipment, will they know what not to enter when they're alone? Probably NOT. READ LINK
Let's not have our kids get-used-to playing around this equipment.

There are so many other places we can hide and find geocaches, let's stay away from electrical equipment.
So, are LPC's safe?


Thanks for stopping by,


Johnnygeo
About the author: 
Name: 
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I enjoy travel, cycling, trail running, Okinawan karate and Geocaching
I work for a large power utility company as a Health & Safety Professional, "The Safety Guy". I graduated at the University of Alberta in Occupational Health & Safety in 2008. 

If you're a geocacher please take a moment to visit my blog on Geocaching Electrical Safety.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

CELL 17


In the modern-day town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania there is a small jail cell with an apparently long memory. Cell 17 of the Carbon County Jail bears a testament to one man’s innocence in the form of a single handprint on the wall. On “The Day of the Rope” (June 21, 1877) ten men were hanged because they fought for better treatment and better working conditions for their people. One of them, a bold ringleader named Alexander Campbell placed his hand upon the wall and swore it’d stay there as proof of his innocence.
It has.
Once a rag-tag group of Irish immigrants terrorized the coalmine country of Pennsylvania, and for good reason. Times were hard and the Irish—the newcomers trying to survive the Potato Famine and political hardships—had wrongly believedAmerica would welcome them. Instead, they got sucked into the vicious drudgery of working the coalmines in northeastern Pennsylvania and thousands of men, and the boy children working beside them, died as a result.
The coal regions of Pennsylvania bear the scars of those desperate days, some places continue to seep twisting, smoky ghost-like wisps from the ground as fires still burn in the tunnels and shafts far below the surface. It makes for a haunting scene, and there are more reasons than just physical sparks and flames.
Living in tiny houses and knowing they owed everything they earned to “the company store” grated on the proud Irish. Through legal means they established the Worker’s Benevolent Association and made small progress, the group being shut down by the powerful railroad magnates and coal companies who stood to profit from gouging the public with high fuel costs. Public opinion was easy to turn against the Irish and quickly the very coal miners who were dying of “black lung” as they struggled to pay their bills were getting blamed for the rising cost of coal. The companies took advantage of the situation, reducing workers’ wages by 20%.
Hard workers, but not ones to play the submissive, the Irish organized and took on the name “Molly Maguires” (also supposedly using the “The Ancient Order of the Hibernians” as a front for their activities). They did whatever they could without any political power of their own to make change happen. Desperate times quickly led to desperate (and sometimes illegal) measures and the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad (under Franklin B. Gowen) sent a Pinkerton Detective to worm his way into the organization, gain their trust and bring them down.
The Pinkerton (James McPharlan, a.k.a. Jamie McKenna) was very successful. He befriended the Mollies and in the course of 3 years he gathered (and in some key cases supposedly fabricated) enough evidence to bring down some of the most important men in the area. One of them was Alexander Campbell.


On the day he was hanged, Campbell again claimed his innocence and rested his hand on the wallof Cell 17, swearing his handprint would forever remain as a sign of his innocence. He was forcibly removed and hanged on the gallows built for the occasion.


His handprint still remains. Sheriffs have tried to remove it over the years, but to no avail. They’ve tried cleaning it off, painting it over and even tearing down the walland rebuilding a new one. Regardless of their method, the handprint returns as if seeping through from another dimension.
Today the jail has been closed and is known as the Old Jail Museum. Tours are run regularly and the story of Alexander Campbell is still told to the amazed tourists. Some visitors still report an eerie sensation lingering in Cell 17. Could it be some small sense of satisfaction still sticks to the wall with the handprint as Campbell’s ghost observes the scene, a true testament to one man’s innocence?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY ~ To whom it may concern






SMILE AND BE HAPPY!







oR elsE.....:(


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Growing Up Girl Scout

I love this blog post by our very own Honorary Author, Kim who runs her awesome blog, Snug Harbor Bay. She first posted it in November of 2011 but I wanted to bring it back again in support of all scouting everywhere! It's still a great program and does prepare youngsters for responsibility, commitment and honor. I think these are great attributes that carry over in one's life. Both the girl and boy scouts teach respect for nature and our natural resources. That's really important stuff! So let's look back on Kim's scouting days and know that it is in some way, part of the awesome person she is today! Thanks Kim!
BH

 A blogger friend of mine recently posted a story about her daughter joining the Girl Scouts and it got me to thinking about my participation in Girl Scouts when I was a kid.

This is me and I was about 11 years old.  I was in full uniform, which we wore to every weekly meeting and most events.  Please notice the official Girl Scout ankle socks that had the insignia on them.  My son also laughed hysterically at my bow tie, which he said "is bigger than my head."  Thank you very much Tony!


The Girl Scouts of America was founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 after she met Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts.  From WikipediaGSUSA aims to empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship through activities including campingcommunity service, learning first aid, and earning badges by acquiring other practical skills.

The main reason I initially joined the Girl Scouts in the first place was because I wanted to go camping.  I had seen the Walt Disney Movie "The Parent Trap" and in one scene the twins went camping.  This grabbed my interest and was definitely something I wanted to do.

(photo taken from wikipedia)

Well, ever since I saw that scene I had it stuck in my head that I just had to go camping.  But there was one major problem - my dad, who was wonderful about a lot of things, drew a line in the dirt on camping.  There was no way in hell he was doing that.  So I did what I do best - started scheming.  A friend's sister was a Girl Scout and after hearing that she had just returned from a Girl Scout camping trip, I ran to the next meeting and signed myself up.  

Unfortunately, the next camping trip would not be until spring, and since it was only the middle of autumn, I was going to have to attend a lot of meetings before the trip.  Over the course of the next few months, I quickly learned that being a Girl Scout consisted of way more than just camping in the woods.  

(google images)

First of all we had to learn and recite the Promise at every meeting:
On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.


The Law consisted of:
I will do my best to be
Honest and Fair,
Friendly and Helpful,
Considerate and Caring,
Courageous and Strong, and
Responsible for what I say and do,
And to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.


I think the LAW was a pretty good set of standards back then and it still is now.  I like to think that they are something I have followed for the remainder of my life.

One of the activities that I really enjoyed was working towards badges.  Each badge taught a new skill or technique.  Some of the ones that I specifically remember were My Camera, Pen Pal, Outdoor Cook, Troop Camper and Active Citizen. There were several steps and procedures that had to be learned and performed before you could earn that badge.  Many of the badges that I earned are framed and hanging on the wall for display at my lake house.  Am I proud of those badges?  You're damn right I am.  


Another thing we did was go on field trips, which I especially liked.  We went to Chinatown in Chicago and to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan several times.  That's me in the center of this shot, holding a jacket and a huge sack lunch.  My mom was our troop leader by then and she is bringing up the rear in her equally as green Leader uniform.


Sometimes we participated in shows and demonstrations around the Chicago area.  Here I'm standing in a black and white jacket watching an indian music stick demonstration...


Each year we celebrated the Juliette Low Rally, which was held in locations around the country.  All the Troops in our district would gather at a nearby Forest Preserve and spend a day in celebration.  We would play games, sing songs, cook lunch, make campfires, do crafts and run around.  They were a lot of fun.  This year I had the honor of carrying the flag....


So what about the camping?   Yes, I did go and I ended up going on many, many camping trips over the next 5 years.  We went to places with names like Woody Acres and Juniper Knoll.  We learned to hike and use a compass, and how to cook over a bunson burner (which was really a soup can with a hole cut into it and we'd start a fire underneath it and cook something on top of the can).  We learned how to properly chop wood and then pile sticks to start a campfire and how to dig a ditch if a latreen wasn't available.  We spent hours around the campfire, singing Girl Scout songs and telling ghost stories at night.  Once it got really dark out we'd play flashlight tag in the woods behind the tents.  After lights out, we'd giggle and whisper until we each slowly drifted off to sleep, our heads nestled on a rolled up sweatshirt that substituted for a pillow.  By the end of each trip I'd come home with a pocket full of acorns, pinecones and tiny stones.  I usually hadn't taken a bath in 3 days and I'd reek of campfire smoke, but I would be so happy!  That's me waving good bye for a 3 day trip.  I was SO excited!


Here we are on another camping trip.  I specifically remember this one because my mom was the troop leader and she taught us how to make pancakes.  We were staying at a camp that had a small kitchen so we made pancakes for breakfast and I remember her telling us not to flip the pancakes until the batter started bubbling on top.  Those were the best damn pancakes!  After breakfast we gathered for a group picture.  My sister Laurie had joined by then as well, so she's kneeling on the right in the second row.  That's me, high up on the right, hugging the tree.   Hmmmm... definitely a recurring theme.


This was the sleeping bag I got one Christmas for my camping trips.  It's been used a lot over the last 40 years and I just can't part with it.  I still have it, rolled up, down at the lake house.  They will probably have to bury me in it.  LOL!


The Girl Scouts are closing in on a very exciting celebration - 100 years in existence.  There will be all sorts of celebrations planned across the country for next spring.  I hope something will take place close to Chicago so I can attend.

For me, being a Girl Scout was a huge, positive impact on my life.  It taught me how to get along with others, how to perform many different tasks, broadened my knowledge on a wide variety of subjects, gave me skills that I have used my entire life and provided me with 5 years of fun filled activities.  The Girl Scout Slogan is "Do a Good Turn Daily."  I don't every day, but I try to as often as I can.  The Girl Scout Motto is "Be Prepared" and I think this motto is a part of my life.

Special thanks to my mom for being my troop leader while I was a Junior Scout. 



I got to see a side of her that was something other than "my mom."  She was the troop leader and all the girls looked up to her.  I think it was good for me to see her in a role other than mom.  It taught me that I could be a mom and something else, although at the time, I had no idea what that something else would be.  I'm also thankful for all the hours she spent putting together a scrapbook for me, so I have pictures of all these great memories.  It was fun to go through the scrapbook today and look for all these old photos.

So thank you Juliette Gordon Low for having the foresight to establish such a worthwhile organization - one that truly benefits the girls of America. If you have a young girl in your life, I encourage you to get her involved in scouting. It truly does help to empower us.  Go forth - Be Prepared!

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