Archive for the ‘Adventures’ Category

I’m an adult leader for a patrol of 11 year old boy scouts.  This weekend we are going camping, and I was thinking about the dialog that might occur between the boys and their parents after the trip.  I thought up these questions which I might suggest to parents in order to facilitate such dialog.

Ask about the food.  What did they eat?  Who made it?  What was their favorite thing to eat?  How was the food compared to other camping trips?  How long did it take to cook?  What could they have done to eat sooner?

Ask not just about the weather, but how the scout prepared and reacted to the weather.  What did you do to stay warm?

Ask about the accomplishments.  What was the hardest thing on the campout?  What was the most rewarding?

Ask about their interactions with other scouts.  Who was in the tent with you?  Who was responsible for putting up and taking down the tent?  How did you help the other scouts have fun?  What “good turns” did you do for others?

As parents ask these questions, they shouldn’t be judgemental.  It isn’t a checkup to see if the scout behaved appropriately.  The purpose of the dialog should be to help the scouts make the connection between their actions and the results of their actions.  By talking vocally about the campout, the scouts can turn the things they have done into things they have learned.

REI recently announced that their 100% satisfaction guarantee only lasts for one year, whereas their guarantee used to be time unlimited.

Sure, with REI’s transition to a clothing store, you don’t really need a full year to decide if you are satisfied with a pair of socks.

But when it comes to camping and other outdoor equipment, its not like I use my gear day in and day out. In fact, I only go camping about three times a year. If I were to buy a tent (the cheapest tents that REI sells are about $100), I would expect it to last more than three camping trips.

Paying a premium price for outdoor equipment, I expect it to last for more than just a handful of adventures. Under the old REI return policy, if I found on my fifth camping trip that the tent really didn’t stand up to the wind like I expected it to, I could return it. Under the new policy, I better go camping many times in many conditions in the first year to make sure I bought a satisfactory tent.

In fact, it was only under the really exceptional old return policy that I even considered buying expensive camping equipment at REI, because I knew that REI guaranteed my investment.

Scout pack checks

Posted in Adventureson Sep 15, 2010

I’m a scout leader for a group of 11-year-old scouts.  Since we are going camping this weekend, tonight we were checking packs to make sure the scouts had all the proper gear.

We decided to make it into a game.  We (the leaders) would call out some important piece of gear such as flashlight.  The first scout to get us the gear would get a point.

It was a pretty fun way to do pack checks, but it required us to pay a little more attention to the scouts.  If particular scouts didn’t even flinch when we were calling something important, then we needed to be able to notice and talk to the scout.

To top it all off, at the end of the checks, we announce a flash flood, which meant bonus points to the scouts who could get everything all packed up the fastest.

11-year-old scout leader

Posted in Adventureson Jun 28, 2010

In an attempt to write a blog post in the month of June, 2010, I thought I would tell you briefly about my new assignment at church.  I am now an 11-year-old scout leader, with about 5 scouts in the 11-year-old scout patrol.

This is a really fun assignment, because 11-year-olds are pretty fun to deal with.  They like to be funny.  They get excited about simple things.  Mostly, they are pretty eager to learn without having the attitude of a teenager.

A flight to Vegas

Posted in Adventureson Mar 3, 2010

The Fort Collins Loveland Airport has one flight, to Vegas.  A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take this flight to visit some family members.  The experience of flying out of a small airport is unique.  Here is a picture of the front doors to the terminal:

Shortly after landing at LAS, our plane taxied pretty close to Air Force One.  Apparently, President Obama was in town apologizing for some ill-words-said against Vegas.  The view of Air Force One was so close that photos that I took though the plane window were not zoomed out enough to show the plane.  However, I was able to take this photo just after stepping off the plane:

The best thing about going to Las Vegas in February is that the weather is considerably warmer than the snowy weather in Fort Collins.  Unfortunately, our flight back was delayed because of poor weather conditions in Colorado.  When we did land, they let us exit through the rear of the airplane:

And that is a few things about flying to Vegas.


Posted in Adventureson Nov 3, 2009

Recently, Sandy and I have been doing a little bit of couponing.  We’re not aiming at taking 80% off our monthly grocery bill, or to get all sorts of random products for free.  It is more like a game that we like winning.  It is kind of a thrill to get products for free or to see “You Saved 85% Off Your Order Today!” printed on the bottom of the receipt.  We are getting kind of good at finding coupons on the Internet to print or combining coupons we find with sales we find in stores.

One of our favorite stores to shop at is King Soopers, which is a Kroger store.  King Soopers generally has reasonable prices on products, and they will often have some good sales.  Additionally, they will double coupons up to 50 cents, and coupons between 50 cents  and a dollar they will increase to a dollar.  They also accept eCoupons from or CellFire, which are loaded onto the King Sooper loyalty card and applied automatically when checking out.

One of my favorite King Soopers promotions is $5 off 10 qualifying items.  I think they choose a couple of items on each aisle of the store that quality, causing you to walk up and down all the aisles searching out 10 items which qualify.  This promotion is currently underway at our King Soopers, and when you combine the promotion with coupons, we’ve found some good deals.  For example, our 10 items might be:
Read the rest of this entry »

Transylvania is so misunderstood

Posted in Adventureson Oct 19, 2009

I spent about a year of my life in a region of Romania known as Transylvania.  It is actually quite a romantic, European country and mountain range, nothing like the creepy vampire spooks that are too often portrayed.  Take for example, this Transylvanian castle which I visited.  Castle Bran doesn’t have any bats or ghosts, although it might have a romantic well (and a secret passageway).

Castle Bran in Transylvania

Castle Bran in Transylvania