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Posts by Michael Freeman

Polish Boy Scout who escaped Auschwitz dies at age 98

Sometimes, we come across news that humbles us, filling our thoughts with gratitude and introspection. Such was the case with the passing of last month. When he was a young man, he embodied the “A Scout is Brave” point of the Scout Law while facing imminent death. Piechowski was a Polish Boy Scout; at 19,…

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Don’t leave your bear bag at home this winter

You’re packing for a winter camping trip. Tent, check. Warm clothes, check. Food, check. Bear bag… Do you really need a bear bag? It’s winter, after all. Aren’t the bears hibernating? Well, first of all, bears don’t hibernate like other mammals. Their body temperature drops by about 12 degrees during their wintertime slumbers, as opposed…

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Scouts clean a national park’s sticky situation

Next time you’re strolling down a well-traveled sidewalk, study the ground. You might find small black splotches caked onto the pavement. Volunteers at the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego found 997 such spots. It was all chewing gum — casually discarded over the years and stuck to the mile’s worth of concrete and brick walkways around…

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How to make kitchen patrol, or KP, a little less onerous

It’s practically every Scout’s least favorite task on the duty roster, but cleaning dishes does not have to turn into a necessary evil. It can turn that way if kitchen police/patrol, aka “KP duty,” is used as a punishment or as the spoils of a competition (e.g. “The winning patrol gets to choose which patrol…

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Trading in a coffee-stained uniform for an OA Vigil Honor sash

During the Great Depression, Laurence Seeger’s family couldn’t afford to buy an official Boy Scout uniform. As a substitute, Seeger’s mother doused his father’s old white dress shirts in coffee grounds, staining them khaki. The Chicago native, who celebrated his 96th birthday last week, owns an official uniform today, which he adorns with an Order of…

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Let’s be blunt about pocket knife safety

A sharp blade can be a useful tool when setting up camp, fishing or cooking. It can also be dangerous when used carelessly. Policies vary among packs, troops, councils and camps when it comes to what blade types and lengths are allowed. The BSA sets no official standard on knife length. But there’s one rule…

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