October 2016


FROM YOUR EDITOR (Georgine Herd)

This is the 87th issue of the Conejo Courier and also the last issue in this format as I will no longer be publishing it.
I started the Conejo Courier over seven years ago when the Council newsletter, The Condor, was no longer being published and realized the need for a method of communications for our District. I have truly enjoyed my tenure.

Time marches on, and so does progress. Conejo Valley District will now have its own social media – some of you who have attended Roundtable recently will have heard about it. I urge you to take advantage of this latest means of communications.

Yours in Scouting,
Georgine Herd


Greetings, Conejo Valley Scouter's: Summer is over and fall is now upon us. Fall is a wonderful time of the year; children back to school, weather is hopefully getting cooler, football, POPCORN and RECHARTER TIME. Yes Scouters, the 2016 Popcorn season is in full force and units are now taking the product out to the community. As has been often repeated, selling Popcorn is a great unit fund raising opportunity and helps teach our Scouts important communication and sales skills. The marketing of Popcorn is not about the product, we all know it's less expense elsewhere, but it's about supporting the Scouting program in our community. Let's build on our momentum and beat the District's 2015 results.

Unit recharter packets were passed out at our September Roundtable. Units can begin their online recharter process on October 1st. Units will have until the November Roundtable, (11/17/16) to have their online process completed; all documentation in the package signed-off; a separate check for registration and a separate check for insurance and returned to their Unit Commissioner for submission to Council. To be clear, all registered adults must have a current YPT. Adults who have YPT expiring between October 1-December 31, 2016 will need to have their YPT updated to be considered registered in 2017. 

If a unit has questions regarding rechartering, please contact your Unit's Unit Commissioner or call Rod Lang, District Commissioner, at 805-341-8278. 

GEARING UP – By Ben Kuo, Committee Chair, Troop 730

DIY Sleeping Pads, Or The Apollo Space Program's Contribution To Backpacking In the last Conejo Courier, I asked –What does backpacking gear have to do with attic insulation? The answer is that attic insulation – the silver-coated kind, not the pink fluffy stuff – is a great sleeepng pad, and if you do winter camping, an excellent second layer to supplement an existing
sleeping pad.

Believe it or not, these ultra, high tech pads which are apparently preferred by mountaineering companies on Mt. Ranier to commercial options. This material was originally developed by NASA for the space program as a commercial spinoff of the NASA Apollo Space Program. NASA used a reflective foil covering to create a radiant barrier for both the spacecraft and space suits to reflect the intense heat of the suns away from the astronauts by day and to reflect internal heat back inside the capsule of space suit at night for warmth. These pads are made out of the same reflective insulation material on the Apollo moon lander. (This material is the shiny stuff you see on the bottom of the Apollo lander).

How do these compare to the commercial options?

Cost Weight R-Value

High Tech Ultra Lite Attic Insulation Pad $ 6.00 8.1 ounces R2.0 to R7.0*

This compares very favorably to the other options on the market. This is actually the sleeping pad I use personally on outings. (Yes, there is some argument among adults on self-inflating air pads versus this versus foam, comfort, etc... but there is no argument in terms of weight and Rvalue. And you can't pop them on a rock. And they cost nearly nothing. Perfect for scouts!).

Standard Blue Foam Pad $20.00 13.5 ounces R1.4
Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Solite $19.95 9.0 ounces R2.8
Big Agnes Air Core Sleeping Pad $49.95 1 lb 5 oz. R1.0
Therm-A-Rest Trail Lite $69.95 1 lb. 12 oz. R3.4
REI Camp Bed $89.50 3 lbs 9 oz. R5.8

This material also makes very good pot cozies (for Mountain House-style quick boil dinners). Sold in various size rolls, this was cut out of a 48 in x 25 feet roll which cost around $45. Two sleeping pads cost around $5.62 each if you were to cut the whole role to pads. Apparently, these have been a favorite of guides on Mt. Shasta. Weight of a full cut pad is 8 ounces... my foam pad is about the same, 8-9 ounces too. We've tested this across the troop on both warm and cold outings, and they work great – in fact, I won't go on a snow outing without one (or two) of these for insulation from the cold ground. They turn a chilly night into the toastiest night you'll
ever have had on the trail! And they weigh next to nothing! 

So, next time you are looking at gearing up your new scouts – you might look at what we've found to be a great, affordable (and high tech) alternative to the usual equipment – made out of attic insulation! (Photo: Silver, bubble-wrap type Reflectix attic insulation, next
to a more conventional foam sleeping pad.)



An article appeared in the TO Acorn about Sean Alexander who earned a music scholarship. At the end of the article, it mentioned that he is an Eagle Scout with Troop 753.

JOTA (Jamboree-on-the-Air)

This event happens each year in October. It’s a great way to talk to other Scouts and Scouters world-wide. This year, it takes place on Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 9 am to 5 pm. You will need to e-mail Ben Kuo (kk6fut@gmail.com) for location details. Flyer is attached.

Here are some opportunities for Webelos Scouts to visit troops. Flyers are attached.
 Troop 718 offers seven (7) events in October, November, and December. An additional flyer for November 1st is also attached for their Rocket Launch event.
 Troop 730 extends an invitation to their Open House on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.
 Troop 753 invites Webelos Scouts n Tuesday, October 25th to their Annual First Aid Scene Night “Bloody Tuesday” in keeping with Halloween. Full details are in the attached flyer.

Safety Moment—Outdoor Hazards: Objective and Subjective (Article provided by Dave Gulbransen)

Education for outdoor dangers can be learned in multiple ways; probably the least effective is from personal experience. The problem with learning by experience is that the test comes before the lesson. Unfortunately, at times that kind of education can be deadly. Learning from others’ experiences, otherwise known as “training,” presents a much safer alternative. To understand the hazards of the outdoors, it is first necessary to understand what is meant by hazards. There are two types of outdoor hazards to anticipate when planning high adventure activities. The first is the objective hazard, which includes risks that are usually apparent or obvious (sometimes called inherent risks). Objective hazards can happen to anyone and are unaffected by one’s personal abilities.

They would exist whether you were there or not. Examples include lightning, cliffs, fast moving water, and snow in winter (at least in non-temperate zones). Subjective hazards, on the other hand, are more difficult to identify and are hard to quantify. They are typically human-caused occurrences and can usually be controlled or at least minimized. The focus of this article will be on subjective hazards. Many of the basic principles discussed below come from a wonderful book by Dave Anderson, Outdoor Hazards—Avoiding Trouble in the Backcountry (Backpacker Magazine Series, Falcon Guides, 2012).

The first subjective hazard refers to the concept of preparation, more commonly referred to as planning, or the lack thereof, actually. For example, “no planning” is what happens on Wednesday when the decision to go camping is for Friday. Planning is critical to hazard reduction; there will be more specific guidance on proper planning in future articles. However, for our purpose, there are two parts of planning. The first part is planning for the activity itself, including discussions about where we are going, what the actual activity is, who the drivers are, what food we need, and what equipment is necessary. Unfortunately the second aspect of planning is far too often overlooked—are we properly prepared for the activity?

Lack of proper preparation is the first, and often the most critical, link in the causal chain that can lead to serious injuries or even death in an activity. Proper preparation is especially crucial in the backcountry, where rescue might be delayed or even impossible. In the context of this article, lack of preparation can be simply stated as “getting in over your head.” Examples include doing something where there is a lack of the requisite technical skills, improper equipment or not understanding how to use the equipment, failing to understand the weather, inadequate or improper food and water, little or no shelter, improper clothing or footwear (remember those nasty blisters from the new boots?), or even something as simple as the overweight pack (remember that Scout who thought the six pack of Mountain Dew was a necessity on the 50 miler?). Being properly prepared for the activity means asking your Scouts and yourself many questions.


  • Do my boys and I have the requisite skills to actually do the activity?

  • Do we have the right equipment and, more importantly, do we know how to use it?

  • Do we have too much or too little equipment and is the equipment in good condition?

  • Do we have proper navigation skills? It’s amazing how easy it is to get lost, even a quarter mile from camp.

  • Are we (both adults and youth) in proper physical condition for the activity? A 50 miler requires a much different level of conditioning than a video game contest.

  • Am I aware of any pre-existing medical conditions for anyone in my group? Have the individuals with medical issues properly managed those pre-existing medical conditions? 

  • Have the participants taken the time to acclimate themselves to be ready for extreme temperatures or changes in altitude?

  • Am I aware of the fears or phobias of my leaders or youth?

  • Who is the expedition (yes, think of it that way) leader? Who makes the decisions? Is this a democracy or a dictatorship?

  • Have we submitted a Tour and Activity Plan (required if the outing includes aquatics, shooting, climbing, etc.)?

These are just some of the important subjective questions which should go into a proper activity plan. For those headed to the outdoors, there are five categories: “novice, beginner, proficient, expert, and master.”


  • The novice does not know what he does not know. In contrast, beginners at least recognize they lack the proper skills and knowledge to engage in the activity.

  • Someone who is proficient, on the other hand, possesses the necessary skills, but the application of those skills must be consciously applied (“I have to think about it; does the rope go over or under?”).

  • The expert possesses skills which are so well developed that they become automatic.

  • The master maintains his automatic competence by reflecting back on his skills in order to make improvements.

One other thing that makes the novices and beginners so vulnerable to accidents is they often lack a basic understanding of the safety principles necessary to complete the activity safely. Most of our youth and many of our adult leaders fall into these first two categories. The chain of causation for accidents also includes not having the right equipment or knowing how to use it; sometimes having too much equipment can be just as bad as not having enough. Having the most up to date GPS is worthless unless you are competent in its use; otherwise, it is just dead weight. We in Church Risk Management (LDS Church) have witnessed far too many situations where boys and leaders became lost, in many instances due to lack of proper navigation skills. Learn to read a map and compass, and yes, you can use your GPS! But if you don’t bring these tools with you, even if you think the trail is well marked, the risk of getting lost grows exponentially. Never, never get separated from your group and especially from your buddy!

Church Risk Management has made a delightful video (Get in Shape) that unfortunately may strike too close to home for many of us. One of the leading causes of death in the Boy Scouts is from heart attack; and no, 14-year-olds do not pose a significant risk in this regard, but the adults reading this article are more likely to be the culprits. Get in shape for the activity in which you are about to engage, and if you don’t feel up to it, get someone to take your place. There is no shame in that. Do you know your own pre-existing medical conditions? When was the last time you had a complete physical? What limitations did the doctor impose? Back and knee weaknesses are common, often the result of previous injuries, such as that crushing tackle on senior day in high school that never completely healed. Do you know of any pre-existing medical conditions of your boys? 

Do you know what medications they are taking and how those medications should be administered? By knowing your own pre-existing medical conditions and those of your boys, you can properly plan your outdoor activities to minimize aggravation of those conditions and ensure everyone has a great time. A related area that is often overlooked in activity planning is phobias or fears. You may not want to plan a swimming activity for one of your boys who is afraid of water; or at least it would help to know that in advance, so proper attention can be given. Protecting the living and not redeeming the dead is the charge to Church Risk Management! 

Clear communication is vital, prior to and during the activity. Do the parents know in detail what you are doing with their sons? Mom might be alright allowing her son to go on a hike to the local canyon, but perhaps a side trip to the lake or to go shooting could be another matter. I continue to be amazed at the number of times when something goes wrong that Mom and Dad did not know that a particular activity was part of the plan. 

One aspect of effective communication is leadership. The larger the group, the less experienced the group, or the younger the group, the greater the need for proper communication, including knowing who makes the final decision. At times, improper communication could lead to disaster. All it takes is two people to have a misunderstanding. There should be a designated leader,
hopefully someone who is experienced. When I river raft with a group of my good river-running buddies, our decision making is more collaborative. But when dealing with Scouts, I need to be more directive. In Scouting, we need to communicate effectively at all levels.

You can help avoid getting in over your head if you know what you are going to do—in detail. You need to know what equipment is needed, how much to bring, and how to use it. If you are not an “expert” in the activity, consider getting an expert to come along as the expedition leader. (Youth Protection training for this person is a prerequisite, and being registered as an adult Scouter is desirable). Make sure everyone is as prepared as possible for the activity, physically and emotionally. Get in shape, not just generally but for your specific activity. Know your limits and stay within them. Learn basic navigation skills. Communicate with others. While clearly this is not a complete list, it is a great place to start and will help reduce the threat of injury while helping to make your activity a success.

SQUARE KNOTS – MEANING AND PLACEMENT (From blog.scoutingmagazine.org)

 Location, location, location: Knots should go over the left pocket, as seen from the wearer’s perspective. Line them up in rows of
three in any order you choose. Typically, the knot you deem most important is worn on the bottom row on your right, but that’s your call. f your knot total isn’t divisible by three — aka you have a row of one or two knots — you can either center them in the row or keep them aligned to your right. The latter method means you won’t have to re-sew those knots if you get a new one.

 Count to nine: If you’ve been a Scouter for some time, those knots could really stack up. How high they go above your pocket is up to you, but the BSA recommends wearing no more than nine — or three rows of three.

 Don’t flip out: Yes, square knots have a right-side-up. The chart above explains the process of determining which end goes
where. This can be tricky on single-color knots, but if you squint really hard you can tell which loop on the knot is above the other.
 Sea Scouts do things differently: Sea Scouter Avery Chipka writes, “Sea Scouts BSA uniforms have different knot guidelines, including one that says only a maximum of six knots may be worn on the dress uniforms. Some uniforms do not allow knots at all.”


See Calendar here for upcoming events

District Contacts: see link here

• The Jamboree-on-the-Air, or JOTA, is an annual worldwide Scouting event that uses amateur radio to link Scouts around the world, around the nation, and in your own community.
• Fulfill one of the Cub Scout Arrow of Light: Building a Better World requirements (10d).
• Work on the Radio Merit Badge and learn about Emergency Communications! 

If you, your Scout Troop, your Cub Scout pack, or Venture Crew would like
to attend, please let us know ahead of time — come check out our displays,
equipment, and get on the air!
Contact Ben Kuo (805) 498-0764 or kk6fut@gmail.com
Jamboree On The Air
Saturday, October 15th, 2016
9am until 5pm
Open To Any Scout, Pack, Crew, or Troop!
Tue, Oct 11th, 7:18 PM – 9:00 PM, Ascension Gym
Compete in an outdoor cooking challenge. Parents will judge scoutprepared
entries (if they dare).
Sat, Oct 15th, 4:00 PM - Midnight, Ascension Gym
Hike, dine, and play video & board games until midnight.
Tue, Oct 25th, 7:18 PM – 9:00 PM, Ascension Gym
Learn about 1st Aid through “realistic dramatizations,”
semi-annual troop elections, then traditional walk to 7-11.
Tue, Nov 1st, 7:18 PM – 9:00 PM, Ascension Gym
Build rockets from kits provided by Troop 718.
Fri - Sun, Nov 4th – 6th, Red Rock Canyon State Park
Troop’s annual family camping event. Launch rockets on Sat morning
at a nearby dry lake bed. A TROOP FAVORITE!!!
Tue, Nov 8th, 7:18 PM – 9:00 PM, Ascension Gym
What will these scouts come up with? The name says it all.
Fri – Sat, Nov 11th – 12th (subject to change), New Hope Lutheran
Take part in an Eagle Scout project and pay it forward…
Tue, Dec 6th, 7:18 PM – 9:00 PM, Ascension Gym
Learn how to safely light a fire and earn a BS patch.
It’s where you belong! There’s something for EVERYONE!! Boy Scouts is where the FUN begins:

camping, hiking, biking, fire-building, cooking, knife skills, skiing, sailing, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, skating, rock climbing, swimming, video gaming, Ga-Ga, MERIT BADGES, leadership training & real-life experience!!!

Ascension Gym
1600 E Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA

Tuesdays 7:18 PM - 9:00 PM
Scoutmaster: Evan Hess
Chairperson: Kathy Lindgren

Come join the FUN with TROOP 718

Friday – Sunday, November 4th – 6th at Red Rock Canyon State Park
BOYS and FAMILIES are invited
Rocket Launch, Outdoor Cooking, Campfires, S’mores, Games and more…
Tuesday, November 1st, 7:18 PM at the Ascension Gym
Build rockets from kits provided by Troop 718
RSVP for each event by October 27th
ARROW OF LIGHT- Invitation
Webelos are invited to visit the Boy Scouts of Troop 730 Open House
Tuesday November 15, 2016
Hello, my name is Andrew Pettingill, Senior Patrol Leader of BSA Troop 730
of Newbury Park.
Scouting has changed my life in so many great ways such as improving time
management, life skills, and making great friends. I would love for all
Webelos, Cub Scouts, and Scouters to make the journey to our troop
open house and change your life forever just like I did. I hope to see
you at our open house"
-Andrew Pettingill, Troop 730 Senior Patrol Leader
ST. Matthews Methodist Church
1360 SouthWendy Drive
Newbury Park, CA 91320
WHEN: 7:30- 9:00 PM November 15th
 Meet scouts – see what we do for fun – where we go
 Learn about Boy Scouts and continue your scouting experience
 Get to know us – learn how to become an Eagle – learn how we become leaders.
 Eat home-made donuts – made by scouts!
 Meet scout parents and have some coffee
 Learn how we help the community
If you have any questions please contact:
Larry Stark: Scoutmaster: L.Stark64@verizon.net
Ben Kuo: Committee Chair kk6fut@gmail.com
Gregg McConnell: Asst. Scoutmaster gregg.mcconnell2@verizon.net
Check out our FACEBOOK page:
WEBELOS LEADERS -- please RSVP to Gregg McConnell (818-400-6552) or email
gregg.mcconnell2@verizon.net by Monday, Nov 7nd with number of boys and parents
Troop 753 - The Purple Troop
Webelos Night
Tuesday, October 25th
The Scouts of Troop 753 would like to welcome visiting Webelos on the last Tuesday of October to our Annual First Aid Scene Night
“Bloody Tuesday” In keeping with the spirit of Halloween, scouts will have realistic accident scenes laid out with lots of blood, lacerations, broken bones and all sorts of horrors.

Plan to arrive at 7:15, we’ll kick-off with flags at 7:30pm
Where: St Julie Billiart Parish Hall
2475 Borchard Rd, Newbury Park
Webelos are also welcome to visit any of our regular meetings as well. We meet every Tuesday, except the first Tuesday of the month. RSVP to