Category Archives: Awards

Final Blue and Gold Prep (#100DaysofScouting Day 18)


So Friday was a pretty busy day.  In addition to working a full day, we had family come into town for the Blue & Gold on Saturday.  I also had plenty of prep work left to do for the Blue & Gold, but family takes priority so after work we were off to bd’s Mongolian Grill.  I ❤ that place!

So after getting home from that and relaxing with the b-i-l and family, it was time to get started on the finishing touches for Blue & Gold.  Looks like staying up all night working on the Webelos II slideshow is a tradition I could not break…

Finished up the slideshow about 6:45 AM on Saturday morning.  It turned out great if I do say so myself.  If I figure out a way to get it uploaded somewhere (it’s nearly 500MB) I’ll edit this post with a link.  On a previous post I discussed what songs to use.  This year was both easier and more difficult to figure out the songs (Wat?).  Easier for a couple of the songs because I had overheard my boys talking in the car going to/from Klondike Derby back in January about what their favorite songs and/or bands were.  Harder in that I couldn’t figure out what songs to use to fill it out after I used the ones of theirs that were appropriate.

By the way, there are exactly zero songs by Eminem or Avenged Sevenfold that are appropriate for Scouting functions.  Even the ones you’d immediately think were okay, like “Lose Yourself” or “Not Afraid” aren’t any good.  They’re tame…for Eminem.  He still drops a few f-bombs and some of the lyrical content is sketchy while not profane.  But while dramatically better than say “Kill You” or “Kim,” still as a whole not okay for use at Scouting events.

So anyway, our theme for B&G this year was “Knights of the Round Table.”  As soon as I heard that, I knew Monty Python must be a part of the slideshow.  I mean, c’mon!  So I looked around and found on Youtube a video of the “Camelot” song re-shot completely in Lego.  Win!  I grabbed that and it became the intro to my slideshow.

So after the Lego Monty Phyton video, we start in with the pictures and the music.  The songs (in random playing order except the first and last are where they’re supposed to be) were:

Europe – “The Final Countdown” (listed by two boys as their favorite song, thanks to Lego Rockband)
Linkin Park – “New Divide” (favorite band of at least one boy in the den)
Alex Boyé – “Born to Be a Scout” (been planning on using this one for this slideshow for a couple years now)
Switchfoot – “Meant To Live” (another #jambo2010 throwback)
Green Day – “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (used it in 2009 but I couldn’t think of anything else)

(There may be one more in there, I can’t remember though.  I’ll have to check at home and edit this post if it is different.)

I hate to toot my own horn but it turned out awesome!  You worry about how well things you create in the wee hours of the morning after 24+ hours of no sleep will be to people who aren’t slap happy.  I’m glad it was pretty universally well liked!

Crisis Averted! (#100DaysofScouting, Day 17)


To follow up on my post from yesterday, after several phone calls and IM conversations with a few different people it seems we have managed to fix the issue where the troop that was supposed to do our AOL ceremony this Saturday had to back out on us.

We found a ceremony that will probably work better.  The ceremony Troop 572 does is great, but it involves setting an arrow aflame and with the way we did our career arrows for the boys that probably would not have been the ideal thing to do.  So while looking around we found the “Career Arrow” AOL ceremony at this website.  It seemed more appropriate and it only requires 1 indian costume.

Luckily our very good friend from church and Scouts, Josh – who recently completed his Eagle, turned 18 and became an Assistant Scoutmaster – said he would play that role.  It helps that Josh is like eleven-bajillionty feet tall (okay, not really, but I’m sure if he’s not at least 7′ tall he’s darn close!), which adds to the awe-inspiring part for the wee guys.  He also helped in last year’s AOL ceremony so he had a costume his size already, and our buddy Stan at Troop 18 still had it and was willing to help Josh out once he found out about our predicament.

We are also going to use a trick that we started doing in our ceremonies about 2 years ago that makes them seem much more professionally done.  Since the lights are usually dim it is hard to see people’s mouths and our guys don’t really speak.  Instead someone in the back with a script reads all the speaking parts and does voices.  It seems weird but has worked out awesome for us.

So now I don’t have to worry as much about getting an AOL ceremony done, and can go back to worrying about everything else that isn’t done yet…like the slideshow!  I got some pictures last night from the mom of one of my newer boys and now I just have to finish up getting the pictures in order and picking the music.  I don’t want to give everything away but I already have an opening video/song, an intro and first song.  Also have a closing sound bit and I think I’m going to use “Born to be a Scout” in there somewhere, but I need two or three more songs.  Any suggestions?  Here’s what I’ve used the last couple of years, I’d like not to repeat if possible:

2009
Survivor – “Eye of the Tiger”
Duran Duran – “Hungry Like the Wolf”
Barenaked Ladies – “The Other Day I Met a Bear”
Green Day – “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

2010
Foo Fighters – “Wheels”
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – “Teach Your Children”
Randy Neuman – “You’ve Got A Friend in Me”
Owl City – “Fireflies”
Randy Travis – “Heroes and Friends”

Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap! (#100DaysofScouting, Day 16)


I am seriously freaking out right now.  Several months ago, we scored an epic win by scheduling Troop 572 to do our AOL ceremony at Blue & Gold.  572 has hands down the best AOL ceremony around.  We were all really pleased about this (okay, except the CM who is also a leader or three with Troop 718 and the leadership at Troop 718 who thought we should automatically have them do every ceremony for us all the time).

Today we’re getting down into the final stages of preparation for Saturday’s Blue & Gold Banquet, and our Advancement Chair sends an email to the Scoutmaster from Troop 572 to check in if they need anything from us.  And the response we get back a little while later on (about an hour and a half ago) was that they have a conflict and cannot make our event.  CRAP!

So what to do, what to do?  Our OA chapter would likely not be willing to do a ceremony on such short notice…that is, if they were willing to do ceremonies at all.  I’ve asked in the past and have been told that they only do ceremonies for their own use, not for anyone else.  So much for the nice American Indian themed ceremony I think, unless we can pull something together in the next 72 hours…

(10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…okay, I am calm.)

We’ll need to get cracking on either finding a replacement Troop or writing our own ceremony it seems.  Guess I know what I’m doing for most of my free time the next few days.

Arrow of Light / Cub Scout Career Arrows Follow-Up (#100DaysofScouting, Day 15)


(This is a follow-up to my previous post on Arrow of Light / Cub Scout Career Arrows, found here.)

So they’re done.  Finally!  And they look pretty sweet!  Probably because after doing the design, I had NOTHING to do with them after.  That task was undertaken by my lovely wife with the degree in Art!

So I kinda/sorta followed the ways that had been previously published, but we diverted in a few different areas and I think it turned out for the better that way.

First was that I bought the arrows.  I know, there’s plenty of resources out there on how to make arrows, like these instructions from the November 2001 issue of Boys’ Life.  But frankly, my time was worth more than the money of the parents in my den, so we purchased arrows.  There are lots and lots of places to get arrows from, but I settled on the 25″ Agate Tipped arrow from arrow-of-light-awards.com.  The price was not too high and they were in stock with quick shipping, and I liked the look of them.  They are only 25″ long, so it is quite obvious they’re ceremonial (even the smallest Cub Scout bow will be too big to fire it).  They showed up quickly and I was very impressed.

So then the next question was how do I mark the boys’ careers onto these arrows?  Searching the web tells me that there are two main positions on this.  One says to go the sticker route, and there are several places where you can buy pre-cut stickers in the appropriate colors and widths you need.  Or you can go the paint route.  Your nearest craft supply store, heck probably your nearest Megalomart probably has all the colors you need.  But paint can get expensive and can be very messy.  Frankly, I didn’t like either option.

So I went with a third option, which was to use colored embroidery floss wrapped around the shaft, and secured using Aleene’s Brush-On Tacky Glue.  I went to my local Meijer and bought a couple of the packs of embroidery floss where you get 36 skeins of multiple colors for $5 a pack.  I probably could have gotten the colors I needed cheaper by buying individual skeins from Michael’s but at the time I wasn’t sure what colors I was going to use for what.  By buying one of the primary color sets and one of the pastel sets I was able to get every color I needed except something to work for the silver arrow points.  For that we had to go to Michael’s and got a single skein of it there.

So now I had materials (arrows, floss, glue) and manpower (my wife), all I needed was a template and a color scheme.  No brainer on that, right?  There’s a few different variations out there, but most internet searches seem to point to pretty much the exact same pdf file.  But I wasn’t happy with that file.  First, it’s outdated.  This goes back to the days when Tigers weren’t considered full members of the Pack and didn’t earn Bobcat until their Wolf year started.  And there were other awards that I felt were pretty significant that were ignored.  And frankly the spacing used on that pdf file wouldn’t fit on a 25″ arrow if a boy had done a LOT during his Cub Scouting career (and at least one of mine had).  So what was I to do?

Of course, I made my own.  Let it never be said that I’m a conformist.

My feeling is that if you are going to count Arrow Points and Webelos Activity Badges, then you should count Tiger Tracks.  I also think that the Leave No Trace Award and the Good Turn for America Award should be included on the arrow.  Both of these also require an advancement report to be generated.

So we started just after the arrowhead with Bobcat and worked our way down the shaft through the ranks and special awards.  The table below I made to help keep track of Order, Sizing and color:

Cub Scout Career Arrow Order, Colors & Sizes

Badge / Award Name Thread Color

Size on Arrow

Bobcat Badge

Black (Iris 148) ¾”

Tiger Badge

Orange (Iris 710)

¾”

Tiger Tracks (Elective beads)

Pale Yellow (Iris 323) 1/8” per bead earned
Wolf Badge Red (Iris 128)

¾”

Wolf Gold Arrow Point Gold (Iris 421)

½”

Wolf Silver Arrow Points

Silver (DMC 415) 1/8” per arrow point earned
Bear Badge Aqua (Iris 100)

¾”

Wolf Gold Arrow Point

Gold (Iris 421)

½”

Wolf Silver Arrow Points

Silver (DMC 415)

1/8” per arrow point earned

Webelos Badge

Royal Blue (Iris 398)

¾”

Webelos Activity Badges

White (Iris 144)

1/8” per activity badge earned

Arrow of Light Badge

Bright Yellow (Iris 344)

1-½”

Religious Emblem Award

Tan (Iris 222)

¾”

Leave No Trace Award

Green (Iris ???)

¾”

World Conservation Award

Purple (Iris 755)

¾”

Good Turn for America Award Red/White/Blue braided (Iris 128 / 144 / 986)

¾”

For the Good Turn for America Award, we tried to find a varigated thread of red, white & blue but couldn’t find anything close.  So Jenny braided the three colors together and it looks really good!  It is only slightly taller off the shaft than the regular floss and really isn’t very noticeable.  I like it!

I asked each family to fill out a quick form to verify what the boy did and didn’t earn, I’ll attach a blank copy.  For all the things they did since Webleos, I had the info because I’ve been the den leader and we’ve used Scouttrack.  But for Tiger, Wolf & Bear, the former den leader kept paper records which were pretty accurate but I wanted confirmation from the families.  And one of my boys was in a different pack before Webelos and transferred to ours later on, so I didn’t have any of his previous records.

I used the data collected from the families for each boy to make a template in Word.  Just made a simple 2 row table and adjusted the column width appropriately for how wide each item should be.  The cell in row one was just filled with that color (or an approximation), and the cell in row 2 I put the actual measurement of how wide the ring should be.  Then I gave it all to my lovely wife, and viola!

So here’s a couple pictures of the Finished Product:

Cub Scout Career Arrow using embroidery floss

Cub Scout Career Arrow using embroidery floss

Cub Scout Career Arrow using embroidery floss

Cub Scout Career Arrow using embroidery floss

 

 

…98…


So Sunday was 98 days until Jon crosses over to Boy Scouts. On this actual day, we spent most of the day preparing for the Eagle Court of Honor of a young man from Troop 18 who is also a member of my church. He asked me to assist him with it since I am the COR for the church, so I said sure…not knowing exactly what that means.

It appears that it meant that the bulk of the work for an Eagle COH is on the family to get done, so I ended up helping out considerably. We got approval from the Session of the church to have it at his home church (First Presbyterian) rather than at the Troop’s CO (First Baptist). That caused a mild irritation among some of the Troop leadership but it was quickly gotten over I guess. One of the SA’s from the Troop just had completed working on his son’s Eagle COH a couple weeks prior so he really helped us out, and between the young man, we two leaders and his parents we got the plan down.

I spent most of Saturday shopping for food for the reception, and then preparing it at the church’s kitchen that evening, including making two trays of cobbler (one caramel apple and one peach). Meanwhile, we also (using the wonder of the intarwebz) got the script and bulletin figured out over that week. On Sunday the bulletins were printed and folded – they looked good, we used the ones form the Scout Shop with the eagle medal embossed on the front.

Sunday morning just after services ended we started setting up the sanctuary and gathering area of the church for the ECOH. Lots of tables/chairs to put out and food to bring down from the kitchen. When we were done I had just enough time to make a last minute run to the store to get the young man a card, go get a shower and changed into my uniform so we could be back at the church to finish getting everything done.

The ceremony itself went great. I sat partially obscured in the pulpit area with quick access to a fire extinguisher since the ceremony included 26 candles being lit. The young man’s younger brother (First Class rank in Troop 18), the Scoutmaster and our Pastor were the bulk of the ceremony. I thought it was very well done and was happy with how everything went. I gave him a special award on behalf of the church to recognize all the service he has given to our church over the years.

The reception also went very well, and it appears that while we ended up with lots of leftovers for the family, the food did pretty good. Both the cobblers were devoured (I was told the peach was even better than the apple)! We were able to rest for a moment and congratulate the young man for his hard work and achievement, then we started cleaning up. We were completely cleaned up (Leave No Trace!) and out of the church by 9:00 PM. Overall I was exhausted but very pleased with how things went.

I was glad to get to help with this now so that I have an idea of what to expect when Jon finishes up Eagle (in several years). There were things that I would have liked to do that couldn’t get done because of the short time frame but the bulk of the job was there and done very well. I was thinking to myself that we should start a book of this stuff so that we know what to expect when the time comes…but then I just saw on Scoutstuff that there is a book. Think I might suggest that the Troop purchase a copy of that for future reference!

Somewhat tangentially related is that I now have a full Venturing uniform that I am going to use for my Scout items at First Presbyterian Church (where I am the Chartered Organization Representative for Pack, Troop & Crew 1). My stepfather was kind enough to sew all the patches on the shirt for me on Saturday so I would have it for the Eagle COH on Sunday. The shirt I picked up during College of Commissioner Science when it was marked down to $5 (they changed the uniform somewhat recently). Unfortunately they didn’t have any of the old style pants or shorts in my size so I had to buy a pair of the new style ones, and the belt and socks too. So now I’ve got a tan shirt for the Pack, a tan one for Roundtable, and a green one for church.

November Pack Meeting Recap


Pack 19 held their monthly Pack Meeting last night and even though it ran a little longer than expected, it went very well!

The core value of the month was citizenship, and we integrated this and Thanksgiving (which, as a national holiday fits right in there) to come up with our activities. We went with a station rotation idea where boys were split up into groups (each group included different ranks and siblings) and went from station to station where they did some sort of activity that was related to Citizenship.

Station #1 – Flags
At this station, we were outside the church at the flagpoles in the parking lot. Boys (and siblings) learned how to properly raise, lower and fold the US flag. The tie in to citizenship for this one is pretty easy to grasp; also it meets advancement requirements or electives at pretty much every rank level in Cub Scouts.

Station #2 – Cooking
In the church’s kitchen, the kids all made small apple turnovers using pre-made biscuit dough (Kroger brand) and a can of apple pie filling. While they were taking turns doing this their groups also learned the Johnny Appleseed grace and got filled in on the legend of Johnny Appleseed. This is the tie in with the theme, it’s American Folklore.

Station #3 – Cards
In one of the church’s side rooms, we had the boys do a leaf rubbing (and possibly identification, it was supposed to happen but I wasn’t in that room so I don’t know for sure). They turned their leaf rubbing into a Happy Thanksgiving card that the boys will give to a soldier or veteran they or their parents might know. The tie in here is for the boys to recognize the service of our veterans to our country.

Station #4 – Place mats
In another side room, the boys were given a place mat that had a blank map of the first 13 states (plus Ohio). They were supposed to color it in and label the states. Then on the other half of the page they were supposed to draw a famous American and tell what they did. Here’s a link to that coloring book page. The tie in here to citizenship was likewise pretty obvious.

Station #5 – Tic-Tac-Trivia
Back in the main room, we laid down big tic tac toe game squares on the floor with masking tape. We then had the groups answer trivia questions and if they got it right the square they were in was an O. If they got it wrong it was an X. All the questions were related to US History and the flag.

Leaders from each of our five dens ran one of the stations. I ran flags. After our pack meeting opening flag ceremony and a rundown of how things were going to work, the boys went to each station. They got about 10 minutes at each plus 2 minutes of travel, so it took roughly one hour for all the groups to get through all the stations. After the station rotations were done, we gathered back into the main room and did advancements using the ceremony suggested in the Den and Pack Meeting Resource Guide but slightly modified using BSA 2010 paper cups rather than hats. After that came announcements, then we circled up, sang Scout Vespers, did our blessing and went home. The boys grabbed their turnovers on the way out.

Overall I think it went very well, though it ran a little long. While I’m not entirely thrilled about that, my feeling is that if the boys were enjoying themselves that was the most important part.

Advancement – Besides the whole host of stuff that each family will have to go through their rank books to see what got completed, we also incorporated nearly all of the requirements of the US Heritage Silver Award. So I was pleased with how everything went.

Next month is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, so that should be an interesting pack meeting to plan. We’ll see how that goes.

YIS,

-Scott

Arrow of Light Awards…Help!


So, being a den leader of a group of 5th grade Webelos (and a dad of one of them), I know that it is now closing in on 4 short months until our Blue and Gold Banquet where our oldest Webelos cross over to Boy Scouts. And since one of my six boys just completed his Arrow of Light Award this past weekend, I know the others will be doing it pretty soon as well.

So it is time for the tradition that obviously quite a few packs do, which is to get a ceremonial arrow for the boy who has completed AOL as a presentation for when he moves on to Boy Scouts. I always thought they were pretty neat. Now I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel here, and I am well aware of all the kits available out there. I think from a cost standpoint I will probably end up purchasing pre-made arrows from one of the many different sources available on the internet, then customize them for the boys. Now the customization part is where things can get a little bit more personal in the touches which I think is a good thing.

There is a document circulating on the web which seems to be the widely accepted standard that most people use. You can find a copy here. Another good website that I found with step by step instructions is here.

However, I think it might be time to update this very good document in regards to the colors and order. First, for the order of things. Since the June 2006 shift in BSA policy that boys must earn Bobcat before Tiger, I think the Bobcat black should come before the Tiger Orange.

For the change in colors, I don’t think there’s much to change, and I’ve actually seen several different versions. The one I plan on using is:

Bobcat = Black
Tiger = Orange
Wolf = Red
Bear = Aqua
Webelos = Blue
Arrow of Light = Yellow
Gold Arrow Points = Gold
Silver Arrow Points = Silver
Webelos Activity Badges = White
Religious Emblem = Tan
World Conservation Award = Purple

There’s two that I think are missing, though.

If we’re going to put in Arrow Points for Wolf & Bear electives, and the Webelos Activity Badges, then shouldn’t we also put in the Tiger Electives beads? I plan to. My main issue is what color to make them. They’re yellow beads, so the first thought would be yellow. But that’s the same color as AOL! What would I change AOL to? Or what color should I use for the Tiger electives if not yellow?

The second one is that I think if we’re going to note some non-rank awards (Religious Emblem and World Conservation), then I think it would be appropriate to also note the Leave No Trace Award. I know the award itself is blue and yellow but I would mark this one in Green (partly because it isn’t being used and also because LNT is all about helping keep the world a better…and greener…place).

So there’s my dilemma. Any suggestions?

I thought about adding a couple of feathers or beads to the coup feather and thong that I think I will make and attach to denote the non-rank awards. So that’s one option. But I think keeping it in paint (or wrapping the arrow shaft in colored embroiderly floss rather than painting) would be the better choice here.

Good thing these arrows I’m looking at are 25″ long! Some of these boys earned a ton of electives and arrow points, it’s going to use a lot of the real estate on that arrow shaft with paint!

One last note. I should point out that these aren’t really going to be AOL arrows. They’re more Honor Arrows because even if a boy doesn’t complete AOL (and I sincerely hope that isn’t the case for my den) I will still make the arrow for them, just leave out the yellow (or whatever color I end up using) to denote the AOL award.

EDIT 2/22/11 – I’ve posted a follow-up to this item here.

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