Category Archives: Middletown

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”

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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

 

 

Camp Like An Egyptian (#100DaysofScouting, Days 11-14)


Sorry to disappear for several days there, but I’ve been incommunicado.  I wasn’t abandoning my 100 Days of Scouting efforts, I was immersed in a totally new (to me) Scouting environment:  Girl Scout encampments.

I’ve stopped counting how many bag nights I’ve had camping as a Scout leader since getting back into the movement in 2006, but I’m sure I’m well over 100 by now.  But all of them had been with either Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts.  My oldest has been a Girl Scout since Kindergarten and other than writing the checks for fees to camp and other events each year, I hadn’t been very involved with her program.  I always felt a little bad about that considering how much time I put into BSA programs with Jon in all the roles I do at the pack level and above.

So when Brandi (former Cubmaster for the pack, was my program director for 2008 Cub Twilight Camp in Springboro and is currently the Service Unit Manager for NOVA 449 of the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio) asked me to take a position as part of the service unit team as “Camping Coordinator” I agreed.  That was about six 8 months ago.  I helped with a campout last summer that ended up being about 10 people total, and then I helped give the CSA a presentation on Campfire Program Planning (I used the same course materials I taught at University of Scouting).  I also showed up to a couple of meetings and helped teach knots to some of the girls.  Overall, it wasn’t too much work but I was glad to help.

The first big event that I was drafted to assist with was the winter campout.  This is a pretty big deal, one of the larger events the Service Unit pulls off each year.  In 2010 there were about 85 total people there (campers, program aide’s [PA’s] and adults).  This year our attendance went up and we had 118 people registered (several no show’ed on us, I think about 113-115 actually showed up).

We held the event at Camp Stonybrook over on Route 73 near Waynesville.  It was the first time I had spent more than a few minutes at that camp, and it was very nice!  We had the dining hall and the two lodges that are grouped nearby (Pinetree and Ittman), as well as the Director’s Cabin nearby down the hill.  There were girls aged from 5 (Kindergarten) to 17 (High School).  They were divided up based on age and program level.  Daisies had one side of Pinetree and were one group.  The Brownies were broken into two groups (pink and yellow) and all stayed on the other side of Pinetree.  The juniors were also broken into two groups (Red and Aqua) and took half of Ittman, while the other half of Ittman were our PA’s and PA’s in training (Cadette and older).  The most experienced and mostly the oldest of the PA’s, our Leader PA’s (LPA’s) were in the Director’s Cabin.  Each area separate sleeping areas for youth and adults and there were adult leaders with them.  Being the only male in the entire camp, I got the entire dining hall to myself.  I also got my own special bathroom.

We started the event on Friday about 6:00 PM and ended about 3:00 PM on Sunday.  The camp-in (called a camp-in because they were sleeping in lodges not tents) was themed “Camp Like an Egyptian” and most activities were based around that theme.

I was really impressed with the whole experience.  And honestly, it wasn’t too much different than running a Cub Scout camping event for about the same amount of people, at least from the standpoint in what I was doing as Camp Director.  The biggest differences I noticed:

  • Camp names.  We use nicknames in my den, but each leader and PA had their own camp name that was used solely in place of their regular name.
  • Songs – Not that there aren’t songs at Cub Scout camp, far from it.  They were just different songs.  And some of them are STUCK. IN. MY. HEAD. three days after camp!

I personally had a great experience and was really glad to have been able to go and help out (or at least I hope I helped out).  The girls were great!  And the LPA’s really were on the ball with being in front to get done what needed to get done, if Brandi or I needed something we told one of them and they made it happen.  And everyone seemed to be okay with having a (big hairy) man there, and letting me throw in a couple of things I thought would be neat to do, like introducing the girls to the Order of the Fork!

So now that I’m recuperated from that event (being up dealing with issues until 2:30 – 4:30 each night will make you kind of tired), we are working on an online survey for the parents to take to use as feedback for next year’s event.

And then, after I get through Blue & Gold this weekend, we start planning the Service Unit spring camp-out (at Camp Hook in May).  And then the Pack campout in the summer as well.  I think I’m going to be criss-crossing ideas and ways of doing things back and forth, kind of using the best of both worlds.

This should be fun!

Gearing Up for my last Den Meeting


Tomorrow is the last regularly scheduled Lightning Dragon den meeting.  It should be pretty productive too.  Lots to get accomplished.  On the list of things to do:

  • Gathering – Collect homework / sign off on AOL for the last 2 boys in the den to be completed (they both had to finish the  Showman Activity Badge) / Set up room [prior to meeting]
  • Opening (Flags / Pledge / Oath / Law) [5 min]
  • Pizza! [25 min]
  • Work on Career Arrows [45 min]
  • Song Practice [10 min]
  • Announcements / Closing [5 min]

I think I’m going to have to have Jenny drop Jon and I off early and then go pick up the pizzas so we can get started on time.  I am going to email/call all the families today to remind them what they need to bring and also that this meeting is going to run 1.5 hours instead of the usual 1 hour session.  If the boys don’t get their career arrows done in time, they’ll have to take them home,finish them as homework and bring them back at the Blue & Gold.

Also will need to get B&G headcounts at the meeting tomorrow so that we can make sure there’s enough tables and food put out.  I think we’re already over 10 people coming for just our family and friends.

Scout Sunday at First Presbyterian Church


So most churches celebrated Scout Sunday last Sunday. However, at First Presbyterian Church (my home church) we do Scout Sunday the 2nd weekend in February because it won’t double-up with communion Sundays, which are long enough as it is. This is the 5th Scout Sunday I’ve helped plan at the church and each year it keeps getting better and better.

This year we had Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers and Girl Scouts helping as worship assistants. The only person involved in the service (besides the choir) who weren’t current or former Scouts was the organist (I believe; I think the pianist was a Girl Scout in her youth). I was very happy with how it turned out. Here’s the layout of the service (items in bold are also read by the congregation in unison):

PRELUDE – Organist (Non-Scout) & Pianist (former Girl Scout)

WELCOME – Pastor (Eagle Scout)

PRESENTATION OF THE COLORS – Boy Scout calling with a Scouter, Eagle Scout, Venturer, Webelos and 3 Girl Scouts as color guard.

CALL TO WORSHIP (responsive) – Pastor (Eagle Scout)
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

PRAYER OF PRAISE AND ADORATION (unison) – Brownie Girl Scout
Eternal God, our beginning and our end, be our starting point and our haven, and accompany us in this day’s journey. Use our hands to do the work of your creation, and use our lives to bring others the new life you give this world in Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all.  Amen.

HYMNAL #564 – O Beautiful for Spacious Skies (Materna)

PRAYER OF CONFESSION (unison) – Junior Girl Scout
Almighty God, who made light to shine in the darkness, shine now in our hearts. We confess that we have sinned and have not walked in your light. Forgive us, we pray, and restore us to the way of Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

DECLARATION OF PARDON – Junior Girl Scout

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND THE PEACE

CIRCLE TIME FOR YOUNG DISCIPLES – Eagle Scout

RESPONSE – HYMN #338 – Kum ba Yah (verses 1 & 4)

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION – Webelos Scout

FIRST SCRIPTURE LESSON – Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 – Webelos Scout
See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

PSALM 119: 1-8 (responsive) – Brownie Girl Scout
Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways.
You have  commanded your precepts to be kept dilligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous ordinances. I will observe your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.

SECOND SCRIPTURE LESSON – 1 Corinthians 3: 1-9 – Pastor (Eagle Scout)
And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neighter the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.
The Word of the Lord!
Thanks be to God!

SERMON – “Trail the Eagle” – Pastor (Eagle Scout)

A MOMENT FOR SILENT MEDITATION

HYMN – “Philmont Prayer” (sung to the tune of “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”)
Almighty God of hill and plain,
O’er which we hike in sun and rain,

On mountain top and valley low,
Protect us, Lord, where’er we go.
And from our grateful hearts we’ll raise
Glad hymns of thankfulness and praise.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (unison) – from “The Brief Statement of Faith” – Boy Scout
We trust in Jesus Chris, fully human, fully God. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God: preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel. Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition, Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain and giving his life for the sins of the world. God raised this Jesus from the dead, vindicating his sinless life, breaking the power of sin and evil, delivering us from death to life eternal.

GLORIA PATRI – HYMNAL #579
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end,

Amen, Amen!

PRESENTATION OF TITHES AND OFFERINGS – Venturer

OFFERTORY – “The Greatest Gift is Love” (Mark Hayes) – Sanctuary Choir with flute soloist

DOXOLOGY – HYMNAL #592
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow
Praise God, all creates here below;
Praise God above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING – Pastor (Eagle Scout)

SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS – Pastor (Eagle Scout)

PASTORAL PRAYER – Pastor (Eagle Scout)

THE LORD’S PRAYER (unison)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name; thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN – “Scout Vespers” (sung to the tune of “O Tannenbaum”)
Softly falls the light of day
While our campfire fades away.
Silently each Scout should ask
Have I done my daily task?
Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless sleep tonight?
Have I done and have I dared
Everything to be prepared?

Listen Lord, oh listen Lord,
As I whisper soft and low.
Bless my mom and bless my dad,
These are things that they should know.
I will keep my honor bright,
The oath and law will be my guide.
And mom and dad this you should know,
Deep in my heart I love you so.

CHARGE AND BLESSING – Pastor (Eagle Scout)

POSTLUDE – “Christ for the World We Sing!” (Lani Smith) – Organist (non-Scout) & Pianist (former Girl Scout)

Everyone who was a part of the service did an excellent job, especially those doing the readings (one of whom was terrified of going up and speaking in front of the whole church).

After we got done eight of us went and had our traditional Scout Sunday brunch at Frisch’s.  All in all I was very happy with how well everything went.  Next year we are probably going to move our Scout Sunday to March 11 to be closer to the Girl Scout’s 100th birthday (3/12/12).



Cub Klondike is this Saturday!


Most everyone is familiar with the Klondike Derby, where teams of Webelos, Boys Scouts or Venturers pull decent sized sleds through the (mud/slush/snow/ice) going to different cities and earning gold nuggets. But what about a version for Cub Scouts?

Well, in Dan Beard Council, up until last year we had “Cub Winter Day.” It was a station-based outdoors event at Cub World and was very fun and well attended. But in 2010 council decided to move it from December/January to April and rename it “Cub Cabin Fever Fest.” But they forgot to tell everyone that it was the Cub Winter Day re-branded, and did a lackluster job of promoting it. Registrations flagged, and it was cancelled. For the 2010-2011 program year, council did not include either Cub Winter Day or Cub Cabin Fever Fest on their calendar. Does this spell the end for an wintertime outdoor experience for the Cubbies?

NO!

In Miami Valley Council, their southeastern district (currently the Wright Brothers district) has been running a “Cub Klondike” since about 1985. This event is similar to the Klondike for the older kids in that the boys are in small teams (3 – 6 boys I believe), and they pull a sled carrying needed gear around a course to do activities. But the sleds are plastic snow sleds not big Klondike sledges, the gear needed is rather minimal and nearly no skills are required. It is more about fun and teamwork than anything else.

This looks to be an excellent event and lots of fun for the boys, so if you haven’t already registered you should strongly consider attending. Online registration has closed but the Grand Poobah of the event has told me that walk-in’s are going to be accepted. Cost is a measly $6 per Scout (adults are free).

You can get all of the full info at the Hopewell District Cub Klondike Page.

I will be there helping run the Leave No Trace station (good camp vs. bad camp). I hope to see you there!

…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.

The Final Countdown


(Why did this get posted on Monday with a timestamp of last Friday?)

Okay, so I did the math and this past Friday (when I intended to make this post) was exactly 100 days to the day before our Blue & Gold Banquet, when young Jon Walker will cross over to Boy Scouts and the vast majority of the time that our family spends involved with Pack 19 will come to a close.

And first, because the dang song has been stuck in my head for the past 3 days, I give to you loyal readers – both of you – this piece of awesomeness:

So my intention was to post each day with a thought about something we had done in the Pack that was really memorable (because in nearly 5 years there have been many memories, both good and bad), or something we just did or are currently planning. You can see how well that worked out, seeing as how I’m already down to day 97 and I am finally getting around to starting this! So maybe every few days I’ll try to get something posted.

I am going to try to get a couple of blog posts in today, this was a pretty busy Scouting weekend for us so I want to share some of what went on with you.

So maybe this post was just a heads up (or a warning depending upon how you look at it) of what is to come? That, and to start passing along this song virus!

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

Mmmm…dinner!


Last weekend several boys from both Pack 19 and Troop 18 participated in the John Colter race at the old Camp Hook (now the southern half of Twin Creek Metropark) over in Carlisle. John Colter race is an annual event put on by Troop 572 (also of Middletown). There were several other units in attendance, including Webelos from Pack 572 and Scouts from Troops 725 in the Trenton area and 896 from Hunter. It was a great time and the weather was beautiful!

On Saturday night the adults from Troop 18 and Pack 19 cooked dinner for themselves. While the boys all had hot dogs (or chili dogs) and chips that Troop 572 supplied, we went a little meatier. Back in the April 2010 edition of Scouting Magazine I saw an article with a recipe for a dutch oven meal called the Kalamata Roast. Here’s the recipe:

Beef, Italian Style by H. Kent Rappleye, Scouting Magazine, April 2010
Kalamata Roast

First, you’ll need to preheat your 12-inch Dutch oven to about 275 degrees. That means you’ll want to place 13 coals on top and 7 coals on bottom.

Ingredients

3- to 4-pound beef chuck roast, bone in or boneless
¾ cup beef broth
½ cup brown sugar
1½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large garlic clove, chopped
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced into thin strips
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 (10-ounce) jar or 1 cup fresh or frozen pearl onions (not pickled)
Brown roast on all sides in Dutch oven. Pour beef broth over entire surface of roast. Evenly sprinkle remaining ingredients on top in the order listed. Cook low and slow for 3-5 hours. You can maintain this low simmer by placing two additional coals on top and two below every hour or so, depending on the weather.

Note: If you have any leftovers (fat chance), chunk up the meat, pour your favorite marinara sauce over it, heat, and serve with pasta. Amazing!

SERVES ABOUT 8-10

I am a big lover of olives (much to the dismay of my strange olive-hating family), so this recipe sang to me. I’d been wanting to try it out for months. And with Dave Erwin at the camp out – the master of the dutch oven – the opportunity was there. So we made that recipe for dinner, adding just a little bit more liquid, garlic and five or so whole jalapeños from my garden.

HEAVEN!

You all have to try this out! Seriously. Best. Recipe. Ever. Cooking the meat low and slow made it very tender, while you got the saltiness of the olives, the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes, and the subtle heat of the peppers. It was seriously Good Eats ™.

(Side note: Am I the only one who thinks Alton Brown should do a whole series of shows on dutch oven cooking over the campfire?)

Along with that we took some good sized baking potatoes, seasoned them up with a little salt, a little pepper and some garlic and hot peppers, wrapped them in foil and tossed them in the campfire coals while the roast was cooking. Those also turned out excellent.

All in all, it was one of the better meals I’ve had at a camp out. I seriously need to get myself a dutch oven with the feet on it so I can start learning to cook these types of things myself!

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.

MCS Recruitment Wrap-up


So the school night went pretty well. Had about 10 boys show up it looked like. One signed up last night, and most of the rest seemed pretty interested so we invited them to our Pack Meeting / Campfire next Tuesday night.

I was expecting a bigger turnout though, but no biggie. Using the other private school in Middletown as a point of reference, they are slightly bigger but sustain their own pack using mostly parents as leaders (I believe some parents of former scouts are still leaders kind of holding it all together or keeping it tied into the Troop).

That might be the key there, because MCS used to have it’s very own Cub Scout Pack (Pack 972), but it folded a little less than 3 years ago from what I understand was lack of top level leadership…parents wanted to move on with their sons who aged out but no one wanted to step in behind them to take over. Probably one of the top 5 reasons why packs fold I would bet. MCS has about 100 boys who are in that Cub Scout age range which means that statistically a pack for MCS alone should have about 20 boys total (if all MCS students who are Scouts went to that school’s pack). Which is a good size I think, big enough that you can sustain most activities at a den and pack level but small enough to fall into the easily manageable range of things.

This post was supposed to go out 3 days ago but I saved it as a draft because at the time I was writing the thought was leading me into a whole new avenue and I wanted to finish that up. Now 3 days later and I’m drawing a blank. Oh well…

Cub Scouts recruiting at Middletown Christian Tomorrow!


Cub Scouts (Pack 19 and also possibly Pack 572) will be recruiting at Middletown Christian School on Thusrday October 6 at 7:30 PM. This will be the first recruitment at MCS since Pack 972 folded almost 3 years ago. There are about 100 boys in the school who are Cub Scout aged and our District Executive, Andrew Wetterer, was in there this morning doing boy talks. It is good to finally get back into a school that has missed out on recruiting for whatever reason.

Thanks to Pack 19’s Tiger Leaders, Kevin & Lisa Johnson, for getting our feet back in the door!

If you are interested in Scouts or know an MCS family that might be, please feel free to join us or pass the info along!

Published!


So last week just after the first Arena show, which I listened to most of on QBSA Jambo Radio, I felt compelled to write an Editorial piece about the Scouts for my local newspaper.  Their usual submission requirements are no greater than 350 words…this came in around 1,000.  I had figured that it would not get run.  But looking at the paper’s website, it was there this morning!

Middletown Journal – Distinguished Century of Achievement

Of course given the number of “…” in there they heavily edited what I sent them to fit in the allotted space.

I will put the version I sent them below.  Any typos or info errors in either version are my own.  I think they’re all correct but the only one I’m not sure about is the number of National Jamborees.  I put 17 in my article, but then I heard it referred to several times as the 16th.  Did we disavow one of them?  Looking at the Wikipedia article, it appears that we had Jambos in 1937 (makeup for 1935 being cancelled due to an outbreak of polio), 1950, 1953, 1957 (my dad went to this one), 1960, 1964, 1969, 1973 (two locations with staggered start dates but I only counted this as one), 1977, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005 & 2010.  Anyway, kind of a sidebar but still.  Here’s the article:

“We need the Scouts now more than ever.”

During the next week over 50,000 young people and their leaders from every state in our nation have converged on Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia for the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree.  This year’s jamboree marks both the last to be held at AP Hill, and also the centennial celebration of the Boy Scouts of America.  It is the seventeenth national jamboree held by the BSA since the first was held in 1937.  Included in this group are several Middletown boys and adults, we wish them good luck and safe travels!

Scouting first began worldwide in England in 1907, formed by Lord Robert Baden Powell.  In 1910, a group of men that included Cincinnatian Daniel Carter Beard brought the Scouting movement to America.  For the last 100 years, the BSA has been the nation’s largest and most effective youth leadership training program for young men and women.  The BSA has had over 110 million members over the last century, with current youth membership of approximately 4 million.

During this centennial celebration, it is a good time to reflect on the positive impact Scouting has had on our country for the last 100 years.  In each of those key times in our nation’s history, the Scouts have stepped up to serve.  From food and scrap drives, selling war bonds and planting victory gardens during the first and second world wars, to assembling care packages sent to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan today.  Cleaning up our city, county, state and national parks, there are no better friends to the outdoors than the Scouts!  The Scout Slogan is “Do a good turn daily,” and it is not just lip service.

Scouting has helped produce some of the most prolific leaders in the fields of industry, technology, science, athletics and politics.  The list of prominent men and women who were Scouts is quite long and includes Microsoft founder Bill Gates, successful businessman and former presidential candidate Ross Perot, former first ladies Barbara and Laura Bush, and US Presidents John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush and Gerald Ford, the only President who was an Eagle Scout.  Eleven of the twelve men who have stepped foot on the moon were Scouts; the first and last were Eagle Scouts.  And thousands of other members of the space program were Scouts first.

While it is easy to rest on one’s laurels after such a distinguished century of achievement and service, now is when we need the Scouts more than ever, and they are responding.  When technology is making the world smaller and the sound of kids playing outside is fading into distant memory, Scouting is at the forefront of taking back the outdoors for kids…and taking the kids outdoors.  The Scouting program, at all levels, is primarily an outdoors program, but it is not only outdoors.  Changes to the program have been made to recognize that kids are more tech savvy than most adults these days.  At most levels of Scouting, there are opportunities to learn about balancing one’s life, one of the most important things our kids today can learn.  A whole day spent on the computer, in front of the TV, or exercising only the thumbs playing video games or texting is a day wasted.  Through Scouting, our youth are learning that idea of balance – financially, nutritionally, and in the way they spend their time.  They are learning about new ideas, skills and hobbies that can later lead to a career.  They are learning the value of education and of hard work.  They’re learning that the best way to help yourself is to help others.  And they’re having FUN while doing so.  Scouting is “fun with a purpose,” our founder famously noted.  That purpose is to prepare our youth to succeed in the future.

The lessons of morals, ethics, character, conservation, leadership and citizenship youth gain through their involvement in Scouts prepare them for a great future.  With Scouting, the only limit to the success a young man or woman can attain is their own determination, effort and imagination!  These are lessons that cannot be learned on a sports field and sadly are no longer being taught completely in the classroom anymore.  There are not many organizations anymore where people say “On my honor” and mean it…Scouts is one of those.

We in Middletown have had the good fortune to have a strong Scouting presence, having formerly been the home of our own Boy Scout Council.  There are several Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops and a Venturing Crew that would love to help teach your son or daughter join the adventure that is Scouting!  While membership drives primarily happen at the beginning of the school year, youth can join at any time year round.  Most of the area’s Scout Leaders are fully trained and have years of experience.  Like Everett Sherron, who has recently passed over 70 years of affiliation with the Boy Scouts!  We have some of the best camps in the nation and being between Dayton and Cincinnati have a large number of opportunities for Scouts to participate in a whole host of different experiences.

Cub Scouting is for boys aged 6-11 (generally from the completion of kindergarten through the spring of fifth grade).  Boy Scouts is open for boys from age 11 (fifth grade) through their 18th birthday.  Venturing is the high adventure, coeducational program for young men and women who are at least age 13 and have completed eighth grade through their 21st birthday.  For more information on Scouting, including how to join a unit in our area, visit http://www.danbeard.org or call Dan Beard Council at 513-577-7700.

If everyone lived their life by the points of the Scout Law – Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent – just think of what a great place that would be!  Think globally, act locally – be a Scout!

Scott Walker
Committee Chairman
Cub Scout Pack 19
Hopewell District
Dan Beard Council
Boy Scouts of America

Scouts will be at National Night Out


National Night Out is a program that has been running in Middletown for the last decade or so.  Each year at a different city park there is a community-wide free event where the public can come and a free meal (hot dog, chips & a soda) and visit with a large number of community organizations (public and private), sign up for stuff and gret free swag.

The police are usually there, and they bring the SWAT stuff and the K-9 units as well, the kids enjoy that.  The fire department generally makes a big showing and brings their smoke house, a trailer that they use with kids to simulate a fire condition in the home and how to get out safely.  Usually the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is there, as is the Humane Society, Parks Department (now defunct), Keep Middletown Beautiful organization, military recruiters and a whole host of others.

Every year we go to this event and I say to Jenny, “You know, the Scouts should be out here recruiting!”  And we never are, and we go home and I forget all about it.  Until the next year, when we show up and I say to my wife, “You know, the Scouts should be out here recruiting!”

This year, we are! 🙂

I happened to catch an article on the Journal’s website about this year’s event and it quoted Sgt. Jim Cunningham.  Jim also happens to be the dad of one of our pack’s newest Tigers.  So I emailed Jim and asked how we could get the Scouts in there.  He emailed me back and said we’re on the list…it’s good to know people, I suppose.

So I called my DE and he will be there and I will be there with my Webelos.  I am going to be sure to wear my Commissioner uniform because I am not planning on recruiting for Cub Scout Pack 19.  I am recruiting for the Boy Scouts of America.  At this event we can target all age groups – elementary aged boys for Cub Scouts, middle school boys for Boy Scouts and older boys and girls for Venturing.  I am especially stoked to be recruiting for Venturing and Boy Scouts, the Cubs have a pretty good recruiting system in Middletown with lots of access to the schools but after Webelos the recruitment drops to near zero.

I will be trying to get some of our other Commissioners out there to help with recruitment efforts as well.  Sure, I could ask my Pack leaders but I ask so much of them already I don’t want them to have to recruit for Scouts to join possibly other units.  If you are a commissioner for Hopewell district and happen to read this blog (far fetched as it may be to think I have followers after blog post #4), can you please try to be there?  I’m going to try and bring out some flags and poles and swag, etc.  Our DE is trying to do the same.  I still need a pop-up shelter and I want to have something for the kids to do.

If I could figure out how to rip “A Shining Light” off my DVR onto DVD, I would so totally do that and set up a TV or laptop playing that in the background.  Wishful thinking I know; that’s who I am, I always find a way to over-do it at the last minute.

Details on the National Night Out in general and this week’s event in Middletown specifically are available at the links below.

I will try to post an update on how the event went on Wednesday.  If you have recruited at your community’s NNO before, leave a comment and tell me how it went!

Yours in Scouting,

-Scott

EVENT DETAILS
Who:  Open to the public, all are welcome!
What:  National Night Out
When:  Tuesday August 3, 2010 from 5:00 – 9:00 PM
Where:  Jacot Park (4501 Grand Avenue, Middletown OH 45044)

LINKS
National Night Out’s website – http://www.nationaltownwatch.org/nno/
Middletown’s 2010 NNO Flyer – http://www.cityofmiddletown.org/docs/news/385.pdf

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