Tag Archives: #bsa2010

…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.

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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.

Peterloon 2010 Post Game Report


So another Webelos campout is under the Lightning Dragons’ belts, and overall I am very pleased with how things turned out. Half of the Webelos II boys attended along with 4 of the Webelos I boys. Those seven along with myself and the Webelos I Den Leader were sponsored by Troop 718 who sent 6 boys and 3 adults.

We had ourselves some hiccups with the communication and planning portion along with the Troop, but in the end those pre-trip issues didn’t turn out to be anything majorly wrong.

We arrived Friday evening and were able to get into our campsite pretty easily. For having 6,000 people there, the logistics of getting them in and out were handled well. We were in Subcamp 4, row 2, site 3 (right). The Webelos helped the Scouts with unloading all the gear from the two pickup trucks, and then in setting up their tents. After the tents were up and their personal gear stowed, the Webelos broke for a quick dinner of (now lukewarm) McDouble’s we bought on the way in. After that they helped set up the dining fly, get water and finish getting the campsite set up. Once that was done the boys didn’t have a whole lot else to do, and you could see this was the case all over Peterloon. Boys wandering around because due to the burn ban they had no fire to sit around or poke sticks in. Several of them joined in playing cards and others did what boys normally do while they had cracker barrel. I took a quick walkabout to the OA Trading Post at Subcamp 1 & 2 and ran into several folks I knew and visited their campsites. Got back to the campsite and once the leader meeting was completed between 10:30 and 11:00 PM we had more information on what we’d be doing the next day. Eventually all the boys went to bed, followed by us leaders and that was the end of the day.

It got cold overnight. I kept waking up every hour or two because I just wasn’t tired enough to forget I was sleeping on a 3/8″ thick foam pad sitting on the ground. It was a relatively quiet night considering the size of the encampment.

The next morning we woke up and the boys started making breakfast of eggs, sausages and hot chocolate. We knew it got cold overnight from the frost on some rain flies but were able to confirm sub-freezing temperatures by the frozen solid condensation droplets on the underside of the dining fly. After eating and cleaning up, it was time for fun! The Scouts went on their merry way, the Webelos (with adults in tow) went off to do the Webelos-focused activities, and a couple other leaders (myself included) went off to volunteer for a few hours. I ended up working the catapults.

The Webelos went through the store and midway exhibitors, then they visited the fort and got to look at solar flares through a telescope. They got to fire trebuchets, launch water balloons from a slingshot and (probably the coolest event they did all day) climb a signal tower. Then we broke for lunch for an hour or so and got back into the activities, silk screening their own Peterloon t-shirts, visiting the National Guard obstacle course / bounce house, building and firing their own catapults, play a version of “Minute to Win It” at the castle and finished up with a game of Giant Croquet (utilizing a compass to shoot bearings). Once done, we made our way back to the campsite for dinner.

Back at camp, the boys helped cook and eat a dinner of hot dogs, beans, vegetable soup, chips and bug juice. No one went hungry! They ate and cleaned up up quickly and at 7:00 PM headed back into the activities area for the Arena show. The show itself was pretty good, the boys really enjoyed it. They had taped messages from mostly local celebrities saying Happy Birthday to the BSA, and they had some games and contests and gave away prizes to units that did well at their events that day. Due to the burn ban the fireworks were nixed, but they made up for that with a pretty neat laser lights show. I personally thought the arena show was pretty good but just seemed to be lacking…something. Not sure what. No one thing popped out as bad or missing, but it just didn’t pop for me like when we watched A Shining Light from the national jamboree this summer. I remember leaving ASL feeling like my Scouting fuel tank had just been topped off, and I just didn’t come away from this one feeling that way, which was a bit disappointing to me. But the boys seemed to enjoy it which is the important part.

After the arena show ended we made our way back to the campsites and I think the activities of the day plus the burn ban turned into something I had never seen before at one of these large Scout encampments. By 10:30 it was dead silent and not a boy to be found anywhere in our subcamp. All of them were snuggled into their tents. The other leaders and I played a couple games of euchre and were also in bed by 11:30 PM or so. No problems sleeping Saturday night, I was tired!

Sunday we got up, packed up all our personal gear, dropped tents, ate breakfast of oatmeal and anything else left over from the previous meals, then cleaned up and the Scouts headed to one of the church services being held in the activity areas (Catholic, LDS, nondenominational and Scout’s own, plus a jewish service on Saturday evening). I stayed behind at the campsite to keep an eye on our gear, one of the other leaders didn’t want it left alone. Since we had a vehicle up at Upper Craig, three of the other leaders hiked up cardiac hill and retreived the trucks from the offsite parking area so they were waiting when the gates opened. The boys got back from church, we finished breaking camp and policing the area to ensure that we’d left no trace, then loaded the trucks and headed for home.

All in all, a great weekend and an exhausting weekend. I was impressed by the troop leadership at the campout and thought both the boys and adults worked well together for the most part.

Advancements – I’m working on a list of advancements the Webelos might have accomplished during the weekend. Here’s what I’m coming up with so far:

Outdoorsman 3 or 4 or Arrow of Light 4b or 5 – Since this was both a Boy Scout and Webelos oriented event, attending Peterloon could count for one of these four items…but only 1 of them, not all 4 at once.
Outdoorsman #8
Outdoorsman #11
(If we had been given more time to prepare for departure and to plan for extra stuff to do over the weekend, we could have also completed Outdoorsman 1 & 12. If there was no burn ban we could have also completed Outdoorsman 2 & 7.)
Engineer #9

I’m sure there were more that I’m missing, but not every activity yielded an advancement requirement completed and I don’t think it necessarily needed to be that way. So long as the boys had fun!

The highlight for me was seeing my son finish up his Arrow of Light by having a meeting with one of Troop 18’s Assistant Scoutmasters…who also happened to be my Scoutmaster when I was a youth in Troop 18 in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s!

If there were any comments for next time around the first thing that comes to mind is that the participation ribbons should be given to every unit represented. Our campsite got one for the Troop and none for the pack even though the pack was registered. I don’t know if this was an error on the part of the troop in how they registered or how they did things overall but I think it would not be very hard to find out which units are there and make sure all of them get a ribbon. I also was not a fan of the way they did the campsites. I don’t mind where we were, it wasn’t all that far of a walk and even Subcamp 5 isn’t really that far away, but it would be nice to have all the other units in the district grouped together.

Boy Led != No Adult Involvement


[Author’s note: Throughout this article I am not referring to any specific Troop, this is more general.]

I’ve had the opportunity to visit several Boy Scout troops during my time in Scouts, and the one thing I know for sure is that each one operates differently. Some may be just slightly different, and others are waaaaaaaaay out there. I’ve seen the Troops that are very much “Follow Me Boys”-ish with all the good little soldiers lined up neatly and in uniform while the Scoutmaster leads them through whatever it is they’re doing. And I’ve seen the opposite end of the spectrum, where the mass chaos that is a Troop meeting appears to be a re-enactment of the moshpit at a Slipknot concert by a group of ragtag boys with a couple that appear to have on an untucked uniform shirt and there’s a bunch of leaders in the corner socializing and not interacting with the boys because “we’re boy led.” The vast majority tend to fall somewhere in between those two extremes. My problem is that in both of the extremes, the leaders just don’t get it (in my humble opinion).

In the one extreme, you have a troop that is very much led by the Scoutmaster. He is in charge and the boys go along with what he’s telling them to do. I think we can all recognize that this is not a boy led environment, which is counter productive to the aims of Scouting. Will the boys learn about leadership? Sure…indirectly. Pretty inefficient though. And for the purposes of this post, isn’t really what I wanted to focus on.

It’s the other side of the spectrum that is equally missing the point. The group that thinks Boy Led means the adults are completely and totally hands off. If that was the case, why even have a Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmasters; the Committee could handle the “adult” stuff, right? I realize for the new parent the sight of a boy led Troop may look disturbing because they’re used to the very much adult planned, guided and led Cub Scout Pack, but when you have a Webelos unit visit and the families walk into a scene out of “Lord of the Flies,” well…that might be a bit much.

The problem that I see is that too many well-meaning leaders think that “boy led” means that their job as an adult leader is to stay out of the way. Granted, that is part of the job, stay out of the way of the boys from learning and developing their leadership skills and running the Troop. But the thought that boy led means no adult involvement is kind of silly. Obviously adult involvement is necessary; if it wasn’t, there’d be no adult leadership positions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for boy led. Boys should be planning and carrying out the activities that they want to do, working on the badges that they want to work on, etc. They’ve got their structure for boy leadership with the Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders, Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, in addition to the numerous other leadership positions (Chaplain’s Aide, Quartermaster, Scribe, Historian, Bugler, Den Chief, etc.). And through the PLC they develop a program and assign responsibilities. But all the structure in the world won’t make a bit of difference if the boys in the roles don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. That’s where the adults come into play.

One of our most important challenges is to train boy leaders to run the troop by providing direction, coaching and support. The boys will make mistakes now and then and will rely upon the adult leaders to guide them. (Scoutmaster’s Handbook, chapter 3.)

The important theories here are in training and guidance.

The training part should be quickly and immediate at least on the Troop level. No sense in having a boy in a leadership position for any length of time without the training – he may be able to struggle through but a trained boy would make both the boy and the troop’s time easier. Beyond your TLT you have NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training) and NAYLE (National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience). Both of these are excellent opportunities for the boys.

Training also extends to the adult leadership as well. I would hope that any adult Scouter involved in the Scouting movement would know that there is a set curriculum for adult leaders that is position specific. Beyond the Youth Protection which all adults must take before they can turn in a leader application and must retake at least every 2 years, there is the Fast Start training, Leader Specific training (classroom) and for some positions Outdoor Skills training that requires a 1- or 2-night overnighter. Putting adults in leadership roles who are not fully trained is a disservice to the boys.

As an aside, I sat in on a Troop Committee meeting recently as a representative both of a Pack and of the District Training Team to review the new Youth Protection requirements and the upcoming 100% trained leadership requirements. One of the other people present (who at the time was another visitor but now is the Chartered Organization Representative for that Troop and it’s affiliated pack) complained that we’d never get leaders if we forced them to take the time to get trained. My response was something along the lines of “If they aren’t willing to go get trained, then they’re not the type of people that the BSA, I as a parent and leader or you should want in a leadership role.” I still stand behind that response.

Anyway, in addition to the regular training is this really helpful document put out by National, publication 18-236, called The Youth Leadership Training Continuum – A Guide for Scout Leaders and Parents. I strongly recommend that you take a look at this if you haven’t already, it gives quite a bit of great information on getting the boys trained for their leadership positions. If you are a Scoutmaster or a Senior Patrol Leader reading this who doesn’t already do this supplemental training in their Troop, I’d suggest you consider implementing it in the near future.

But the training is only half the battle, and I think this may be where the biggest disconnect happens with those mass chaos style units. In addition to the basic fundamentals of the training program for the youth, there is the concept of continued training and coaching by the Scoutmaster corps. I think most of the units that let the chaos ensure take a standpoint of “Well, boy led means we are hands off.” But that isn’t necessarily the case. Boy led means the boys are in charge, but as adult leaders we are responsible for providing guidance and coaching to the youth leadership to help them improve their performance and the overall program of the Troop. If the program is lacking, the other boys will “vote with their feet” and you won’t be able to have a boy led troop with no boys to lead. And a unit of just adult leaders already exists, it’s called the Commissioner Corps!

There is a difference between “taking over and having the adults show the boys how it is done or do it themselves because it just isn’t working out with that young man” and giving the boy guidance on the role he’s taken on and how he is getting it done. But it appears that many unit adult leaders believe the line is so fine between the two that they would rather sit back and let the blowing of the conch shells begin than taking an active role in helping the youth leadership achieve what it is they’ve set out to do. Not doing this supplemental guidance and coaching is also, I believe, a disservice to the boys.

Is meeting with the SPL or a Patrol Leader (or any youth leadership position) to discuss how they are performing and see where they are having problems that they want assistance with, or offering encouragement and advice on ways to improve considered taking over? Decidedly not. There is a time and place for everything, so I’m not suggesting doing this mid-announcements at a troop meeting. But Scoutmaster Conferences and Boards of Review are not just for advancement. And there’s after-meeting sessions or phone calls that can be done as well.

So the next time I see a unit that hasn’t published a plan for attending the 5000+ person jamboree 3 days before they’re supposed to leave, I’m not seeing the pitfalls of the boy led method in action, I’m seeing a failure of the adult leadership to provide proper training, coaching and guidance to the boys so they can lead themselves.

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

Pack 19 has a program!


So back in June we held our “Annual Pack Program Planning Meeting.”  Actually we had two.  The Cubmaster couldn’t be at the actual meeting, so he and I, our Outings Chair and one of our Webelos Den Leaders met at Fricker’s and talked out some ideas that he had.  At the actual meeting, his Assistant Cubmaster was present and threw in some input as well, and we kind of knocked together a rough cut with that input, our previous year schedules and input from parent and boy surveys done in June and feedback from Pack and Den Leaders present.  Then we all got busy with a million other things and it kind of was left to stew for a month.

Yesterday we had the meeting to do the final review and approval of the schedule and a budget.  I took what we had come up with and used budget figures and actual expenditures from previous years to come up with a new budget.  The goal was to keep things affordable.  Our biggest issue is that our Charter Organization also sponsors Upwards Basketball and during January and February we do not have access to our normal Pack Meeting location because Upwards has practices scheduled during those times.  For 2010 we tried setting up off site meetings with ice skating and bowling and the cost was several hundred dollars increase to our budget.  This time around we put in rollerskating for one but the other we are going to hold a traditional (lower cost) Pack Meeting in an alternate location.

So we came up with a budget of just over $2500 for the fiscal/program year 2010-2011 (September 1 through August 31).  Based on a 50 boy pack which is usually our goal to be at after recruiting, we are looking at an annual fee of $72 without Boy’s Life Magazine and $84 with Boy’s Life (we made BL optional when we switched to ISA’s).  I am working on a condensed schedule to send out and upload to the pack websites.  We are going to have $half of the $72 due by August 31, and the other half due by December 31 (if the boy wants BL that $12 is due by 8/31).

I hope that this will help eliminate some serious problems we’ve had the last few years at recharter time.  We will see how it goes.  This is the first time we’ve done the pack fee due in August rather than November since we officially voted our fiscal year to run September through August last year.  Last year’s pack fee was around this same amount but due to the change in fiscal year it was that much only for 8 months!  This is a definite slash in our operating budget but none of us saw any obvious issues anywhere.  Pack Meetings will run lean but the pack has a very large inventory of items already that should satisfy most needs and since we don’t do snacks at pack meetings we don’t have to worry about food.

If I ever get so savvy with the blog that I can upload documents, I’ll share what we did.  I’m psyched that we have this part done and can now look forward to the program stuff.  Like skydiving this Saturday and the Reds’ Game a week from Tuesday!

Girl Scouts congratulate the Boy Scouts


http://blog.girlscouts.org/2010/07/congrats-to-boy-scouts-of-america.html

The BSA and GS-USA sure have taken different paths to get where they are today, and as a parent of one of each I can see good and bad points in each program.  They are both quite different programs, but the end game of each – to build young people of character, prepare them to make moral and ethical choices over their lifetimes, give them citizenship and leadership skills they will take with them into adulthood – remains the same.  And both have been and are succeeding for the last century (or nearly a century).

The Girl Scouts celebrate 98 years of service this year, formed by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912.  It would be neat if they’d have what I think would be their first ever National Jamboree on their centennial, I know my daughter would be pumped about attending.  Let’s get on that ladies!

(Thanks to my facebook friend Jennifer for sharing the GS-USA blog link.)

First post!


Okay, so this is mainly just a test post to see if I have everything set up correctly. If this works, I can send an email to blogger which updates the blog, which updates my twitter that I’ve updated my blog. And Twitter will update my Facebook. Gotta love automation!

So that there’s some sort of content, and the testing theme is applicable, one of my favorite scout skits when you have a large group of rambunctious boys who aren’t going to be able to memorize a song or lots of lines (like Tiger Cubs).

BSA Emergency Alert System Skit

(Leader walks up and stands center stage, all boys lined up beside him to the left and right.)

Leader: As you know, the BSA takes nothing more seriously than the safety of your sons. With this in mind, they have implemented the new BSA Emergency Alert system. What we are going to do now is test that system. Please keep in mind that this is only a test.

(Boys all make a loud, long beep like the emergency broadcast systems on the radio.)

Leader: Thank you for your patience. That concludes the test of the BSA Emergency Alert System. This was only a test. Had this been a real emergency, you would have heard…

(Boys run around screaming and waving their arms in the air.)

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