Tag Archives: #pack19

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Crisis Averted! (#100DaysofScouting, Day 17)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cub Scout Career Arrow Order, Colors & Sizes

Badge / Award Name Thread Color

Size on Arrow

Bobcat Badge

Black (Iris 148) ¾”

Tiger Badge

Orange (Iris 710)

¾”

Tiger Tracks (Elective beads)

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

¾”

Wolf Gold Arrow Point Gold (Iris 421)

½”

Wolf Silver Arrow Points

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

¾”

Wolf Gold Arrow Point

Gold (Iris 421)

½”

Wolf Silver Arrow Points

Silver (DMC 415)

1/8” per arrow point earned

Webelos Badge

Royal Blue (Iris 398)

¾”

Webelos Activity Badges

White (Iris 144)

1/8” per activity badge earned

Arrow of Light Badge

Bright Yellow (Iris 344)

1-½”

Religious Emblem Award

Tan (Iris 222)

¾”

Leave No Trace Award

Green (Iris ???)

¾”

World Conservation Award

Purple (Iris 755)

¾”

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

¾”

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

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

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

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

Cub Scout Career Arrow using embroidery floss

Cub Scout Career Arrow using embroidery floss

Cub Scout Career Arrow using embroidery floss

Cub Scout Career Arrow using embroidery floss

 

 

EAEOOU ILTTROU (100 Days of Scouting, Day 8)


Tonight I am going to induct my five Webelos II’s into the Order of the Fork.  I have been trying to restart this tradition in our pack for four years, but keep forgetting at each campout.  So tonight over pizza they will be “forked in” and become members.  At the Blue & Gold at the end of the month, they will fork in one new member each and I will fork in one of the leaders.  Then it will be up to them to carry on the tradition in the pack.

What is the Order of the Fork?  It is “a society so secret, even it’s own members don’t know it’s purpose!”  Seriously though, it’s more of a tongue in cheek / goofy thing, at least the version I remember.  I know that the Order of the Fork exists in Scout camps and non-Scout camps alike all over, and in some it sounds as if there was some hazing or some sort of ritual embarassment going on to it’s new members.  That isn’t the case in our OotF, anyway.

For the pack, I envision it as more of an honor society for the pack.  Scouts who are very active within the pack or who are model campers or whatever will get forked in at a meal, whether it is at our Blue & Gold or some other camp out or event.  Then they in turn will become members.

They make a spoof square knot patch, and a spoof lodge flap for it.  I ordered the square knot patches for my boys.  We also have a segment patch program that we are implementing where each time a Scout camps with us he has the opportunity to purchase a segment patch.  When all together, the segments will encircle a 3″ round patch (the size of the custom camp patches we order each year for our summer campout).  The segments are:

  • Tiger Cub
  • Cub Scout
  • Webelos Scout
  • Boy Scout
  • Leader
  • Order of the Fork

 

Pack 19 Camp Segment Patches & 2010 Summer Campout Patch

That’s our preview artwork of the 2010 summer campout patch along with the segments patches.  They look even better in real life!

We have about 400 total segments patches at my house right now.  If a person camps with us while a registered Scout or Leader they are eligible to buy ($1 each) the segment they have earned.  Right now there is only one person I know of who is eligible to purchase all of the segments due to their history as a Cub Scout with Pack 19, Boy Scout with Troop 18, and now as a leader with Pack 19.

Hopefully after my boys are gone into Boy Scouts the tradition will continue into the future with the pack for years to come.

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.

Lasts and Firsts (Happy Birthday, BSA!)


“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
-T.S. Eliot

Today marks the 101st birthday of the Boy Scouts of America! I know how we’ll be opening our pack meeting tonight, maybe with a little singing? It was on this day 101 years ago that a group of men including the namesake of our council (Daniel Carter Beard) got together to begin the process of transplanting the Scouting movement across the pond from Great Britian to America. And over those last 101 years we have seen what is undeniably the largest and most effective youth leadership training program in the country. The BSA is the second largest Scouting organization in the world (second only to Indonesia whose 17+ million Scouts make up nearly 40% of the world’s active Scouting population). Over 2 million young men have attained the highest rank of Eagle, and the list of influential people in positions of power in this country who were Scouts is amazing. I am glad to have been (and continue to be) affiliated with Scouting as both a youth and adult, and look forward to what is to come as the BSA trailblazes into the future.

Today is also a memorable day in the Scouting career of my son (and to me as well). It is his 45th pack meeting as a Cub Scout with Pack 19. It is also his last. He has never missed a Pack meeting that I can recall! Some have been awesome (bringing in the police department, fire department and animal handlers), and some not so much (the ritualistic handing out of the plastic baggies of awards, then we have announcements and then we go home), but overall they’ve been fun.

It occurs to me that this month is a lot of “lasts” for my Lightning Dragons. Saturday was our last Pinewood Derby. Today is our last pack meeting as Cub Scouts. Next Tuesday is our last den meeting. And on the 26th is our last Blue & Gold Banquet and their last day as Cub Scouts. Frankly, since the beginning of March 2010 this has felt like we were on some kind of farewell tour. And there have been a few times where it hit me a little bit to realize that this would be our last week at Adventure Camp, or Fun With Son, or our Pack Summer Campout. And yeah, it makes me a little sad to think about how in just a few short weeks we won’t be in Cub Scout Pack 19 anymore.

Honestly I think I should feel that way. We have devoted a large deal of our time for several years to this organization. We’ve had some struggles, and lots of triumphs, and developed a lot of really good relationships along the way. We in Pack 19 (and I mean all of us, not just my family) are lucky to have a wonderful group of families who all work together to do great things for these young men.

So while February may be a month of “lasts” for Jon and Jenny and I, the most important thing is that February is also the month for the beginning of some “firsts.” On February 26th, which is Jon’s last day as a Cub Scout, it is also his first day as a Boy Scout. And then moving into March, we have his first Troop meeting, his first troop campout at Red River Gorge (also a first visit for him), and so and and so forth leading up to a first Court of Honor and his first week at Boy Scout resident camp (as opposed to Cub Scouts).

So I’m going to try to enjoy the lasts while we can and not be too sad about them, because the firsts start right after, and that’s where the real adventure begins!

Campfire Stories


So I was reading back on the Scouting Magazine blog and came across the post on great campfire stories. I had one pop into my head that I heard when I was a Boy Scout (or possibly a Webelos), told around the campfire by Mr. Fisher. The story builds into a joke but not until the final punchline and if you tell it right you can string the boys along for a while. I’ll tell what hopefully is a decent retelling of my own version of that story below.

“The Worst Thing I Ever Did”
(rewritten and embellished by Middletownscouter based on the original telling by Mr. Fisher)

Boys, it has been a great weekend and we’ve once again learned about the outdoors and about doing our good turn daily. But I want to tell you, I know that it is hard to be good all the time and sometimes we all fail. And that’s okay, we learn from our mistakes and move on. As hard as it is to believe, even I sometimes was guilty of not always doing my best to be a good Scout. So tonight I want to tell you a story about the worst thing I’ve ever done.

It was quite a long time ago in August of 1986. I was about your age, between Webelos and Boy Scouts, and it was the summertime. And boy, was it hot! You couldn’t be outside for more than a couple of minutes without your shirt being soaked with sweat. The kind of heat where you wanted to spend the day at the pool with your buddies watching the pretty lifeguard. You get the picture.

Well, for me that day was even hotter. Because not only was I not at the pool with my buddies watching the pretty lifeguard, I was at the house. Doing yard work. I spent the morning pulling weeds from the garden and edging the sidewalks. Backbreaking labor, on my hands and knees with gloves on pulling prickly weeds from the mulch covered flowerbed followed by using a garden spade to slowly cut a nice clean edge along both sides of the sidewalk and the driveway all down the front of the house. And my Walkman was broken, so I didn’t even have any music to listen to. It was brutal! I think I lost ten pounds from sweat that morning. After a quick respite from the heat for lunch, I was all set to ride my bike over to the pool, but alas, it was not to be! “You’re not going anywhere until the lawn is mowed,” my mother told me. All that work and now I had to mow the lawn? How unfair is that? Needless to say, I was in a very bad mood as I pulled out the ancient lawnmower and got it started up.

Now, the entire time I had been outside that day, so had the neighbor’s dog, Scruffy. They had this little fur ball Jack Russell Terrier that constantly barked at anyone it could see. It didn’t matter that I’d been around this dog for years, it still barked. Neighbors, mailmen, delivery men…it didn’t matter. This dog barked at them all. And it wasn’t so much the barking itself – that’s how dogs talk, after all – it was the pitch of the bark. It was a small dog, and it was a high pitched YIP YIP YIP type of bark. Imagine that, will you? It’s the middle of the summer, 100 degrees in the shade, you’re hot, sweaty, deprived of the chance to hit the pool with your buddies, forced into manual labor by your parents, and all the while there’s this constant YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP…it was too much for any man to take! I was trying to just get it done, get the yard mowed and if I couldn’t get to the pool at least I could take a shower and go to the movies to see Top Gun that night when all of a sudden, COUGH SPUTTER WHEEZE…the mower ran out of gas! I go to the garage to get the gas can and it’s empty! I had used the last of it to fill the mower the week before but forgotten to tell my dad so he could fill it up. Oh no! “Well, at least I was going to get a bike ride in that day,” I thought.

I got a bungee cord and strapped the gas can onto my bike and was rode the two miles each way to get the gas can filled up. Going out wasn’t too much of a problem even though it was mostly uphill. Coming back was a tricky proposition – the gas sloshing one way and then another made balancing the bike pretty difficult, but luckily I was able to coast a good way back since it was mostly downhill. Pulling into the driveway at the house, I hit the curb wrong and went down hard onto the sidewalk. Scraped up my arm and my knee, but worse of all about half the gas spilled out of the can! It just wasn’t my day. While I should have been thinking “A Scout is Cheerful,” I was just getting madder and madder at my poor luck. It was hot, I was injured, forced to do yardwork, wrecked my bike, spilled gas on the driveway and the whole time that stupid dog kept on YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP! It was too much to take!

I grabbed the gas can and went over to the mower, and filled it up. It had died pretty close to the fence between my yard and the neighbor’s and the dumb dog Scruffy was right there barking his fool head off. I had had enough. I went over to the dog’s water dish and put in the last little bit of gas left in the can. The dog, still barking, went over to the dish, sniffed it, lapped up the liquid, then stopped barking. Finally!

I started up the mower and was nearly finished mowing the lawn when I saw the strangest thing. Scruffy was going nuts! Running around in circles making the strangest noise I had ever heard from a dog, halfway between a growl and a yelp. He did this for a minute or two and then suddenly stopped and BAM!, fell over on the spot.

(At this point the story teller stops talking. When Mr. Fisher did this to us, we boys just stared at him waiting for him to go on, not wanting to ask the question we all had in our mind. Finally, one of the boys – or perhaps a planted extra adult if the boys don’t do it – will ask, “Did Scruffy die?”)

Nope, he just ran out of gas!

*rimshot*

Note: No animals were harmed in the telling of this story. It is a joke, feeding gasoline to an animal will severely hurt or KILL it. Seriously, DON’T DO IT. Professional driver on a closed course. Do not attempt.

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.

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!

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!

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