Tag Archives: #troop18

Crisis Averted! (#100DaysofScouting, Day 17)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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!

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.

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