Memorable Webelos transition ceremony
I was glad to see an increased emphasis on the transition from Webelos Scout to Boy Scout, as described in the article "A Sense of Awe" in the March-April issue.
Each spring at the Old Hickory Council's Camp Raven Knob, our district holds a Transition Weekend that is memorable for the Webelos Scouts and their families. After a day of age-directed activities for troops and packs, a special ceremony is held on a historic bridge over a lake dam.
The Cubmaster escorts each Webelos Scout to the center of the bridge, where the Scoutmaster of his new troop meets them. Blue shoulder loops are exchanged for red and a special neckerchief is presented. Then the Scoutmaster escorts the new Boy Scout to the other end, where Scouts from his new unit greet him.
A narrator introduces each Webelos Scout with remarks about his experiences in Cub Scouting. A campfire organized by the district chapter of the Order of the Arrow completes the day.
District 'JOTA-ree' provided many radio experiences for campers
In October 2000 the Eagle District of Otetiana Council, Rochester, N.Y., held its first Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) camporee during the weekend when Scouts around the world greet each other via amateur ("ham") radio stations.
Our troop organized and ran the "JOTA-ree," which about 200 Scouts and 75 adults attended. The Honeoye Falls (N.Y.) Volunteer Fire Department offered its field for the location, and area ham operators volunteered their equipment and time.
The program was based on the Radio merit badge, which requires a Scout to focus on either ham radio, shortwave listening, or commercial broadcast radio. The JOTA-ree offered experiences in all three: six ham stations, two shortwave listening stations, and "Eagle Radio"a 24-hour, commercial-style broadcast station on which troops presented live programs that Scouts were able to hear on their radios.
Other activities included a build-your-own-radio area; Radio merit badge counseling; displays, demonstrations, and information booths about radio-related clubs; and more. Scouts made contacts in 32 states and 21 countries, including the official JOTA station in Geneva, Switzerland.
In addition to the radio operators, special thanks go to the Honeoye Falls Volunteer Fire Department, the U.S. Army Reserve, the New York State Army National Guard, Ramsey Electronics, the town of Honeoye Falls, the Rochester Amateur Radio Association, and the Rochester VHF Group.
For more information, including how to participate in this year's event, contact Kevin Kinnally at (716) 533-1981 or at email@example.com.
The Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) is sponsored by the World Organization of the Scout Movement and held every October. Look for details in this month's Scouting magazine; contact JOTA Coordinator, BSA International Division, S221, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Ln., P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079, (972) 580-2405; or log on to http://www.scouting.org/international/jota.html.
Copies of Scouting magazine are effective recruiting tools
Scout leaders should consider recycling their copies of Scouting magazine in a doctor's office, barber shop, or any other place where reading materials are welcome.
You can either cut out the label with your name and address, or leave it and add your phone number and the words "If interested in more information, please call."
Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts can do the same thing with their copies of Boys' Life.
This can be a good recruiting tool. I used this technique when I was a professional Scouting executive, and it helped recruit some excellent volunteers.
An Eagle Scout reports from West Point
One of my Eagle Scouts is a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I would like to share parts of a recent letter from him that I think the readers of Scouting magazine will find interesting:
Scouting has helped me here more than I could have imagined. For example, last summer during cadet basic training, I was miles ahead of my classmates who had not been Scouts. I knew how to tie knots, rappel, set up a tent and waterproof it, pack a backpack, take care of my feetlittle things that added up in a big way.
This summer, I spent five days in a simulated tactical war situation where we did not use tents, shelters, etc. It rained every night and my only [source of] comfort was using my poncho and liner as a blanket/sleeping bag. (Tell the new Scouts about that if they ever complain about rain when they are inside a dry tent, with dry clothes and a warm sleeping bag!)
The time I spent in Scouts prepared me for such situations, [helping me realize] that temporary discomfortlike the coldness when one gets up on the morning of the Klondike Derbyis just that, temporary, and does go away.
Eagle Scouts are all around here. I realized just how numerous we were during a math class when we were talking about Scouting and a cadet pulled out his Eagle Scout gold card. Then another, and another, until about half the class indicated they were Eagle Scouts.
A group here is called the Scoutmaster's Council, made up of former Scouts and anyone else who likes to camp, etc. One of our big events is a nationally known annual camporee held on our training grounds. It is different from any other camporee I have seen, completely run by cadets and focusing on activities common to Scouting and the military (pioneering, first aid, rappelling, communication, etc.). The process to determine which troops can attend is competitive, but [you might consider submitting an application]. I would love to see you guys in action once again and be able to say, "Hey, that's MY troop!"
Yours in Scouting,
Christian M. Yungbluth
Articles were an inspiration
As part of my Wood Badge ticket [special project], I am seeking material regarding Scouts with disabilities for our district newsletter. I would like to reprint "Unit Leaders and ADD" and "Filling a Community's Special Needs" from the October 2000 issue of Scouting.
Those two articles so moved me that I was inspired to attend and complete a Wood Badge course. Thanks for giving me the nudge I needed to participate in this top level of training.
Scouting magazine routinely grants permission for such requeststo reproduce an article for informational use within the Scouting family (such as unit or district newsletters) or for distribution to the public for promotional purposes. Send a request letter to the editor, either via regular mail or the online form at www.scoutingmagazine.org, describing how the article will be used. Any such reproduction must include a credit indicating in which issue of the magazine the article originally appeared.
A gift from the heart
I was recently taught a valuable lesson in how we, as den leaders, can unknowingly affect the lives of our Cub Scouts and their families.
For a Valentine's Day craft, I supplied my Bear Cub Scouts with the materials to decorate little heart-shaped boxes for their parents: tiny mirrors, felt, bits of lace, and beads. Each boy decorated his own box.
The parents were pleased with the boys' efforts. One mother was particularly thrilled, because she had a collection of heart-shaped objects.
Tragically, this young mother of four died suddenly a few months later. It was her wish to be cremated and her husband asked each of their children to choose a gift that they had given to their mom, to be cremated along with the body and scattered with her ashes.
The son who was in my Cub Scout den chose the heart-shaped box we had made as a den project.
We can never truly know what lasting impression we will leave with our Cub Scouts, but I, for one, no longer take the simple things for granted.
Linda J. Buder
An unexpected reunion
The day after my 50th birthday, I took my mother to Sunday services and a church dinner. We were joined at our table by an elderly gentleman using a cane, who realized he had forgotten to get a drink and some pie with his plate of food. Instinctively, I offered to get these for him.
Later, when another man called him "Bill," it struck me that this man was my old Scoutmaster, Bill Faundrick, from Troop 18 in Columbiana, Ohio, whom I had not seen in more than 30 years. We spent the next hour "catching up."
Driving home afterward, I was overwhelmed by the irony of the encounter. "Do a Good Turn daily" and "cheerful service" are not just catchy phrases; they are a way of life for those of us who have been blessed to be a part of the Scouting movement.
CD can be used as signal mirror
The article on signal mirrors in the March-April issue was great. But you don't have to spend $15 or more to get a good mirror.
Use a compact disk; they are light, bright, and available free as promotional samples in the mail or at many computer stores.
The center hole is good for sighting. The only drawback is that CDs are a bit fragile, but they are easy to replace.
After testing a compact disk as a signaling device, Malcolm Murray, author of the March-April article, offered these observations: "I agree that availability and low cost make a CD a good substitute if a real signal mirror is not available. However, considering the low cost of good signal mirrors, it seems prudent to equip planes, boats, and people going to sea or to wilderness areas with the 'real thing' whenever possible. A good signal mirror has the advantages of a stronger signal, precise one-hand aiming, and buoyancy, if needed. Good signal mirrors may also offer better resistance to scratches and corrosion."
Her greatest reward in 37 years
One week last summer I helped boys make toolboxes at a day camp for Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts.
In my 37 years as a volunteer leader (I am 81 years old), I have been honored with the BSA's District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award, and in 1973 I earned the Scoutmaster Wood Badge. But none of these could match the reward I received from an 8-year-old boy on the last day of camp.
He came up to me and with a handshake he thanked me for helping him build his toolbox.
It made my day and was the greatest reward of "thanks" I've received in Scouting.
Marion M. Crawley
Welcome, Tiger Cub den leaders!
I'm glad to read in the May-June issue that Tiger Cub leaders will become full-fledged den leaders with Wolf, Bear, and Webelos den leaders.
The more Tiger Cubs can integrate with the older Cub Scouts, the more their parents will embrace Scouting. Feeling on par with other leaders and attending training as an equal will build a stronger Cub Scout program.
Kudos to Scouting for progress. Come on board, Tiger Cub leaders!
New York Scouts help remember the victims of General Slocum steamboat tragedy
I would like to call to your attention the role played by Boy Scout Troop 106 of Middle Village, N.Y., and Troop 656, Wantagh, N.Y., in the annual General Slocum Ecumenical Memorial Service.
The service remembers the victims, survivors, heroes, heroines, and caregivers in America's second greatest maritime disaster, which occurred on June 15, 1904.
The General Slocum steamboat was carrying 1,750 people, mostly women and children, on a day trip. Shortly after leaving a New York City pier, the ship caught fire. In less than one hour, about 1,100 people died when they were trampled, crushed, burned to death, or drowned.
The ceremony is held at Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, where a memorial was erected in 1905 over the Tomb of the Unidentified [61 passengers]. Prior to the presentation of a wreath, Scouts from Troop 106 raise the United States flag and then lower it to half staff. Scout bugler Thomas Law of Troop 656 plays taps, and Troop 106 Scoutmaster Gordon Bennett gives a short talk, "Remember the Heroes and Heroines."
The Scouts also serve as guides in the cemetery and nearby church.
Kenneth G. Leib
No TV (or other screens) on Tuesdays for this family
I read with interest "A Week With No TV" in the March-April issue. A year ago we designated every Tuesday as our weekly "no screen day," turning off the TV, computers, and video games, allowing us to be more creative in using family time. On that special day, our three children tend to interact more with each other, read or play games, or do creative pursuits that otherwise have been overlooked.
At first we worried that this was asking too much or would require too much effort to enforce. Instead, it has been exciting to see what happens to our family on Tuesdays. And on those rare occasions when we forget the day, it is usually one of the kids who remembers!
Carol and Michael Rich
School, parents, and pack agree on restricting TV time
To help students spend less time watching TV, our pack's chartered organization, Delphi Academy, actively encourages involvement in Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting, and about 80 percent of the students participate in Scouting.
The school also asks families to severely limit TV and video game time and discontinue it entirely if a student struggles academically. The teachers have found that the more time a student spends viewing TV, the less he or she achieves in the classroom. And many pack parents are in agreement that sleep-overs and playtime will not be spent in front of the TV or computer.
This partnership involving pack, parents, and chartered organization has helped our Scouts to grow and prosper. Once the TV is gone, the boys think up all kinds of fun and active things to do.
Family tries a week of 'survival'
After seeing the March-April cover story about turning off the TV and also the winning recipes from the magazine's Dutch-oven cooking contest, our family decided to try a survival week test.
We turned off the power and set up candles and lanterns, positioned a barrel filled with water for bathing and washing on the deck, and made sure our camp stove had fuel.
We played games, did homework, and read stories by candle light. The gas grill was a big help, and we built a fire in the backyard to cook the apple dumplings [2nd place dessert-contest recipe]. It was the first time we used a Dutch oven, and the dumplings were great.
We bucketed water for our toilets and used an antibacterial hand wash for sanitation. (By the third day our family of six had almost emptied the water barrel. Fortunately, it rained and the barrel refilled quickly when placed under a gutter from the house.)
We had a great time and didn't miss the TV, radio, computer, or media. And we learned that we are better prepared for a disaster than we thought.
Thanks for inspiring the idea.
Debra K. Peiffer
TV can become addictive
I recently read the article "A Week With No TV" in the March-April 2001 issue of Scouting. When a tree fell on our house and destroyed my bedroom, I had to move into the basement, where there is a TV. As a result, I usually spend time outside or in the basement watching TV.
The article helped me realize just how much TV I watch and how it can be almost addictive. I agree parents should encourage their children to do other things than watch TV all day. Too much viewing can ruin the imagination and cause a person to become lazy and antisocial.
God has created so much for me to do and explore, so instead of wasting all my time in front of the TV, I'm going to get out and enjoy life! I'll ride a bike, play basketball, go for a swim, fish, draw, anything! And I'll feel a lot better mentally and physically.
Thank you for publishing this article.
October 2001 Table of Contents
Copyright © 2001 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.