I was excited to read about Venturing's new advancement program in the November-December 1999 issue of Scouting. As a member of Explorer Post 411 in Maywood, Calif., I earned the old Explorer Ranger Award in 1950, before the introduction of the Exploring Silver Award.
I was also a member of Post 411 when I earned my Eagle Scout Award, in 1949, and Senior Scout Silver Award, in 1952. At the time, the Los Angeles Area Council considered the Ranger and Senior Scout awards [to be similar in prestige] to the Eagle Award; as a result, I was invited to attend the council's Eagle recognition dinner on three separate occasions.
I did not realize there were only 2,787 of the original Ranger Awards issued, [and] I feel even more privileged to have been part of such a small number.
I have continued in Scouting for 58 consecutive years since I joined the Cub Scouts in December 1942, serving in many unit, district, and council positions.
Advisory Council Member, Grand Canyon Council
The newest edition of The Boy Scout Handbook has been out for more than a year. Is there a way to tell how Scouts and Scouters feel the new edition is meeting their needs and expectations? Are Scouts more inclined to read it than the earlier editions? Is it as handy and as helpful as it should be?
I'm sure many Scouters would be interested in learning about the method used by the BSA to solicit and respond to user comments.
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 1849
The article "The Perfect Book for a Desert Island" in the September 1999 issue of Scouting described the three-year process involved in the creation of the 11th and latest edition of the handbook. According to Joe Glasscock, director of program development, Boy Scout Division, who oversaw the project, the new handbook has received an "overwhelmingly positive" response.
"A great deal of my time is devoted to meeting with Scouts and Scouters across the country, and both The Boy Scout Handbook and the new Scoutmaster Handbook are always on the front burner wherever I go," Glasscock says. "Needless to say, there were things that could be improved, and they will be in the second printingalthough most people will never notice how we have 'tweaked' them."
Comments are always welcome, Glasscock adds. "And we give serious consideration to ideas that will enhance the quality of both books." Comments and suggestions should be sent to the Boy Scout Division, S209, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Ln., P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.
The article in Scouting about the origin of the pinewood derby ("The Founder and the Finder," November-December 1999) prompted me to share my experiences with readers.
I am 76 years old and have been in Scouting more than 36 years. I first became familiar with the pinewood derby in 1962, when my son became a Cub Scout. (I served a year as assistant Cubmaster and then nine years as pack chairman.)
For many years, Scouters Bob Fitzpatrick and Paul Legacy helped us stage a derby by bringing the six-lane track they had built in 1960 to our pack meetings.
By 1975, however, both men had passed on, and Bob Fitzpatrick's widow, knowing my interest in the pinewood derby, suggested I continue the tradition of taking the track to packs requesting help in staging a racing event.
I started with only a few pack visits, but as time went on and the requests increased, my Scouter friend, Lloyd Strout, agreed to help. We soon became known as the "Pinewood Derby Kids," and for the next 10 years helped conduct 30 or more derbies a year throughout central Massachusetts.
When bypass surgery sidelined Lloyd in 1990, Larry Leonard joined the team and we became the "Larry & Larry Show."
A friend of Larry's wrote a program that enabled us to computerize the track, eliminating human judgment in determining winners. That program has changed a bit, but we still use the same tracknow with four computerized lanesthat Bob and Paul built 40 years ago.
The past 23 years have been very rewarding; it's a lot of work, but at each derby visit, we get as much of a thrill as the kids do. I especially appreciate those moments when a young man will come up to me and say what a great thrill he had as a Cub Scout when we brought the pinewood derby to his pack meeting.
For the past two years in the San Gabriel Valley Council, we have held a special brunch on the first Saturday in May for mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers of Eagle Scouts.
Organized in 1998 by Gwen Krogen (then-president of the San Gabriel Council and the mother of three Eagle Scouts), Mona Mapel (mother of one Eagle Scout), and staff adviser Sue Newton (mother of one Eagle Scout), the event brings together mothers and other significant women in the lives of Eagle Scouts, to let them share in the success of their children.
The occasion also honors one or more women, recognizing their importance in raising children, and promotes the significance and importance of women and mothers in Scouting.
The speaker at our first brunch was Lois Lindsey, mother of Eagle Scout Steve, who piloted the shuttle flight that took Senator and Eagle Scout John Glenn on a return trip to space. She shared what it was like to see her astronaut son "blast off" into space and told about the role Scouting has played in his life. (Steve received his Eagle Scout Award from Troop 167 in Temple City and now resides in Houston.)
Speakers for the 1999 brunch were Linda Ryker and Mona Walley, the mothers of Scouts who were instrumental in stopping the shooting during the incident at Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., in May 1998. They spoke about the importance that we, as mothers, have in being responsible in our children's lives. We also had a tribute journal in which women honored their sons, husbands, etc., with pictures and congratulatory notes.
We hope the event will become an annual affair that women will look forward to attending.
Outdoor Education Director
San Gabriel Valley Council
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