Edited by Scott Daniels
The 42nd annual Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA), sponsored by the World Organization of the Scout Movement, is scheduled for Oct. 16-17.
Thousands of amateur radio stations around the world participate. If the conditions are right, it is common to contact a hundred Scouting countries during the weekend.
Many BSA districts and councils hold events that coincide with JOTA, in which amateur radio operators set up stations giving Scouts and leaders a chance to exchange greetings with Scouts from other areas.
JOTA frequencies are SSB (phone): 3.940, 7.290, 14.290, 18.140, 21.360, 24.960, and 28.390 MHz. CW (Morse code) frequencies are 3.590, 7.030, 14.070, 18.080, 21.140 24.910 and 28.190 MHz.
Postcard-size certificates are free and available to participants. To order, send requests to Jamboree-on-the-Air Certificate Cards, S221, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Ln., P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope large enough to hold the number of cards ordered. All orders must be received by Dec. 31.
JOTA patches are available for $3 each, postpaid, from the address above.
A collection of inspiring stories about individual Eagle Scouts has been assembled in Eagle Scouts in Action, a book compiled by retired professional Scouter H. M. (Smoky) Eggers. With chapters such as "Adventure - Courage," "Heroic Action," "Eagle Vision," and "Troops that Hatch Eagles," the book features personal accounts of Scouting's influence in the lives of numerous individual Eagle Scouts from all walks of life.
The book is available in paperback ($15) or hardcover ($24.50). Mail orders to Eagle Action, P.O. Box 168385, Irving, TX 75016-8385. Make checks payable to Arnold Martin, Treasurer. Prices include shipping and handling.
Eagles don't flock," an old saying goes, "you have to catch them one at a time."
With Eagle Scouts, it can work both ways. In BSA councils from coast to coast, many Eagles - young and old - do flock each year to special Eagle Scout recognition ceremonies to honor those youth members who have attained Scouting's highest rank during the previous 12 months.
One of the largest Gathering of Eagles events is in Virginia's Robert E. Lee Council. At the gala 1999 edition in February in Richmond, nearly 600 Eagle Scouts of all ages turned out. They mingled with such guests as U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Togo West, a Distinguished Eagle Scout and main speaker for the occasion, and Virginia Lieut. Gov. John Hagar.
One 82-year-old Eagle Scout, who received his badge in 1932, called it "the finest Scouting event I've ever attended."
The Eagles in attendance, however, represent barely over one-fourth of the 2,300 area Eagles of all ages who so far have been identified and listed in the Virginia council's database. "One of our main purposes is to remind all Eagles to thank those who helped us along the way to adulthood by giving something back to Scouting now," said Tim Timberlake, chairman of this year's gathering.
A special National Eagle Scout Association initiative is helping all councils identify and contact adult Eagle Scouts who have been inactive from Scouting.
The effort includes converting national Eagle Scout records to a database, with the goal of providing each council with a computerized list of every Eagle Scout Award in its history.
"The nationwide Eagle search undertaken by individual councils with the support and help from NESA has already yielded astonishing results," NESA president Robert M. Gates reported at the BSA National Annual Meeting last May.
Gates cited the outstanding Eagle search results achieved in 1998 by several councils, including Virginia's Robert E. Lee Council. Among the others mentioned were the Middle Tennessee Council, Nashville, 1,800 inactive Eagles contacted; the Simon Kenton Council, Columbus, Ohio, 1,700; Santa Clara (Calif.) County Council, 1,500; and Circle Ten Council, Dallas, 1,500.
Have you made any plans for New Year's? Scouts from around the world are invited to watch the calendar make its turn to 2000 while attending Jam Des Neiges in Quebec City, Canada.
Billed as Scouting's first international winter jamboree, the event will be held on National Battlefields Park in the center of Quebec City from Dec. 27, 1999, to Jan. 5, 2000.
To attend Scouts must be between 14 and 18 years of age as of Jan. 1, 2000. The registration fee of $450 CDN is due before Nov. 15. Call (418) 692-5217 for more information or browse the Web site at http://www.jamneiges.org
BSA Program Director Doug Smith (third from right) congratulates Gold Congressional Award winners (left to right) Christopher Alford, Scott Burright, Amanda McGee, Paul Ellison, and Christopher Kruse. Photograph by Richard Greenhouse
A new partnership between the Congressional Award Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America is designed to expand the opportunities for BSA members to benefit from the Congressional Award, the highest recognition Congress bestows upon young people for community service, goal-setting, and personal development initiatives.
The award program is a nonpartisan partnership between Congress and the private sector, to promote and recognize initiative, achievement, and excellence among youth. To earn the program's highest level, the Gold Congressional Award, a person must complete a minimum of 400 hours of voluntary public service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and a five-day, four-night camping expedition.
The partnership with the BSA was announced at a June ceremony in the U.S. Capitol which also honored 17 recent recipients of the Gold Congressional Award.
Receiving the award were five BSA members: Scott Burright of Grinnell, Iowa; Christopher Alford of Park City, Ky.; Amanda McGee of Oregon City, Ore.; Christopher Kruse of Platte City, Mo., and Paul Ellison of Springfield, Va.
"By giving of myself, I have learned how to help others have a better life that is very gratifying to all," Burright said in describing the benefits of earning the award. "By participating in the program, I have grown immensely - psychologically, physically, and emotionally."
The program is open to young people between 14 and 23 who set and achieve challenging goals for the betterment of themselves and their communities, regardless of physical, mental, or socioeconomic circumstances, in four areas: public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration.
Since the program was established in 1979, more than 6,500 Congressional Awards have been earned, representing well over 1.5 million volunteer hours performed in community service across America.
To register to earn the Congressional Award, call 1-888-80-AWARD, or visit the Web site, http://www.congressionalaward.org
Cub Scout packs having 100 percent of their den leaders trained are recognized with the Training 2000 Award. In 1998 almost 2,000 packs nationwide qualified for the award.
Packs will receive a special "Training 2000" streamer for the pack flag if every Cub Scout and Webelos Scout den leader has completed basic training as of Dec. 31, 1999. In situations involving a change of den leaders, the leader who has spent the majority of the year in the position may be counted.
Qualifying packs should apply to their council for the award in January 2000.
"Training 2000" certificates will be presented to the district Cub Scout training chairman, the district training chairman, and the career staff of each district in which at least 60 percent of Cub Scout and Webelos Scout den leaders have completed basic training for the positions as of Dec. 31.
Councils with at least 60 percent of den leaders with basic training will be recognized with the "Training 2000" plaque at the BSA National Annual Meeting next May in Nashville.
For the seventh straight October, nearly 2,000 Scouts (age 14 and older), leaders, and parents from Fort Worth's Longhorn Council will dress up as clowns and ghosts and, in a special arrangement with Six Flags Over Texas, staff one of the biggest haunted houses in America.
It's the kind of job most kids would eagerly do for free, but the project is also a major fund-raiser for the council. This year it's expected to bring in up to $90,000, less expenses, for council activities.
"Six Flags called on us back in 1992 when they had trouble finding enough volunteers to keep their haunted house staffed, and we've been doing it ever since," says council official George Bowden, who oversees the project.
The council receives a portion of each $2 admission sold to the haunted house, and on its peak attendance day in 1998, more than 13,000 people visited the attraction. This year, the haunted house will be open each Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-31.
"Our people are very animated, and they provide a really good scare," says Bowden. "I guarantee it."
It isn't all fun, of course, he adds. Volunteers are assigned to work two-and-one-half-hour shifts in groups of 15 to 20, and a constant stream of ticket buyers keeps them hopping during that time. But they and their families can spend the rest of the day enjoying the myriad attractions of Six Flags Over Texas at no charge.
In other words, it's "on the (haunted) house."
- Bill Sloan
Pack 942 of Winston-Salem, N.C., is the new heavyweight champ of the popcorn world. To win the title of Scouting's No. 1 popcorn-selling unit for 1998, in competition with 50,000 other units in the United States and Canada, Pack 942 racked up more than $47,000 in total sales, earning the pack a hefty $17,100 in commissions.
The pack's 135 members (each of whom averaged selling about $350 worth of popcorn), Cubmaster Dave Harris, and Popcorn Chairman Art Peters received the title from a representative of popcorn supplier Trail's End at the annual blue and gold banquet, along with plaudits from the Old Hickory Council and its Piedmont District.
"When you've got a pack with 135 boys, you've got to be better than average with everything you do," noted district executive Steve Daniel.
In this case, a whole lot better.
The Millennium Trails Program, a White House initiative involving citizens, business leaders, and government organizations nationwide, aims to identify and develop 2,000 community trails by the year 2000.
To promote the program, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the 13.3-mile B&A Trail, which runs from Glen Burnie, Md., to Annapolis. During her visit, she was accompanied by representatives of groups whose efforts contributed to developing the B&A Trail.
Among the escorts was Eagle Scout Michael Jones of Troop 278, Stevensville, Md., who represented 38 Eagle Scout projects completed since the trail's dedication in 1990.
The B&A Trail is associated with the Rails to Trails Conservancy, a national organization that advocates converting abandoned railroad corridors into public trails. The trail also forms part of the East Coast Greenway project, a proposed 2,000-mile system of recreational trails extending from Maine to the Florida Keys.
More trail information is available from these sources:
Although it hasn't been a BSA National Good Turn since 1988-91, many councils continue to hold an annual Scouting for Food campaign.
In 1998, councils conducting a Scouting for Food Good Turn reported 41,103,311 cans of food collected for local distribution. Some examples:
In the San Francisco Bay Area Council's 11th annual food drive, Scouts collected 171,500 cans of food - a 48 percent increase over the previous year. In Wisconsin's Samoset Council, 4,000 Scouts in 134 troops, packs, and crews brought in more than 130,000 items - a total of 65 tons for local food pantries.
In Georgia's Flint River Council, the tally was more than 19 tons of food. Another 60,000 items were collected by 1,280 participating Scouts in South Carolina's Blue Ridge Council, and in the Buffalo Trail Council of Midland, Tex., 31,000 pounds of food items were collected.
While some Scouting for Food drives are held during the pre-Thanksgiving period, councils can schedule a campaign at any time during the year. Some are conducted in late winter, others in the spring or fall.
Steven M. Corsello has been named American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year for 1999-2000. Steven, a member of Troop 129, chartered to the American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899 in Pittsford, N.Y., will receive a college scholarship worth $8,000. An A-plus honors student, he is studying biochemical science at Cornell University.
For five years, Troop 70, in Old Town, Me., has produced a Halloween haunted house as a profitable money-earning project.
The keys to planning a great haunted house are patience, fun, and imagination, says Troop 70 Scoutmaster Jeff Bosse, who offers these tips for a successful project:
The results are well worth the effort, he adds. "Our troop went from cardboard tombstones, a few black lights, dry ice, and a profit of $1.80 in our first year, 1994, to real tombstones, strobe lights, bridges, casket doorways, a smoke machine, and a castle wall with a working drawbridge - and a profit of more than $2,000. And some Scouts even earned their Theater merit badge in the process."
A 1999 Good Turn in the Indian Nations Council of Oklahoma was a "Books for Kids" campaign, in which 22 Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops in Tulsa collected a combined total of 1,500 books.
Using procedures similar to the Scouting for Food campaign, participants delivered more than 3,000 paper bags in neighborhoods throughout the city, then returned a week later to retrieve donations. Scouts delivered the books to the local Salvation Army headquarters, where they were screened for content, then used in the Salvation Army's summer reading program for children.
Top of Page
|The Boy Scouts of America||http://www.scouting.org|