ScoutingJanuary-February 2002

Letters Letters

More info on Naval Academy camporee

I am interested in the U.S. Naval Academy merit badge camporee described in the article "High-Tech Badges and High-Ideal Lives" in the November-December 2001 issue. Where can I learn more about the program and how to register a troop?

Bob Leedom
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 791
Virginia Beach, Va.

Registration for the January 2003 U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Merit Badge Jamboree begins in August. Applications are due by early October and Scout troops new to the program get top priority. Get applications and more details at Information is also available from USNA-NESA, c/o Physics Department, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD 21402-5026.

An album for the Scoutmaster

As a consultant for Creative Memories magazine, the wife of a Scoutmaster, and the mother of a Boy Scout, I was pleased to see the article on scrapbooking in the October 2001 issue. Our family has enjoyed making albums for several years.

I have a suggestion to add: In addition to making albums of the Boy Scout activities of your special Scout, why not consider honoring the Scoutmaster or other Scouting leader with an album of his years in Scouting?

Or, how about an album with pictures and stories of all the boys who have made Eagle Scout under his leadership?

It would take some work to gather all the material, but I'm sure such a gift would be much appreciated by these tireless and dedicated leaders. And it would be a great project for the boys and their parents.

Marcia Frank
Westlake, Ohio

Additional sources for trail service

The article in the October 2001 issue about Scouts doing trail work ("Keeping Trails in Shape") gave a list of organizations to contact for volunteer opportunities. A few important ones could be added:

Most obvious is the ATC or Appalachian Trail Conference. Easily confused with the AMC or Appalachian Mountain Club (which was listed with the article), the ATC ( or phone 304 535-6331) is responsible for maintenance of the entire Appalachian Trail and can direct Scouts to the nearest local club.

Another resource is the USDA Forest Service,, which is responsible for trails within our national forests. Under the direction of the USDAFS, I have maintained the Basin Trail in the White Mountain National Forest for10 years.

Bryan Courtois
Saco, Me.

'Old-timer' likes new Wood Badge

As an old-timer (a Scoutmaster for 25 years), I like to keep up to date on Scouting, and for that reason I enjoyed "Volunteer Training for the 21st Century" in the September 2001 issue. I heartily concur with the personal observations expressed by Scouters who took the new leadership-focused Wood Badge training.

I first attended Wood Badge in the summer of 1949 and later served on staff for 17 other Wood Badge courses, both for Boy Scout and Cub Scout leaders. So I had a pretty good background when I accepted an invitation to be an adviser for the pilot Wood Badge course conducted at the Pennsylvania Dutch Council's Camp Bashore in August 2000.

What a contrast to the 17 other courses I helped staff. And all for the good! To use a favorite word of today's Scouts, it was awesome!

Tom Lehmier
Lititz, Pa.

Cell phones can save a life

Regarding the September 2001 Outdoor Smarts column, I think radios and/or cell phones are worthwhile to take on hikes, if used right. Here in Alaska, it doesn't take long to be far away from civilization, and I usually carry a cell phone on hikes and trips. However, it is turned off unless needed.

There have been several instances of people injured or trapped who were saved because they carried cell phones. Recently, a man was mauled by a grizzly bear and was picked up by airplane because his partner called for help on a cell phone.

Charles Chapman
Anchorage, Alaska

Scouting at NATO headquarters

Troop 325 maintains the long Scouting tradition of serving the international community at NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium.

The year 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE), originally located outside Paris, France, and since 1967 in Mons, Belgium.

Scouting has always been an important part of the international community at SHAPE. I have enclosed a picture of Troop 325 after the ceremony last June at which four of its members, Dan Balocki, Alex Jehle, Collin Russell, and Brian Walker, received the Eagle Scout Award. (During the 2000-2001 school year, a total of seven members of Troop 325 attained Scouting's highest honor.)

The troop is shown standing in front of the new NATO Star commemorating SHAPE's 50th anniversary.

W. T. Anderson
Committee Chairman, Troop 325
Mons, Belgium

An impressive 30,000

Last July, my family visited Washington, D.C., at the same time as the more than 30,000 Boy Scouts were arriving for the national Scout jamboree [at Fort A.P. Hill, near Fredericksburg, Va.].

We saw these amazing troops from different places and backgrounds, all coming together as one. What an example of BSA unity!

As a leader with three boys in Scouting, I was pleased to see the Scout motto in action. Besides being dressed immaculately in uniform, they all carried cameras, water, maps, and even donned Scout rain parkas during a surprise shower. (I'm sure compasses were also in there somewhere!)

We chatted with Scouts and leaders, and I was struck, as I am many times, by the maturity, politeness, and enthusiasm of these young men. They certainly were an impressive 30,000, and I felt proud to be associated with every one of them.

Carrie Campbell
Pack 34 and Troop 266
Houston, Tex.

A Salvation Army success story

Great article in the September 2001 issue on the important relationship Scouting enjoys with The Salvation Army, whose commands have a long history of advancing the important youth-serving (in fact, youth-saving) programs of Scouting to our nation's inner-city youth.

Here in Los Angeles, Red Shield Youth Center Troop 60 has not only enjoyed being a Salvation Army chartered unit but has also been generously supported by the Rotary Club of Los Angeles.

One of the troop's great success stories is how several neighborhood boys, who were involved in gangs, joined the Red Shield Youth Center and then joined Troop 60. Several became Eagle Scouts, including a former gang leader who has since distinguished himself as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Mike Birkholm
Commissioner, Los Angeles Area Council
Arcadia, Calif.

Craft projects on Web site

I have created a Web site,, that features detailed instructions for quality craft projects for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Most of the projects are neckerchief slides made from wood, leather, clay, and other materials.

The site's content is based on materials that I have collected and developed during nine years as a Cub Scout den leader and as an assistant Scoutmaster. Scouts and the members of other nonprofit youth groups or schools may freely copy the contents.

Vincent Hale
Dallas, Tex.

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