January - February 2003
Thank You, "Unknown Scout"
I was running errands for our upcoming den meeting when my van stalled beneath an underpass on a busy street. I dashed to a nearby store to phone a friend for help, and when he arrived, I got inside to steer as he began to push the van to the side of the busy road.
Suddenly, a young man appeared and asked, "Do you need some help?" Without waiting for an answer, he assisted in moving the van off the road. He appeared to be a Boy Scout, but by the time I emerged from my car he was gone and I wasn't able to thank him.
My friend assured me that the young man was, in fact, a Boy Scoutfrom Troop 35. It was ironic that I had spent the afternoon on Cub Scout business and then a Boy Scout came to help when my van broke down.
Thank you, "Unknown Scout."
A Scout leader is remembered
It has been more than a year since my assistant Scoutmaster, Tom Farrelly, was lost on Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center in New York City during the attack on America. Since then, Troop 410 of Northport, N.Y., has continued to bring his spirit and love of Scouting to the boys we serve, to the community in which he took pride, and the country which he loved.
He will always be remembered as an enthusiastic Scout leader, a loving father and husband, and a shining example of what it means to be an American; [and his] presence will always have a place in our troop.
Troop T-shirts for special activities
I enjoyed October's "The Way It Was" column about how Scout uniforms have changed over the years. It's hard to believe that boys at one time wore "knickers" over their long underwear instead of short pants.
My troop designed T-shirts that we wear during the summer months and for activities that don't require the so-called "Class A" uniform. Wearing the T-shirts, we really look like an organized group and it is easy to spot us when we are in camp or at events with other troops.
For certain situations, a troop T-shirt worn with Scout pants is an acceptable modified version of the official uniform. According to the current edition of The Boy Scout Handbook: "The complete official uniform includes the Scout long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt, Scout pants or shorts, Scout belt and buckle, Scout socks or knee socks. A neckerchief and cap or campaign hat are optional [and] for outdoor activities, Scouts may wear troop or camp T-shirts with the Scout pants or shorts."
Troop merit badge library
Our troop maintains a library of BSA merit badge pamphlets. The troop librarian verifies those that are the latest editions and removes those that are not current. (The outdated books are given to Cub Scout packs for use in their programs and projects or as general information resources for leaders.)
We replace the discarded books this way: A Scout needing a merit badge book that is not in the library must purchase a copy of the current edition, keeping it until he completes the merit badge. Then he turns the book over to the troop library and receives a one dollar credit.
After that, each Scout who checks out the pamphlet pays a $1 fee. When these fees add up to one dollar more than the purchase price of the book, the service charge for borrowers is reduced to 50 cents.
This keeps our library current and in good condition.
Alvin M. Saltzman
Keeping boys in the pack
Looking back over 45 years of graduating Webelos Scouts from our pack, we noted that more boys had dropped out before graduating than we had realized. We resolved to take several ongoing steps to increase retention.
At the blue and gold banquet, we unveiled two plaques presenting the names of today's Cub Scouts as role models for future pack members: The "Great Pack 104 Hall of Fame" lists Arrow of Light recipients who earned all 20 Webelos activity badges, an achievement we call the "Grand Slam." A second plaque lists Cub Scouts who have earned the religious award, to increase the visibility of this aspect of Cub Scouting.
At the banquet, we gave graduating Webelos Scouts a keepsake scroll, "Akela's Vision for Pack and Troop 104," detailing the value of their experiences as Cub Scouts and what they can look forward to as Boy Scouts.
We promote Cub Scouting as "A Family Program Centered on Your Son." We've added a Cubmaster's Minute (like the Scoutmaster's Minute) to most pack meetings, to highlight long-term plans for, and benefits from belonging to, the pack.
To encourage families to integrate Cub Scouting into their regular family life, we strongly promote the BSA Family Award, which families can earn every year.
We have used ideas from Scouting magazine in the past, and sharing our experiences with readers is our way of saying "thank you."
L. John Swallow Jr.,
Copyright © 2003 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.