ScoutingMay - June 2003

News Briefs News Briefs

Edited by Scott Daniels

Scouting family mourns loss of Columbia space shuttle crew

On Saturday, Feb. 1, Scouting's family, with the rest of the nation, mourned the loss of the heroic Columbia space shuttle crew.

"We join all Americans in mourning the loss of the shuttle crew. This loss will be felt by all of us for years to come," said Chief Scout Executive Roy L. Williams. "The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America has always been to help America's youth reach their fullest potential. These astronauts embodied the ideals and values found in the Scout Oath and Law. Their example will inspire youth for generations."

Columbia pilot William McCool was an Eagle Scout. The other three American men in the crew—shuttle commander Rick Husband, mission specialist David Brown, and payload commander Michael Anderson—were also involved in Boy Scouting in their youth.

Of the 293 pilots and scientists selected as astronauts since 1959, 180 have been active in Boy Scouting.

Alden G. Barber, 1919-2003

Photograph By Fabian Bachrach
Alden G. Barber, 83, who served as Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America from 1967 to 1976, died Jan. 17, 2003, in Sacramento, Calif.

Barber joined the Boy Scouts at age 12 in 1931 in Chico, Calif. His professional Scouting career began in January 1941 as a field executive in Santa Monica, Calif., but was interrupted by World War II, during which he served as an Army Air Corps bombardier.

He resumed his career in 1946 as field executive in Santa Monica, Calif., and later served as assistant Scout executive in West Los Angeles, and as Scout executive in Marysville, Calif., Sacramento, Calif., and Chicago, Ill. He became Chief Scout Executive in October 1967.

Barber was a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. The award is presented by the National Eagle Scout Association, an organization established in 1972 during his tenure as Chief Scout Executive.

American Indian Scouting seminar

The 46th American Indian Boy Scouting/ Girl Scouting Seminar will be held July 12 to 16 at Montana State University-Billings, in Billings, Mont.

The annual seminar is conducted by the American Indian Scouting Association (AISA—a joint venture of the Girl Scouts of the USA and the Boy Scouts of America) and hosted by a local tribe or American Indian community. It is attended by tribal and Indian community leaders; Boy Scout and Girl Scout volunteers and staff; American Indian, Native Alaskan, or non-Indian troop leaders in Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting; and 12- to 17-year old youth registered in Girl Scouting or Boy Scouting.

The event features workshops for adult volunteers and professional staff on Indian culture and Scouting relationships, including organizing Scouting in Indian communities. Youth workshops and programs are also available. Highlights include a parade of traditional clothing, a pow wow with music and dancing, and a visit with the host tribe.

Get registration forms at council service centers or write Don Rogers, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Ln., P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079. Additional information is available on the AISA Web site, http://pages.

Cub Scouts earn Leave No Trace award

Cub Scouts and their leaders can now earn a special Leave No Trace Awareness Award that recognizes concern and respect for the environment.

Six Leave No Trace Guidelines for Cub Scouts have been designed to protect neighborhoods and local parks:

  • Plan ahead
  • Stick to trails
  • Manage your pet
  • Leave what you find
  • Respect other visitors
  • Trash your trash.

Requirements for the award are detailed in Leave No Trace Frontcountry Guidelines (BSA No. 13-032). When boys and leaders complete the requirements they may purchase a Cub Scout Leave No Trace patch (No. 08797). Both the publication and patch are available through local councils.

Pennsylvania council hosts own TV program

Hundreds of Scouts in Pennsylvania's Hawk Mountain Council have had a chance to be "TV stars" over the past dozen years, thanks to one of the nation's longest-running community television programs.

On the November 2001 show, Bennett interviews Cub Scouts Andrew Moore and Ty Bergsman and Boy Scout Devon Taylor.
Photograph Courtesy of Hawk Mountain Council

The program, titled "Scouting Perspective," appears monthly on three different community-access cable channels and is hosted and produced by council Scout Executive Richard C. Bennett. Each segment includes actual Scouts and features one of a wide variety of topics, ranging from Scouting for Food to Wood Badge requirements to interviews with BSA officials.

"Eighty percent of every show is done live with no scripts or teleprompters, so that it comes off as candidly and naturally as possible," says Bennett. "Only about 20 percent of the material is taped beforehand. Sometimes we'll have a Cub Scout pack talking about the pinewood derby or Boy Scouts discussing a trip to Philmont or a bunch of brand-new Tiger Cubs bouncing around."

In its initial monthly showing, each program is telecast live over Channel 13 in the Reading area and channels 16 and 20 in other areas of the county, then rerun during the month on channels 16 and 20.

"The station was originally set up with federal funds in the 1970's, and everybody expected it to end when these funds ran out," Bennett says. "But the operation was taken over years ago by local groups, and it's actually grown bigger and better since then. We now have two studios in Reading, and we get a lot of support from local businesses and organizations."

Bennett calls the program, which has an interactive format in which viewers may call in with questions about Scouting-related topics, a "really valuable tool" for building community interest in the BSA.

"It's also been a great learning experience for us," adds Bennett, who admits to having no previous experience as a TV talk show host. "The kids get a real kick out of it, and the public's response has been excellent. It's amazing how many people tell me, 'Hey, I saw you on TV!'"

—Bill Sloan

Denver Area Council college scholarship fund helps ensure quality summer camp staff

A continuing challenge for Scout camps is finding enough older, experienced summer staff members to ensure that every camper enjoys a high-quality experience.

A major cause for the shortage of veteran camp staff is that many college-age young people, faced with today's high tuition and other school expenses, opt for higher-paying summer jobs.

Thanks to Denver developer John Madden and his wife, Marjorie, the Denver Area Council has developed an innovative multimillion-dollar program to address the problem.

The John and Marjorie Madden Educational Leadership Fund, made possible by a $4 million gift from the couple, provides merit-based scholarships of up to $5,000 per year each for a growing number of experienced college-age camp staffers from the Denver area and beyond.

"We were losing many of our veteran camp staff leaders when they reached college age, because they had to find summer jobs to finance their education," says Bill Eck, planned giving director. "Now, if they qualify for a Madden scholarship, they can go on working at summer camp and not worry about finding higher-paying summer employment."

The program strengthens the council's camp program and allows many students to go to college who otherwise couldn't, Eck points out.

"My Madden scholarship made it possible for me to finish my senior year," says Andy Emslie, 22, a 2002 graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Ore. "And without it, I couldn't have worked the last two years of camp," added Emslie, an eight-year camp staff veteran who served as director of the council's Camp Cris Dobbins last summer.

"The program makes it much easier to find good staffers because it allows more mature, experienced leaders to spend more summers at camp," says Andrea Knight, 22, director of the council's Magness Adventure Camp in 2002 and a senior chemical engineering major at Colorado State University. "For example, I now know that I'll be there at least until I graduate."

"I know about 15 people who were able to come back to camp this past summer because of the scholarships," adds Andy Emslie. "And these were really strong leaders, the kind that you need to build your staff around."

"Having the same staff members returning year after year is especially good for the kids," says Mike Clements, 20, who is preparing for his sixth season on staff at the council's Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch. "Seeing the same staff every summer gives campers a sense of continuity and belonging that makes the whole camp experience better."

Clements adds that his scholarship is allowing him to pursue a degree in animal science at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo. "It's one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me."

The Maddens have been involved in Scouting in the Denver Area Council for more than two decades. In the late 1980's, they established a modest scholarship fund to support staff leadership training at Peaceful Valley. The results showed both a favorable impact on the quality of the camp program and more applicants with high academic qualifications.

The couple now has three major goals for the scholarship program.

"First, to further the opportunity for young people who have demonstrated the leadership and character ideals of the BSA," says John Madden.

"Second, to encourage the quality of student leaders entering higher education that will deliver long-term benefit to the community. And third, this will establish a threshold of personal excellence, regardless of the level of cash award. Even qualifying for the program will open a lot of other doors."

The Denver Area Council is currently accepting applications for the 2004 summer camp staff. Contact the council at Camping Excellence, 2901 W. 19th Ave., Denver, CO 20204, or phone (303) 455-5522.


Winners of special youth award highlight a council's annual fund-raising breakfast event

At the Pikes Peak Council's 2002 Community Friends of Scouting (FOS) breakfast, held at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, more than 800 community and business leaders met the six most recent winners of the council's prestigious Summit Award; heard an inspirational message from U.S. Air Force Gen. Steve Ritchie, one of America's top air aces; and contributed more than $250,000 to the council's Scouting program.

"This was our seventh annual Friends of Scouting Community Breakfast," said assistant Scout Executive Sheryl McBride. "It has evolved into one of our biggest fund-raisers and is successful because it features the brightest and best of our Scouting program."

The "brightest and best" are recipients of the Summit Award, presented annually since 1996 to council youth members (as young as 8 and as old as 20) who have distinguished themselves in Scouting, community service, academics, and leadership. Nominations can come from volunteers, teachers, and any other adults except a parent.

Winners for 2002 include five Eagle Scouts. Paul Berens, deaf since birth, was recognized for his mentoring with the deaf and for developing a Web site for his school district and city. Thomas (T. J.) Bowie was cited for camp staff work and sports and academic achievement. Junior assistant Scoutmaster Nick Eiden served on the National Youth Forum in Washington, D.C., and was active in music programs.

Jared Seehafer was honored for outstanding scholarship and volunteer work with teens and senior citizens. And Ari Finkelstein, an honor student and active volunteer, helped organize a cancer awareness program at his high school.

The final achiever was Life Scout John Deniston, whose design of a patriotic T-shirt raised more than $17,000 for various New York City charities after Sept. 11, 2001.

"These young people are leaders in their schools, synagogues, churches, and extracurricular activities, and their stories are both inspirational and emotional," said McBride. "Community leaders many times increase their giving because of these outstanding youth."

At the breakfast, two hosts are recruited for each table and each is asked to sign up four other attendees to fill a table for 10. "And each attendee was asked to support one registered Scout and one youth we're trying to reach, a contribution of $200 this year," said McBride. "Corporate Sponsors contributed $2,500 or more per table, and the Presenting Sponsors contributed $12,500 each to cover the basic costs of the event."


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